We open at the Chicago Chronicle, where we are shown that the streets have been cleared of the wreckage from last week.
We find Cousin Larry on the phone, once again getting insulted by some faceless Gus. He’s trying to get ahold of Mr. Endicott, who owns the Chronicle.
Harriette has decided that there are enough white women on this show by this point that she doesn’t have to give a crap about Larry’s exposition. She has moved on to doing the crossword puzzle and dispensing the occasional Twinkacetti-style put-down.
Larry shouts into the void about how he wants to start an investigative reporting team but is being refused an audience by another secretary.
Larry: If I could have five minutes with Mr. Endicott…
Oh-ho, yeah, I’ve seen what YOU do when you spend five minutes with big wigs. You like to, heh, “count raisins”. You like, hee, to look into “stock options”. Ho ho, you like to (ha!) give ‘em “handjobs”.
Balki comes in with Reason #21 most post-S2 screengrabs have “METV” in the upper-right corner: “Get Happy”
Balki: Forget your troubles, come on get happy…
I don’t know if there has ever been a more appropriate song for Balki to be singing. Balki’s the kind of guy who started out happy, kept being happy, and quickly bounces back from being unhappy. People like me and Cousin Larry, on the other hand, keep depression forever simmering on a back burner. We carry around a discomfort not only with ourselves, but with the world. Not only do we never feel like we fit, we feel like other things are out of place as well, so we try to change them. We try to explain things to others in terms of metaphor, parable, vision; we try to get them on board with our projects. Larry thinks that there ought to be a reporting team for the newspaper instead of crap like two-sentence articles and predictions about Sean Penn. Me, I think there ought to be things like Perfect Strangers Reviewed, making this the first time Larry’s goals have ever outdone mine. Anyway, the disconnect* here is that people like Balki have figured out something–instead of trying to find where they’ll fit and thrive, they manage to do it right where they are. When people like Larry ask people like Balki how to do it, it’s unfortunate that sometimes the answer is some variation on “get happy”
“turn that frown upside down”
Larry tells Balki that someday they’ll have to pay music rights for rebroadcast across other forms of media and to stop singing.
Balki got invited to the party after he met Mrs. Endicott and told her he was an heir to the throne of Mypos. But what really got her attention was how he made racist jokes about Jews. This throne, in case you’ve forgotten, is currently having its cushions farted on by none other than the 300 pounds of wisdom, broken fingers, and undigested bibibabka cream known as “King”. Balki is 986th in line to this throne.
Larry ponders whether there’s enough square footage on the island of Mypos to bury 985 bodies, or if he’ll have to build some mausoleums. Certainly Mypos, where everyone is an angel and no one does any wrong, ever, women are eligible to be a part of the ruling class?
(Though there is, Balki tells us, an exception for old women with mustaches.)
I really didn’t know how the episode was going to build a story out of these two unrelated plotlines, but I am again impressed when Larry says that he will be Balki’s +1 outside of the bedroom this week and go along to the party. Because Balki, the guy who has a driver’s license and loans Larry’s car to anyone who can talk out loud, needs a ride. And because Larry needs Balki’s status as “royalty” to get to Mr. Endicott, which is something that could not possibly be done in an office setting.
Then they both start singing and dancing because, well,
Larry comes home with a suit bag only to find Balki cooking food in about 7 different pots.
Larry: Oh here we go again with the fucking pig snout!
And Balki says “you bet your bibibabkas” and that would only work as a joke if
- It had been preceded by any other Myposian word
- We didn’t already know that bibibabkas were a different type of food
- It were funny
It appears they’re just literally lopped off of the heads of pigs, so I’m as grossed out as Larry is. Balki just keeps saying snout every other line.
In the background, apparently wearing a 17th-Century periwig, is Samuel Sheepys. A (fore)grounded Larry tries to tell his cousin that rich people are different from them, but Balki says he bets all those rich guys cross dress just like he does.
But how many rich people do you know, Balki?
What brand of toothpaste do they use, Balki?
What percentage of their stocks are blue chips, Balki?
What color are their nipples, Balki?
Balki, having forgotten that he’s met 1) the King of Mypos, 2) Roger Morgan, 3) the CEO of Unicorn, 4) Carl Lewis, and 5) Fat Marsha, says he doesn’t know any rich people.
Larry says that Balki has to act like royalty because rich people have “customs”, and that he will train Balki.
Balki: Oh here we go again with the fucking practice bit.
Larry tries to tell Balki to say “we” instead of “I”, and the confusion starts because he tries to explain it in textbook grammar terms. This show, when it tries to, tends to come so close to having good dialogue-based comedy routines. I don’t know if it’s the fact that these parts have to be shortened to make room for this week’s vetterringen, or just that the writers aren’t that good at it. At any rate, the bit ends with Balki understanding it and then explaining it in a very smart way as the punchline.
This would work if
- Larry hadn’t said the exact same thing at the beginning of the bit
- Balki hadn’t followed it up with “why you didn’t say so?”
- It were funny
Ultimately, Larry forgets the truth of his own argument that rich people are different. Larry has focussed his efforts on the form of rich people language, and Balki still does not understand that the content must change and keeps talking about the damn snouts.
Later, at Dunexpositin…
A bunch of old white people in suits are catered to by young white people in suits and Balki gets a laugh because he’s dressed like some sort of Hindi cowboy. We learn that the King of Mypos is named Ferdinand and that his whole palace could fit on a soundstage.
The Endicotts bow to Balki and Mrs. Endicott introduces him. Two seasons ago, Balki just talked about buttholes and vaginas to an old lady and she got mad at him. Now that he’s a “prince”, he can talk about livestock and they have to pretend that they’re not insulted and thank him for it.
Balki pushes Mrs. Endicott, likely breaking her shoulder. Larry quickly jumps to take on the role of Prince Balki’s handler, but he forgets the rule about not discussing their sex life in public and tells her about the “royal shove”.
Balki is asked to call the Endicotts “Muffy” and “Bobo”. See? Rich people are just like the rest of us!
The Endicotts say they have to talk to other people, so Larry tries to talk to Mr. Endicott about his idea and Mr. Endicott leaves. I guess Larry forgot to say “we”?
Larry says he’s not needed for the next bit, so he leaves. The show tries to do another tried-and-true comedy bit and falls a little short.
Here, Balki wants to get food, but is allowed to go to the front of the line because of his status as royalty. Then the other people do the same things that Balki does. This would work if
- They didn’t already have full plates of food
- They were grabbing the same food items rather than just doing the same arm motions
- Balki pulled out his penis and started masturbating
Muggy Endicott and two unnamed dumbasses start talking to Balki about country clubs and golf. Balki expresses his honest interest in minigolf and the guy just fucking laughs at him like he made a joke. You see, rich people couldn’t imagine someone actually liking something that the unwashed masses do, much less admitting to it. That scene in American Psycho where Patrick Bateman tries to admit to murder got nothing on this!
Mumpy asks Balki what he thinks of American women. Balki says he actually likes a mustache on a woman, and praises her upper lip game.
Larry is so far removed from the incestuous community of Mypos that his genetics are a far cry from the pure stock of Balki’s unbridled mane, his regal nose (somewhere between a Greek and a Duchess), his full lips. Larry doesn’t have lips, much less the ability to grow facial hair above them, and fears that he may be losing his sexual grip on Balki. So he butts in to answer when Muggy asks why a prince is working in the mailroom of her husband’s paper.
Larry says that Balki doesn’t want people to know he’s a prince. So, uh, why did he tell Moopy? Larry says Balki came to the country to find a wife, but he wants her to love him for himself.
D. Davenport Dumbass: That sounds an awful lot like the plot of that Eddie Mumphrey movie Coming to America.
Oooh, did you hear what this show said about you, Eddie? You gave Bronson his big break and now he’s acting like he owns a whole island!
Balki confronts Larry about his lies and then tries to leave, fearing that the whole estate will, I dunno, fall into a pit, be covered in snow, be overrun by lawn jockeys coming to life or some shit. Larry promises not to lie.
Darcy DuPont Dumbshit, III: Attention, we came in to set up someone’s punchline. Whose was it?
After the act break, the cousins come back with the bends…
…bends dexter, that is!
Balki’s doing the same walk he did when he was concentrating on relaxing last season. Here, it’s because he broke his hymen and doesn’t know how to describe what happened to him. I look forward to season 8 when he uses this walk to express his Torschlusspanik.
I’ve put up with a lot from this show. “The Unnatural” was its first strike; “You Gotta Have Friends” made “A Christmas Story” seem action packed; and I held off on criticizing “Bye Bye Biki” for having no plot because I was deep into a bit. Speaking of,
For all their faults, though, all four of those episodes had conflict, motivation, and a clear path from point A to point B to point C.
I’m not going to say “what was this episode about again?” because that would be disingenuous; I mean, I’m not typing and screenshotting these reviews in the span of the 22 minutes I watch the episodes and uploading them immediately after, like some of you primates. So far, this episode is a bunch of bits in service of a goal that seems farther and farther away. So I do want to ask: what the hell is supposed to happen next?
Excuse me for being like the show, but let me recap what’s happened:
First act: Larry wants to talk to a guy, Balki is going to be physically proximate to the guy, so Larry lies to get near the guy
Second act: Balki throws food on the floor, Balki talks about mustaches, Larry lies
Third act: They go home, shower, and rub liniment on each other’s aching legs? Larry lies?
What’s the conflict? What’s the risk? I mean, yeah, Larry’s lying, but is it going to cost Balki his job? With the exception of Mr. Twinkacetti, every person in power on this show has turned out to be kind and understanding. Will Larry have to apologize for getting someone else’s clothes dirty? I mean, are rich people not used to the lower classes trying and failing to impress them and get in their good graces? Did Mr. Endicott even watch the polo game? Where are the rich people?
I did not–
The worst I can imagine happening here is Musty saying that NOW she understands why Balki works in the basement. The stakes just don’t seem high! Don’t tell my therapist I’m saying this, but maybe it’s my fault that I feel this way? I watch so many American movies and TV shows that, when I watch something from another country that doesn’t hit you over the head with its narrative arc, it’s often either refreshing (Mad Max) or confusing (Machine Girl). So maybe my best guess–one or both of them stands to lose a job–is the one I’m supposed to assume. I mean, season 3 did set up two basic categories of stakes: the cousins either lose their jobs or their lives.
Well, okay, sometimes other people’s lives.
Anyway, back to the regularly-scheduled sex jokes:
Larry: I thought the horse would do more.
Ah, I see now maybe I shouldn’t pause the show this long, because Larry tells us the stakes: if Balki tells the truth to Mumbo, Larry won’t get to tell Bongo his idea. This would work if:
- The audience were allowed to know more about Larry’s idea so they could see it was great
- The audience had any reason at this point in the show’s run to root for Larry
- I had any reason to think that the owner of a newspaper had that much involvement with what kind of investigative reporting teams there were
- There weren’t at least two levels of management between Larry and Mr. Endicott
Balki asks Larry if the time has come for them to work out their sexual tensions. “Past time,” says Larry.
Larry tries to make a direct deposit in his pooled investment vehicle.
*snrk* He hopes that he’ll get to experience both business cycles: expansion and contraction.
*heh* He’s going to teach Balki about Regulation D.
Okay, okay, I’ll stop.
During their fight, Larry pulls the tablecloth and dumps all the food on the floor. This would work as stakes-raising if:
- Everyone hadn’t gone along with throwing food on the floor when Prince Balki did it eariler
- Larry trying to reinvest his dividends in his underlying equity weren’t more embarrassing
The shunting now over, all the rich people come back in.
Balki tries to tell Bubbles the truth, but Larry puts something (a plum?) in Balki’s mouth, and show? If you’re going to use cartoon sound effects, try to time them right so it doesn’t happen before the action.
Larry finally tells his idea and backs it up with statistics. Blah blah Woodward and Bernstein, blah blah Pulitzers. Bumbly tells Larry that the team on his last paper got him sued for 38 million dollars. We’ve already established that 28 is the number of millions that makes you rich, so losing 38 million and still being able to afford green tablecloths means you’re super-rich.
Balki spits out his ball gag, and Minge tells him not to worry about the Persian rug**. He also spits out the truth on both his and Larry’s behalf. Just like in real life, the truth makes the rich people recoil in horror.
Murky tells everyone that it’s time to leave for dinner, and one guy SUPER NOT OBVIOUSLY stays behind while the cousins are shut out of the dining room.
The cousins do their post-mortem about what really matters (pig snouts), and how Larry shouldn’t have tried to ride the coattails of people who are so shallow they can’t recognize what an absolute angel Balki is.
Larry: All rich people are snobs.
Preston Percival “Percy” Privilege: Not all rich people.
Anyway, this crotchety old guy is actually Granddaddy Bobo himself, who actually owns the paper. He promises to beat some sense into his son and get that investigative team started. He leaves for dinner, but not before denying Larry a chance to be a part of the team and putting him down for being an idiot.
See you next week for “Up a Lazy River, part 1”!
Catchphrase count: Balki (1); Larry (0)
Boner count: Balki (0); Larry (0)
Net Snout Wt.: 273lb, 8oz
*yep, talking about disconnects five episodes in, just like last season
**she mentions that it was a gift from Prince Shah Karim al Hussaini, Aga Khan IV. Could that be construed as libel?
4 thoughts on “Season 4, Episode 5: High Society”
Dunexpositin was my favorite joke. You can delete the others.
I seem to recall this episode NEARLY having a good moment toward the end. You don’t mention it in the review — clearly because it went nowhere — but it was so close to salvaging a decent chunk of the episode.
Larry’s asked who he is after he’s fucked up his chance with the big boss, so he tries to save face by giving the name of one of his coworkers. Then when the REAL big boss reveals himself and praises his ideas, he says he’ll promote Larry or some garbage…but he has Larry’s name wrong, due to the lie.
That could have been a fun payoff, with the old man walking out immediately afterward and Larry powerless to undo his lie, but if I remember correctly Larry just says, “No, I’m not that other guy, I’m really Larry Appleton,” and the old guy just says, “lol cool,” and nothing happens.
Like…they WROTE THEIR OWN JOKE, and then went back and undid it.
*commits Selbstmord on the Aga Khan’s Persian rug for missing a chance to cap off my own running joke about names*
We actually get to meet King Ferdinand in a later episode, but I believe it’s in the final season.
Portrayed, no doubt, by Belita Moreno with a mustache.