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ALF Reviews: “Consider Me Gone” (season 4, episode 24)

April 21st, 2016 | Posted by Philip J Reed in alf

ALF, "Consider Me Gone"

This is it. The final episode of ALF. I’d take some time to cry or something, but I’m too busy masturbating and doing cartwheels. Thank fucking Christ we lived to see this day. Yes, I understand full well that I’m the one who exhumed this stinking corpse in the first place, but at long last we get to lay it back to rest. It’s time to say goodbye to all of the beloved characters we’ve gotten to know over the past four seasons. Ol’ Cracky. Sluterella. Bitchy O’Bitchbitch. And, of course, Lumpy. I’ll miss him/her/it most of all.

Oh, and ALF! The only character that ever mattered. But I wouldn’t worry about him! I’m confident he’s leaving sitcoms behind to conquer many other mediums.

I’ve never seen “Consider Me Gone” before. No, not even before writing this sentence. And I’m very much looking forward to it.

Why? Well, aside from the fact that it’s the final episode, there’s this one’s legendary schoolyard status.

See, I stopped watching ALF at some point well before the finale. “Do You Believe in Magic?” is my last memory of watching ALF, and while I could be wrong about never watching it again, it’s fair to say that if I tuned in after that, it wasn’t often. Another show I fell out of love with a few years later was Dinosaurs; I stopped watching that before its finale as well.

Why bring Dinosaurs up?

It’s not just the fact it and ALF were both prime time puppet-based sitcoms, though that’s an admittedly fun coincidence in this context. No, I bring it up because these are the two oddball shows with finales that absolutely flooded the rumor mill of the schoolyard.

By the time I’d given up on ALF, most of my peers had as well. Ditto Dinosaurs. But somebody kept watching, and when the finales hit, these remaining viewers told us of what we’d missed.

There weren’t enough viewers to elevate the discussions beyond rumor, though. Each of these shows had final episodes that were spoken about dreamily, like half-remembered myths, passed along orally, until they were many degrees removed from whomever who had actually seen them. Of course, by that point the person who had seen them had surely forgotten some things…had let his or her imagination fill in the details…the memory finding its own shape, itself now detached from whatever had actually unfolded on the television that night, when they were watching long after everybody else had moved on. Some lone messenger tuning in to a story nobody cared about…until, all at once, something sensational happened…and it was their responsibility alone to pass it on.

These were the days before Youtube. Now we can look up clips easily. Somebody can say, “There was some crazy episode of such and such,” and we can look up 100 reviews, commentaries, reactions, screenshots, and full episodes for the taking. That happened earlier this season, actually; I’d mentioned the episode of Too Close for Comfort in which Jim J. Bullock gets kidnapped and raped, and a friend of mine looked it up and posted a bunch of clips from it to Facebook…utterly shocked that it had actually aired.

There’s something to be said for that…the fact that he could immediately verify something I’d said, which originally he figured must have been made up or exaggerated. But there’s something to be said for not having that ability as well…for having to fill in a vague shape with your imagination…to hear about some incredible bullshit a show pulled which doesn’t gibe at all with what your understanding of what that show is…and let your mind determine what that might have looked like.

Similarly, but in a more literary context, Thomas Pynchon refers in a few of his novels to an old short in which Porky Pig unwittingly duels with a shadowy anarchist. When Pynchon wrote these books there was no Youtube, and the cartoon was not available through any official channels. (Nor did it run as part of any animation package in syndication. It was left behind, probably intentionally.) He wrote about the short knowing full well that very few readers would remember it at the time he was writing, and fewer still would be able to watch it. But now we can read a reference to the cartoon and not only verify immediately that it did exist, but set aside seven minutes and watch it in full before continuing on with the story. I did that a couple of nights ago when I found it mentioned in Gravity’s Rainbow…and, as such, I engaged with Pynchon’s writing in a way he never expected or intended. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Television lost its own mythology, trading it for accessibility. I’m not complaining, and I’d like to emphasize that that’s not necessarily a step in the wrong direction. But it is different. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t value the experience I had, before we could load up a clip and prove somebody right or wrong. It made these things stand out more, because they occupied more mental bandwidth. Sitting and watching passively is one thing…giving some crazy concept free reign of your mind for as long as it takes to find peace is another.

ALF and Dinosaurs. Two finales that exploded heads of whatever remaining viewers there were, and which inspired both confusion and skepticism in my peers and me. But where Dinosaurs sounded subversive and daring, ALF just sounded idiotic.

ALF, "Consider Me Gone"

I haven’t seen the Dinosaurs finale, but I vividly remember hearing about it. Evidently it ended with the mass extinction of all the dinosaurs. And, well…shit.

This family we watched and enjoyed was now dead…which you’d think would be morbid enough. But all of their friends were dead, too. And all of their friends’ friends were dead. And everybody else on the planet was dead. I remember a friend of mine telling me about the news report that ended the episode. It sounded harrowing, but it also sounded pretty brave. I was impressed that they’d do that. As a kid I’d fantasize about seeing a show that would push the envelope that way…one that would dare to give a genuine “fuck you” to the audience. And in this case, it was a “fuck you” that was miraculously in line with its concept.

How else could Dinosaurs have ended? Well, I’m sure we could rattle off a thousand ways, but I’m asking rhetorically. It was a show about an extinct species, for crying out loud. It was basically a gleefully silly prequel to the life we were actually living there in our living rooms, watching it. When I figured out much later that the dinosaurs all had last names that corresponded to modern day oil companies, I was thrilled. The dark comedy of the characters’ eventual deaths was rooted so deeply in the show that it decided their very surnames. Dinosaurs may not have been a great show, but it had a brain, and it had the guts to shock its audience smartly, naturally, and memorably when it went off the air for good.

Then there was ALF, the finale of which also sparked conversation, but didn’t inspire the same kind of reverence. There was a lot more disbelief. It wasn’t a case of the show being impressively brave. It was a case of…well…why in shit’s name would they have ended it that way?

“Consider Me Gone” ends with ALF being captured by the Alien Task Force. Fine. I’ve just reviewed 98 episodes of this shit in sequence, so I know who those guys are and have some idea of how ALF could be delivered into their hands. As a kid, though, I watched ALF, and the Alien Task Force never registered to me as a threat, or even a presence. How could it? It was mentioned so infrequently, and we never really spent much time with any of the handful of characters who turned up to represent it. I had some idea that ALF was supposed to be kept secret, but even then he was constantly running around outside and meeting hobos so it obviously couldn’t have been that serious of a concern.

So when I heard about ALF‘s ending, I didn’t picture the Alien Task Force finally, slowly closing in. No, my mind was filled instead with visions of an episode that ended with some government agents suddenly, irrelevantly kicking down the Tanners’ door and hauling the alien away screaming.

And why in shit’s name would they have ended it that way?

Easy: they didn’t.

“Consider Me Gone” aired originally with a “To be continued…” message. (I’ve heard that this was removed from the DVDs, but it’s intact on the German release I have, for anyone interested.) There was supposed to be a season five. The Tanners would not appear in it, because fuck them, and the show’s action would move to the Alien Task Force base, where I guess ALF would tell racist jokes for that new cast instead.

Whatever bizarre bullshit “Consider Me Gone” pulled to get ALF out of the house and into some other environment, it wasn’t meant to stand as the series’ final punctuation. It was instead meant to keep viewers engaged and interested over the summer. Needless to say, it backfired horribly. The worst possible place to end any story is with your main character being hauled off for dissection, but that’s exactly where ALF ended. It bet huge on a tomorrow that never came.

So our final episode opens with ALF dicking around with the ham radio. He’s relying on the flawed “it’s already tomorrow in Australia” reasoning to get racing results ahead of time, when he hears a series of four beeps. It doesn’t sound like much to me, but he interprets that as Melmacian code. And then we get our intro credits for the last time…and it’s the first time — as far as I can remember — that our cold open ends without a laugh line.

ALF’s recognition of Melmacian code is left to stand on its own merits, or lack of merit. Instead of any comedy we get a strong narrative hook, and I like that they didn’t try to undercut it with a joke. Yeah, this show usually lacks laughs, but this time it didn’t even try for one, and there’s a sort of nobility to that.

Then the credits end and…

ALF, "Consider Me Gone"

Jesus Christ. Four credited writers and a separate story credit? That’s either a sign that we’re in for something wonderful — a true and impressive collaboration among whatever genuine talent there is in the writing room — or a cobbled together, shambling clusterfuck, hastily built from the final dregs of creative effort the show could squeeze from the writers’ withered souls.

Place your bets now!

ALF, "Consider Me Gone"

ALF deciphered the four beeps, I guess, and reveals that Skip and Rhonda — the only two other confirmed survivors of the Melmapocalypse — bought a planet somewhere and are signaling ALF to join them. Why Skip and Rhonda didn’t just come to the fucking house since they know exactly where he lives is beyond me. Yeah, I know there’s the whole thing about not wanting to be captured, but surely they could have flown by and dropped off a message or something instead of beaming some code into deep space in the hopes that ALF just happens to be listening at exactly that frequency at exactly that time.

Here’s something I’m not sure I ever considered before: why are Skip and Rhonda together? We don’t know how much time Melmacians had to flee the planet between whatever warning they got and its actual explosion, but somehow Skip and Rhonda ended up together, in the same ship.

This implies that Skip and Rhonda were…erm…with each other when the catastrophe (among other things) went down. I’m positive that’s not a deliberate suggestion of canoodling on the show’s part, but it sure dovetails interestingly with the otherwise odd choice of the comics to pair Rhonda with Skip at the end, rather than with ALF.

And, really, how else could she have ended up in his ship?

Well, here’s how: Skip, putting himself knowingly in danger, took the time to find and rescue her. Which sure as hell makes him a far better hero than ALF, who seems to have used his final moments on the planet to shovel souvenirs and knickknacks into his ship rather than rescue any of his friends, family members, colleagues, or, in this case, the woman he claims to love.

What a guy.

By the time of “Consider Me Gone,” Skip and Rhonda have been together, with only each other for company, for however many shitty years this show spans…and I think it’s safe to say they’ve fucked every which way from Sunday. So quite why ALF thinks he’ll get back together with her is beyond me. They never dated, he left her to die on an exploding planet, he blew her off without explanation when she and Skip came by to pick him up in “Help Me, Rhonda,” and he still thinks they have a chance together?

Rhonda, I don’t know you, but I can assure you you’re already doing better.

ALF, "Consider Me Gone"

Brian pretends he’s sad that ALF is leaving, and it’s even less believable than it would be if I pretended to be sad that ALF was leaving.

I can’t blame him too much, though; the entire cast is fuckawful here. Anne Schedeen has to keep trying to pretend she’s not excited that ALF will soon be out of her life…which is a funny concept, but she doesn’t sell it at all. She’s capable of selling it, but her heart is clearly not in this. Andrea Elson uncharacteristically slurs her lines. (If anything, she’s usually guilty of enunciating with unnatural clarity.) And Max Wright is even more detached than he historically has been…which isn’t just an assumption I’m making; it’s documented fact.

This is the episode he famously walked out on after shooting his final scene. No chance for a second take, no opportunity to try another approach, no possibility of picking up a line or shooting from another angle. Max finished his scene, walked off set, got into his car, and drove away. He said goodbye to nobody. He knew he’d never see any of these people again, and he was just fine with that. No attempt at a friendly farewell; he just stormed off, making it quite clear just how little he cared about them or what they’d do with their lives.

Trust me, I can understand the guy feeling frustrated with Paul Fusco. Or maybe some of the stagehands, since the show took so many miserable hours to shoot and he may have (rightly or not) held them accountable for that. I can even imagine him being angry at the writers if the thought the material was poor. But the fact that he didn’t even say a polite goodbye to his costars — who suffered weekly right along with him, and were in no way responsible for his negative experiences on the show — strikes me as unprofessional and more than a little dickish.

But back to the point: the guy was done with ALF. Completely and utterly over it. And though his costars seem to have left on better terms, this scene makes it clear that they weren’t any more invested in the show than he was at this point.

So Benji Gregory sucked nuts here? Big deal. For once he’s exactly as good as everyone else.

ALF says that he hasn’t made his mind up yet about leaving, and I guess that’s the big emotional crisis of the episode. He says, “Whatever I decide, I lose something.”

Which, meh, who cares. But it’s an interesting parallel to the real-life decision Paul Fusco must have had to make at some point this season. He decided, ultimately, that ALF would leave the Tanners behind…and therefore ALF would leave the Tanners behind. Season five would have seen both he and his show re-introduced in a new environment, with new dynamics and new characters to stand around looking bored while ALF delivered monologues to an invisible, theoretical audience.

Both Fusco and ALF had to make this decision. Each of them were absolutely certain they could do better somewhere else, without these people. They both chose to pick up the dice.

Each of them rolled snake eyes. The show was cancelled. The future was full of possibility, and neither of them saw any of it. They gambled everything, and lost it all.

ALF and ALF were finished.

ALF, "Consider Me Gone"

Then we get an establishing shot of the Alien Task Force Headquarters in Washington, D.C. By that I mean we see some stock footage of a radar dish spinning around.

Prior to this we had no reason to believe that this organization had more than one location, which “Running Scared” established as being in / on Edwards Air Force Base. Being as that location was significantly overstaffed — we never saw the same employee twice, and shit knows they never caught anything — you’d be forgiven for not believing there to be a network of locations…but, hey, here we are.

I wonder why ALF is finally detected by a location so far away from where he actually is. Why not have the Edwards guys be the ones who catch him? They’re right down the street. Just reveal that they’ve been combing all this time through the tips they’ve received, and noticed something similar about all of them. (Spoiler: it’s that every last fucking one of them had to do with the Tanner family.)

Have them put together all of the evidence and details and suspicions they’ve accumulated over the past four years and bring it all to a head with a full-scale investigation or raid on the family. In other words, show us that the Edwards gang weren’t just sitting around fingering their own assholes. They have only one job, and they have only one family of suspects. Show us that they’ve been taking their work seriously all the time that we’ve been dismissing them as ineffectual. Show us that something was happening.

But, no, instead a different location 3,000 miles away figures out where he’s hiding, a propos of nothing that happened in any previous episode. Fuck me.

ALF, "Consider Me Gone"

Inside the Alien Task Force base we meet another crew of idiots we’ll never see again. This crew of idiots we’ll never see again is led by one particular idiot we’ll never see again, played by Richard Fancy. He’s another one of those guys that’s been in everything ever made, but most significantly he had a recurring role on It’s Gary Shandling’s Show, and played Mr. Lippman in Seinfeld.

Here he plays Colonel Halsey, and I’m surprised they didn’t give him the rank of Admiral to go along with Uncle Albert. He says he hopes the signal they’re tracing is real, so that they won’t have to beg for funding anymore. It’s not especially funny, but I at least like that the show is admitting that this organization has operated for years without having anything at all to show for their work. And, y’know, THAT MIGHT POSE SOME ISSUES.

Of course, having to beg for funding might work with one location somewhere…some kind of government pilot program to see if the organization is worth rolling out on a larger scale, with the full understanding that it could just as easily be a bust and be discontinued. But now we see that the Alien Task Force operates nationally, with huge staffs and cutting edge technology from coast to coast, and I can’t imagine that “begging” can keep a massive drain on federal resources like that alive.

Anyway, they’re finally on to something, and Col. Lippman says he’s going to cockblock ALF if it takes every last taxpayer dollar.

ALF, "Consider Me Gone"

Back at the house, ALF and Brian reminisce about all the fun they’ve had together. I find it deeply amusing that by the final fucking episode these characters can’t reminisce about anything they really did together, because Brian’s never done anything. The writers need to manufacture memories, because doing actual callbacks requires there to be something we can call back to.

Instead we get a fond discussion of a bunch of shit we never got to see as viewers.

So they talk about all the fun they’ve had with KICK ME signs and fake fingers instead of anything that actually happened on the show. I wonder what a series of real callbacks would have sounded like. “Remember that time you stood over there and didn’t have any lines? Or that time you stood in that other place and didn’t have any lines?”

Brian asks if he can come along for season five, and ALF says, “Oh no. Oh, no no no. Jesus Christ no.”

ALF, "Consider Me Gone"

Then we get a reprise of the earlier scene with ALF at the radio, and overall it sucks just as much, but it’s shorter so I like it more. Skip and Rhonda transmit the same four-beep signal, which ALF translates into an entirely different message somehow. Evidently they are coming to get him at the stroke of midnight, and they want him to wear a trenchcoat and fedora because they need a third person for their Maltese Fuckin’ roleplay.

I don’t know why we’re hearing four beeps again, without different lengths or pitches or anything to signify a different message, but I guess the reason we’re hearing beeps at all is that the show didn’t want to pay anyone to voice Skip and Rhonda again.

Even though they’re the catalyst for “Consider Me Gone” happening at all, we never hear or see them, so that’s the only reasonable explanation, as far as I’m concerned, for why they’re communicating in code when they broadcasted in the clear back in “Help Me, Rhonda.” I guess digging their puppets out of storage would have taken too much effort, but the fact that they aren’t even voiced just seems cheap and careless.

Skip and Rhonda pressure ALF for an answer, and then they play the Jeopardy final answer music over the radio. That isn’t especially funny in itself, but I like that the music plays all the way through ALF discussing his feelings aloud. That’s a nice bit of resonance. It took a pretty dumb “Hey, I recognize this!” joke and made it an oddly fitting soundtrack for ALF’s personal dilemma.

It worked, I’ll give it that, and it’s probably the one truly good flourish in the entire episode. It’s certainly the only salvageable moment I was able to identify.

Anyway, ALF decides to leave forever. As you do after trying to make conversation with Brian.

ALF, "Consider Me Gone"

Back at the ATFDCHQ, one of the idiots we’ll never see again says that the signal they were tracing wasn’t from space at all…it was from Earth!

Holy shit! That’s…

…um…

…who cares, then?

They don’t know what the signal meant. They say they still haven’t cracked the code. So it’s literally just a ham radio operator somewhere on the planet. Like, that’s it. That’s what they determined. They get excited because they established that it’s nothing to get excited about.

They act like this is some crucial, urgent thing to investigate and stop, because it’s clearly an alien and they need to catch it. Good thing they read the script, I guess. Otherwise there’s no way they could have known it was an alien communicating with other aliens, and not some janitor calling for a lunch break.

Like, honestly, this is fucking absurd. Why not have the characters say, “We’ve confirmed that it’s broadcasting into deep space!” or something? Granted, that’s logistically horse shit, but at least it makes a kind of sense, and it would explain why they’re so intent on cracking the code.

Instead, literally all they determine is that someone, somewhere, is using a ham radio. They should be jizzing their pants several times a day if that’s enough to get them excited.

Anyway, Admiral Halsey yells at them for a while about how they’d better damned well catch this alien. He says, “I want this show to end, and I want it to end now, because no way am I coming back for another week if fucking Max Wright doesn’t have to.”

ALF, "Consider Me Gone"

At the house the Tanners throw a going away party for ALF. Jake, Jodie, Neal, Kate Sr., Dr. Dykstra and anyone else who befriended him over the past four seasons isn’t invited, because then they’d have to pay some others actors. Eric and Lucky II aren’t invited because they’re buried under the porch.

Lynn says goodbye to ALF with some big emotional speech that…kind of sucks.

Andrea Elson just about sells the tears, but not much else. Her whole point is that thanks to ALF she’s not shy anymore and will always be open to new ideas. Which is odd, because I never thought she was shy to begin with, or closed to new ideas in any way. She does mention she used to have braces, though, and I’ll give her that; she did, in fact, used to have braces.

She gives him her locket, which moves ALF deeply, in spite of the fact the locket never existed before and was only invented for this scene because there’s literally nothing else specific to her character that she could give him. (If only he’d left a week earlier, she could have given him her virginity.)

ALF, "Consider Me Gone"

Then it’s Brian’s turn to act like he’s going to miss anything about this shit.

He can’t even pretend to have character traits the way his sister just did, so he gives ALF some shitty drawing instead, showing that they’ll live on different planets now, or whatever. Very insightful, kid.

He asks ALF if they’ll always be best friends, to which ALF says nothing, which I find hilarious.

ALF, "Consider Me Gone"

Then Willie and Kate give little speeches. Willie’s sucks dick, but Kate’s has a nice moment where she says that ALF’s residency has taught them “incredible survival skills.” I liked that.

They give him a chunk of wood from when he crashed into the garage. It looks more like a piece of driftwood than some busted (perfectly good) lumber, but it’s actually a pretty cute gift, tying back nicely to the pilot. There’s a little plaque on it, which says, “To ALF. If you ever drop in again, please use the front door. Love, the Tanners.”

Which I also like! Two things I liked in quick succession. Who would have thought?

The speeches seem overlong and undercooked…the sorts of things used to pad out an episode that’s already made very clear that the only thing that will matter is the ending. The characters are really just treading water until midnight, and it shows…but the piece of wood from their garage has sentimental meaning to all of them and to the show.

I like that. It’s everything the locket and the drawing weren’t. It’s something that matters, beyond our being told that it matters.

ALF, "Consider Me Gone"

Then it’s ALF’s turn to eat some time. He thanks the Tanners briefly, and spends the rest of his speech bitching about how he couldn’t walk around on Earth, meeting people. So I guess he didn’t watch this show, either; he met people all the fuckin’ time, he just didn’t call them back is all. Jesus Christ, the guy meets more people than I do.

He does say he’ll be able to walk around socializing on his new planet, which sounds like it makes sense until you realize that he’ll be one of only three residents and he’s known the other two for hundreds of years. Who does the fuck does he think he’s going to meet?

ALF, "Consider Me Gone"

Anyway, it’s time to leave, and Kate waits for everyone else to go to the car before she hugs ALF.

And…man, I have to admit, that was pretty adorable. It’s easily the most moving thing in the whole episode. Probably because Kate was so anti-ALF to begin with…and also because Anne Schedeen is a good enough actor to make us believe in this moment against our better judgment. I mean, I still don’t like ALF, and nothing would make me happier than to see him get bit in the throat by a rattlesnake the moment he steps outside, but that was nice.

It’d be a lie to say the show’s earned this moment, but it works well enough in isolation, and there’s something inherently sweet about two rivals setting aside their differences to wish each other well.

Except only one rival actually does that: Kate. ALF doesn’t do jack shit; he’s just some asshole moving away. But, whatever. Don’t take this away from me. I need something.

Kate leaves, ALF stands in the dark for a while, and then he bitches, “Four years and they give me a stick.”

They sure did, ALF, you ungrateful dick. Now go fuck yourself with it.

ALF, "Consider Me Gone"

Then we get an establishing shot of the Capitol Building in D.C., after which we cut to the Alien Task Force. So…is the Alien Task Force operating out of the fucking Capitol? Is it underneath it in some kind of bunker? What the…

…okay. Okay. It’s ending, Philip. Let it go. Let it happen.

If the Alien Task Force wants to operate on Capitol Hill, it can operate on Capitol Hill. Don’t ask questions. Let this show end god dammit…

ALF, "Consider Me Gone"

The idiots we’ll never see again say that they cracked the code: it’s an alien alright! Which they probably should have determined before they spent literally all day monitoring an innocuous ham radio signal on the opposite coast and let it go, Philip, let it go, let it go please, the show is ending, let it end…

Unfortunately Admiral Halsey couldn’t get a berth so he can’t go to sea. He tells his staff to notify LA and have them intercept the alien space craft that’s coming. So, I guess Edwards Air Force Base will be handling this after all? Edwards isn’t in LA, but it’s close enough, and I’d sooner believe that than believe there’s another branch of this pointless, wasteful government agency in the city proper.

The DC guys say that the alien is going to rendezvous with some other aliens at 2400…but that’s wrong.

Skip and Rhonda specified midnight, and midnight is commonly referred to in military time as 0000. I’ve heard people use 2400 before, though, so I’ll let it pass. What I won’t let pass is the fact that Skip and Rhonda meant midnight in LA, which isn’t 2400 or 0000 for the guys in DC. For them it’s 0300 the next fucking day. And since this very episode opened with jokes about timezones you’d think this would factor into what’s happening in some way LET IT GO PHILIP GOD LET IT GO PLEASE

ALF, "Consider Me Gone"

On the way to the rendezvous point, ALF says he needs to pull over and take a shit, and Willie tells him to suck a dick. I love that even as he’s saying goodbye to this guy forever, Willie can’t bring himself to be anything but an asshole.

All he wants is to be free of ALF forever, and he’s as good as there, but he still has to act like a jerk and ruin the farewell. Come to think of it, that might not have been in the script. That could easily have just been Max Wright, who treated his own farewell to ALF the same way.

We cut to the Alien Task Force again — the DC one, even though we established that LA is handling this, let it go Philip — and see Skip and Rhonda approach on the radar. Actually, we just see them represented by a big yellow smear, so as you can guess that’s really thrilling to watch.

Why did they bother establishing the DC branch of the Alien Task Force if season five would have kept ALF with the LA people anyway? Why not introduce them properly in order to ease the transition into season five? Why are we showing one group of agents working to capture him just so we can replace them with a completely different group of agents at the end of the episode?

Then we see some government guys staking out the field where the Tanners pull up, and they talk in exaggerated Texas accents even though we’ve established LA is handling this Philip let it go.

ALF, "Consider Me Gone"

If that’s the midget, he’s in the most horrifying ALF suit yet. Holy Christmas dammit.

I don’t know. The camera is too far away and it’s much too dark to say for sure, but this might not be an ALF suit at all. It could be that larger, standing puppet from “Tonight, Tonight,” which would mean Paul Fusco is operating ALF from a big hole in the ground. How much restraint did the crew demonstrate by not burying him alive the moment he lowered himself in?

ALF tries to steal the VCR or something. Willie bitches for a while about how ALF only “had two suitcases” when he arrived, which is bullshit on several levels; we’ve seen loads of Orbit Guard boxes and his spaceship was so full of junk we were still learning about all the shit he salvaged instead of his family even late this season but let it go let it go philip this is not important let it go

Anyway, this is it. The big finale that was intended to be a cliffhanger. Again, a “To be continued…” notice was displayed when “Consider Me Gone” first aired, which suggests that the show wasn’t officially cancelled until after that.

I’d imagine that the cancellation came through pretty soon afterward, though, as season five would have required all new sets and actors in addition to the scripts, and I’ve never heard anything about any of those things being developed.

Being as that stuff would have needed to start pretty far in advance to have a brand new season shot and edited by the fall premieres in September, it’s safe to say that ALF was axed very soon after this episode traumatized every young fan it had.

ALF, "Consider Me Gone"

We watch the Tanners hug ALF in complete silence for like two fucking minutes.

I don’t even mean “they don’t talk.” Well, I do mean that. But I also mean there’s no music or anything. No sad soundtrack. No wistful reprise of the main theme tune. Just…nothing. Like the episode wasn’t finished being edited.

We just sit and watch unbroken footage of sequential hugging. Why? Was the episode that fucking short?

Then the family all runs away and we see a spotlight on ALF. It’s Skip and Rhonda! Yay! ALF is going home!

Except that some vans approach, and Skip and Rhonda implicitly say, “Fuuuuuuuuuck this.” They fly away without him as the government closes in. In another nice callback to the pilot, members of the Alien Task Force are biologically incapable of looking up, so nobody notices this.

I love that the entire episode is about ALF reconnecting with these two assholes who just fly close enough to give him the finger and then tear off into the night.

ALF, "Consider Me Gone"

Then we get the funniest damned moment in the entire episode: Brian panics when he sees the Alien Task Force surrounding ALF. He says, “Dad, do something!” And Willie shakes his head no.

It’s a fucking riot. I’m sure it’s not an intentional joke, but the fact that Willie’s response to someone yelling for help on ALF’s behalf is just, “Nah, I’m good…” is a perfect end to the series as far as I’m concerned.

ALF, "Consider Me Gone"

Anyway, they got ALF. And that was the last scene so I’m done.

That’s all I was contracted to do. You want more, do it yourself.

*storms off*

*gets in car*

*pulls into traffic without looking*

ALF, "Consider Me Gone"

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22 Responses

  • adam says:

    Thanks for all the reviews.

  • Ryan says:

    Funniest ending to a review ever. I laughed out loud for a good 10 to 20 seconds there.

  • Stephen says:

    I was only like, 1 when the series ended. Didn’t really get into it until 2008-2009 and I bought the syndicated dvds then of course they released them uncut overseas. So I shelled out some money and got the European ones.
    I wonder if Lynn was reading off cue cards. She’s like “I was just a shy . . . awkward . . . little girl . . . with braces. But since then you have taught me that anything is possible . . . . . . . . . . . because of you . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I can no longer close my mind to new ideas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I guess what I’m trying to say is that no matter . . . . . . . .
    I am surprised they used helium balloons during ALF’s party, since this show took forever to shoot and helium balloons don’t last that long especially under hot stage lights. I guess that scene didn’t take too long to tape but the balloons looked kind of smaller at one point.
    I also like how they used different music for this episode, like the music when he sees the spaceship, an ominous electric guitar version of the theme song when the Task Force spots ALF, and something similar when it would show the outside of the garage but it was played on the sax, and the music when he tells Skip and Rhonda hes going. Then when ALF finally leaves the house, there’s a sad electric piano version of the theme song. All specifically composed for this episode.

  • James says:

    Thank you for all the reviews. Although some I may not agree with, I’ve always enjoyed reading your perspectives.

  • kristin says:

    Congrats on finishing the series. Gonna miss these reviews every Thursday, but I’m ecstatic for Project ALF

  • Mark Moore says:

    Wasn’t there also some “adventurous” version of the theme music when they were driving to the drop-off point?

    Anyway, thanks for the reviews, Phil. :)

  • I can’t believe you stuck through this entire garbage show. What a trainwreck it’s been. I think the most depressing thing about this episode is how goddamned miserable all of the actors seem. They can’t even muster up happiness about this puppet-based hellhole soon being behind them. I can’t even imagine how soul-crushing the atmosphere of this show was. God bless those three sweethearts, and I hope Max Wright falls face-first into his collection of crackpipes.

  • RaikoLives says:

    Wow. What a lame ending. Like, even if it got resolved… that’s just so unexciting. I get that there was no budget for anything grand but… really? What did I expect, though.

    I know there’s all of the extra articles and the livestream AND the Project: ALF review left to go, but I’ll happily join the others and say thank you, Phil, for putting up with this shit for two years. I hope you got as much out of it as we did.

  • kristin says:

    Also, not like this is worth caring about (ALF’s over!) but I think it’s pretty funny how all four of the credited actors playing the Alien Task Force officers have had vastly superior careers to anyone in the main cast.

    Doug Ballard: 92 credits from 1984 to this day, including some very well-regarded films like The Dark Knight/Fearless
    Richard Fancy: Yep, one of those guys who’s been in everything, as you noted.
    Sherman Howard: Hundreds of credits and has been in everything ever. Like Fancy, he was on Seinfeld as Elaine’s dying ex-boyfriend artist Roy in “The Junior Mint”
    Larry Poindexter: He was only 29 in this episode, so of course he had time to escape the ALF slump. From his more recent roles, he had a part on that short-lived show “Selfie”. Eh… I mean, I’d still rather watch that than ALF.

  • “When I figured out much later that the dinosaurs all had last names that corresponded to modern day oil companies, I was thrilled.”
    OH MY FUCK, WHAT?
    OMG, their last name was Sinclair. This never registered with me because Sinclair Oil stations don’t exist on the west coast.
    Fuck, dude.

    “Prior to this we had no reason to believe that this organization had more than one location, which “Running Scared” established as being in / on Edwards Air Force Base.”
    Wait, I don’t remember that. Did they really have another location besides a shitty van that says “Definitely Not The Alien Task Force” on the side?

    “Col. Lippman says he’s going to cockblock ALF if it takes every last taxpayer dollar.”
    Fuck it all, is that what happened to the damn economy?

    “They don’t know what the signal meant. They say they still haven’t cracked the code. So it’s literally just a ham radio operator somewhere on the planet. Like, that’s it. That’s what they determined. They get excited because they established that it’s nothing to get excited about.”
    I wish they had found a numbers station. At least that would have been interesting.

    “She gives him her locket, which moves ALF deeply, in spite of the fact the locket never existed before and was only invented for this scene because there’s literally nothing else specific to her character that she could give him.”
    I fucking hate it when they pull this crap in tv and movies. Half the time, they had advance warning of someone leaving a show, plenty of time to establish that one character has a thing that they will end up giving to the person leaving. Instead, they pull something out of their ass and give it to the leaving character. “Here’s this thing we both know about that has sentimental value to me, but which has never been seen before, nor have we ever talked about it. But I say it’s an awesome thing to give up to this person now, so the audience has to believe it, too.” No. Fuck you, ALF. It’s the object equivalent of a Star Trek Redshirt: let’s introduce this person in this episode, establish that this person has deep connections to everyone on board, then we’ll senselessly kill them. That way, we can give our audience the feels without actually sacrificing anyone important.

    “LET IT GO PHILIP GOD LET IT GO PLEASE”
    Nooooo! Don’t let it go! Clamp onto that shit with your jaws and shake it like a dog with a favorite rag doll! Fling spittle on everything!

    Much like the locket, this show had ample time to introduce our guys at Edwards much earlier in the season, and then check in with them every now and again, maybe even just as tertiary characters. It builds the suspense across the season, and when he finally was supposed to arrive at the base, we would have already known them.

    “…members of the Alien Task Force are biologically incapable of looking up, so nobody notices this.”
    Big Al says that members of the Alien Task Force can’t look up.

    • Dan_the_Shpydar says:

      “Big Al says that members of the Alien Task Force can’t look up.”

      Hey Sarah, i already knew you were cool, but with this reference you are officially awarded like a billion extra Cool-Points*.
      .
      You’ve got red on you.
      .
      .
      .
      .
      *Cool-Points are non-redeemable, non-transferable and non-consumable. But should you decide to consume them, know that they taste like leprechaun-meat (a pleasant mix of rainbows and Guinness)

  • kim says:

    well, you have done it, you finally finished reviewing this show and for as much as you complained you hate this show, i didn’t think you were going to able to do it. even for a seasoned ALF fan it’s a big chore to do, so i really have to applaud you for that. so thank you for doing these reviews. holy shit, you liked dinosaurs too as a kid?! that as another among my favorites shows as a kid. i think it is good that you brought up dinosaurs for this review because both do have all a lot of similarities in being puppet based sitcom and both had you really bleak series finale ending. I do remember seeing the finale to that show when it aired and yeah, the rumors were pretty much true, the ending is really fucking bleak. i not going to say how it ends, if your that curious i suggest watching it for yourself.

    as for the ALF finale, i didn’t see it when it originally aired because i was only like 3 years old at the time, so i didn’t really see the finale until many years later then the rerun the show on a different channel and yeah, i will admit that finale made me angry because it felt like such a big slap in the face for us fans. they spent all of the episode building up the hope that ALF will finally get to go home and be with his own kind again,but instead at the last minute it was like “NOPE FUCK YOU”. seriously, this the worst ending you could do for this character, you don’t know if going to be alive or dead and now ALF has an even less change of ever going home and probably spends the rest of his life being miserable as a lab rat for the alien task force. for me, that is really being a too cruel to your own character, if your going make your main character the protagonist you got to give some small hope that they make out okay in the end,otherwise the audience is not going to believe in that character. in this finale, we don’t get that, we assume that now the alien task force as captured him, let’s it, there is no hope left for him.

    so yeah, the finale episode is really all over the place for me, i don’t really hate it, but i don’t really like it either. i do agree with you that some parts in this episode the make no sense to all the previous episodes and some the acting from the tanners feels too forced, but there are some nice bits in it too with ALF saying goodbye to the tanners, the piece of wood given to him from the day he crashed and kate hugging ALF, but that god dam ending….i get both sad and angry every time i watch it.

  • Justin says:

    The cancellation probably came pretty quickly after this, but Brandon Tartikoff apparently promised Paul Fusco a movie of the week special to provide some resolution, even if the series wasn’t picked up. Alas, it was not to be as he quit shortly thereafter and went to run Paramount. ABC, probably looking to make some quick cash (and to probably stop Paul Fusco’s annoying phone calls), agreed to do Project: ALF a few years later, but it was a train wreck and didn’t work particularly well, as you’ll see. Martin Sheen probably looks back on it with true embarrassment.

  • Willie the Pooh says:

    So all that there is left to do is the comics, toy and other ALF merchandise, ALF video game(s) watlkthrough, and go to Comic Con as ALF.

  • Dan_the_Shpydar says:

    Thanks for your tireless efforts and masochistic endeavors in reviewing this series, Phil. You sir, are a scholar and a gentleman. Or if not that, at least you look snazzy in your shirts from The Trevor Ochmonek Collection.
    .
    Also, when you have the time, seriously check out the finale episode of Dinosaurs. While the show was hit-or-miss (and usually just kind of “this show is okay, i guess”), the last episode is easily on the list of best series finales ever done, just for the fact that they fucking went for it.

  • lavalliere says:

    The end ? Why ? will you write about the movie “project’s Alf later ? Thank you very much for this extraordinary analysis(?) and writings about Alf. I’ll miss that.
    It was very GREAT !



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