Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014

‘ALF’s Special Christmas’ or The Most Depressing Christmas Ever Told

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December 16, 2010

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ALF's Special Christmas Special

It’s ALF!

Ah, Christmas. It’s a time for candy canes, fat jolly men dressed in red suits, and… little kids riddled with terminal diseases?! At least, that’s the premise for this ho-hum holiday special courtesy of an 80s era AIDS-phobic mentality and ALF’s need to consistently remind viewers that he’s the kind-hearted Homer Simpson of space aliens.

Ever since I was a kid, there’s been this love/hate relationship with ALF in which my memories of the show are always better than the actually quality of them. Granted, what kid wouldn’t love an over-sized, smart mouthed space alien from the planet Melmac who likes to eat kittens and cause unwarranted havoc on the poor Tanner family? Honestly though, ALF was kind of a jerk.

Despite this, I can’t help but to keep coming back every once in awhile for a little ALF “edumacation” and once I discovered that Lionsgate had been releasing episodes of Season 2 on Hulu (including ALF’s Christmas Special), I just had to take a dip in that furry kool-aid one more time. The result is a mixed bag of funny, folly and (at times) downright sadness. Now that I think about it, maybe most of my memories are of ALF: The Animated Series instead of the original show.

Anyway, ALF’s Special Christmas essentially follows the plot of any ALF episode wherein the furry alien biped ends up doing something mischievous before getting himself in trouble wherein he learns more about life on Earth and pulls at the heartstrings of Americana. In this particular hour-long special, ALF ends up opening all of the Tanner’s Christmas gifts only to re-wrap them and accidentally gets stuck in one of the boxes which is sent to a hospital for terminally ill children.

At the hospital, ALF meets a little girl named Tiffany who is (you guessed it) about to die. Of course, this saddens ALF and he decides to become friends in order to give this girl one last “special” Christmas. Moments worthy of a public service announcement ensue before the little girl dies and ALF’s ADD kicks in and he decides to try his hand at medicine by delivering a baby in an elevator. That’s right, move over Hugh Laurie, it’s ALF M.D.

All criticism aside, there are still a few nice messages that the special manages to touch upon and it’s definitely full of 80s nostalgia. If you need an ALF fix and its been awhile since your last hit, by all means give this one a try. Just don’t make it a habit.

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About Author

Rondal

Rondal is the Editor-in-Chief of Strange Kids Club and a creative instigator who tackles each day with Red Bull-induced enthusiasm and a mind for adventure. Rondal has written for other sites including Rue Morgue, Fuel Your Illustration and Bloodsprayer. His obsession with horror movies, 80s animation and action figures is considered unhealthy by medical professionals.

  • Glen

    Haha, I just watched this earlier in the week, it really is a very bizarre special. As much love as I and every kid of the 80s has for Alf, when you go back and watch the show now you can really see just how odd it was. And I don't mean because it was about an alien puppet; the show itself was just constructed so strangely. To put it bluntly, the quality is much lower than you remember it being when you were a kid, haha. You realize that watching the puppet move around was really the only draw of the show, (which makes sense because that's typically enough to keep any kid entertained.) So for them to jam such serious issues into this special really makes for a surreal experience. The subject matter seems so out of place, it really is like the show becomes a parody of itself. That having been said, the special is very entertaining, just maybe not for the intended reasons, heh.

  • Strange Kid

    You put it perfectly when you called it "surreal." It's definitely one of those strange nostalgic "habits" that I can't seem to kick. I used to have one of those Happy Meal puppets back in the day (baseball version I think)… man I wish I still had that thing.

  • Emily

    Ah, ALF. We were huge fans back in the day, in part because my dad found the show hilarious. Made Christmas shopping easy, since I could always, when in doubt, just get him another ALF t-shirt (actually, I can still do that now).

  • Andrew

    I wish there was a way to wattch just the ALF and Willie parts of the show those two were the best comedy team of the 80's their comedic timing is spot on. its just too bad the rest of the family is almost unwatchable.

  • Strange Kid

    @Emily: You'll have to let me know where I can find a good ALF shirt, preferably something retro.

    @Andrew: I have to believe that somewhere out there, a mega-mix ALF mash-up is floating around on Youtube. ;)

  • Geof

    I do remember seeing this on TV a long time ago and I had to repress it. It was the most depressing Christmas special ever. I just laughed my ass off when I read that you stated Alf was a jerk!!

  • Phil Skiles

    It gets me a little every time I see ALF’s heartbroken expressions when he overhears the doctor telling George that there’s nothing he can do to save Tiffany’s life.