In September of 1986, a little network called NBC unleashed a hellish nightmare of a television show on its viewing audience. This show was “ALF,” and it brought with it a titular character/puppet that somehow manages to live on in some sort of cult-fandom purgatory. If you’re too young to remember the show, consider it a similar blessing as being too young to remember things like polio and the Red Scare.
Yes, “ALF” was a bad show. It was painfully boring, predictable, and featured the flattest characters you will ever encounter in a work of fiction. It’s a wonder that it stayed on the air for four years; after all, “ALF” was treading water around the same time that immortal shows like “Married with Children” and “Growing Pains” were tearing the airwaves a new one. Pitted against these juggernauts, the waddling-puppet antics of Alf (supported by the dead-eyed line reading of the Tanner family) is, in retrospect, downright embarrassing.
NBC could put one feather in their cap, at least: “ALF” was the first television show ever broadcast in Dolby Surround Sound. This is incredibly ironic, considering the best (read: only) way to enjoy this throwback show is by muting it and reading critical observations and wry remarks of a guy named Philip J. “Phil” Reed.
Phil is the creator of Noiseless Chatter, a blog-mo-site on the Web that serves as a receptacle for his hilarious ALF Reviews, among other things. But let’s not lose focus . . . we’re talking about in-depth, painstaking reviews of “ALF.” Dozens of them. (At the time of this writing, he’s reviewed almost every episode in the series.)
What would possess a man to spend hours of his life reviewing four years worth of the biggest, steaming dump that television has ever coiled onto the floor? While Phil declined to comment because we didn’t ask, we assume it’s because he’s a huge fan of “ALF” co-star and blithering incompetent Max Wright. (You may remember Wright’s work in…well, “ALF.” And he was in “The Stand” for a few minutes.) In all seriousness, Phil vivisects the show quite adeptly, and his cutting remarks about the show’s shortcomings are infinitely funnier than the show itself.
If you know nothing of Alf (the puppet) or “ALF” (the show), then I can’t imagine a better guided tour through its failures. For those of us who actually remember this creature polluting our TV sets, Phil’s reviews are a fantastic way to revisit the series and enjoy it as a subject of mockery and poignant analysis . . . the way aliens and other things that frighten and confuse us are supposed to be enjoyed.
Check out the ALF reviews on Noiseless Chatter!
All opinions are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Deck Ape...or anyone else. Arrr!