Well, I had an extra week to think up something interesting to say about “Baby Love,” and I’ll warn you right up front that I’ve probably failed. Bad episodes of ALF are a common occurrence, but usually they’re slapped together nonsense (“Strangers in the Night,” “We Are Family”), batshit nonsense (“A Little Bit of Soap,” “Hail to the Chief”), or solid ideas that nevertheless are reduced to nonsense (“Wild Thing,” “Hide Away”).
But, every so often, you get one that’s just…there. It’s an episode. It happens. And then it’s over.
And that’s “Baby Love.”
It opens with Willie and Kate discussing baby names. He proposes Cameron for a boy, or Melissa for a girl, because he’s a big fan of both Full House and Clarissa Explains it All.
The screen grab above says everything about the relationship between these soon-to-be parents of three. Even when she’s heavy with his oily seed, Willie sits apart from his wife, reading from a separate book, even though they’re ostensibly studying up on the same subject.
Man, the love between these two is just incredible. Can we all just pretend the new baby is Mr. Ochmonek’s kid?
Anyway, I guess “Baby Love” is at least somewhat relieving because it reminds us that Kate is still pregnant after all. Good. I was afraid ALF put a stop to that by demonstrating how Houdini died.
It’s damned odd that this is only the second episode in which her pregnancy is so much as mentioned, and the previous one was seven weeks ago. That’s a long time for pre-DVD viewers to keep something like that in mind, especially when the show’s never been much for inter-episode continuity.
Granted, a pregnancy is a pretty major thing, and maybe the show expects us to trust that it won’t just disappear, but that’s exactly why I’d expect it to have at least been mentioned in the intervening weeks. When Lucy Ricardo was pregnant, it wasn’t introduced and forgotten; it changed the kinds of stories the show told, the kinds of jokes it made, and the nature of the setpieces. While I Love Lucy could have coasted on the novelty of a television character just being pregnant — genuinely groundbreaking stuff at the time — the show treated its audience with respect, and wove it into the viewing experience.
It’s not too much then to hope that ALF could at least remember this development. While it would have been nice for the show to begin exploring new angles, centering on different characters, or just making a decent joke about it here and there, I’d settle for it to at least make clear to me that it hasn’t forgotten the fetus developing on set.
Weirdly, though, it doesn’t. It introduced a major change in (ahem) “Changes,” and then went back to business as usual…which is bizarre. Have you ever known a pregnant woman who could go seven weeks without mentioning it? I sure as shit haven’t. And if I did meet somebody like that in real life, I’d probably conclude that she was waiting for an appointment to open up at the abortion clinic.
Also, didn’t ALF move into the attic? What’s with all this change that we never hear of again? I guess he might have and we just haven’t had call to visit him there, but then why bother moving him at all? He might as well have stayed in the laundry room for all the difference it’s made, especially if we’re never going to refer to it again.
Whatever. ALF proposes Rin Tin Tanner for a boy, and Spuds for a girl, because this character, like its puppeteer, can only communicate in references to things other people created.
BABY LOVE, BITCHES
After the credits there’s a scene in which Willie makes coffee, and it’s just as much fun to watch as you’d expect. What a shame this show was cancelled after only four seasons. The world was truly robbed of a creative bounty.
Once that riveting sequence of electric percolation is over, we move the action (well, I say “action”) to the dinner table. Kate talks in detail about her recent ultrasound, and this is indeed more like it, and what we should have been hearing about for the past six weeks. You know what pregnant women are always thinking about? The little human being squirming around in their swollen bodies. It’s not an afterthought. It can’t be an afterthought.
Sure enough, ALF gets pissed off because he has to listen to seven weeks’ worth of bottled-up baby blather. He’s never happy when the attention is removed from him for even a second, because you might miss some of his hilarious antics, like that time last week when he fell asleep in the shed and dreamed of a guy who wasn’t Elvis.
Brian asks if they’ll be able to tell the new baby about ALF, which is pretty much the dumbest fucking thing this kid’s ever said. Does Brian have brain damage? Maybe building the nursery dislodged all the mold spores in his bedroom ceiling.
Of course you have to tell the new kid about ALF. What’s the alternative? Pretend he doesn’t exist so the baby goes insane?
Lynn makes a good point — even if she bizarrely over-enunciates it, like she’s trying to hide the fact that she sat on a thumbtack — that for the baby, ALF will just be a part of life. There won’t be anything weird or new or “alien” about him, because the baby will know him from day one; ALF will always just be a part of the world in his eyes…no more or less worthy of comment than anything else.
It’s a fascinating idea and one that could lead to both interesting consideration and a fun avenue for comedy…or it would be, if any of these assholes actually reacted to ALF like he was different in any way. Instead they treat him like the show does: a guy who sits around being allegedly hilarious while they cater to his every whim.
It’s like they were all born with ALF. In fact, it would be the only possible explanation for why they just accept the fact that this sentient fungus is controlling their lives.
Some neighbors come over and gush about Kate’s pregnancy while making hideous faces.
Women, am I right?!
The Non-Ochmonek is Mrs. Litwack, which is a name we’ve heard before but I don’t think I’ve ever had a reason to mention it in any of these actual reviews. I know at some point I thought it was nice that the name recurred, but I didn’t expect to ever meet the person so…whoops.
Mrs. Litwack makes up some cockamamie story about wanting to sell her house, with the intention of getting Kate abandon her dinner to leave her family alone with Mrs. Ochmonek.
So, yeah, Kate still works at the real estate agency…something else that hasn’t been mentioned since it was introduced seven weeks ago. ALF may never treat its audience like it has any intelligence whatsoever, but it sure does bank on it having a great memory.
Once Kate leaves to take care of this clearly fake idiotic bullshit, Mrs. Ochmonek tells Willie what the deal is: they want to throw Kate a surprise baby shower on Saturday, and she mentions inviting all of Kate’s old college friends. How in fuckblazes Mrs. Ochmonek knows any of Kate’s college friends — let alone knows how to get in touch with any of them — is a question I’m sure we’ll never get an answer to, so I’ll focus instead on the possibility of seeing her hallucinating alcoholic chum from “Tequila” again.
That might be interesting, in addition to a desperately needed shred of continuity, if Betty Gumble’s sobered up for this visit but accidentally sees ALF again and realizes that the plot to the last episode she was in was really fucking dumb.
Brian asks “What’s a surprise baby shower?” with a face that would go better with the question “What the fuck do you mean the new baby gets my college fund?”
Brian’s bitchface is now officially my favorite thing about this show. Benji Gregory’s chronic boredom turned to abject rage at some point this season, and I’ll never stop being in love with that.
We’re watching ALF disintegrate around us, folks. We’re approaching the Event Horizon.
All of a sudden it’s Saturday, so I guess this episode wants to get itself over with. I sure as hell can’t blame it.
Mrs. Ochmonek and Mrs. Litwack bicker for a bit about the proper way to hang streamers, and they more or less keep it up for the rest of the episode. I guess this confirms the rumor that “Baby Love” was actually a backdoor pilot for Ochmonek and Litwack: Party Poopin’!
Unsurprisingly, the party is full of people we’ve never seen before and will never see again. So much for seeing Kate reunite with Ol’ Rummy. Or, you know…anyone else we’ve been told was a friend of hers from college.
I actually wish it was a deliberate running gag that every season Kate is reunited with her old college friends, and each time it’s a completely different group of people.
One of the ladies brought her own baby, and as soon as she arrives she asks if there’s somewhere she can lay it down. The Tanners decide to stash it in their new nursery, unsupervised, which shows what wonderful parents they are and will continue to be.
Of course the lady whose baby it is is perfectly happy to ditch it, and to not so much as check on it in a few minutes when there’s a stranger’s voice and the sound of commotion in that very room, so at least they’re all equally horrible.
In the nursery ALF is dancing around with a rattle singing vaguely Native American nonsense.
Why? Who cares. The fake audience of dead people loves it, so get off your high horse!
He hides while they drop off the baby, and after they leave he comes out to accidentally kill it.
One thing I do like about this scene — and the only thing I like about the entire fucking episode — is how happy the baby is when ALF is talking to it. It’s…really adorable. And I say that as somebody who abhors children of all ages, races, and creeds.
To watch the baby coo and reach out to the living, talking stuffed animal beside his crib is infinitely preferable to watching the stuffed animal directly. I have no idea what’s actually going through the kid’s mind, but its reactions are ridiculously cute.
Anyway, ALF starts sneezing all over it like an asshole. The baby is infected with the Melmacian grippe and does not live to see its first birthday.
After the commercial break, everyone at the surprise baby shower stares at each other, wondering who is violently sneezing and screaming in the nursery with the unattended baby. But, like gun control, it’s one of those questions that really isn’t worth doing anything about.
Lynn finally gets up to go check on the kid, proving beyond the shadow of a doubt that her body harbors the last remaining shred of humanity in the entire fucking ALF universe. Kate follows her; conspicuously absent from the investigation squad is whomever the fuck this kid’s mother is. Like any great mom, she’s aware of the fact that any issues an unattended baby may be having will eventually go away if you ignore them long enough.
Guys, this episode is horrible. It really is a whole lotta nothin’. Having an alien learn about and react to the human birthing process definitely warrants an episode of its own, but why bother if you’re just going to have him sneeze and be jealous? That isn’t “alien” at all. It’s the same thing you can do — and often do do — on any given shitty sitcom already. Why is this even happening? Why does “Baby Love” exist? Shit…why does ALF exist?
Later on ALF is hiding in Jake’s room. It’s a concept that could — with the right care and attention — fuel a decent episode of its own. It wouldn’t be anything original, or even creative, but a half-hour’s worth of Odd Couple exchanges between ALF and Jake could be funny or cute enough to be worth watching.
Of course, we’re getting this with something like three seconds left in the episode, so you can guess exactly how much care and attention went into it.
It’s also strange for another reason, as the main joke seems to be that ALF doesn’t feel comfortable in Jake’s room, because he prefers living in a messy environment. That’s standard Oscar/Felix stuff, so I’d have no problem with it, but the fact is that Jake’s room is a shithole. You can’t have an Oscar/Felix relationship between two Oscars.
I think this is the first time we’ve seen Jake’s room, which means it would have been built and designed specifically for this episode. So why (always that question…WHY) didn’t the set designers and the writers communicate in any way? ALF messing up the room is part of the gag, but it doesn’t register because it’s not in any way distinguishable from the mess that’s already there.
Could that be part of the joke?
Yes. In a sitcom that paid attention to what it was doing, of course it could.
Instead: you’re watching ALF.
So, yes, this whole situation sucks dick, but it does give us this episode’s only good line: ALF, upon insisting that he’s going to bunk with Jake now, asks, “Which side of the bed do you want?”
I guess you can see just how great the rest of the episode is when that qualifies as the high-water mark.
After the party Willie and Brian put the food away. Brian asks why sliced meats are called cold cuts, which is a perfectly innocent question that he for some reason delivers with the expression of a man dunking the Big Lebowski’s head in a toilet bowl.
Willie hems and haws as though he’s building up to a big punchline…but he’s not. He just eventually says, “I don’t know. I don’t know nothing.”
It’s just a waste of time. There’s not even an anti-joke here. He’s just asked a question he doesn’t know the answer to, which no doubt happens to real life dads every day. And, hey, fine. Real life dads don’t need to know this shit.
Is it too much to ask that a sitcom dad, though, has some kind of reply? You know…considering that he has an entire staff of writers cashing paychecks for the specific reason that he will always have some kind of reply?
If Willie just shrugs, why the fuck are we watching him? Brian might as well have asked the cat.
There is a decent moment that Brian gets here. Jake comes in and is unable to rat ALF out, because he promised he wouldn’t, so he tells Willie that something is missing. He says Willie should try to guess what it is, and Jake will tell him whether he’s hot or cold.
Willie makes a dismissive gesture and starts to walk away, because somebody is trying to interact with him and he hates that.
But Brian, as soon as he’s informed that something is missing, guesses “ALF.” It’s not that bad, and Brian shows some unexpectedly good timing with his delivery.
I’m liking this kind of joke. Kate had one (“Say hi to ALF for me…”) in “Fight Back,” and it was good there, too. It’s a better runner than season three’s other innovation: characters grabbing Lynn by the back of the head and grinding her face into a plate of mashed potatoes.
Willie wedges himself into the door of Jake’s room and shouts, “Come home with me this instant!”
The episode doesn’t acknowledge it, but what must that look and sound like to the Ochmoneks? Really now, what could possibly be creepier than catching Max Wright skulking around your house, attempting to seduce your children?
He sits and talks to ALF for a while and ALF sneezes some more. Because ALF is so allergic to babies, you see, that he can’t even hear about babies without sneezing. That’s also why we can no longer use the word “peanut” in schools.
Willie tells him that his sneezing is psychosomatic, and ALF asks if that’s the name of the food processor at the Bates Motel. I hope you enjoyed the single most labored joke in TVhistory.
Willie explains that “hhitt maahy meanyou thinnnk that this bahyyy-bee is goingto take-yhourr place!!” ALF never acknowledges it, but this man’s line deliveries have me convinced that the character lives every day of his life plagued by delirium tremens.
Anyway, they have some longass conversation in which Willie tries to convince ALF that they all love him, even Kate the haggy castrating ice-bitch shrew-nag from hell. They pretty much just babble like this forever, like it’s just another conversation on another day, which shows that the characters gave no more thought to this situation than the writers. This withered old pederast is hanging out with a space alien in his teenage neighbor’s bedroom for fuck’s sake.
Mrs. Ochmonek does eventually come to the door and asks Willie what the fuck he’s doing in there secretly rooting through her nephew’s underwear drawer.
Willie says he’s looking for his cat. She buys that and leaves him alone, just as you would in this situation I’m sure.
Then she closes the door and leaves, and he says, “Have a nice day!!” as though she’s been a raging bitch to him or something. Asshole, you’re lucky she didn’t call the cops. Why do you have to be such a dick to them all the time?
ALF says to Willie that they should go home and burp the baby. Willie tells him the baby’s not born yet, so ALF says, “Then let’s just go home and burp!”
What an ending.
What does that even mean? Why is the thought of ALF burping inherently funny? Why is it so funny that it gets to be the punchline of the entire episode?
I don’t even fucking know what I watched. I guess ALF’s imaginary burp is as fitting an ending as anything else could have been. Willie could turn into a lobster before my eyes and it wouldn’t make any less sense.
In the short scene before the credits…
Oh, fuck you.
ALF lives in the attic now, you fucking dumbass piece of shit show.
Just fucking fuck you Christ my God, you cunting ass bullshit piece of garbage show.
MELMAC FACTS: On Melmac they used baby powder instead of non-dairy creamer on their tacos. YOU CUNTING ASS BULLSHIT PIECE OF GARBAGE SHOW