Strangers Episode Guide
23 - Tenspeed and Soft Touch
First Air Date:
February 11, 1987
Nielsen Rating: 16.4 HH
Description: Balki and Larry decide to be "big brothers" to a
neighborhood kid they caught shoplifting, and the youngster becomes the
number-one suspect when Larry discovers his bike is missing.
Created by: Dale McRaven
Written by: John B. Collins
Directed by: Joel Zwick
Bronson Pinchot: Balki Bartokomous
Mark Linn-Baker: Larry Appleton
Rebeca Arthur: Mary Anne
Melanie Wilson: Jennifer Lyons
Bobby Jacoby: Eddie Harris
Appearances: Dimitri has a pivotal role in this episode! He can
first be seen sitting on the end table by the couch. When Balki and Larry
play Boochi Tag, Balki picks up Dimitri and claims he is the boochi. Later
Dimitri is sitting in front of the reel-to-reel recorder by the window,
blindfolded and with a cigarette in his mouth while a little cannon points at
him (to signify Eddie being falsely accused and condemned by Larry).
"But inside that little man beats a heart as big as a liver."
ridiculous: Said twice.
used in this episode:
"Where do I come up with them?"
"Well, Iíll be snookered!"
"I donít think so."
"I donít know." (After a donít be ridiculous)
Other running jokes
used in this episode:
Balki laughs at his own joke.
Balki and Larry sigh in unison.
Balki sulks until he gets something he wants.
Jokes about Larryís lack of an upper lip.
Mary Anne says something profound and explains it away with something seemingly
Balki teaches Larry how to play Boochi Tag.
- The title of this episode was based upon the title of a short-lived
1980 detective series called Tenspeed and Brown Shoe that also aired on
ABC. That series starred Ben Vereen as "Tenspeed" and Jeff
Goldblum as "Brownshoe."
- This is the first time Balki uses the catchphrase
"Well, I'll be snookered." (Thanks to Cousin WhitLovesBalki for
correcting us on this point!)
- Boochi Tag became one of the most treasured and
quoted "bits" from the entire series. Even though it was only
played during this one episode in the early seasons the fans loved it so much it
would eventually surface again, first in the sixth season episode New Kid on
the Block (when Balki played it with Tess) and then again in the final
season when Balki would play it with his wife Mary Anne (even while she was
Larry mentions to Eddie that Balkiís driverís license means a lot to
him, a direct reference to the first season episode Baby, You Can Drive My
Car in which Balki strives to obtain his license.
- Bobby Jacoby, also known as Robert Jayne, was one
of a family of thespians (siblings Scott, Susan, Billy and Laura were all
working actors). Robert won the 1988 Young Artist Award for his
performance as Eddie Harris in this episode! While the character of Eddie
lived in the same building as Larry and Balki, he would not appear again in the
- The address of the boysí building would change over the years but
since they moved to a different apartment in a different building at the start
of the third season (even though this was never referred to directly) it would
make some sense. From the third season on the boys would live in various
apartment numbers on Caldwell Avenue.
- During their game of Boochi Tag Balki uses the
old ruse of pointing to Larryís shirt and asking whatís there to get Larry
to look down so he can touch the tip of Larryís nose. But when Larry
played this gag on Balki in the fourth season episode Seven Card Studs Balki
didnít seem to know anything about such a prank and never caught on to what
Larry was going.
The episode starts in the Ritz Discount Store where surly delivery men are
bringing in a load of boxes belonging to Larry. Larry encourages one of
the men to set two boxes down carefully but the guy just drops them on the floor
and gives Larry a contemptuous look. Larry thanks him anyway. As
Larry checks the boxes again Balki notices that a boy has entered the store and
walks over to ask if he needs help. The boy says he was just looking then
asks "Where do you keep your t-shirts?" "Well, I keep them
in my drawer!" Balki answers, laughing at his own joke and saying
"Where do I come up with them?" Seeing the boy is not amused
Balki shows him the t-shirts and starts to help him find the right size, but the
kid tells Balki "Donít hustle me." Balki says, "Okay, you
look around first and then Iíll hustle you."
Balki goes over to Larry who is going
through the boxes with Larryís belongings which his parents in Madison,
Wisconsin, have packed up and shipped to him. He shows Balki a bag of
marbles, a slingshot and a third grade test paper. "Look, I got an
A!" Larry says proudly. "Oh!" Balki sighs, then points out
"Minus!" At this point the boy who entered the store walks by
and is about to throw part of an apple into one of the boxes when Larry says,
"Thatís not trash!" "Looks like garbage to me," the
boy sneers and throws the apple into another one of Larryís boxes.
Balki pulls a pogo stick out of one of
Larryís boxes and asks if itís a crutch, trying to use it as one.
Larry tells Balki itís a pogo stick and Balki says, "Well of course it
is, donít be ridiculous. You got a pogo ball in here somewhere?"
Larry proceeds to demonstrate how to use the pogo stick, explaining that itís
the greatest toy in the world. Balki watches Larry bounce up and down and
finally says "What else does it do?" "Thatís it!"
Larry answers. Balki tries to be enthusiastic but canít manage it.
"Guess you had to be there," Balki finally surmises. Larry stops
bouncing, disappointedly saying he was just trying to share a part of his
childhood with Balki. Balki apologizes, then adds, "Did you pay money
A deliveryman enters wheeling a black
bicycle with streamers dangling from the handlebars. Larry is excited to
see his boyhood bike named Black Beauty again and introduces Balki to it (Balki
is polite enough to shake one set of the bikeís streamer strands). Larry
says he has great memories and that he and the bike even did a wheelie once.
The boy is now waiting at the counter and curtly says, "Hey, if youíre
finished talking to the bicycle, can I buy this pen and get outta here?"
Balki goes to the register to ring the boy
up and says heís picked a very good pen that costs only fifty cents and will
forever. "Youíre a very smart shopper," Balki offers.
Larry, meanwhile, has walked around to the other side of the boy and has noticed
a price tag hanging out of one of the kidís coat pockets. "And a
very busy one, too," Larry remarks and pulls out the item which turns out
to be a pocket calculator. "That runs $9.95," Larry points out.
"Oh well you need batteries for that," Balki says, starting to get
some. Larry has to point out to Balki that the boy was shoplifting.
The boy insists he wasnít going to steal it. Balki, thinking the best,
suggests the boy probably meant to pay for it but forgot. The boy is quick
to agree thatís what happened and asks if he can go, but Larry says they are
going to call the boysí mother. "No youíre not," the boy
says, and heads for the door.
the boy is leaving Balki notices he left his notebook on the counter and reads
the boyís name off the cover, Eddie. Larry takes the notebook and opens
it, reading the boyís name and address written inside as "Eddie Harris,
315 Lincoln Avenue . . . he lives in our building." "Well Iíll
be snookered!" Balki exclaims excitedly. "So do we!"
He smiles at Eddie, offering "Howdy, neighbor!" Eddie says that
he doesnít want any trouble since he just moved in and makes them a deal that
if they wonít call his mother he wonít come into their store any more.
Balki asks Larry to see that Eddie is sorry and let him go. Larry agrees,
giving Eddie back his notebook and telling him not to let it happen again. Eddie
sighs that thereís a tragedy you see a thousand times in a big city . . . a
kid starts out shoplifting, moves up to stealing hubcaps, then the whole car,
then ends up in and out of prison and never has a shot at a decent life.
Balki agrees that itís terrible and Larry bemuses the fact that if only
someone would take the time to point him in the right direction Eddie might have
a chance. Larry then states he has to get his stuff upstairs, but Balki
points out that they have the time. Larry thinks about it and realizes
Balki is right, that maybe they could spend some time with him.
"Iím pretty good with kids . . . I grew up with a lot of brothers and
sisters." Balki points out that the next day is Saturday and they can
start helping him then. "Well, we can start right now," Larry
points out, holding out his hand. "Give me twenty five cents."
"Why?" Balki asks, giving him the money. "Well, we gotta
pay for the pen we let him walk out with," Larry explains.
next day the guys are in their apartment, which is strewn with the boxes of
Larryís things. Larry is on the phone with Mrs. Harris, Eddieís
mother. He assures her that they really do want to spend the day with her
son. "Yes, Iíll be sure to keep my hand on my wallet," Larry
says into the phone, then adds, "I understand that itís my funeral but
Iím willing to take that chance." He says goodbye and hangs up the
phone. "Interesting woman," he comments to Balki. He
explains that heís starting to get some insight into "Fast Eddie,"
as his mother affectionately calls him. Balki asks why she calls him that
and Larry speculates it may be because Eddie is growing up too fast.
"Heís been arrested twice for shoplifting and she didnít go into it but
they canít go back to Florida."
says thatís the saddest story heís ever heard, except for the woman he read
about in the check out line who had feet the size of watermelons. Larry
points out that they canít help her but they can help Eddie.
"Weíll use the three Pís," Larry explains, "patience,
perseverance and pride." Balki says that he thought maybe they could
play Boochi Tag with Eddie but Larry quickly says they are not going to play any
Myposian games. Balki assures him itís fun and really easy to play but
Larry adamantly says no.
a moment, Balki pats Larry on the shoulder and slyly informs him, "Youíre
it!" Larry insists heís not playing but Balki says Larry has to
because "Youíre it!" Balki blinks at Larry tauntingly and
incants, "Boochi boochi boochi!" He then informs Larry that once
a game of Boochi Tag starts you have to play it until itís over.
"No, I donít have to," Larry says sternly. "Well okay, in
that case youíll just have to be Ďití forever!" Balki sneers,
taunting him again with "Boochi boochi boochi!" Larry shrugs and
moves one of his boxes to the kitchen table, telling Balki he isnít going to
play a childish game of tag. Larry then slyly taps Balki on the shoulder.
When Balki looks up at it, Larry smugly says, "Youíre it!"
Balki excitedly jumps up from the sofa and
starts chasing Larry around the kitchen table. They pause for a moment and
Larry smugly says, "Boochi boochi boochi!" Balki climbs over the
table to get Larry and then chases him back toward the bedroom where Balki is
able to tag Larry. They immediately reverse the chase and Balki runs into
the living room where he ducks in front of the sofa, crawling forward with his
elbows while Larry follows him behind the couch. When Balki look back to
see if Larry is following him Larry pats him on the head and says "Boochi
Larry runs to the closet door where heís
cornered. As Balki closes in on him Larry is laughing almost to the point
of tears. Balki tags him and they stand, laughing together, ending with a
big sigh. Larry starts to walk away, saying Balki won, then slyly tags him
on the arm again, saying "Boochi boochi boochi!" Balki starts
toward him and Larry backs up into the kitchen table where heís stopped.
Balki tries tagging Larry on the right but Larry dodges. Balki tries the
same on the left but Larry dodges again. Balki then motions to Larryís
shirt asking "Whatís that?" and when Larry looks down Balki touches
his nose. "Boochi
boochi boochi!" Balki smirks.
Balki runs away from Larry and as he turns
the corner around the sofa he picks up Dimitri from the coffee table.
Larry tags Balki and says, "Youíre it!" but Balki claims heís not.
"Yes you are, I just tagged you," Larry insists. Balki still
claims heís not it. "Why not?" Larry asks. "Because
Iím holding the boochi!" Balki explains, holding up Dimitri, then laughs
saying, "Did I mention that Dimitri was the boochi?" Larry
accuses Balki of making that up and Balki says, "Well, I guess youíll
just have to go to Mypos to find out!"
about to protest when there is a knock on the door. The cousins look at
one another and say "Eddie!" They go to open the door and Eddie
steps inside, saying "My mom told me I had to come down here to have
fun," Eddie says in an annoyed tone, "So letís get this over
with." Larry assures Eddie theyíre going to have a great time and
asks how the boy feels about pottery. "I thought our first stop would
be the museum," Larry explains. "Are you serious?" Eddie
asks. "Or we could go on a walking tour of the major architectural
sites downtown," Larry offers. "Iím outta here," Eddie
announces. "Or . . . " Balki is quick to offer, "we could
play video games until our eyes fall out and then eat hot dogs until we bust a
gut!" "Now that sounds better!" Eddie agrees. They
get ready to go as the scene fades.
next morning Larry is sitting at the kitchen table eating breakfast. Balki
sits down and picks up the cereal box on the table and starts to look into it as
Larry comments on the fun with Eddie he had the day before. Balki says he
thinks Eddie had a good time as well, since he saw him smile twice. Balki
is pouring some cereal into one of the three bowls in front of him and looks
into the box again. Larry goes on to note how Eddie thanked them after
they bought him the twelfth hot dog. "I think we have a gift for
working with kids." Balki agrees, now abandoning the cereal box and
using his spoon to sort through the cereal in Larryís bowl. Larry asks
Balki what heís doing. "Looking for those monster man
tattoos," Balki explains. Larry holds them up, saying he already got
them. Balki looks hurt until Larry hands them over to him.
"Maybe we should give those
to Eddie," Larry suggests. "I donít think so," Balki is
quick to answer.
Larry gets up from the table, commenting
that Eddie isnít such a bad kid. He steps outside the door of the
apartment to get the newspaper then comes back in, commenting on how Eddieís
mom should have more patience with her son until he stops, realizing the hall
outside the door is empty. He looks again then comes back inside, furious.
Balki asks whatís wrong and Larry says, "Black Beauty is gone. That
rotten kid stole my bike!"
The second act continues with this same
scene. Larry wants to go upstairs to Eddieís apartment to get Black
Beauty. But Balki wants to know how Larry can be so sure it was Eddie who
took he bicycle. Larry points out Eddieís the only thief who lives in
the building. Balki suggests that maybe Eddie took the bike but just to
borrow it. Larry asks if Balki has a logical explanation as to why Eddie
would borrow his
bike and Balki says that if you want to help someone you have to give them the
benefit of the doubt and trust them. "Balki, his own mother doesnít
trust him. The entire State of Florida doesnít trust him. Eleven
million people canít be wrong."
Larry tries to walk out the door but Balki
stops him, saying that Eddie will be down in a minute and wants Larry to promise
that heíll give him a chance. "Remember the three Pís . . .
patience, perseverance and pride." "Balki when it comes to Eddie
the only three Pís are police, prosecution and prison!" Larry states.
Balki reminds Larry that this is America and every man is innocent until proven
guilty. "You havenít even heard his side of the story yet!
Now you promise me that you will keep an open mind!" "No,"
Larry states, "I donít have to promise anything." Balki walks
up to Larry and puts his arm across Larryís chest, asking him again to
promise. Larry says no. Balki reaches down and grabs Larryís legs
and lifts him off the ground so that heís hanging upside down at a strange
angle. Larry still refuses to promise so Balki says heíll hold him there
until his hair falls out. Larry finally promises and Balki sets him down
There is a knock at the door and Balki
opens it. Eddie enters and asks if theyíre ready to go.
"Youíre not going anywhere, punk!" Larry snaps. Eddie asks
whatís going on, that he thought they were going to the movies. Balki
explains that Larry is upset because his bike is missing. Eddie says he
doesnít know anything about Larryís bike. "You see?" Balki
asks. "Mmm hmm, then whatís he doing with this?" Larry asks,
pulling something out of Eddieís hands. "Itís one of Black
Beautyís streamer strands!" "I found it in the hall!"
Eddie explains. "Oh yeah, tell me another," Larry snarls.
"I want my bike back you freckle-faced felon!"
calmly takes Eddie aside and explains that this is very important and asks him
to his face if he took Cousin Larryís bike. Eddie insists he did not
take Larryís bike. Balki believes him but Larry is still unconvinced,
accusing Balki of not being able to see Eddie for what he really is.
"Eddie, do me a favor . . . when you take his wallet leave his driverís
license, it means a lot to him," Larry asks. "I donít need
this from you, I get enough of this garbage from home!" Eddie yells and
Larry goes to the phone and says heís
calling Eddieís mother. Balki is shocked and puts his finger down on the
cradle button, trying to keep Larry from dialing and saying heíll get Eddie in
trouble. "Donít worry about Eddie. Iím sure heíll
continue a life
of crime and someday write a best selling book," Larry says. Balki
puts his finger on the button again and asks Larry why he canít trust and
believe the boy. "Oh, trust Eddie? Believe Eddie?
Fine!" Larry snaps, slamming the receiver down on the phone (and onto
Balkiís finger). "Yeah, why donít we invite him down here to
steal whatever his little heart desires?" Larry asks. "No . . .
no . . . why stop at Eddie?" He grabs Balkiís sore fingers to
emphasize this statement. "Why not invite every thief in the
city?" Larry runs to the window and opens it, leaning out to yell,
"Hey, everybody! Weíve got a new stereo! Anybody want to
steal it? Help yourself, itís bargain day at Larry and Balkiís Rip-Off
City!" Balki scolds Larry as he walks over and shuts the window, Larry
jumping back in pain and holding his hand which had been on the pane.
Balki is concerned until Larry says "Gotcha," having feigned having
his fingers caught in the closing window.
drags Larry aside and calms down, saying "You seemed troubled."
"Oh . . . oh . . . do you think so?" Larry asks sarcastically.
"Yes, I can tell because that vein on your neck is popping out and your
upper lip has disappeared altogether," Balki explains. Larry insists
heís calling Eddieís mother and heads for the kitchen phone. Balki
wants to stop him but there is a knock at the front door and Balki runs to open
it instead. Larry has just reached Eddieís mother on the phone when
Balki opens the door to find Jennifer and Mary Anne with Larryís bike.
Balki wheels the bike in for Larry to see and Larry says heíll have to call
her back and hangs up.
Excited, Larry runs over to them saying,
"Jennifer! Black Beauty!" "Oh thank you, Iíve been
working on my tan," Mary Anne
smiles. Larry asks where they found it and Jennifer says she found it in
the hallway. "I hope you didnít mind me borrowing it."
"You borrowed it?" Larry asks, realizing the implications.
"Well yes, my car was in the garage and I needed to go pick it up. It
was early and I didnít want to bother you," Jennifer explains.
"Oh, itís no bother. I didnít miss it at all," Larry lies.
Balki wheels on him. "Didnít miss it at all? You were
threatening a child and yelling out the window!" "Was that
you?" Jennifer asks worriedly. Larry explains it was his childhood
bike and heís kind of attached to it. "Weíd better go,
Jennifer," Mary Anne suggests. "I think itís obvious that
Larryís suffering from severe separation anxiety caused by the temporary loss
of his childhood bicycle." "Where do you learn stuff like
this?" Jennifer asks. "I watch Oprah!" Mary Anne explains.
Jennifer thanks Larry and the girls leave.
walks away from Larry with a knowing look and Larry stands looking guilty,
squeezing the bikeís horn a couple of times. "I got my bike
back," Larry comments and Balki hums in agreement. "It wasnít
stolen," Larry adds. "No no no," Balki agrees.
"I know what youíre thinking," Larry continues, "youíre
thinking that I didnít give Eddie a chance." Balki motions that he
wants a little bit more. "And youíre disappointed in me because
when the going got tough I gave up on him." Balki motions for even
more. "And I owe you an apology." "Uh . . . no,"
Balki answers, getting up and going to the phone. "No, but I owe
somebody an apology, donít I?"
The next scene shows Balki and Larry
polishing Black Beauty when there is a knock on the door. Larry calls
"Come in!" and Eddie enters. "My mom said I had to come
down here . . . what do you want?" Eddie sees the bike and comments,
"Got your bike back. Did you dust it for my fingerprints?"
"Eddie, I know you didnít take it," Larry admits. "Iím the
one whoís guilty." "You stole your own bike?" Eddie asks
incredulously. "What a lame-o!" Larry explains that heís
guilty of accusing Eddie falsely and he apologizes. Eddie sort of smiles
but then asks "Can I go now?" Larry says no, that he wants to
talk to Eddie about his bike. He explains he doesnít have time to ride
it and it will only gather dust so he thought heíd give it to someone who
could use it. "You interested?" "Youíre giving me
your bike?" Eddie asks. "Yeah," Larry answers.
"Hope it gives you as many nice memories at it gave me."
Eddie walks over to Balki in confusion,
saying "I donít get this guy." "Sometimes I donít
either," Balki admits. "Heís very complex. But inside
that little man beats a heart as big as a liver." Eddie admits heís
never had a bike before and promises to take good care of it. "Could
you do me one favor, though?" he asks. "Could you tell my mom
you gave it to me so she doesnít think I stole it?" Larry says sure
thing then asks "Whatíre you going to call it?" "Iím
going to call it my bike!" Eddie answers proudly, and leaves.
Balki approaches Larry and says that was a
very nice thing he did. "Big deal," Larry sighs. "I
gave him a bike. I also called him a thief and a freckle-faced
felon." Larry goes on to say he thought he was good with kids but
that he really messed up this one. "Thatís not true," Balki
"You made a very good start with him then something bad happened and then
you lost your mind." Balki says that Larry pointed Eddie in the right
direction and that if he follows Larryís example someday heíll be as good a
man as Larry is. "Well, I think maybe he should aim higher,"
Larry comments. "This Mypiot think itís pretty high," Balki
says proudly. Balki then says he knows how to cheer Larry up.
"We could play a game of Boochi Tag." Larry says he doesnít
want to play Boochi Tag. Balki taps Larry on the shoulder and gives him
the "Boochi boochi boochi!" face then starts to run but Larry stands
resolutely, not making any move to play. Balki pauses, looking back at
Larry questioningly, until Larry suddenly snaps to life and jumps out to tag
on to the next episode . . .