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Five Ways 'ALF' Paved the Way For 'Ted'

The alien from Melmac was the pre-eminent furry house guest in the 1980s, and as he returns to Hub TV, his legacy is readily apparent on the big screen.

Alf Ted Split - H 2012

There is a moment in Ted, the smash hit Seth MacFarlane furry comedy that won the box office this past weekend, in which star Mark Wahlberg yells at his childhood plush buddy, "I should have just gotten a Teddy Ruxpin."

It was a cruel taunt, especially since the parallel between 1980s childhood toy Ruxpin and the film's sentient teddy bear hangs heavy over the film. But if Wahlberg really wanted to antagonize his feisty, furry friend, he might have instead compared him to ALF.

ALF, the titular star of a four season NBC sitcom in the 1980s, was an anteater-like alien from the planet Melmac (where he went by the name Gordon Shumway). And just like Ted, he's making a mark right now in the zeitgeist, thanks to a new set of short scenes shot for The Hub's exciting upcoming "weeklong" celebration of ALF from July 16-19. And for all the praise being heaped on Ted, it's obvious that ALF made him possible.

Here are five ways that ALF paved the way:

1. Ted is a heavy drinker and drug user. In the first season of ALF, creator Paul Fusco had the alien sling back beers and burp on the regular. NBC eventually requested that the character be more family friendly, but those seminal episodes stand tall in the land of substance-abusing furries.

2. Ted dates a woman named Tami-Lynn. ALF had a long-time crush on the teenage daughter of the beleaguered family with which he lived. Her name? Lynn.

3. ALF had a special season three clip show in which he replaced Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show and tangled with Ed McMahon. Ted appeared on The Tonight Show in the film, and was called antisemitic names by McMahon.

4. ALF was often kicked out of the house, forced to live in the garage; Ted was kicked out and forced to live in a grungy apartment.

5. ALF was chased by the Alien Task Force. Ted was chased by Giovanni Ribisi... who also starred in Avatar, as a guy very unconcerned with the fate of the Naa'vi people (who were aliens, to him).