ALF Reviews: “Strangers in the Night” (Season 1, Episode 2)

ALF, "Strangers in the Night"

So I saw the thumbnail for this episode, featuring ALF in a dress, and I figured that this episode might fulfill the promise at the end of the pilot: Lynn was going to have a sleepover, and ALF was going to dress as a woman in order to remain undetected. Of course I don’t know why he couldn’t dress as a man, or even better just stay the shit away from the sleepover completely, but what do I know.

Anyway that’s not what this episode is about. Which is kind of strange, since ALF at a slumber party is about ten thousand times better as a plot contrivance than what we actually get here. More on that later, though.

The episode’s title is the name of a song, and looking through a list of ALF episodes shows me that nearly all of them are…or are named after a famous line in a song. It makes me feel conflicted, because somebody on the ALF writing staff cared enough about episode titles that, at the time, the audience wouldn’t even see that he or she adhered to this ongoing musical homage…which is kind of cool. But then it’s attached to ALF, which absolutely isn’t.

Anyway Kate asks if anyone’s seen her yellow ribbon, and ALF asks her what color it is. This results in the first instance of ALF’s “Ha! I kill me!” catchphrase, and I admire their restraint for waiting all the way until the first minute of episode two to assault us with that particular chestnut.

It turns out that ALF flossed with the ribbon, ruining it, because he’s ALF, and I guess he knows what flossing is but not what floss is. (Don’t think about that too hard. You will get hurt.)

ALF then demands that somebody go out and buy him popcorn, which reminds me of American Dad! In fact, it’s interesting to me how little American Dad! needed to twist the ALF formula to create Roger. He’s still an alien living secretly with a family, he’s still an annoying, selfish wretch, and he’s still prone to dressing up in silly outfits. The difference is that American Dad! is actually funny, which says a lot about the inherent promise of an ALF-like setup, and just how thoroughly this show bungles it. American Dad! didn’t need to parody ALF, it just needs to do it better.

Willie is going to work and Kate and Lynn are going to a bridal shower, so ALF volunteers to babysit Brian, as long as they leave him the key to the liquor cabinet. I’m convinced that this show didn’t intend to be so rapey, but Jesus Lord is this show rapey.

ALF, "Strangers in the Night"

It’s the same credits sequence as before, but it’s slightly more appropriate than it was in the pilot, because this time it doesn’t play while we’re supposed to believe ALF is dead.

I do want to take this opportunity though to talk about how much I hate it when they swap out the puppet for a midget in an ALF costume.

It’s just…weird. It feels strange to say it, because there’s an actual human being stuffed in there whereas it’s usually just a set of hands, but the full-body ALF suit just seems so lifeless. Look at the above screen shot. ALF’s face just kind of…hangs there.

I think it’s because Paul Fusco, the puppeteer, knows how to act like ALF. It’s his creation, so he can inhabit the character instead of simply moving his arms around and opening and closing a mouth. The midget, on the other hand, is some person getting $20 a day because he or she fits into the outfit. There’s no acting going on…they’re literally just taking up space.

It’s distracting because ALF’s puppetry is actually pretty good. He has these little movements and gestures that go along with his delivery, and it makes him feel like a character. A midget in a suit is just a midget in a suit. Nobody bothered to tell this person who ALF is, what he likes, how he behaves, or even how he walks. When the puppet walks (behind a countertop or something, natch) Fusco makes him bob up and down like a Muppet. But then we cut to footage of the midget, and ALF is suddenly just awkwardly shuffling across the floor with his head down.

It’s more than just a continuity issue…it’s the difference between ALF being a character, and ALF being a thing. I’m disappointed by this, for reasons I’d continue to discuss if it weren’t for the fact that this just showed up on the screen:

ALF, "Strangers in the Night"

There is literally zero chance of that being somebody’s real name.



Peter Bonerz.

Order a pizza right now and say that’s your name. See if anyone actually shows up to deliver it.

Peter fuckin’ Bonerz.

Anyway, The Peter Bonerz Alien Jubilee continues with the family calling Mrs. Ochmonek over to watch Brian while they’re away. This is because Mrs. Ochmonek is the only other character that exists at this point, but that does nothing to excuse the inanity of the premise. In the last episode they were worried about ALF even going near the windows because Mrs. Ochmonek might see him and call the Honor-System Alien Patrol; now they’re actively inviting her into the house where ALF will be dicking around unsupervised.

Doesn’t anyone in the family — literally anyone — have a friend they could call instead? Why would they ask their hated neighbor? In no universe does this make sense. If you’re writing the Batman TV show and you want to introduce the Joker to serve as a nemesis for him, that’s fine. That makes some kind of logical sense to the audience, even if it’s technically far-fetched. But if the next episode of the Batman show sees the dark knight inviting The Joker into his secret batcave to babysit Robin, you’re just not playing by the rules anymore. That’s insulting to anyone who tuned in.

ALF, "Strangers in the Night"

Willie sets ALF up in his bedroom. He gives him some comic books and a jigsaw puzzle to keep him occupied. ALF doesn’t understand the concept of jigsaw puzzles; he takes one look at the pieces and says it’s broken. Willie explains that he has to put it together, and ALF says, “Why? I didn’t break it.”

And you know what? That’s actually kind of funny. ALF misunderstanding basic concepts and things we take for granted is a fruitful vein for the show to mine. It’s a lot better than putting him in a dress and throwing toilet paper everywhere. I wish the writers took the time to come up with more things like this…to step back and look at some familiar object or concept from a new angle, and figure out a funny way for an alien to misinterpret it.

It’s funny when that happens. And it’s puzzling that it doesn’t happen more often. I’m not exactly sure why ALF‘s writing staff thinks it’s funnier that ALF knows all this stuff about Earth already. He’s not baffled by anything — anything but puzzles, anyway — and he’s not confused. He’s just an asshole. They might as well have made ALF some crazy hobo.

Willie makes ALF promise not to leave the room or let Mrs. Ochmonek see him. If that’s his concern, though, why didn’t he send Brian to her house instead? None of this makes any sense at all. They’re so worried about one specific thing happening, and then they go out of their way to make it extremely likely that that exact thing will happen. This is first-draft material, at best, and yet here it is on the screen. The writers didn’t give this crap any more thought than the Tanners did.

ALF, "Strangers in the Night"

Seinfeld’s mom arrives to watch over Brian, and Willie tells her to stay out of his bedroom, as though anybody would willingly enter the room in which Willie has sex.

Mrs. Ochmonek is excited because Psycho is on television tonight. ALF also told Willie he wanted to watch Psycho earlier as well. I didn’t mention it then because there wasn’t really anything to say about it…and, honestly, there never will be. It comes up again — very soon, actually — but it doesn’t go anywhere. And this is the episode in which ALF dresses like a woman! They seriously couldn’t tie that into the Psycho thing? How could you not tie that into the Psycho thing?

Something else I didn’t mention is that ALF narrates this entire episode in the past tense. It’s strange, because there’s no reason for this. Who is he telling the story to? And for what purpose? There are a few lame jokes sprinkled throughout the narration, but ultimately it’s just ALF, who is on screen, describing in a disembodied voice what we’re watching him do.

I get the feeling they edited the episode together, realized it was garbage, and then called Fusco in to record the narration as some kind of Hail-Mary gesture toward salvaging this mess. It doesn’t work, mainly because the writers don’t know any more than I do why the fuck ALF is narrating himself sitting on a bed.

ALF, "Strangers in the Night"

ALF hears Mrs. Ochmonek watching Psycho, which turns the plot momentum up from zero to…I dunno. Zero point zero two. He sneaks out of the room and we see him bracing himself against the wall as he walks down the corridor because the midget can’t see through the eye-holes.

Seriously, this show is terrible.

We also learn that Peter Bonerz thinks that the “reet-reet-reet” music from the shower scene plays all throughout Psycho, even over the long stretches of gentle dialogue. It’s bizarre. We keep hearing bits of it from the television, and there’s always that same music.

I mean, granted, it’s the most recognizable audio cue from the movie, but couldn’t you just play it once? We get the idea. We don’t even need to hear it, actually, since you told us what movie it was. It doesn’t matter if we recognize the music or not.

ALF goes back to his room, which means that entire scene was pointless and I guess the five seconds of Psycho he saw over Mrs. Ochmonek’s shoulder was enough for him and he’ll never mention it again. He orders a pizza over the phone because he ate the jigsaw puzzle and now he’s hungry again. So, yeah…remember that joke where he cleverly misunderstood the concept? We’re back in ALF territory now. I’m surprised he didn’t shit the pieces all over the carpet.

We do find out that the Tanners live at 167 Hemdale. So that should hopefully make up for a lack of Melmac Facts this week. We don’t hear anything about Melmac because the writing staff is already bored with the fact that ALF is an alien.

ALF, "Strangers in the Night"

ALF dicks around with the window and performs some unnecessary slapstick that culminates in him falling into the yard. Mrs. Seinfeld hears him fall, and she calls her husband and asks him to come over immediately, because she thinks someone is in the house. Quite why she’d arrive at the conclusion that someone was inside the house after hearing a sound from outside is beyond the reach of my feeble mind, but it makes as much sense as anything else has in this episode.

ALF, "Strangers in the Night"

Mr. Ochmonek shows up and they investigate Willie’s room. He goes into the bathroom and gets all giddy because the Tanners have a cushioned toilet seat. He delivers this line from the bathroom door, as you see above. Then he teleports to his wife’s side to deliver his next line. It’s not just lousy editing…it’s emblematic of just how carelessly this entire show is put together.

Anyway, he locks the window so that his wife shuts up and then he goes home.

The pizza shows up and something occurs to me: why are we spending so much time with this secondary character? She gets basically a whole episode to herself. It’s the second installment of ALF ever and we’ve already shoved the family aside to hang out with their annoying neighbor. Why in the world would they do that? I understand that shows like this — bottle episodes, two-handers, increased focus on a minor character — are pretty common, but how often do they roll them out for episode two?

ALF, "Strangers in the Night"

ALF climbs in through the cat-flap, and he steals the pizza that Mrs. Ochmonek leaves in the little window that looks into the kitchen. Nothing is happening.

Literally nothing is happening.

This entire episode is just ALF doing this minor shit while Mrs. Ochmonek walks slowly from one part of the room to another, reacting to missing pizzas and sounds outside. It’s like the “Invaders” episode of The Twilight Zone, as re-written by complete idiots.

And then, finally, ALF’s in a dress.

ALF, "Strangers in the Night"

There’s no reason for this to happen. How disappointing. It’s not tied into the Psycho motif, and it’s not so that Mrs. Ochmonek won’t recognize him or something. American Dad! puts Roger in disguises for a good reason. ALF does it just because lol transvestite.

I don’t understand this episode. ALF is in the bedroom, so he leaves to watch Psycho, but then he goes back into the bedroom without having seen it. He leaves the bedroom to get the pizza, but then he puts the pizza back without eating it and returns to the bedroom to put on a dress. Who writes this shit? Was it just a bunch of clips they edited together?

ALF, "Strangers in the Night"

Willie calls up and ALF dicks around on the phone. This entire episode is genuinely nothing but padding.

But then…

ALF, "Strangers in the Night"

…hey look! Something happens!

A prowler comes into the room, and that’s harrowing enough on its own — compared to the rest of the episode this is like watching the collapse of the World Trade Center — but on top of that I actually recognize this guy! He too was in Seinfeld, and Breaking Bad! Hooray! I get to mention Breaking Bad again!

He was the junk yard guy in that show, and he’s immediately the best thing about this episode. Of course, before his appearance the wallpaper was the best thing about this episode, so that’s not saying much.

ALF lays on the bed and watches him steal everything valuable in the room, which is pretty much the final word on ALF’s chronic worthlessness. The prowler sees him, though, and gets spooked and falls out the window. Why not.

ALF, "Strangers in the Night"

Willie and the rest of the family come home, and for some reason Willie gives Jerry’s mom a shoulder rub. What is it with the creepy touching that this show treats as totally normal?

She talks about how strange the night was, and in retrospect despite the fact that there was an alien in the house, it wasn’t really that strange. She misplaced a pizza for a while but is that really such a big deal? The way she’s reacting you’d think she spent the night fending off a horde of rapists.

ALF, "Strangers in the Night"

A policeman comes to the door with the prowler in tow. He says the guy turned himself in, and was ranting about there being a hideous creature in a blue dress in the house.

Everyone assumes it was Mrs. Ochmonek, so there ya go. All of the episode’s deftly spun threads finally come together.

Why does this even matter? If the crook turned himself in for robbing a house, that’s that. The cop isn’t going to take him back to the victim’s house because he said there’s some hairy guy living there. I don’t care if the crook said there’s a space alien in their bed. The cop is going to take him to jail…not help him confront the family about it. JESUS CHRIST this show.

I’m really hoping this is one of the worst episodes I’ll have to sit through. The pilot wasn’t that bad. Again it wasn’t very good either, but it was okay. It didn’t live up to its promise, but it had promise.

ALF ordering a pizza while an old woman watches Psycho doesn’t have promise. And yet “Strangers in the Night” still failed to live up to it.

For a show about an alien life form being hidden from the rest of the world, ALF sure is boring.

I blame Peter Bonerz.

ALF Reviews: “A.L.F.” (Season 1, Episode 1)

ALF, "A.L.F."
And so it begins. Welcome to my episode-by-episode revisiting of the entire series of puppet-based hijinx known as ALF. This episode actually surprised me in a lot of ways, not least because they bothered to show us ALF’s arrival and first night with the Tanner* family.

It’s not that I’m surprised because I don’t think it’s a story worth telling…I’m just surprised because the “origin story” in the first episode is a relatively recent phenomenon. There are exceptions — and this is obviously one — but going back in TV history just a decade or so will surround you with shows that don’t really have much of an ongoing story. Sitcoms in particular are designed to be hopped into and out of as you please, with zero to little knowledge of the characters required.

ALF is by no means being innovative by opening with a “here’s how they came together” episode, but it is at least in the minority for its time. I kind of like that.

Anyway, the episode opens with Willie Tanner and his wife Kate in the shed, playing with some dials that apparently do something that may or may not be the cause of a space ship crashing into the roof.

I don’t really know what Willie was meant to be doing in the first place, and I have even less of a guess as to what Kate was doing there with him. Is this some kind of advanced ham radio thing? I have no idea, but the space ship falls slowly enough — take that, gravity! — that the Tanner children come rushing into the shed in a panic to ask what’s very slowly tumbling from the sky.

There’s a crash and we get a shot of ALF unconscious against the hatch of his ship.

ALF, "A.L.F."

I found it funny, but the studio audience didn’t. I guess we were supposed to care about this, and worry about his health, but since the show is named after him and it’s followed by a credits sequence that shows him alive and well I can’t really say that it generates suspense.

Actually, here’s a question: was there a studio audience? All the puppetry and midgets in full-body suits suggests not, I guess, but who knows. Maybe they staged as much as they could for an audience. Either way, ALF’s dead and nobody cares.

ALF, "A.L.F."

We then get a credits sequence with a theme tune (no lyrics, sadly) that I remember surprisingly well. The credits involve ALF running around the house with a camera, so that he can record footage of naked Kate for later batin’.

I realize now how little I remember about these characters, even though I’ve probably seen every episode of the show. I guess they just weren’t that well-developed. I remember ALF, of course. And I remember Willie’s strained line deliveries that made it sound like every word was going to be his last before he died of a heart attack, but I don’t know anything about the daughter talking on the phone in the closet, the son who hugs ALF, or the wife with the glorious wet tatas.

Anyway the credits end with a genuinely nice effect of ALF fogging up the camera lens with his breath. I like this, because it’s an actual piece of puppetry magic. It’s not as great as Kermit riding a bike or anything, but I do like it when you see something like this as a grown up and think, “Huh. That must have taken some thought.”

I probably won’t be saying that much throughout these reviews.

ALF, "A.L.F."

The credits of a healthy ALF scrapping around the Tanner home end, and we see a cold-cocked ALF being laid out on the coffee table like a corpse. I’ve never experienced such tonal whiplash in the space of a single credits sequence before.

Everybody wonders what this creature is, even though it obviously crashed a space ship into their shed while they all watched it happen, which should pretty much establish beyond the shadow of a doubt that it’s an alien. Willie finally says “It’s an ALF,” and Kate asks him what that means.

Willie then does something that I absolutely can’t stand, though it happens all the time on television: he replies to her question by simply repeating, “An ALF.” Then he has to dance around it verbally for a bit before he reveals that it stands for Alien Life Form.

The reason I hate this isn’t because it’s not realistic…it’s because it is realistic. I hate it when people use some phrase or terminology you don’t know, and when you ask them to explain they just repeat it. I know they do it on purpose. They do it on purpose because they want to make you feel stupider while they explain something to you that you never could have known in the first place. Willie you piece of shit.

Seriously, though, I really hate that. If you’re ever in a situation in which somebody asks you to explain what you mean, actually take a second and explain it. Don’t be a dick and just repeat the same fucking thing again. Especially if there’s a concussed alien in your living room and you really should focus on that instead of making yourself erect with how superior your vocabulary is to your wife’s and kids’.

ALF, "A.L.F."

There’s a really weird moment then when ALF wakes up and we see the Tanner family through a fish-eye lens. Does that imply that this is how ALF sees everything? And if he’s opening his eyes, shouldn’t they see that? They keep discussing him like he’s dead, but he’s obviously looking at them at this point.

The fish-eye lens suggests at least a small attempt at visual artistry. Similarly, there was a nice diagonal angle on the family from above when ALF crashed earlier. It’s the sort of thing I expect we won’t see much of as the series goes in, since they would have had to crank out an episode for each week after this point, and would probably have had to rely on the standard sitcom blocking of the time. For now though, it’s a nice peek into what the ALF crew would have done had they had more time for each episode.

And what they would have done is make everyone’s face hilarious with a fish-eye lens.


ALF wakes up and there’s actually a pretty funny exchange. He chastises Willie because his driveway needs more light and Willie apologizes and says he knows but he hasn’t had enough time to take care of that. I’m sure you’re laughing just reading about it. (I really did like it though. Why won’t you believe me?)

It’s here that I’m a little thrown by ALF’s voice. I guess Paul Fusco — the puppeteer and creator of the character — needed a little more time to settle into the voice as we remember it. This sounds a lot deeper than I remember it being, more like a kid trying to sound like a grownup than any actual character in its own right.

Anyway the Tanner adults don’t want ALF in the house and ALF — whose ability to speak English doesn’t seem to be of all that much interest to anyone — says he’ll leave if they can fix his space ship. Then he asks if he can eat their cat, and they say no. He disappears into the kitchen, the cat runs away, and ALF says, “He’s a fast one, I’ll give him that.” The audience applauds. Of course they do.

ALF, "A.L.F."

ALF awakens the next morning spent from a long night of fucking Willie’s wife.

No, actually she sees ALF and screams, and then he screams, and then they’re screaming together, which you have to see to believe because seriously, that like never happens!

Willie comes in from the bathroom to ask his wife what sex feels like, and ALF follows Willie back in to watch him shave.

Where was Willie all night that ALF could just sleep in his bed without anyone knowing? Where did they want ALF to sleep? And wouldn’t they want to keep an eye on him? He already wants to eat their cat. What if he killed their kids?

Who am I kidding. Nobody cares.

Willie tells ALF to keep his distance while he’s in the house, and to try to act considerate. ALF immediately picks up some shaving cream and shoots it everywhere.

I’m not even sure if that was meant to look accidental. I have a feeling this exact situation is going to play out a lot as we go on. ALF is told not to do something, ALF immediately does that thing, the audience applauds.

ALF, "A.L.F."

Willie strips naked in front of the alien, because that’s a wise thing to do with a creature you’ve never seen before and in the first episode of a family sitcom.

ALF pretends not to admire Willie’s willie. Seriously, ALF sure likes looking at naked people. He and I might have some common ground after all.

Willie tells ALF not to go near the window, because their neighbor Mrs. Ochmonek is very nosy. ALF immediately runs to the window and starts making silly faces while Willie washes his legs and genitals.

ALF, "A.L.F."

It’s a stupid scene that involves Mrs. and Mr. Ochmonek being lamely rude to each other, but it at least held my attention because I couldn’t place where I’d seen Mrs. Ochmonek before. After a while I realized it’s the woman who played Jerry’s mom on Seinfeld. And then I realized I wouldn’t have anything to say about that observation, but I’d make it anyway.

ALF, "A.L.F."

Willie comes out of the shower and asks ALF for something he can dry himself off with, so ALF runs over to the toilet paper holder and unspools the entire roll. This isn’t because he’s still learning Earth customs; he’s just a dick.

In the next scene, Willie is on a ladder attempting to fix ALF’s space ship. So, wait. They left the space ship on the roof all night? They’re so worried about ALF going near the windows because their neighbor might peep, but the space ship just sits out in the open for even passing drivers to see?

ALF isn’t helping Willie, despite the fact that he’s the only entity in the house that has any experience with the machine and none of them think that might be valuable during the repair process, so he goes inside to watch Sesame Street with the boy Brian.

This I actually kind of like, too. By acknowledging the Muppets, ALF is tipping its hat toward some real-world inspiration. Elsewhere in the episode the characters reference Harry and the Hendersons, E.T., and Mork and Mindy, all of which were obvious inspirations as well. I think that’s actually pretty cool.

What’s not cool is the way ALF touches Brian:

ALF, "A.L.F."

Jesus that’s off-putting.

ALF’s bad-touching is preceded by him plying the boy with alcohol.

Not kidding. He gives Brian a beer, and Kate walks over to tell ALF that’s wrong. She doesn’t have anything to say about the overt molestation though.

Isn’t this the worst possible thing to normalize in a family sitcom? It’s terrible.

ALF pets and squeezes the boy while he begs her to let him stay, and I know it doesn’t look that bad in the screen shot, but in moition I swear to Christ it’s the most uncomfortable I’ve ever been watching television outside of The Top 50 Funniest Rapes on TruTV. ALF’s a sicko.

Anyway there’s a knock at the door, and everyone runs around panicking. It’s some guy in a military uniform who patiently stands outside while they look out the windows at him and worry loudly about what to do for around ten minutes. He doesn’t even knock again. He’s just standing there waiting to deliver his lines. How long do you think you’d stand unmoving at a door after knocking? If it’s anything less than a day and a half you’ve got this guy beat.

ALF, "A.L.F."

They finally open the door after hiding ALF by asking him to step four inches to his left. Fortunately the military guy never thinks to turn his head, and their ruse is successful.

He introduces himself as being from the Alien Task Force, so now you finally know what the ATF does all day. He says he’s received reports that the Tanners are housing an alien, and then he describes ALF’s appearance.

Isn’t it a little odd that a government agent just went to a civilian’s house and blurted out the fact that alien life existed? Earlier in the episode Willie wasn’t sure that aliens were real, but now this guy not only knows they exist but he knows what they look like.

I just find that really strange. It would sort of be like a government agent knocking on your door right now. You open it and he says there’s an escaped leprechaun in town and gives you a description, and wants to know if you’re hiding it. Wouldn’t that be the single most bizarre thing you’ve ever been through? You’d think he was mentally ill.

He asks Kate if they are harboring an alien and she says no, so he leaves. Good to know that the Alien Task Force operates on the honor system. Seriously, he never comes back. Problem raised and solved in the course of one line. Again, so much for tension.

And wait a minute…doesn’t the Alien Task Force guy see the space ship on the roof either? Why am I the only person in the world WHO CAN LOOK UP?

Anyway, the episode’s over. It might as well be. Willie took a shower and Kate answered the door; where else could this story possibly have gone?

ALF, "A.L.F."

ALF wanders into the shed and uses Willie’s ham radio to place a distress call. He tries to reach some of his old Melmac-mates, but they don’t respond. That’s fine. In fact, I like that. But then some sad music comes on and he talks about how much he misses them and how much he likes his new family and how much he totally came inside the wife last night.

It’s a little weird that ALF is bearing his soul over the radio when he already knows nobody can hear him. It would be like you placing a call to somebody, and you profess your undying love for them over the recorded message that says you dialed wrong and to hang up and try again. ALF’s speech is a lot less moving when you realize he’s just an idiot.

The Tanners stand silently behind him and listen in on his literally one-sided conversation. They’re moved by his sincerity, even though all he did so far was wreck their shed, climb into bed with Kate, throw toilet paper everywhere and grope Brian, but then he mentions wanting to eat the cat again and they make angry faces.

The end.

ALF, "A.L.F."

Well, kinda. There’s still a short scene underneath the end credits that shows ALF telling jokes at the dinner table. Everyone in the family goes ga-ga over them, except for Kate who scowls humorlessly. I get the feeling I’m supposed to see Kate as some kind of fun-hating shrew, but honestly I’m on her side. Fuck this guy.

Everyone has apparently adjusted to the fact that they live with an alien now and always will, because they start discussing the logistics of Lynn’s pajama party next week. Did I mention Lynn yet? She’s the teenage daughter. And she’s having teenaged friends over.

ALF volunteers to dress up like a woman and everybody agrees that’s fine because now he’ll be forcing himself sexually on some other people’s kids for a change, and that’s something they’d like to encourage.

So, overall, this actually wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t great, and I probably wouldn’t even call it any good, but part of me wants to acknowledge that the setup is sound: an alien moves in. That’s not ground-breaking stuff, but it’s a solid premise for comedy.

The problem is that the episode doesn’t deliver on that promise or any of its inherent possibilities. It’s only been 21 minutes or so and the writers can’t think of anything for ALF to do but make a mess, so that’s discouraging considering we still have another 98 episodes to go. The potential conflict with the government would also be great, if the ATF didn’t just take your word for it that you’re not harboring sentient creatures from outer space.

I don’t remember the government thing coming into play much, but I was a kid the last time I saw this so who knows. Maybe it becomes positively riveting.

Or maybe ALF just chases the cat around and peeps on people in the shower.

I’m not a betting man, but if I were I know where my money would lie.

MELMAC FACTS: In this episode we learn that ALF comes from Melmac, that it had a purple sun, and that it exploded. It was also made of a substance called melmac. No idea if we’ll get many more Melmac facts in the future, but just in case, here’s where I’ll put them. You know. In case you ever want to write a paper about it.

* Yes, the Tanner family. At first I thought that Full House preceded this show, and ALF, knowingly or not, burgled the name. But no…this particular Tanner family predates Danny and his horde of imbeciles by a year. I knew this series of reviews would be educational.

Remember ALF? He’s back! In blog form.

Milhouse's Legendary ALF Pogs

Well, your votes are in, and the clear winner was ALF. Which, truth be told, makes me very happy because that means I get to give this blog post the BEST TITLE EVER.

Seriously, what was I going to call it if Gilligan’s Island won? “It’s Actually a Peninsula?” No. This is much better for all of us.

It also makes me happy because the more I reflect on ALF the more excited I am to revisit it. I’d say more now, but I might as well wait since I’ll be reviewing every episode of this stupid show between now and the day I die / get tired of this blog.

So, starting…soon(?) I’ll be reviewing one episode of ALF per week.

However, there was also a lot of interest in my “It’s Complicated…” approach, which would see me reviewing a show that I have a love-hate relationship with. And I admit, I kind of enjoy writing things like that too.

For this reason, I’m also going to plan on reviewing Red Dwarf in its entirety. I’m not quite sure how the scheduling will work out. Maybe I’ll do a season of ALF, then switch over to Red Dwarf for a series (they run from 3 – 8 episodes, so they’re not very long), and then back. But we’ll see.

So, yes. Thank you all for making your voices heard here and on Facebook. I’m hoping this can start next week, but no promises quite yet.

Get your alien puppets and dishes of cat meat ready. ALF‘s back, baby!!

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