ALF was a cute, lovable alien and star of one horrifying sitcom. Maybe you remember ALF, and you’re thinking, it wasn’t horrifying, what’s this guy talking about? Some of you may remember the terrible finale that left our furry friend to be vivisected and experimented on, but I’m not referring to it. Nor am I talking about how horrible the show was for the cast. I’m not ever referencing ALF’s tragic back story or how he ate cats. No, the real horror of the show is racism.
Now I’ve probably really lost you. You probably can’t remember a single racist moment on that show, but I’m going to show you how every single episode showed just how racist the Tanner family really was.
This lovable guy is Gordon Shumway, but you probably know him better as ALF. Why did they call him ALF if it wasn’t his name? Because it stands for Alien Life Form, he wasn’t human, so they basically gave him a name that would remind them every time they talked to him that didn’t belong here.
He’s supposed to be a loved part of the family, but they can’t even call him by his real name. It’s not even really a loving nickname that he picked up, it’s the equivalent of calling your one Chinese friend “Asian Dude”.
Worst of all, Gordon has to take it. What is he going to do? He doesn’t have a home planet anymore. He’s on the run from a government that wants to “see how it responds to intense heat, freezing cold, high voltage, toxic substances, pain, sleep deprivation, inoculation [that’s needles], and, of course, dissection.” It’s not like he can just move out and get an apartment. He can’t really just throw on a disguise and walk around in public.
To look at it a different way, it’s a few years before the abolition of slavery. A young slave named Gordon escapes on the underground railroad. There is a posse in hot pursuit, and he spends his nights in fear until he finds the Tanner family. They invite him in and say they’ll protect him and help him along to the next safe house. Gordon feels so relieved, he’s finally found some nice white people who don’t want to whip him. Only, once he’s inside, he hears the doors lock. They never let him outside, and instead of calling him by his real name, they just call him “Negro” all the time. Now add a laugh track and you got a great sitcom.