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ALF Reviews: “When I’m Sixty-Four” (season 4, episode 19)

March 17th, 2016 | Posted by Philip J Reed in alf

ALF, "When I'm Sixty-Four"

We made it to the final DVD in the ALF box set! At long last, the end is in sight. We can do this. Right? There’s no way they saved the best for last — I realize that, believe me — but no matter what they throw at us, we will be able to limp past the finish line. We must be able to. We came this far…surely we can delay suicide for another six weeks. (I plan on committing it sometime during the Project: ALF livestream.)

This one is a Valentine’s Day episode…which is fine. Yes, we already had one of those, but that was about everyone pressuring Kate Sr. to spread her legs for some asshole she just met, so I’m perfectly happy for the show to take a different swing at it.

We open with Willie hanging up the phone and saying “Congratulate me” to his wife, which I like to think laid the sad and pathetic groundwork for Jeb Bush imploring his audience to “Please clap.”

It turns out that Willie managed to snag dinner reservations at a place called Emilio’s, and they talk for a while about how lucky they are, since it’s Valentine’s Day and all. I’ve got news for you: if you waited until Valentine’s Day and still got reservations, Emilio’s has a drive-thru.

You know, and, come on…why the fuck did Willie wait until Valentine’s Day to make reservations? What is it with this guy not doing anything for his wife ahead of time? A couple weeks ago he didn’t know what to get Kate for their anniversary…and by the end of that episode, he still didn’t get her anything. ALF just renewed their vows, which thematically fits just fine, but which logistically makes it look like Willie banked on the situation to distract everyone from the fact that he didn’t do anything himself. Thank god the guy didn’t have to be thoughtful. Making Willie show compassion must be like making a vampire drink holy water.

Now he can redeem himself a bit with some romantic Valentine’s plans…but he doesn’t bother trying to plan anything until 5:30 on the very night they’re supposed to be going out. What the hell is this guy’s problem? Divorce his sorry ass, Kate. I’ll marry you. Trust me, I’m a dickbag, too, but I’ll at least pretend to care about our relationship.

Thinking on it, that’s some more timeline shenanigans, too, I guess. Two weeks ago it was their anniversary…and while we don’t know the date of their wedding, we do know their honeymoon was in July. But now it’s February 14. So I guess that means they got married in January or something, but didn’t take their honeymoon for six months?

I’m sure that happens in real life. It’s probably more common that couples take their honeymoons quickly, but I can imagine plenty of reasons that it might be delayed substantially. Based on the shit I’m seeing here, though, I think it’s more likely that Willie just didn’t bother to plan a honeymoon until half a year after they were married. He’s a real catch.

Anyway, hearing that it’s Valentine’s Day makes ALF sad, so he waxes uninterrupted about wanting someone to fuck.

Yes, he goes on at great lengths about wishing his barbed Melmacian cock could slip up some poor, anonymous woman’s snatch for just one night, and he says this while sitting naked on the living room carpet with three people staring blankly at him because they have no lines.

Cupid, draw back your bow!

ALF, "When I'm Sixty-Four"

After the credits, ALF makes a joke about Willie shitting his pants. Great start.

Together they look at a newspaper and talk about how Louise Beaumont, some old film star, moved into the neighborhood. Is that news? Celebrities buy places in and around Denver all the time, but I’ve never seen a newspaper headline that said STAR OF ______ LIVES HERE NOW. And this is just dumbass Denver. Imagine fucking Los Angeles, where stars basically live by default. The hell kind of newspaper is this?

Ugh, fuck this show. Let’s see if we can identify that Kool-Aid juice box ALF has…oh. It’s Purplesaurus Rex.

That didn’t distract from the episode as long as I’d wished it would.

Like, honestly, I saw the dinosaur and immediately thought “Purplesaurus Rex.” I looked it up to make sure that was actually its name…and I was kind of dismayed to find out that it was. That fucker is obviously a brontosaurus…so where does the “rex” come from?

Ugh, fuck this juice.

ALF, "When I'm Sixty-Four"

Willie and Kate leave, mentioning that they’re taking Eric to a sitter. Which is a pretty good logistical solution to the problem raised in “Baby, Come Back,” I admit. You don’t need to buy a babysitter’s silence after a night of being sexually tormented by a puppet…you just take the baby somewhere else.

But it does raise the question of where Lynn and Brian are. Sure, it’s Valentine’s Day so Lynn’s probably got mime makeup all over her inner thighs about now, but Brian? Is he already hanging around with Jimmy the Gent’s niece?

I’m noticing this because someone mentioned a while back that this is the only episode in which Lynn and Brian don’t appear. I think that’s wrong, though…I seem to recall Brian missing from a previous episode. Fucked if I’ll ever be able to remember which one; the kid might as well be played by a hat rack.

It’s definitely noteworthy that Lynn’s not in this one, though. She usually gets something to do in every episode, so the fact that she doesn’t appear at all is meaningful. You know. As far as anything related to ALF can be meaningful.

ALF spanks off to the newspaper a few more times, and then decides to sneak off to the retirement home and visit Louise, because of course he does. A few days ago I heard a recent interview with Paul Fusco, which was a solid half hour of decades-late damage control. He seems to think the cast should be grateful to have worked on the show that systematically destroyed each of their lives. He’s a great guy, that Fusco. In fact, I’m pretty sure he’s just ALF without a cuddly exterior.

Anyway, he mentioned at one point that he was very careful about which characters got to see ALF, because it was important to the premise of the show that he was kept secret from as many folks as possible.

…and we know full well that’s bullshit.

Literally every recurring character apart from Mr. Ochmonek saw ALF. Seriously, Mr. Ochmonek was the only fucking one. And nearly all the one-off characters saw him, too. Now he’s about to go to a retirement home and meet a boat load of new ones.

So my fucking ass, Fusco, that you were selective about who saw ALF and who didn’t. I think they were “selected” on the grounds of whether or not you were cutting them a check. If you had to pay them, they’d better damned well stand still and listen to ALF perform a monologue.

ALF, "When I'm Sixty-Four"

ALF pokes around the outside of the retirement home for a while, dressed as Trayvon Shumway. While he’s out there George Zimmerman and some other unseen nobody shout to each other about the hideous beast they just saw…so, yeah. Fusco was so careful about who got to see ALF that two people without names or faces just saw him for no reason at all. They talk about murdering ALF in cold blood, just to get my hopes up.

Our alien hero stands around and babbles to himself for a while, because if this episode just featured things that happen it would be around 12 seconds long. When he’s jacked off enough to the sound of his own voice, he runs into the retirement home and some old people look at him.

You know.

Because of how selective the show was about THIS SHIT THAT HAPPENS EVERY WEEK.

ALF, "When I'm Sixty-Four"

In a nice bit of real-world resonance, the old folks at home are actually actors who have had long and varied careers. If you check out their filmographies you’ll find loads of parts in high and low profile productions spanning decades, and I think it was kind of cool of ALF to actually cast actors with such rich histories in a story like this. They were never huge celebrities or anything, but it’s a cute touch, and I like the fact that they bothered to find people with actual showbiz pedigrees. Like, I really do. It melts even my evil heart.

The woman on the left is Amzie Strickland, who has over 260 credits on IMDB, and who has a rad name like Amzie. She’s been in The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Andy Griffith Show*, and, most significantly for ALF, The Bob Newhart Show. Eric Christmas is in the center, with around 130 credits and a rad last name like Christmas. He had a recurring role as Father Barry on Cheers, and other regular parts in Wiseguy and The Sandy Duncan Show. On the right is Phil Leeds, who I feel like I’ve seen in everything. Seriously, the guy has a very familiar face, but I can’t pinpoint what I know him from best, because he has almost 120 credits, including a role in the Spanish Inquisition sequence of History of the Word: Part I.

Season four has really increased the number of actors who worked with both Paul Fusco and Mel Brooks. Prior to this I think we just had Cleavon Little, right? Now we have Phil Leeds, Mark Blankfield, and Jim J. Bullock. Am I missing any others? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I find it morbidly interesting that any actor should have to slip from working with Mel Brooks to working with Paul Fusco.

ALF, "When I'm Sixty-Four"

I might as well think about that for a bit, because God knows none of this other crap deserves my consideration.

The old people talk on and on about whether ALF is a talking dog or who gives a shit. Then one of them suggests that ALF might an alien, and the other old guy says, “Buenas noches!”

That’s…okay. It’s only the second time to my knowledge that the dual meanings of “alien” come into play, and there have been far stupider jokes on this show…but unfortunately it’s the runaway highlight of this scene. As a lesser joke in a better show, it would be fine. As the high water mark…sweet jesus.

The old people talk for a while about Cocoon, and whether or not ALF will make them young. Joke’s on them; all he does is make fun of their poor hearing, their fragility, their clothes, their impotence, their living situation, their poor memories, their odors, their need for medication, their poor vision, and the fact that everyone they’ve ever loved is dead.

What a guy!

ALF asks to see Louise Beaumont, but the old people tell him to suck their saggy sex organs. He then reminds them that the show is called ALF, not Elderly Actors We Could Replace in a Heartbeat, and they agree to take him to her room.

ALF, "When I'm Sixty-Four"

Louise Beaumont is reading Hollywood Babylon, and I’m pretty sure that’s the first real book cover we’ve seen on this show.

I’ve never read it, but it was a pretty notorious book that was at one point banned for reasons of basic human decency.

Seriously. That sounds like a joke, but I’m not kidding. Its big selling point was that it spilled dirt on Hollywood stars spanning every era of film history, but it was poorly researched at best…and knowingly made up at worst. It misrepresented and outright invented scandals for the sake of selling copies, and it was a tactic that, sadly, worked.

That was far from the worst of it, though; Hollywood Babylon contained actual photographs of the dead bodies of celebrities, including Jayne Mansfield and Lewis Stone, against the wishes of their families. It was, unquestionably, awful stuff.

So, yeah, it’s a pretty gross thing to read, and here’s Louise Beaumont flicking herself off to it. What an odd bit of unintentional characterization. (Maybe it’s a good thing they keep taking the dustjackets off of whatever Willie and Kate are reading in bed. God knows what horrific shit the props department would stick them with.)

Anyway, ALF comes in and she immediately tells him to go fuck himself.

So, you know what? She might like looking at unethical photographs of dead bodies, but I’d get along more easily with her than with anyone else who’s ever been in this crap.

ALF, "When I'm Sixty-Four"

Back in the dayroom, some night attendant or whatever comes in, and ALF hides. The night attendant talks about how he’s fucking the tits off a hot chick in the other room, so all these old people better tell their jokes about being old people quietly.

ALF returns with a thermometer in his mouth and says, “A hundred and fourteen point eight. Perfect!” But way back in “Help Me, Rhonda” we learned that 425 degrees was a healthy temperature for Melmacians. Granted, 114 makes a lot more sense (ALF would literally cook everything and everyone he touches if he really were 425 degrees) but for as little as we’ve learned about this fucker, can’t the writers keep something straight?

Anyway, if you guessed that the whole reason any of that happened was so ALF could stick a rectal thermometer in his mouth and make a joke about eating old people’s feces, then congratulations; you’re one with ALF‘s philosophy on act breaks.

ALF, "When I'm Sixty-Four"

After the break we get an establishing shot of the nursing home, which hilariously zooms in to a second floor window when we already learned that the room we’re in is on the ground level.

ALF and the old folks are playing poker, and he bitches about how they’re not enjoying life. You know, like he does when he jacks off into that little gap between the couch cushions.

He tries to get them to do something fun, and offers to take them up to the roof and show them where he comes from. Which sure would be interesting, since the planet doesn’t exist anymore, even if Melmac had been somehow visible from Earth.

The old woman says, “This isn’t just a trick to use us as sex drones to repopulate your planet?” Huh. It’s rare that a character makes my joke for me, but I’ll take it.

Anyway, he keeps trying to talk them into going outside and seeing something of the world around them, which is pretty funny since just one episode ago he was being a dick to elderly Willie who just wanted to look out the window.

You’ve got to love how much better ALF treats complete strangers than the guy who’s gone to prison multiple times on his behalf.

ALF, "When I'm Sixty-Four"

ALF tries to get Louise Belmont to join them on the roof, but she won’t even look at him. Man…what a pro. Now I want to track her down in a nursing home and show my appreciation, too.

He feeds her some bullshit for a while, and she tells him to fuck off again.

He tries to let her know that he understands what it’s like to live an exciting life one day and be stuck within four walls the next, but she doesn’t want to hear his story. Great choice, Louise. You’re too old to sit through 500 fucking fantasy episodes about running for president and meeting Elvis.

Then there’s some sad music while ALF tells her that meeting her is still one of the happiest moments of his life and I guess it’s touching to her. But come on. If you were sitting alone in your room and some hideous, pantsless monster waddled in and asked to take your picture, would you be touched or would you beat it to death with your Hollywood snuff book?

Louise Beaumont is played by Frances Bay, who was in loads of things and went on to play Aunt Ginny on The Middle a few years ago. She also played Mrs. Choate in a few episodes of Seinfeld, so this crap was nowhere near the end of her filmography. Good for her. She and the midget are the only ones who managed to escape the career-crushing gravitational collapse of ALF.

Oddly, the IMDB credits for this episode are screwed up; nobody is credited as Louise Beaumont at all, and Bay is credited as playing someone named Virginia Russell. The episode itself credits her correctly, though, so I assume ALF has melted brains all over the internet.

Anyway, the old people come in and announce that they heard the night watchman getting a noisy BJ, so they’re free to go on the roof.

ALF, "When I'm Sixty-Four"

There’s a bunch of boring shit with the old people just standing and looking, like a bunch of crippled Rory Calhouns. I do like the detail — which you can barely see in the screengrab — of the retirement home still having its Christmas lights up. That’s a great, unspoken, sad little joke that I really enjoy. Even when ALF lights them up later, it feels like a subtler, smarter touch than anyone involved with this show usually gives it. And I appreciate that.

Then we get a legitimately great joke. Really, we do! The olds remind him to show them where he’s from, and he points. Then he says, “Yep, right there. See? It’s that cheap white tract home, three houses in from the corner.”

Fuck you. I laughed.

Unfortunately he steps on the punchline by then explaining “OH ACTUALLY I MEANT THAT IS WHERE I LIVE RIGHT NOW ON EARTH REALLY MY PLANET BLEW UP SORRY I MISLED YOU.” And Jesus Christ if that’s not proof positive that the writers don’t know what’s funny, even (especially?) when it comes to their own damn material.

Boo.

ALF, "When I'm Sixty-Four"

I hate ALF. Like, I honestly can’t stand this crap and I’m embarrassed for having ever enjoyed it as a kid. If I could carve out the piece of my brain that contains ALF memories I’d stick a screwdriver up my nose and do it right now. But even with my strong, overpowering hatred of the show in general, you know what I hate most? When ALF is portrayed as some holy being that teaches the world about beauty and wonder.

He used to do that more in the early episodes, I think. “Weird Science” existed just for that purpose, as far as I can tell. And he gave a speech to Mrs. Ochmonek in “Take a Look at Me Now” along the same lines. Then there was the sappy, wall to wall horse shit in “ALF’s Special Christmas,” an episode which was, to put it politely, the single worst thing humanity has ever inflicted upon itself.

For the most part, though, his “Your life is better now for having met me” crap had taken a backseat since then. Which is good, because all he ever does is fuck and murder the people important to Willie, so, y’know, the whole “great guy” stuff sorta rang false. Call me crazy.

Anyway, it’s back now, of course, because the show’s ending, and we really have to make sure nobody will miss it. ALF is a magical space rapist who fixes everything forever, so the old people feel young again and dance.

This show sucks.

Louise Beaumont comes out, also because ALF is a magical space rapist who fixes everything forever. This is a great time to remember, once again, that last week Willie just wanted the curtain open and ALF smacked him across the face with the urn containing the remains of Uncle Albert.

ALF, "When I'm Sixty-Four"

Louise Beaumont asks ALF where he’s from so he can tell the same joke again, which made the writers’ job easier and that’s the most important thing.

But then he lies and tells her he’s from a star, which he points at. I guess he doesn’t want to say his planet blew up because that would depress her? I don’t know where they were going with this…and I don’t know why she’d give a shit if his planet blew up anyway. She wasn’t all that shook up by seeing an alien in the first place. Must have been all those celebrity autopsy photos she was dripping over earlier. She’s well beyond feeling.

And, come to think of it, he didn’t seem too worried about depressing all these other old people if that was his concern, so who knows.

He then forces Louise Beaumont to dance with one of the old guys, because pressuring the elderly to fuck is sort of ALF‘s Valentine’s Day tradition.

ALF, "When I'm Sixty-Four"

ALF talks to a bird and I have no fucking clue what I’m watching.

ALF, "When I'm Sixty-Four"

The short scene before the credits begins with another zoom in to a second floor window even though the scene that follows takes place on the roof, so really the show is just fucking with me at this point.

ALF asks Louise Beaumont if she thinks he has a big dick. Then Willie shows up to punch ALF to death with a fistful of rusty screws.

This one was garbage. Happy Valentine’s Day, assholes!

Countdown to ALF getting his belly slit and a midget tumbling out: 5 episodes

—–
* This episode sucks a fat one, but there’s a nice joke when she remembers Cocoon as being directed by “Opie.” That’s a cute nod to her work — as various characters — on that show.

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7 Responses

  • Casey says:

    Is Eric playing with a Melmacian fleshlight in that first screenshot?

  • Mark Moore says:

    The writers failed with even the title in this one. 64 is nowhere near retirement home age.

  • What a complete pile of garbage. What idiot would be reading the synopsis on this one and think, “Wow, how interesting is it gonna be when ALF shows up and talks to the elderly.”

    Let’s not forget Fusco had the audacity to say ALF being on a cruse ship or skateboarding would have been absolutely outlandish. Well at least those things might have been fucking entertaining.

  • kim says:

    so first of all, stop making up stuff that really does not happen in the episode or making things more sexual then they are because that might really confuse people that have not seen this show or don’t remember much. thankfully i still remember this episode freshly in my mind, so i know when you just making crap up.

    anyway, i did mention that this is one of least favorite episodes so i don’t mind that you ripped on it. it is my least favorite for mostly two reasons, old people and it’s boring. seriously, seeing old people depresses me as they sit wasting away in their retirement homes and knowing that will my future one day, so yeah, watching a whole episode almost entirely about them does not exactly trill me. secondly is boring because it’s ALF just hangs out with old people with not really much conflict or excitement. ALF just wanted to see his favorite small time actor in person and he achieves that, woopie. you know, for a show that trying to stay hip and cool with the times, ALF hanging with old people is the last thing i pick. kind of proof the writers were really scrapping the bottom of the barrel when it came to season 4. also i noticed the ALF continues to hang out with the old people even after it got to meet Louise, why does he stay? also the fact he tries to make all the old people be more lively just a few minutes after he made fun of how old they are.

    • Philip J Reed says:

      The sex stuff was actually in the episode! There were a bunch of references to it that I even cut from the review because I thought it got tiresome. (Which is saying something.) Like when they find the night watchman’s stuff on the roof. They use the euphemism “studying,” but the winking nature of the term and the audience laughter makes it clear that he’s actually porking the girl…not studying anything with her. (There’s also the recurring joke that one of the old guys could have an operation to help him “study” again, too.) Right down to them hearing him “study” loudly with her through the vents!

      So, yeah, the bits where someone tells ALF to suck on part of their body…I made those up. The actual sex stuff? I’m not using the episode’s euphemism, but otherwise that actually happens!

  • You know, they could have just gone with the unspoken premise that “everybody gets to see the G-D alien but Trevor Ochmonek.” For a show that’s supposed to be a bit slapsticky, they ignore a bunch of stuff that would work well. “Let’s say nobody can encounter the alien, when in reality, lots of people do. Just not the guy the next door.” There’s a running gag there that goes unused, and it kind of makes me sad.



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