Judge Jennifer Malkowski and Alf have at least two things in common: their sparkling wit and their ownership of Shelley Winters' Guide to Love.
Alf: "Well, I don't get it. Why keep spending money on something that
doesn't work and causes nothing but aggravation?"
Every person who has entered my room this week and seen Alf: Season Three sitting near my DVD player has become immediately ecstatic, gasping and pointing. "Alf!" they say, "Alf!" Alf, indeed. This was my nostalgic reaction as well as I remembered that wisecracking alien from the planet Melmac who crashed down to earth and took up residence with a straight-laced California family. Here are the 27 third-season episodes included here:
The nostalgic joy quickly faded about 20 minutes into the 550 minutes of Alf-age included in this third season set. The concept wears a lot better than the actual episodes, which are dry, standard sitcom fare. Some of Alf's lines are funny and dad Willie gets some laughs, but each episode is filled out with humdrum stories about daughter Lynn's boyfriends, mother Kate's pregnancy, or son Brian's fear of the dark. Then there are the wacky neighbors (one of whom is played by Liz Sheridan, who soon became Jerry's mother on Seinfeld), who mostly function as the people who are always on the verge of discovering Alf. Do we really need wacky neighbors on this show when Alf is basically the outer-space version himself?
Alf himself is by far the best part of Alf and a couple of episodes get some comic momentum going with his character. In Hide Away, he pulls of a funny parody of TV tough guys, prowling around his backyard and muttering, "Today is Friday. My name is Alf. I carry a bat." He later lapses into less brave monologues such as: "Steady, Alf, steady. Don't soil yourself." Tonight, Tonight is also a good one, employing a fun format for a clip show and offering up a montage of Alf breaking stuff. Alf's humor is too often like a corny old grandpa's, though, with jokes like, "Every sheik has a harem…it's considered chic. Ha! I kill me!"
Honestly, one can simply watch the Alf credits and get 90 percent of the enjoyment the show has to offer. This one-minute gem is a showcase for Alf in various states of motion and costume, complete with canned saxophone music. One can't help but crack up watching Alf limbo, try to eat the cat, and rock out in four separate clips with an electric guitar, a keyboard, a saxophone, and a cucumber-microphone. My personal favorite is a high-angle shot of Alf naked in an empty bathtub eating Kettle Chips. Oh, for the love of puppets.
Alf: Season Three is packaged a single thick case with an outer slip cover. The picture quality is about as mediocre as it probably was back then, with its washed-out '80s pastels coming through clearly. Dialogue is perfectly audible, but there are no subtitles.
There is only one special feature, but it is pretty creative: new footage of Alf hosting the DVD release. The schtick is that Alf is hosting his own satellite radio show—from an orbiting satellite! He cracks some jokes about Howard Stern and tries to order pizza while waiting for you to press the button for the episode menu. Alf will also remind you when prompted of what each episode is about. For example: "Oh, oh! Here's where Lynn and I have a falling out. It's a dramedy" or "In this episode, my guardian angel shows what the Tanners' lives would be like without me. Let me guess: boring!" It's a cute gimmick, but doesn't make up for the lack of any other extras.
One more charge: out-of-sequence episodes. Kate has her baby on the third disc, but is mysteriously still pregnant on the fourth.
Give us your feedback!
What's "fair"? Whether positive or negative, our reviews should be unbiased, informative, and critique the material on its own merits.
Scales of Justice
• Menus hosted by Alf
Review content copyright © 2006 Jennifer Malkowski; Site design and review layout copyright © 2014 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.