[[caption-width-right:240:"Hello, is this the Lucky Lantern? I would like to order some sweet and sour cat."]]

--> ''"Haaa! I kill me."''

The brainchild of puppeteer/producer Paul Fusco, Alf is the story of Gordon Shumway, a hapless '''A'''lien '''L'''ife '''F'''orm [[note]]Sometimes he was billed as an Alien ''Laugh'' Form[[/note]] who crash lands in the backyard of the Tanner family (no, not [[Series/FullHouse them]]) after his home planet, Melmac, {{e|arthShatteringKaboom}}xplodes. The original series lasted from September, 1986 to March, 1990, with a total of 102 episodes in four seasons.

As is typical of the AlienAmongUs plot, Alf has to deal with the particular protocols of living on earth. In a subversion, however, he is not depicted as particularly advanced or powerful. He's a little freaky teddy-bear monster, who is lazy, gluttonous, and tries to eat the family cat (cats were his home world's equivalent to chickens). He hides out in the attic, and makes no attempts to ever leave the house[[note]]Except for one time when he was driving a car.[[/note]], perfectly content to freeload off the family patriarch, Willie, and tease the NosyNeighbor Raquel Ochmonek.

The show unexpectedly ended on a season cliff hanger, with Alf being taken off to an undisclosed location by government agents. A later MadeForTVMovie would reveal the result and provide closure for the series. Despite being relatively formulaic, the show was original in many regards, and had a loyal following.

While viewers saw a delightful, lighthearted sitcom, the show is noted for having been very grueling for the cast, and a hotbed of tension and discomfort when the cameras were off. The technical demands of the ALF puppet required a myriad of trapdoors on set, which had to be reset many times during even a single scene. This led to the show being shot in a very halting, piecemeal fashion, with a single 30-minute episode sometimes taking 20-25 hours of studio time to complete. The effects on the cast were devastating; for example, Andrea Elson (Lynn) suffered from depression and bulimia during the series, while Max Wright (Willie), both physically exhausted and resentful of playing straight man to a puppet, reportedly [[LetUsNeverSpeakOfThisAgain left the studio immediately after the final shot of the series finale, without even saying goodbye to fellow cast members]].

An AnimatedAdaptation produced by Creator/DiCEntertainment and Creator/SabanEntertainment was broadcast from September, 1987 to January, 1989. It depicted Gordon's life on Melmac before he came to earth. It introduced Gordon's family members and friends, such as little sister Augie and girlfriend Rhonda[[note]]the latter of whom was first mentioned in the sitcom[[/note]] (both voiced by Paulina Gillis). A villain threatening Melmac was also introduced to add some tension. He was called Larson Petty (a pun on petty larceny). The show had its own SpinOff, ''WesternAnimation/ALFTales'', which had the characters as AnimatedActors performing [[FracturedFairyTale modernized versions of classic stories]].

There was also a comic book adaptation which tended to play down the sitcom aspects in favor of a lot of parody and a bigger sci-fi slant, giving Alf strange technological toys which would occasionally be useful but most often wreak havoc in unforeseen ways. In many ways, it seemed more inspired by the AnimatedAdaptation than the original sitcom, and would in fact often include stories set on Melmac, featuring many of the same characters as in the cartoon (most prominently the Shumway family). These stories usually included a framing story of Alf telling the Tanners of life on his home planet -- Willie and Kate, for some unexplained reason, found these {{flashback}}s incredibly tedious. Lynn was fairly indifferent to them, and Brian loved them.

Alf was voiced and performed by Fusco. Recently, the character has been resurrected in various capacities; in 2004, a late-night talk show format (called "ALF's Hit Talk Show"; it only lasted seven episodes) and in commercials during the late-1990s, most notably one for the long-distance service "10-10-220". [[http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/sony-pictures-animation-alf-jordan-kerner-paul-fusco-360011 There's also a feature film in the works.]]

!!The series provides examples of:

* EightiesHair: Lynn
* FiveFiveFive: The Tanners' phone number is revealed to be one of these, in "For Your Eyes Only".
* AliensSpeakingEnglish: They even have English names.
* AmnesiaEpisode: The very first season had an interesting variant of it, in form of a [[MultiPartEpisode two-parter]] ClipShow.
* AlienLunch: One episode shows that Melmacians ate a dish called "slime balls", which came in such flavours as "green" and "black cherry". Alf had one in his ship and it mutated a cockroach into a [[BigCreepyCrawlies Big Creepy-Crawley]].
* AmusingAlien
* AnAesop: In "Pennsylvania 6-5000", about nuclear disarmament.
** In "Hooked on a Feeling", ALF becomes addicted to cotton.
** In "Stayin' Alive", ALF launches a one man letter writing campaign against a company called SENDRAX, protesting its production of [=CFCs=].
* BigEater: All Melmacians, with a side order of ExtremeOmnivore.
* ABirthdayNotABreak: Melmac blew up on Alf's 228th birthday.
* BizarreAlienBiology: Melmacians have ten major organs, [[BigEater eight of which are stomachs]]. (They get denser instead of fatter.) And they have green blood.
* ChristmasEpisode: Two, one zany and light-hearted one in the first season, a considerably darker and somber one later on.
* ClearMyName: In "Looking for Lucky".
* ComicBookAdaptation: A long-running one, in fact.
* TheCouch
* {{Crossover}}: ALF (and Fusco, of course) appeared on ''Series/TheHollywoodSquares'' several times, even ''hosting'' a game, as well as ''Series/GilligansIsland''.
** And let's not overlook the biggest, [[AnimatedAdaptation cartooniest]], [[DrugsAreBad most Drugs-Are-Bad-iest]] [[WesternAnimation/CartoonAllStarsTotheRescue elephant in the room either]].
* DeadpanSnarker: Guess who?
** Also Willie, Kate, and Jake.
* DeliberateValuesDissonance: Between (Western) humans and Melmacians, especially regarding the edibility of cats. Lampshaded in "Looking for Lucky". Mostly PlayedForLaughs.
* DidntThinkThisThrough: Subverted in "Keepin' the Faith". Alf gets a job selling cosmetics, and buys $4,000 worth, thinking of how much money he will make selling them. In most works, this would result in AnAesop about counting your chicks before they hatch; however, with some help from Kate and Willie, Alf's idea goes through exactly as planned.
* TheDogIsAnAlien: ALF does this from time to time, with varying degrees of success. For instance, on one occasion, he's seen by a hobo who thinks he's a kangaroo... and promptly leaps off the train they were riding.
* DoNotCallMePaul: For some reason, Alf didn't seem to like the Tanners or other Earthlings call him by his real name of Gordon Shumway and in fact preferred that they call him "Alf".
* DoomedHometown: Melmac.
* DownerEnding: The aforementioned cliff-hanger was the end of the regular series. Those not aware of the TV Movie were basically left with the notion he had been captured, interrogated, dissected, and killed, probably in that order. It's even on a list of the worst Downer Endings compiled by a CRACKED website contributor.
* TheEighties
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: The first few episode of season one. Alf had a much deeper, gruff sounding voice and was a bit more competent and less of JerkAss, Lynn was slightly more ditzy and had braces, It was somewhat rare to see Alf and Brian separated; with a few exceptions, Kate was more antagonistic towards Alf—sometimes for no good reason—rather than just simply being strict, Willie was less bumbling and seemed to not be as big of a ButtMonkey, and the humor and jokes seemed more somber and slow-paced, rather than the DenserAndWackier show it evolved into.
* EveryEpisodeEnding: ALF laughing at the end of the closing credits.
* ExposedExtraterrestrials: Alf is smart enough to crack wise with the Tanners, but can't be bothered to put on a pair of pants.
* FakeHairDrama: Willie Tanner's mother wore a wig but never told him so he would not think less of her.
* FollowTheLeader: This is basically a comic version of ''Film/ETTheExtraTerrestrial'', including Alf's Earth name being derived from what he is.
* ForHalloweenIAmGoingAsMyself: He turned a party into a costume party, and invited himself. He even put a zipper on himself to make his appearance look more like a costume.
* FunWithAcronyms: Alf ('''A'''lien '''L'''ife (or '''L'''augh) '''F'''orm)
** This leads to a bit of FridgeLogic in RealLife: Fusco's puppet is named Alf. He insisted on it being addressed like any other actor. That means the puppet Alf portrayed the biological alien character Gordon Shumway, who was nicknamed A.L.F. by another character. This makes A.L.F. TheDanza.
*** Incidentally: Tommi Piper, the German voice actor of Alf, also dubbed Tony Danza most of the time.
* HoldingBothSidesOfTheConversation: In one episode, Alf manages to get himself into a situation wherein he has to (vocally) play the role of a hostage-taker as well as a whole bunch of hostages.
* HumanoidAliens: The aliens from Melmac look like a cross between dogs and aardwarks, and they also have a bit of Bizarre Alien Biology. But they still had a mostly human culture. And they could build spaceships, which could take them all the way to Earth.
* IChooseToStay: One episode had Alf's friends show up in their ship to pick him up. Alf decides to stay with the Tanners.
* IdiosyncraticEpisodeNaming: Song titles.
* IllNeverTellYouWhatImTellingYou: In "Promises", when Alf accidentally tells Kate and Willie about Lynn's continued relationship with Eddie.
* ImagineSpot: Happens in one episode when Alf realizes that he won't be able to stay with the Tanners once everyone gets older, and considers what his options might be. He does this four times: Staying with Brian (who unwittingly marries into a mafia family, ending with them calling a hit on Alf), Lynn (who marries a mime who doesn't provide much money and gives her imaginary presents), or Willie and Kate (who become increasingly senile and decrepit, forcing Alf to spend all his time caring for them and putting out kitchen fires), or live on his own (naturally, he ends up in a lab and treated as an animal).
* ItsAWonderfulPlot: subverted in "Stairway to Heaven". Alf finds that he and the Tanners would be relatively better off had he never crashed but he can't bring himself to go through with forgetting about them.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Alf.
* LameComeback: In "Something's Wrong With Me":
-->'''Dorothy:''' Thanks a lot, you hiccuping hairball from Hell!\\
'''Alf:''' Yeah? Well... you're a wienie!
* LampshadedDoubleEntendre: In "For Your Eyes Only", Alf tells Kate and Willie about his plans for their anniversary, but states that they're on their own when it comes to the bedroom, wink wink, nudge nudge.
* {{Large Ham}}: Willie frequently become one whenever ALF got him angry enough. "An ACCIDENT? YOU ALMOST KILLED ME, AND YOU SAY IT WAS AN ACCIDENT?!?"
* LastOfHisKind: Alf due to the explosion of Melmac.
** [[spoiler: However, there are other survivors, including his girlfriend [[Music/TheBeachBoys "Rhonda"]].]]
* LaughTrack: Considering how tedious production was, a live studio audience was out of the question.
* LeftHanging: Its cancellation made the last episode aired an unresolved cliffhanger, with Alf surrounded by government agents facing certain vivisection.
** Luckily the TV Movie solved this by having him rescued.
* MyFriendsAndZoidberg: At a party for Alf, Alf is grateful to all of his friends -- and Dorothy.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: In one episode, Alf finds a small alien larva alive in his stuff, and Kate sprays it with bugspray. This causes it to grow large enough to wear a sweater rather than kill it. What does Willie do? He uses up the rest of the entire can on the bug, with predictable results. [[spoiler: Luckily, perfume has the desired effect on it. Alf even tries to pretend he did that on purpose.]]
* NosyNeighbor: Raquel Ochmonek. Also serves as a DropInCharacter.
* ANuclearError: A nuclear war would not blow up a planet. Depending on scale, it could, however, turn said planet into a wasteland.
* APlanetNamedZok: Downplayed with Melmac, which is actually the name of an old brand of plastic dishware.
* ProperlyParanoid: In "Hide Away", upon learning that a house guest was in the witness protection program, ALF was worried that gangsters would attack the house. Turns out, he was right as he caught a member from the mob posing as an FBI agent.
* RealLifeWritesThePlot: Anne Schedeen's RealLife pregnancy was written into the show, leading to Eric.
* RearWindowWitness: In one episode, Alf (house-bound because he's an alien) thinks he witnesses a neighbour commit murder.
* RiskyBusinessDance: In "Looking for Lucky".
* TakeThat: In "Pennsylvania 6-5000", to UsefulNotes/RonaldReagan, who is portrayed as a bit of a buffoon.
** In "Prime Time," one is delivered to ''Series/TheCosbyShow'', which is portrayed as dull and unengaging. ("Great episode last week, when Theo lost his comb. I never, ever tought he'd find it.")
* TheTelevisionTalksBack: A regular occurrence on the AnimatedAdaptation. People even reach through the screen to grab the Shumways from time to time.
* [[TheyWouldCutYouUp They'd Cut You Up]]
* TimeSkip: In "Somewhere Over the Rerun" and "Promises".
* UglyGuyHotWife: Willie and Kate Tanner. Apparently, the kids more closely resemble the mother.
* TheUglyGuysHotDaughter: Lynn Tanner.

!!The comic book provides examples of:
* ActionGirl: Rhonda, at least occasionally.
* AnimalTalk: Occasionally used, since Alf is presented as [[SpeaksFluentAnimal Speaking Fluent Animal]], though it's made clear that every species of animal has its own language, and Alf doesn't know them all (he can't talk to dogs, or cats, for instance). At one point, he fails to communicate with an angry bear, because while he speaks the bear language, that particular bear speaks a dialect he doesn't understand.
* AmplifiedAnimalAptitude: To the point where most of the animals that appear in the comic (including Lucky) show human-like intelligence and can classify as {{Nearly Normal Animal}}s.
* BizarreAlienBiology: Unrestrained by a TV budget, the comic took this UpToEleven, revealing that Melmacians also become temporarily invisible if eating a sponge, exhale helium ([[{{Balloonacy}} making bubble-gum blowing a risky thing to get carried away with]]), their noses begin glowing with extremely bright lights if they get ''very'' excited, and every 75 years they go through a "shed cycle" wherein all their fur falls off and they're completely bald for eight hours before re-growing their fur through performing the "primal sneeze ceremony."
* BreakingTheFourthWall: Alf would occasionally directly address the reader or otherwise acknowledge he was in a comic, such as commenting how many pages there was left of a story, urging the reader to turn the page or mention back issues. Other Melmacians would do the same (primarily in the flashback sequences), but the humans were ignorant of the fourth wall -- the single exception was Brian, who in the later issues would occasionally join in on the {{Fourth Wall Observ|er}}ing.
* CatsAreMean: Though in the case of Melmacians they have a definite reason to be hostile. Lucky, as opposed to the TV show, was a NearlyNormalAnimal who could often be downright antagonistic -- though he and Alf did have an EnemyMine episode or two.
* ContinuityPorn: The comic series approached this. If any of Alf's strange abilities, habits or ailments, or any of the various things he brought from Melmac in his spaceship, were given any more than the merest passing of mentiones, you could bet that they would be brought up again in a later issue. Could double as ChekhovsGun, as the majority of them would either be or set off important plot points in the later stories.
* {{Crossover}}: The comic managed to take part in 1988's Creator/MarvelComics CrisisCrossover, the Evolutionary War. [[spoiler:The High Evolutionary warned ALF to stay out of his plans and not mess with human development.]] In the last issue, the very last [[BreakingTheFourthWall fourth-wall-breaking]] story, Alf got into an argument with Tom [=DeFalco=] about whether this crossover meant he was officially part of the Marvel Universe or not.
* {{Expy}}: The comics were ''full'' of them, with Melmac flashback stories often featuring Melmac versions of popular movie- TV- or comic book characters. Perhaps most notable were [[ComicBook/XMen The Uncanned X-Melmen]], Melmac's most popular superhero team, who appeared three times during the run of the comic and were even revealed having survived the destruction of Melmac.
* FieryRedhead: Kate had a much more explosive temper in the comic than in the TV show, to the point where she was the one Tanner family member who could intimidate Alf. It was often referred to as her "Irish temper."
** She seemed to have inherited her temper from Dorothy, who was even worse.
* {{Flight}}: By far the most commonly-seen of Alf's technological gadgets from Melmac was his anti-gravity belt, which enabled him to fly -- though he used it sparingly, because it ran on Melmacian batteries, which were hard to come by.
* GracefulLoser: A trait found in most Melmacians, as pointed out and shown several times. [[spoiler: Even when Alf's long-time girlfriend Rhonda ends up marrying Skip, there is no hard feelings from Alf's side -- he remains on the best of terms with them both and even performs the marriage ceremony.]]
* GrandFinale: Unlike the TV show creators, the comic creators knew that the comic was going to be cancelled with issue #50, so the last eight issues feature storylines or hints/clues that lead up to the GrandFinale -- one that had a lot in common with the last episode of the TV show -- Alf is in danger of being discovered and exposed, and needs to leave the Earth -- but featured its own twist on things, most notably a [[WeddingDay last episode wedding when Alf is revealed to be planning on marrying Rhonda]]. [[spoiler: Ultimately, the finale is subverted. The wedding is in fact between ''Skip'' and Rhonda, and when Alf said he was going to "marry" Rhonda [[ExactWords he meant that he was going to be the one to perform the ceremony.]] Alf does intend to leave the Tanners together with the newlyweds, but pulls off a last minute BatmanGambit that ends up discrediting the government agents that are after him, and continues to stay with the Tanners after all.]]
* LaserGuidedAmnesia: There were two Melmacian inventions that would cause this: The most commonly-used was the Milk of Amnesia, a drink that permanently erased memories. The less-seen one was the Time Capsules, small pills that would not erase memories but suppress them temporarily.
* MrFixit: Alf, as opposed to the TV show, is extremely tech-savvy and can fix or recreate a lot of hyper-complicated gadgets. He even managed to fix his spaceship (though without the proper power source he couldn't reach orbit with it). Occasionally overlaps with BunglingInventor, as his machines tend to do more harm than good.
* NakedPeopleAreFunny: Played with, occasionally, since Alf usually wears only his own fur (though on Melmac he, along with everyone else, is more often a HalfDressedCartoonAnimal. Surprisingly, Lynn gets this trope a couple of times too -- once with a SlipperySwimsuit-like incident (see the WardrobeMalfunction trope below) and once in the final episode when she's surprised by Alf while taking a bath.
* OcularGushers: Brian. Several times.
* OmniGlot: Alf, shown to be able to speak a lot of languages, including those of animals (excluding cats). His most used language, apart from English, was in fact [[Franchise/StarTrek Klingonese]], which was implied to be a sort of universal language -- at least Melmacians all seemed to speak it, as did several other alien species.
* PungeonMaster: Alf, much more so than in the TV show. Just about everyone else in the comic were pretty pun-happy as well.
* RunningGag: In the comic, the Tanners' garage roof kept getting wrecked, usually thanks to Alf. A couple of times he got his spaceship to fly, but couldn't get enough power to go into space, and he'd invariably crash through the garage roof. Other times the roof would be wrecked thanks to some Melmacian device, or when Rhonda and Skip dropped by for a visit. One "what-if" story taking place thirty years in the future showed that Willie and Kate had installed an automatic door in the garage roof, which according to Alf "really paid off."
* SymbolSwearing: Used occasionally, though for the most part the comic would go for a CurseCutShort thing, with any bad language being cut off -- usually by Alf, who would [[BreakingTheFourthWall inform them that this was a kids' comic]].
** [[Franchise/StarTrek Klingonese]] was represented in the comic by highly creative SymbolSwearing.
* ThemeNaming: Anyone and anything on Melmac that could have the syllables "mel" and "mac" in them, would have.
* ThreeShorts: A rare comic book example. Most of the issues would have three complete stories, and even followed the ABA format -- the first and last story would be set in present day with Alf and the Tanners, while the middle story would be a flashback story set on Melmac.
* UnwantedAssistance: Rhonda to the Tanners in the comic. She stayed with them a few times, and would always do her best to help them out, but as she was even less accostumed to Earth than Alf was, her attempts at helping always led to disaster.
* WardrobeMalfunction: Happens to Lynn in one story, in a variant of the SlipperySwimsuit trope. Alf, in order to stop Willie and Kate from going down the girl's throat about her new bikini being too revealing, sews a new, stylish and more modest swimsuit for her out of the seat-covers from his spaceship. Crisis averted — until Lynn and her classmates go to the seaside and it turns out that the Melmacian fabric can take fresh water without any problems, but dissolves completely in salt water.
* WholeEpisodeFlashback: About a third of the stories in the comic were these, set on Melmac and presented as Alf's stories told to the Tanners. These stories were either stories of Alf's own life, with the setting from the cartoon, or parodies of famous stories or historical events, starring an {{Expy}} of Alf (sometimes one of his ancestors).
* WorldOfPun: Melmac.