Perfect Strangers Episode Guide

EPISODE 23 - Tenspeed and Soft Touch

First Air Date: February 11, 1987
Nielsen Rating: 16.4 HH

TV Guide 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.

Co-Producer: James OíKeefe
Created by: Dale McRaven
Written by: John B. Collins
Directed by: Joel Zwick

Bronson Pinchot: Balki Bartokomous
Mark Linn-Baker: Larry Appleton

Guest Cast:
Rebeca Arthur: Mary Anne
Melanie Wilson: Jennifer Lyons
Bobby Jacoby: Eddie Harris

Dimitri 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."

Donít be ridiculous: Said twice.

Other catchphrases 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 unrelated.

Notable Moments:
Balki teaches Larry how to play Boochi Tag.

Interesting facts:
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 pregnant!).
- 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 show.

Bloopers and Inconsistencies:
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 for this?"

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 write 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.

As 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 quickly leaves.

Larry 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.

The 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."

Balki 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.

After 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 finally 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 boochi 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!"

Larryís 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.

The 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 again.

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!"

Balki 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 walks out.

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.

Balki 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.

Balki 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 insists.  "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 Balki.

Continue on to the next episode . . .