Perfect Strangers Episode Guide

EPISODE 112 - I Saw This on T.V.

First Air Date: February 1, 1991
Filming Date: December 20, 1990
Nielsen Rating: 14.5 HH

Co-Producer: Alan Plotkin
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

isawthisgrab01.jpg (59685 bytes)Dimitri 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."

Donít be 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

Interesting facts:
isawthisgrab21.jpg (46234 bytes)-
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 Channel.
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 performance.
- 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!

Bloopers and Inconsistencies:
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.

The 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 announces.

"Wait 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!"

"Balki, 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!"

Balki 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."

Ed 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."

"Whatíre 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, whatís 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.

"Hey 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.

"Now 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 suspiciously.  "No, 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."

"Save 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 . . . "

The 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.

Act 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 twice."

"Well, 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 shoulder.

Ralph 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 was me."

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, Norton, 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.

"Balki, 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 Honeymooners episodes.

Continue on to the next episode . . .