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STUDIO: Lions Gate
RUNNING TIME: 600 Minutes
• Animated Menus
• Episode Intros By ALF
It’s (insert lame ‘80s family sitcom) with a Muppet or it’s Unhappily Ever After minus Nikki Cox’s golden globes.
Max Wright, Anne Schedeen, Andrea Elson, Benji Gregory.
"So Lynn, you know I like to eat pussies, right?"
The Alien Life Form
A hip, furry, loveable alien with an appetite for cats named Gordon Schumway arrives on earth after his home planet, Melmac explodes. He’s adopted by a nuclear family named the Tanners and dubbed “ALF”, for alien life form. He then sets about cracking lame jokes and giving out “the lesson” every episode while constantly trying to fricassee the family pussy. Laugh track included at no extra charge.
"So tell me, kid, you ever fargled some Arcturian whifflesnatch? It’s glerforgnet let me tell you…"
ALF is the epitome of everything that you can possibly hate about sitcoms – particluarly ’80s sitxoms – period. The laugh track, the family values, “the lesson” taught every episode, the laugh track, the inane situations, the bad writing, the mugging for the camera, the cardboard sets and the laugh track. The only thing that this sitcom had over every other one of its day was that it tossed a wise-cracking puppet into the mix. The result: ratings gold and pop culture footnote status. Yet even though ALF possessed all of the things about a sitcom that shred the nutsack with a cheese grater, it also had a few moments; not many, but a few. The show could be counted on for a very occasional laugh amongst the general stupidity.
"Boy, these Earth toilets are roomy…"
This was the third of four seasons in the late ‘80s, and it seems that ALF himself was and is bigger than the show itself, as he spawned a couple of cartoons, a comic book, a TV movie and made innumerable appearances on other shows and commercials. ALF’s general appeal was probably more to little kids and Terry Schiavo as the humor and dialogue was generally on about a 4th grade level, and that’s just for the human cast members. Also, as far as I could discern, the show’s episodes were pretty compartmentalized, meaning that very little if anything story wise, moral wise or otherwise carried over from one episode to the next. Like many other sitcoms, the show was a continuity vacuum.
Some of the goings-on this season included Stop in the Name of Love, where ALF bestows dating advice to Lynn (Elson) during a date at a drive-in. In Do You Believe In Magic?, ALF makes Brian (Gregory) disappear with a magic kit he got by mail order. And in Like an Old Time Movie, ALF takes us on an imaginary ride in B&W as he imagines he and the Tanners are silent movie stars. There were also a couple of two-part episodes: Tonight, Tonight where ALF host The Tonight Show with Ed McMahon; and Turkey in the Straw, where the Tanners are invited to Thanksgiving dinner by their neighbors, the Ochmoneks. With situations such as these, sometimes ordinary or extraordinary, and by tossing in the occasions when ALF had the Alien Task Force breathing down his neck, you’ve pretty much encapsulated the show.
"So Max, don’t worry about that DUI thing. I know some people and the cop who arrested you was mysteriously vaporized recently…"
The show was shot in TV standard, and on tape, so it looks about as good as it possibly can considering. The sound is passable in Dolby 2.0 Stereo. As for the packaging, the cover art isn’t going to be winning many awards, but the thing that gets me about this set is the packaging. For a four-disc set, this thing is thicker than Encyclopedia Britannica. It has more unnecessary plastic than Joan and Melissa Rivers combined. Two words here, Lions Gate: slim case. Lastly, there are no special features other than animated menus with ALF hosting a satellite radio talk show and giving three-second intros to each episode. Only the most hardcore fans will probably be grabbing this set.