Season 2, Episode 7: Falling in Love Is…

Welcome back to the best little sitcom review blog in Texas! According to the DVD case, in this episode “[t]he laughing love god teams Balki with a gorgeous girl who has ulterior motives”.

Whoa, they just zipped right through the credits sequence on this one.  I wonder what they needed that extra 30 seconds for?

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Ah, it’s so Larry can get brutally put down by a woman.  Alright, I’m down.

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Meanwhile, Balki has fallen in love! That laughing love god didn’t waste any time, did it? The show works hard to make us believe that this Carol Mosley is hot stuff, hoping we’ll forget how well it’s telegraphed that Mary Anne (Sagittarius) is going to eventually be Balki’s girlfriend (or, as I imagine Balki would say, his “main squeegee”).  Balki talks about how he and Carol got close and bonded over a term paper.  Balki sings a song, and then Larry sings a song, then they both sing, and then a customer comes up and asks if they can just fucking get on with the show so we can actually see this “Carol”.

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And for once, Balki asks if someone can come over to the apartment, and because this involves wick-dipping, Larry’s more than happy to agree to the request.  He laughs about the boner Balki’s going to have.

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In the next scene, Larry describes how Balki’s supposed to let him know if he’s still being smothered by Carol’s beautiful American body: by using a system involving curtains and phone calls.  Geez, Cousin Larry, just tell him to hang a sock on the doorknob, or just do what he would do on Mypos (screw outdoors on the back of a sheep).  Balki has laid out all sorts of junk food for his hot date with Carol, including Zingers, Ding Dongs, wax lips, and Nik-L-Nips.  He even makes a joke about how he’ll get constipated from eating all that wax.  “No deposit, no return” indeed!

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Carol arrives, dressed for a night in the Theatre District.  Even without the DVD case, I could have told you this woman had ulterior motives.  Remember a couple weeks ago, how all Vegas women were prostitutes? If you see a woman dressed like a Vegas woman, but she’s outside of Vegas, she has ulterior motives.  Over small talk with Larry, she reveals that she has to take the American History class to get her high school diploma, and she seems really proud about this fact.  She knows that ABC executives have their hearts set on pairing Balki with a dumb blonde.  She even learned from Tina’s failure and used a mirror while putting on her makeup. You gotta go for broke if you want a recurring spot on this show. She even tries to get in good with Cousin Larry by playing to his dreams of being a photojournalist.  Can he get her into a modeling agency?

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See? She even brought her own catchphrase!

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Balki brings out the show’s very first product placement, which is the show’s signal to Carol that her one-episode contract was legally binding, and that it’s got better things to spend its money on. This is Carol’s cue to split with some bunko story about her mother being in the hospital.  Balki thinks it went well, but Larry asks him to check on whether his dick is still in his pants. Yes, but… Larry asks Balki if he can tell him what color Carol’s nipples were.  No, but… Larry asks Balki if he got to do that thing he wanted to do with the wax lips, where you know (complicated hand gestures).  No, but…

Balki’s just not getting it, so it’s story time. Cousin Larry tells a story about a girl named Misty who dated him just to get a good grade in math.  Do you get it now, Balki?

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Then Balki says “po po” a bunch, whatever that’s supposed to mean, and accuses Larry of trying to salt his game because he’s not getting any either.  But I really like where this episode is going so far.  Balki is legitimately being taken advantage of, albeit many months after the episode where Larry taught him how not to be.

Carol’s comment about how she’s nude when she’s not wearing any clothes has got Larry reminiscing about season 1, back when he had his own dreams, goals, and romantic pursuits.  But as any parent can attest, having and raising children often means you have to sacrifice your own wants to care for them.  So Larry sits on the couch and plays with the camera equipment he never uses any more, and if you ever wanted to know why he didn’t land that newspaper job in season 1:

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Balki comes in, saying he’s going to pop the question.  What? He’s going to ask her hand in marriage?

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Larry has to explain going steady, which I like.  We’ve had an honest, respectful exchange about use of the apartment, legitimate advice which the wide-eyed innocent character refuses to believe, and now actual explanations of things from Larry.  It still infantilizes foreigners (does Mypos not trade with any other county? I mean, they’d have to to not recognize being buttered up), but it’s a good setup so far.  Anyway, Balki wants to give Carol his grandmother’s pin, explaining that every firstborn Myposian son gives it to the woman who steals his heart.  Larry decides it’s high time that Balki learned a lesson.

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The lesson is that you’re not supposed to go 15 minutes into an episode of this show without either a third location or a physical comedy bit.

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And to add the list of things about this episode I like, I give you this image:

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Any gay joke I made would only detract from its perfection.  Anyway, Larry is trying so hard to convince Balki that he comes right up to the edge of being a jerk about it; but since his concern is so obvious, I’m really hoping that he doesn’t have to learn a lesson. Larry keeps Nana’s pin until Balki brings back Carol’s underpants, established by Sixteen Candles as the standard for proof of sexual congress.

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Balki pushes out that beautiful lower lip of his and pouts that he just wanted Larry’s blessing. Wah, wah, Balki, come back when you’re dumped.

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Then Jennifer shows up, really begging the question about what happened to Mary Anne.  Larry is sure that Balki will be devastated, and has Dmitri at the ready for Balki to masturbate into (also ice cream and wax lips, if he wants to masturbate into those instead).  Larry is so sure that Balki will come in devastated, because, let’s face it, anytime Larry leaves the apartment and we don’t get a new set for it, he comes back horribly maimed.

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Jennifer also reminds us that, if anyone’s going to be a recurring female character on this show, it’s her.  She’s blonde, she’s wearing her eyeliner correctly, she’s rocking the long-sleeve denim dress and wide belt, and she knows how to listen to Larry’s exposition and then leave immediately.  Watch out, Susan, these Reuben’s Perfect Body women don’t mess around.

Balki comes in singing Chuck Berry’s “Carol”:

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Oh Carol, don’t let him steal your heart away

And I seriously hope that the writers meant for Balki not to realize that line’s commentary on his own situation, but who knows. Probably not, though.  Balki plays Larry like a stand-up bass, and it’s probably because I wore out that “20 Classic Cartoon Favorites” VHS as a kid, but jokes with or about stand-up basses always get me.

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Balki claims that he and Carol are now going steady and gives Larry the details. Even though the very first detail gives away the joke that Balki has misunderstood Carol, the show stretches it out, but instead of like the times when Larry asks “what” so they can do a joke two times, this works and doesn’t feel like padding.  It’s sets up some nice, slow tension that lets you see just how thoroughly excited Balki is, and the height of the hurdle Larry must clear to get Balki to see the reality of the situation, and just how hard the fall is going to be when it finally comes.

Larry very gently and clearly explains that there’s often a gulf between what people say and what they mean.  It kind of makes me wish I could give Balki a stack of MAD Magazines. I mean, they ran an article on that kind of stuff almost every other issue back in the 70s and 80s.

Cousin Larry encourages Balki to call Carol and ask her to be honest about things, leading to the saddest possible homage to Bob Newhart’s telephone routines.

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So many feels.  So many, in fact, that the music comes on, but it’s really sad music.  Balki’s lesson is that sometimes you get hurt, but that doesn’t mean you did anything wrong.

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The feels, you guys. They hurt.

This is the first time the show has tried to go this emotional, and it works.  If the show really wants to go the route of Balki being a wild, innocent child from the country of the Houyhnhnms, growing up and being exposed to the “real” world, it needs this kind of thing sometimes. The love god may be a laughing one, but it knows the value of a good cry oh, say (reads further DVD case synopses) every four to seven episodes.

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Balki’s making the same face I did when I went through my first break-up.

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And if you’re wondering why I’m not griping about how we didn’t get a third location this week, my answer to you is that we did: we got see the inner rooms of Balki’s heart.

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So everybody go have a good cry, eat two gallons of Dolly Madison brand macadamia nut ice cream, call your cousins and tell them how much you appreciate them, and come back next week for “Can I Get a Witness?”.

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Catchphrase count: Balki (2); Larry (0)

Boner count: Balki (0); Larry (1)

Feels count: Larry (some); Balki (all. all the feels)

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8 thoughts on “Season 2, Episode 7: Falling in Love Is…

  1. “a wild, innocent child from the country of the Houyhnhnms”
    Upcoming Perfect Strangers/Mr. Ed crossover episode confirmed.

    “come back next week for ‘Can I Get a Witness?’.”
    Oh, I remember that one! It’s when Balki is accused of breaking the neighbor’s window, and Larry holds a trial in the living room. It’s good.

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  2. My memory of this episode is of it being “the one time that Larry was right, and Balki was wrong”, which obviously isn’t true. It’s just that this series has Larry apologizing a lot and “learning a lesson”.

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  3. That’s a really interesting thing to keep track of, I think. Obviously Larry is always going to think he’s right — which is fair to a point, as he’s lived in American culture longer than Balki has — and Balki’s approach is always going to at least seem wrong at first, because it’s not what we’re used to.

    I wonder how many episodes establish one of the two characters as being absolutely correct, as opposed to each of them meeting in the middle and realizing that they can both learn from each other.

    This one comes down hard (or seems to from the writeup) on Larry’s side. I wonder how many others will be quite as decisive.

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  4. It seems that the show is developing a dynamic where Balki’s wrong when it comes to lack of knowledge, and that Larry’s wrong when it comes to intent. I hope someone’s able to get a dissertation (or at least a thesis) out of the relationship between which character is correct / which character has a boner.

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  5. Where did this girl Carol get the impression that Balki could help her pass American history? Was that set up as something that he was particularly good at? Or did he at least give her a false impression that he knows *anything* about American history?

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  6. I mean, the whole premise hinges on Balki having something that Carol wants, and when that something is “the ability to help her pass a history class on America” then we need to establish that he actually has that thing, or the whole premise falls apart.
    Also, was Carol hitting on Larry? 😛

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  7. You’re absolutely right about the shaky premise. If I were feeling generous, I’d say that maybe Carol herself was too dumb (or too bad at manipulation) to pick out someone actually smart from the class to hit on. Slightly more generous: scenes deleted for syndication indicating that Balki is getting good grades. Most generous: that the show is actually subtly conveying that Balki is getting good grades.

    And yeah, she was deffo hitting on Larry. So this week’s secondary lesson: don’t hit on Larry if you want a recurring role.

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