Season 3, Episode 3: Sexual Harrassment in Chicago

Before I make a joke about Balki probably going to jail in this episode, I want to take a few moments to talk about confidence vs smugness in sitcoms, which basically means I’ma talk about Full House some. There’s a pattern I’ve observed in some sitcoms, a path they sometimes follow across their second and third seasons. Once those overseeing and writing a show have figured out what their audiences like and don’t like, they revise.  Elements that didn’t test well are downplayed, or even removed.  Mark Brendanawicz from Parks & Recreation.  Judy from Family Matters. Elements that work are enhanced, given center stage, and often milked.  Sometimes, you get great seasons of television. The second season of Community. The second season of League of Gentlemen.  Seasons 3-6 of The Simpsons.  Other times, shows reinvent themselves and find something new to say or do.  Seasons 5-7 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (I get the impression the writers thought each of seasons 4-6 was going to be the very last). Seasons 7 and 8 (and to a lesser extent 9) of The Simpsons. Season 3 of League of Gentlemen.  Still other times, you end up with the equivalent of layers of papier mache over a balloon; after deflating, you’re left with a hollow shell I’ll call smugness.

Confidence in a show’s elements allows you to apply them with often pinpoint accuracy; smugness assumes that’s all that people want, and just keeps jabbing with them, blind to any target but mass appeal. Elements repeating endlessly; a storefront clown, waving, laughing at itself, waving again.  Somewhere in the third season of Full House, they started getting smug; catchphrases becoming somehow a personality trait, the girls always getting what they want, characters learning lessons and still getting what they want most of the time (though I will point out the episode “Those Better Not Be the Days”, which was the most Full House ever made fun of its own failings; IMHO, it never did so again). Look at this smug shit:

Full Of Shit

I’ll admit I only watched the first episode of the very last season of Scrubs, but if the rest were anything like it, the show had been reduced to “All Your Favorite Jokes from Scrubs Are Back!”  I’d even say that Community got a little smug in its third season, or at least a little lazy.  Plots repeated, jokes being about previous jokes, rather than about new things. (Arrested Development got away with this by having the same jokes show up in various scenarios, with varying meanings.)

Confidence is knowing you can do right. Smugness is knowing you can do no wrong.  Guess which one led to Oedipus killing Jocasta and blinding himself.

We’ve gotten some warning signs already from that interview with Pinchot that I linked you to a few weeks back.  And the show’s success has filtered down even to its characters living space, the apartment growing a room, the cousins getting (if only barely) better jobs.  I want to see if Perfect Strangers has achieved the confidence that it in some ways (*cough* Linn-Baker *cough*) deserves; but I’m scared that it may very well skip ahead and go straight to smugness.

Anyway, judging by the title, Creepy Balki’s probably going to jail this week, so let’s get started!

Book of Chronicles 3:3

We started the past two episodes in darkness, almost as if the show were taking tentative steps into its third season; now, we begin in the full light of day, at the Chicago Chronicle.

Larry and Balki share a quiet moment

It’s a slow day in the basement, Balki and Larry quietly going about their duties, when a woman–a new character–enters at the top of the stairs.

*cue music*

Olivia Crawford: Here… I am!

Larry exposits that Olivia Crawford is the editor of the Sunday magazine for the Chicago Chronicle, and that he’s always wanted to meet her.

Larry meets Olivia

“Well of course you have!”

Olivia doesn't like a little tummy on a man

Could it be…? Could that be some good foreshadowing there?  She tells Larry that she’s there to get him to write a piece for the Sunday magazine, and Larry getting really flustered and happy. I share his excitement, because what I’m sensing is that we might have season 3’s Fat Marsha here.  Olivia is a good actress, older, confident… ah shit, wait. She starts hitting on Balki, calling him darling, knowing where Mypos is. Ah shit, she really will be this season’s Fat Marsha, won’t she?

Larry and Balki share an expository moment

Larry explains to Balki how important such an assignment is, in case we’ve forgotten that Larry has gotten nothing more than two sentences into the paper during his two weeks at the Chronicle. We go to commercial and come back to Larry, stoked that he has come up with a title for his article: “Is Chicago disappearing?” It’s a piece on how Chicago’s neighborhoods are losing their ethnic character, and that’s pretty meta of you, show. It would have been nice to get an episode about Larry meeting the other foreigners in Balki’s night school classes to get some firsthand knowledge, but I’ll at least give credit that it’s a good assignment for Larry; probably something he’s thought about over the past year (?) of seeing an ethnic person undergoing the slow melting-pot process.  Speaking of ethnic people Larry knows, here’s Harriette Winslow!

Fart Marsha

Olivia hates having to ride the elevator with other people; Harriette hates having to ride it with Olivia inside.  I can get that. Everybody generally only enjoys their own brand.

oh yeah

Olivia very quickly dispatches Larry upstairs to her office to retrieve her “forgotten” car keys.  She compliments Balki on the prowess with which he sorts the mail.  Balki surmises that he developed his muscles from “lifting sheep”, meaning the conversation leads inevitably–as all conversations between Balki and women seem to do–to basic bodily functions.  It turns out that sheep having seven stomachs only compounds the problem of constipation.  And when you’re a lonely adolescent sheepherder, that instantly becomes your problem, if you know what I mean. (If you don’t know what I mean, I mean when you want to stick your penis in a sheep.)

Anyway, before Balki gets to the broken finger part of the story (due to manual disimpaction injury, no doubt), Olivia diverts him to the topic of homesickness.  She knows there’s only so many minutes in a sitcom, and she needs to get laid.  Balki talks about the things he has to remind him of Mypos: Dmitri, a tapestry made by his sister Yana, the nude charcoal drawings of his sister Yana, the–

Wait, did you say “tapestries”?  Olivia collects tapestries!  What a coincidence!  I’m reminded of self-proclaimed psychics and palm readers, and how they know enough generalities of experience, as well as conversational tactics, to get their marks to reveal something that can be capitalized on.  The pretense of commonality established, Olivia wastes no time getting those digits: Balki lives at 535 Windsong, apt. 207.*  There’s a good joke here, too, where Balki relays the important information that he lives in a “brick building”.


Then Olivia starts breathing on his neck and smelling him.  Then she kisses him and we get our very first “wooo!” from the audience this season.  And semi-fake though I take most audience reactions to be (I mean, they get prompted sometimes), “wooo!” is a thing I’ve heard in real life from people observing others kiss.  Do you think our cavemen ancestors did this, back when there was less privacy? Do you think our collective unconcious thinks that thunder means rain, snakes mean bites, and one kiss means you get to watch sex soon?

more like unzip code AMIRITE

Olivia just goes to town on Balki, right there on the mail table.  All those letters are probably just going to other floors of the building, but Olivia’s taking Balki to entirely new places.  But, ultimately, as you already know by this point, Olivia Crawford is the bad guy this week, so I guess I can’t like her. Old ladies sure are gross, aren’t they? They should learn not to want sex after they turn 40… no, 30… no what am I saying, women who want sex are whores!

awww yiss

She had her keys the whole time!  What a liar!  Who knows how deep her evil goes (as if it weren’t enough simply being a one-off character on this show).

Balki penis confused

Balki spends the whole commercial break in shock on the mail table.  Larry comes back without Olivia’s keys.  Balki, in relaying to Larry what just happened, is for the first time in who knows how many episodes, actually humble.  He haltingly asks if “looking at tapestries” is a euphemism for sex, like when they say “lifting sheep” on Mypos.  And this is good!  The show is tentatively broaching the topic of sex through its characters tentatively broaching it.  Larry asks if it’s Laura, from the classified ads department (an apt guess, as this department would be home, as it were, of the SWF).  After revealing that it’s Olivia coming over to look at tapestries, there’s a nice little bit of dialogue I’ll point out just to reinforce the confidence theme:

Larry: Haha… Balki… I don’t mean to hurt your feelings…

Balki (annoyed mimicky voice): But you’re going to…

Larry and Balki share a season 3 moment

Larry, in a nice bit of discernment, differentiates Olivia from last season’s ulterior motive girl by pointing out that Olivia is an executive. Much like Lazarus and the rich man, Larry sees that there is a great gulf fixed between Balki and Olivia Crawford. Larry, understanding that his keylessness means he is barred from entering, accepts that this episode is about Balki and Olivia, not about his ethnic cleansing story. He concedes graciously, saying that he trusts Balki to take care of himself (confidence!).  “You’ve been with women before,” Larry says, laughing over the bygone Myposian boners of summers past. “I’m sure the milkmaids were all over you. I’m sure you had to beat ‘em off with a crook!”


on Mypos very simple to stay virgin

Balki’s a virgin!

are you surprised

Larry’s a virgin!

This can happen sometimes with people who haven’t yet realized their own homosexuality.  “Sex” can be a particular, set-in-stone kind of concept, defined strictly as occurring between, say, mommies and daddies. Anything they’ve done outside that concept has no name, and can only described by the the moon on Balki’s lips, the combined scents of Bismol and potata crumbs on Larry’s breath when he pants, the… whew, sorry, I’ve got to stop there.  Give me a minute.  It’s.  Um. A good joke. The way they don’t explain it.  Larry agrees to stay home that evening to be Balki’s protection.

who could that be

Olivia’s urgent knock opens the next scene, but when Larry opens the door–

at first i was likebut then i larry'd

Larry: Balki and I are cousins.

Olivia Crawford: Oh… how nice.

Y’hear that, folks? Olivia doesn’t value family!  She’ll never be seen from again!  She changes her tune quickly, saying that she’s late for cocktails with the Mayor, and that she’ll just look quickly at the tapestry.  Larry is somehow still certain that she’s being honest.  I guess I’d expect one liar to recognize another, but oh well. Everybody’s got to take their turn holding the idiot ball.

Larry leaves to go to the library to research his article, and then Balki comes out of his bedroom with…  the hell?

Balki Blanket Bingo

It’s the same damn blanket he made for Larry last season.  Either the prop department just decided to be lazy that week, Balki lied about making the blanket for Larry, or Myposians only know that one design to put on a blanket.  Also blankets are tapestries, I guess.  The tapestry purports to show the whole history of Mypos.  It turns out that the Bartokomous family started when Uncle Stavros farted; then they all became retarded.   Nah, j/k, Ferdinand Mypos discovered the island by just trying to walk across the Mediterranean from Italy or some mess like that.  Because, you know, Mypos is such an Italian name. Not Greek at all.

Olivia touches the things

Also there was a Great Tomato Famine. Geez, an alfalfa famine and a tomato famine?  Those poor Mypiots. Anyway, Balki admits that he thought Olivia was a whore (wish I was joking), and apologizes. Olivia wants to know if he still thinks that way about her.

don't be ridiculous

Then Balki compares Olivia to his mom. Haha! She’s old! Old women are gross! Who would ever want to touch any of the orifices of an old woman? Barf! Retch!  Puke-a-roonie!

Undaunted, Olivia tries to force her mucous membranes on Balki’s mypos membranes.


Balki: M-mama never did that.


Balki says that he wants to wait until marriage.  Larry comes back, having forgotten yet another key: his library card. What a trooper, taking one last shot at establishing a running motif of “no entry” to reinforce how Balki won’t enter Olivia, and how she won’t enter the show ever again. It could have even been mirrored by ethnic communities not being able to enter the greater cultural milieu. But Larry blows it by asking “what’s going on here” when it’s completely obvious.

ask me if I'm blind


are you blind?

When the show keeps me from making yet another joke about how Larry asks “what” before “why”, I consider that progress. I consider that the show noticing its own patterns, its own faults, if not yet correcting them, then at least commenting on them, is a good thing. Then Balki makes a joke about Olivia being all over him “like a wet t-shirt”, and that’s a good joke too!

here at the brasserie

Olivia just doesn’t give up, though, suggesting that Balki rendezvous with her at Mickey’s Hideaway the following Tuesday.  But Larry knows all about the place, having stayed up many a night until 2 in the morning just so he can masturbate quickly and silently to their television ads.  Olivia then threatens to get Balki fired, and now who’s blind through overconfidence, doing such a thing in front of a witness?

In the next scene, Larry rattles off a list of other employees who got fired just because they didn’t want to sleep with Olivia.  Ha! A bunch of guys turned her down because sex with old women is gross gross GROSS!


Olivia is once again ushered into the basement by the woman who knows that you can’t be both the person having sex AND the person using it as blackmail.  The cousins have already sent a letter of allegation to the managing editor, but:

all your dick are belong to me

Confidence has turned to smugness.  Olivia felt secure in her position on a higher floor, but in trying to mine the basement for her own desires (eww!), she has eroded the foundation of her power. Jack, the managing editor, comes down to the basement. The cousins offer further proof of Olivia’s tawdry nature: Larry has discovered that there’s a room at Mickey’s Hideaway named after her, and Balki offers to be dusted for her fingerprints. This is–


*wipes tear from eye*  Balki said fingerprints. I’m so goddam proud of my boy right now. Pronouncing words correctly. Refusing to give his body to those with nefarious purpose, and instead offering it freely in service of justice.  What does Olivia have to say for herself?

uh uh uh uh

Yeah, that’s what I thought.  Get off my show, you sex-crazed old bag!

this guy's name is Jack

Olivia is fired, and the audience cheers. Olivia puts down the Chicago Chronicle and starts to leave, saying that she hears they put out in New York.  But! Ha! Harriette won’t let her on the elevator! Black women sure don’t take any nonsense, do they?

no entry

Jack: You two should feel proud of yourselves.

don't encourage them, Jack

Larry is happy to have served his role as detached adult in this episode, until Balki points out that it means he won’t get to have an article in the Sunday magazine.  You can tell Larry’s doing the mental calculations here of just how long it will be until he can get home and crack open a nice cold Pepto Bismol.

haha no success for Larry

And then the show ends with a good joke about how Balki’s happy that, if and when he gets married, he’ll be able to spend his honeymoon in a state of fumbling, awkward bliss.

So.  Confidence vs smugness. Progress vs (self-assumed) Perfection. Humility vs hubris. Ovis aries vs Olivia Crawford.  I’m happy to say that this episode shows some confidence, as well as some progress. Likewise, similar to the cousins’ situation at the end of every episode, it’s clear we have still have some distance left to cover.  There’s some decent jokes, some one-upping of season 2’s tropes, some humility on Balki’s part, and some confidence in Balki on Larry’s part.  With the cousins as the heroes, we have to see every other character from their perspective.  In season 2, we were forced to see Fat Marsha through their eyes, meaning she was, if not a proper villain, an unrestrained other.  We must also see Olivia through their eyes, at least until the final act, when a judge must come down from on high to decide the matter.  She threatened the cousins, but she also threatened the reputation and operation of the newspaper.  Olivia Crawford was a clear bad guy; I wanted so badly to make the joke that she was evil simply because she was doing things a man in power might do. But she was doing clearly unethical things, so I left it alone.  I just wish the show hadn’t added “she’s old” into the mix, and suggested that her age, coupled with her forwardness, were what turned Balki off.  Actress Holland Taylor was only 44 when this episode aired, and Balki 28. If I had seen this as a kid, that difference might have seemed greater to me than it does now.  But I’ve come to learn not to judge my past self by my current standards.  It’s important to look at old media in terms of current mores, and instructive to see where and how it falls short (or doesn’t).  But there’s only so far one can go in criticizing it, I suppose, since there’s nothing to be done about it now, other than hope that the next time is better.  But since I didn’t say this last week, I do feel bad for any sitcom character who’s the least bit overweight, or even a few years older than the other characters; because they always seem to end up having to do an episode about that innocuous aspect of themselves, just because it’s not some assumed media “norm”.

Anyway, I’ve gone on long enough with this review. I’ll have plenty of time for more self-reflection next week, when the cousins and I will be “Taking Stock”. See you then!


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

Coner count: Olivia (1, continuous)

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

*Did they move twice? In two weeks?

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)