Season 7, Episode 8: Citizenship, Part 2

Last week on Perfect Strangers:


…yeah, y’all can scroll down your own damn selves, I’m not recapping all that for you. Let’s just all be happy all these clips mean 50 seconds fewer of Mama.

Anyway, last week Perfect Strangers built a character out of exaggerations, a enlarged projection upon the wall, as abstract as a shadow puppet.¹ This week, Perfect Strangers finds a story to tell; in fact more story than it really has time for.

Each two-parter that Perfect Strangers has given us has dealt with threats of death. But now, perhaps, a running subtext is revealed: each deals with a location inextricable from the characters and story. “Up a Lazy River” gave us a location to tie Jennifer to–Mother Earth–and this informs the reading of Larry as Modern Capitalist American Man and how he treats his life-giving environment, and how she (and She) suffers when he (and He) misunderstands what she needs and wants. “Father Knows Best” gave us the complete symbol of Larry’s anxious existence*: keyless, drowning in the basement of memories of an unimpressed father. In “The Men Who Knew Too Much”, television is the main character and disappears up its own fundamentals: imagery of life, and the illusion of controlling appearance. Here, in “Citizenship”, we travel to Balki’s birthplace, and perhaps gain some understanding of what he is.**

If Mama is an abstraction of Balki, and Balki is an abstraction of Bronson’s sense of humor, what is Mypos an abstraction of?


Hey, check it out, I guess you have to get to Mypos by plane. Go figure!


No, it’s not Rolling Stonehenge–this is the antenna that lets Mypos pick up all those great TV shows from the States!


If you look really close, you can see that this is Mypos.


Yes, stock footage forever. Stock footage and no scenes of Mama. Or I guess I should say… wait for it… livestock footage! 😉

Tranquillity sudden: an untucked Larry walks slowly in from Island Right, not yet seeing Balki’s cart. The props department can almost always be counted on to have put in a good effort, and I think they’ve succeeded with the Greek lettering on the cart where Balki sells his disgusting little cheese dogs.


BΑΛKIA would be Balki, and let’s assume that either the props person knows how name declension in the Greek genitive case works or that Mypos shares letters but not grammar. I’m using Google Translate, which tells me AMEPIKANIKI means “American”. With ΑVθΕVTIKI, I’m not sure. It looks like some Greek capitals and lowercase letters don’t match up perfectly, because ΑVθΕVTIKI comes out as nothing. Αvθεvτικι comes out as “authentic”, though it’s strange that one word uses lower-case but not the other.


Anyway, Larry is offered what has to be uncooked snout but, since he won’t fully digest the last one he ate for another year, declines.


What the fuck is this, do they have invisible shit on Mypos? The props department can order bulk pigsnout party favors from Oriental Trading Company, but can’t shell out 50 cents for a melted Mars bar?

Balki does a double-take when he sees Cousin Larry and then pinches his nipples with a pair of tongs so he can transfer that authentic American flavor to the hot doggies.


Larry explains that he’s there to change Mama’s mind, but Mama is away on the other side of the island for a week with her women’s group. Larry quickly suggests that he and Balki re-enact some scenes from the Thesmophoriazusae and Balki calmly explains that Larry can’t see Mama yet, because that might resolve the episode in mere seconds; and besides, they can really only afford a couple more scenes with matte overlays.


Some guy walks by with a bell, meaning the only possibilities for his name are Bingibongi, Ringi Starr, or Queasimodo. Everybody in the market–except for Balki–whips out their blankets and pillows and they all have naptime, because it just wouldn’t be Perfect Strangers without infantilization of foreigners.


We’ve only got this one episode on foreign soil, so let’s be good colonialists and mine the hell out of this scene before we go.

I notice that there are women thinner than Mary Anne here and no one is openly fucking sheep. Where’s Bartok? Where’s Davros selling his cups? Where are the famed eleven men? I could go on all day detailing how everything isn’t the way they said it was, but for right now, I have to say that I love what the unspoken parts of this scene tell us. All of these Californians Myposians are doing a bustling trade, selling wax vegetables, herding their sheep through the marketplace, denying women their right to participate in politics… except for Balki. Maybe Myposians are willing to eat buttered goat jejuna because they know what it is, unlike the Little Frankies brand encased meat products Balki is selling, which would taste like nothing but salt to them.

And this fact gives us two, two, two depths in one. Almost every Myposian we’ve met so far appears to be different from the common folk. Bartok, Mama, Cookie, and Ferdinand have been fascinated with American media, American wealth, American personas and accents. One common factor appears to be wealth. I’d have to track down the same psychology book I had my freshman year to give you a full psychology sidebar, but I remember coming across an effect where people with some amount of wealth have a harder time with the idea that they’re not richer than those with no wealth at all. This is just me theorizing off half-remembered stuff from 18 years ago, so let’s be cautious this doesn’t turn into a sermon on the dangers of Mammon and go with what I think is an offshoot of this. I only got offered drugs once in my entire high school career, but before you start calling me too nerdy to have been around druggy kids, that was in marching band. But now we’ve got a full-blown opioid epidemic in small towns like where I grew up, and I think that the Internet and television are part of the reason behind it. The starving or war-torn peoples of the world have a far limited view of what’s possible for humans to enjoy; but the Internet gives the rest of us a view into the full range of, say, ways to have our genitals touched. Knowing what’s out there and knowing you can’t have it because your town existed only because there used to be a coal industry can make you desperate for any cheap thrill. Mr. and Mrs. Ioannis Q. Publiki don’t have TVs and are fine shearing sheep, well, until the cows come home, and then I guess they do other stuff with the cows? I’m not a farmer. But Balki, if not dissatisfied with his life, itched to experience something else.


Enough moralizing, the other depth here might be unintentional, but it fits. Balki can’t stay on Mypos or else we’d have no show anymore. And everyone on Mypos can’t be like Balki and Mama or Larry would kill himself right then and there. We can say, though, that Balki is different because Mama is different. And this was true of Bronson and his mom, Rosina Pinchot. Bronson Pinchot, when you see him on television as himself, has a nonstandard set of cultural references because Rosina passed her own tastes in music and comedy and film on to him.

See how much there is to appreciate about this show when Mama’s not around? Larry decides to stick around for a week until Mama’s back. Hell, it’s either that or go back home and have to avoid his wife, and who wants to work while on vacation?

Larry and Balki keep talking loudly while everyone tries to sleep. Larry asks Balki whether he misses anything from home. And he does admit to missing all the poetic graffiti about Jill Ramirez getting railroaded. But when Larry cites the relationships that Balki has made, the punchline is that Balki misses a coin-operated horse (Blue Thunder, outside the Shop’n’Save***). We all know that Balki and Mary Anne get hitched (is that a horse joke, you ask? Nay) at the end of the season, which means we’ve got fifteen more episodes of him explicitly not giving a shit about whether she lives or dies.


Balki establishes once more how utterly impossible Larry’s task of throwing Mama from her current train of thought will be; it might even take a whole two minutes, he says.

Five days later, the camera slowly pans across the idyllic Myposian countryside, lingering on the miraculous flora and semi-sentient fauna, finally zooming in on Mama’s house–

–sorry, wrong show.


Balki pours water from a bucket into the BUNN coffee maker that he stole from Cousin Larry, and the audience laughs at how funny it is for millions of people worldwide to not have access to safe drinking water.


The show has given every reason to believe that the livestock on Mypos can talk and engage in abstract reasoning; and after the past season and a half I wouldn’t even flinch if a pig walked in on its hind legs, greeted Balki, poured itself a cup of coffee, put on its hat and went off to its job. But by showing us Mypos, Perfect Strangers has had to make some concessions to some of the wild shit Balki has said about it over the years; Mypos can be legendarily wacky, but not in practice. Referring to something that happens off-screen lets you go farther with a joke than you could otherwise. Conceptually, Myposians trying to introduce the idea of modern household conveniences without any real technology sounds like it could lead to lots of jokes, and not necessarily of the Flintstones variety. Goats licking plates clean instead of a dishwasher, a solar panel turning out to just be a hole in the roof they uncover sometimes, that kind of thing. But if you’re going to have a joke about a chicken laying eggs, maybe show the chicken?


Seriously, there’s a box in the kitchen, and when Balki pulls the cord, the chicken inside lays an egg. He does this three times, as though hens have more than one egg inside and all you have to do is yank them out forcefully. Of course, I guess you have to keep some of them indoors so they won’t all be fucked to death by the mutant ducks.

Or maybe it’s that the chickens are irradiated and have actually turned invisible? It would explain Larry stepping in nonexistent shit earlier, as well as why we see him kicking at track 8 from volume 15 of the “Sitcom Sounds” series – “Chicken squawks (agitated)”.


We’ve spent six years now establishing who Larry Appleton is: what his dreams are, what he wants, how he thinks he can get it. He doesn’t care about the Englishman’s proudest boast–having paid his own way–he only cares about having something of his own, no matter how he got it. As we touched on in “The Gazebo” (do you hear echoes still?), Larry really just wants relaxation: the cessation of the tortures of his external and internal worlds. And this is the first vacation he’s ever been on that didn’t have as its focus trying to plow Jennifer’s fields, you know, irrigate her furrows. Okay, I’m done.


Larry says he wakes without an alarm clock, he enjoys looking at his surroundings, and he doesn’t have to fight over resources because everyone shares. He’s amazed that people can enjoy their own existence, and having others around.

Psychology sidebar: there’s a concept called “doing a geographic”–which I suspect has its basis in Alcoholics Anonymous groups, whose collected wisdom often mirrors psychological research–that refers to trying to solve one’s problems by changing one’s location. And in some cases, that may be all it takes; we can all benefit from getting out of a routine. Has it worked for Larry?


Maybe not, but we can read Larry’s recap of what he’s seen and done in two ways. On one level, Larry is now the fish out of water: he thinks turnips are apples, he thought the villagers were all calling his name (“larilari” means “the sheep have shat here”), and he hasn’t yet learned which plants are acid-loving and thus okay to whiz on. On another, they may be indications this place isn’t right for him, like when he pours a whole cup of marmot jizz into his coffee–


–but for the moment, things are going well. They would be for anyone who got a five-day reprieve from interacting with Mama Bartokomous, but this is different.

For so long–for too long–we’ve only gotten one kind of story about Cousin Larry: he lies. Larry quitting his bullshit because he no longer lives in a society built on inequality could have come at any point in the last two or three seasons, but I won’t complain because Perfect Strangers was almost certain it would be ending this season.

Rotate her crops. Okay, really I’m done.

Am I gushing about maybe two or three minutes of one scene? Yes, and it deserves it. Perfect Strangers was comfortable not telling stories for so long that it’s downright amazing when it starts trying and quickly finds something interesting to tell. And aside from 22 minutes of Balki hooked up to electrodes until he pronounces “Appleton” correctly, this might be the best story that Perfect Strangers could possibly tell before it’s done, because:

Larry Appleton is truly happy for the first time in his life.


And just like how Freddy vs. Jason was a great payoff to two lackluster and often terrible franchises, I’m glad I stuck around this long to see it. And we also get the best line of the whole episode from this premise when Larry says he’ll give away his Maalox. He says he’ll move in with Balki for seven years and follow him around, see how Balki likes it for a change, fly Jennifer out and tell RT Wainwright what he Really Thinks, have all his coats made into vests and create new memories hanging them in his own hut. So far, this is my favorite episode this season, which I’ll take back in about 8 minutes when Mama shows up. The fact that Perfect Strangers is finding a story to tell this late in the game is heartening, though it makes me wonder all the more how genital warts like “Fright Night” and “The Gazebo” made it to the screen, and who the fuck would put the worst episodes right before the show got this close to good.

Balki tells Larry that he’s just in a honeymoon phase and he’ll soon reconsider, likely when Mama returns and his ears and eyes start bleeding. To show how serious he is Larry rips open his shirt to show that he’s had his kidneys replaced with those of a young Mypiot boy he waylaid: four more organs and he’s legally a citizen.


Mypos, land of truth and beauty, its hillsides carved by cobalt bombs, unmoored from the tectonic plates and geographic history itself. Listen: Mypos has come unstuck in time.


It hasn’t worked out to such an extent that, after <7 days, the tradesmen of Mypos have given up on him. His training flock of sheep were eaten by a goat, and he caused a series of explosions at the bibibabka factory, and he was fired from pigéage because he fell in the vat and his pubes got in the grape juice.

Man there’s so much else to say here. Let’s see if I can knock this into any semblance of order.


Nah, j/k, these fuckers just don’t know how to read a calendar.

Balki interacts with the sound effects (track 7, “Chicken squawks (curious)”) and enters to find that Larry’s geographic hasn’t worked out.

First of all, character. Again, fuzzy memories from my psychology classes are bubbling up to the surface, and I’m pretty sure this wasn’t even in my textbooks: there was some kind of two-thirds rule one of my professors mentioned. Something along the lines of, on a day-to-day basis, two-thirds of what leads to the choices we make (minor choices, but hundreds of them) is determined by the social situation we’re in; but across a lifespan, two-thirds of what we do is determined by our own personalities, which remain surprisingly constant from crib to crypt. If you’re like me, you probably heard–and ridiculed–this truism long before it had any true meaning to you: doing a geographic often doesn’t work out because wherever you go, there you are. Dismiss all this if you will, but my dubious memories from 16 years ago still have more scientific basis than the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.****

Second of all, story: this sudden turn between scenes might not have been what was originally envisions. Let’s be honest, I love a lot of subpar media, but my tastes tend toward the examples where you can tell something happened, where some idea got changed. I like to try to listen real close and see what tunes I can pick out through the noise (sorry, but it really is a versatile concept for this kind of thing). Just like researchers x-ray paintings to see what changes artists made, I love it when I can get insight into how something started. For instance, did you know that, in the original concept for the first season of The Simpsons, Matt Groening wanted to reveal that Homer was actually Krusty? Luckily The Simpsons lasted more than one season and we all got to know Herschel Krustofsky, but it’s fascinating to me to imagine the show that never was.

Another example is the Rocky Horror Picture Show sequel Shock Treatment, where the seams are the most prominent part of the film. Songs are in the wrong places (one is obviously supposed to take place in a house but occurs on a gameshow), songs are sung by the wrong people (a song about coming out of the closet reads as the culmination of an important character arc, but is sung by some guy who shows up at the last minute), and the whole thing is shot indoors, even though there’s a song about mowing lawns. It manages to be a coherent movie, but not a good one, much less a worthy successor to Rocky Horror; but it looks like it started out that way, and that fact has given me years of rewarding mental engagement trying to figure out what Richard O’Brien wanted it to be. And I can get a lot out of “Citizenship, Part 2”, because the original intent might have been grander.


A few weeks ago, when we looked at “Ferdy the 13th”, inveterate Christmas-ruiner Philip J Reed commented that it would have made far more sense to have the action take place on Mypos. And now that I’m here, and now that I see what Larry Appleton’s story is, I can only agree. (Really, though, why in the hell would Ferdinand not be accompanied by his retinue in a foreign country?)

The question immediately arises as to why we didn’t get that story now, and Philip’s suggestion was that they may not have wanted so many stories taking place on Mypos. And since there were apparently steep FCC fines at risk if a sitcom didn’t spend 30 seconds after each commercial break showing you at the very least a still photograph of a house in a rich neighborhood, maybe that was the case. I also wonder if, given my theory that Perfect Strangers worried about not getting a full season order, the producers felt that “Don’t Tell Mom the Sovereign Ruler’s Dead” may have been one of the stronger episodes they had. It’s a scary thought. They may also not have had the budget to build a set for Ferdinand’s castle, since it would have taken two or three cans of gold spray paint to cover the toilet from “Tuxedo This”.

But consider the possibilities for Larry if the two stories had been next to each other. Larry finds a country where everything he ever needed, physically and spiritually, is freely given to him–and then everything he ever thought he wanted, financially and in terms of status, is dropped right in his lap. More on story in a bit, when I’ll need to distract myself from Mama.

Third, meaning. There are a couple of stupid Mypos jokes I didn’t mention earlier because they only work in a cumulative sense. Mypos, when it’s not populated by hilariously suicidal women or funny names to serve as allegories for Larry’s behavior, is a skewed version of America. We’ve been given to believe that it was just a rock covered in weirdos localizing everything that came their way. Baseball is played with sticks. Golf is played with sticks. Race riots are played with sticks. But in this episode we’re told, quite explicitly, that Mypos is a ‘pataphysical land where every English idiom is brought to life. Siestas become naptimes, but Balki also assures us that actual rat races take place, and Larry’s flock is eaten by a wolf clever enough to have bought an actual sheepskin from the ACME catalog.


In season 3’s “A Gross Old Lady Tries to Touch Balki’s Penis With Her Gross Old Lady Hands”, Balki showed Olivia his tapestry depicting the founding of the nation when Ferdinand Mypos tried to walk to Italy from wherever it is Ferdinands come. In “Little STOP of Horrors”, we’re told Myposians have been around for centuries. But every single bit of their theology and popular culture dates no further back than World War II.

History may well be the nightmare from which we’re all trying to awake; but Mypos is the modern American Dream. We want to believe that foreigners have some truer, freer emotions, but they are the emotions of children, quicker to love but quicker to believe. We want to believe that foreign women are completely powerless when forced to remain continually pregnant, rather than that they might have some knowledge of (or control over) their own economic situation.***** We want to believe that they idolize us, and we want to believe that they lack, that they’re not as mature as our culture is, because we’re scared that they might have something better.

We can interpolate two possibilities here as to why Cousin Larry fails at becoming Myposian: either some internal lack or some problem of what sensibility he brings to their world (cf. the bibibabkas). But we know how the episode will end, so we can say what unconscious bias Perfect Strangers channels. If Perfect Strangers started by seeking to celebrate bridge-building between cultures, it’s ending with a disappointed bridge. Cousin Larry can’t stay because Mypos (like the new Newhart show) has nothing to offer him. If there’s going to be a bridge, it’s better to own it and collect tolls.

I’m sure you all appreciate how much time I spent on that analysis, because now you see just how symbol-laden Larry getting his foot stuck in a bucket is.

Balki gets some real human depth here: when Larry tells him that he belongs in America too, Balki is understandably upset. Yes, tell me more about how I can’t fix my problems!


Who in the teed-up fuck took a photograph of Balki on the golf course? Anyway, now that Larry has said 20 different times that his goal is convince Mama to let Balki come home, Mama finally shows up, singing “She Works Hard for the Money” over track 9 (“Chicken squawks (existential fear)”). Balki runs to the other side of the stage to help the guys editing this in post.


I’ll only mention the matte effect one more time: we know that this is the same guy, but Balki looks shrunk with the effect, but then taller in the closeups. Mama looked immediately to the right upon entering, and is surprised to learn that Cousin Larry is here.


Mama shouts at Balki to go run along and play with himself (with a stick). She picks up a bench, which is funny because… actually I don’t fucking know.


Why did I not quit last week? I knew she’d be in this episode. What the hell is wrong with me?


I could try comparing Mama to Auntie Nelda, but fuck, y’all, this is roughly the equivalent of a gang of clowns beating you with juggling clubs, shoving a horn up your ass, forcing you to the ground and grinding pie after pie into your face.

Look, they fuck around, Larry steps on her foot, Mama falls facedowniki assupiki, and Mama gets one good deadpanned line.


Mama: Why have you come to Mypos?

And then Larry says Balki will be happy in America, and Mama says he can go home.

And that’s it! I’m not even kidding, the conversation takes two minutes exactly, and half of it is Mama saying Mary Anne’s ass isn’t big enough.

Perfect Strangers has very rarely stuck the landing on its better stories. “The Defiant Guys” springs to mind, and “Hocus Pocus” too. So it’s not like I’m upset it doesn’t here. Of course, I started emotionally dissociating completely when Mama arrived, just to safeguard my psyche, so maybe I’m not the best judge.

But Mama’s final question to Larry is whether he loves his cousin Balki, and there could have been a lot more leading up to that. The story this episode explores–Larry finding everything he could ever need or want in Mypos–is closed off before Mama even arrives because the writers a) aren’t allowed multi-part stories in a true sense, b) the writers don’t see or c) don’t care about having those two stories interact with each other. All the pieces are there, but the writers don’t put them in conversation with one another. A fuller version of this story might have Larry not bungle his assimilation. Larry loves Mypos, but unfortunately it happens at the same time that Balki hates it, and he has to decide whether to sacrifice his own happiness for his best friend’s. Not only is Balki away from his new friends and family, but America has changed him  Whatever innovations he tries to introduce aren’t embraced. You could go further, show him hanging around his old sheepherding buddies and being six years out of the loop of the ongoing ovine soap opera that is their only entertainment. I never expected greatness from this show, but Balki just once saying he missed, you know, whatsername with the tiny ass, would have been more than what we got.

Cousin Larry and Mama are so happy they do the Dance of Joy.


I’m so happy I’ll never see Mama again that I did it too.

Balki comes back in and, after receiving Mama’s blessing for his loviki that dariki not speaki its namiki, invites her to move to America with them.


And there it is, Larry’s bowels finally loosed.


Back in America, it’s almost like nothing’s changed. Laura and Maxine walk by, and after they all get back from his swearing-in ceremony, Balki’s closest friends stand three abreast waiting for him.


Balki runs up the sidewalk for the very first time as an American citizen, he rings the doorbell for the very first time as an American citizen; soon he’ll jerk off into his favorite plush toy as an American citizen. Can you imagine what the government would do these days if you skipped your swearing in for two weeks to go live in another country?

Balki puts his penis on Larry’s for the first time as an American citizen.


Join me next week for an episode with no Mama in it, “Wild Turkey”!


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

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

Dance of Joy running total: 21

1. You keep falling for it! But yeah, I’m going for the Socrates reference there.

Unused Larryoke Countdown #23: “I Wan’na Sheep Like You (The Mypos Song)” – Louis Prima

*Forgive me for not seeing then what I see now: that the rubber head (Larry’s psyche) could not contain the damage of the memories (water) rushing in, caused by the presence of his father. Go back and read that one with this in mind.

**This leaves Mary Anne; they’d have to almost go to space for a two-parter for her. But this also leaves us with the question of what character “Snow Way to Treat a Lady” was about. It was Twinkacetti, and it was like this whole thing about debt and the economics of immigration. I can explain it later if you really want.

***Ah, the beautiful linguistics of marketing. What once was the Shop’n’Spend now seeks to cover its own inflated prices by comparison to some (perhaps non-existent) pricier alternative, even if its shoppers can afford nothing else.

****Larry’s type is a TGIF

*****The other extreme of this is to turn a blind eye human rights issues like no reproductive freedom on the basis of “culture”. You know that, I just want you to know that I know that.

6 thoughts on “Season 7, Episode 8: Citizenship, Part 2

  1. The cultural detail I found most interesting in this episode was that Balki, who has spent the last several years in America dressing like a Mypiot, is now in Mypos dressing like a typical American. And Larry, in contrast, is in what we can assume is traditional Myposian yuppie garb. And no one on the show ever mentions this–it just is. Thanks to the hard work of the members of the Costume Designers Guild, we get another layer of meaning.


  2. Hey y’all! I may not know psychology like the guy or girl who writes this blog, but I have read books about things that never happened so I can approach the wardrobe decisions here from a literary standpoint.

    I doubt any of this was intentional. In fact, I’m sure none of it was. But…

    Balki dressing like a foreigner in his homeland leads me to wonder if he doesn’t “enjoy” his cultural handicap. Think about it. If he owned all those American clothes, why didn’t he wear them in America? He deliberately chose to dress, on a daily basis, like a Mypiot there. Which is fine; he has every right to do so. But he is making a conscious decision, especially in the workplace and at fancy events, not to obey the baseline code of appearance.

    Again, fine. But it is a decision.

    Now he’s back in the Cousinland and he is choosing not to obey the baseline code of appearance there, either.

    So, which is it? Is he dressing like a foreigner in America because he doesn’t want to lose his cultural identity? That would be fine. Dressing like a foreigner in his own country, though, proves that that isn’t it. And, sure, the American duds could be his “uniform” to suggest the authenticity of his hot wiener, but he also dresses in those clothes when he’s not at work. In fact, we NEVER see him dress like a Mypiot while on Mypos.

    I’m willing to suspect that Balki enjoys being the “other,” consciously or not. When he doesn’t fit in, he gets attention. (How many times does everyone in a room stop dead to observe/listen to Balki?) It may not be positive attention, at least not consistently, but he likes the spotlight. He gets a chance to do impressions. To make jokes. To turn other people’s corrections of his behavior into marks against them. (“Don’t be ridiculous” is often said in response to correction, and it’s informing the correctors that THEY are wrong.)

    This is in notable contrast to Larry, who does dress Myposian here. Which we already know fits his personality. He doesn’t enjoy being the “other.” He doesn’t like negative attention. He wants to get things right, always. He wants to be inside. So he dresses and acts the part in both America and on Mypos. In neither case does it really work in his favor, but he keeps at it because that’s who he is. He believes success means he looks a lot like the other successful people. Balki may believe the opposite.

    It’s particularly odd to me, and I think this fact supports my reading, that Balki doesn’t interact with fuckin’ anyone on Mypos aside from his mother. We always hear his stories about what a close-knit, familial society Mypos is, and those would be the easiest stories of his to prove correct. So, no, we won’t see green-screened pterodactyls gangraping shepherds, but can’t we at least show Myposians getting along and enjoying each other’s company?

    Other than Mama, Balki talks to nobody and nobody talks to him. He’s surrounded by Mypiots he doesn’t engage with. He even declines to take part in an island-wide custom. Yet when he’s on American soil, he positively insists on upholding Myposian custom.

    Balki just likes being different. He enjoys being corrected. He wants to be one fish swimming upstream, because that fish stands out. And when he’s among other fish that swim upstream, immediately he wants to swim downstream.

    I hope you enjoyed my essay about a pair of jeans.


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