Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Favourite Characters: His Heart is in His Head

Six parsecs past the Hydra-Centaurus Supercluster there's a purple sun shining on the rubble where a planet of highly evolved beings once lived. 25 years ago, in the month of Nathinganger, Melmac exploded, but the cosmos' loss was Earth's gain.

Former Orbit Guard Gordon Shumway entered our atmosphere at Mach 16 on September 22, 1986. Ten years and many hundreds of thousands of unusual meals, wild schemes, and uproarious wisecracks later, the U.S. government named him ambassador to Earth. Most just call him ALF.

Some aliens boast phenomenal powers, while ALF boasts.

Kal-El of Krypton may have laser eyes, but ALF has a voice that can stun anyone unconscious.

E.T. may have a healing touch, but ALF touches us all with the healing power of laughter.

Most people only remember ALF as that obnoxious puppet that ate cats. I remember how he hoarded lint and played bouillabaisseball. I remember how he was ashamed when he learned his parents were married BEFORE he was conceived. I remember how he spent hours on the phone urging Ronald Reagan to stop making nukes. I remember how he figured a tow truck was full of toes. I remember how he played Sancho Panza in dinner theatre on Melmac and encouraged others to be their best. If their best was making him a pie, then who was he to argue?

I love what ALF taught me about Certainty and The Truth. In episode 24, "Weird Science" ALF helps young Brian Tanner with a school report. Thanks to ALF, Brian is scoffed at for declaring the existence of two planets beyond Pluto. (This was 1987, Pluto WAS still a planet.) ALF, known to exaggerate the truth particularly when honesty isn't as funny, is blamed, but meant no harm: he's BEEN there. His Rand McNally Guide to the Stars shows 9 planets and a lot of little rocks including Dave, Alvin, and Alvin Heights.

I was raised with a lot of Certainty about the fundamental nature of life. I've found there may be more to The Truth than any one person can handle, and too much certitude can get in the way of new discoveries.

ALF is seen here with Paul Fusco, a human of little consequence.

Fusco claims ALF: The Movie is a likelihood, but where The Smurfs was undoubtedly awful, ALF will be undoubtedly awful and I will love it so.

Thanks, ALF, for being that terrible show that was MY terrible show.

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