Season 5, Episode 2: Lie-Ability


The episode begins with Cousin Larry telling Gus over the phone that “Everything is gonna be all right”, so by Crumpton’s law of Comedy Dialogue, something–perhaps everything–will not be all right.


Balki comes in and lets us know that Larry is going on a date with Jennifer, and that they are going to be loved by everyone at the Airline Tennis Tournament.

Balki: Why?

Ooh, okay, I like this kind of game, let me pause this.  Is it because Larry’s going to pose as Stanley Kubrick and Jennifer will be a tall blonde beside him? Is it because the Airline Tennis Tournament is a front for a shady cabal that pays to see couples cry while having sex? Is it because, theoretically, there has to be a group of people somewhere so boring that even Larry and Jennifer look exciting?  Because it can’t be that Larry’s any good at–


Oh, no, wait, Larry has a tennis racket, which Balki seems to have turned into a dreamcatcher. Which is actually a nice gesture, because maybe now Larry can exorcise all those worries about his rela–

Oh, no, waited, Balki said the word “jazzed”, so let’s all laugh at that. It’s so funny when someone who’s lived in our country for four years picks up slang words! Makes him sound just like a real person, doesn’t it?

Then we find out that Sister–*sorry, had a krikri tassel in my throat*–sister Elaine got a partial scholarship at Juilliard, which means she can’t go.  I still want to gripe that we don’t get to see other of Larry’s siblings: there has to be one that was hell with his fists and/or belittled him daily.  But it’s nice that we get some more continuity. Last time we saw Elaine, she was opting out of college so she could go to New York and study piano.  Now, she’s going to stay in New York and study piano.  Can you image what crazy life events brought her from point A to point Z? Wow, I mean, just, wow.

Anyway, do I even need to tell any a y’all where this episode’s going to go?  Can I just….


Nah, j/k. I really do want to see how the show forces this good story opportunity in a direction that ends up with Balki and Cousin Larry playing piano four hands and Balki gets confused when Larry said they were playing “three easy pieces” because REALLY what he meant was they’re playing “Three Easy Pieces”.


Who am I kidding, they’re just going to carry her piano up the stairs, aren’t they?

Larry says Elaine needs $3,875 dollars (for those playing along at home, yes, that is more than 100 times what Balki spent on a stock certificate).  But Larry doesn’t have that kind of scratch.*

Larry says he plans to give Elaine the money she needs. Balki suggests that what this episode needs is for them and the women to go for 48 hours straight making Myposian food.  But Larry, holding out that small bit of hope that maybe the writers came up with a new kind of plot, deflects the suggestion.


Later, at the Chronicle, Larry comes in limping, supported by Balki and Lydia.  Turns out they went to the bank, got in a car accident and Larry’s hurt. A character like Larry should know whatever the accepted steps were for what to do when you get in a car accident back in the late 80s; he would have definitely demanded a police report and to say then that his back hurt. That’s the officious Larry. The scared Larry would want to go straight to a hospital to see if he needs treatment since he’s…


Damn, I already forgot it.  Was it pretending he’s rich? Skiing? No, bowling. Wait.


Anyway, here were at back in the basement where Balki brags about his skills and starts bending Larry back and forth on the table.  The only skill I see here, though, is how adeptly he puts Larry face-down on the table.**


Larry screams at Balki and then Gorpley comes in. Lydia begs him have mercy on Larry’s condition. Balki shows Sam how he narrowly dodged his Myposian fate once again by only bruising his finger.


Gorpley: Yeah, whatever. Do the… mail or something, etc. (leaves immediately with no effort to enforce his power)

Before they get Cousin Larry off the table, Larry subtly starts casting aspersions on the whole of Myposian physical treatment. It could be that Mypos is a leader in traditional medicine–remember, Balki’s cold cure did work. I mean, somewhere, at some time, some group of people must have been successful with the doctrine of signatures. While everybody else was messing around with Dentaria because it looked like teeth, the wacky, off-kilter ways of early Myposians made them take some different approach that worked. Perhaps they went through all the mushrooms that looked like dicks until they realized it wouldn’t work, and through further trial and error, finally found one that did work for something (maybe not a dick, but maybe also a dick).  But whence this restless urge to find the right herb, the right fish part, the right technique, the right way of matchmaking? From what we know so far, a curse hangs over the tiny island.  No, not from pollution, or from having nowhere to put all the sheepshit. The curse of Mypos is to have one’s finger broken. We’ve been teased with this before.  Now, when Balki again attempts Charopracty on his cousin, Larry grabs ahold of Balki’s injured finger and tells him to


Lydia has a good laugh about boners, and then tells Larry to go to the hospital.  But Larry says he throws his back out all the time** and he’ll be fine. Lydia makes some joke that I think is supposed to be about sex, but I have no idea how a heating pad would fit into that.


While Balki runs off to get ice, Larry pops his back into place. Then Gorpley comes out–completely unconcerned that the mail isn’t being sorted, like he asked–and tells Larry to get a lawyer and claim damages to the tune of $4,000-5,000.


Okay, that’s enough, show.  You’ve been teasing me all over the damn place. First you tell me Larry and Jennifer are going to play tennis. Then you act like Elaine’s going to show up and that we’ll see Larry interact with her. Then you tease me with the possibility of piano shenanigans, cooking Myposian food, Balki making money from Mediterranean physical therapy, Lydia having a substantial role. Very briefly here, you tease with another episode about Balki overdoing it while trying to take care of Larry. But then, after 6 minutes of possibilities, you settle on “Larry Lies”.

You arrogant sonofabitch! You think you’re the only episode that can give me that “Larry Lies” feeling? I got twenty episodes from seasons 1, 2, and 3 that I can watch to get a Lietype thing from. You swell-headed hypocrite! You just don’t get it, do you?


At the apartment, we recap for the sake of Jennifer and Mary Anne (Sagittarius), while Balki runs around doting on his cousin.


Hey, a bemilked cookie finally made it into Larry’s mouth, thanks to Balki!

Why is Larry giving these women such a performance to convince them of his injuries? Just to prove he can’t go to the tennis tournament? When is the damn thing anyway?


To its credit, the Balki-takes-care-of-Larry bit turns out to be legitimately funny.  Balki pats Larry’s lips dry with a napkin after he eats the cookie; he does it again right after Jennifer kisses Larry.** Thank you, show.


Then Balki says he’s going to go to the store to pick up some high-fiber items for Larry.  Thank you, show.


Where does he come up with them, you guys? Really makes you think. Balki leaves.


Larry pretends to play tennis. Before I go any further, I’ve just got to give a special “What the Fuck” shout-out to the fact that just last week saw Cousin Larry doing his best to convince his girlfriend of his superlative sport acumen.  Now, this week, we’re finally given some insight into their relationship: something that the two of them do together without Balki around. This is good and necessary for the worldbuilding of this show and making that couple at all believable. And I get that, for the purposes of this story, someone saw fit to have Larry make a personal sacrifice in service of stacking that cheddar. But to follow last week’s episode with one where Larry and Jennifer enjoy a sport together? I mean, that’s just… it’s…

It’s one of the zany escapades you’ll see Balki and Larry get into on Perfect Strangers, returning for its fifth season, this fall, on ABC!


Balki walks in and Larry starts lying to him.  Larry falls into a pit near the fireplace, pretending to be hurt.

Balki and Larry have a discussion about compassion for one’s family and compassion for everyone.  Larry says he’s going through with this for Elaine.  After all, as Gorpley said, it’s only the insurance company that will pay, not the driver.  Balki counters that the driver will pay, but in the form of higher premiums.  And what’s more: that everyone’s premiums are likely to go up. Balki begs Cousin Larry to understand that hurting one hurts all.  Elaine won’t be hurt if she doesn’t get the money–she’ll stay exactly where she is.  But others will hurt in tangible ways. Larry will hurt in an intangible way–he’ll lose his integrity.


Nah, j/k, Balki doesn’t say any of that shit. He yells “Liar, liar, pants on fire!” and calls Roseanne Barr fat.


The next day, Larry is in a wheelchair. Mr. Garber from Insurance Company insurance company comes in to talk to Larry about his report.


And then a crazily-attired Balki comes in and shits in the fireplace as silent (but deadly) protest against Larry. Actually, this is most foreign we’ve seen Balki in a long time (the wedding was kind of weaksauce on how foreign it felt), and I do appreciate that. He chants something in Myposian that repeats the word “babasticky” a lot, and he also says “yo mama” a couple of times.  You see, Balki is foreign, so it’s funny when he suddenly isn’t foreign, so let’s have him act not foreign a lot. Anyway, Balki’s doing the Myposian Litany of Truth:

Balki: Babasticky echta kiki icchi ecchi bah koom, oh baby / eenie poonie ippa beppa bochono hanji banji bam boom.

Larry: Do you have to do that now, after the other 30 times I’ve lied?


Balki keeps singing.

It goes on for a while.

Larry gets what he wants from Mr. Garber (alt: Garber, Baby) but then Balki starts yodeling the Elef de O oo oo o oo oo o – the Myposian Litany of Hope.

Ooh! It’s Mypos story time!


Balki tells us about the Myposian accordion player: Umpo Musikako. Long story short, his brother Bimbo bought him an accordion, and he played well until he realized the money that bought it was stolen. Then the music was terrible.

Balki offers an alternate, albeit illogical, way for Larry to believe he’s helping his sister.  And that’s given us a nice variation on a theme: how to show compassion.  Gorpley presented insurance companies as not really caring about people (they do put you in a position of betting on your own injury or demise), but that they are sure to pay out just to be done with it. It’s nothing to them.  Larry wants to show compassion by giving something tangible to help Elaine reach a goal. After all, he was in an accident, and he was hurt.  When he told her he would get the money, he was preceding the truth; when he talked to Mr. Garber, he had missed the timeframe to be concurrent with the truth.  Balki sees the spiritual side of things, and based on a sample size of one–Umpo–believes that the principle applies here.  And ultimately, there’s no losing situation for Elaine.  Larry withdraws his lie? Elaine’s right where she started.  She’s made it in New York for a couple of years, she can do it some more. Maybe ask, I dunno, her parents and 7 other siblings?   Mr. Garber catches him in a lie? Same thing. Larry gets the insurance check? Elaine goes to school, and the impact on anyone else is so diffused that Larry can ignore it.

What Larry should be thinking about is the fact that he tried. He even went to the bank to try to get a loan, and as far as we know, they haven’t said no yet!  He should be thinking about asking Lydia to borrow money. He should be thinking that, whatever happens, he can offer his sister moral support for her musical journey.  But all he’s thinking about is whether Balki’s going to wear that hat all day.**

And hey, where the fuck is Elaine, anyway? Isn’t she a person who should have a say in this? That’s just… it’s…

Just one of the many ways ABC makes it easier for you watch its shows without having to remember who another disposable female character is! (Seriously, name a second adult woman on Full House.)

Larry finds his happy medium by lying about a recurring injury from when he was in Little League. It allows him to act on his conscience but maintain character.  Also, Larry played Little League; Jennifer watched him coach an inter-store baseball game.  I bet he’s not bad at baseball, really. Seriously, why put all this in the very week after he lies about being good at a sport?


The cousins talk about other ways they could raise money for Elaine. Balki offers to sell his car, and there’s a decent gag there about how he couldn’t think of selling the fuzzy dice along with it.

In the end, I actually like this episode a little better than most.  For one, it’s Gorpley who tempts Larry to lie. For another, there is a little bit of a discussion of compassion here. And the physical comedy bit was good–again, because it involved limited movement on the part of one of the cousins.

Anyway, Larry decides to sell his own car to help his sister.

Larry: You don’t think the audience will remember my really nice car from the intro, much less the fact that it was damaged at the beginning of the episode, do you?


Join me next week for “The Newsletter”


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

Boner count: Balki (0); Larry (1, while fantasizing about Jennifer’s cute new tennis outfit)

*Just look at Balki’s back….

**The cousins are gay.

3 thoughts on “Season 5, Episode 2: Lie-Ability

  1. I can’t decide if it’s better or worse (narratively speaking) that the car accident was coincidental. I honestly got the impression from reading that when Larry came into the Chronicle in pain, it was because he deliberately let someone hit him so he could feign injury and sue.

    Then I read more, and it seems like the accident was coincidental. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I wonder what would be better.

    Part of me wants to say that — again, from a writing standpoint — he should have deliberately created a situation in which he’d be struck. But that also seems like a bit much for Larry. He’s a schemer, but not in the way that he’d knowingly endanger others.

    As it plays out, he’s less a schemer and more of an opportunist. He’s tempted by the situation instead of the one who orchestrated it. He needed money, and a “wrong” way to get some just happened to present itself. Satan took him up to the mountaintop and said, “All this money can be yours,” and Larry replied, “Yes, that sounds great, I’ll take that in large bills, please.”

    Which is probably more true to life than Larry summoning Satan on his own.

    That might be a confusing metaphor since Larry ends up summoning Satan in the season 9 Halloween special, but I think you see what I’m getting at.


  2. Lol, if Mr Garber finds out that Larry lied, he’ll probably get slapped with fines or jail time. Insurance companies are not down with fraud.
    Oh, wait. I forgot that in Sitcomland there are no real-world consequences unless it’s part of the plot.


  3. This is a callback to an earlier statement/blog post about “people who don’t get caught do crappier stuff” and I like it. Larry should have stuck to his guns and got that dough.


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