Reading too deeply into these things since 1981
Header

ALF, "Having My Baby"

Okay, so it’s the last episode of the season, and I’ll have a lot to say about it, but first can we take a moment to talk about how fucking gross the song “Having My Baby” is? I’ve never really listened to it attentively before this. And why would I have? It’s that kind of easy listening pap that exists just so elevators can give you something to ignore. But Paul Anka manages to weave an offensively stupid tirade against abortion into this shit.

Seriously…listen to it. He keeps thanking the woman he knocked up for deciding to stay pregnant. “You could have swept it from your life, but you wouldn’t do it,” he says, ostensibly romantically. “I’m a woman in love, and I love what’s going through me!” she replies, in what’s probably both the most superficial and most disgusting way of talking about the wad of fetal tissue you’re about to discharge.

He even directly equates her keeping the child to demonstrating her love for him: “You’re having my baby. What a love-l-y way of saying how much you love me!” There are better ways, Paul. Ones that don’t involve being guilted into birthing your damned kids.

At no point is he marrying her or offering to help support the baby or anything…it’s just one big middle finger to anyone who might consider not keeping the baby that some scumbag musician squirted into her against the cigarette machine.

It’s really bad. Like, I never would have guessed the song was secretly good…but this definitely stirs the bile in a pretty unexpected way.

So, there’s some great insight for you ladies out there. If you’ve ever had an abortion, now you know that you don’t understand love. Hell, if you’ve even considered it you’re a pretty awful person. And don’t you go telling me any reasons you might have for not wanting to stay pregnant; Paul Anka and I don’t care. Love is love and if you aren’t mature enough to appreciate the life somebody left behind in you, then maybe you weren’t mature enough to let yourself get sexually assaulted in the first place.

Ugh this fucking song. What a love-l-y way of opening our season finale.

Anyway, we join ALF as he demonstrates his hilarious misunderstanding of how to take care of kids. In this promising example of ALF ‘n’ baby jokes to come, he wraps a diaper around his fist and violently attempts to stuff it up a doll’s anus.

Season four is going to be really good, isn’t it?

Then we get a serious rarity on ALF: several minutes of really solid, inventive comedy.

ALF, "Having My Baby"

…and by that I mean we’re shown clips of The Dick Van Dyke Show.

“We Are Family” pulled this crap, too, with its nature documentary…but at least that episode waited until it was almost over to start padding itself out with clips of something somebody else made. Here it’s the first proper scene in the episode, and all we’re doing is watching a superior show on a smaller screen.

Come to think of it, “Like an Old Time Movie” showed us actual clips from The Sheik (as far as I can tell…please correct me if I’m wrong), meaning ALF might be the only example of a sitcom that would rather show you better programming than what you actually tuned in to watch.

ALF explains to Brian that he’s studying the show. Evidently this is the episode where Laura Petrie gives birth…and I’ve never seen that. Odd. I watched a lot of The Dick Van Dyke Show (which, for the record, is still very funny and holds up incredibly well) when I was younger, but never knew of the pregnancy arc. I Love Lucy seems to get all the attention for that one, but whatever. I’m not complaining…just observing that I somehow wasn’t aware that The Dick Van Dyke Show did its own take on the situation.

Brian isn’t sure why ALF is studying this, though; he says his father already told him where babies come from, and he didn’t mention this show at all. Really, Brian? Your dad explained sex to you and didn’t once mention Dick?

GOODNIGHT EVERYONE YOU WERE A WONDERFUL AUDIENCE

It’s a dumb joke (theirs…not mine, which was great), but it’s also bullshit. In “Changes,” which introduced ALF‘s own pregnancy arc, Willie was going to explain the birds and the bees to Brian, but found out that ALF already did. It was a hilarious joke at the end of that episode which explains why Brian’s been releasing the pods into an old sock ever since.

But, whatever. Maybe ALF talked to him about sex. Maybe Willie talked to him about sex. Maybe they both took turns talking to him about sex. The main takeaway here is that people on this show really enjoy talking to Brian about sex.

ALF, "Having My Baby"

Kate comes into the room and screams and hollers at Brian for leaving his baseball glove on the floor. Lady, if I were you I’d be thrilled that my socially retarded shut-in son seems to have finally found someone to play catch with.

It still boggles my mind that we’re entering the final season of this show, and nobody — apart from the one character we’re told can never, under any circumstances, interact with another human being — has any friends. How is that even possible? When you create characters, there a few things that immediately get addressed by even the shittiest writers: where they live, what they do for a living, what they want, and who they associate with.

ALF addressed where they live predictably early, but we didn’t find out what Willie did for a living until halfway through season one, or what Kate did for a living until halfway through season three. As far as what they want and who they associate with, we still don’t know these things about any of them. And that’s pretty fucking bizarre to me. I honestly can name cereal mascots that have more backstory than these assholes.

Anyway there’s some crap about Kate having mood swings because of her pregnancy, which is why she’s screaming at Brian and then hugging him…and that might have made for a story a few weeks ago, but in the same episode in which she gives birth it’s hardly even worth raising the idea.

Then ALF does some observational standup about skeet shooting while Benji Gregory tries very hard to set him on fire with his thoughts:

ALF, "Having My Baby"

Later that night ALF comes into Willie and Kate’s bedroom and bitches at them for not acting exactly like the characters in The Dick Van Dyke Show. It sucks, and it goes on way too long. But it does lead to some welcome, if not necessarily good, attempts at meta comedy.

For instance, Kate explains to him that The Dick Van Dyke Show was just television. “They exaggerated things to make them funny,” she says. Yeah, yeah, we get it. It’s a pity that doesn’t work as well for ALF, though; this show is full of the most exaggerated horse shit I’ve ever seen and I don’t think I’ve laughed ten times in the entire run.

In fact, oddly enough, the best episodes of this show are the least exaggerated ones. “For Your Eyes Only,” “Going Out of My Head Over You,” “Oh, Pretty Woman,” “Night Train,” “Fight Back,” “Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow”…those are the episodes that come first to mind when I think of my favorites, and they’re also — every single one of them — grounded in an identifiable reality. Yeah, there’s still a naked space alien humping the furniture, but overlook that and you find some very simple, basic, relateable stories.

Granted, ALF has had a few exceptions to that rule (like “La Cuckaracha” and “I’m Your Puppet,” both of which go batshit crazy with their premises in a way that works), but overall I’d say the show’s hit rate is much more reliable when it’s not exaggerated. It’s legitimately interesting to me that in a show with such an odd premise, it never quite figured out how to use that oddness to its benefit.

Then there’s another winky gag when Willie says, “Laura Petrie was a character. And the actress who played her wasn’t even pregnant when she did the show!”

Take that, Mary Tyler Moore! You shitty actress, you…not even having a fetus growing in you while you tried to avoid tumbling into puppet trenches.

Actually, come to think of it, that dumbass Dick Van Dyke Show probably didn’t even have puppet trenches! No wonder history has forgotten Mary Tyler Moore and whoever played her on-screen husband; it’s the cast of ALF that has truly endured.

ALF, "Having My Baby"

Anyway, during this terrible scene (seriously, ALF, don’t call attention to the fact that you’re doing a story similar to the stories better shows have already done) Willie accidentally refers to his wife as cranky and fat. And a shitty cook. And she’s getting pretty old, and also she’s kind of a bitch, and she ruined all of his chances at happiness. And her feet stink. And there was one time she did the laundry and burned a hole in his favorite shirt, and that scarf she got him for Christmas was ugly as fuck. And she spends all his money and shrivels his nards and keeps accidentally calling him Joe Namath on the rare occasions he can get it up over her. And…

She interrupts him and says, believably upset, “Honestly, Willie, I don’t know why you even married me.”

And there.

THERE.

THAT is the plot I’ve been waiting for.

THAT is the story I want this show to tell.

Willie, to be frank, is a fucking dirtbag. He treats his wife like garbage, has no interest in his kids, and is this kind of distant, condescending dick without he or the show realizing it. As a result he’s a maddening character to spend time with. I’m only half joking when I say Kate should leave him…maybe a third joking. Fuck it; she should. Unless they really do love each other, in which case…

…well, in which case, this needs to happen. Exactly this. Kate needs to step up and call him on his bullshit, so they can hash it out and he can either a) stop being a dickbag or b) do something that reassures us of his love for his family in spite of everything we’ll continue to see to the contrary.

A is hard for a weekly sitcom to pull off, but but it’s not impossible to see permanent change in a character. See something like Cheers, in which characters evolved over time without the show losing its story-of-the-week accessibility.

B is pretty hard, too, but something like Married…with Children proves it can be done; that show gave us just enough warmth (with just enough of a sardonic twist) that it let us understand that there were real people with real feelings underneath the backstabbing and infighting. We could go weeks and weeks without seeing any of that warmth again, but when we did catch it, it registered, and it kept the atmosphere from feeling oppressively caustic.

Then again, there’s c) reinforce and embrace the fact that your character is an incurable asshole. See It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia for ways to do this without losing your audience along the way.

There’s no right or wrong solution, but you have to do something, otherwise you’re just suggesting that you don’t know what the fuck your characters are doing.

Here, Kate raises the issue…a real issue within the universe of this show…and I sat up and listened the moment she did, because this is a conversation the show needs to give us.

But no. It’s just another one of Kate’s mood swings. She holds Willie’s hand and everything is fine and we’ll never, ever have to face the fact that her husband treats her like shit.

So glad they’re bringing another kid into this house. Those always fix ailing relationships.

ALF, "Having My Baby"

After ALF leaves they see that he’s packed them an overnight bag. Willie looks inside and finds a bag of Kettle Chips.

Seriously, ALF fucking loves those Kettle Chips. He ate them (and shat them) in the tub in “We Are Family,” he was eating them while waiting for the blackmailer to call in “Running Scared,” and now he’s packed them for Kate in the hospital. I can’t blame him; those chips are really god damned good. But it stands out to me because I don’t think the show has referenced any real world product like that more than once. The Kettle Chips feel like a legitimate (and unspoken) runner. Did the ALF staff just want the company to send them free Kettle Chips for mentioning them so many times?

If so, Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips Kettle Chips

He also packed a photo of himself, and I’m glad he did, because it gives me a chance to spotlight a comment that Dan_the_Shpydar left on my review of “Funeral for a Friend.” In that review I mentioned a nice scene in which ALF displays a photo of himself with the ant farm. But there was a major problem with that that didn’t occur to me. Here he is to explain what I overlooked:

Because i know you love to have moments that yield the reaction of “FUCK. THIS. SHOW”, i have to point this out…

Willie takes a picture of ALF with the ant farm. Cute, yes. Later on, we see that photo on ALF’s little table desk thing. Also cute. But riddle me this…

How did that photo get there? We saw Willie take the photo, right? But wait — this is 1988 or 1989. There’s no digital cameras. The photo’s clearly not a Polaroid insta-matic photo. It’s an actual photograph — meaning it had to be developed. And unless Willie has a darkroom (that is used for something other than clandestine homeless crack parties) and YET ANOTHER hobby as an amateur photographer, that means that the photo was developed at the local Photomat Hut or whatever.

Yes. They took a picture of their alien, and took that film to get developed. Because that’s a perfectly logical thing to do when you’re trying to keep your secret alien a secret.

Fuck. This. Show. (You’re welcome ;) )

So, yeah. Good points. Massive logical flaw. And it takes on another layer here because not only does this photo of ALF exist in the first place…but he’s giving it to Kate to display openly in the hospital.

You charmed me in “Funeral for a Friend,” ALF. I was enjoying myself and so I overlooked how fucking stupid you were being with that picture. You just had to press your luck and try the same thing again at the end of the season, didn’t you?

Anyway, ALF also packed a bottle of wine to “christen the baby.” So, hilariously, we have jokes about the Tanners’ infant child being brained with a glass bottle seconds after it’s born.

SEASON FOUR IS GOING TO BE REALLY GOOD ISN’T IT

ALF, "Having My Baby"

Then ALF watches some more of The Dick Van Dyke Show and, of course, we watch it along with him. They really had to show us another clip? The season finale is really turning itself over to somebody else’s work? It’s so bizarre.

ALF even says, “Ha! This is my favorite part!” and then rewinds a scene so we can watch it again.

This show is fucking with me now, right? Like, this has to be intentional. They must be choosing to do this as some kind of joke on the audience for watching.

…right?

Lynn comes in and tells him that watching television isn’t going to help anything, let alone get any kind of plot into gear, but ALF counters by saying that Kate is really fat.

THEN HE PUTS THE SHOW BACK ON AND WE WATCH MORE OF IT

I don’t know. I really shouldn’t complain. I mean, yeah, this is a pretty fucking ridiculous thing to do with your season’s final chapter, but any episode of ALF that’s 15% Dick Van Dyke Show is at least 15% worth watching. That’s a better ratio than I usually get, but it doesn’t do anything to distract from the oddness of watching a Dick Van Dyke clipshow with ALF in its frame story.

ALF, "Having My Baby"

Kate calls from work, and ALF goes ballistic because that’s what happened in The Dick Van Dyke Show. Except whereas Rob Petrie demonstrated impressive pratfalls and peerless comic timing, ALF just screams.

It’s…actually a lot like the silent films episode; in each case this show invited its own unflattering comparisons between a comedy legend (Charlie Chaplin and Dick Van Dyke) and the dishrag wrapped around Paul Fusco’s right hand. And in both cases ALF “reenacts” specific scenes of theirs, replacing what made the original work with mindless, incessant bleating.

Lovely stuff.

Later that night ALF wakes up Willie and Kate to rehearse for the birth, but all he really does is piss them off. Kate, on the verge of fairly convincing tears, begs her husband to stop the alien from bothering her. She pleads with him to get out of bed and chain ALF to the radiator or something so she can go back to sleep because she’s tired and pregnant and upset.

Willie just lays there, pretending he didn’t hear her, I guess.

What a fucking asshole. Guys, I’m not even exaggerating anymore. He is being a selfish, disinterested, piece of shit fuckbag who can’t be arsed to help his heavily pregnant wife at any point, with anything, ever.

Fucking Willie.

Guys, this is one lousy damned show.

ALF, "Having My Baby"

The next day Brian is eating some shitty-ass pancakes. He asks his dad what he did to make the pancakes so shitty-ass, and Willie replies, “I added some muesli, some chopped nuts, and some raisins.”

Brian bitchily asks, “Why?”

It may have taken three seasons, but the show finally wised up and tapped into Benji Gregory’s natural, seething hatred of the world around him.

ALF comes in and burps, which I’d love to say is the kind of thing you get after three full seasons have exhausted the writers’ creativity, but they’ve been pulling that shit instead of writing jokes since episode one.

There is a funny moment when Willie explains to ALF that even though they’re upset at him for waking them up all the time and trying to induce labor by funneling white vinegar into Kate’s vagina, they do appreciate his concern. Then he says, “Right, Kate?” and she replies, without a moment’s thought, “No.”

But that’s about the only good thing in the entire scene, and it ends with ALF doing a spot-on impression of me watching this crap:

ALF, "Having My Baby"

Later that night (how many fucking days pass in this single episode?) ALF is pitching diapers into a bin. He sinks one and the fake audience applauds, which is the most disgustingly self-indulgent thing you can do on your shitty sitcom. It’s bad enough when you synthesize laughter, but faking applause is just embarrassing. It’s the prime time equivalent of taking your mother to the prom and then still pretending you got laid.

Also, ALF does one of those “The crowd goes wild!” things where he exhales really loudly to sound like a distant group of impressed spectators. And the fake audience laughs at that…which, in itself, is fine. But in context, that’s really fucking weird. So the joke is that ALF pretends that people were applauding him? But didn’t the show itself just do that exact same thing and pretend that people were applauding it?

What the actual fuck is going on?

Also, he calls himself Kareem ALFdul Jabbar.

We have another year of this shit, folks, so strap in.

ALF, "Having My Baby"

Anyway, Kate comes in and tells him to fucking go to cunting sleep or fucking go to cunting hell.

She leaves, ALF pitches another diaper, the fake audience fake applauds again.

What am I doing with my life.

ALF, "Having My Baby"

The next scene is pretty nice, though. We see ALF sleeping on the floor, while Willie and Kate pass by the open doorway.

Kate is going into labor, and ALF’s missing it.

Lynn runs in to wake him up…but she sees how much he needs his sleep. She says, “Poor little guy,” and drapes a blanket over him.

Maybe Lynn will be the vestige of humanity to carry us through season four. I can only hope, because as much as I hate the way the show treats her character, she sure provides an awful lot of these great moments.

And speaking of great moments…

ALF, "Having My Baby"

…there are no more fucking great moments. ALF wakes up on the floor and finds that there’s a baby in the crib now. Wonderful! So Kate gave birth, the Tanners brought the kid home, and then they immediately abandoned it in a crib. Wonderful parents. I hope they never stop having kids.

Oh well. She may not give a shit about her own baby, but at least Kate didn’t abort. What a love-l-y way of saying how much she loves her emotionally manipulative husband.

This, of course, is to say nothing of the fact that the baby was abandoned in a crib next to a sleeping, confused, dangerous space alien. Jesus fuck this show.

The best part is the baby, but not in the way the show might have hoped.

See, in “Baby Love,” there was some other baby on set that made goo-goo eyes at ALF, absolutely in awe of this giant, talking stuffed animal. That was pretty fucking adorable. But now we meet the permanent baby character on the show, and he couldn’t care less about this shit. He just burbles and looks away. It’s especially funny when ALF says, “He smiled at me!” when the baby very fucking clearly won’t give him the time of day.

I find that hilarious. They hired two babies for two episodes this season…and the one they decide to keep is the one that just wishes it could go the fuck home. He’ll fit in perfectly with this cast.

And that kid looks way more like Mr. Ochmonek than Willie.

I’m…

I’m just saying.

ALF, "Having My Baby"

Willie comes in and introduces the new character: Eric William Tanner. It’s actually kind of beautiful that this baby was born so soon after the kid next door broke his neck in the tub and died. Sure, that was tragic, and our heroes lost someone they really cared about, but the circle of life continues unbroken. We lose one, but we gain another. There is no darkness without the light. How wonderful of ALF to embrace such a beautiful sentiment.

Or maybe they’re just introducing another character they’ll never do anything with. EITHER ONE

Willie apologizes to ALF. He says Lynn tried to wake him when they left for the hospital. But come the fuck on; what were they going to do? Bring him along? If he woke up Lynn would have just had to say, “Mom’s going into labor! Anyway, sit here alone and do nothing until we get back.”

ALF sleeping was the best case scenario all around, unless Willie really did plan on bringing him in which case fuck it just fuck it fuck it hard to fuck.

ALF, "Having My Baby"

Willie brags for a while about how he has something to show for each of the three times he’s had sex, which causes ALF to mope. He’s got no chance of becoming a father, which is suddenly very upsetting to him.

And, hey, understandably so. I’m not questioning the timing of his concern…I’m just wondering if it’s not better suited to an episode of its own than to be shoehorned into this one. Kind of like Kate’s mood swings earlier. You can do something with these ideas…but it’s better to do nothing with them than to just mention them offhandedly while you’re doing something else.

But Willie cheers him up. He says, “You can never give up hope,” which, like last week’s advice, is fine on its own, but it loses all meaning when you’re addressing the concerns of the last survivor of a nuclear apocalypse about never getting to fuck anyone.

In the midst of all this excitement Max Wright elevates his speech impediment to high art by managing to slur even a simple name like Eric. It’s impressive.

Brian comes in and announces that Kate says it’s time for Eric to eat. Just like a new mother; sending someone to fetch the baby from the spare room.

Has anyone writing for ALF ever interacted with a pregnant woman?

Or a woman who has just given birth?

Or…a woman?

ALF, "Having My Baby"

In the short scene before the credits, ALF warns Eric that Kate is a bitch.

And, again, the baby is abandoned. It’s sitting on a fucking table, for crying out loud. Yeah, it’s in a chair, but I can’t imagine setting a newborn kid down on an elevated surface and just walking away. For god’s sake, this baby is literally one day old. Are they already that sick of him? What in fuck’s name is the family doing that’s more important than taking care of their god damned newborn? In what family does a new baby arrive and then everyone just goes about their day?

What an odd, inhuman show.

Anyway, I’m really glad we spent all that time watching The Dick Van Dyke Show. That sure paid off in spades when nothing happened at all.

“Having My Baby” is a really weird episode. It feels like they came up really short…stuck at the end of the season with an episode that had to introduce a baby, so they just stalled for time until that happened.

Personally I don’t see any reason that the birth couldn’t have occurred between seasons. It’s not like anyone was watching ALF for its impressive serialization. I can understand wanting to tell one last big pregnancy story…but they didn’t have one. ALF just watched some other show on TV because it had a better story than the one he was in.

I guess it could have been worse, but for such an “important” episode, it sure meant nothing. Although it’s nice that they establish right off the bat that no Tanner will ever give a shit about this baby.

Roll on, season four.

MELMAC FACTS: On Melmac the father would shoot skeet while the mother gave birth. Melmacians babble when they’re nervous, and also during white sales. ALF says, “A Melmacian almost never goes back on his word sometimes.” Melmac may or may not have had Pasta Polo and Gerbil Hockey in addition to Bouillabaiseball…they come up in conversation with Willie, but in a joking context.

Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015

Hey, remember this series? It just goes to show that nothing ever dies here at Noiseless Chatter. I just stop writing and you stop visiting.

Anyway, an old coworker got in touch and told me that Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015 was only 99 cents on Steam, and I should review it on my blog. So here I am!

See? You whiners complain about lack of content…but all you actually need to do is text me a polite request to cover something, and I will. It’s that simple, and you have no excuse for not doing it. (I’m not giving you my phone number.)

This one is…well, it has a title, and that title is Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015, so that might as well be my review right there.

It’s obviously meant in a jokey sort of way (I hope); a riff on the influx of “Simulator” games that I guess are really common.

At least, I keep hearing that they’re really common, but I have to confess that for every actual simulator game I know of there seems to be four or five jokey ones making fun of the concept, so maybe people are just starved for ways to be funny.

I don’t know anything about this game beyond the thrilling promise of its title, so, like all $1 Adventures, I’ll be recording my reactions here as I go. That’s sort of the point of this series, but since even I forgot these stupid articles existed I can’t really hold it against you if you didn’t remember.

Unlike the other $1 Adventures, though, this one actually has a content warning.

Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015

OH GOOD. Age restriction. I was worried that even though the game is called Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015, I wouldn’t see any actual penises. Thank Christ we don’t get a gimped experience.

Wait a minute…wasn’t Bad Rats crawling with graphic violence and dismemberment? I mean, I guess it could have just been the first few levels because holy Jesus did that game suck cock, but this does seem a bit like one of those troubling nudity-is-bad-but-violence-is-okay examples of modern American hypocrisy.

Granted, I’m not saying that kids of all ages should be exposed to pixelated dad salamis, but if we’re going to erect an age restriction here, why should we not also do it for games that see you gorily gutting cartoon characters for your enjoyment?

Of course, that’s a much larger and more intelligent discussion than I could ever hope to ignite in a review of Super Soapy Dad 64, so forget I mentioned it.

Have I stalled enough? Do I really have to play this shit?

Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015

The first thing I notice is how fucking loud the title screen is. Like, embarrassingly so. You know when you watch a movie and you have to turn the volume all the way up to hear anything, but then it ends and for some reason the DVD menu music is about a thousand times louder than the film itself, and you feel terrible because all of your neighbors’ dogs are going apeshit?

Well, this is like that. And I’m really glad I don’t live with roommates anymore; the last question I’d want to answer right now is “What are you doing in there?”

The main menu invites me to choose between ENDURODAD and DADATHLON, which I assume are game modes. There are also a few other icons I don’t understand, but Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015 isn’t exactly the kind of game that makes you feel comfortable with blind experimentation.

I’ll try ENDURODAD, because if I spend any longer trying to decide I’ll starve to death and the authorities will find me with this fucking thing on my computer screen.

Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015

Well, those are certainly some dear old dad dicks.

I’m not sure what’s scarier: a dad who calls his kid Magnum, or a dad who calls himself Magnum.

Then there’s Lefty, which is only less horrifying because Lefty is a word other than Magnum.

At least Robin sounds normal. I’m tempted to pick him just because I’m not immediately convinced that his dad whores him out on Craigslist under that name.

Since I don’t see any character stats or anything here, I have to assume that the differences between couples (pairs? partners? there’s no way to describe this without feeling queasy…) is purely cosmetic, and in true simulator fashion you’re just picking the ones that most resemble yourself and your dad.

…and fuck. That.

If anything, I’m choosing the ones that least resemble any real-world experience I might have. Richard & Lefty, let’s roll.

Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015

So the game begins, and those sure are some naked, showering dads. I’m controlling the little naked boy, and if you ever find out I’ve been arrested it’s because I typed this sentence.

You use the arrow keys to rocket junior (or…Lefty) around some massive, open shower room. It’s a pretty easy concept…you just need to guide him to his dad. And, not to be rude or anything, but it’s pretty easy to identify Richard, for the same reason you can always pick Ernie Hudson out of a line of Ghostbusters.

You get points when you reunite with your dad, then the scene resets, the dads scramble, and you need to do it again.

Two things are wrong with this. (ONLY TWO) First, why are you reuniting with your dad anyway? Where were you? I can only imagine that in any situation in which you and your naked dad need to shower together in a place full of other naked dads, your dad would keep you pretty fuckin’ close by. Why was this kid allowed to roam free through a forest of dicks?

And secondly: this isn’t a simulator. Don’t get me wrong…I need to sleep at some point in my life so I’m glad it’s not a simulator, but it’s also kind of disappointing that the game is as simple as “move from here to here, then do the same thing again.”

Unless what you’re simulating isn’t the actual showering, but the experience of running toward a shower. In that case, it’s more accurate…but you really shouldn’t be trotting at high speeds in a shower room. A true simulation along those lines would quickly see bits of Lefty’s teeth being carried gently toward the drain.

Anyway, I had to see what happened if I accidentally paired Lefty up with the wrong naked adult male.

Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015

And that’s it. Whatever you see there is whatever you see there and there’s nothing I would dare add to it.

…yeah, I don’t know what I was expecting to happen, but the result somehow manages to be equal parts “nothing at all” and “Jesus Christ my god I want to be killed.”

Anyway, I restarted the game and tried to touch my naked, soapy dad 50 times. I figured that was the least I could do to give Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015 a fair shake. But after around 30 points the game starts adding obstacles, such as puddles. And while running through them still doesn’t result in your kid cracking his head open on the tile floor, one of them did send my little guy sliding face-first into a stranger’s dangling cock while the kid’s arms flailed helplessly, and that, as they say, was definitely that.

Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015

Actually, wait. I guess I still need to try DADATHLON. Fuck.

When you choose a mode, you get a loading screen with a dad joke on it.

I like this.

I do. It’s a nice touch. But this particular one has pantsless lumberjack dad swinging his trunk in the breeze, and I’m not as big a fan of that.

I mean, if you want to chop wood, fine. If you want to chop wood with an exposed genital cluster, okay. Be my guest. I probably won’t join you or ask how your day was, but this is your life, so go nuts.

But when you stand like that, with your legs conveniently spread for full display, I’m probably going to conclude that you’re the worst thing that’s ever lived.

Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015

As odd as it is to thank god that this game mode in which you pair naked children with naked men is the same as the previous mode in which you pair naked children with naked men, here I am doing just that.

Yeah, I think I’m through with this one pretty quickly. It’s the same idea as the previous mode, except that the kid keeps changing, so you’re always looking for a different dad. I’ll give it credit for this: it’s harder than I thought. (DON’T MAKE JOKES) It also doesn’t last as long as I expected. (DON’T MAKE JOKES) But mainly, there’s a lot of semen in my hair.

It’s…fairly challenging. Like, if you weren’t matching naked children to naked men, this could be a pretty fun time waster. Because your target is always changing you can’t fall easily into a routine. It keeps you thinking. It really would be a good thought / reflex puzzle…if you weren’t matching naked children to naked men.

The soundtrack is even pretty good, too. It’s all funky, upbeat earworm action, and I’d honestly be perfectly happy to have this on my iPod…if it didn’t remind me of the fact that you are matching naked children to naked men.

Yes, the quirkily revolting concept of Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015 is going to be the reason this sells at all, but it’s also the main barrier to actually enjoying it. I mean, seriously. Just look at those screengrabs. Does it matter how fun I say the game is? Are you going to willingly download that?

It’ll make money — and probably has already — based on its inappropriate novelty, but it’s a shame that whoever made this couldn’t have designed a fun little puzzler instead, and it’s a shame that the market is so saturated that games need to be smothered in dad taint before anyone is willing to talk about them.

Anyway, that’s the end of Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015, and we’ll never have to talk about it again…

Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015

…ugh. Wait. I’ve discovered more lines on this parchment.

It turns out there aren’t only two game modes…there are a crapload more. Fortunately all of them are locked or require DLC (if any game deserves to be kept alive with downloadable content, it is most certainly this one!) so I only feel obligated to try the one that’s actually open. It’s called DAD DIVISIONS, and nothing about that name is immediately revolting so it’s already my favorite.

So I’ll just load this puppy up and take a look at the instructions and…

Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015

…and I’ll look at the instructions and…

Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015

…and…I’ll…I’ll just look at the…

Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015

what am I doing with my life why was I even born I can’t stand me or the decisions that I’ve made can you stand me because I don’t think I can ever stand anything about me again

Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015

In this game you have to catch the falling dads by extending your appendage at them, and you know what? If you ever see me in public…if you read this blog and one day you see me standing in line for groceries or crying silently to myself in an empty theater…don’t say hi.

Honestly, just don’t.

Don’t come up to me and say, hey, I know you. I read your stuff. You’re a hoot.

I…I mean, I like you guys and all. I really do. Even those of you who are mean to me all the time and call me nasty things. (The joke’s on you, because you’re still nicer than anyone I know in person!) I think you guys are just hella rad and I’m so glad you exist, but please, please don’t say hello to me.

Because if you say hello to me I’m going to know that you read this. I’m going to know that you know that Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015 is forever linked with my fucking Steam account.

So admire me from afar, point me out to your girlfriends (I guarantee it will get you laid), stuff dollar bills into my pocket, whatever.

But spare us both the embarrassment of talking to me. Like everything in history that’s ever had to do with showering with your dad, this is something that deserves to be repressed.

Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015
Released: September 2, 2015
Price on Steam: $0.99
Regular Price on Steam: $0.99
Price It Should Be on Steam: The price is right, but it should come a coupon for eyewash.

ALF, "Shake, Rattle and Roll"

The good news is also the bad news: if this were season four, we’d be done already.

Maybe it’s just me, but damn, season three sure feels like it’s dragging. It’s only one episode longer than the previous seasons, but I can definitely feel fatigue setting in. Don’t worry; I still intend to do season four and Project: ALF because if I had to suffer through this you are going to keep suffering right along with me, but this season felt draining.

I have more to say on that subject, but I’ll wait. It’s just another couple of weeks before I review the season as a whole anyway, so I’ll save it for that.

“Shake, Rattle and Roll” is something I knew nothing about, except that it happens to be Jake’s final episode. I wondered if his character would be brought to any kind of conclusion and…yeah, he was. But not the one the show probably wanted to bring him to. We’ll get to that later.

On the whole it’s not a terrible episode, and it has some good ideas and funny moments. But it’s still ALF, and ALF is still shit, so don’t expect me to be sucking this one’s dick.

It opens with ALF walking around the kitchen, doing everything except shutting the fuck up. The whole idea is that ALF is acting like a hunter and quietly stalking his prey (he says exactly this, in case you’re a fucking idiot) and that’s all fine and good, but it leads to a pretty hilarious moment of unintentional comedy. See, it’s hard to operate a puppet when you’re stuck down in a dark trench and can’t see what you’re doing, so when ALF opens the refrigerator door it cracks loudly against the wall and a bottle of barbecue sauce falls over. It’s not part of the joke and it’s not acknowledged in any way; it’s just ALF telling us he’s supposed to be quiet while a puppeteer fucks up and makes noise.

It’s some unfortunate fumble that goes entirely against the mood the scene is trying to build, and I love it for that.

Some of my favorite ALF moments come from season one, when nobody on the show knew what the fuck they were doing, and absolutely everything looked like garbage. They’d cut to a midget in brown pajamas every time ALF needed to walk across the room for fuck’s sake. Moments like this bring me back to that kind of ropey silliness. ALF is slicker now, but by and large it’s not any funnier. While the package as a whole is superior to what it used to be, all that does is rob the show of its original charm.

Son of a bitch I miss that midget.

But then there is an intentionally funny moment, when ALF sees a sign that says DON’T EAT THIS affixed to the food he was hunting. He picks up the sign, reads it, and then asks, “Why would I eat this?” and throws the sign away. Legitimately funny. Credit where credit is due.

Then Paul Fusco jiggles ALF around for a bit while stagehands throw shit onto the set to make it look like there’s an earthquake. Well, I can honestly say I didn’t see that coming.

ALF, "Shake, Rattle and Roll"

After the credits the Tanners run around screaming ALF’s name, and I like that his safety is more important to them than the safety of their home, any of their possessions, each other, the Ochmoneks (just kidding), or Kate’s unborn black baby.

Then we get what I thought was a hilarious sight gag. Honestly, I laughed louder than I ever have at this show when Brian opened a cupboard to find ALF there, shivering in catatonic shock.

I thought it was a riot. But there’s no fake laughter so I guess we’re actually supposed to be worried about him.

Fuck. That. It’s hilarious and you’re not taking that away from me.

In a moment ALF starts babbling and Willie slaps him across the face in what I have to imagine was the most cathartic moment of Max Wright’s life.

So maybe I’m not supposed to like ALF quaking in terror, but fuck you if I’m not going to like him getting backhanded by a crackfiend.

ALF, "Shake, Rattle and Roll"

They calm him down enough to get him out of the cupboard, and, really, the episode’s got to be all down hill from there, doesn’t it?

ALF asks what the fuck happened so Willie explains plate tectonics to him. It’s not funny, exactly, but it’s a great character detail. Willie would launch into a scientific explanation, and Willie would think he’s being helpful. And it does actually build to a funny moment when ALF shuts him up and asks Kate to explain it in a way he can understand; she likens it to Godzilla stomping through Tokyo. I’m pretty sure I like everything about that little exchange.

Kate gets another good line shortly when the Ochmoneks come over to check on the Tanners. She…

…wait, hold on. What’s that? The Ochmoneks came to check on the Tanners?

Fancy that.

Open your hymnals, dear readers, and join me in song: 55 choruses of “TELL ME AGAIN WHO THE BAD NEIGHBORS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE.”

God fucking dammit. Seriously. One of the very first impulses the Ochmoneks feel is to go over and make sure their friends the Tanners are okay. By contrast, I’m pretty sure the Ochmoneks could die in their sleep though and the Tanners would go for years without noticing they’re gone.

I don’t care that the Ochmoneks are the better neighbors. I really don’t. What I care about is the fact that the show doesn’t realize it, and still, even now, with one family coming to check on the other in the aftermath of a natural disaster, we’re supposed to like the wrong ones.

It doesn’t make sense. It’s distracting. It’s inhuman.

Blah. I hear that season four turns the Ochmoneks into the antagonistic piles of shit we were always meant to believe they were, so I guess we’ve got that to look forward to.

Anyway, the funny line Kate gets comes after Mrs. Ochmonek says, “We had an earthquake!” Kate replies, “So did we.” Kind of bitchy, but good enough.

Jake asks about Lynn, because he knows full well that this is his last episode, so if he’s going to fuck her he needs to stop being a pussy like, right fucking now.

ALF, "Shake, Rattle and Roll"

Then there’s a nice reveal then of Mr. Ochmonek on the Tanners’ porch, gripping tightly to it in fear.

It’s overacted, but, fuck, this is cocksucking ALF. I’ll take some overacting if we at least get something good out of it.

And we do…we get that legitimately well-composed shot. The best part is that this isn’t the only example of visual inventiveness in the episode. Like “Working My Way Back to You,” somebody involved with the episode actually cared enough to figure out the best ways to shoot the action, as opposed to being satisfied with making sure they took the lens caps off. The Mr. Ochmonek reveal is a good one, but I also liked the kitchen scene earlier, as the camera followed ALF around while he narrated his midnight hunt. There were even some nice reverse shots on Willie when ALF was in the cupboard.

I like that. I like all of that, because it’s evidence that somebody cared. If I can sense that somebody making the show cared, I’m more likely to care myself. On the flip side, if I can sense that nobody making the show cared, why on Earth would I?

But, yeah, let’s accentuate the positive. “Shake, Rattle and Roll” has already had some good stuff…

…but nothing as good as this:

ALF, "Shake, Rattle and Roll"

I FUCKING LOVE THAT FACE IT IS PERFECT

He’s scared, and I assume that makes sense even if he has lived in California for most of his life. I remember living in Florida, and there were loads of people who got very worried over hurricanes, even though they happen regularly out there. I don’t know how common it is to have an over-the-top reaction like this to a minor earthquake, but I can definitely believe that somebody would. It’s probably pretty scary, and Mr. Ochmonek actually has stuff to live for, unlike Willie who I’m pretty sure is one personal slight away from stepping into traffic.

Mrs. Ochmonek says that her husband always gets like this after earthquakes…and whenever Whoopi Goldberg is on Star Trek. I guess the joke is that Mr. Ochmonek is exactly as much of a racist fuck as anyone else who’s ever worked on this show. Lovely.

Anyway, Willie’s sick of these assholes checking up on the safety of his family so he kicks them out of the house, and closes the door in the face of a still clearly shaken Mr. Ochmonek.

Another 55 choruses. Lift your voices to the heavens, folks!

Anyway, ALF overhears the conversation and is told after the Ochmoneks leave (and/or are thrown out in the middle of the night afraid for their lives) that earthquakes are usually a lot worse, so he should stop being a pussy like, right fucking now.

This scares him, and we’re supposed to care about that. Which would be fine…

…if we didn’t just establish that we’re not supposed to care about Mr. Ochmonek going through the exact same thing.

Fuck this fuckass show.

ALF, "Shake, Rattle and Roll"

Later on the Tanners head out to the garage to take inventory of their earthquake supplies.

It’s a good thing they do; they find out that ALF drank all of the emergency water, ate all of the emergency peanut butter, and smoked all of the emergency crack. It’s a nice little nod to the continuity of the show, I admit; ALF lived in the garage for a few years, and that’s a reasonable place for the supplies to be kept.

This isn’t a cheat at all, or a manufactured development. It actually feels like a pretty smart reveal. Kudos to the writers for connecting dots in a natural way like this.

Anyway Kate fingers herself for a while because all this talk of starvation and dehydration and flaming bowels is upsetting ALF.

I understand, Kate. I’m fingering myself, too.

ALF, "Shake, Rattle and Roll"

The next day or who cares it turns out ALF ordered a shitload of water so Willie and Kate make angry faces. It sucks.

Then later on ALF is nailing his bed to the floor and Willie tells him to knock that shit off. “Shake, Rattle and Roll” isn’t horrible, but it feels more like a disjointed collection of scenes in which people talk about earthquakes than it feels like a story about earthquakes.

There’s a really poor line reading by Paul Fusco in this scene, in which he emphasizes the wrong word. I can honestly say that this is a rarity; Fusco’s performance is usually pretty solid. Of course, I imagine that’s because if Fusco flubs a line he demands that everyone stand by for 55 hours while the puppet trenches are reset so he can try again…whereas if anyone else flubs one he just keeps going because they’re shitty actors and he wants the world to know it.

So, honestly, I don’t know if Fusco is a much better performer than walking gaffe Max Wright…but he was signing the stage crew’s paychecks, so I’m sure he got as many mulligans as he pleased.

This time, though, he doesn’t realize he flubbed anything…which is proof that he didn’t understand the joke.

See, Willie asks ALF why he’s nailing his bed to the floor, and ALF replies, “It wouldn’t make such to Scotch tape it now, would it?”

What he really means to say is “It wouldn’t make much sense to Scotch tape it, now would it?”

He drops the comma in the wrong place, making it sounds like at another time it might have made sense to Scotch tape it. What ALF is actually supposed to convey is that he’s nailing it because Scotch taping it wouldn’t be as effective.

The delivery is wrong, and it changes the meaning of the line. In fact, it removes the joke entirely, making audience laughter seem even more fake than it usually does.

Fuckin’ Fusco.

ALF, "Shake, Rattle and Roll"

Willie and ALF sit around for a while giving each other handjobs until an aftershock hits and a globe falls on ALF’s bed.

This is actually staged pretty well, as Willie tries to get ALF into the doorjamb (which, at the time, was considered to be a safe place to stand, but I get the feeling that’s changed) but ALF tries to hide in bed instead. The globe just misses him, and his expression as he realizes he was almost brained is very effective. You can see in his eyes (lifeless eyes…black eyes…like a doll’s eyes…) that whatever small amount of faith he had in his own safety immediately drains away.

But Willie tells him the globe weighs nothing so he should stop being a pussy like, right fucking now.

The scene ends with ALF saying, “Face it, Willie. Earth is hazardous to your health.” It’s a shame that such a ham-fisted attempt at profundity ends an otherwise pretty good scene, especially since Paul Fusco delivers the line like he’s closing out a keynote speech at some poor kid’s graduation. Fucker, you’re talking through a puppet, not changing lives. Tell a joke and cut to commercial.

ALF, "Shake, Rattle and Roll"

The next day everybody’s hanging out in the kitchen, and Jake stops by for the second-to-last time in his life. When he knocks Lynn calls to him, “It’s open.” His hopes are dashed, however, when he realizes she’s referring to the door.

Then ALF gushes about how much he loves everyone, which is neither funny nor interesting enough to say much about. I mean, it’s a nice development and all, but ALF’s near-death experience wasn’t near enough to death to mean much. It’s the sort of thing that I can fully understand making it through a pitch session, but when they were writing the script they must have forgotten to make any of it matter, so we just have ALF acting like a man reborn for surviving something no more dangerous than eating a slice of day-old bread.

There is a fucking lovely moment though when ALF says that the incident with the globe “gave me pause.” Lynn walks over and says, “I thought you already had paws.” Which is so fucking stupid, and she knows it, because she just stares at him while the two pretend to laugh at the dumbass joke, and if I’m ever going to fall in love with Lynn Tanner it’s here, at this moment, when she’s so goddamn human it’s adorable.

This might actually be my single favorite moment of season three. ALF thinking he sees Blinky on the highway…Jake confronting his mother…the elaborately staged ceremony just to say “Sorry about the book”…all of that is great. And I mean that. But it pales in comparison to Andrea Elson telling a stupid joke she knows is stupid, and then owning the awkwardness behind it. It’s such an unexpected bright spot that I can’t help but love it.

ALF, "Shake, Rattle and Roll"

ALF explains that he’s going to be nice and appreciative now because he realizes that any breath he takes could be his last. He’s going to savor every moment he has left.

“There goes one now…” he says, in what’s legitimately one of the best lines this show has ever produced. And, again, it’s a very human moment.

“Shake, Rattle and Roll” is kind of shit. But, hey, almost all of these episodes are kind of shit. Not all of them have a shred of identifiable humanity.

I’ll take it.

Then he tells everyone to join hands for a chorus of “Kumbaya.” They all ignore him, but the scene transition music doesn’t; it blends “Kumbaya” with the ALF theme song in a way that fucking hurts to listen to.

Not because it’s bad…but because whoever spent the time arranging and performing that mashup did it for motherfucking ALF.

ALF, "Shake, Rattle and Roll"

Later on Lynn is studying French, which surely assuages her parents’ concerns a few weeks back that she wouldn’t make any money after college. Art History doesn’t sound so bad now, does it bitches? ALF comes in with a rose and says, “plz can we fuck i mite die.”

It’s not quite as gross as all the other times he asked her to slip his barbed, hairy cock up her cooch, so kudos to them for that, I guess.

It actually leads to a good moment, though, when he stops talking about fucking her (imagine that) and starts talking about the theme of the episode (IMAGINE THAT).

See, ALF is worried about dying on Earth without having enjoyed his life to the fullest. As I mentioned earlier, that’s not a bad idea for a plotline on its own, but it’s enhanced by one detail very specific to ALF as a TV show and ALF as a character: he already lost a life on Melmac without enjoying it to its fullest.

In other words, he’s been here before. He knows what it’s like to be too late…to have actually let all of his time slip away. And he doesn’t want that to happen again.

It’s why he’s so concerned about dying all of a sudden; he was reminded of the death he already lived through. It rings true, and it’s insightful enough that I really wish they did more with it.

His previous life is gone, and he can never have it back. He took it for granted, just as most of us do. Now he’s on Earth and he’s spent most of that time watching TV and probing Brian. He got a second chance at life, and so far he’s taken that for granted, too.

It’s good, and it’s a shame that the idea is introduced midway through the episode and abandoned completely before the end. It’s a teasing glimpse of the second draft that could have been.

There’s even a funny line when he tells Lynn about all the things on his own planet that are lost forever: “Like the time Benny Futterman and I… See? I forgot!”

Dumb joke made poignant by its context. You’re so close this week, ALF. So close.

ALF, "Shake, Rattle and Roll"

In the next scene he’s in the shed with Brian, setting up Willie’s train set. I happened to notice the train set was missing earlier in the episode. I mean, okay, it’s usually missing, but this time the big, flat wooden table was there, when usually the whole setup is just gone, so it’s kind of nice that they brought the table out for an earlier scene in anticipation for this one.

I like the idea that ALF seems to be going around to each of the family members, making a point of spending quality time with them. It’d be nicer if they had personalities so that they could do things specific to their relationship (see Homer’s last day alive in “One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish”), but instead he spends time with Lynn while she’s sitting, and Brian while he’s standing.

I guess we should have given these characters some traits or hobbies at some point. Oh well.

His conversation with Brian is nothing new (“WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE BRIAN”) and I find it hard to care much about ALF saying goodbye to a kid we haven’t even met yet. In fact, setting this scene around the train set just makes me remember how much better “Night Train” was than…well, almost any other episode.

I didn’t mention it before, but commenter Justin emailed me a link to this interview with Max Wright, conducted while they were shooting season three. It’s the most positive I’ve ever heard the guy be about this show…which is saying something since it’s still full of him bitching about how awful ALF is. But the interview does end with this:

Wright says that because of production logistics with the character ALF, scenes are usually short. He fondly recalls an exception, the touching episode last season in which Willie and ALF became hobos, chatting philosophically inside a freight car and around a campfire. “It was unusual. The two of us did a 10-page scene. That was the peak for me, my favorite show.”

I feel somewhat vindicated by that. “Night Train” wasn’t just an exception for me…it was an exception for the guy who wished more than anything that the set would cave in and kill everyone involved. I don’t know if it’s actually my favorite episode (any guesses as to its competition? And which of these are your favorite episodes?) but I’m sure it will make my all-time-best list when this show is done.

It was a chance for two characters to be characters. I might have liked it sitting at home, watching it…but it makes me very happy to know that the cast liked it, too. Who’d have guessed that acting in a good episode of TV is more rewarding than getting buried in a weekly shit avalanche?

Anyway, this ain’t no “Night Train.” This ain’t no “Fight Back.” (This ain’t no foolin’ around.)

This is “Shake, Rattle and Roll.” Brian gets the train running and ALF smashes it. So much for quality time, dickbag.

ALF, "Shake, Rattle and Roll"

Brian serves up his weekly bitchface just as Jake comes over. ALF tells Brian he can fuck off now, because Jake’s more fun to hang out with anyway.

But Jake is already sick of this crap. He tells ALF to knock it off with the “we’re dying” talk. Pretty soon he, too, is walking out the door.

Then ALF calls to him: “Oh, Jake! In case this is the last time we see each other…”

Jake tells him to cut that crap out; he’s just going home and nothing’s going to happen to him there. This inspires ALF to list off a bunch of ways that Jake might die in his own house. Jake doesn’t listen to it for long, though. After all, he can’t. He has to go now. His planet needs him.*

Man, ALF sure had terrible luck with real-world logistics. Here we have Jake’s last appearance on the show…which happens to be a conversation about all the ways he could die the moment he steps off-camera. The implication is unintentional, but too bad. It’s still morbid as all fuck. What should have been a pointless, forgettable exchange between the two instead seems to presage the post-episode development in which Jake slips in the tub and breaks his neck, twitching and drowning while nobody thinks to check on him.

It’s like the way the final episode of the show ended, with the government closing in, ready to skin ALF alive. It was supposed to be a cliffhanger, but, hilarious mercy of hilarious mercies, the show got cancelled right after that and we’re left to assume ALF was harrowingly vivisected to death in an underground research facility.

ALF is one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen, but not in any of the ways it wanted to be.

ALF, "Shake, Rattle and Roll"

Later Willie has a heart to heart with Brian, who is hiding under the bed because he thinks he might die. There’s a really fucking stupid moment when Kate comes in and sees this, and she says “WHY ARE YOU TALKING TO BRIAN’S BED LOL”

Man, remember when Kate was a human being? That was awesome. Talk about taking things for granted.

Sure, once her character started to succumb to this show’s pervasive idiocy, Jake’s rose to fill the void. And that was nice. I wasn’t happy to lose her, but at least we had someone else we could count on to be an actual human.

But we can’t say that anymore. We’re stuck with Pod-Person Kate, and the unwelcome knowledge that Jake is already gone and no one will ever mention him again, under penalty of torture.

There was nobody else for Jake to pass the torch to, I guess. It’s snuffed out with him.

I’m convinced that this show has lost its last reliable vestige of humanity, and I am really worried about finding any raft of sanity in season four.

Anyway, Willie acts like a father for the second time in this entire show’s run by telling Brian that if he worries too much about all the bad shit that might happen, he’ll miss all the good shit that does happen.

It’s solid advice. I mean, I’ll never follow it, because worrying is about the only thing I’m good at, but you probably should.

He essentially gives the same speech two more times, though, because the episode budgeted way more time for this scene than it should have. Eh, whatever. It’s still a nice thought and a decent moral to end the episode with. Then again ALF’s day consists of sucking Dorito crumbs out of his pubes so it’s not like he missed out on much by being worried all the time.

ALF, "Shake, Rattle and Roll"

In the short scene before the credits, the delivery guy comes back to take the extra water away. WHEW. I’m so glad that once an episode decided to definitively resolve something, it picked the amount of bottled water the Tanners have on hand.

Then the delivery guy leaves and ALF complains that without enough water for a waterslide, Tannerland is never going to catch on! And even the fake audience of dead people can barely muster up the energy to applaud that shit.

The episode’s moral as it applies to ALF is still up in the air for me. I get Willie telling Brian not to worry; that makes sense. But ALF’s concern this week was that he’s not making the most of his life on Earth. “Don’t worry” is still a nice thing to say, but it doesn’t exactly relate to ALF’s situation.

If your son is hiding under the bed because he’s afraid of being killed by anything and everything, “Don’t worry” is fine. If your alien hobo is pissed off that he’s slowly wasting away in your attic, “Don’t worry” is a non-sequitur at best.

And, man, I really wish they did more with the “ALF faces his mortality” idea than boil it down to a single scene in which he slaps Brian’s train off the track. What a rich, fruitful idea. It’s a shame they didn’t bother to see it through, because there could have been some real pathos in there.

Still, “Shake, Rattle and Roll” had some funny moments, some nice visuals, and a decent idea at its core. I can pick its nits all day long, but, ultimately, it wasn’t the massive pile of catshit it could have been.

I assume they’re saving that for the season finale.

MELMAC FACTS: Melmac had a dating service called Catastrophic Expectations. That’s a funny enough name on its own, but based on the reputation of its real-world analogue, it might not be much of an exaggeration.
—–
*Note: Jake died on the way back to his home planet.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...