The Tanners and Alf are the protagonists of this famous production of the eighties. Report by Santiago Garcia.
alpha means extraterrestrial life form (Alien Life Form in English) and the main character of this sitcom is an alien born in the eighteenth century on the planet Melmac. He must have unexpectedly fled from his place of origin when it exploded. His real name is Gordon Shumway and when his ship fell on Earth he did it in the garage of the Tanner house. Alf is short in stature with a large nose and a lot of orange fur. His favorite food is the cat, but once on our planet he will have to repress that instinct. The Tanners are Willie (Max Wright), Kate (Anne Scheden) and children Lynn (Andrea Elson) and Brian (benji gregory); and his pet, Lucky Cat.
The family quickly discovers that they must keep Alf hidden, since the government would use him for experiments because of his alien status and the media would go crazy with his existence. So Alf becomes one of the family and the hundred episodes of the series revolve around that crazy family interaction and the condition of a hidden character in the world. The biggest threat to keeping the secret is the neighbors, the Trevor Ochmoneks, Trevor (John LaMotta) and Rachel (Liz Sheridan). It is not easy to control Alf, prone to calling on the phone and interacting with radios, television channels and various organizations. The tendency to break objects and overeat is also his trademark.
alpha It perfectly represents the spirit of the eighties. The titles of the series are Alf himself putting a VHS cassette in the VCR and the family recordings are seen there. The world of cultural references of the show includes all the music, television and cinema of those years. But also a politically incorrect and borderline sense of humor. Paul Fusco, the creator of the series, had to fight against censorship from the television network on many occasions. When the character became the reference for children, the tendency to imitate his madness was increasing and some precautions had to be taken. But even so, there was room for Alf to perform a humor that today a family show would no longer have.
The filming of the series was very complicated. Paul Fusco himself is the voice of Alf and also the main puppeteer. Between several they handled the doll that generally appeared covered by some piece of furniture or element. When he appeared full body, something not so common, it was Michu Meszaros who was inside the suit. The technical difficulties created tension, and although the whole world enjoyed the series, making it was not so enjoyable. Also, obviously, all the best lines of dialogue were from the doll, which also hurt some egos. Paul Fusco tone down all the comments about the problems on the set, just admitting that it was difficult to shoot. When the series ended its fourth season with an open ending, none of the four main actors returned years later to work on the movie that served as a closing.
Some episodes became true classics. And dubbing has been so important in them that whoever watches the series today can see some episodes in the original language and others as they initially knew them. The episode where Alf saves the show from being canceled dance a polka It is one of those favorites of all. But there are also some oddities like episode two of season 2, in which, in a fantasy, Alf meets the castaways of Gilligan’s Island with most of its actors reprising their roles. But in season one, episode twenty-one, everyone went crazy with the song that is still in everyone’s head today: Yes, we’re talking about “Asparagus, asparagus…”, the song that Brian sings with a classmate in a school show. The two disguised, out of tune, achieved one of the unforgettable moments of the show. Another great chapter is the one in which Alf has the idea of writing a silent film and we see an entire episode in a parody format of a Charlie Chaplin film.
In episode nine of season 3, called changes (1988), Kate announces that she is pregnant. This event occurs in fiction to take advantage of the actress’s pregnancy in real life. Anne Scheden. She is pregnant for the rest of the season and in episode twenty-six Alf studies how to help with the birth by watching The Dick Van Dyke Show. The birth is in that same episode. The new member of the family is called Eric and for having just reached the end of season 3, many do not remember his presence in the series. Another predominant element is his speech of respect towards immigrants, obviously marked by Alf’s condition. Willie Tanner, after all, is a social worker, hence his patient spirit with the space creature.
By the third season the series was so popular that a cartoon series had already been created and also a Marvel comic. All this coexisted in parallel, so the presence of the character was total. In Latin America and Europe it was also all the rage, even after it was finished. Various dolls and figurines multiplied over the years. The telefilm that was made later, called alpha project (1996) was released in theaters in some countries. The absence of the Tanners, however, took away the grace necessary to conquer the public and not many know that it was connected to the timeline of the series.
When the last episode of the last season finished shooting, Max Wright went to his dressing room, took his things and no one ever saw him again. He was an enormous talent of his, because seeing alpha no one could suspect his bad mood. John LaMotta didn’t like the show either. Andrea Nelson and Benji Gregory dropped out of their careers shortly after the series ended and Anne Schedeen ended up quitting acting as well. Absurd and nonsensical, Alf today is still very effective with her humor. She has little sentimental moments but a stroke of irreverence from her always gets her back on track. She simple to see but difficult to perform. alpha It is a fundamental part of the history of television. Just by seeing an image of the series, a smile is already drawn on the face of the viewers. It’s never a bad time to return to this comedy without so many turns, as were the comedies of that time. As the protagonist himself would say, no matter how complicated everything is: “No problem!”.