Season Three Balki-isms

Balki-ism: "Oh Cousin, you can read me like a cheap suit!"
Original: "You can read me like a book."  Balki would come up with many variations on this expression but never one as absurd as the idea of reading a cheap, and supposedly loud, suit.

"You really stepped in something good this time!"
Original: This is a Balki original and would become one of the most popular of his catchphrases . . . usually when you talk about stepping in something it isn't something good, so this expression always evokes interesting imagery, to say the least!

Balki-ism: "Well, you wouldnít have to iron your will so much . . . "
Original: Balki says this after Larry comments that his diet will take "iron-willed discipline," mistaking the mineral "iron" for the appliance.

"They give me the pants off their backs."
Original: When you say someone will "give you he shirt off their backs" it means they are very generous.

Balki-ism: "I wash my feet of the whole business!"
Original: Balki meant to say "I wash my hands of the whole business."

Balki-ism: "Well, be that as that may be . . . "
Original: The expression should simply be "be that as it may . . . "

Balki-ism: "Get out of the city!"
Original: Balki's variation on "Get out of town!" would become a favorite catchphrase of the series.

Balki-ism: "When do you think Olivia will hit the fan?"
Original: The original expression, "when the sh** hits the fan," essentially means that things will get very very messy and nasty!

Balki-ism: "No skin off my head!"
Original: There are several variations of this saying, the most common being "No skin off my nose!" or "No skin off my back!"  It basically means something is not an inconvenience to someone.  More recent versions refer to skin off more unmentionable parts of the body.

Balki-ism: "An hour ago I was a babe in the woodpile . . . "
Original: "A babe in the woods" refers to someone who is naive or unable to take care of themselves.

Balki-ism: "So you see, Raisin Puffs without the raisins is like Snow White without her seven dorks!"
Original: Of course Balki meant to say "Snow White and her seven dwarves." 

Balki-ism: "Well, then Iíll go to his four men."
Original: Balki says this after misunderstanding Larry telling him he'll have to see the company foreman.

Balki-ism: "What are you now?  Deputy Dog?"
Original: Balki makes this comment after Mr. Crocker claims he will soon by "top dog."  Deputy Dawg was an animated character by Terrytoons popular in the 1960's and 1970's.

Balki-ism: "To forgive is divine . . . to be an airhead is human."
Original: "To err is human . . . to forgive divine."

Balki-ism: "If Cousin Larry sees you again, heís going to start to put two and four together!"
Original: To "put two and two together" means to figure something out.

Balki-ism: "I give, give, give until Iím blue in the head !"
Original: People usually exert themselves in some way until they're "blue in the face."

Balki-ism: "Get back, funky cat!"
Original: This seems to be Balki's interpretation of the Elton John song "Honky Cat."

Balki-ism: "Weíve got to hit the road, Zack!"
Original: Balki again gets a lyric wrong, saying "Zack" instead of saying "Hit the road, Jack" like in the classic Ray Charles song.

Balki-ism: "Mr. Death is going to come in here and kick your bucket!"
Original: "Kick the bucket" is a euphemism for dying, but Balki twists it to say that Death will kick Larry's bucket for him!

Balki-ism: "I donít understand how one mean person can ruin everyoneís happy hours."
Original: Balki simply pluralized "Happy Hour" which is typically not done.

Balki-ism: "What about David and Goliath?  What about Jack and the beanstalk?  What about the Captain and Tennille?"
Original: Okay, so this is more of a non-sequitur than a maloprop, but it's such a good one!  Putting the 70's singing duo The Captain and Tennille into this mix is just too hilarious!

Balki-ism: "Now Cousin, your fists can be just as furry as the next guy."
Original: Balki says this after Larry comments that he can't see himself as "Larry Appleton, Fists of Fury."

Balki-ism: "You could cut your toenails on my senses, too."
Original: This comment comes after Larry says that his senses have been honed to a razor's edge.  Balki paints a more graphic image with this line, something completely unique to him.

Balki-ism: "Now that weíre lean cuisine fighting machines . . . "
Original: Balki meant to say "lean, mean fighting machines."

Balki-ism: "Cousin, hold on to your pants and fasten your neck brace . . . "
Original: The common expression is "Hold on to your hat" and the only think close to the latter is "fasten your seat belt!"

Balki-ism:"They said donít call us, weíll call us!"
Original: "Don't call us, we'll call you."

Balki-ism:"I guess Princess Di is cast."
Original: The expression "the die is cast" means that something is a done deal.

Balki-ism: "No use crying over spilt curd."
Original: "No use crying over spilt milk."

Balki-ism: "Isnít that a bit like Pa Kettle calling Ma Kettle black?"
Original: "The pot calling the kettle black," which is what someone would say if someone accuses them of something they themselves are guilty of.  Ma and Pa Kettle were characters from a popular series of movies made in the 40's and 50's.

Balki-ism: "The top bananaman."
Original: "The top banana."

Balki-ism: "The headest honcho."
Original: "The head honcho."

Balki-ism: "The Big Cheez Whiz."
Original: "The Big Cheese."

Balki-ism: "The watches that you sell on the black carpet?"
Original: Balki meant to say "The watches you sell on the black market."

Balki-ism: "Iím packing a heater!"
Original: "I'm packing heat" is another way to say you're carrying a gun.

Balki-ism: "Iíve got a scratchy trigger finger!"
Original: "I've got an itchy trigger finger," which means your finger is anxious to pull the trigger of a gun.

Balki-ism: "So Cousin, allís well that ends."
Original: Balki meant to quote the phrase "All's well that ends well," the title of a Shakespeare comedy.

Balki-ism: "There are none so blind as those who will not hear."
Original: Since Balki says this is "the wisdom that made Mypos great," it's hard to know if he quoted the phrase "There are none so blind as those who will not see" or if this is actually the way it's said in Mypos!

Balki-ism: "Four Mouseketeers."
Original: Balki meant to refer to the group of friends as "The Four Musketeers."

Balki-ism: "Well, I try to call them like I call them."
Original: "I try to call them like I see them."

Balki-ism: "You took the bull by the horns and you stepped in something good."
Original: By adding the expression "you took the bull by the horns" (which means you tackled something head-on) and adding it to his own "you stepped in something good," Balki manages, quite inadvertently, to create some rather humorous imagery!

Balki-ism: "Oh Cousin, you can read me like a brown paper bag."
Original: Another one of Balki's odd "you can read me like a . . . "  The most common original expression would be "you can read me like a book."

Balki-ism: "I broke down and cried Ďtil my eyes fell out."
Original: Usually someone would say they "cried their eyes out."  This variation is much funnier!

Balki-ism: " . . . able to leap small children in a single bound!"
Original: This line from the opening sequence of Superman (both the original radio show and television series) should be, of course, "able to leap tall buildings in a single bound."

Balki-ism: "No way, Rosť!"
Original: "No way, Josť!"

Balki-ism: "Iíve got that TV turkey off my back!"
Original: This is an odd combination of expressions.  Usually when someone kicks a habit they say they've gone "cold turkey."  When someone has a addiction, they often call it the "monkey on my back."  Balki has managed to combine the two in a most unique way!

Balki-ism: " . . . because the spitís gonna hit the fan."
Original: The original phrase is "the sh**'s gonna hit the fan."  Tying this play on words in with Balki's Myposian expression was extremely clever!

Balki-ism: " . . . this is just a hunk . . . "
Original: Should have been "this is just a hunch."

Balki-ism: "Oh . . . I was a Cesarean myself."
Original: Balki makes this comment after Frank says that his son is "a natural" (referring to his baseball prowess) and Balki misunderstands him to mean his son went through a natural childbirth, whereas Balki was delivered by Cesarean section (which on Mypos must have been fairly unusual!)

Balki-ism: "Cousin Larry is thinking of becoming a professional lesbian!"
Original: Balki's attempt to say that Larry was thinking of becoming a professional "thespian" (actor) remains one of the funniest Balki-isms in the series.

Balki-ism: "Cousin, youíre at least a two-bit player!"
Original: Balki makes this comment after Larry calls himself only a "bit player" to make him feel better.  What Balki doesn't realize is that calling anything "two-bit" indicates it is insignificant, cheap or petty.  "Bits" was a former way of referring to coinage, and "two-bits" literally meant 25 cents.

Balki-ism: "I think I have what they call a pornographic memory."
Original: Balki was trying to say he has a "photographic" memory.

Balki-ism: "Four on the floor is better than two in the bush."
Original: When Larry is excited that his dream car has "four on the floor" (referring to the transmission gear shift) Balki mistakes it as meaning something not good and confuses the expression "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."

"Does a Mypiot spit in the woods?"
Original: The classic expression closest to this is "Does a bear s**t in the woods?" (meaning something is obvious).  We can assume this is a Myposian variation of that saying.

Balki-ism: "Why donít we quit beating around George Bush and get on with this?"
Original: "Beating around the bush" means to do something in an indirect fashion.  Balki simply made it "George Bush" instead.

Balki-ism: "That would be such a big load off my spine!"
Original: "A load off my mind" is the usual way of saying this, as Balki meant it would be a relief (spine works too, though!)

Balki-ism: " . . . to make a short story long . . . "
Original: The expression is "to make a long story short" but since Balki's story of Cousin Christos was fairly lengthy Balki's version was clearly more appropriate!

Balki-ism: "I know itís been a long trip down from up the river . . . "
Original: Saying someone is "up the river" means they are in prison.  Balki expanded upon this to refer to Vince's having been released from prison in his own unique way.

Balki-ism: "Cousinís Larryís so excited the cat ate his tongue!"
Original: To say "that cat's got your tongue" means someone is speechless.  Balki's version is much funnier, though!

Balki-ism: "Now I understand what got your dandruff up!"
Original: When someone gets their "dander up" that means they're angry or agitated.

Balki-ism: "Let me relieve you of your mind."
Original: Usually one would say "Let me relieve your mind" which is to say make them feel more relaxed about something.  Balki saying he will relieve Larry of his mind makes it sound like Balki is going to take Larry's mind away!

Balki-ism: "He just wants a new fleece on life."
Original: Should have been a new "lease" on life, which is what one says when they want a fresh start.

Balki-ism: "Illicitly."
Original: Balki says this when Larry asks Balki if he really trusts Vince.  Illicitly means something is underhanded or illegal.  What Balki meant to say was "Explicitly" which means completely and without question.

Balki-ism: "If we both ended up dead Iíd have to live with it for the rest of my life!"
Original: People will often say they'll have to live with something for the rest of their life if something goes wrong, but Balki using it in this instance after just saying "if we both end up dead" is particularly comical.

Balki-ism: "Cousin, I can read you like a scroll."
Original: Balki often says "I can read you like . . . " which in the original context would be followed by the word "book."  Using the term "scroll" here is probably the closest Balki will ever come to the original saying.

Balki-ism: "Cousin, before you run off half crocked . . . "
Original: The expression is to run off "half cocked" (unprepared) which is a saying originally referring to firearms.

Balki-ism: "You canít squeeze water out of a sponge!"
Original: The more common expression would be "you can't squeeze blood out of a turnip" or sometimes "a stone."  The humor in Balki's attempt to say something is impossible is exaggerated because he gave an example which is completely plausible!

Balki-ism: "Youíre a man repossessed!"
Original: Should have been "You're a man possessed!" meaning Larry is acting crazy.  Repossessing is to take away items that have not been fully paid for.

Balki-ism: "Oh, give me a line of credit!"
Original: One of the best Balki-isms ever is this twisting of the phrase "give me a little credit."

Balki-ism: "Youíve made your cake, now lie in it."
Original: "You've made your bed, now lie in it."

Balki-ism: "You can just count me out and down in Beverly Hills!"
Original: "You can count me out" is the correct expression.  Balki mixed this up with the title of the comedy movie Down and Out in Beverly Hills.

Balki-ism: "This morning I must have got up on the wrong side of my brain!"
Original: Usually one says they got up on the wrong side of the bed if they're out of sorts.  This is very unique Balki-ism in that he's really created his own expression to say sarcastically that he must be crazy.

Balki-ism: "Because when it comes to plumbing, you donít know Bo Diddley."
Original: To say someone "doesn't know diddley" means they don't know at all about something.  Balki's version changes this to the singer Bo Diddley instead.  There was also a television commercial for Nike which featured then football star Bo Jackson and singer / musician Bo Diddley in which Bo Diddley tells Bo Jackson, "Bo, you don't know Diddley!"

Balki-ism: "I have a stinkiní feeling . . . "
Original: Should have been "sinking feeling."

Balki-ism: "Cousin Larry got up this morning with a look on his face that would have curdled your hair."
Original: Balki meant to say "curled your hair" instead of curdled, which is what happens when milk gets old.

Balki-ism: "You read my mind!  You must have PMS!"
Original: This was a rather embarrassing gaff on Balki's part, at least for Miss Lydia, when he confuses PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) for ESP (extra-sensory perception).

Balki-ism: "They treat this man as if he were Prince Valium!"
Original: Balki meant to say Prince Valiant, the classic comic strip character created by Hal Foster in 1937.  Valium is a prescription drug that helps promote relaxation and sleep.

Balki-ism: "Listen, you donít want to eat on an empty stomach."
Original: There may be some things you wouldn't want to do on an empty stomach but eating is the one thing you probably would want to do!

Balki-ism: "I love The Elderly Brothers!"
Original: Balki mistakes Larry's comment about interviewing a pair of elderly brothers to mean he interviewed the music act The Everly Brothers.

Balki-ism: "Are you out of my mind?"
Original: Balki meant to say "Are you out of your mind?"

Balki-ism: "If you need a helping hand, Balki will be there to jump in with both feet."
Original: This is a unique Balki-ism in that he actually uses both idioms correctly . . . it's just the combination of the two paints an interesting picture!

Balki-ism: " . . . because I also had to pay for his Dang Dongs."
Original: Balki continues to call Ding Dongs by this name.

Balki-ism: "I was wondering what you had a bee in your pants about."
Original: To have a "bee in your bonnet" means to have a thought that won't leave your head or something preoccupying your mind.  A bee in your pants is potentially more painful!

Balki-ism: " . . . your face is going to be green with embarrassment."
Original: As Larry would explain, the correct term is "red with embarrassment."  One can be "green with envy."

Balki-ism: "And youíre going to come crawling to me on your hands and face . . . "
Original: To come begging to someone is to "come crawling on your hands and knees."

Balki-ism: "Ready to eat pigeon, Cousin?"
Original: When someone "eats crow" they apologize for a mistake they have made and admit they were wrong.

Balki-ism: "Weíll be out of here before you can say Smokey Robinson."
Original: The original expression is " . . . before you can say Jack Robinson," and means that something will be done soon or in a hurry (many thanks to Cousin Kiki for pointing this Balki-ism out to us!)

Balki-ism: "You are a doubting Tomopolis."
Original: This appears to be the Myposian version of "doubting Thomas" which is a term used about someone who is skeptical about something until they are provided with supporting evidence.  The term refers originally to Thomas the Apostle who originally doubted the resurrection of Jesus and demanded proof by examining Jesus' wounds.

Balki-ism: " . . . weíve been studying for hours and Iím scraping the bottom of my bucket."
Original: One usually says someone is "scraping the bottom of the barrel" or "bucket" to mean they are stretching something far beyond their means or capacity.  Balki's twist to this is to say "my bucket" instead of "the bucket."

Balki-ism: "I donít think so, Cousin.  I enjoy eating meat so much."
Original: Balki says this after Larry tells him he could become the first valedictorian in the family.  Balki obviously mistakes the word "valedictorian" for "vegetarian."

Balki-ism: "All right Cousin, letís go for the mold!"
Original: "Let's go for the gold!" is a reference to the Olympics but  applies to anything in which one wants to strive to be the very best.

Balki-ism: "Just between you and me itís a lucky thing I donít have a percussion."
Original: Balki was explaining how Larry was carrying him and hitting his head against the banister with each step and meant to say it was lucky he didn't have a concussion.

Balki-ism: "Itís right on the tip of my brain!"
Original: This is a very funny Balki-ism in that the common expression when trying to think of something is that it's "on the tip of my tongue."

Balki-ism: "I make my speech at the prom before all the promming starts?"
Original: A different kind of Balki-ism, here he makes a verb out of the word "prom."

Balki-ism: "So why should I feel like my heart has been torn out by the roots?"
Original: Usually ones "hair" is torn out by the roots, not one's heart, but the imagery is strong!

Balki-ism: "I have been running around like a chicken with his head glued on all day!"
Original: When someone is running around like crazy it is said they are "running around like a chicken with its head cut off."

Balki-ism: "Cousin, I have a storm in my brain!"
Original: Balki meant to say he was having a brainstorm.

Continue to Season Four Balki-isms