I’ll say this right now: I have no fuckin’ clue why this episode is called “Some Enchanted Evening.” I know there’s one coming up where ALF recreates Willie and Kate’s honeymoon, so I thought this might be it. But, no. It’s something that has absolutely nothing to do with the title. In fairness, some of it does take place in the evening, but by that rationale you could call any given episode “Good Day Sunshine” and be done with it.
Way back in “Keepin’ the Faith,” I complained that they named a company Terry Faith Cosmetics only so they could justify the pun in their title. In retrospect, though, that at least represents a kind of effort, which is far more than “Some Enchanted Evening” has going for it.
Season two so far is very strange. Aside from the first episode, the much-missed “Working My Way Back to You,” there’s been almost no concern for narrative. Season one failed spectacularly at maintaining coherent storylines, but the episodes in which there was no attempt to tell a story at all were small in number. Here, it’s been literally every episode apart from the opener. With season one it often felt like the writers were just stapling any old shit together and calling it a script. With season two they don’t even bother with the staple.
Anyway, “Oh, What a Night” begins with Brian being dressed up like a pirate. How many episodes start with Brian in costume? There was the asparagus, the Gilligan’s Island outfit, Friar Tuck, and now this. In fact, three of those are from this season, and we’re only on episode six. That’s pretty ridiculous. I wonder if the writers realized they’d never have anything for Brian to do, so they just started treating him like a mannequin.
Of course, the writers don’t have much for their title character to do, either, so, hey, what the fuck, let’s put him in a silly costume, too.
It’s Halloween, apparently, and for some reason everybody’s acting like it’s ALF’s first one on Earth. It’s not. He crashed in August,* so I doubt this is his first October. In fact, according to my nerdy footnote, it demonstrably can’t be.
I can understand the writers wanting this to be his first Halloween, because that allows for the kind of story they want to tell: ALF getting excited, believing he’ll be able to leave the house and go trick or treating.
It’s a good concept, actually. ALF argues that he could pass for being a child in costume, and it’s the one night of the year that a little hairy grub shuffling around wouldn’t draw suspicion. But they still could have told the story if it were ALF’s second Halloween. All they’d need is some throwaway dialogue about what happened last year.
ALF: Aw, come on. You can trust me to go trick or treating. Wasn’t I very good last year?
WILLIE: No, ALF, you raped all the children.
ALF: But it was very good rape!
[applause, Mr. Ochmonek farts]
You know, something like that, but a lot less subtle.
But, yes, “No More Lonely Nights” is a Halloween episode. And I’m okay with that. The holiday episodes aren’t, on average, any better than other episodes are, but you can usually count on at least one decent joke about human traditions filtered through an alien perspective. You know…the sort of thing that should be driving a sitcom about a marooned alien, instead of being doled out twice a year and otherwise ignored.
In short, unlike ALF hiring a bookie, or the cat running away, or Alan Hale and Bob Denver being free for an hour’s worth of shooting, the holiday episodes can matter. We know what Valentine’s Day, Christmas and Halloween entail, so before the story even begins, we have some sense of what might happen, and part of the thrill is seeing how that plays out.
Of course, Valentine’s Day gave us the Kate Sr. fuck quest and Christmas ended with Willie’s wet dream about a family that actually loved him, so I’m not holding out much hope for this.
In bed, Willie initiates foreplay with his wife by bitching about work and worrying that he won’t get a “job promotion.” Who the hell says “job promotion?” Isn’t it just “promotion?” “Job” is implied. This is the sort of evasive nonsense about Willie’s employment that we saw in the first half of season one. I was hoping that once we learned he’s a social worker, annoyingly vague shit like this would stop.
And he is still a social worker; the conversation confirms that much. He’s upset because he was taken off of the “teen runaway project” and assigned to internal investigations.
Does reading that make you horny? OF COURSE IT DOES so as soon as he’s finished groaning about office politics he leans in to have some warm, limp sex on his wife. ALF, of course, shows up and spares us all.
How often does ALF walk in on Willie and Kate about to penetrate each other? I’m pretty sure we’ve had more of this than we’ve had of ALF eating cats. Why isn’t this the running gag he’s remembered for? WHY IS THIS A RUNNING GAG AT ALL
He still wants to go trick or treating, so Willie and Kate delay sex for another lunar cycle and talk to him about it. ALF’s cause is pretty much lost, until he says that he can help Willie get his conveniently vague job promotion. They’ll do this, he says, by digging up dirt on Willie’s boss, Mr. Burke.
Willie’s not keen on that, but then ALF suggests that they throw a big party, and invite the boss. Kate in particular likes this idea…not because they’d invite Willie’s boss — in fact they nix that idea outright — but because they haven’t actually done anything social since the Space Pedo moved in.
I like that they’re acknowledging this, and I also like that it’s Kate — the only human Tanner — who leaps at the chance to be normal again, if only briefly. It might be a bit unwise to embrace one of ALF’s whims so enthusiastically, but I buy that she would. She’s no dummy, but she is starved for a social life. Or even just a life. I know I’m reading more into this than the writers did, but it works. The stopped clock has its moment, and for that I’m grateful.
Of course, time doesn’t stand still when that happens. It marches inexorably onward through the sewage treatment basin that is the rest of “Night Moves.”
ALF still wants Mr. Burke to come, but Willie ain’t having it.
Hey, wasn’t this episode about Halloween a few minutes ago?
Eh, no matter. The ostensible adults kick ALF out of the room, and while they do…look at that. Just look.
What the living frignuts is that horse?
There is no reasonable explanation for that thing being next to the bed. That alone makes this the scariest fucking Halloween episode of anything I’ve ever seen.
Jesus H. Cock.
Anyway, now it’s Halloween. Alright…that was fast. The house is made up for a party, so I guess ALF was suggesting a Halloween party?
I mean, okay, there was some Halloween talk early in the episode, but then we got onto a whole other tangent, I thought, about Willie’s job promotion, which was to be resolved by inviting the boss to a dinner party.
Or, I thought it was a dinner party. Because inviting his boss to a fucking Halloween party is a pretty god-damned different story. But who cares. This is where we are now. This is the sitcom we’re watching. This is the tale we sat down to hear.
Whatever. You probably want me to explain that screenshot, so, here goes: two kids show up trick or treating, dressed as The Three Stooges.
Where’s Moe, you ask?
He’s not there because he had to take a shit.
The kids say “yuk yuk yuk” in exactly the way you’d guess kids who have no idea who The Three Stooges are would say “yuk yuk yuk” and leave.
This part sucked and all, don’t get me wrong, but isn’t this a little unfair to Benji Gregory? How must he feel when “Warm San Franciscan Nights” includes a scene with some kids being ostensibly funny, and he’s not even involved? They brought in two disposable idiots we’ll never see again, just so they wouldn’t have to give this kid something to do? That’s kind of sad.
Brian comes home from tick or treating just in time to not be involved in any comedy. Instead he engages his parents in conversation about every eight-year-old boy’s favorite subject: his sister’s sex life.
Willie and Kate are upset to hear that their daughter is being pumped full of the seed of a man named Lizard…but in “Take a Look at Me Now” they already knew his name was Lizard. Why is it suddenly a problem? Shouldn’t they be at least a little bit happy that she’s been with the same guy for a few weeks instead of blowjobbin’ her way around town like she was in season one?
In the interest of fairness, I do have to concede that Brian does get the episode’s best line. He tells his parents that he agreed to give ALF 70% of his candy. When Willie tells him that that’s a lot, Brian says, “He wanted 90.”
Then he goes out to the shed and we watch him and ALF divvy it up because it’s not like anything else is happening in this episode. ALF tries to take too much so Brian pulls out his cutlass and flays him alive, ending the show forever.
…no. :( He just chops the table or something. I’m more focused on the “booty,” which seems to be the contents of a single bag of Hershey’s miniatures and a few of those caramels that come in clear wrapping without any indication of who the fuck made them. That’s a terrible haul. Could the props department really not be bothered to grab a few candybars from a checkout line somewhere? This is the shit somebody probably had sitting in their desk drawer from last Halloween.
Lizard comes over, and I guess because he’s not some cartoonish biker guy, Willie is relieved. It turns out Lizard’s real name is Eric, and the scary-sounding (…presumably) nickname is something he earned by operating on a lizard in biology class and removing its brain tumor.
…whaaaaaaaat kind of biology class is that, exactly? I remember having to look up vocab words, and maybe if we were good they’d bring out the microscopes and we’d spear some hydra with toothpicks. Granted, I wasn’t on the more advanced science track, but I definitely don’t remember any of my smarter friends coming into the lunch room in blood stained scrubs, talking about the dying animals they just saved.
This might have made sense if they were talking about Lizard interning under a vet, or something. Even then he probably shouldn’t be removing brain tumors, but this anecdote is more suited to that context than it is to the thirty-five minutes he’d have between Spanish class and gym.
Anyway, Willie is happy now. I’m not sure why, because his daughter is still getting plowed by some clown, but he doesn’t have a beard or a tattoo so I guess it’s fine.
The guests start showing up in costume, and one of them is Mr. Burke, who starts verbally abusing his wife for making him dress up as The King of Cartoons.
Who the shit is this guy? This isn’t the boss I remember from “Border Song.” That was actually an actor I wanted to see again. They already had a character they could have slapped into this scene…did they really need to create a new one?
And all of the costumes are generic. Did nobody at this party dress as anyone specific? It’s all kings, cowboys, Swiss Alps guys…what a lack of imagination. Roseanne always became very inventive visually around Halloween. The Simpsons is legendary for the way they throw themselves into it. “Midnight Train to Georgia” not only fails to take full advantage of its own holiday; it barely seems to be interested in it at all.
Which, hey, is fine…
BUT THEN WHY MAKE A HALLOWEEN EPISODE
And speaking of generic, these guests are all characters Willie and Kate seem to know, but we’ve never seen any of them before. Would the Tanners really throw a big Halloween bash and not invite the Ochmoneks? What a pack of assholes.
Then another guest turns up…and it’s ALF with a zipper on his chest. Now that is actually pretty funny.
He introduces himself as Gordon and immediately starts mingling, but Willie takes him into the kitchen for the cornholing of a lifetime.
What I liked about the zipper was that it was just there. You get the joke without having to hear it explained, and that makes it kind of cute. But then, of course, Willie ruins it by pointing it out and asking where ALF got it.
The truly surprising thing, though? I’m okay with that, because it leads to the episode’s only other funny line: “You know that old jacket you were going to throw out? Better hang on to it. I ripped this out of your new raincoat.”
It’s the kind of line that works just fine in isolation, but it really shouldn’t qualify as one of the highlights of the episode. Unfortunately, it does.
Like…really. It does.
Back at the party, ALF tells jokes and sings “In the Ghetto.”
Think about that for a moment, though. For us at home, the joke is that ALF is doing an Elvis impression. Fine. That’s one layer of absurdity to enjoy, or not to enjoy, but it’s a reasonable thing for the character to do.
Now forget you’re watching this from the comfort of your couch. Pretend you are at the party. As far as you know, this is a man dressed as an alien, who then is impersonating Elvis.
Does this register as bizarre to anyone but me? Imagine going to a costume party and seeing a guy dressed in a really good Hitler costume who’s making a spectacle of himself by impersonating Michael Jackson. Would you not think that was in-fucking-sane? You’d probably think you were dreaming. Or hope you were, anyway.
Until the guy in the cowboy suit spoke I wasn’t sure where I recognized him from, but that’s Lewis Arquette. I looked him up to be sure of the spelling of his name (and I’m glad I did…I thought it was “Louis”), and just learned the sad fact that he passed away in 2001. I had no idea.
He was in a lot of things, but I remember him mainly from two: the narrator in Waiting For Guffman, which is one of my all-time favorite films, and Whittlin’ Willie in Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist, which is one of my all-time favorite video games. He had such a distinctive voice and such a fantastic presence that it’s kind of sad to see him here. Especially since he gets exactly jack squat to do but laugh at ALF’s antics.
Then they all fuckin’ limbo.
ALF gets a round of applause by successfully clearing the bar, even though it’s held, for some reason, at forehead level. Then he makes Willie’s boss limbo, because fuck you.
Mr. Burke immediately falls over in pain — like, before he even starts, which I don’t think was a joke but rather just a really shitty acting choice — and I get the idea that it’s because he threw his back out, but the way it unfolds makes it look more like a heart attack.
This guy sucks. BRING BACK THE ONLY GOOD THING ABOUT “BORDER SONG” THIS GUY SUCKS
So, yeah, it’s a back injury. ALF gives Mr. Burke a sensual massage, because fuuuck you.
Mr. Burke asks how he can repay ALF, because I guess he forgot that he’s currently lying on the coffee table with a broken spine because dicknose here made him limbo.
ALF, of course, replies that if he really wishes to repay the man who turned him into a paraplegic, he should give Willie the promotion. Which Mr. Burke does right then and there because FUCK FUCK YOU FUCK YOU MY FUCKING FUCK FUCK YOU
Anyway, as a reward for crippling his employer, Willie takes ALF trick or treating after all. An old woman refuses to let him eat her cats, and “The Night Chicago Died” ends.
HAVE A SPOOOOOOKY HALLOWEEN BOILS AND GHOULS!!!!
* According to “Help Me, Rhonda” anyway. “Working My Way Back to You” established Willie’s birthday as being in August, and “Jump” was an episode about his birthday, so either ALF’s been on Earth for over a year, or something’s been retconned. Either way, though, he’s been through one Christmas and sees another one in a few episodes, so I don’t think it’s likely this can be his first Halloween.
ONE FINAL NOTE: While I get The Lost Worlds of Power finalized, things might be fairly quiet here. Thanks for coming back for the weekly ALF reviews…I really do wish I had more time to keep up the work on other posts. So let me just direct you to The Ranger Retrospective. One of my good friends started this up recently, and he’s reviewing Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers one episode at a time. He’s three deep, so check it out. It’s good stuff. And if you like it, picture my face instead.