Season 6, Episode 12: Hocus Pocus

Welcome back! I hope you’ve all healed from the sick burns I was dealing out last week.

We started this season with the image of a torn, mangled chair unsuccessfully stitched back together; and yesterday the theme has continued with a script patched together from ideas the writers had scribbled on Pizza Hut napkins.

And speaking of putting a show together like a jigsaw puzzle…


Carl Lewis just completed his 500,000th lap around the Caldwell! Congratulations, Carl!

Inside, Balki–who is still paying off a $140,000 house–has bought a number of high-quality magic props. He’s performing a trick for an audience consisting solely of Dimitri, because Larry’s tired of trips to the doctor to have the streamers removed from his auditory meatus.


Balki: Abracapocus… Elia Kazan…

This is a perfect example of one of the problems at the core of Balki: his jokes are illusive (the other problem is that his jokes make me want to vomit). Almost every Balki line these days is some third-rate misunderstanding that would make Amelia Bedelia beat the shit out of him.  However long he stays in America, a complete internal knowledge of the rules of American English will always escape him, so it’s fine that misunderstandings will follow him for the rest of his days. (Tell me, for instance, why “French green little silver old lovely rectangular knife” is wrong; or why we say “tiny little”; or why we promise someone we’re only “running to the bathroom real quick”.) I studied abroad in Berlin in college, and on my first day there, used the wrong locational/positional word for “place” when I was asking someone if I had the correct address (I was using the word that had more of a meaning of “situation”).

It’s completely believable that Balki will mis-situtate words from time to time, and words like “abrapocus” is a fun way to mix up familiar words. All magic words come across to me as vaguely Arabic and Latinate, and without knowing their exact meaning, what does it matter what order they go in? But the character of Balki takes this one step further by being entirely unreflective about his use of language. “Elia Kazan” is a damn clever play on “alakazam”, but only at the writing level. It works if the person saying it means to upend a trope. But I have trouble believing that Balki wouldn’t know he was referring to a person at this point in his life in America.  It’s an illusion: pay no attention and it’s fine; turn it this way the writer appears and the character disappears.

But why make such a big deal out of this? Only one guy in the audience even got the Elia Kazan reference, so fuck it, let’s move on, I probably won’t get any mileage out of some stupid illusion runner for this week’s review. It’s too obvious.


Balki surprises himself by actually conjuring fire and I have no fucking clue what the joke was supposed to be, so fuck it, let’s move on.


A tired Larry comes home from work and can barely even muster the strength to come up with a good put-down for Balki’s magician name: the Great Foreigni.

*sigh* We need to talk about Balki some more. As we’ve been seeing for quite a few weeks now, Perfect Strangers appears to have no fucking interest in the man at all. Larry’s used him as a bank account, as a guy who can hold a video camera, and as a pocket.* When I started reviewing this show back in 2005, Balki was a wellspring of story. Sure, most of those were along the lines of “Balki brings home a foreigner/homeless man/diseased chimp/crack baby/war criminal/bananademon”, but at the very least he had a personality. Balki had desires, dreams, a viewpoint that–even if it wasn’t clearly defined–was always backed up by some aspect of the culture he came from. We should be getting stories like “Balki tries to change the Chronicle’s internal mail system to be like the one he grew up with on Mypos and constantly interrupts meetings by personally delivering letters”, or “Balki signs Larry up for some event going on at his college”, or “Balki celebrates living with his cousin for five years”. Yes, okay, Balki agreed to babysit without Larry’s permission, but on the other hand last week Larry recruited Balki to stand right next to him at a party.

I see no reason why Balki can’t have a life, or struggles, or events of his own. By the end of this show, he will still have lived almost three-fourths of his life on Mypos, and his cultural background should drive, if not the stories that he sets in motion, then at least what he brings to them. The closest we’ve gotten to this in season 6 was his rope snare to catch a burglar; and the fact that on Mypos they don’t discipline children.** I thought once that I preferred to not have to talk about Balki, and did my best to not mention his one-liners unless they were particularly egregious. But recently, that’s all that Balki has consisted of. That’s why I spent so much time on the “Elia Kazan” gag, because when a character becomes a single joke, that one joke has to be perfect or what’s the fucking point anymore?

So it’s a good thing that Balki’s learning magic, right?

*pulls an upraised middle finger out of a hat*

Balki is excited that he’s going to see “The Amazing Timmy” perform at the “youth center charity show”. Youth centers have never carried names of people or locations, thanks to landmark legislation introduced in the 1950s.

Look, I’m sorry, it’s not my fault if the show forces me to write gay jokes, okay? You guys keep asking me to quit and I’m trying my best but then it goes and does this kind of stuff:


Larry grabs Balki’s wand and it goes limp in his hands. Even stroking it doesn’t restore it to its rigid form.


Anyway, there’s a token role reversal here. Instead of Larry threatening to tape over his Dink, the Little Dinosaur episodes if Balki doesn’t dress up like a prostitute to help him catch a crooked alderman, Balki tickles Larry to try to get him to go to the Youth Center Charity Show.


Cousin Larry says he’s too tired to go because he’s been carrying this show for two whole seasons now.

Larry: All week long I dug, and I dug, trying to come up with a big story.

Maybe he should focus on living criminals, eh, folks? Wocka wocka!

And here’s something we haven’t seen since season 2’s “Since I Lost My Mrs. Twinkacetti”: two things going on at once.


While Larry is talking about his failure to produce a story idea that appeals to RT (Rejection Taskmaster) Wainwright, Balki and Larry each try out a trick involving the illusion that the cloth is being led around by a single hair held six inches away.  Balki is successful, while Larry is not. I’m just going to completely ignore the fact that the cameraman is at an angle that lets me see Balki moving his thumb, and that Larry’s at an even better angle to see it–I’m not even going to mention this because this is the kind of detail that we haven’t gotten in a long time. Failure plagued early Larry, all the way from major life goals like work and relationships down to whether he could successfully hang his coat (remember?). It’s a very Charlie Brown type of gag, and I didn’t know how much I missed it until now.


I guess what I’m saying is that we haven’t had a scene with this level of quality since Balki touched some hamburger meat back in season 2. God help me.

Anyway, Balki has been helping out at Youth Center to set up the Charity Show and really wants Larry to come watch him dislodge Milk Duds from the floor afterwards. The children, who have not yet been introduced to Christmas or Disney movies, have been looking forward to the magic show all year.

There’s a knock on the door and since it’s not someone important in his life, Larry answers it immediately.


It’s Mrs. O’Neill!  Hey, welcome back for the first time, Mrs. O’Neill! Evidently Balki has been working for Youth Center for some time, which means the show literally refuses to show you Balki’s life outside of home and work.

Mrs. O’Neill has come by to complain about how much work she has to do to prepare for that evening’s event. I can’t help but wonder if she might have more time if she didn’t drive over to Balki’s apartment at 6PM to give him programs that she could just as easily have handed off to someone at Youth Center.

Mrs. O’Neill lets slip that Margaret Thatcher will be coming to the Youth Center Charity Show. Ah, what a rare treat for those poor, racially diverse inner city youth! Getting to meet their collective hero and thank her for being the vanguard of making sure that state and local monies are kept away from public services will be a happy memory they’ll cherish for decades to come. Seriously, though, am I missing something here? I’m not up for researching Margaret Thatcher enough to see what kind of impacts her policies had on things like youth centers, but the little bit of looking on Google I did*** indicates that it’s likely. Is “Mags”, as Mrs. O’Neill calls her, coming by to congratulate the woman on being the rich private sponsor of a community good?

Anyway, what the fuck, who cares, Mrs. O’Neill is rich but can’t hire somebody to get the programs from the printing shop.


She asks Larry not to try to impress his boss by lying to Balki about why he suddenly wants to go to the Youth Center Charity Show, strongarm Balki into being a replacement for the magic act when The Amazing Timmy shows up drunk, and then drag the show on too long when Margaret Thatcher is late just so he can get 1,000 words on page 8D.

Do journalist’s careers instantly die if they don’t land a big story every three weeks?

Mrs. O’Neill: Mum’s the word on Mrs. T.****

Larry, who once was excited to have an opportunity to be a male role model for a wayward youth, pretends to give a shit about kids and tells Balki he’ll go.


Wow, what a huge budget this episode has! I mean, they had to go get new footage and buy a tree to obscure the actual center’s name and everything.



The ventriloquist is Bruce Lanoil, who I had never heard of before, even though he’s been a part of the Muppets for years.  From what I read, he mostly has done puppeteering work, with some minor voice roles.  I have to imagine that this was an actual act he did, and now I want nothing more than to see it.


No, no, go back to the ventriloquist.


Larry sidles up to Agent Andy Griffith-Reagan and asks about Mrs. T.  Griffith-Reagan brushes him off and gets back to his job of making sure that there are no stage acts that involve firing sniper rifles into the audience.

Have you ever seen the variation on the inexhaustible bottle trick where somebody makes it look like they managed to pour a pitcher of milk into far more glasses than should be possible? Larry and Balki talk about how The Amazing Timmy is off at a stag party, and then The Amazing Timmy stumbles in and slurs his words, and then Larry explains that The Amazing Timmy passed out because he is drunk.


A man falls and hits his head on a hardwood floor and instead of being shocked or concerned, Balki misunderstands passing out and Larry casually takes a moment to explain the situation to him.

*whips away a sequined scarf to reveal an upraised middle finger*

Remember how Balki once picked up Larry and turned him sideways? Remember how Balki was ripped last week? You really should see a doctor about that bad memory of yours.


This goes on for a while, so let’s talk a minute about The Amazing Timmy before he chokes on his own vomit because the cousins left him lying on his back. He’s played by Nick Lewin, who was an actual stage magician (and still “is” as of this writing, since there’s a number to call to hire him on his website). Given both his and Bruce Lanoil’s presence, I believe that ABC actually put on a show for a group of kids in order to film this episode. Sure, from one angle, it’s a transactional thing–ABC gets a whole room full of extras they don’t have to pay–but turn it the other way and it’s a heartwarming idea.  I don’t ever hear children laughing in the live audience for Perfect Strangers, so I assume that adults were turning out every week to watch Balki shake his imaginary personality around. The thought that Mark Linn-Baker and Balki actually performed live for a lucky group of kids, though, is a sweet one, and it’s a moment that I never could have guessed the show would give me.*****  I’ll take this over a crowd of Beach Boys fans being disappointed that the Tanner family showed up at a concert any day.

When Agent Griffith-Reagan radios another agent to go ahead and take Mags to the airport because the show’s over, Larry butts in and tries to rouse The Drowsing Timmy.

Luckily, there’s no one in charge of the event, either in the audience or backstage, so the kids sit out there for 10 minutes while Larry convinces Agent Griffith-Reagan that The Great Balkini will perform.

Perfect Strangers Reviewed will be right back after I manage my expectations.


Later, at E RECREATION CENTER Youth Center, Chicago’s only youth center with kids perpetually milling around the lobby…


…it’s the Amazing Sheepskin!


He calls for his assistant Cousini.


For their first trick, they ask for a female volunteer to be shaken until unconscious.

Nah, j/k, you don’t lead with that trick.

Here’s another great surprise for me: this is actually one of the best sequences I’ve seen in Perfect Strangers.


Balki’s limited understanding of how magic tricks work, plus Larry’s half-grudging, put-upon manner, provide a meta-level element to the entire magic act.  I don’t know if any of these particular jokes have been done before, but I’m sure the setup has.  Each and everyone of you know how kids’ magic shows work, and could easily name 10 tricks that you’re likely to see in one. It’s a set of rules and rhythms that most of us know as well as the Alphabet Song. Perfect Strangers maintains the rhythm, but breaks the rules, overlaying the magician-assistant setup with comic and straight man.

My favorite: Balki tears up Larry’s $10 bill; can’t put it back together; asks for a $20 instead; Larry deadpans “do another trick.”


It’s only a handful of gags when you get right down to it, but by God it works.

I submit that the main reason it works is that it’s accompanied by real children’s laughter: they are old enough to be familiar with how magic acts work, but young enough to believe that what’s being presented to them is intentional.


It’s still somewhat of an illusion, and only one thing spoils it: the story. The children are enjoying the spoof that the cousins have accidentally created, but turn it this way and you see Larry being an ass in public. The driving force of this story is that Larry wants the magic act to go on, and go on as long as it takes for Margaret Thatcher to arrive, but he can’t even pretend he’s enjoying being on stage for two minutes.  I’m finding it difficult to be upset about this, though, because I’m enjoying the illusion so much.

Oh, wait, both cousins are off-stage again and stay there for three minutes to give us more story instead of what was just working perfectly fine a minute ago.  Balki finds out that Larry’s only there to meet Margaret Thatcher and gets upset.


Larry apologizes profusely for being so dedicated to his job that he would debase himself to bringing happiness to a child’s day. He already told Wainwright he’d get the story, and he knows that Wainwright, the Wainwright who studied under Edward R. Murrow, yes, that Wainwright, that compassionate veteran of journalism who sees a Pulitzer in Larry’s future, Rope Trick Wainwright, who has failed to land more interviews than Larry will ever write, will fire him if he can’t get an interview with an overbooked former head of state.

Balki says he doesn’t have any more tricks, but then Balki answers Larry’s pleas for help, so Hogpen & Feller return to the stage to do more tricks.

Agent Griffith-Reagan radios to whomever that Margaret Thatcher’s driver should turn around again and miss her flight so she can catch maybe one minute of a magic show.

The kids, their parents, and the long-suffering soul who starts and stops the tape deck have been patiently waiting for the last ten minutes and applaud the cousins’ return.


When planets align, they don’t stay that way for long. It’s more of the same bumbling, except where Larry’s impatient asides to Balki were part of the parody, Balki’s threats to Larry about wanting an interview don’t make any sense to the children. I never thought I’d be complaining that Perfect Strangers’s story was getting in the way, but, hey, welcome to season 6, I guess.


Haha, that’s funny because cold liquid makes penises shrink!

Cow Pie the Magician asks for volunteers to be cut in half, and then picks Cousini.

Larry cursing at the children for not wanting to be volunteers legitimately made me crack up.

Nothing’s funnier than the idea of 20 parents beating the shit out of Larry in the alley behind Youth Center after the show!


If you don’t know how this trick works, there’s a couple of ways, and I’ll leave it to you to look them up (one hint: doesn’t Larry sure look a lot taller lying down?).


I should say that it is a strange choice to show the trick to the home audience as though Larry is actually cut in two–we see Balki lock Larry’s actual feet in place, for instance. So another thing I’ll leave up to you is whether you want to believe that Larry’s sudden fear is a change of attitude on Larry’s part and he’s actually playing along with the meta-aspect of the act; the alternative is that Balki can actually do magic.


Anyway, if you don’t look at it too closely, this is finally the near-perfect mix of cartoony and real that the show has been attempting for the past few seasons. Good job, Tom DeVanney! This is the most I’ve enjoyed an episode in a very long time.

Finally Mrs. O’Neill finishes taking a shit and comes out to tell everyone that Margaret Thatcher will be there shortly. The children applaud this news and suddenly the illusion that they’re real disappears.


Larry demands to be put back together and we find out that Balki has no idea how the trick works.

*turns over a playing card to reveal the middle finger of clubs*


What I mean by this is that Bronson has no idea how the trick works because he only tries to unlock the feet end of the boxes. In this sole moment, it works that Balki can’t get Larry out because he can’t get the empty end open–but Larry stays locked in there after he’s off-stage, and the show doesn’t establish that the other side is locked. It strikes me as odd that Perfect Strangers is so adamant about not revealing the trick, since I’m assuming that everyone already knows how this one works.


I’ve read that, in the original airing of this episode, this shot goes on long enough to see the actual recreation center director run out of the building, shouting at the cameraman.

We started this season with the image of a torn, mangled chair unsuccessfully stitched back together…


The final reveal is that Larry was left backstage, alone, testing the limits of his pelvic floor muscles for an hour or more while Balki interviewed Margaret Thatcher.

Larry apologizes to Balki for not being honest.


For his showstopper, Balki gets Cousin Larry to beg to put his name on an interview consisting of questions like “what this?”, “who is your favorite Smurf?”, and “are you a Brit, or just Brit-ish? Where do I come up with them?”

Join me next week for “Finders Keepers”!


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

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

Cut for syndication: Tess breaks the neck of the rabbit that Balki was supposed to pull out of the bucket

*no, not that way, that’s gross, stop

**I am so not going to count “A Horse is a Horse”, even with the possibilities it affords for jokes about magic

***I’m aware of the bias involved when you search for particular connections and find them; after all, I wasn’t searching in order to falsify the hypothesis

****She knows. SHE KNOWS

*****It appears that they filmed some of these scenes for the children, and then showed the footage to the studio audience; somebody didn’t realize how much better the scenes would have played if they had cut out the studio audience’s laughter altogether


Season 6, Episode 11: The Sunshine Boys

Welcome back! I hope you all managed not to get killed by your girlfriends this past week, because this week’s post will save them the trouble.


We open at the Chicago Chronicle, where–believe it or not–actual people lead normal, adult lives, walking around all by themselves, without their cousin, fiancé/e, or best friend in tow.

Larry enters from stage left because the cameras need to hide another character’s entrance, not because what he took from the Archives matters this week.


Under the guise of doing the crossword puzzles, Balki tricks Larry into helping him perform an incantation, saying the magic words three times.


Balki: What’s a six-letter word for “do over”?

Larry: Repeat.

Balki: What’s a six-letter word for “do over”?

Larry: Repeat.

Balki: What’s a six-letter word for “do over”?

Larry: Repeat.

We are told quite explicitly that this episode will “do over” in some way what’s come before. Balki’s further command to “love [him] tender and call [him] Elvis” can’t not be a self-reference to the season 4 episode “The One Where Balki is Elvis”, which tells us that there will be some loss of the self due to the layering on of shorthand personality.

I find myself wondering briefly if the cousins have ever walked upstairs to meet the guy who writes the crossword, but if he’s not a) involved in a crime or b) shtupping Lydia, I doubt we’ll ever see him.


The editor on Perfect Strangers took the week off, so we see RT (Rotten Timing) Wainwright and another guy standing right behind him on the stairs. The guy stands there for a few seconds while Wainwright walks down the stairs, and then follows. Given this show’s sculptorly approach to chipping away everything that doesn’t look like the cousins, I’m surprised they couldn’t manage to cut half a second here.


Wainwright asks for Larry’s one-page story about racketeering and then wanders off a few feet so Larry can recognize the other guy.


Larry: Bunkster, it’s me, the Appleman!

It’s Bunky McDermott! It’s a surprise to actually see someone from Larry’s storied childhood; but I’ve learned not to trust the show’s surprises. They usually involve a writer finding a new, unexplored corner to cut. Here’s an artist’s depiction of the show surprising me:


But god damn is there a lot to get into here.  Let’s recap who Bunky McDermott is so I can explain why this setup is so clunky.  In season 5’s “Almost Lydia in Chicago”, Larry was eager to push Lydia to her own success because he felt that he had passed up a major opportunity in his own life. Larry declined his chance to be chess club president, the role falling to Bunky.  Bunky got married to a rich girl and became president of her father’s company.  That bit of backstory–even if you forget every other failure in Larry’s past–was enough to explain why he refuses to let any opportunity pass without trying his damnedest.  When Larry spoke of Bunky then, he was righteously angry–Bunky was the man who stole his adult life.


So, first of all, why the hell is Larry so genuinely happy to see him?

Second is that there’s no explanation whatsoever for Bunky’s presence at the Chronicle.  It’s established very quickly in this scene that Bunky is rich (he owns properties in multiple foreign countries). Perhaps he was hobnobbing with one of the Bobos who owns the paper?* Or maybe he has some reason to visit Wainwright? I’m stumped as to why that would be, since Wainwright is just the… um… senior editor, I suppose? It’s clear that Bunky knew that Larry works at the Chronicle.  So whether he was coming just to see Larry, or for any other business, he must have told Wainwright the high school connection–which means it’s strange that Wainwright doesn’t introduce them at all, or make any comment on it.

I’m really getting tired of this pattern where the show cuts out maybe 15 words of dialogue and I write 100 to complain about it. While I was doing that, Larry introduces Bunky and Balki and the audience loses it over how two names sound similar.

RT tells Larry that he’s sure to win a Pulitzer, and that maybe after that he’ll finally put him in a real office with other reporters. He bids Bunky adieu.

Bunky says he’s impressed at Larry’s progress since high school. We get our first do-over as we find out that Bunky and the rest of the *ahem* chess club gang used to constantly play pranks on Larry, like gluing his books together, making him walk to get gas and then driving off without him, and stabbing him repeatedly in the kidneys. Bunky brings these stories up, having seemingly forgotten that Larry was the butt, and not in on the joke.

Bunky apologizes to Larry for all the awful shit that he and the guys in the *ahem* chess club did to Larry back then. Larry forgives him by way of excusing the behavior, which is maybe the most gracious we’ve ever seen the man.

Balki jumps in to say reminisce about how the kids on Mypos would pretend to be a rooster just to get the hens horny and confused. Bunky ignores him.

He invites Larry to a dinner dance party at the Beekman Club, the swanky uptown Chicago joint where seven people from Madison, WI, are members.  Larry says a list of funny names: Muffy, Buffy, and Fluffy. Bunky says a list of funny names: Biff, Cliff, and Griff. Balki says a list of funny names: Glinki, Blinki, Dinki. This is exactly how conversations go when I talk to people I went to high school with.


Balki’s list of names is so impressive that Bunky invites him before leaving.  Larry explains his excitement to Balki: he will finally get a chance to be “accepted” by the people who were the most popular in high school.

Larry: Everybody wanted to be in Bunky’s crowd. They were the smartest, the best-looking, the most popular. They had the most fun.

Psychology sidebar: there are a couple of things going on here.  One is mental schemas–the organizing tools in our brain that group together information so we can free up our energy to think about other things. Unfortunately, when we sort people into our mental categories, we start assigning them qualities they may not possess. We tend to think that attractive people are smarter and more interesting. I, for one, fell prey to the same thinking about attractiveness and popularity when I was in grade school. The students who were more attractive–be it natural features, grooming, or clothing–were more popular. Success=some other success. And there is some feedback loop to that after a point. But child psychologists differentiate between perceived popularity and sociometric popularity, the latter being based on actual peer like/dislike. It turns out that there’s very little overlap between the two categories! The fact that most of us hated the popular kids for being popular should have been a clue. It also turns out that Larry occupies neither of these categories.

I’m a little torn on exactly how I feel about this. On the one hand, for fuck’s sake, if you can’t be consistent with a character you’re re-using, come up with another one! Larry seethed with anger when he talked about Bunky before. Now he’s anxious to win the man’s approval. Bunky’s success previously was thanks to his marriage to Bryn Bramwell, but the fact that he’s not wearing a ring here tells me that the writers consulted the one-page show bible instead of rewatching the other episode.

On the other hand, there’s a lot about this that’s in line with a much earlier version of Cousin Larry.  I watched a little bit of a season 2 episode recently–no, I’m okay, I don’t have a death wish, I just needed to compare Balki’s accents–and one thing I had completely forgotten about was how self-deprecating Larry used to be. Everything in his life up to that point had worked against him. Inasmuch as we want Larry to succeed, we share his belief that external factors were keeping him down until he left Madison. Bunky says that Larry’s come a long way, and he really has. Ignoring his constant nervous breakdowns about whether Jennifer will ever see his penis, I couldn’t tell you the last time that Larry talked like his whole life was one big inevitable failure.

I hope you enjoyed this promise of a worthwhile setup. I also hope you enjoy it when people break their promises to you.

Hey, remember three seconds ago when Larry had understandable motivations? Well, fuck all that, because now he’s working hard to convince Balki to come to the dinner dance party. Balki wants to stay home and watch television, and Larry even admits that there’s no reason for Balki to go. Larry tells Balki that Wayne Newton was a member of Chess Club 7.

At this point, the show has completely forgotten that one of its original angles was having two men forge a friendship by passing through various landmarks on the road of adulthood together. At this point, however, it’s pushed the cousins down their own separate paths: Larry overcoming the effect his past has on his current behavior patterns, and Balki doing fuckall.  When a story focuses on Balki, Balki becomes the wisest, purest, most capable magician, hindered only by Larry’s greed to screw things up.  When a story is about Larry, Balki’s brain disappears and he’s strongarmed into coming along.  The show can’t bear to see these two men be apart for more than 30 seconds, but it also can’t be bothered to come up with stories that could involve both of their hopes and dreams. I thought it was bad enough that Perfect Strangers just barely fulfilled the Belita Moreno’s and Sam Anderson’s contracts by letting them walk across the stage five times a season; but it’s starting to do that to Bronson now as well. The whole premise of this show–even in its most watered-down form–is that these men approach situations differently, and we’ve lost even that.

The very first line in the show bible is “Balki likes Wayne Newton”, so it’s spoken like another incantation, magically providing a reason for Balki to be in the rest of this episode.

Goddam am I talkative this week! You probably came here for the sunburns, right? Let’s get to the sunburns.


That Saturday afternoon, at the Caldwell, Larry is getting ready for the party.  This might be my favorite use of the “anal-retentive character plans everything” trope, as Larry has the seven hours until the party planned out.  Just like Scarlett O’Hara, Larry wants to be the perfect lady, so he’s eating beforehand so he can eat like a bird at the dinner dance party.  Balki’s helping by making sure that Larry’s bowels are cleared out.


Bunky calls to tell Larry that he and his six friends just got back from a trip to Caribbean. That’s it. That’s all he calls to say. Larry tells him that he, too, just got back from the Caribbean.

That’s it. That’s why they’re going to get sunburns. Spielberg couldn’t have written it into this story any smoother.

Not only could Larry just lie and say that he went to Caribbean at some earlier time, he could tell the truth and say that he went to the Caribbean at some earlier time.

Larry tells Balki that they’ll need some sort of proof that they went to the Caribbean and drags him off to a tanning salon.


Oh, no, wait, Larry and Balki–who are still paying off a $140,000 house–have rented tanning beds. Remember how much trouble the cousins had getting a piano up a staircase? Your memory is incorrect and you should feel ashamed about this.


There are some moments that you spend years dreaming of, playing out scenarios in your mind, planning what you’ll say and do, telling yourself that you have confidence enough to face anything. And when it comes, it’s all gone, and all that’s left is your eagerness and excitement, and you’re afraid to appear vulnerable.  I think it’s best to just let this sequence speak for itself.


Excuse me, I, uh… *pulls on waistband to let steam out*

Just like all those times where Urkel had to lean backwards with his knees bent in the later years of Family Matters, Bronson tries to hide the fact that he has muscles by pretending to pretend that he has muscles.


Larry sets an alarm clock for 30 minutes, and the editor realized that the only way for the cousins to get sunburned was to cut out the scene where the alarm clock goes off.


Hey, wait! I only count two charred studs! Question for anybody who’s ever used a tanning bed: do they actually make a loud whirring noise?

Perfect Strangers Reviewed will be right back after I take a cold shower in a drum major uniform.


The cousins were rendered so unable to move around by their overdone tans that the very first thing they did was move the tanning beds off to the side. There’s some stupid bit with an oscillating fan where they’re happy when it’s blowing on them and sad when it’s not. There are 43 more episodes of this show.


Balki says that they should skip the dinner dance party, but Larry says he’ll miss his chance to become a member of a club in his own city where seven of the members are people he’s known since high school.

Well, here the cousins go again, strutting and bellowing their way across the stage to their tuxedos.


It’s long been my suspicion that the writers build episodes from the physical comedy scene outwards, as “putting on tuxedos” seems to be the answer to the question “what’s the worst thing you could have to do after getting a sunburn?”.  And then “dinner dance party” was the answer to “where would they wear tuxedos?”

Instead of trying to put on his pants, Balki just writhes around.  We’re already at a point where what we’re watching has at best a tenuous relation to the plot, and now Bronson is blatantly milking the audience for laughter by shaking his butt around. I guess you could say he really knows how to…

…wait for it…

…make ‘em clap!

That’s right, folks, there are 43 more reviews’ worth of me.


That night at the Beekman Club, Jennifer and Mary Anne (Sagittarius) enter to tell the audience that everyone else there is wearing aloha shirts and khakis.


The cousins enter, stiff and grunting. There it is, the last moment where it’s remotely salient that the cousins have sunburns in tuxedos. Hope you enjoyed it!


Bunky, tanless, welcomes Larry and Balki. Larry calls him out on having told him that the dinner dance party was formal dress, and Bunky laughs at him.  Eight people who couldn’t possibly be Cliff, Griff, Biff, Muffy, Buffy, and Fluffy, and are out of earshot besides, join in the laughter.


Two of these people are even standing behind Balki and Bunky in the shots on either side of that insert. I guess if I were the editor on this show I’d have stopped giving a shit too.

You’ve all watched sitcoms, right? You know that when someone has something even slightly unusual about their appearance, you can count on a parade of jokes about it. There are all of two here, and Balki makes one of them. I was told that there were seven different people who participated in the pranks on Larry; I didn’t really expect to meet all of them, but for fuck’s sake you couldn’t come up with another one, show? You couldn’t even have the otherwise-supportive girlfriends fail at trying not to make cracks about their boyfriends?

It’s obvious at this point that the joke’s on Larry once again. Bunky’s lie about what to wear gave us the tuxedo half; and Bunky’s call that he went to the Caribbean gave us the sunburn half. The first part makes sense, and sets up what comes later in this scene. But the latter part is a failure of setup. It’s well-within the scope of Larry’s personality for him to lie about having gone to the Caribbean. I suppose that the show could want me to believe that Bunky has so thoroughly mapped Larry’s mind that he could count on Larry hastily getting a fake tan; otherwise why call? Unfortunately, simply being tanned isn’t additive when you already have tuxedos at a theme party. I refuse to believe that Bunky knew that Larry would overdo the tan, even if that’s what it looks like the show wants me to believe.

There are certainly better ways this could have been set up. In the beginning of the episode, Bunky could have casually mentioned an upcoming trip to somewhere slightly less fancy than the Caribbean, prompting Larry to lie–that he wasn’t sure he could make the party because he’d just be getting back from a trip to the tropics.

At any rate, Bunky’s a shit prankster if he can’t even improvise when handed an extra blunder to ridicule.

There’s like half a minute of the cousins struggling to pull out the chairs for their girlfriends, which really supports the central idea that Larry is being pranked. Having Larry try to talk to any of the other six people he knows from high school wouldn’t have matched this.


The lights dim and Bunky says that it’s coronation time, and the spotlight falls on the cousins.


Bunky calls them both to the stage crowns them “kings of the evening”.  There’s laughter from the partygoers, all twenty of them, some of them easily 20 years older than Larry, half of them African- or Asian- American. The writers forgot that Larry went to high school in another state altogether, but did it have to forget that these people would be at the party? I’d be willing to believe that Larry’s high school was astoundingly diverse, and that maybe even some of Larry’s teachers turned out for this–if that’s what the show were going for.  But the show is asking me to believe that a group of seven people who wanted to haze their former peer got a whole exclusive club of people who never met Larry to be in on the prank. If the idea is that Larry can’t escape his high school bullies, it fails, because we only hear from Bunky. If the idea is that the Beekman Club delights in this thing on a regular basis, it fails, because we only hear from Bunky.

Whoever is in on the prank doesn’t matter to Larry, though, because when the bucket of pig’s blood falls on his head, he decides that they’ll all pay. His mind flexes and the doors to the lobby slam shut, trapping them all in the dining room. His mind flexes again, turning on the sprinklers, shorting out the band’s electrical equipment. The resulting fire spreads quickly, taking those that escaped electrocution. Larry emerges from the pyre that was formerly the Beekman Club, and heads down Michigan Avenue, popping the tops off of hydrants as he–


Oh, wait, no, Bunky just wheels out a toilet as Larry’s “throne”.

Ha! Come on! Larry’s been humiliated by better toilets than that!

That’s it, after eight years to come up with something, that’s the big prank. Trick a guy into putting on a crown and standing next to a toilet.

Larry gives a speech about how foolish he was to want to be a part of Bunky’s group, and leaves.


Nothing will ever be worse than season 3’s “The Break In” for sheer mistreatment of a serious topic. But “The Sunshine Boys” outdoes it completely when it comes to mishandling a story. Taking up a full third of an episode with physical comedy is already the baseline for Perfect Strangers, and once I accepted that, it became a question of whether it worked within the story, and whether it made me laugh. Sunburns in tuxedos is a funny idea. It’s undoubtedly the only thing people remembered about the episode, because it’s a very clear idea; and, hell, I don’t think anyone had done it before. Bronson and Mark grunting and shouting in this episode is only as funny as it is in any other episode, but the problem here is that the plot didn’t call for sunburns, nor did it do anything with them once it had them. First there is a plotline, then there is no plotline, then there is.

Giving the women nothing more to do than walk in and sit down is also the baseline for this show, but once you get to that climactic point–the cousins and their girlfriends at a fancy restaurant–doesn’t it feel like there should be some other story surrounding it? Even if you refuse to really use the girlfriends? The show sets up two different plot elements for this episode, and then doesn’t let them interact with each other, and in the end barely comments on either one. Perfect Strangers has managed to get away with building its plots from the inside out up til now, but this time the seams are showing because there’s almost nothing but. I feel like you could isolate any aspect of this episode build a better story around it.

God help me, though, there’s still a shred of hope left for this episode, because just like spaghetti sometimes looks like Jesus, this collection of disparate elements actually points toward a lesson. If we can accept that everything that happens in this episode actually could happen, and restrict our view solely to Larry’s experience, the lesson seems to be: that what Larry does to himself and his true friends (sunburn) is far worse and longer-lasting than anything a bully ever could devise (tuxedo), and that adding on false layers to impress the unworthy damages and restricts the self.


Unfortunately, though, the show either doesn’t realize this or doesn’t care. Here’s a sampling of the dialog when they get back home:

Jennifer: Larry, I don’t understand why you wanted to join Bunky’s club.

f’rinstance, or

Larry: I don’t know why I’d want to be friends with somebody like Bunky.


The show opts to have Larry realize that he doesn’t need other friends, because he has three already. Instead of letting the main character peel off an old social skin, everyone sits around and wonders why the fuck they even bothered with this story.


It’s an experience we’ll all get to recreate when I show this episode during Larryoke 2!

Join me next week for “Hocus Pocus”!


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

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

Cut for syndication: Tess injects guinea worm larvae into Larry’s leg while he’s asleep in the tanning bed

*the bobeaux riche, if you will

Season 6, Episode 10: Black Widow

Welcome back!  Sorry again about last week. I switched channels at the end of “The Ring” and forgot to switch back to ABC. I ended up writing a whole review of an episode of “Ferris Bueller” before I realized my mistake. No, you may not read it.


We open on a dizzyingly high shot of the Chronicle, falling quickly to the ground.


Inside we find Larry, already in progress, leafing through a bound folio of a past edition of the Chicago Chronicle.


Just look at him, turning the page from the bottom of the book rather than the top, running his oily fingers over the sole archival copy of the newspaper of record for the city of Chicago.

Balki invites Cousin Larry to dinner at a Chinese-Italian deli, which serves “moo shu fettuccine”. Attaboy, Balki! Replace your proteins with starches!

Cousin Larry declines, as he’s trying to reproduce his success reporting on Marco Madison by researching mass murderers for a series of articles. In the course of his research, he’s discovered that “average” people can be murderers.


Balki contemplates this, having never considered this profession before.

Philosophically, though this is very interesting. What was Larry’s belief beforehand? Did he think that “murderer” is an immutable state of being untethered to physical action and that–according to no less an authority than Jesus himself–whoever wishes someone dead has committed murder in their heart? Perhaps Larry pondered, per the proof provided by his prepubescent neighbor, that butchers burst forth from their bearers’ loins bound for boundless bloodshed?

Or perhaps the question is one of the so-oft-on-this-blog-invoked concept of humanity’s internal/external divide. Can one’s nature truly be hidden via the daily practice of interacting with that most formalized and accepted of social interaction: working in a service industry? And the bigger question, perhaps, is whether this makes Larry that much more of a failure; we’ve seen him carry out violence on the trust others give him as he strives to appear other than he really is. Is such a divide itself a crime of the soul?

Or, if I may reverse Socrates and look to the man to understand the city, it’s clear that Larry’s thoughts are scalable. He mentions the murder hiding in the bank teller and the barber and one feels as though we’ve caught a glimpse into the eyeholes of the mask called Capitalism.

Anyway, TGIF: die Tiefe des Geistes ist Furchtbar. The Pandora’s Maalox bottle* of philosophical inquiry into the nature of the self has been opened, and those with eyes to see, and with other sense organs that work correctly, no doubt already understand what this means for season 6’s larger subtext.

Actually, on second thought, Larry’s probably just surprised that middle-class white people with normal-shaped heads are mass murderers.

Balki answers Larry’s philosophical musings in kind, saying that mass murderers are more obvious than all that via oblique reference to Charles Whitman**, a Texan and former Marine. At this point, I rabbit-holed into research on mass shootings, because I was honestly surprised that Balki did not mention postal workers. The beginning of the main grouping of postal worker shootings were still about a year away as of this episode’s airing. It’s interesting to have a timeline applied to the referential melting pot of my youth, but god damn is it depressing to look back on a time where decades passed between iconic mass shootings.

The audience yuks it up over the memory of the 17 people Whitman murdered, and then further when Balki says “fortune cannoli”. So glad we’re getting such dedicated character-driven humor this late in the game.

Larry uses a magnifying glass–and then the camera zooms in hard–on a photograph that takes up about a fourth of a newspaper page.


*gasp* It’s the Country Music Singer Wig Lady from episode 2!

Since this mass murderess was high-profile enough to rate newspaper articles, Larry knows that this would not be the only piece on her.  He flips quickly through the bound folio to find other articles and photographs, as well as cross-checking it with the microfilm copies of other Chicago-area newspapers.

Oh, no, wait, Larry brings this archival copy back to the place where books are constantly being ripped apart and animals shit on any surface lower than their anuses.

Larry shows the article to Jennifer, who reminds Larry that she and Mary Anne have been friends since the age of 9.


Jennifer: Larry, you’ve got to stop watching America’s Most Wanted. In fact, I think everyone should stop watching it, as it comes on at the same time as both Full House and Family Matters. Next week, an anonymous love letter sends the Tanner household into romantic confusion!

Psychology sidebar: now that the truth is coming out about their dark past, Jennifer uses a little bit of distancing language to obscure the fact that she’s not negating Larry’s accusation. “I think I would know….”


Larry thinks that Mary Anne Spencer and Mabel Alice Stallings (the killer) having the same initials is somehow proof. He keeps slapping his hands together and shouting “fact” at Jennifer.


Balki busts in with a television strapped to his back and starts doing step exercises with the coffee table.  This is perhaps the most immediate and arresting symbol Perfect Strangers has used since last season’s men’s room key. Balki–having been cast onto the path of questioning the self by Larry–recognizes his reality as a projection of the television, and accepts his role as carrying the burden of repeating the same steps over and over, up-down-up-down-up-down

Nah, just kidding, Balki’s going hiking with Mary Anne on Mt. Whitefish and needs to build up his legs, and since he doesn’t own any sort of backpack, and never has, he’s practicing with the television.

And since there hasn’t been any organic way into physical comedy yet, Larry starts doing it too.


Hey, by the way! It’s Mrs. Schlaegelmilch’s TV! Somebody finally found the show bible!


Larry tells Balki that that was the allotted time they had for the bit, and Balki leaves.  After that, there’s a good moment where the“fact!” bit pays off when Jennifer does it. She, uh, really does enjoy her fiance’s neuroses, huh?

When Larry realizes that Balki’s death means he can’t drag the guy along to his honeymoon suite, he says he has to stop Mary Anne.  Jennifer pleads with him, saying that she and Mary Anne are so close they’ve been popping the pimples on each other’s asses for years.


But Larry drags out of her that the two of them were out of touch for the years 1984 and 1985, the same time period as the Stallings murders. What’s more is that Mary Anne refers to those as her “dark years”. There’s no mention of the fact that Mary Anne was in London for a few weeks in 1989, or even the basic fact that they are sometimes assigned to different flights. They’re only stewardesses when the plot needs their absence to have some impact on the cousins. There’s only two of them when Balki needs to kiss someone.

Larry explains that Mabel Alice Stallings didn’t go to jail because none of the bodies were ever found.  Oh no! The justice system is so well-constructed that it refuses to prosecute citizens without substantial evidence! What will Larry do?

Jennifer says she’ll bring Mary Anne by later to look at the photograph. Jennifer, before you leave, is it worth mentioning that Mary Anne is too dumb to pull off multiple murders and escape justice? That’s she’s so dumb she thinks that only people in El Paso get borderline personality disorder?


…Jennifer? No? All right.

Later that evening…


…he still has his fucking backpack? Oh fuck you!

Larry comes out of his bedroom, trying to use his newfound knowledge as a physical shield.  Balki, on the other hand, knows he must carry this thing through to its grisly conclusion for entertainment’s sake.

(front/back, up/down)

Dimitri quietly eyefucks a woman in the third row.

There’s a slight disconnect between this episode’s title and the real-world “Black Widows”, who tend to murder their spouses in order to cash out insurance plans or inherit their wealth. We know that Balki barely earns any money as a mailboy; in fact, he bought Mary Anne a hatchet at her request, even though he’s still paying off a $140,000 house. Larry doesn’t try to posit why Mary Anne might be the kind of person who kills her mates. I mean, after all, the opening psychological volley of the episode was just that “average people turn out to be mass murderers”, as though the acts were some isolated aspect of their personality, some unpredictable computer error. And isn’t that scarier than the simple act of murder alone? That no amount of knowledge of another person can protect you from them having agency over your life?

I probably look like I’m signalling the beginning of some argument that underlying Larry’s fear is some deeper, primal terror regarding women, and of the trustworthiness of their motivations. You’re probably mocking me right now! “Hurr durr durr,” you say, “I’m Casey durr hurr I’m an academic an’ I like to be smart.”

Actually… no, I don’t think that’s going on here. This situation doesn’t strike me as inherently sexist. I could easily see Larry acting in nearly the same way if he thought Balki was out to murder him, even though he’d have far less reason to believe it of him. Speaking of how Larry might react to given situations…

Praise is a strong word, and generally advised against in the Perfect Strangers Reviewed stylebook, but thank the Sitcom Gods that Larry isn’t offering Balki as bait to Mary Anne, subtly goading her into violence so that he can make the front page with proof of her guilt.


The sexist part of this isn’t that Mary Anne might be a murderer. No, the sexist part is that she’s not the one here swinging the hatchet around to scare Larry.

Larry sits Balki down to break the news to him in the most roundabout way possible that he might die if he tries to *ahem* scale those mountains.

But before Larry can tell him, Dizzy Borden herself show up.


Mary Anne (Sagittarius) goes straight for the piece of equipment that she and Balki discussed previously. Wow, if she doesn’t rein in her impulses, she might give herself away!


She answers Larry’s question about where Jennifer is by saying that “she’s gone”, and then quickly clarifying that she’s on a flight to Hong Kong. It’s one of only two lines of dialogue in the whole episode where something Mary Anne says could be even remotely construed as something a murderer would say.


What the shit? She leaves? At least someone had the good sense to imply a burial by putting dirt all over her clothes.

Larry tells Balki that Mary Anne is a murderer and rushes to call the police. Balki stops him***, saying that Carl’s too busy rescuing Eddie and Steve from a gang of pool hustlers.


Balki, who comes from island where 10% of the population is played by Bronson Pinchot, assumes that Mabel and Mary Anne are doppelgängers.


Jennifer calls, and Larry is so grateful to hear her voice that he puts her on hold so Balki can make a joke. She was calling to let Larry know she was on her way to Hong Kong.


Balki drags out rubbing Larry’s face in his mistake. Hey, remember how Larry was wrong to ridicule Balki for his belief that Larry would die three years ago? Nah, me neither.

Perfect Strangers Reviewed will be right back after I research mountain-climbing vocabulary in case I need to use it for the next few scenes.


Why are we at the Chronicle?


Who cares? It’s Lydia! It’s motherfucking Lydia, y’all!


Larry tells Lydia how dumb he feels for thinking that someone so sweet could be a mass murderer.


It’s a completely wasted appearance, though, as all the show wants from her is a recap of the “evidence”.

Why the fuck are we at the Chronicle?


Aw, who cares? It’s Gorpley!  It’s mother issues Gorpley, y’all!

Gorpley surprises Larry by telling him that Balki has gone on a hiking trip!  If only Larry had had some way–any way–of knowing this beforehand!

Before either of them is allowed to say any more, Larry hightails it the fuck up out of there.


Why the rappelling fuck were we at the Chronicle?

Here we are at downtown Chicago’s famous mountain range!


Ooh, Mary Anne’s in shorts. She can crest my ridge anyday!


In case you weren’t certain how tall a mountain was, it’s tall enough to drop something from. Balki says he is stuck.


Where’s his fucking backpack? Fuck you, show!

Larry runs up and confronts “Mabel”, and then ties her up poorly.


Make your own “Fifty Shades Larried” joke.

After having tossed instruction books, sprigs of parsley, VCRs, and rings, The Man Who Threw Too Much throws a rope down, which Balki does not catch.


He ties another to a tiny tree and Mary Anne–the dumb one–tells him not to do that because it’s too small.  Cousin Larry, who–per the show’s canon–is ~370 lbs, climbs down to Balki.

When he arrives, Balki is singing Ashford & Simpson’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” which I guess is the closest we’re ever going to get to classic Perfect Strangers from here on out.


Balki: Are we going do physical comedy now, Cousin?

Larry: What the fuck do you think?


Larry tugs on the rope, uprooting the tree, stranding the cousins. Unfortunately, the outcrop they’re standing is too small for any physical comedy but having them put their crotches together.

As they say, if the mountain won’t come on the cousins…


I guess you could say Balki is… stuck between a rock and a hard place!


I guess you could say that Larry is… getting his rocks off!


I guess you could say the cousins are… engaging in sexual congress on a cliff face!

There’s 5 minutes left, so the cousins switch places again.

(up/down, back/forth)

Mary Anne, who is so dumb she thinks that a buttress is the female version of butter, has untied herself and throws another rope down.


Mary Anne gets the best line in the episode: “Larry couldn’t tie a knot if his life depended on it.” It’s not much, but it at least made me smile.

You would think, now that Larry’s life does depend on it, it might be worth someone intimately familiar with Mary Anne–say, oh, idunno, Balki maybe?–laying out any sort of argument as to Mary Anne’s nature. You would think that Balki would have some opinion on whether people are innocent until proven guilty, some Myposian way of handling oneself in the face of potential danger. You would think he’d at least say something like “you will know them by their Fruit of the Looms”.

That’s the difference, though. You would think. Perfect Strangers, on the other hand, is just fine having its main characters grunt and shuffle around while the episode’s focus patiently waits in the wings.

One of the central devices of the sitcom is that everyone’s true nature is always at the surface. Perfect Strangers sets up an episode that hints at a confrontation with that notion, and then proceeds to direct our attention to a blank wall. It’s not as though the show would even have to work all that hard to remind the viewer that Mary Anne is so dumb she thinks carabiner is an ethnic slur. But as we’ve seen numerous times now, it’s willing to ditch dialogue necessary to the inner logic of its plots, and it’s willing to keep the women out of their own stories. Argue if you like that a sole focus on the workings of Larry’s mind is worthwhile, but I can’t accept that it should come at the cost of others’ characterization.


Later, at the Caldwell, Mary Anne explains that the Chicago Chronicle had the captions mixed up between her photo and one of Mabel Alice Stallings. Mary Anne–who once refused to live with her best friend after being accused of using just a little too much makeup–calmly and forgivingly explains that she is not a serial killer. The photo of her was when she was with her boyfriend at the police academy graduation.****


How in the hell did Mary Anne get the original of a newspaper photograph?

As it turns out, Mary Anne’s “dark years” refer to the time period when she was fucking a guy named Tim Dark, who had previously dated Jennifer. His nightstick *ahem* was so arresting that Mary Anne was willing to cut off all contact with Jennifer for two years straight.


Balki explains the “dark years” joke, and then says “these must be the Bartokomous years” and that is not a joke THAT IS NOT A JOKE

There’s a decent cumulative bit where Larry asks how he should hand out the apologies, and Balki reminds everyone that they had previously decided that embarrassments get group apologies, and lies individual ones. Balki further reminisces about the time that Larry gave them all gift certificates, and then decides on what Larry owes them this time.  Unfortunately, there’s absolutely no reason that this joke needed to be a monologue from Balki. It’s explicitly about a group of people deciding how Larry should atone for his sins, yet two-thirds of them just nod their assent. Fuck this show.

Larry apologizes to Mary Anne, Balki, and Jennifer in turn.  You know, I can be pretty down on the character of Jennifer. The show generally doesn’t give her much more to do than knock on the door, but I do want to compliment Melanie Wilson. I mean, look at that face: the face of a woman who spends every waking moment with the knowledge that she’s engaged to a season-6 Larry Appleton.


It’s a completely fair statement that Melanie’s doing the most she can with, um… well, “the material they write for her” isn’t exactly correct, but you know what I mean.

Larry offers to take them all to a nice, quiet dinner, but before they can leave, Mabel Alice Stallings runs into the apartment and murders them all with her bare hands. The end.


Nah, j/k, everyone laughs at Larry for giving a shit about whether his cousin lives or dies. These four sure do have fun when they get together.


Join me next week for “The Sunshine Boys”!


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

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

Appearances left: Lydia (9); Gorpley (10)

Cut for syndication: Tess hits Larry in the nuts with a crampon


*Pandora originally had a jar. Look it up and get it right from now on, okay?

**The clocktower shooter in Austin, Texas, 1966

***Sadly, Larry does not break his bone for touching the phone

****The very same one where Mahoney got a blowjob, no doubt