Balki-ism: "Beats the socks off of me!"
Original: Typically, when one doesn't know the answer to something they
would say "Beats me!" Likewise, if something is astounding or
shocking it might "knock your socks off." Balki deftly combined
these phrases to come up with his very own!
this before or after Ike met Tina Turner?"
Original: Balki asked this question after listening to Larry talk to
himself about General Eisenhower's (otherwise known as Ike) feelings before
D-Day. Balki mixed up the President of the United States with singer Ike
Turner, who married singer Tina Turner.
donít have to ask me once!"
Original: You don't have to ask me twice
paint the town red, white and blue!"
Original: To "paint the town red" means
to go out and party or celebrate
joined a healthy club."
Original: Balki's misinterpretation of the term
trying to unjoin Reuben's Perfect Body."
Original: Although it would seem a logical word,
there is no "unjoin" in the English language.
am Conehead the Barbarian!"
Original: Meant Conan the Barbarian; the Coneheads
were a popular comedy sketch on Saturday Night Live
just hate sitting around like a bump on a frog."
Original: Bump on a log
are not the jerks you thought we were."
meant to say "jocks"
will be the right time for you to unload me?"
Original: During an important baseball game Larry
had made reference to "unloading his secret weapon" which was what
he'd led Balki to believe he was, only wording it this way seems to more
accurately describe Larry's real intentions, to not let Balki play baseball at
. . . and all of a sudden there was a runaway taxi about to runaway over me .
. . "
Original: Balki's original use of the term
"runaway" as a verb instead of an adjective makes a very unique
a big one!"
Original: After Balki insisted Larry was a hero
Larry finally acknowledged he may be a "small one." Balki meant
to compliment Larry by saying he was "a big one" but that expression
is general used to say someone is a big jerk or something negative
that makes me happier than a tick on a sheepdog!"
Original: Expressions like these aren't so much a
turn of a traditional phrase as a unique expression, which can also fall under
the category of Balki-isms
right, buster, reach for the friendly skies!"
Original: "Reach for the skies" is a
cliche' expression to say when holding a gun on someone; "Fly the friendly
skies" was an advertising phrase for United Airlines
yours, up yours!"
Original: Balki was simply trying to explain to
Larry and the burglar which of them could put their hands down and which should
keep their hands up, only the expression "Up yours!" is a well-known
say to-may-to and I say to-may-to."
Original: "You say to-may-to and I say to-mah-to"
is a line from the song 'Let's Call the Whole Thing Off' from the Gershwin
musical Shall We Dance; Balki massacred the meaning when he pronounced
tomato the same way twice
Original: what Balki calls Ding Dongs
then Balki, the immigrant sheepherder who doesnít even know what fork to eat
his soup with . . . . "
Original: Which spoon to eat his soup with
. . . I
think youíre just a little bit blue with envy."
Original: Green with envy
I donít think you would have mind so much if I bring home someone who had been
beaten with the ugly rock."
Original: When it's said someone is "beaten
with the ugly stick" it means they are extremely homely
ainít just whistling Dixie Cups!"
Original: You ain't just whistling Dixie, meaning
one is serious (Dixie is a popular American folk song associated with the South)
is just the tip of the ice cube."
Original: The tip of the iceberg
a singing baseball player?"
Original: Balki says this after Vince tells him
that a former deliveryman that decided to sing with him was now with the
angels. Vince was trying to explain that he killed his former deliveryman
for squealing. Balki took the term "to sing" literally and then
confused Vince's use of "angels" with the baseball team.
Balki-ism: "So . . .
these are the Halls of Justice. Where are the Halls of
Original: Balki is thinking of the Marine's hymn
which begins, "From the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of
Tripoli." In actuality, Montezuma refers to the Battle of Chapultepec
during the Mexican-American war.
home of the free, the land of the Braves."
Original: "Land of the brave" is a line
from the American national anthem; the Braves are Atlanta's professional
going to send you up the river without a poodle."
Original: A clever blend of two sayings, sending
someone "up the river" refers to sending someone to prison, while
"up the creek without a paddle" is an unrelated term meaning "in
Cousin, you got modicum you donít even know about!"
Original: Larry was saying he was trying to
maintain a modicum of dignity, and instead of saying Larry has dignity Balki
says he has modicum, focusing on the wrong word of Larry's sentence
pull the wool over your nose."
Original: Pull the wool over your eyes is an
expression meaning to fool someone
donít want to have a nervous breakdance."
Original: Balki meant to say "nervous
other bright ideas, Mr. Spock?"
Original: In the episode where they care for Gina's
baby, Balki meant to refer to Doctor Spock, the child psychologist, and not the
Vulcan from Star Trek
reek all the time!"
Original: Jennifer commented that Larry reeks of leadership, to which
Larry agreed he might "reek a little," leading to Balki's attempt once
again to compliment Larry only to have it come out wrong
they protest by they get together and they dip his teabags in the
filthy, dirty harbor water . . . "
Original: Balki's version of the Boston Tea Party makes it sounds like
the colonialists very daintily dipped little teabags into Boston Harbor, as
opposed to just throwing boxes of tea overboard.
Balki-ism: "What do you think, I just fell off
the turnip truck? Well, I didnít! I jumped off with my own two feet!"
Original: Saying someone "just fell off the
turnip truck" is a derogatory expression to refer to a new immigrant
(similar to saying "Fresh off the boat" today.) Balki obviously
interpreted this to think the insulting part is saying someone would "fall
off" the truck and insists he jumped off of his own volition.
Balki-ism: "Five onion rings!"
Original: "Five golden rings," from the
song The Twelve Days of Christmas
Balki-ism: "On Dancer, on Prancer and on Donna
Dixon! On Comet, on Cupid, on Reagan, on Nixon!"
Original: "Now Dasher, now Dancer, now Prancer
and Vixen! On Comet, on Cupid, on Donner and Blitzen!" from the poem The
Night Before Christmas
Balki-ism: "Iím busting my buttocks trying to
make a nice Christmas for you and all I get is Bah Hamburger."
Original: "Busting my butt" and "Bah
Balki-ism: "Youíre acting just like Ebenezer
Original: Ebenezer Scrooge, the character from
Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol (the line Bah Humbug is also from this
Balki-ism: " . . . when the tableís
upside-down you act like a big baby."
Original: "When the table's turned"
Balki-ism: " . . . . we teach him save children
from the burning building just like Lousy!"
Original: Balki meant to say Lassie, the canine
star who always seemed to be rescuing people from mines, burning buildings, etc.
Balki-ism: "My little puppy dog Couscous was
smart as two whips!"
Original: Larry had commented that his dog Spot was
as smart as a whip. To go one better Balki said his dog Couscous was smart
as two whips, another Balki original.
Original: After Larry claims that Spot could do
his taxes, Balki says "Bull . . . " and it sounds like he might say
something else but he ends with "winkle," making it into a nice clean
Balki-ism: "Now thatís the spirit of Ď76!"
Original: "That's the spirit"
Balki-ism: "In a month, it will be third
Original: Larry said in a week their routine would
be "second nature" . . . once again Balki increases this to make up
his own expression
beat a dead dog?"
Original: Usually the expression goes "Why
beat a dead horse?" meaning it's pointless to continuing talking about or
doing something with no change in results.
Balki-ism: "Search to your heartís
Original: "To your heart's content"
Balki-ism: "I got a Pepski."
Original: When Mr. Twinkacetti offers the guys a
"brewski" (slang for brew which is what beer is sometimes called)
Balki comes up with this word for cola, intending it as a joke.
"Is the king cross-eyed?"
Original: Not really a turn of any specific phrase
but instead an apparent Myposian expression similar to "Is the Pope
Catholic?" or "Does a bear go in the woods?"
"You big bag of romance!"
Original: One would probably be more apt to say
"big bundle of romance" instead
of the awkward wording Balki uses here.
"You can relax and shake off your
Original: Should have been "jet lag."
"Weíll relax, do some kickbacks,
weíll be marshmallows."
Original: This was Balki's interpretation after
hearing Larry say "Weíll uncork some vino, kick back, relax, itíll be
very, uh . . . mellow."
"What do you take me for, Bozo the
Original: Bozo the Clown, a popular children's
television character which appeared from the 1950's on in various syndicated
"Everyone know the Cubs have no
Original: Larry suggests they save Balki's food for
a special occasion such as when the Cubs win the World Series. The Chicago
Cubs are a notorious non-winning baseball team so Larry was trying to actually
suggest "never," which Balki picked up on. But Balki was
confusing the Superbowl with the World Series and taking it to mean a baseball
team could not win a football championship with no quarterback.
Balki-ism: "Cousin, why are you getting all
poofed out of shape?"
Original: Balki probably meant to say "bent
out of shape," meaning angry or upset, but changed bent for
"puffed" which he pronounces "poofed." Balki has a
tendency to pronounce the letter U as a long vowel instead of a short one, as in
"boony rabbit" instead of "bunny rabbit." But there's
just something particularly funny about saying "poofed" instead of
I talk about that dream again itíll be a cold day in December!"
Original: Normally one would say "a cold day
in June" or some similar summer month to indicate something that will never
"We can play pin the tail on the mule
and we can bob for potatoes . . . "
Original: The party games Balki means are pin
the tail on the donkey and bobbing for apples.
Balki-ism: "Why the stormy weather?"
Original: The popular song from the 1930's entitled
Stormy Weather connected the phrase to meaning bad or troubled
times. Balki's use of the term here is unusual enough to qualify it as a
Balki-ism: "Iíll go splash some on."
Original: Balki says this after Larry says black
tie means wearing a tuxedo. Balki apparently thought Larry was referring
to the fragrance of the same name made by Ralph Lauren.
Balki-ism: "Iíd love to rub those
Original: Balki makes this comment about a
beautiful woman after Larry remarks that he never thought he'd be rubbing elbows
with so many important people. To "rub elbows" with someone is
to be with people socially, such as at a party.
Balki-ism: "I second that emotion."
Original: Balki put an unintentional twist on the
standard phrase "I second that motion." In a meeting or formal
setting when someone seconds a motion they are giving approval to a suggestion
or proposal so it can then be voted on. The phrase "I second that
emotion" is actually from a Smokey Robinson and the Miracles song of the
Balki-ism: "But inside that little man beats a
heart as big as a liver."
Original: Most people would
make this kind of comparison with something really large, like a whale or a
mountain or some other gargantuan item, but when Balki makes the comparison with
another, and yes larger, human organ it's particularly funny.
Cousin Larry have a recess in his jeans."
Original: This was Balki's
attempt at repeating Larry's comment about being the only Appleton who can't
ski, possibly due to a recessive gene, but Balki's version brings some rather
humorous imagery to mind!
ainít over Ďtil the fat lady eats."
Original: "It ain't over
'til the fat lady sings," an expression which refers loosely to opera but
was originated in the sports world to mean someone shouldn't try to predict the
outcome of something prematurely.
weíve been through fat and thin together."
"We've been through thick and thin."
rolling stone has a silver lining."
Original: Here Balki mixed together two classic
proverbs: "A rolling stone gather no moss" and "Every black cloud
has a silver lining."
Balki-ism: "If George Washington
had given up at Valley Forge weíd all be speaking English today!"
not uncommon for someone to make a point like this, but of course the fact that
we do speak English and were fighting the British (who of course speak
English as well) makes this a funny miscalculated point.
Balki-ism: "When Larry and Balki go first class
they eat the whole hog."
Original: To "go whole
hog" means to spare no expense. To eat a whole hog is to have serious
"Cousin Larry put it in very
Original: To put something into "no
uncertain terms" means to make it clear. Balki ended up saying the
opposite of what he meant.
Balki-ism: "Youíre darn tooting!"
Original: This is so close to being right it almost
isn't a Balki-ism, but usually one would say "Yer darn tootin'!" and
not enunciate the words quite so well.
"Well, I guess weíre
Original: This may or may not be a true Balki-ism,
as it seems the term "snookered" actually predates the show.
Snooker is a game similar to billiards with fifteen red balls, six other-colored
balls and a cue ball. To "snooker" someone in the game is to
leave them without a direct shot. The word "snookered" is used
to describe duping or fooling someone or backing them into a position without
any way out.
"Weíre going to have to chew the
bullet on this one."
Original: To "bite the bullet" means to
put up with something or endure something. It came about when wounded
soldiers would bite on a bullet to help them endure pain in the days before
anesthetics (similarly the act has been associated with the old west).
"Well, Iím an equal
Original: After Fat Marsha says she's an equal
opportunity employer Balki comes out with this line, which wouldn't have much
other meaning except for the fact that she has been sexually harassing the boys,
which can make this statement read in a whole different way!
"No, not yet. I donít even have a racquet!"
Original: This was Balki's answer after Larry's
sister Elaine asked Balki if he'd tried sushi yet. Of course, sushi is a
Japanese dish usually made with raw fish, seaweed, and vinegar rice, not a
"New York! The Big Tomato!"
New York is known as the Big Apple. Balki simply got his fruits mixed up.
"Please donít send me on another
Original: People usually "lay a guilt
trip" on someone, but Balki takes the word "trip" literally to
come up with this cute idea of being sent on a guilt trip instead of simply
"Her dream is to play with Philís
Original: Elaine told Balki she wanted to play
with a Philharmonica Orchestra and Balki twisted this into Phil's Harmonica.
"She could have gone right on to the
Balki's still mixing up his fruit, but he's closer to apple with pineapple than
he was with tomato, at least!
Balki-ism: "Well, it would be nice if you were launched!"
makes this comment after Larry says he hopes winning a photo contest would
launch his career. Balki's response makes it sound as if it would be nice
if Larry himself were launched, which would be considered an insult.
my dead battery!"
Original: "Over my dead body!"
youíre talking, turkey!"
Original: Balki meant to just say "Now you're
talking!" Talking turkey means to speak frankly about something, but
by adding it to the end of the sentence the way he did with a slight change in
inflection made it sound as if he were calling Larry a turkey.
Balki-ism: "Cousin, youíve flipped your coin!"
Original: "You've flipped your lid!"
which means "you've gone crazy." One flips a coin to decide
like the time Mary Anne got her picture in the paper because she got her head
stuck in a chain link fence."
Original: As Larry explains in the next sentence,
Mary Anne got her hair stuck in a chain link fence. It's a
well-established occurrence for kids to get their heads stuck between the
railings of a fence from which they need to be rescued, but the idea of someone
getting their head stuck in a chain-link fence is pretty funny.
to Season Three Balki-isms