Season 2, Episode 12: Dog Gone Blues

Happy new year, everybody! It’s a new year, it’s a new day, and hey! It’s a new thing for this show: a voice-over on top of the establishing shot!


Which leads right into Larry being a whiny ass about not liking surprises, so you can tell that they went back and cut some lines from the shooting script.


Balki: Okay, I give you a hint. Uh… it’s bright green, it, it, it hangs from a tree, and it’s 24 feet long.


Balki has made a joke! Larry guesses “the Jolly Green Giant’s prehensile dick”, but nope, it’s a doggie!


The dog is named Suprides (soo-pree-dez), which Balki tells us means “dog”. And we’re barely a minute into this episode, but we know the dog’s not getting any lines, so we have to pad the joke. Larry asks if Suprides really means “dog”.


That is by far the weakest way they’ve ever written Balki’s catchphrase in.


Geez, again with the jokes. We get it, Balki, it’s a joke, you don’t have–oh, for

dance of joy

Okay, okay, Christ, he makes jokes, he makes pained faces, he does the Dance of Joy, he doesn’t ask permission before letting other living beings stay in the apartment, another character called him “Balki” to his face, I think we get it–the guy on the right is Balki!


Then Balki cries because Larry wants the meatloaf, but he wanted the meatloaf.

Seriously, show? You tell me this episode’s about a dog and then proceed to do a lightning-round of every single thing that Balki does? Damn! If either one of these guys pops a boner in the next two minutes, I will consider this a full episode and go the heck home.

It turns out that Balki saved Suprides from “dog prison”. The second reveal is that Balki has so many American dreams, and of such specificity, that one is to train a dog to save children from burning buildings–

Balki: Just like Lousy!

I don’t say much about Balki’s mispronunciations, because whatever, but this one I liked, probably because I grew up on this stuff:


Cousin Larry says the dog can’t stay, and the dog immediately does this.


Neither one of these guys realizes the significance of this. It’s one thing for a dog to associate, after countless repetitions, certain sounds and hand motions from its owner with an action it knows will lead to some sort of reward. But for a dog to not even look at Larry, yet to hear and understand the meaning of his words; and furthermore for that same dog to realize that the shape of its mouth and tongue preclude it responding verbally in a semantically meaningful way and to then encode its meaning into a gesture… through some fluke of DNA, Suprides’s brain includes both Broca’s Area and Wernicke’s Area. But because neither of these guys took any neuroscience classes, we will never get an episode where Balki and Larry do a physical comedy bit in one of those old-timey medical lecture halls like you see in Elephant Man, like, a bit where they keep almost dropping the dog’s brain or something.

Cousin Larry, assured in his view that cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind have no higher mental functions, asks if Balki has considered what animal care requires.


Oh, that’s right, the one thing about Balki that wasn’t established in the first two minutes of the episode: he was a sheepherder. You tell him, Balki.

Larry counters that their lease forbids pets, and that Twinkacetti’s likely to throw them out if they keep the dog. So Balki makes his Hail Mary Pass: how sad he’ll be if he can’t keep Suprides. He used to have a dog on Mypos, which, okay, sheepdogs never stopped being a thing; but the dog’s name was Couscous, which makes me slightly suspicious that Balki just makes half this shit up sometimes once he thinks he won’t get what he wants. Hey, whipping out his dream in the third act usually gets him what he wants; reinforced behaviors come sooner and stronger the longer they are reinforced. Do I detect a parallel between Balki’s behavior and training a dog?




Cousin Larry had a dog, too, named “Spot”, who was smart enough to bring in the newspaper. There’s a bit here where Balki and Larry try to one up each other with stories about how smart their dog was. The stories get increasingly ridiculous, and it does absolutely nothing to advance the plot and it’s my favorite part of this episode. This show wouldn’t have to repeat its jokes if it did this kind of thing more often.


Balki puts good to his claim of being able to housebreak a dog quickly by showing how he’s already trained Suprides to emotionally manipulate Larry.

Once Larry hears that Suprides will be put to sleep if returned to the dog pound, he agrees to try to hide the dog from Twinkacetti. As long as they can keep the apartment clean, they. uh.


Um, Balki? Look, man, I can 100% guarantee you this show has decided Mary Anne’s your girlfriend. You don’t have to. uh.


*checks the time display on the PowerDVD controls* goddammit, I have to watch this whole thing don’t I


Twinkacetti is coming! Balki does a weird nervous jumping dance and Larry says it’s time for something called “Code Red”.


What? Okay, show, you just got my attention. I was a little worried that we’d have a whole episode of Larry and Balki practicing the plan, but you’re really just launching yourself into this one. And it pays off! I laughed out loud when Larry knocks out Balki with the air freshener:


The rest of the physical comedy is pretty standard for this show: fast movements, shouting, the audience cheering like throwing a dustbuster back and forth is some sort of amazing feat of choreography. But what I need to see is some actual bodily harm. Some days I’m a Balki, and some days I’m a Cousin Larry. But today I’m a Twinkacetti.



Meanwhile, my hero stomps through the hallways of the Caldwell Hotel yelling about lightbulbs, but he doesn’t come in. By the way, there was your third location for this week.


Balki compliments Cousin Larry on his excellent plan, but Larry is worried. Having previously not accepted that Suprides possesses higher-order thinking, Larry fears that Suprides might blow the whole operation and give himself away. Suprides takes this in stride: he’s been insulted before, he’ll be insulted again. He’s managed to come out on top this far. In the background, Dmitri (probably wearing something dog-themed) remains unmolested, un-ripped-to-shreds. In case you needed further proof that this dog is not like others, there you go.


Balki maintains that Suprides will not mess their plans up, and tries to prove it by having Suprides do the Dance of Joy. Which… uh… will make Twinkacetti think that it’s Balki and not a dog? Anyways, they take Suprides for walkies, and we probably all saw some aspect of this gag coming, but I still like it:


And maybe this next scene answers my question from back in the Season 1 Reviewed post about whether or not this sitcom built on those that came before it. I feel like we’ve all seen (or at least seen parodied) the “I thought you paid the rent”/”No I thought YOU paid the rent” scenario. In my mind, I’ve always assumed that was a whole-episode thing. If that’s so, this is a nice use of the trope, serving solely as the crunch point that drives Twinkacetti into their apartment.


But Larry and Balki forgot that they left Suprides’s handler in Larry’s bedroom; the trainer makes Suprides bark and Twinkacetti know’s something’s up. Either the writers have forgotten that Larry kept a dog here for a friend back in “Picture This”, or Larry has forgotten, otherwise he would give that as an excuse. Or it could be that more of the first season was ignored than I realized during the great reshuffling that was “The Rent Strike”.


Then Cousin Larry eats some dog food and I’m brought back to the reality of what I’m watching. I repeat to myself: it’s just a show, I should really just relax and watch Larry eat Cocoa Puffs out of a dog food bag. But suspension of disbelief is just one type of magic; the other is when Balki comes out of the bedroom dressed in a robe and talking like a romantic European.


Balki: *gasp* Mr. Twinkacetti, you… catch me unawares!

Okay, after the first act, I was so ready to just toss this episode aside, into the pile with every other one-off sitcom episode about a dog. I was going to accuse the writer of rushing through the pre-approved list of Balki stuff in the first act and just phoning it in for the rest. But the oneupdogship bit, the piece with the air freshener, the dog food, and now this. I don’t give a shit about dogs, on TV or in real life, but this episode keeps surprising me with actually funny stuff. That just being some sort of Casanova in a robe somehow in Balki’s mind is a plan to hide a dog just cracks me up. It’s like that G. Gordon Liddy picture in Twinkacetti’s office: so over-the-top that I don’t care how dumb it makes Balki look.


But fuck you if you think I’m going to eat dog food to see if I make the same face.

Twinkacetti asks why there’s dog hair on the couch, so Roger Rabbit Balki shows up again, able to make jokes when the situation demands.


Larry: We were entertaining, uh, a couple of young ladies last night.

Balki: They shed. (beat) Norwegian.

But Twinkacetti’s not buying it. Even though Suprides runs out of the apartment while his back is turned, Twinkacetti knows there’s a dog, and demands that they get rid of it or he evicts them. Exit Twinkacetti.


But–oh no! Enter Twinkacetti and Suprides! In case you weren’t sure how deep the shit is that Balki and Cousin Larry are in, the musical sting arrives to tell you that it’s precisely 3 feet, 7 inches (just past the shallow end).


Balki assures Suprides that they will figure out a way to keep him, but the air is already thick with tragedy. Larry comes home and says he’s found a family, the Coopers, they’re really nice, they have a farm… UH OH


Nah, just kidding. Larry makes the point that Suprides would prefer open spaces to an apartment, and besides, if they get a dog, then Jennifer and Mary Anne (Sagittarius) will have to get a dog for Suprides to date, and that Mary Anne will likely end up killing the dog. (Because she is dumb.)


The music comes on, but it’s really sad music, because Balki’s learning a lesson straight from the Laughing Tough Love God itself: Balki cared more about what he wanted than he cared about what Suprides needs. It’s a nice full-circle kind of thing, because that’s what Larry’s learned about 30 times by this point. The guy knows what he’s talking about.


The Coopers show up, looking a lot richer than I had assumed they would. Having grown up in Georgia, I had just assumed all farm-dwelling folk looked like they lived on farms. But the children take to Suprides very quickly. Master Cooper says “here boy” while holding the dog, and I’m humbled by how many long-held assumptions and prejudices I’m having to let go of here. Farm folk look poor, you say “here boy” to get a dog to come to you, Balki always gets what he wants…


Balki caps the running bit about understand what Suprides says when he barks by asking Suprides if he wants to live with the Coopers. Suprides does the Dance of Joy again, but you’ve had enough gifs for one episode, folks.


And Balki covers his face in his hands at the Suprides’s exit, mirroring Larry upon the dog’s arrival. Balki feels bad because he was a selfish person, but Cousin Larry is proud of him for doing what’s best for Suprides.


Balki, like anyone coming directly out of a difficult breakup, instantly goes on the rebound, tearfully begging for a pet goldfish.

Join me next week for “Since I Lost My Baby”!

Catchphrase count: Balki (2); Larry (0)
Boner count: Balki (0); Larry (0); I refused to pay attention to whether Suprides had any boners or not

Dance of Joy running total: 7 (I mean, I guess; none of them was the actual Dance of Joy, but neither was that conga line mess in “First Date”, so whatever)

P.S. Larry got another cold and the goldfish was used to make a Myposian secret cure.

Season 2, Episode 11: A Christmas Story

Ah, the holidays. Time to visit with friends and family and reflect on the joys and sorrows of the past year, to bid it adieu and huddle together, drawing strength from each other to ready us for the new one. Christmastime in particular is a time for excess: overeating, overspending in service of giving others tokens of your love for them. And, if there’s love in your heart, an excess of Christmas spirit: the Christmas miracle. As I’ve been learning from this show, the truest love is that between cousins, so I’m sure we’ll see a Christmas miracle before the episode is done.


Oh yeah, if you’re a working schlub like me, Christmas also means office parties with your boss, his family, other people from your apartment building, and a bunch of people you’ve never met before who don’t get any lines.


Man, Twinkacetti’s so evil he refuses to sing Christmas songs. This is the face of your Anti-Christ, people. But we do get to see his two kids again, Hairdo and Halfpint.


The characters toast each other twice because they’re not sure which camera angle is being used at any given moment. Then they all hightail it the fuck up out of there because, after three weeks of this show’s negative stereotypes (Latinos, and then Italians, and then Italians again) they do NOT want to be around for whatever Jewish jokes might come up. They know not to mess with the ADL.


We get a little moment of the Twinkacettis arguing about how Edwina spent $100 on the spread for the party; like I said, this is a time of excess. Then Mrs. Twinkacetti gives the cousins their Christmas bonuses and brags about how she gave Mr. Twinkacetti a black eye.


YES. YES. BLOOD. MORE. IT PLEASES US. But we’re only two minutes in, so this is not the Christmas miracle.


Larry talks about the great Christmas (“Christmaaaaahhhhsss”) they’re going to have in Madison, Wisconsin, and Balki makes the same face I did when I accidentally stapled my fingers together that one time. Larry says it’s going to be the best Christmas ever, and damn it, you never say that kind of shit in the first act of a sitcom. God damn it.


Balki is excited by snow, and that’s a good way of making him a child. I’m sure the closest they got to snow is the ash from their local volcano. He gets to excited he decides to share a yule log with Cousin Larry.


Larry keeps hyping Madison; X-Mas 1986 means he’ll be the “Christmas Boy”, a role that rotates yearly amongst the 9 siblings in the Appleton clan. Cousin Larry is very excited.


Balki then talks about how he’ll miss Christmas on Mypos. It’s supposed to be touching, but some dolt in the audience laughs at the word “baklava”, unaware that it’s a real thing and not just some madeup word. The show is trying to ramp up some emotion for both of these guys by having them miss people we’ve never really met. And yeah, if I had that cool brother from the intro, I’d miss him too.

Then the show lets slip that it has too much time to fill by having Larry repeat Balki’s “Christmas Turtle” joke. The turtle being named Bernie (a good, strong Mediterranean name, that) doesn’t save the repeated joke.

Larry gives some important words about how when there are changes in your life, you have to move on. And here’s another Chekhov’s Gun of sitcoms: if Character A tells Character B a nugget of wisdom in the first act, he will have to learn it himself in the third. Damn it, were almost a third in, here. We’re not going to Madison, are we?


Jennifer and Mary Anne (Sagittarius) come by, and damn, whatever happened to that style of overalls? I’m not into blondes, nor am I into female characters who barely have the one personality trait, but Jennifer’s doing a lot with a little thanks to 80s fashions. And since we didn’t get a reference to it last week, the show reminds us that Mary Anne is just a fucking idiot. Before they leave for their skiing trip, Larry demands adherence to the law of mistletoe.


Larry tries to jam his tongue down Jennifer’s throat. He’s just been waiting all season to do that, and finally has an excuse. Thank the baby Jesus we have customs that allow us to control women’s bodies and invade their personal space. It’s what separates us from the foreigners (they just do it whenever they want).


Larry just had a white Christmas in his pants.


Mary Anne just gets up in there like “I’ll show you who doesn’t have a high school education”.

Larry and Balki share a moment of quiet contemplation over their boners.


Larry explains the forced invasion of women’s bodies thing, and that it only works at Christmas, so Balki decides then and there he’s going to take the mistletoe along and make out with every woman in Larry’s family. The Christmas miracle is not that women are treated like human beings.


Larry calls up “Gus” to see if he has any hot tips about endurance while Balki grabs his suetcase.

…and they can’t go to Madison because the airport is snowed in.

So then Larry calls his mother. The Christmas miracle is not that Balki can pronounce “Appleton” yet.


Larry asks mom not to let Elaine be the Christmas boy, and man I hope we get to meet her, because she’s now been established as the one that fucked him up the most. Then the cousins call up the bus company, but there’s a blizzard and the roads are closed, so then they try to get a snowplow, but they can’t get a snowplow because there’s a blizzard. Also Dmitri’s wearing glasses because… Balki was reading the phonebook? Let us all contemplate the mystery of Dmitri’s glasses.


Balki reminds Larry that he has a car. You know, a car, that he can drive, on the roads that are closed.


See? I told you. Balki (dressed in Russian-type clothes because he’s foreign) sees that Larry’s car broke down in front of a “Christmas Tree Store” and decides that they will have Christmas at the apartment.


The guy who runs the “Christmas Tree Store” out of his trailer in an empty lot comes out eating a turkey leg, so I will call him Turkey Leg Greg. His wife shouts at him to shut the door, she’s not going to heat the whole sitcom. The Christmas miracle is not that the lower classes will be portrayed as anything other than rude and driven solely by physical drives such as hunger or staying warm.


Turkey Leg Greg gives Balki a shitty tree from the dumpster. Sheesh. Even before I was on immunosuppressants, I knew not to touch dumpsters except–maybe–at gunpoint. But Larry says that the tree does not give him that sweet, sweet “Christmas feeling” he craves. Sad Larry is so sad that he walks off into the snow to be alone. Balki goes back home with the tree, and I am so, so pissed that neither one of them rolled up the window on that Mustang. When a man loses his love for his classic car, he’s lost his love for life.


Ah, dammit. The Christmas miracle is not that Larry froze to death.


Larry’s jacket has the fakest looking snow on it I’ve ever seen, but he doesn’t even get a chance to hang it, because Balki Claus is here! Larry knows nothing else is going to happen in this episode, so he lets Balki recite as much of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” as he wants.


Hey! Perfect Strangers got to the Donna Dixon reindeer name joke years before the Simpsons! But then he follows it up with “on Reagan, on Nixon”, which makes me question where to draw the line of when Balki is intentionally making a joke. Which… is kinda the long-term arc of “Homer getting things wrong” turning into “Homer making the joke deliberately” in latter-day Simpsons (see Season 17, ep. 20, where Homer tells Marge “you used to love my nonsequiturs”).

Anyways, Balki stole a bunch of decorations from the discount store, including a banner, ornaments, and Christmas lights that don’t work. He also bought them Jewish food. And I’ll say this so the show doesn’t get sued for it. Gefilte fish is as bad as you’ve heard.


But Larry doesn’t want a tree, he doesn’t want to eat, sing carols, or even string popcorn.


Balki: Now you’re making Balki mad.


You probably already guessed that Balki had a couch cushion under his suit, but if you didn’t they staged the reveal shot perfectly (at least for the home audience), with him standing right beside the chair he took it from. Balki rants for awhile about how he’s not getting the Christmas he wants, either. He lists more Myposian traditions, and just like before, Larry repeats the last item in the list (“roasting radishes”) as a question.

Even though there were only enough jokes for one night, they somehow made them last for eight nights straight. But that’s not the Christmas miracle either; that’s the Hanukah miracle.

And Balki hammers home that Larry wasn’t taking his own advice, once again turning the tables on which one of them was a child. Not only that, but it furthers the theme that Balki’s inner child is pure (look! snow!) while Larry’s is only arrested in its development.

Larry literally even says that he doesn’t want to grow up, and I think I should finally give this show some credit for its whole “Balki is a child in this way, but Larry’s a child in this way” thing. Even though it has been used a little clumsily in the past, there’s some depth to it here. Larry is pouty here because he can’t do the family tradition he’s only gotten to do twice in his life (at 6 and 15). They don’t overdo Balki being a child here, but that’s okay, because this is something that’s finally working on the aggregate level. Balki the Kid is well established, but Larry the Kid is subtler. But each complements the other. Larry is the parent for Balki’s intellect; Balki is the parent for Larry’s emotions.

But since this episode has committed to its repetition, Balki suggests opening presents, Larry whines again about it not having the Christmas feeling, and–


Balki: I’ve got your Christmas feeling hangin’, boy.


Balki lets Cousin Larry be the Christmas boy. Mark Linn-Baker really sells the childish glee when handing out the presents.

Balki gets a boombox! And a Wayne Newton tape! (The Christmas miracle is not that the writers remembered Balki’s love of Wayne Newton, because this is already the third reference to it. It’s probably in the show bible.)

Cousin Larry’s gift is a blanket that Balki has been working on for him since the day he arrived. He tells Larry “Happy Birthday”, which is what they say on Mypos because of Baby Yayzoos, which leads to a decent sheepherder joke.


Cousin Larry almosts breaks down crying while telling a story about when he was 6 and gave his mom a handmade pot holder. And yeah, I’m putting this together now. Larry’s first time being the Christmas boy was when he was 6; it was likely a magical time. His second time, he was 15, when he probably felt that he was too old to openly enjoy it, and probably acted aloof. Christmas at the age of 6 was probably the last thing he really enjoyed before his brothers and sisters engaged in a years-long pattern of mental torture not seen since the 1944 film Gaslighting.

But Larry now has the Christmas feeling! There’s love in his heart! Here it comes! Here comes the miracle!


The Christmas miracle is that the lights on their tree come back on. That’s right. The shitty string of lights that probably doesn’t even have a UL-compliant plug, which Balki hung on a literal garbage tree, managed to come back on long enough for the cousins to misattribute meaning. You know what? All those characters in the first scene were right to get out of there while they had the chance.


Then they hear children caroling outside. You know, in the middle of the blizzard that shut down all roads and flights out of a major US city. Balki and Larry watch from the comfort of their warm apartment as the children get frostbite and die.


Merry Christmas everybody! Join me next year when I review “Dog Gone Blues”!


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

Season 2, Episode 9: Two Men and a Cradle

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This episode opens in the Ritz Discount Shop with Balki, Gina–and Gina’s baby!  Hello Baby! Hello Continuity!  Balki speaks Myposian to the baby (“Little Frankie”) and we get a new angle.  Balki’s already agreed to let the baby stay with him, but does he think Larry’s down?

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Larry comes in and pretty much the first thing Gina tells him is how horny her husband Steve is (Steve, gee, what a great Italian name).  Man, those foreigners and their lack of sexual mores!  How dare they acknowledge at all that sexuality is a basic part of human life?

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Since we get a repeat of Gina as a character, we also get a repeat of the plot for the previous episode she was in.  Balki agrees to be nice to someone, presents it to Larry as an idea “wouldn’t it be nice if someone”, Larry says “yes, it would”, and then has to grin and bear however that impinges on his life.  I was willing to buy that back when Larry was trying to get photographs of things happening, or trying to get into the pants of Tina, or a stewardess, but Larry, you’ve got no fucking social life now.  You and the baby can sit on the couch and drink from your respective bottles (store-brand Bismol and Similac).  Larry lobbies for setting a time nine months from then to babysit Frankie, but Gina’s already just, like, sopping wet and has to get on the road to meet up with Steve.  So Steve can “lay the hammer down”. So Steve can be the “bear at her back door”. So Steve can “run her across”.

Okay, I’m sorry, this show has jokes too.  I don’t laugh at many of Balki’s malapropisms, but “nervous breakdance” got me.  Twinkacetti comes in and we get the show’s first legitimate gay-couple sight gag.

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Balki runs around trying to cook and clean and care for the baby all at once, but has to step away to get the laundry.  Larry refuses to help:

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Larry: Watching the baby is not my job; I have a life, you know.

“A life”, here, consists of sitting on the couch reading Martha Ostenso’s Wild Geese. Come the fuck on, Cousin Larry, aren’t you depressed enough at work? Holy shit, what an existence.

Now that the baby’s out of sight, the audience needs to be reminded that he exists.  Adding a baby to the show was a good move, because the audience should be able to relate to Frankie, since neither has developed object permanence. So Frankie (that is, track 3 from volume 8 of the “Sitcom Sounds” series– “Baby gurgle (extended)”) starts playing.  Larry claims that he is above thousands of years of evolution by saying that he will not melt when the baby does something cute.  But Larry, we know you have no immunities, not even to cute babies.

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The baby raises its hand and Larry smiles, laughs, and says “cut that out”.  It probably read funnier to the studio audience without the clip of the baby just raising its hand.  But, I dunno, maybe Frankie just made a gang sign? Or a Mafia sign? Are those a real thing?

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It turns out that Balki has been washing Frankie’s disposable diapers.  Like, I get that there are diapers you can put in the wash, but please, somebody tell me in the comments how this work.  Wouldn’t shit get everywhere?  I mean, not that it matters to the one guy who clogs the toilet whenever he actually manages to shit, nor to the guy who never washes his hands, but I’m worried on their behalf.

It turns out that Larry was fed up with babies because he always had to help his mom out with his siblings.  Come the fuck on, Cousin Larry.  You’re always upset because you had to share things with your big family.  Now you’ve got this baby all to yourself–shouldn’t you be excited?  Anyway, we get a nice little rant from Larry:

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Larry: Larry, run to the store and get some more milk, Larry, babysit your brother, Larry, let Elaine tie you up.

Man, I hope when Elaine shows up that she just devastates this guy.  I actually appreciate Larry here, though, giving Balki actual wisdom like a real person in his situation would.  It’s an actual progression of character and show. But my fear is that they’re going to have to reach more and more for this kind of thing in future seasons.  Anyways, Balki takes on responsibility too easily, and Balki finally asks Larry to help instead of just assuming it will be there. Progress!

Balki makes a crummy joke, and then proceeds to oversell it, just like I do.  The difference is that I do it to call attention to how hacky the joke is; Balki’s just proud of himself.

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Oh, no, wait, forget what I said about progress, this is an opportunity for Larry to be smug and have it backfire on him.  Plus, Larry says “watch and learn” and I know he’s said it before a few times.  Maybe this is his catchphrase instead of “don’t you ever… “ ? Hell if I’m going back and rewatching past episodes to find out, though.

Next scene: The Apartment. Night.  Cue volume 8, track 7: Baby crying (angry)

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Cousin Larry still won’t let it go that this whole thing is Balki’s fault, so he’s obviously forgotten that hearing adults argue is NOT the way to calm a baby down.  So Larry tries giving the baby a heart attack, because dead babies wail no wails.


Larry then says that they’ve overlooked the obvious thing, and in the show’s quest to have Balki say his catchphrase as often as possible, they finally stuck it somewhere it doesn’t work.

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Don’t call someone ridiculous when you’re agreeing with them!  Anyway, Larry sings “Rock-a-Bye Baby”, the grisly imagery of which horrifies Balki. Even foreigners know not to put cradles in trees!  And even though this show aired when I was probably still being sung this song, it’s only maybe the second or third time in my life I’ve ever heard anyone voice my concerns that it’s a song about babies dying.  So thank you, Balki.

Balki starts singing the Brady Bunch theme, which is a good joke because, given Balki speaking Myposian at the top of the episode, you’d expect him to sing it here; OR you’d expect some sort of R&B song based on previous episodes.  Larry joins in, and I’m guessing this scene made this episode the highest-rated of the whole season, prompting the push for Full House’s pilot to end with a similar scene.

In the next scene, Larry and Balki return from the park.  I figured that would have been an obvious third location.

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Larry hangs his coat. Remember this. This is important.

Oh man!  Balki’s rocking a killer shirt there! Move over, Mr. Ochmonek!

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Larry drinks Sprite when he’s happy, not only because he likes to taste its tingling tartness, but also because it’s natural! Larry, I’ve gotta say, I like the Sprite in y–OH NO THEY BROUGHT HOME A GIRL BABY!!!

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In a solid callback to the first Gina episode of the season, Larry once again recoils in horror from a vagina.  You see, in some African cultures, the vagina is seen as a spiritual force, symbolizing the power that women have over the creation of new life.  In fact, one of the phrases used by the Ashanti people to refer to the vagina is bosom kesee, meaning “great god”.  This spiritual power not only encompasses creation, but also destruction; the woman may curse men who wrong her through use of her vagina.  Shades of these beliefs show up from time to time: in the late 20th century, the Takembeng movement used (among other tactics) vaginal displays as protest against the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement. The public display of a vagina serves as a threat, a reminder that vaginas are the core of womanhood. No action could be taken against such protest, as no man would be willing to harm the source of his own existence. The powers to both give and take away life are often equated, even in modern American society.  I mean, how many times have you heard a sitcom parent tell their child “I brought you into this world, and I can just as easily take you out of it”?

Anyway, the point I’m making is that not only is Larry not above thousands of years of evolution when it comes to a baby’s cries, he’s also not free from thousands of years of collective unconscious.  Haha, Larry think’s he’s such hot shit, but he’s really just a loser like the rest of us.

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Larry gets so upset that he starts mispronouncing words just like Balki: “carriage” and “balloons”; I don’t think I’ve mentioned it, but they do jokes like that from time to time. Then they both just kind of freak out for awhile before going back to the park.

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Our heroes return from the park and, in monotone voices, relay the necessary expository lines for the members of the audience who just woke up.  Then Larry starts whimpering until Balki smacks him around a bit to shut him up.  They are going to have a serious talk about who’s a top and who’s a bottom later.

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perfect strangers

Before they can formulate a plan, Gina shows up! Oh  no! Yet another third act where Balki and Larry try to hide their failures from a woman!

They do their damnedest to keep a woman off-screen for as long as they can, even engaging in physical comedy.

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I see you trying to bait me with another great opportunity for a joke about buttsex, but no.  You’ve put it off for 7 episodes, guys, but a woman neither of you has a chance of fucking gets to drive the plot of an episode again.

You’ll get another few episodes’ reprieve soon, but for now, Gina’s back, and even though Steve jammed her gears pretty hard, she made it through shiny side up.

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Balki tries to tell Gina the truth about Frankie while Larry readies his best heart-attack face.  Nah, just kidding, even though she has the nicest hairstyle in the whole show, Larry tells Gina she looks like shit and drags her off to the restroom.

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Then there’s another knock on the door and, assuming it’s Steve, they do that whole picking-each-other-up-and-then-dragging-Larry thing again.  This is a nice frantic feeling they’ve got going here, even for me: I mean, I can see how much time is left in the episode, so I know these guys aren’t going to fix the problem.  We know their abilities at this point, and hooking up a radio to stereo equipment isn’t going to fix this one.

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But it’s the mother of the girl!  She yells “Katie”, they yell “Frankie” and I have trouble believing that their bathroom door is so thick that Gina wouldn’t hear that.  I mean, come on, I’ve been led to believe my whole life that walls in TV Land were so thin you could hear through them with a glass.

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Linda Richards thanks the guys for taking care of Katie, and I guess that less-than-perfect eyeliner is the equivalent of red shirts on Star Trek now (Sarah Portland, I expect a comparative essay of no less than 250 words on my desk by 8AM next Monday). I’m willing to put money down ($50) that we never see Linda or Katie again.

But how can they be sure the baby is actually Little Frankie?

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Evidently Little Frankie has a Big Frankie, which they just stare at for awhile.

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Gina gets her baby back, Linda gets her baby back, and Balki and Cousin Larry just sit around in the very last scene being sexist for awhile.  The lesson they learned is how much work it is to be a mother.  Not a PARENT, mind you, but a MOTHER.  Yeah, no shit, when women have to do everything on their own, it is a lot of work. These smug assholes think one day of completely fucking up taught them what it’s like to experience years of not completely fucking up.  They decide to resolve the cognitive dissonance of how bad it feels that their moms had to put up with them for 20 years by agreeing to send their moms presents.  Now that they won’t have to think about improving themselves, they are free to turn their brains off and watch The Brady Bunch.

Me, I accepted long ago that men should be equal partners in all parts of a marriage or family; but I also accepted that I would be a consummate failure at childrearing.  Thus I will never have children, meaning that I’m free to turn my brain off and watch Perfect Strangers.

Join me next week for “The Rent Strike”, where there will be far less staring at infant genitalia.


Catchphrase count: Balki (3); Larry (1) (I mean, I guess I’ll count both of Larry’s now. If anyone wants to correct my numbers for previous episodes, please feel free)

Boner count: Balki (0); Larry (0); Little Frankie (Little Frankie is disqualified, as all Italian males have perpetually tumescent members; unsurprisingly, the Italians have no word for “boner”)