Why was ALF on Mr. Robot? Recently, one of the series’ writers spoke with Vulture about the ’90s sitcom throwback in the most recent episode of the USA Network drama.
Created by Sam Esmail, Mr. Robot stars Rami Malek as a young computer programmer who is recruited by a mysterious, underground hacker society. The cast also includes Christian Slater, Michael Cristofer, Stephanie Corneliussen, Grace Gummer, Portia Doubleday, Carly Chaikin, and Martin Wallström.
Last week on Mr. Robot, fans were treated to a bizarre surprise—an entire third of the episode was filmed in the style of a classic TGIF sitcom. They went full Full House, featuring everything from a catchy theme song to a laugh track. The episode’s writer, Adam Penn, discussed the origin of the show’s concept:
The sitcom homage grew out of Sam stepping into the writers room and posing a pretty simple question: If Mr. Robot were to “protect” or “shield” Elliot from the pain of the real world, what would that physically look like? What makes up Elliot’s “happy place”? For many of us in the writers room — especially Sam — the classic American sitcom stands out as a sort of mental “comfort food.” Life may be chock-full of pain, tragedy, and anxiety, but families like the Tanners (of Full House) or the Winslows (ofFamily Matters) were there every Friday night, figuring things out together.”
He also revealed the theme song was written by Bennett Salvay and Jesse Frederick, who created the theme songs for Full House, Family Matters, and Step by Step:
I so wish I could take credit for writing the lyrics! But sadly, I cannot. In every aspect of the show, Sam is a stickler for details. Whether it’s a hacking sequence or an ’80s slasher B-movie, it needs to look, feel, and sound legit. So when it came time to put together the theme song, Sam reached out to Bennett Salvay and Jesse Frederick, the writers and performers on the original TGIF sitcom theme songs (Full House, Family Matters, Perfect Strangers, Step by Step). We had a few meetings with them in which we discussed the themes to touch upon in the song. They then presented us with some variations on lyrics, as well as a demo. Once all of the elements were agreed upon, Bennett and Jesse went off to record the final version which, in my opinion, is perfection. It takes me back to my TGIF-watching days, while also integrating shades that are uniquely Mr. Robot.”
Here are some clips from the episode below:
What do you think? Do you watch Mr. Robot? Did you enjoy the TGIF homages?