A Gem Among the Rest

Christmas, as it has been for years, comes and goes quickly, often without a thought to Christmas movies and television specials of years past. We have classics, like Rudolph, Frosty, Charlie Brown's Christmas, A Christmas Story, It's a Wonderful Life, and Home Alone. These are shown annually and, with the invention of DVR, are hard not to miss.

Let's take a moment to look at one of the lost Christmas specials. It was a very special episode in season two of a television show that ran from 1986-1990. The show centers around this:

That's right. It's that loveable creature Alf!

If you don't remember Alf, IMDB describes the show as "A furry alien wiseguy comes to live with a terran family after crashing into their garage."

Alf was certainly a wiseguy. And he loved cats. He loved to eat cats and I believe almost every episode had a joke centered around Alf trying to eat the family's cat, or cook the cat. The Christmas episode even starts with Alf singing, to the tune of Twelve Days of Christmas, 82 different ways that he can cook a cat.

Okay. I stumbled upon the episode on Hulu.  I thought to myself, "I watched Alf as a kid but can't remember anything but his desire to eat cats. Let's take a look see at this."

I sat there for nearly 47 minutes and watched every single second of this episode entitled "Alf's Special Christmas." Let me tell you this much... It is very...special.

Special might not even be the right word. The entire episode runs a gamut of emotions. Not that the show is overly funny (looking back at it now, anyhow), but for a Christmas special it is not as hokey/corny as the 90's television that followed or the 70's specials that preceded it.

I'll warn you now. "Alf's Special Christmas" will bring you to your lowest of lows before lifting you up again. There is a very clear Christmas message here. As you watch, you will be fully aware that lessons will be learned about life, Christmas, love, being kind, and all that jazz.  As it is, the late 80's were apparently a very depressing time and the creators of Alf encapsulate all of the depression in this special episode. For a show I often considered as a family affair, this episode is of very adult subject matter. Nostalgia, growing up poor, death, loss of loved ones, a birth, and loneliness are all on the table in this Christmas episode.

Go watch it. Not for nostalgic reasons.  Or maybe for nostalgic reasons if you miss Alf. Or simply watch it (for free) if you are tired of the usually Christmas fare that is offered on television.

"Alf's Special Christmas" (and other episodes of Alf) are currently airing on Hulu. About half way through this viewing, I did find myself vaguely remembering this episode.

As a pleasant surprise, it has Cleavon Little in it, who you might remember from Blazing Saddles.  He plays one Mr. Foley, who kindly fixes up old toys and gives them out (as Santa Claus) to the children's wing of a hospital. How can you go wrong with that?


wessalley said…
I only remember Alf's pet and the love of eating cats... I guess Ill have to freshen up on watching Alf if I get any free time...
Jason Haskins said…
Definitely worth a watch, if even for a few minutes. If you haven't seen "Permanent Midnight" with Ben Stiller, watch that as well. Gives a small glimpse into where the idea of "Alf" came from.

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