Season 3, Episode 22: Bye Bye Biki


Oh man, I’m so excited. Season 1 ended with a party, Season 2 ended with a nailbiting setpiece atop Twinkacetti’s roof*. I don’t know exactly what “Bye Bye Biki” has to offer, but I’m sure it’s going to be a real showstopper!  You know why? Because once you get enough episodes under your belt, you can not only make callbacks, but you can start stacking them on top of each other.  Think about the time Michael Scott burned his foot on his George Foreman grill, and then used it at a cookout. Think about basically any later Firesign Theatre album. Think season 3 of Arrested Development.

Consider the possibilities of what jokes I can mix!  Maybe somebody else drinks some Bismol and I can talk about how Larry shouldn’t drink after them because of his immune system!  Or maybe Jennifer will get a hot tip from Gus about eyeliner! Or maybe Mary Anne will be so dumb that she thinks that a callback joke involves humorous use of vertical service code *69!

Speaking of dirty jokes, I’ve also been saving up my “Larry and Balki are super-probably totes gay” gags during the past few weeks’ moratorium.


Ain’t no party like a gay callback party, y’all!


We open outside the Caldwell, where we find the window open. Last season ended with a double X, a sign of death and deletion.  Here, the windows signal two levels of uncertainty. The open window to a fire escape signals an exit; but as with any sitcom, renewal is always a concern, and we don’t know yet whether the escape would be up, or down, that ladder.  Also the little pattern below the other windows is a symbol of how Larry gives Balki handjobs!**

Larry is urging his Cousin Balki to leave his room so they can get the “good donuts” at work!  Good donuts! Haha, yeah, good donuts are the ones you can stick your penis through! Larry’s gay! Also he’s fat! Also crullers are the bad donuts, which is a callback I’m making to “Happy Birthday Baby”!

But Balki is still putting his clothes on, probably because they were boinking right before this.


But the phone rings and Larry, having finally learned patience, hangs his coat. Remember this. This is important.

Is it a hot tip from Gus?  Is he going to tell Larry to forget the donuts so he can get some photos of Mr. Casselman cheating on his wife with Fat Marsha?


Oh, no, wait, it’s Balki’s mom, screaming “Balki” into the phone. Well played, show, I see you’re trying to beat me at the callback game.


Oh, no, wait, it’s not Balki’s mom, it’s his “Yaya”, which is Myposian for grandmother.  So Balki just talks Myposian at her for a minute while Dmitri does Dmitri in the background.

Balki ends the call by saying “bye bye, babe” in a deep voice. Larry assumes that Yaya Bartokomous is coming, and is confused when Balki corrects him. I guess we can add incest to the Quiverfull aspect of Larry’s family of origin. Ooh! Ooooh!  This explains why Larry’s got no immune system to speak of!  Or at the very least, he does have a fragile one, which is nothing to sneeze at.  (I’ve been holding onto that one for 38 episodes.)

Anyway, Balki’s maternal grandmother, Yaya Biki, is coming to visit. Also, she’s 106 years old! Around this time last season, we established that Balki is Jesus, so they must be counting years the way they did in the Old Testament, where one season is a year.  So Yaya Biki’s only, you know, Larry’s age.


While Balki finishes covering up his nakedness, he talks up his gramma some more. Every morning she wakes up, takes the sheep 6 miles up a hill, then comes back and makes breakfast for 26 men; after which she does aerobics.  I guess that’s supposed to be impressive compared to the 11 men thing from way back, but what, she doesn’t have a baby in the middle of all that?


In the next scene, the cousins are right back home. Balki finishes hanging some garlic wreaths because the walls have come down with a cold.


Cousin Larry comes in, and his first instinct is to look to the right, and behind him. He shdh at the garlic, and then he hangs his coat. Remember this. This is important.


The next joke is that Larry almost runs into a cow which is standing right behind the couch.  It’s a good thing everyone looks to the right and behind them when they enter their home, or else there was no way that joke would have landed.  I have three jokes for the cow.


The cow is Yaya Biki.

This will be the first cow Larry hasn’t had to share with eight brothers and sisters.

Balki and Larry will have to eat grass to try to hide the cow from Twinkacetti.


Thank you. Mooving on.


Oh, no, wait, I have more.

This is an udderly ridiculous situation.

Larry, can you get pasture Cousin’s most recent flagrant breach of the lease terms?


Okay, really, I’m done.

I bet that chew cud be upset with me for milking this cheesy bit.


Mark Linn-Baker does a nice line reading saying “Balki”–it’s half scared Larry, half Balki’s Yaya over the phone.


Balki pops up from behind some plants he probably pulled out of a dumpster and asks what’s up.

Cousin Larry beats around the bush for a bit trying to soften the blow of telling Balki he’s upset about the cow. In one way, that’s growth for Larry that he’s not instantly upset. But Sarah Portland talked in the comments about her Myposian roommate a couple months back, and now that I can see this through her eyes, Larry, you’ve got every right to eat that whole cow. You’re fat, Larry.


Speaking of developments in character growth that really aren’t, and that shouldn’t have been necessary, we see that Balki has made his Yaya a blanket. For once, it’s not the same damn green one they keep trotting out any time Balki needs a blanket.


But it’s always two steps forward, one step back with this show, because we then find that Yaya Biki watches Letterman.  And I think it’s time I talked about character creep.


No, no, stop, not that. I’m borrowing here; I first encountered the idea of “creep” in a project management course, where we read about “scope creep”. The Letterman line is another one of those jokes that erodes the rustic feel of Mypos for easy yuks. And this points up a bigger problem for the show at this stage. Again, Sarah Portland hit the nail on the head with this one three months ago when she said that the show tries to have Larry be the stable one and Balki the manic one, while it’s obvious now that the opposite is true.  Larry is the adult character, so it’s fun to have him act like a child. Balki is the foreign character, so it’s fun to have him speak in an accent-less deep voice. Mary Anne is the dumb character, so it’s fun to have her say something smart. Jennifer is the desirable character, so it’s fun to give her absolutely zero personality.  But in the same way that the show ends up undercutting its lessons by tacking a joke onto the end of them, it’s eroding these characters, and the statements it has made about them. It’s fine if you want to show that Larry’s still a little kid inside to illustrate how he’s trying his best to put on the vestments of adulthood, but at least let him still have a base of cultural knowledge that Balki can benefit from!

Anyway, holy cow, we’re a third of the way into the episode and not a damn thing’s happened. Seriously, I hit play again right after I wrote that paragraph and Balki’s just pointing at a chair he bought. I can only imagine that Larry and Balki are not having sex right now because they’re worried their leather pants would offend the cow.


Goddam, finally, we go to the Chronicle building. I was worried there for a minute I was going to have to write a good callback joke about how the sound effect of the cow lowing was on the flip side of the LP they used for Little Frankie’s crying back in season 2.


Balki is teaching Larry, Harriette, and Lydia how to sing a Myposian song. Hey Gorpley, here’s your chance! Come out and fire this guy!


This is a nice visual indicator of the acting skills of these three. Harriette is happy to do something for Balki, but Larry and Lydia are both thinking to themselves “is this really a song?”.

The last word of the song is “babasticky”, and the song is supposed to be “For she’s a jolly good fellow”*** and maybe the “babasticky” is meant to convey the impossibility of denial part at the end of the song?  I’m trying to make sense of this language, but who cares. Larry and Balki are primarily concerned with the language of love.


Harriette: W-wait, wait, hold on, honey

*sigh* You’re right, Harriette. I’m kind of forcing the gay jokes. I’ll get us back on track with some callbacks. (You are Harriette, right?)


Balki repeats the exposition about Yaya Biki coming, and tells us that there’s going to be a party.  I’m glad he did that! If this scene had been Harriette and Lydia at the party, we would have had no explanation whatsoever as to how they knew to show up.

Harriette insults Lydia on her way out, and then the phone rings.  It turns out that Carol is actually dating a guy named Jim.


Haha, nah, j/k, Yaya Biki changed planes in New York and her heart stopped. She’s dead. That’s really sad. Huh.

I guess she must have sexually harassed one of the Delta terminal’s desk staff and threatened to have him fired!


Mary Anne (Sagittarius) and Jennifer are there to recreate the scene from the end of Season 1, even down to there being potato chips and Mary Anne wearing a lot of eyeliner. Balki has even regressed to saying “potata chips”.


Usually it just takes 18 minutes for the cousins’ roles to be reversed, but here we see one two seasons in the making: Cousin Larry makes the party guests leave. He makes his own callback by telling the women that Harriette and Lydia are wearing the same outfits, and that they should go upstairs and change.


Mary Anne drops her guard for a sarcastic split-second; she knows what’s up (Larry’s penis up Balki’s butthole, usually).

Larry has some difficulty saying that Yaya Biki is dead, and the guys in the audience think the way he hesitates about it is HILARIOUS.

Balki sits down and says he’s been running around “like a chicken with its head glued on” and damn. I… did not expect that I would ever need to make a callback to how Myposian youths amuse themselves by watching animals die.


Larry says that Yaya Biki bought the farm and Balki is so happy that he makes the same face & arm motions that I did when I found out that my apartment building’s fire alarm is just two decibels shy of bursting my eardrums.

But on Mypos, unlike in 1980s America, farms were still a thing that got used instead of subsidized, and a misunderstanding is as good an opportunity as any for Balki’s catchphrase, isn’t it?


Larry says that Yaya Biki is dead. Alright, the Biki plot is out of the way and we’ve got 10 minutes left.  The women are gone, the door’s locked, let’s drop those trousers and party down!


Balki decides to go out and buy more chips, and wow, when has Balki not been upfront with his feelings?


Balki comes back with the CEO of Unichip, Inc., demanding that he count all the potato chips in Chicago.


Nah, j/k, the cousins come back from the circus. Balki’s wearing a balloon hat, and so is his familiar, Dmitri. Did… did Dmitri time travel?

Balki: Doesn’t this balloon hat lend itself well to a joke about phalluses? We’re really gay, Cousin!


Heehee! This move’s called the “Bozo Bucket Bonanza”!

Balki’s obviously really into having fun right now, and nothing’s more fun than the fun they sure do have when the four of them get together, so Balki suggests they invite the women to watch a movie. (Pizza is the only thing Larry eats.) (Larry is fat.) (Larry does not poop.)

Balki: I’ll make some popcorn and we can practice catching it in our mouths!

Hee, hee, “catching” is a gay sex word. Larry and Balki are ‘mos!


Then they argue about whether Balki is happy.  I thought Balki never lied, and that Larry would believe anything Balki says?

Larry finally (after three friggin’ weeks?) asks Balki if he’s really happy that his Yaya Biki died. Balki admits he’s not happy, and explains to his cousin that his Yaya had asked him to go on with his happy life when she dies. He’s holding on tight to that highest of Myposian ideals: the Promise He Made.


If Balki playing with squeaky toys indicated the shallowness of a lesson, Balki dropping popcorn kernels one at a time into a pan tells us the depth of his sorrows.

Larry says that you have to mourn someone when they die.


Larry: I had an uncle whose wife died…

So… your aunt?

Larry says that this uncle wrote a letter to his dead wife, and that it made things a little better. Look, show, this is a comedy, can we just have a goofy seance at a third location?

Balki doesn’t want to say goodbye.  Larry leaves to visit the womenfolk.


Balki keeps trying to start talking to the chair, and again only the men in the audience laugh.

Balki talks to the chair he bought, about how he wanted his Yaya to see more of the country than LaGuardia’s filthy bathroom stalls. Yaya Biki had told Balki stories about the Statue of Liberty, how she was bringing light to the world.


Balki: So I — so I’ve got Yaya Biki sitting here.  And you — I was going to ask you a couple of questions.  But — you know about — I remember three and a half years ago, when you sheared that sheep. And though I was not a big supporter, I was watching that night when you were shaving that thing and they were talking about hope and change and they were talking about, yes we can, and it was dark outdoors, and it was nice, and people were lighting candles. They were saying, I just thought…


I just can’t. I can’t, you guys. I can’t follow through on that Clint Eastwood joke. It was going to be really great, but what

what does it





I’ve been trying so hard to keep this blog funny, I’ve been trying to make gay jokes and I wanted to really make you all laugh with some stellar callbacks about there not being any party horns and, like, Moonlighting, and suicide… I even had a Biki with the good hair joke all ready to go, but it’s all just been a giant clown nose to hide my pain.


Susan’s gone, you guys. We never really got to know her, but she always seemed like she had such great potential. And not just Susan, but all those others! Tina, Carol, Gina, Linda, Gorbachev, Suprides, Eddie, Donald Twinkacetti, Edwina Twinkacetti, their children, Wistful and Woebegone… They’re all gone.  I’ve been trying to keep myself happy by honoring the promise I made**** to make this the funniest sitcom review blog around.  But I’ve got five more seasons of this; if I’m any good at it, I’ll pick up new readers. And will they even know what I mean 50 reviews from now when I say that  ennifer: — ?



It’s obvious now that I remember more about seasons 1 and 2 now than season 3 does.  I love this show, my awkward, frustrating, clumsy child; but it’s growing up. This show outgrew its clothes. It learned to use the toilet (well, after breaking it, anyway). It’s not going to remember its beginnings, but I will. We’ve probably all gone through phases where we had to demand that our parents stop seeing us as babies, or children, or teenagers.  It’s hard.  My show’s changing, and I have to change with it. It’s been scrubbing the specificity off its characters’ pasts all season, and I see what I’m supposed to learn from that. I can’t make a callback to everything; everything can’t be a running joke.

Balki, to Biki, regarding the Statue of Liberty:

I remember the first time I ever saw her. I was sailing into New York Harbor on the steamer, and the sun was coming up, and… there she was. Just like you said. Bringing light to the world. And it was the most wonderful day of my life. And… you… made that day possible.

I knocked this show so hard all season long for watering down its own lessons (with poop water, no less) that it took me by surprise when there was a lesson for me waiting here at the end.


Balki’s realizing that he is the new generation, that he has to leave behind his past and forge his new life in the greater world.  Man, the scene where Luke finds his burnt uncle and aunt got nothing on this!  The lesson here is that Balki has to honor his past by enjoying the opportunities it gave him, rather than feeling like he had to keep up every aspect of his culture.


And me?  I have to roll with the changes. I know I’m capable. I know I’m funny. But as much as this blog is about me, it’s just as true that it isn’t. I don’t know where Perfect Strangers is going now; I’ll talk more about this in the season review, but I don’t think it did either. I’m in a dialogue with the show, and I have to follow it where it goes.  It’s still my dream, and some weeks it seems to take over my life. But the show and I are long past “hello”, and I can’t keep talking to it like it’s a baby.

Or like it’s an empty chair symbolizing a dead body in legal purgatory, sitting in the Delta baggage claim and stinking of fish parts.


As the camera pulls back towards the windows, we ask: will it escape down the ladder, or up?

Season 3 est mort.

Vive Season 3.



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

Boner count: how dare you, Balki’s Yaya Biki died


**it’s complicated, send me a DM and I’ll explain it

***public domain, not reason #whatever

****to Satan

*****Psychology Sidebar: the “five stages of grief” model was developed by Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in the late 1960s


NAH, J/K, y’all mofos oughta know by now I always roll three deep with callbacks. I stack jokes better than Balki stacks motor oil cans. I can get ex-girlfriends back with the mere mention of egg rolls and saxophone music. My stuffed sheep even has tiny callback jokes! You butter believe it!

Season 3, Episode 11: The Break In

We open at the Chicago Chronicle, where we find Larry giggling to himself.


Harriette and Balki arrive in the elevator, but because she finally gave in and let Balki the Kid operate it, they have gone too far down.


Larry is still laughing over something he wrote (I can relate), causing Balki to come over and start laughing with him. This causes the audience to laugh. Balki voices my own thought (“what are we laughing at”?) prompting the exposition.  Larry spent half his day covering a “stupid dog show” and it really stressed him out, so he decided to write a “funny” article about it.

Are you… are you making fun of me, show?


Larry’s article is about how snooty and fat the dog owners’ wives are, but Balki isn’t laughing, because that’s mean.  He gives us Rubble Rule #39: Iffi bighi hoch pdooie ocho pidi badhbadhsticky, or in other words, “If you spit into a windstorm, you better carry an umbrella”. And because I’m hung-up on trying to make sense of the Desperanto that Balki spouts, I’m going to focus in on “badhbadhsticky”, because we’ve had “babasticky” a few times now. Sticky=sheep; baba=shit, bullshit (lies). So for “umbrella”,I’m going to guess that “badhbadh” might translate to “skin”, telling us the construction of the tool; or “shield/screen”, to indicate its purpose (like, I dunno, are you supposed to keep sheep dry?).  Anyway, none of you cares about that.

Larry cites Don Rickles as a precedent, and because Rick-les is Wayne Newton’s favorite comedian, Balki is 100% down with the idea. He almost instantly tries it out by insulting Larry’s nonexistent lips.


Larry plans to send the article to his brother Billy, I guess to impress him with yet another article that didn’t get published. He puts it and the real article in identical, unsealed envelopes.  Harriette returns, bringing with her a man named Frank.


Harriette: Frank, what’s a 5 letter word for life?

Frank: (thinks)  Hell.

*dingdingding*  We have a motif established!  Frank has also, evidently, gone too far down.


Mr. Burns rushes in, gets Larry’s name wrong, and even insults his intelligence, but he’s still no Twinkacetti.  He gives us the last two pieces we need for this week’s situation: the Chronicle’s publisher, R.T. Wainwright, sponsored the dog show, and wants Larry’s article on his desk by that evening. He then asks Larry where the file on the “Fornzak” baby is.  And since Larry can’t possibly do one thing, and then do another one, he asks Balki to take the article up to the publisher’s office.  (I’ll let you know when the show gets to the “comedy” side of the sitcom coin.)


So, if I’m to understand correctly, Balki’s job is to sort mail.  His job consists of making sure the right envelopes go to the right places. He has, we assume, done an impeccable job, since Gorpley has been looking for even the slightest reason to fire him. So! I assume that the cousins will just have to slapfight over the Fornzak baby files or something. They really painted themselves into a corner here.


Later, the cousins, Jennifer, and Mary Anne (Sagittarius) watch Moonlighting. They spend a while talking about how great the show is, in case you missed the lesson about not watching cable television last week. Balki tries out his new American knowledge:

Balki: Mary Anne, is that your hair or did your head just explode?


Mary Anne doesn’t get it because she is dumb (so dumb, in fact, she thinks that moonlighting is a technical term used by porn directors). Anyway, back to the A plot: Balki also wants their prospective girlfriends to hear Larry read his jokes about women.


Larry’s so taken with his own writing that he has multiple orgasms (I can relate).


Since the audience has forgotten already that there’s another article, or even that other spaces exist in this world, Balki lets us know where the joke article is. These four sure do have a lot of fun when they get together, don’t they?

The mid-episode exposition over, Jennifer and Mary Anne leave, allowing Larry and Balki to touch each other–you know what, gimme a second… okay, I just programmed a hotkey for pasting that phrase in.


Larry says he should have known it would happen, citing “Appleton’s Law”. It’s basically just Murphy’s Law, and I needed this reminder. It’s comforting to think that simply because good jokes can happen on a sitcom, that if a show runs long enough, it’s bound to happen eventually.

Balki wants clarification on whether insult humor is funny, and all Larry can say is that sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t.


Balki realizes that he insulted Mary Anne, but Larry stops him. He explains that they’re long past season 1 when Balki could mess something up and learn a lesson about the way America works; this is season 3, and only Larry gets to be wrong. And this is the worst thing that’s ever happened to him, no doubt. I mean, his life is just over. If only there were some way to undo this damage to his career.

10 minutes into Perfect Strangers and chill and he gives you this look


Larry guilt trips Balki about doing his job incorrectly, and that breaking into the publisher’s office is the only way to fix it.  Larry makes it seem like he’s doing Balki a favor by coming with him, and that’s super-shitty, but yeah, Balki’s got to undo his irresponsibility, because man, if I were in that situation and couldn’t fix what I’d done, I dunno, I might just give up on life.


It turns out the building does still exist at night, and here’s proof.


The cousins are out breath because they took the stairs and have never once gone to the gym or taken a Karate class.


And here we are, the office of R.T. Wainwright, locked, lights out.  Alone in an empty building, no one there to help them. Things are looking bleak, guys. This may be the end for the cousins.

Larry misquotes the mailman’s oath, but Balki calls him out on his bullshit. Larry drops his mask, admitting his deception and shifting gears to begging. You see, “R.T.” stands for Reigning Tyrant and Larry knows that he’ll be fired if Wainwright reads the joke article.  Larry begins to beg for Balki’s help, offering whatever he wants, he’ll even reconsider the love egg.


And, okay, yes, that garbage with Moonlighting earlier was blatant product placement.  But then it pays off with Larry saying they’ll do what they do on Moonlighting to get through the locked door, and Balki starts in with that you do? I do! stuff. This is something like the third time that the show has had a setup that seems so out of place which then pays off pretty well.  Maybe I should stop knocking this show so much…

*turns to fourth wall*



Larry tries that credit card trick, another indication that the show has forgotten that these dopes are supposed to be poor.  But they might soon be poor again, because the card breaks, the half with Larry’s name stuck in the door, and the size of the piece of plastic left in Larry’s hand is no mistake: it is of a size with the newspaper clipping of Larry’s first published article. A subtle clue that in a world where no one appreciates your hard work, and never gets your name right, maybe it’s better for that name to just disappear from that world forever. No byline, just… “bye”.

When you’re in an unwinnable situation, sometimes you turn to your drug of choice. The cousins try to physical comedy their way out of this mess.


It provides a temporary reprieve, allowing them to switch out the article, but –oh no! The elevator dings!


The cousins turn out the light, but–oh no! They’re on a sitcom so after a second’s delay, another, softer light turns on!


And the publisher’s office is somehow the smallest room in the entire building, so there’s nowhere to hide!


Psychology sidebar: have I talked to you all yet about the idea of “averageness”?  Basically, we find others more attractive the closer they come to some sort of societal (read: racial) “average”, especially when it comes to faces. This was first “discovered” in the late 19th century by Francis Galton, who studied the faces of criminals and vegetarians. He found that by creating composite images of multiple faces, the result was more attractive than any of the components.  It was another century before this was tested out with computer-generated composites of faces. Long story short, composites of faces tend to be rated more attractive in general by subjects, and the composites made from higher numbers of faces were rated more attractive than those made from lower numbers of faces.  Anyway, the reason I’m saying all this is that the theory is now officially dead and buried because the security guard here is a walking composite of Dick Van Patten and Lance Kinsey (Proctor from the Police Academy movies), and it’s not a good look.


Anyway, OH NO!!! Lance Dick has closed the window!


The cousins say variations on “the guard locked the window” like, seven times, and I sure am glad I’m watching the syndicated version.  Larry calls upon God himself to save them.


But there’s not enough room for physical comedy, much less the front-to-front kind. These guys are fucked. GAME OVER, man. A bunch of firetrucks and police show up and Larry thinks that by moving half an inch backwards they won’t be seen.


And, hey, look, it’s Frank! I wonder what Frank’s doing here? Whatever it is, it’s sure to be comedy gold!


He’s up there to commit suicide, which somehow Balki knows about (possibly from that dialogueless episode of Mr. Ed he watched last week?) So Larry learns an important lesson: that losing your job–even if it’s for something unjustified, like someone mistakenly giving your boss an article that you wrote in a fit of pique because you had to spend all of one day focussing on something that you felt was beneath you–cannot compare to the traumas of mental illness, which can drive someone to give up on life.


Hey, wait, the music didn’t turn on. We’re still on the ledge. That wasn’t the lesson. Balki insists on talking to Frank, and Larry cautions that one wrong word and Frank will jump.


Balki: Fingyprints.

*FRANK jumps*


Nah, j/k, they stay up on the ledge all night talking to Frank about his family.  Frank mentions that his son, Frankie, Jr. is a natural at tee ball, and Balki mentions that he was a Caesarean birth.  (And here I thought on Mypos was very simple….)

Larry starts in telling Frank that the idea of suicide makes no sense because he has a wonderful family.  Yes, that’s right, folks! The best way to handle a severely depressed person is to let them know that, on top of everything else they’re going through, their perception of the situation is wrong!  Yeah! You should smile more often, sweetie! Even though (as Larry so helpfully points out) Frank is one of the leading journalists in the city, Frank is sick of it:

Frank: I’ve been covering crime for 12 years! All I see all day are people doing terrible things to each other. I can’t take it anymore!

*counts number of episodes left on fingers, divides by 52, carry the bonus posts*

*turns to fourth wall*


Balki suggests that Frank goes home to his family, who will be hurt if he kills himself. He goes on to mention that Frank would only become another terrible person that another journalist would have to write about.

Frank says he feels humiliated.

Balki says “if you come out on this ledge again, there’s a good chance we won’t be here”, and the audience laughs.

In the final scene, Larry says he wants to forget the whole thing happened.


Balki says he never wants to go through something like that again.


The final joke is how funny it is that Balki and Larry don’t get any sleep because they stayed up all night keeping Frank from killing himself.

Okay, fuck this.

*turns off plastic megaphone*

*writes the rest of the review in my real voice*

I’ve contemplated suicide. I own a copy of Final Exit. I know how I’d do it. I’ve determined that it would take 2 months to get my affairs in order, update my will, post an outline for the rest of my webcomic, and visit people to tell them good-bye.  My one “attempt” consisted of me refusing to get out of bed one morning.

I’m 31 and I know how I want my remains handled: cremation, ashes kept in a Hamburglar cookie jar. I had to face mortality early, because I had (have) kidney disease, and I was on dialysis for 3 and a half years, half of that time living alone, just me, my dialysis machine, and no promise of anything but the same day, the same week, indefinitely.  I got my transplant kidneys quicker than the “median” wait time, thanks to a change in the allocation algorithms. But in the time I was waiting, there was no way to know how long that would be. I can’t tell you how much sleep I missed from my dialysis machine waking me up. Every week, I threw away three 39-gallon bags of plastic & rubber dialysis supply trash. Combine that with the costs to insurance, and the fact that my productivity at my job, and on my webcomic, had seriously declined… for a while, I was producing more garbage than anything else. From a strictly utilitarian viewpoint, it was debatable whether I was worth keeping alive.

And you know what? My situation was at the lighter end of the depressing spectrum. Some people need heart transplants; have cancer; get raped; get emotionally abused. Some never get a break from it. Some people don’t have anyone to talk to. I’ll admit that there was a light at the end of my tunnel, curved though it was, so I can only speak to my own depression.

It sucked! In part because of some of the responses I got to it, from well-meaning friends.  “I love you” is an honest, compassionate thing that people said, but all I could hear was “…but not enough to give you a kidney”.  My family and co-workers will be upset that I killed myself? They’ll get over it. People will misunderstand my reasons? Story of my life anyway. Even the friends who went the “you’re a great person and I’ll miss you” route? All I could wonder was how long I should suffer for their sake. I wanted a reason to stay alive, but it had to make sense. One thing that kept me going was knowing that every day I tried to decide whether suicide was reasonable was one day closer to getting a kidney, and thus daily less reasonable. The other was the friend who told me that she understood my feelings, and acknowledged that even though she disliked the idea, it was my decision to make.  And emotionally, that’s something I was searching for: acknowledgment that I was having a normal, not-crazy reaction to a shitty situation with no outs and little opportunity for fun outside of drawing for about 30 minutes every evening.  I don’t know, ultimately, what kept me from killing myself. Maybe both of those things, maybe neither. I don’t know what would keep others from it. I refuse to try to give advice.

I guess my point here is that suicide and depression are seriously complex fucking issues. I kept my mouth shut about Larry’s eating problems (I’ve had one), and even Balki’s addiction (I’ve had one), but as Ren Höek would say, kee-ripes, man! This episode was a case study in how to tell yourself that you’re helping someone while not giving a shit about their situation.  Balki and Larry tell a depressed guy that he’s wrong for feeling depressed, and then complain to each other about how much it drained them to do so.

Oops! I just wrote 600 words about suicide on a blog that’s supposed to be about boner jokes.  And yes, I was making suicide jokes myself before I went off. So let’s revisit the episode’s opening juxtaposition of laughing while a friend is halfway buried in the earth. Let’s talk about why sometimes jokes are okay, and other times not.

Neither of the cousins really learns that put-down comedy works when a) the recipient is in on it/understands the intent (celebrity roasts), or b) the joke is delivered in a “comedy” setting, like a stand-up routine, or a sitcom, or even c) when the object of ridicule holds a position of power/is actively hurting others.  Larry only goes so far as to explain that you shouldn’t make offensive jokes when you could get fired.

So thanks for reading? And thanks for understanding that when I make a suicide joke, I’ve been there, and one of my intentions is to ridicule the subject’s handling.

*turns on plastic megaphone*

And thanks Balki and Larry for never getting so depressed that they can’t pop boners!

Join me next week for…oh for fuck’s sake… ”To Be Or Not to Be”.


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

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

Burns misnomers: Appleman

Season 2, Episode 18: Snow Way to Treat a Lady (Part 1)

Welcome, everyone, to our very first two-parter! Two-parters are a great way to tell bigger, more epic stories, with more characters, more character arcs, and/or more locations! And when it comes to 80s sitcoms, we know that two-parters never use their extended running time to pad things out with anything useless. So this is sure to be a fun ride! Let’s get to it, shall we?


Alright! A nighttime shot of the Caldwell Hotel! I guess it’s super-important to the plot that we establish right away that it’s nighttime!


Balki comes in very excited and demonstrates his utter lack of physical coordination.


Then he lets Cousin Larry know why he’s so excited: he’s bought them a trip to go skiing for the weekend! Yes, skiing, a sport that requires lots of prolonged physical coordination! Larry instantly says no.

Even though he’s gone skiing every year with his family, who are all very good skiers, Larry completely sucks at it and his brothers and sisters would use him as a ski jump. I really, really like how well this show has built up that Larry was some sort of genetic misfire that, due to prevailing social mores, his parents weren’t able to leave in a field for dead when he was a baby.

balki is a bad boy

The cousins talk over each other, Larry scolding Balki for not asking before doing for something like the 93rd time this season. Balki finally admits to having been a bad little boy, and Larry goes to answer the door.

boner bar the door

Larry: Balki, you didn’t mention that this trip would include boners!

Larry immediately changes his mind about the trip, because he so desperately wants to see Jennifer’s bunny slopes. He wants to see if she can handle his superpipe. He wants to get up past her tree line and try out her fun box. Okay, I’ll stop. No wait, one more: Jennifer may be blonde, but Larry wants to know if she’s a blue square or a black diamond.

jennifer gets paid

Jennifer asks Larry for his share of the deposit for the trip: a mere $45 dollars, which is a fucking steal on this show! Larry tries to convince Jennifer that he’s the World’s #1 King-Hell Skier Dude, but Balki keeps trying to salt Larry’s game by repeating all the stuff that Larry said earlier in the scene about why he didn’t want to go. Like, he repeats almost every single thing. No, it’s not padding, of course not, don’t be ridiculous, it’s just increasing the tension of the situation Larry’s in, right?

boners... boners everywhere

Larry starts in on how every ancillary aspect of skiing vacations gets chicks wet, which is great because he won’t have to work hard. But Balki spells out the illogic – or dare he say – the dishonesty of what Larry has just done, spelling out the type of lesson it’s going to take a two-part story for Larry to learn, even though he’s already supposed to have learned it in two previous episodes already. But goddammit, we’re going to get it right this time. Balki gives us another Myposian saying (#43 in a series — collect them all!): He who lies falls into a deep pit. I can’t remember which episode it first showed up in, or if maybe I read it on some other site when I was looking something up, but I know that “babasticky” means “sheep shit” (or, more literally, “shit of the sheep”). Balki’s quote includes the word “baba” in it; I’ll leave it up to you to decide where that word fits. Larry ignores this highly-relevant warning: depths, after all, are created by shoes balki

The cousins familiarize themselves with their gear, starting with Balki’s boots. Also, Larry bought a book (The Zen of Skiing) that will teach them “everything they need to know”. So, Cousin Larry… you learned nothing in the almost 20 years of skiing trips with your family? But of course, they don’t know where the book is and have to look for it. No, those lines of dialogue aren’t padding, they’re



thank you balki may i have another

Balki makes a joke. (It makes me feel like I’m slicing off tiny bits of my soul when I write Balki’s silly little jokes down, so I’ve decided I’ll just let the subtitles do it for me.)

where does he come up with them

The cousins put on their skis.


The cousins instantly get their skis tangled up.


The cousins start pushing each other.


The cousins grab each other’s noses.


The cousins grab each other’s hair.


The cousins try to turn to their right.


The cousins fall over.


The cousins stand up and do this again.


The cousins spend about a third of the episode on this shit. It’s… I give up, it’s padding. But we do find out that Larry has known Jennifer for six months now, and that Larry’s plan is to fake an injury on the slopes to get sympathy.

cleverly keeping that other state flag in the background

The cousins have now made their way up the ski lift, but not without injury. Larry wonders if anyone saw him fall when he got off the lift.

dont be ridiculous

snow bunny knows the trouble ive seen

Despite Jennifer’s warnings, Larry goes down the unmarked side of the slope. Mary Anne (Sagittarius) may be so dumb that she thinks a balaclava is what Balki serves for dessert, but even she knows to stick to marked slopes.

stunt larry

(P.S. I’m super-impressed by anyone who skis well enough to make it look like they can’t ski for crap. Good for you, Stunt Larry.)

Larry gets a face full of snow, the other characters take off to rescue him, and we’re treated to some great green-screen action and a heroic sounding version of the theme music:

green screen balkibalki fall down go boom boom

And something about the disconnect between the movement of Balki and the movement of the background shot makes me think of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, when he’d dance along to old 1960s proto-music videos. Also, Balki wipes out, and they overdub an act break joke over a still shot of his stunt double lying on the slope. Allow me to go off on a mini-rant here.

I hate dubbed-in jokes. Back when I was a kid and didn’t know what over-dubbing was, I took it all in stride. But now that I’ve seen the Jesus in the spaghetti, I can’t unsee it. Dubbing in jokes just always rubs me the wrong way. On the more palatable side of the spectrum, you have scenes which are meant to be narrated, or can only work with dubbing. In other words, the combination of dialogue and action (intersecting with a show or film’s budget and directorial choices) force the dubbed line. In other cases, it’s the other way around, where the script was written long ago, but now that the footage has been shot, someone (probably a producer) felt that there wasn’t enough going on in a scene dialogue-wise. Color, Movement, and Sound are like a stool with three legs, unable to stand if one is taken away; God knows how audiences fall asleep if a whole second goes by without all three working in harmony. I feel like I’ve seen this mostly in low-budget films featuring a group of small, strange “others” (e.g. Ghoulies III: Ghoulies go to College; Spaced Invaders; how Rory Calhoun kept saying “Aw shucks, Angel” every time he went off-screen in Angel III: Avenging Angel; I bet if I went back and rewatched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Tank Girl I’d find that shit there, too), and you end up with characters that never shut up because they have to make some stupid pun based on whatever action is going on. The only time this kind of dialogue works is when Popeye is doing it. I guess this instance with Balki falls on the better end of the spectrum, so, um… I wasn’t padding my review, I was, uh, just elaborating on the feelings that moment sparked in me. If you don’t like it, go read one of those other Perfect Strangers review blogs.

is there anybody IN THERE

Mary Anne opens the door of the well-lit one-room cabin and asks if anyone is home. Now that our group is lost and it’s dark, they decide to spend the night in the cabin. Larry’s all like “ooh ow, I’m useless because I sprained my ankle”, and Balki’s busy rolling his eyes at Larry, so Jennifer and Mary Anne go off in search of firewood so everyone won’t freeze to death. Larry gets super-smug about how he’s going to freestyle on Jennifer until she laminates.

me IRL

Balki: We slide down the wrong side of the mountain, wander around for two hours, bodies all achin’ and wracked with pain, and now we stuck in this cabin with the girls for the whole night!


Balki says that things have gone wrong since Larry started lying. Yeah, no kidding, Balki, it began with you two padding the shit out of that “zen of skiing” scene. In all honesty, though, the human mind has a penchant for pattern recognition, and a drive to derive meaning from patterns. Ultimately, correlation does not equal causation, so Balki– haha, oops, sorry, I completely forgot for a second we’re in a sitcom here.

gather round the campfire children

They all sit around a fire while Larry weaves some bullshit story about skiing in Innsbruck. Jennifer’s buying all this for some reason… after seeing him fake being a macho gym guy, after seeing him not want to confront Twinkacetti, after, you know, six months of having any contact with Larry. But she’s also not picking up on Balki’s constant interruptions about how Larry is lying, so who the hell knows.

balki belittles buddy bullshit beautifully

Balki then tells us a story about “the little goatherder that lied”, and once again the word “babasticky” appears in the Myposian title. So it sounds like maybe “to bullshit” is just the word for “to lie” in Myposian. Anyway, Balki’s story is about Larry, and he even gets in a good dig about how weird Larry’s face looks. But even six months of having any contact at all with these two men who fight with each other constantly doesn’t tip the women off that Larry is lying.

Mary Anne says she remembers having seen that story on TV, and that Richard Chamberlain was the goatherder (confusing it, I guess, with the Thorn Birds?) …and since we know every one of her lines is about how she’s dumb… how does this make her dumb? Jennifer leaves to go in search of food in the one-room cabin that has neither cabinets nor refrigerator, so that Mary Anne and Balki can have 30 seconds of story arc to themselves.

Mary Anne: A little body heat would be nice.

Balki: Well, it’s a good thing I brought my body.


if this gifs a rockin dont come adblockin

Many avalanches can be seen coming a mile away in a strictly physical sense. Sitcom avalanches one-up them with a metaphorical layer, and ours is right on time. Jeez, Larry, did you say something untrue outside?

Mary Anne, after years of being told she’s dumb, has learned not to trust her own perception of reality and asks if Balki felt what just happened.

dont be ridiculous

Bakli then says “I still respect you” and oh fucking FUCK you. Is there a more backhanded thing to say to a woman who shows you affection? “You’re a whore, but that’s okay with me, because I’M such a nice guy.”

the rarely seen vertical snow angel

Yeah, okay, that’s a funny visual, show, but you are seriously on watch for the way you treat your women characters. The cousins quickly determine that the cabin was snowed in by the avalanche. OH NO!

Will Balki convince Larry to stop lying before it results in the destruction of the entire Earth?

this is exactly how my larry realdoll came packaged

Or will Larry die of hypothermia first? Will Jennifer die of boredom?


Will Mary Anne get to have more than three lines of dialogue? Can she count that high?

some joke about treelines and eyeliner

Will Larry figure out a way to game whatever system they devise to decide who gets eaten first?

larry pooped his pants

This hacky pop culture reference – and many others – will be made in the next review of… Perfect Strangers!

larry and balki will return in the cousin who loved me


Catchphrase count: Balki (2); Larry (0) (so close on the Larry front; he says “don’t do that” at one point)
Boner count: Balki (1); Larry (0) (the jury’s still out on whether anticipating boners to come count as boners; I hope you guys out there will chime in below with whether you get boners just by imagining tricking a woman onto your penis)