Fantasmas: Is Melf a Real TV Show?

Image Credit: Atsushi Nishijima/HBO

HBO’s ‘Fantasmas’ concocts a surreal world for the audience as we follow a character named Julio on his quest to find the oyster earring he lost the very day he bought it. Over the course of his journey, he crosses paths with all sorts of people, and the show takes detours from Julio’s arc to give us an insight into the lives of these characters. Apart from that, the show also invests in the arcs in the shows within the show. In the first episode, Julio comes across a TV show called “Melf.” Instead of simply mentioning the series and moving on with the main story, ‘Fantasmas’ takes a pause and presents the story of Melf. Interestingly, it has similarities with a real TV show.

Melf is Inspired by an ‘80s Sci-Fi Series

Much like the fictional world of ‘Fantasmas,’ the show within the HBO show is also fictional. There is no show named ‘Melf’ in real life, and the only episode that you can watch is the one Julio watches while on his Uber ride. The show’s basic premise is about a family who encounters an alien when he literally falls through the roof and into their living room. At the request of the kids, the parents decide to keep the alien, who turns out to have a liking for cookies and spaghetti. This premise is similar to that of a series named ‘ALF.’

‘ALF’ (short for “Alien Life Form”) premiered in September 1986 on NBC and ran for four seasons before wrapping up the story in March 1990. The series focuses on the Tanner family, who encounters an alien named Alf when he crashes into their garage after following a radio signal to Earth. The similarities between ‘ALF’ and ‘Melf’ show that the latter parodies the former, with even the names of the aliens sounding quite similar to each other. While Melf the alien loves cookies and spaghetti, Alf comes from a planet where they like to eat cats.

Julio Torres, in presenting a weirder version of our world seen through the kaleidoscopic lens of his unique perspective of the world, presents a weirder version of the story. One would think that an alien falling through your roof would be interesting enough, but the plot really takes a turn when the father falls in love with Melf. The show takes this further as Paul Dano’s character makes out with Melf in the closet, and their affair is caught by his wife. And then, it becomes a media sensation when the world discovers that a man has left his wife and kids for an alien. But that’s not the end of it.

The show takes it further by jumping a few years into the future and showing that the father and Melf’s relationship has endured. Then his daughter comes knocking, telling him about her engagement and that she doesn’t want Melf around for it. The whole thing plays out rather quickly and briefly breaks away from Julio’s story while also underlining the absurdity of ‘Fantasmas’ by giving the audience an absurd (though not unfamiliar) show within it.

Read More: Is Fantasmas Based on Julio Torres’ Real Life?