Strangers Episode Guide
112 - I Saw This on T.V.
First Air Date:
February 1, 1991
Filming Date: December 20, 1990
Nielsen Rating: 14.5 HH
Created by: Dale McRaven
Written by: Paula A. Roth
Directed by: Joel Zwick
Bronson Pinchot: Balki Bartokomous
Mark Linn-Baker: Larry Appleton
Melanie Wilson: Jennifer Lyons
Rebeca Arthur: Mary Anne Spencer
Appearances: Dimitriís photo can be seen on the bookcase.
"You should, uh, look into becoming one of the, uh . . . . whatta they
call, uh . . . inferior decorators."
"Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to conceive."
"Oh Cousin, youíre making a mountain out of mohair."
ridiculous: Not said in this episode.
Other running jokes
used in this episode:
Balki and Larry argue back and forth, in this case, "Yes, you did" and
"No, I didnít"
Balki (as Ed) laughs at his own joke
Larry (as Ralph) has a bad back
Larry (as Ralph) grabs Balki (as Ed) by the shirt
Larry (as Ralph) has a plan
The week previous to this episode airing, Balki, Larry and Jennifer were
on hand to do the TGIF spots for the evening. Perfect Strangers was
a repeat of the episode Safe at Home that night. These segments
were done after the filming of the episode Speak, Memory. You can
now view these spots on our YouTube
- It seemed fitting that Joel Zwick returned to direct this classic
episode. He did a fabulous job of recreating The Honeymooners feel
in the show, even including a shot where "Ralph" walks close to the
camera for a moment and is backlit as he crosses.
- For many years reviewers had drawn a comparison
between Perfect Strangers and The Honeymooners, often called Mark
and Bronson the "Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton of the 80's." So it
made sense for them to pay tribute to that classic sitcom here. They would
do the same with Laurel and Hardy, another comedy team they were often compared
with, in season seven.
- Bronson had never seen a complete episode of The
Honeymooners before being given the script for this episode. He
recalled turning it off when it was on because the characters were "too
loud" and he found the discourse in the Kramden home disconcerting.
After being given tapes of the episodes to study, he came to admire Art Carney
greatly and most will agree his interpretation of Ed Norton is spot-on.
Art Carney even called Bronson after the show aired to congratulate him on the
- During the audience question and answer session
at the end of the show, someone asked if the actors had studied the characters
they played. Rebeca answered that she studied Joyce Randolfís nose,
since in many episodes thatís about all you see of Trixie!
- When Bronson (as Ed Norton) falls in the first Honeymooners scene, that
was an accident. You can tell by Markís reaction of concern, which he
covers when Bronson jumps back up and he realizes the scene is going to
continue. In fact when Mark says his next line he actually starts to
laugh, and it appears that Bronson is laughing about the mistake as well.
episode begins in the apartment. Larry hurries excitedly through the front
door, carrying his jacket and briefcase, which he sets on the couch as he runs
to the dining room where Balki is standing with his arms crossed. "Balki,
you are looking at the luckiest man in Chicago!" Larry states.
"Well, I hope your happy," Balki says in a short tone. "I
am," Larry assures him. "Because you are about to eat the driest
pig pancreas souffle known to man," Balki finishes, stepping to the table
and pulling out a chair to sit down. Larry also takes his seat at the
table, where there are two covered dishes. Larry reaches over to remove
the cover from his dish but Balki slams his hand down on it. "You
could have called," Balki scolds. "Youíre right . . . Iím
wrong . . . Iím sorry," Larry offers. "All right," Balki
says, and he removes the cover from Larryís plate for him. "I
happen to have two court-side seats to tonightís Bulls game," Larry
a minute, Cousin . . . " Balki begins. "Itís the biggest
basketball game of the season and youíre not gonna believe what
happened," Larry continues, "Wainwright called me, told me he canít
make tonightís game. Since he knows Iím a big Bulls fan heís having
the tickets sent here. Is life good or what?" "Can I wedge
in a wise word here?" Balki asks, "You promised Jennifer you would
take her to the ballet tonight." "Oh, I took care of that,"
Larry explains, "I told her I had to do something for Mr. Wainwright.
She understood perfectly." "So you lied," Balki observes.
"No, I didnít," Larry argues. "You always lie,"
Balki says. "I am doing something for Mr. Wainwright,"
Larry insists, "Iím using his tickets at his request."
"So you lied," Balki repeats. "No, I didnít."
"Yes, you did." "No, I didnít." "Yes, you
sure did." "At worst, I am massaging the truth a bit,"
Larry says. "Massaging it?" Balki exclaims, "You gave it a
full body loofah scrub and a mud bath!"
you and I are going to the game tonight and we are gonna have a great
time!" Larry smiles. "Oh, is that so, is that?" Balki asks,
"Well, let me tell you it has been my observation that every time you lie
to Jennifer something bad happens. I saw the exact same thing happen on an
old rerun of a 1950's television show. Thereís this big roly-poly bus
driver always trying to hide things from his wife . . . every time he does he
gets in trouble. And heís got this friend upstairs. He wears a
vest. Heís the smart one." The scene oil dissolves to a
perfect replica of the black and white apartment on The Honeymooners.
The door opens and Larry enters, dressed exactly like Ralph Kramden. Ralph
removes his hat and then walks to the window, which he lifts open. The
pane falls back down but Ralph simply leans through the frame anyway . . .
thereís no glass! He looks upward and calls, "Norton! Norton,
get down here right away! Itís important!"
immediately enters through the front door, dressed as Ed Norton.
"What say there, Ralphie boy? Sorry it took so long. Whatís
up?" "Whatís up?" Ralph asks, "Iíll tell you
whatís up. You and I are in for a treat tonight. We . . . "
"W . . . w . . . wait, donít tell me. Let me guess," Norton
interrupts, "Is it ĎBeers of All Nations Nightí down at the Lodge?
Because if it is Iím gonna have to say no. Iíve been haviní very bad
problems lately with the olí tum-tum. I donít think I could tolerate
more than a pitcher or two." Ed laughs at his own joke, saying,
"Ha ha, a pitcher of two there . . . " "Are you gonna let
me tell you where weíre goiní, or are ya gonna run off at the mouth all
night?" Ralph barks. "Oh, nah nah," Ed says, "Iím
gonna let ya tell me, just go ahead, Ralph." "Thank you,"
Ralph huffs. "Just, uh . . . Iím all ears," Ed says, making
wild gestures with his body, "Just let me have it, Ralph. Just let me
have it. Right here, Ralph." He points to his ear.
"Let Ďer rip. Let Ďer rip there, Ralph. Get the thought and
let it out. Let it out."
steps back too far and falls on the floor, but picks himself up quickly.
"Norton, you are a mental case," Ralph says, then orders, "Will
you sit down?" "All right, Ralph!" Ed says, scurrying to
sit down. He pulls a bowl of food over closer and starts to snack, asking,
"You were sayiní?" "Two guys dropped out of the Pro Am
Bowling Tournament tonight and you and I are gonna take their places,"
Ralph announces. "Hold the phone!" Ed cries, jumping up,
"We are gonna be bowliní with professionals? Guys who own their own
bowliní shoes? Va-va-va-voom! We are a couple of lucky
stiffs!" The front door opens and Jennifer and Mary Anne enter as
Alice and Trixie, respectively. "Hi, Ralph," Alice says.
"Hi, Ed," Trixie greets. Alice holds up a pair of pants on a
hanger and tells Ralph, "The tailor said he wants to know whoís wearing
these pants . . . you or the bus?" "Hardy-har-har," Ralph
says sarcastically. "Iím sorry Iím late Ed," Trixie says,
"I had to stop at the butcher shop to get ya lamb chops for dinner."
ya cookiní me for dinner tonight, Alice?" Ralph asks.
"Nothing," Alice answers, "Did you forget? Weíre goiní
to my motherís for dinner." "Heh heh heh, Alice, heh, yer
outta luck there," Ed begins, "Uh, Ralph and I are gonna go . . .
" "No, no, Norton," Ralph interrupts, "Norton!
Norton! Norton! Norton, donít you have to go upstairs and
eat?" Ralph motions for Ed to go upstairs. "Naw, itíll
take Trixie like a half an hour to cook dinner," Ed says. "Well,
maybe you should go watch Ďer," Ralph suggests firmly. "Ralph,
I know when yer kiddiní," Ed laughs, "I seen Trixie cook before.
Hey Trix, remember the time you were makiní them, uh, potato pancakes, flippiní
Ďem . . . up they go . . . down they go . . . " "Get outta
here!" Ralph yells. "Sheesh, what a grouch!" Ed sighs.
"Come on, Ed," Trixie says, and she turns to leave. "All
right," Ed agrees, but he steps to the table and reaches over to take a
piece of fruit from the bowl.
"Will you get outta here?" Ralph
screams again. Ed runs out the door. "Bye, Alice," Trixie
says, and she exits, closing the door behind her. "All right, Ralph,
going on?" Alice demands to know. "Well, uh . . . " Ralph
hesitates, pacing nervously, "Uh . . . I didnít want ya to know that, uh
. . . that, uh . . . I was gonna work an extra shift tonight."
"Well, why not? You work extra shifts all the time," Alice
points out. Ralph starts to pace around the apartment again, hemming,
"Well, uh . . . uh . . . I, uh . . . I, uh . . . I didnít want ya to know
that, uh . . . that Iíve been, uh, saviní up to buy ya that, uh, new
refrigerator you wanted. And, uh . . . the money I was gonna make tonight,
uh . . . woulda been enough for the first down payment." "Oh,
Ralph, thatís so sweet!" Alice gushes. "Too bad I wonít be
able to work," Ralph sighs, "You want me to have dinner with your
mother so thatís where Iíll be." "Oh no you wonít!"
Alice insists, "You go ahead and work your shift! My mother will
understand." Alice takes Ralphís pants into the bedroom as Ralph
looks smug about his deceit. The scene wipes to a later scene when Ralph
and Ed come home from the bowling tournament. Ralph is doubled-over in
pain, holding his back, as Ed helps him into the apartment.
Ralph, youíre good . . . Youíre good . . . Hey, Ralphie boy . .
. " Ed encourages as each step they take forward is also coupled with Ralph
crying out in pain, "Come on, Ralph . . . Youíre doing it . . .
Youíre almost there, Ralph . . . Come on, Ralphie . . . Ralphie
boy!" They reach the table and Ralph manages to sit down.
"There we are there," Ed says, massaging Ralphís shoulders before
going over to close the front door. "All right," Ralph sighs,
"I donít get it, Norton. How did this happen to me?"
"Same way as it always happens when you go bowling," Ed answers, then
physically demonstrates the following, "You picked up your bowling ball . .
. you made your way to the line . . . then you realize all eyes are on you.
So you decided to put somethiní a little extra on the ball there . . . just a
little somethiní extra on the ball there . . . give it a little extra body . .
. as if you needed extra body . . . and then you let Ďer go and before you
knew it you were flat on your keister, just lyiní there like a beached whale
waitiní for someone to pull the cup outta yer mouth there, Ralph."
"Will you knock it off?" Ralph shouts.
look," Ralph continues, "Aliceíll be here any minute. You
gotta help me hide the fact that I hurt my back." "Uh . . .
wouldnít it be easier just to tell her what happened?" Ed asks.
"Wouldnít it be easier just to tell Ďer what happened," Ralph says
in a mocking tone, "Why donít I just wear a sign on my back that says
ĎKick Me Hard?í" "Not a good idea with your back out,
Ralph," Ed points out. "Oh you are nuts, you know that,
Norton?" Ralph notes, "Now listen, if ya help me out tonight my
backíll be fine in the morniní and Aliceíll never know I went bowliní."
The door opens and Alice enters. "Ralph, Iím glad youíre
here," she says, "Iíve been thinkiní about the new refrigerator.
Now Iím not sure how itís gonna look in the space where the icebox is now so
why donít ya move the icebox outta the way and put somethiní over there
thatís the size of the new refrigerator?" After a pause, Ralph
asks, "Now?" "Yeah, Ralph, now," Alice states.
"You know, uh, Alice, that is a terrific idea," Ed comments,
"Really sensational. You should, uh, look into becoming one of the,
uh . . . . whatta they call, uh . . . uh . . . inferior decorators."
"Alice, itís late," Ralph
protests, "Weíll move the icebox some other time." "Is
there some reason you donít wanna move the icebox?" Alice asks
no reason," Ralph answers, "You want it moved . . . weíll move
it." Ralph stands up from the chair quickly and stiffens in pain.
With his back to Alice, he bites on his hand to keep from screaming. He
grabs Norton by the vest and pulls him closer. "Norton, how Ďbout
giviní me a hand with this?" "Sure, Ralphie," Ed agrees,
slapping Ralph on the back. Ralph lets out a loud, "Ow!" and
pushes Ed away. They walk to the icebox with Ralph crying out in pain with
every step. "All right, Norton," Ralph begins, "Help me
pick this thing up." "Okay," Ed agrees, and they take their
places, "On three. Ready, Ralph? One . . . two . . . "
Ed stops counting and opens the icebox door, asking, "What díya got in
here?" "Will you get outta there?" Ralph snaps. Ed
closes the door and resumes the count. "Three." They both
lift and there is a loud crack. Ralph screams and starts convulsing all
around the apartment, screaming in pain. He finally stops, leaning over
the chair in front of Alice. "Is there something wrong with your
back, Ralph?" Alice asks. "No," Ralph answers, "Why
would there be somethiní wrong with my back?" "Because you and
me was bowliní . . . " Ed begins. "Will you knock it
off?" Ralph yells, then he says, "Listen, Alice, I can explain."
your breath, Ralph," Alice interrupts, "I know everything. See,
the bus from my motherís stops in front of the bowling alley. A coupla
guys got on talkiní about how Kramden threw his back out and almost rolled
down the alley with the ball. Iíll be up at Trixieís Ďtil I calm
down." Alice walks out and slams the door behind her. "Hey
. . . I hate to, uh, rub salt in your wound there, Ralph," Ed begins,
slapping Ralph on the back again, "But you shoulda known that Aliceís bus
was gonna go by the bowliní alley there. I mean, you are a bus driver,
right? I mean, you gotta use the olí noodle. You driviní that
bus there right down 42nd Street right to Broadway, the guy that
sells the newspaper there . . . " "Will you cut that out?"
Ralph yells. "Hey, uh . . . yer back looks pretty bad there,
Ralph," Ed observes. "It is bad," Ralph confirms.
"Like you can hardly move," Ed notes. "I canít
move," Ralph says. "Not at all?" "I canít move
at all." "Not at all?" "I just told ya I canít
move at all!" "Not at all?" "I canít move at
all!" "All right then," Ed says, and he starts to dance
over to the icebox where he pulls out a turkey leg and waves it in front of
Ralph. "Norton, whatíre ya . . . Norton? Put that back!"
Ralph scolds, "Norton, you . . . Ah! Norton, Iím gonna murdelize
you . . . "
scene oil dissolves back to the dining table where Larry and Balki are having
coffee after their dinner. "Next day, Ralphís back was so bad he
have to stay home the whole day and listen to Alice yell at him," Balki
finishes his story, "You see what Iím driving at?" "Well,
that is television. It has nothing to do with real life," Larry
observes. There is a knock at the door and Larry gets up to answer it with
Balki following. "There is no way in the world that Jennifer is gonna
find out about that basketball game," Larry insists as he opens the door to
reveal Jennifer. "Oh hi, Jen," Larry smiles. "Hi,
Larry," Jennifer says coldly, "A messenger just delivered these
basketball tickets to our apartment instead of yours." She hands him
the tickets. "W . . . well, I can explain," Larry begins.
"Save your breath," Jennifer stops him, "I know everything.
Larry, youíve lied to me for the last time. Enjoy the game."
Jennifer grabs the door and slams it shut behind her as she leaves.
"Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to conceive,"
Balki comments. On Larryís reaction, the scene fades to black.
two begins a week later in the apartment as Balki is watering some flowers in a
basket sitting on a stool by the front door. Larry walks in the door and
Balki sprays him with water as well. Balki sets down the water sprayer and
looks at Larryís wet face with concern. "Cousin, youíre
crying," he says worriedly, "Did . . . didnít you have any
luck?" "Balki, I donít know what Iím gonna do," Larry
sighs. He is carrying a wrapped gift and he walks to the coffee table
where several wrapped gifts are sitting already. There are also many more
bouquets of flowers all around the living room. "Itís been a week
and Jennifer still wonít talk to me. Iíve tried everything.
Iíve sent her flowers and candy . . . perfume. She just sends everything
back." Larry drops the latest package on the table and sits down with
Balki, sighing, "Iím beginning to think itís all over between us."
"Oh Cousin, youíre making a mountain out of mohair," Balki says,
"Come on, Jennifer still loves you. Sheíll forgive you if you just
tell her youíre sorry you were lying and youíll never do it again."
"Sheíll never buy that," Larry sighs, then he brightens and says,
"But you know . . . if I do something heroic to show how much I love her,
sheíll have to forgive me."
"Cousin, that never works!"
Balki cries, "Now Ralph had the same problem with Alice. She wasnít
talking to him after he lied about the bowling incident, so instead of
telling her the truth he got his friend Norton . . . thatís the smart one . .
. to come down and help him to . . . to appear to be a hero so that she would
like him again." The scene oil dissolved back to The Honeymooners apartment.
Alice is sitting at the table with Trixie when Ralph and Ed enter. Ralph
approaches Alice cautiously. "Hello, Alice," he greets her.
She doesnít respond. "Ya haviní a good day, Alice?" he
tries, "Ya feeliní okay?" "Trixie, please tell Ralph if
he really cared anything about me he wouldnít have lied," Alice says
coldly. "Alice says if ya cared anything about Ďer ya wouldnít
have lied," Trixie repeats to Ralph. "Come on, Alice, gimme a
break," Ralph asks, "Itís been a week. Donít you think
Iíve suffered enough?" "Trixie, tell Ralph as far as Iím
concerned the suffering has barely begun," Alice states. "Alice
says . . . " Trixie begins to repeat. "I heard what Alice
says," Ralph snaps, "Youíd think I was the only guy in the world who
ever lied to his wife. Norton, you must have lied to Trixie once or
uh . . . to tell you the truth there, Ralph, uh . . . in thirteen years of
marital bliss I, uh . . . I never yet once lied to Trixie." "Ed
said he once thought about lying to me but he felt so guilty he bought me a big
bouquet of flowers and a bottle of my favorite perfume," Trixie smiles.
Ed crosses to her and says, "Yeah, and I, uh . . . I wrote her a little
poem to go with it." He kneels down next to her chair and recites,
"Roses are red, violets are bluer . . . can you ever forgive your guy from
the sewer?" "How díya like that?" Trixie asks,
"Heís a poet and he donít even know that he is." "All
right," Ralph sighs, slapping his hat down on the table, "All right.
So Iím a lousy husband. What díya want me ta do? Say ĎIím
sorry?í Okay . . . Iím sorry. Iím sorry, Iím sorry, now shut
up!" Alice stands up to face him. "You know, Ralph, the
only thing bigger than your mouth is your . . . " "Donít say
it, Alice!" Ralph warns. "Come on, Trixie, letís go to a
movie," Alice suggests. "Okay," Trixie agrees, and she gets
up from the table and leaves with Alice, calling, "Bye, Ed," over her
hurries to the door and opens it, calling after Alice, "I hope you choke on
your Raisinets!" He slams the door shut. Ed is drinking the last of
whatever Alice and Trixie had been drinking before they came in. "How
díya like that?" Ralph asks, "Norton, this is killiní me. I
donít mind the silent treatment but Alice wonít cook for me. I have to
get her to . . . to forgive me." He picks up an open can of beans and
sets it on the table, crying, "I canít take another night of eatiní
beans outta the can!" "I dunno, Ralph," Ed sighs, "She
seemed pretty steamed." He looks into the open can and asks,
"Hey, you, uh, got a fork?" Ralph snaps his fingers and
exclaims, "I got it! If I do somethiní to prove to Alice how much I
love Ďer, sheíll hafta forgive me! Now I got a plan but Iím gonna
need your help." "Iím with ya, Iím with ya a hundred
percent!" Ed assures him, standing up. "All right, now . . . yer
gonna hafta disguise yerself as a robber and then sneak in here later
tonight," Ralph explains, "Now itís real important that Alice
doesnít know that itís you." "Donít worry, Ralph," Ed
assures him, "I once played a tomatuh in the school play and nobody knew it
Ed starts to recite a line from the play,
saying, "Hello, there! I am a tomatuh. You may think I am a
vegetable, but I am really a fruit." "Youíre not a fruit,
youíre a mental case!" Ralph hollers, "Now where was I?"
During the following, Alice enters the apartment without them seeing her.
"Oh yeah, all right," Ralph continues, "Now after you break in
here and say yer a robber, you say you want Aliceís wedding ring. Now
Iíll say that I would rather die than give it to you. Youíll be so
moved by the depth of my love that youíll leave without Aliceís wedding
ring. Sheíll have to forgive me!" Ed starts to choke
up and says, "Ralph, I gotta tell ya Iím touched. You would rather
die than . . . than . . . than let somebody have Aliceís wedding ring?
Yer a sweet kid. But it wonít work. Naw, you gotta wine Ďher,
dine Ďer, dance Ďer." Ed starts to dance. Alice walks behind
Ralph as he says, "Nah, that wonít work. I got it! Iíll
help her dust!" "Nah, why donít ya just buy her a fur
coat?" Alice asks. Ralph thinks a moment then replies, "Nah,
that wonít work." "Well, I think sheís got a good point
there, Ralph," Ed agrees. Ralph looks back at her without reaction,
then turns and throws his arms out, crying, "Ooh! Alice!"
"What have ya got to say fer yerself now, Ralph?" Alice asks.
"I gotta BIG mouth!" Ralph exclaims.
The scene oil dissolves back to Balki and
Larry on the couch. "Alice was so mad at Ralph that . . . that not
only did she not speak to him for . . . for two weeks but she
make him sleep on the fire escape," Balki laughs, then sighs, "I love
that show. And you say you canít learn anything from television."
"I shoulda known that someone as wonderful as Jennifer could never love
somebody as low and devious as me," Larry sighs. "Oh, I think
she could," Balki offers, trying to help. There is a knock at the
door and Balki gets up to open it. Jennifer enters carrying a little
stuffed bear. She walks over to the couch and asks, "Larry, is this
from you?" Larry stands up and hesitates, saying, "Well, uh . .
. " "Cousin, come on," Balki encourages, "Donít be
so shy. Of . . . of course itís . . . itís from Cousin Larry.
Who else would it be from?" "Oh, Larry, when I saw this little
guy sitting on my fire escape with two tickets to the ballet in his paws, I knew
Iíd been too hard on you," Jennifer smiles, and she steps forward to hug
him. "W . . . w . . . w . . . Jennifer," Larry stops her,
"I . . . didnít leave that bear on the fire escape. The person who
did is much nicer than I am and . . . I think I have a pretty good idea who that
person is." Larry and Jennifer turn to look at Balki, who looks
around as if trying to see who Larryís talking about.
was it you?" Larry asks. Balki looks guilty and admits, "Well .
. . I was just trying to help." "Oh!" Jennifer exclaims,
and she throws her arms around Larry and kisses him. "Oh!
Oh!" Larry gasps with surprise, "W . . . well . . . what was that
for?" "Well, Larry, you could have lied and said the bear was
from you but you didnít! You told the truth!" Jennifer points out.
"I did, didnít I?" Larry realizes. Balki jumps up on the couch
to stand behind them and says, "I think weíve had a breakthrough
here!" "Well, this is cause for celebration," Larry
announces, "What do you say we all go out to dinner tonight at Antoineís
Cajun Kitchen?" "Oh, itís a wonderful idea," Jennifer
agrees. "Balki, you wanna call and make us reservations for four at
eight oíclock?" "Four at eight, you got it!" Balki
replies, and he jumps off the couch and walks to the counter where the phone is.
He starts to do an Ed Norton thing of taking forever to prepare to make the call
as Larry comes up behind him and finally shouts, "Will you just make the
call?" Larry returns to Jennifer and says, "Baby, youíre the
greatest," then kisses her the way Ralph did with Alice at the end of many
on to the next episode . . .