Watch Teenage James Van Der Beek in Surreal ’90s TGIF Comedy ‘Aliens in the Family’

james van der beek 1996
The Jim Henson Company

The impending premiere of Disney Channel’s “Girl Meets World” on June 27 has us feeling nostalgic for the halcyon days of ABC’s “TGIF” line-up, when shows like “Boy Meets World,” “Perfect Strangers” and “Full House” captured the cultural consciousness with wholesome storylines and family-friendly laughs.

One TGIF show you probably don’t remember is a short-lived sitcom called “Aliens in the Family,” arguably a precursor to ABC’s equally surreal sci-fi comedy “The Neighbors.”

The plot revolved around single dad Doug Brody (John Bedford Lloyd), who was abducted by a spacecraft one night and subsequently met single alien mom Cookie (Margaret Trigg). Naturally, after such a romantic meet-cute, the two fell in love, got married, and tried to live a normal life on Earth as a mixed family with their five kids, three of whom were created as puppets by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.

Despite that promising premise, the series lasted for a grand total of two weeks in the TGIF lineup before being pulled from air and burned off on Saturday mornings four months later.

Thanks to the magic of the internet, we’ve uncovered a truly spectacular clip that shows a pre-“Dawson’s Creek” James Van Der Beek in a very… memorable cameo.

Never has this meme been so apt. (Sorry, James.)

Update: Proving that he truly does have the best sense of humor in the business, Van Der Beek has opened up about his seminal experience on “Aliens in the Family” on his Facebook page, sharing the following tragic tale:

Thank you, Variety, for busting me with this fine sample of my very early work.

The best part about it, (aside from the hair, of course), was the job I had to turn down because I was contractually obligated to this gem – a scene in “The Devil’s Own” in which I would have gotten to improv with Brad Pitt and Harrison Ford.

This sitcom was so stellar it was pulled off the air after two episodes. I was in episode three. Too bad, too… I think I narrowly missed out on my first Emmy nod.

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  1. Alex says:

    Too bad I didn’t watch to much of the TGIF stuff. I could of seen… this. I was probably watching the X-Files or something.

    “We come from France.”

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