If you're going to watch an 80s sitcom about an alien that lives with a suburban family, you're probably not expecting anything too serious or dramatic. ALF is definitely a show that delivers on wackiness, but it's actually impressive how the show's writers managed to reach new levels of absurdity that no other sitcom has ever come close to achieving. Let's take a look back at some of the show's finest moments when the writers went completely and totally off the rails.
ALF Gets Amnesia, Assumes the Identity of an Insurance Salesman
When ALF gets loses his memory after an accident, he thinks he's an insurance agent by the name of Wayne Schlagel. The Tanners try to bring his memory back by telling him stories about things like his spaceship crashing into the garage and some of the adventures he's had while living there. When he tries to leave so he can go sell some insurance, the Tanners stop him and ALF calls the police because he thinks he's being held hostage. Of course, ALF's memory comes back just before the police arrive.
ALF Gets Addicted to Eating Cotton Balls
One of the biggest recurring jokes on ALF is that ALF's appetite often causes problems for the Tanner family. It's hard to find something that ALF won't eat, even if it's not actually food. Long before TLC had My Strange Addiction, NBC had episode of ALF where the plot involves ALF getting addicted to eating cotton balls because cotton balls are apparently highly addictive and intoxicating to Melmacian aliens. To help him break the habit, Kate and Willie host a support group meeting at their house. But since ALF is an alien and his presence needs to be kept secret, Willie has act as a stand-in for ALF during the support group meeting.
ALF Becomes an Minister to Avoid a Lifetime of Yodeling
A person becoming ordained minister in and of itself is not completely ridiculous. But when ALF is forced to become an ordained minister or be cursed to spend the rest of his life yodeling, you've reached a new level of wackiness. No, really, that actually is the plot of an episode of ALF. And since ALF has to officiate some kind of sacred ceremony in order to become a minister, he presides over a vow renewal ceremony for Kate and Willie. Because when you have an alien living with your family who's trying to become a minister, why the hell not have him officiate your vow renewals?
ALF Gets Into Ventriloquism
Since ALF isn't supposed to leave the house, he needs to do something something to occupy his time. But it just wouldn't be an episode of ALF if he decided to take up a normal, non-creepy hobby like knitting or watching even more TV than he already does. Oh, no. In the episode "I'm Your Puppet," ALF decides to take up ventriloquism and it goes about exactly as well as you would expect. ALF's new hobby ends up taking on a new life and makes the Tanners absolutely miserable. Kate and Willie end up having to call a psychiatrist friend of theirs who knows about ALF to help them out.
ALF Thinks the Tanners’ New Neighbor is Elvis
Not everyone is convinced that Elvis Presley died on August 16, 1977. When ALF reads a book supporting this theory, he completely buys into it. Since Elvis's middle name is Aaron and he was known as the King of Rock 'n' Roll, ALF immediately jumps to conclusions when the Tanners get a new neighbor by the name of Aaron King. Of course, nobody believes ALF's theory, which only makes ALF more determined to prove that Elvis is, indeed, living next to the Tanners.
Gilligan’s Island Crossover
Like any diligent TV viewer, ALF has his favorite shows. But most people don't get as enthusiastic about their favorite TV shows the way ALF does. When ALF gets hooked on watching reruns of Gilligan's Island, he decides to turn the Tanners' backyard into a lagoon so he can live the castaway lifestyle to its fullest. Of course, when Willie finds out what ALF has done, he orders him to fill in the lagoon. While taking a break, ALF falls asleep and dreams that he's stranded on an island with Gilligan, the Skipper, the Professor, and Mary-Ann, with Bob Denver, Alan Hale Jr., Dawn Wells, and Russell Johnson reprising their roles. ALF begins to realize that maybe being a castaway isn't all it's cracked up to be and at the end of the episode, ALF has moved on to his next TV obsession: Bonanza.
ALF Starts Selling Cosmetics
One thing the Tanners learn very early in the series is that living with an alien can be extremely expensive, especially as when they're as destructive and perpetually hungry as ALF. When the family gets frustrated with the endless expenses ALF causes, he decides to get a job. But what kind of job prospects are available to aliens who can't leave the house? Apparently cosmetic sales are an option! He becomes a sales-alien for Terry Faith Cosmetics and uses Willie's credit card to buy $4,000 worth of cosmetics to sell (without getting permission first, of course.) But when ALF hosts a Terry Faith party at the Tanners' house, it ends up being surprisingly successful and Willie gets all his money back, plus a profit.
ALF Writes a Soap Opera Script, Causes Family Dysfunction
If we've learned nothing else from the series ALF, it's that there are a surprising number of career opportunities, it's that there are a remarkable number of career opportunities for a housebound alien from another planet. In this episode, ALF is tired of having Kate's mother staying with the family and one reason for that is because he hates having to watch her favorite soap opera. ALF thinks he could write better scripts, so he gives it a shot, sends his script to the show's producers, and they actually film it. But when the family watches ALF's episode, they quickly notice some parallels between the episode's plot and their lives at home, which causes some tension between Kate and her mother.
ALF Manipulates TV Ratings
Television plays a major role in ALF's life, so of course, he really wants to make sure nothing happens to his favorite TV shows. When his favorite show, Polka Jamboree, is in danger of being cancelled, ALF figures out a way to manipulate the show's ratings and turns it into the highest rated program in its time slot.
ALF Sells Spaceship Debris, Buys a Ferrari, and Invests in a Mango Farm
Lynn really wants a car of her own, but Kate and Willie insist that she earn half the money for a car by getting an after school job. When ALF sees how hard Lynn has been working to balance school and her job, he decides to sell some debris from his spaceship since it's made out of gold and uses the money to buy Lynn a Ferrari. And while he's at it, he invests in a mango farm in Oxnard. Because what kind of self-respecting alien doesn't own some shares in a mango farm? Of course, everything goes wrong when ALF accidentally takes the Ferrari onto the freeway and decides to try to go check out his mango farm.