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.