Also? Funny. They have to be funny.
So, in an unaccustomed burst of brilliance, I decided to try out ALF. I remembered it vaguely from the late 1980's, when a neighbor of my parents (and their generational cohort) would watch it religiously and laugh himself silly; but I was in my 20's then and felt a little too cool for it.
I gathered David (16) and Brian (13) in the TV room for a screening last night. Oh, people, ALF was funny, all right. Brian enjoyed it outright, and I caught David laughing also. We watched the first 3 episodes and no one objected. Alf is the extra-terrestrial version of a Borscht Belt comedian. His timing is impeccable. The youngest kid is cute, but not so much that you want to stab him. The teen girl is not snarky, just pleasant. Granted, that last is not very realistic, but what do you want from a show whose main premise is that an alien life form is hiding out in the house of a very suburban family? And whose running joke is that he really wants to eat the family cat?
Also? The 1980's. The house is decorated in shades of blue and mauve, the teen daughter is wearing some sort of overalls get-up (when she isn't sporting her Laura Ashley dress), the phones all have cords on them, and no one has a personal computer. It's like time travel and a history lesson, all rolled up into one.
What was up with that blue-and-mauve thing, anyway?