Follow TV Tropes


Characters / ALF

Go To

This is the character sheet for ALF.

Gordon "ALF" Shumway

The lovable main character of the show.

  • Adorkable: When he tries to help the family or understand Earth culture.
  • Advice Backfire: What usually causes his problems in most episodes.
  • Aliens are Bastards: Whenever he acts aggressive.
  • Aliens Speaking English: His entire species has a good grasp of English.
  • Amusing Alien: Why the audience loves him so much.
  • Anti-Hero: He has aggressive and rude moments.
  • "Ass" in Ambassador: In Project Alf he becomes the representative of Melmac.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Threaten his family and he'll threaten you. And in those moments, despite his having the appearance of a mutant teddy bear, he is surprisingly good at it.
  • Big Eater: He does have eight stomachs to fill.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: His species have 10 vital organs. Eight of which are stomachs.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: He was formerly the captain for the Bouillabiasseball team back on Melmac. He was also in the Orbit Guard, Melmac's military force. Which may explain why in the pilot, he recognized military garb on humans. He's shown to be reasonably capable as a member of the guard in the animated spin-off, which goes to show what Alf is capable of, if he truly wanted to apply himself.
  • Advertisement:
  • Butt-Monkey: At times. Usually it's from his own mistakes.
  • Catchphrase: Haaaa! I kill me.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: By Earth standards he comes across as his.
  • Covert Pervert: Knows a lot about human anatomy than he lets on.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Apparently, Alf is powerful and stealthy enough in his crazed state in the episode Wild Thing that he manages to successfully hijack a tiger from a zoo. While on a lawnmower. And then brought it to the Tanners' home and stuffed it into their garage without anyone seeing him do it. Bear in mind, most tigers go about seven to ten feet long and weigh in excess of four hundred pounds on average. Then compare that to Alf, who's about three feet tall, if not shorter. And probably isn't more than a hundred and ten pounds soaking wet. Makes one wonder just what Alf might be like if he applied this strength and stealth while in his normal mindset.
    • This was also the episode where it was revealed that Alf can do flawless imitations, when he does pitch perfect impressions of Brian, Lynn, and Willie, all in the span of about a minute. Needless to say this particular ability completely freaked the Tanners out, and they were already worried for/about Alf due to his psychological shift, which Alf himself claims would make him potentially dangerous till it wore off.
    • Alf also displays telepathy as part of a Brick Joke that ran throughout the episode. It is never explained if Alf can access any of these abilities outside of the crazed state he enters every 75 years.
  • Advertisement:
  • Deadpan Snarker: The majority of his jokes come from this trait.
  • The Dog Is an Alien: One time he pretended to be a dog in order to fool humans. The surprising thing? It actually worked.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: In Project Alf he avoids being killed by the Big Bad, becomes the representative of Melmac, and gains acceptance from humanity.
  • Hidden Depths: He's a very talented musician.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Beneath all the snark is a guy who deeply loves his surrogate family and laments the destruction of his planet.
  • Hypocrite: Claims that he is fully capable of cleaning up his own messes then relies on the family to help bail him out of trouble.
  • Idiot Hero: He does more bad than good throughout the entire series.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: One of the main reasons he's forgiven by his actions.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Feels this way about Lynn.
  • Innocently Insensitive: He often insults people accidentally.
  • It's All About Me: Sometimes he only worries about himself too much. This may partly stem from his situation; he's one of the last of his kind, and has next to no real freedom of movement, sometimes even in the house itself, due to fear of being taken into custody by the Alien Task Force. Occasionally subverted, however, when he'll spend an episode trying to help someone out. Usually the Tanner family, and often with hilarious results.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He can be a real jerk, but he does love his family. Goes to great— and often odd— lengths for the Tanners. He's especially close to Brian and has a very weird mix of brother and surrogate son relationship with Willie. If either of these two are in trouble, Alf will pull out all the stops to come to their aid, even if it means going against his own nature to do it.
  • Karma Houdini: Sometimes he doesn't get punished for his mischief.
  • Kick the Dog: More like "kick the cat". He casually reminisces about his cat kills.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Overcomes his hate against cats after adopting a Cute Kitten.
  • Last of His Kind: Subverted. He is believed to be the last of his species until it's revealed that other Melmacians escaped the explosion.
  • Lazy Bum: Does nothing to help out the family. Justified since he is an alien, but that's no excuse since he creates messes at their home.
  • Lovable Coward: He has a tough time handling his problems and hides behind his family.
  • Made of Iron: Survived a space crash, a car crash, and a kitchen explosion.
  • Manchild: He's over 200 years old and still behaves like a 5 year old. May be justified due to the trauma of being one of the last of his kind, a fact that he seems desperate to forget as much as possible.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Most of the time he causes the problems of the show. He even screws up when he tries helping his family out of easy problems.
  • Not Me This Time: Some episodes will have the family blaming ALF for something he didn't do, all while he tries to clear his name.
  • Pet the Dog: He occasionally looks out for his family and does come through when they need him.
  • Shrinking Violet: According to Alf, he's this by Melmacian standards.
    "It was a planet full of game show hosts."
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Apparently, he was known as Mr. Science back on his planet.
  • Smug Snake: Can be selfish at times.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Has a moment with everyone.
  • Too Dumb to Live: It's amazing he's even alive after all the crap he's pulled. A particularly infamous example of this happens in "Try To Remember", where he tries to fake the feeling of a jacuzzi by taking a bath with an electric mixer. Naturally, he zaps himself, and gets amnesia in the process.note 
  • Took a Level in Badass: He fought off a giant cockroach in La Cucaracha.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: In the last season.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Started out hating humans and condescending towards Earth concepts, but grew to accept and appreciate it over time.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: While ALF will eat just about anything other than spinach, Alf mentioned his favorite food is cat and he desperately craves it, but he seems to have adjusted comfortably to pizza, sandwiches, cheeseburgers and fried chicken.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Subverted. He comes across as this a lot of times, but he really is grateful to the Tanners for saving his life. This comes up in several episodes, including one where, thinking Willie was either being mistaken for a criminal (or possibly that he had been a criminal leading a double life), Alf did his utmost to keep Willie from being captured by the police. A case of Poor Communication Kills meant this didn't come off the way Alf intended it to until he finally explained himself near the episode's climax, but the Tanners were extremely touched by the lengths he went through to keep Willie out of jail once they understood what he was trying to do earlier in the episode.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: He is usually sympathetic, but sometimes he doesn't apologize.

William "Willie" Francis Tanner

  • Beware the Nice Ones: When pissed off he can get very intimidating.
  • Bumbling Dad: Zig-Zagged. Willie is generally pretty competent, but having to cover for Alf tends to make him look stupid to others.
  • Butt-Monkey: Usually the one who suffers from Alf's mischief. It's common to see Willie have his dinner stolen by Alf or get forced to pay hefty bills for Alf's TV watching and clumsy damage to the house.
  • The Chew Toy: Is constantly annoyed by Alf.
  • Deadpan Snarker: What makes his character funny.
  • Good Parents: With Kate.
  • Happily Married: With Kate.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's only this towards Alf.
  • Large Ham: ALF! What you did was WRONG! WRRROONNNNG!...wrong.
    • "You're STALLLLLLLLLLLLLL-ing!
  • Only Sane Man: Compared to Alf and everyone around him, he's the only one to think rationally. Though this is occasionally subverted when he sometimes seems to go off into weird tangents and the rest of the family (sometimes including Alf himself) have to get him back on track again.
  • Serious Surrogate Father, Wacky Surrogate Son: Crossed between this and Big Brother Mentor to Alf, who never quite gets over the Culture Clash between Earth and Melmac. Willie has his silly moments as well, and Alf, of all people, sometimes has to point out these moments. Given their usual relationship, this actually makes those moments much more hilarious.
  • Tranquil Fury: He tries his best to hold back against Alf. And that's saying something.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: The ugly guy to Kate's hot wife.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Occasionally this with Alf on those occasions when the two are arguing or Willie is upset with Alf. However, the two will always back one another up when in trouble.

Kate Daphne Tanner

Lynn Tanner

Brian Tanner

  • Flat Character: Receives the least character development out of every character.
  • Morality Pet: For Alf.
  • Nice Guy: Treats Alf with respect and kindness. Because of this, he's probably the closest to Alf in the family, and Alf genuinely reciprocates Brian's kindness and respect, jumping to Brian's aid whenever the need arises, which just feeds into their mutual respect and friendship. The two are quick to come to one another's aid or defense if accused of something, and Brian's behavior goes a long way towards helping Alf settle in. In many ways, Brian treats Alf as a kind of elder brother, despite the fact that Alf often does strange things and occasionally gets Brian in on the act, though Alf has always been careful never to put Brian in harm's way due his unfailing kindness towards the Melmacian.


Mrs. Raquel Ochmonek

Mr. Trevor Ochmonek

  • Drop-In Character: His main role.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Has shown to sometimes think along the same lines as Alf, such as the time when both of them thought someone in the neighborhood was building a nuclear weapon in their basement.
  • Jerk Jock: He tends to have his moments, but these also tend to be the result of him telling stories of his behavior in high school.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Takes whatever opportunity he can get to say snarky things, but he's always tried to do the right thing.

Dorothy Halligan Deaver

  • Widow Woman: Lost her first husband before the start of the series.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: