ALF (1986–1990): Season 2, Episode 5 - Prime Time - full transcript

The Tanners get the chance to participate in a new TV ratings system. With clever arguments, ALF gets Kate to let him use the system. After learning his favorite programs might get canceled, ALF decides to tweak the numbers a bit.

And, uh,
with this remote control

you punch in your code numbers.

Then the people log goes on

and it records
who's watching what.

You see, from this data

you know,
we determine our ratings.


Big cat.

Dead cat.

Uh, yeah, well, um
if you have any questions

uh, just call the office

and, uh, ask for Louie.

Oh, I-I thought
your name was Ron.

It is.

Is he gone?

Yes, he..

What were you doing in there?

Looking for tomato paste.

I broke a tomato.

Hey, what's that?

A hook-up
for the shopping network?

It's a, it's a people log.

We've been asked
to become a Thompson family.

You're changing
your name to Thompson?

I just learned
how to spell "Tanner."

We're not changing our name.

ALF, this is
a Thompson people log.

It measures what we watch on TV.

Great! Now I'll finally
find out who's taller.

Me or Michael J. Fox.

Explain how television ratings
work, will you, Willie?

Well, uh, ratings are designed
primarily for advertisers

you know, in order to assist
them in their own in-the-house

research, they require certain

Never mind!

Okay, now,
every time we watch TV

we have to log in.

Now, does everybody
know their code numbers?

- Three.
- Two.

- Four.
- One.



Wrong again.

Kate, if you make me
guess every number there is

we could be here for hours.

ALF, that's not the point.

I think what Kate
is trying to say...

I know what Kate
is trying to say!

I'm an alien, not a foreigner.

Okay. I can't have a number.

Give me a letter.


That's two letters.

Just try to understand, ALF.

The operative word
in "People log" is "People."

One of which, you are..

That's cruel.

Not to mention
poorly constructed

from a grammatical standpoint.

ALF, we just don't think
that the ratings people

are interested in..

...viewers from outer space.

In other words,
the operative word

in "Thompson family"
is "Family."

One of which, I am not..

...part of...this one.

- You're one of the family, ALF.
- Oh, sure.

Like Arnold Schwarzenegger
is one of the Kennedys.

Why can't ALF have a number?

He watches TV all the time.

And the man
did say that everyone

who watches should log in.

See? They're on my side.

You know, Willie,
maybe ALF should have a number.

I mean, we do
have a responsibility

to give them all the data
as accurately as possible.

Yeah, and I love pushing
these little silver buttons.

Alright, ALF,
you're number five.

Just don't break that thing.

Kate, Katie, Kate o' nine tails

have I ever broken anything?

Well, lately?

This week?


Since lunch?

'Coming up next,
"The MacNeil-Lehrer report."'

'But first, weather maps
of developing nations..'

Why aren't we watching
"The Love Connection?"

We're waiting
for the "MacNeil-Lehrer Report."

Well, la-dee-dah.


I thought the popcorn popper
was broken.

It is. I popped this
with your curling iron.

I won't ask how you
melted the butter.

Hot comb.

You know, I thought
the whole point

of this ratings hoo-hah

was to find out
what people really watch.

Well, we really
watch MacNeil and Lehrer.

Oh, yeah? Describe them to me.


...they wear neckties.


...and they speak
in well-modulated voices.

'Yo, Tanners!'

'It's me, Trevor!'

Speaking of
"well-modulated voices."

Um, just-just a minute, Trevor.

ALF, go into the kitchen.

"Go into the kitchen.
Go into the kitchen."

As a woman,
you should be sensitive

to the demeaning undertones
in that remark.


You're betraying your sisters.

Hey, Willie. How's it goin'?

- Hello.
- Hi, Kate.

- Hi, Trevor.
- I was..


Is this one
of those box-things

that lets you steal cable?

No, of course it's not.

No, we've been asked
to become one of those

TV ratings families.

- No kiddin'.
- Yeah.

Well, that figures.

You got your two adults

you-you got your two kids,
you got your cat.

'You got your average height.'

You're the prototypical
American family.

Too bad this rating stuff's
a crock.

Well, why do you say that?

Because the best programs
always come in last.

Now, case in point..

"Here's Lucy Again."

You know the one where she moves
back in with her mother?

Who could play Lucy's mother?

I think they used
a fried wig on a stick.

And then there's that other
program that's on right now..

"Polka Jamboree."

It's like a Slavic "Soul Train."

Here. Dig.

No. No, no, Trevor.
Uh, uh, we'll tune in later.

Right now,
we wanted to check out

the, uh, rainfall in Sri Lanka.

Going on a picnic?


...uh, w-was there
something you wanted?

Oh, yeah. Heh.

Could you turn on our sprinklers
while we're gone?

Raquel and I are taking a trip
to the big apple.

Oh, New York.

No, Washington state.

Some farmer up there grew
an 80-pound golden delicious.

Well, sure, we'll be happy
to water the yard, Trevor.

Where's the control?

I don't have one.

I just hook up
my hose to your spigot.

Well, I should
have no problem, then.

I never do.

See you in a month.

"Polka Jamboree!"
Turn on "Polka Jamboree!"

Oh, why would you wanna watch
"Polka Jamboree?"

They're playing
"Cat Barrel Polka."

That's "Beer Barrel Polka,"
I believe.

They put beer in barrels?

Well, they take
the cats out first.

Makes sense.

We're here in the office
of NBC entertainment president

Brandon Tartikoff, talking
about the new rating system.

Oh, boy.

Brandon, what effect will
the new people log system

have on rating trends
as we know them?

Well, research
indicates, that, uh

younger viewers will be up,
older viewers will be down.

Females will be down,
males will be up.

Daytime down, late night up.

Large audience shows

while they'll still
have a large audience

may find
their audiences smaller.

Smaller audience shows
will have a larger audience.

Relatively speaking, of course.

But the most consistent
aspect will be

the total lack
of ratings consistency.

Which is, strangely enough
consistent with

what we've found to be
an overall...inconsistency.

If there's a quiz later,
I'm sunk.

I see one of the other networks
is throwing a couple of

new shows
at your Thursday night line up.

Uh, I believe
it's "Polka Jamboree"

and "Here's Lucy Again."

"Lucy" is always formidable

but we expect to do well.

As for "Polka Jamboree"

well, that was
offered to me first

and frankly, I passed.

Time's up already? Wow. Okay.
Brandon, thank you very much.

We'd like to thank
our guests, Brandon Tartikoff

and Spuds Mackenzie.
We'll see you next week.

'Oh-ho-ho! We're admitting it!'
We're insane!'

'And we eat spiders, but
you have to be insane to eat'

'spiders, right?
Oh, we're not dangerous!'

Then why do they have you
in that straitjacket? Ha! Ha!

'So don't be afraid to visit our
used-car emporium! Ask for..'

Hey! I wanted to watch
Crazy Steve

tear a drumstick off
that tarantula.

It's 3 o'clock
in the morning, ALF.

Well, what's time
to a spider, Willie?

Why is the TV in here?

'Cause I couldn't move
the refrigerator out there.

Don't touch that dial.

I love when you're assertive.

Go. Sleep. Now.

Well, can I just
ask one bedtime question?

Yeah, what?

I saw that
"Polka Jamboree" tonight.

It's really funny.

Why does it get
such crummy ratings?

For one thing..'s not
supposed to be funny.

What's the other thing?

Nobody watches it.

Next question.

I thought there was gonna be

one question here.

This is the bonus round.

What happens to a show
when it's ratings are bad?

It gets cancelled.

You mean, "Polka Jamboree"
could be cancelled?

We can only hope.
Goodnight, ALF.

Well, wait, wait!

If-if more people
watched "Polka Jamboree"

the ratings would go up, right?

Yes, but that..

...would take a miracle.

A miracle, huh?

Well, just call me
the miracle worker.

I can't believe you
and Mr. Ochmonek like this show.

It's so corny.

Well, one man's corn
is another man's pot roast.

With gravy and mashed potatoes.
Oh, Kate?

Kitchen is closed, and
please, turn that program off.

Gee. Talk about a one-two punch.

Should I stop breathing, too?

Oh, let him watch it, Kate.

That show is so bad

it'll be off the air soon,

Shows what you know.

Well, what does that mean?

Well, it means
your previous statement

reflected the sum total

of your knowledge
on this subject.

Oh, thank you.
Noah Webster.

"Noah" problem.

Thank you, thank you,
all my wonderful friends

out in polka land.

'Willie, can I
have an accordion?'


I have an announcement to make.

A dream of ours here
at "Polka Jamboree"

has finally come true.

According to the latest
Thompson rating

our show came in number one.

I did it! I did it!

I mean, uh..

Gee, how do you
suppose that happened?

How did you make
"Polka Jamboree"

come in first in the ratings?

What makes you think it was me?

In nine cases
out of ten, it's you.

Well, maybe
this is that tenth case.

- Is it?
- No.

What have you done?

Well, remember
that night last week

when you told me
to rig the ratings?

I never told you
to rig the ratings.

You didn't tell me not to.

You rigged the ratings?

Well, actually,
I hastened the inevitable.

"Polka Jamboree"
was ready to explode.

And you lit the fuse.

I called a few people
and encouraged them to watch.

A few?

Could you ask him?

How many people did you call?

A thousand.
Give or take a thousand.

And you say I use
the phone too much.

Hey, don't worry.
I did it during off-peak hours.

2:00 to 6:00 a.m.

And nothing outside
the 48 contiguous states.

How considerate.

Hey, my way of saying

"I know we're on a budget."

A thousand phone calls.

Give or take a thousand.

But you know, even 2000 people

wouldn't increase
the ratings that much.


Unless they were
each given a number

and logged into
the Thompson rating system.

But how-how did you get
the figures into their system?


I hooked the ratings box

to the transmission
on my spaceship.

Then I shifted into sideways.

I'm ready to talk
about those phone calls, now.

Aha! We're past
that point, Willie.

Aha! No, we're not!


ALF, what you did was illegal.

Oh, like I've been to law school
and would know that.

What you did was wrong, ALF.

Do you understand "Wrong?"

Wr.. The opposite of right.



Oh, ALF.
ALF, you bad, bad, bad jerk.

You loveable,
huggable, adorable jerk.

But bad, nonetheless.

Well, uh, what can I say, uh,
Mr. Welch, I really

I don't, I don't,
I don't have an explanation.

Yes, sir, I realize,
I understand, I turned down

uh, "Polka Jamboree"
in the first place

but let me assure you, sir,
that I..

Hello? Hello?

'Mr. Cosby on line one.'

Hi, Bill.
How are you?

Great episode last week
when Theo lost his comb.

I never, ever
thought he'd find it.

The ratings.

Yeah. Talk about a shock, huh?

Well, we knew we couldn't
be number one forever, right?

By the way, can you
play the accordion?

Sorry, just a thought.

You bet I'm gonna get
to the bottom of this.

And, Bill, thanks for
the Jell-O.

- Yes, sir?
- Send out a memo, Barbara.

I wanna develop
three new shows.

"Polka Train"

"The Days and Nights
of Molly Polka"

and something
with McLean Stevenson.

Right away.

What are you guys doing?

We'll work quietly.

Does this wastebasket go?

Does it have a peacock on it?

- Yeah.
- Leave it.

How about the, uh,
name plate on the door?

Take it.

Hey, wait a minute.

This is the guy who turned down
"Polka Jamboree."

That's why we're moving him out.

How about the lamp over here?

Mm-hmm. His new office
is too small.

Excuse me, sir,
you have calls waiting from, uh

"60 Minutes,"
"The National Enquirer"

and some guy named ALF.

I'll call them back
when I get a new extension.

If I get a new extension.

Uh, this ALF guy says

he's the one responsible
for the ratings.

- What line?
- Two.

Oh, and it was very nice
working for you, sir.

- I'm not out of here yet.
- Yeah, right.


Are you the guy in charge? fast.

I called to say I'm sorry.

I hope people don't lose their
jobs over this

Polka-get thing.

Yeah. Me too.

Well, they shouldn't.

- This whole thing is my fault.
- What?

See, I didn't want
"Polka Jamboree" cancelled

so I called a thousand people,
give or take a thousand

and then I hooked up
my transmission to the TV box

and shifted into sideways.

This is the "Letterman Show,"
isn't it?

No, it's ALF.

Listen, as long
as I've got you on the phone..

...can I pitch a wacky idea?

Why not?

Okay, now open mind.

Ordinary family, living a normal

suburban existence, right?


All of a sudden,
from out of nowhere

this spaceship crashes
into their garage, see?

- Spaceship?
- 'Yeah, yeah!'

And this loveable, huggable

adorable alien comes out.

Not in a million years, pal.
It's...too far-fetched.

So, um, what made you
change your mind

about being a Thompson family?

- Our cat.
- Big dead one.

He, uh, kept fooling around
with the buttons.

You sure that Louie wasn't
at the office when you called?

It's his day off.


Uh, just out of curiosity, uh..

Who, uh, chose you
as the typical American family?

- Computer error.
- Had to be.

Where does he get off saying

we're not a typical
American family?

Have you looked
in a mirror, lately?

Hey, think of me
as the son you never had.

We have a son.

Well, think of me as the son
you never wanted.

Well, son.. least we don't have to
worry about "Polka Jamboree"

being number one anymore.

Shows how much you know.

Enlighten me.


Well, I started a perfectly
legal letter-writing campaign

to save the show.

Uh, incidentally, next time
you're at the post office

would you pick me up
150 million stamps?

"Call number 462, 12 minutes"

to West Springfield,


"Call number 463, seven minutes
to Lansing, Michigan."

- Mea culpa.
- Call number 464...

- This is boring, Willie!
- I'm sorry, ALF.

Maybe I should sing them to you.

Maybe that would be
more entertaining.

Yeah! Yeah. I love the way
your voice cracks

on those high notes.

I'm doing this
to make a point, ALF.

When you've done
something really bad..

...then it's important
that you learn from it.

And maybe next time you'll be
able to use better judgment.

- Won't that be nice!
- Yeah, real nice.

Go back to the phone bill.

"Call number 464..

...fourteen minutes
to Bristol, Connecticut."

"Call number.."

"Call number 465

"twelve minutes
to Portsmouth, Virginia.

"Call number 466

'"nineteen minutes
to Paola, Kansas.'

'Call number 467.."'