Perfect Strangers Episode Guide

EPISODE 27 - Hello, Elaine

First Air Date: April 1, 1987
Nielsen Rating: 16.3 HH

TV Guide Description: Larry's free-spirited sister drops by on her way to New York, where she hopes to fulfill her dream of becoming a musician -- which Larry thinks is a pipe dream.

Co-Producer: James OíKeefe
Created by: Dale McRaven
Written by: William Bickley & Michael Warren
Directed by: Joel Zwick

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

Guest Cast:
Sue Ball: Elaine Appleton
Tom "Tiny" Lister, Jr.: Leroy

Dimitri Appearances: Not seen in this episode.

"Have you tried sushi?"  "No, not yet. I donít even have a racquet!"
"New York!  The Big Tomato!"
"Please donít send me on another guilt trip!"
"Her dream is to play with Philís Harmonica."
"She could have gone right on to the Big Pineapple."

Donít be ridiculous: Said once.

Other catchphrases used in this episode:
"Thatís a good point, a very good point!"
"Well, we gotta talk about that!"
Balkiís "Huh?"
"Oh yi yi yi . . . youki biggi mooki, Cousin Larry!"

Other running jokes used in this episode:
Larry eyes Balki deviously while coming up with a plan involving his cousin
Balki shrugs off compliments
Balki lifts Larry off the ground and holds him in an odd position

Songs: "The Flintstones Theme Song" - sung by Larry as heís trying to block out what Balki is saying

Interesting facts:
One of the most consistent things about the early seasons of Perfect Strangers were the stories about Larry Appletonís family, specifically his brothers and sisters.  In this episode Balki points out Larryís lack of hair in one family photo and Larry explains that Elaine was practicing for a first grade production of Samson and Delilah and would practice on Larry while he was sleeping.  This ties in with a comment Balki made in the earlier episode The Unnatural in which he assumed Larryís brother Billy was the one who "held him down and cut off all his hair," only to have Larry correct him by saying that was done by his sister Elaine.
- Elaine was the first member of Larryís family we would meet.  She would not return again to the series, although she was still mentioned on occasion (particularly in the fifth season episode Lie-Ability in which Larry thinks about bilking an insurance company for a false medical claim to help Elaine attend Juilliard Music School).  Larryís brother Billy would make an appearance in the third season and Larryís father would visit in season five.  Out of Larryís eight siblings we only ever meet Billy and Elaine and only briefly hear mention of two other brothers, Danny and Davy.
- Sue Ball, who played Cousin Elaine in this episode, currently works as a stand up comedian.
- Balki makes a joke that Larry never wants a second cup of his coffee.  This is in reference to the classic Folgerís coffee commercials in which Mrs. Olsen, a Swedish woman, intervened whenever a young wife wondered why her husband accepted a second cup of someoneís elseís coffee when he never wanted a second cup of the coffee she brewed at home.  Mrs. Olsen would explain that if she used Folgerís Coffee her husband would ask for a second cup.
- The little joke between Balki and Leroy when Balki says "Get down!" and Leroy ducks was likely an in-joke for the producers as well, who has previously worked on the series Mork and Mindy.  "Get down," was one of Morkís favorite expressions and Robin Williams used to duck down while saying it, followed by "get back up again" when he would stand back up.

The episode opens with Larry and Balki sitting on the couch in their apartment looking over one of Larryís old family photo albums.  Larry points out a photo of his sister Elaine when she was six years old.  Balki points to a photo and asks Larry if that is him, which Larry confirms.  "Why you donít have any hair?" Balki asks.  Larry explains that Elaine was in a first grade production of Samson and Delilah and would rehearse with Larry when he was asleep.

Balki then asks Larry why his arm is in a cast.  Larry tells the story of the big oak tree in his back yard in Madison, Wisconsin, which all the Appleton kids climbed by the time they were twelve, except Elaine who climbed it when she was eight.  Larry had been left to babysit Elaine and he was doing some extra credit work for algebra when he heard Elaine calling for help and he found her stuck on the top of the tree.  "Of course I had to help her down," Larry continues, " . . . of course I fell out of the tree and broke my arm.  Never did get the extra credit."

Balki then points to another photo and asks, "Who is this nice man with the moustache?"  "Oh, thatís Mrs. Barr, our piano teacher," Larry answers.  Larry explains that they all took piano lessons but that Elaine was the only one who stuck with it.  "Now little Elaine is all grown up and about to start college," Larry sighs, "I am so proud of her."  There is a knock on the door and they go to answer it.

Larryís sister, Elaine, enters excitedly and sets down her suitcase before hugging her brother, crying "Noogie!"  Elaine then spots Balki and deduces who he is.  Balki says he is so happy to meet his Cousin Elaine and sheís equally happy to meet him, having heard so much about him.  Elaine looks around and says, "Oh, Noogie!  This is a great place!"  "Thanks," Larry smiles.  "Youíre the first member of the family to see it!"  "And what am I, mashed potatoes?" Balki asks in a hurt tone.  "Okay, the second . . . the first member of the immediate family," Larry clarifies.  "Well, Iím honored, Noogie," Elaine replies.

Balki asks Elaine why she calls Larry Noogie.  Elaine is eager to demonstrate, Larry definitely much less so.  She grabs Larry around the neck and rubs the top of his head with her knuckles, giving him a noogie.  "Thatís a noogie, Balki," Elaine explains.  "You had to ask," Larry sighs.  Elaine takes off her coat and walks to the couch with Balki, saying she wants to hear all about what he thinks of America.  "Have you tried sushi yet?" she asked.  "No, not yet. I donít even have a racquet!" Balki answers innocently.  Elaine laughs and asks Larry, "Oh thatís so cute.  Is he always this adorable?"  "Yeah, always," Larry answers.

Larry sits down on the couch with them and says heís happy Elaine had a chance to visit with them before she starts school.  "Well, thatís what Iíd like to talk about," she begins.  Larry says he understand her nervousness, that the first year of college is always the toughest and she has to remember that everyone will be in the same boat.  "No, Noogie . . . Iím not really that worried about college," she assures him.  "Well thatís the spirit!  Is she something or what?" Larry asks.  "Larry, before you pop open the champagne I think I ought to tell you, um . . . Iíve decided to go to New York."  Balki is excited, crying out, "New York!  The Big Tomato!"  "The Big Apple," Larry corrects Balki, then says to Elaine, "Youíre going to New York before school?"  "No, instead of school," Elaine answers.

Larry is stunned at this news.  "Youíre not going to college?"  Elaine explains that she sent a tape of her last piano recital to a teacher in New York and that he invited her to come study with him so she figured college could wait.  "College could wait?" Larry asks incredulously, "Elaine, plans have been made!  This is going to throw off your whole life schedule!"  "Noogie, Iím not like you, see, my lifeís not on a schedule.  Right now I just have to see if I can make it as a professional musician."  Balki says they wish her all the best but Larry intervenes, saying "No, no we donít!  I know youíre a swell piano player but . . . New York?  I mean, really . . . thatís the craziest idea youíve ever had!"

Elaine is crushed.  "Wow, I really thought youíd be on my side.  You sound just like mom and dad."  "Well, if you mean mom and dad donít think you should go to New York well, yes, I happen to agree with them," Larry says.  "But I donít, see, and itís my life," Elaine comments.  "Well, thatís a good point, a very good point," Balki agrees.  Elaine says that itís been a really long drive and she would like to wash up so she stands to go to the bathroom.  Balki stands with her saying, "Cousin, our bathroom . . . itís on the left . . . itís very modern.  Itís indoors."  Elaine giggles and goes into the bathroom as Balki sits back down on the couch with Larry.

"Ooh, I really blew that," Larry sighs.  "She wonít listen to me now.  Sheíd rather take advice from a total stranger."  Larryís eyes open wide and he eyes Balki deviously.  Balki doesnít notice at first but then catches the look on Larryís face.  "Why are you looking at me like that?" Balki asks.  Larry tells Balki that he has to help him save Elaine by taking her out to dinner and convincing her not to go to New York.  Balki is uncertain but Larry insists Balki is the familyís last hope, that theyíre depending on him and he canít let them down.  "Is this what they call a guilt trip?" Balki asks painfully.  "Yes it is," Larry confirms.  "Well, youíre good at it!" Balki comments.  "Oh yes, I am!" Larry agrees.

In the next scene Balki and Elaine are returning home from their dinner out.  Balki announces their home and then turns to Elaine, telling her that she should wait while he goes to get Cousin Larry.  Elaine grabs Balki to stop him, saying she changed her mind and canít do it.  Balki assures Elaine she has to talk to Larry.  "You have to tell him your dream of becoming a musician just like you told me.  Now you convinced me that you should go to New York and you can convince him."  Elaine hems and haws, saying she tried to convince Larry that afternoon and he wouldnít listen.  She suddenly turns it onto Balki, saying, "Balki, you do it!"  She starts to beg him until Balki cries, "Please, donít send me on another guilt trip!"

Larry comes out of the bathroom and approaches them.  "Ah well, weíre back!  Did we have a good time?"  "Well, you werenít there, but we had a good time," Balki answers.  Larry comments that they must have had a lot of time to talk and Elaine agrees they did.  "I really needed to hear what you had to say," she tells Balki, "You really made a lot of sense.  Great guy."  "Well, what did you talk about?" Larry asks.  "Well, uh, Balkiís going tell you that now because I am just so tired," Elaine says quickly, walking away, "Good night, guys!"  She goes into Larryís room, leaving Balki to handle Larry alone.

Larry is eyeing Balki happily, thinking things have gone as planned.  He asks if Balki if he made a lot of sense and worked everything out and got her to go to college.  "Well, we gotta talk about that," Balki smiles.  "What did you say to her?" Larry asks excitedly.  Balki says he started off by letting her tell him all her reasons for going to New York.  "Good!  Very good!  You just let her talk!" Larry says.  "Just let her talk," Balki echoes.  Larry says Balki is a genius and Balki shrugs off the compliment.  "What did you say to her?  It must have been brilliant!" Larry continues excitedly.  "Well, I know she thought so!" Balki agrees.

Balki plays for time by trying to remember what he said but finally cannot put off the inevitable any longer.  "I think I said ĎYou know, you seem like you know what youíre doing and you should follow you dream and go to New York.í"  Balki waits for Larryís reaction but Larry is only confused.  "Then what?" Larry asks hopefully.  "And then I said . . . ĎCheck please!í" Balki answers and runs into the bathroom for cover.  Larry chases Balki to the bathroom and pounds on the door, then pounds on the door of his bedroom calling for Elaine.  Giving up, Larry walks into the living room angrily, commenting, "This is my fault.  You want to put out a fire, you donít send a pyromaniac."

Act two begins in the morning as Balki and Larry are sitting at the kitchen table having breakfast.  Elaine is standing next to Larry holding a pot of coffee and asking Larry if he wants more.  Larry, who is reading the paper, holds up his cup without looking at Elaine, who pours anyway.  "Funny, he never asks for a second cup of my coffee," Balki pouts jokingly.  Balki tries to see if this joke ellicits a smile from Larry but only gets a scowl.  "I think heís still pouting," Balki says to Elaine.  "Yeah, heís one of the best," Elaine comments.  "Come on, Noogie, youíre acting childish."

Larry folds and set down his paper, saying, "Childish?  Iím acting childish?  Nooo.  I think if I were to run off to the Yukon to pan for gold, that would be childish.  Or if I were to sail off to the Caribbean in search of sunken treasure, that would be childish.  Ooh!  Or if I were to drop all my responsibilities and run off to say, oh . . . New York to become a musician, that would be childish!"  Ruining Larryís point entirely, Balki chimes in with "Ooh!  Or, if you were to go to the opera dressed in nothing but Spiderman underwear, now that would be childish!"  Balki smiles but Larry glowers at this comment.  "Now you do one," Balki encourages, wanting to carry on the game.

Elaine says she is going for a walk and points out to Balki that Larry doesnít understand.  After she leaves, Larry goes back to reading his paper.  Balki slowly inches his chair closer to Larryís, finally just hopping the last little distance.  "Youíre upset, huh?" Balki asks.  "Me, upset?" Larry laughs in a fake manner, "Donít be silly!  Why should I be upset, just because my best friend stabbed me in the back?  Just because he undermined everything I was trying to do to protect a child from Hell Town!"  Balki explains that Elaine wants to go to New York to study with a famous piano teacher.  "She wants to be a concert pianist.  Her dream is to play with Philís Harmonica."

Larry says he canít talk about it any more and that their conversation is over.  He gets up from the table and walks away.  Balki chases him, saying that he and Elaine must talk.  Larry says he doesnít and they argue, Balki trying to get Larry to listen to him although Larry doesnít want to.  Finally Larry puts his hands over his ears and sings the theme song from The Flintstones to block out Balkiís talking.  Balki tries to lower Larryís arms and tickle him to get him to stop but Larry continues.  Balki finally motions a time out and Larry stops.  Balki says Larry can have it his way and turns to walk away.

When Larry has turned from Balki, Balki grabs his cousin around the middle holds him firmly.  Balki explains that Elaine has very good reasons for wanting to go to New York.  Larry insists that just because Balki is talking he doesnít have to be listening.  Balki says that if Larry is not going to talk to her that at least heís not going to ruin her last night with them.  Larry tells Balki to let him go but Balki instead picks Larry up off the ground.  Balki says he wants Larry to take her to dinner that night.  Larry refuses and so Balki turns him sideways, still holding him off the ground.  Balki repeats his request and Larry agrees to eight oíclock.  Balki says he wants Larry to be nice to his sister.  Larry hesitates until Balki squeezes him tighter and then he agrees.  Balki sets him down and starts to smooth out Larryís bangs, saying theyíre going to have fun.  "I didnít agree to have fun," Larry sneers.  Balki starts to pick Larry up again until he agrees to have fun.

That evening they enter a smoky jazz club called Leroyís.  A band is playing jazz on stage.  Balki is wearing a very hip tunic top and a beret.  Elaine thanks Larry for taking them out to dinner and Larry comments that this isnít exactly what he had in mind.  A very large, tall bald man approaches them and Larry nervously says, "Balki, thereís a large, scary man coming our way."  The man stops in front of Balki and greets him enthusiastically, Balki calling him "Leroy, my man!"  They exchange an urban handshake and Balki tells Leroy to "Get down!"  Leroy ducks down, presumably because Balki probably did that to him the first time Leroy told him to get down.

Leroy then greets Elaine personally and they hug.  "Listen, I want you to meet my brother, Larry!"  "Noogie!" Leroy exclaims, "How you doiní?"  Larry extends his hand to shake but Leroy slaps it instead and motions to have Larry return the gesture, then gives up when itís obvious Larry is clueless about how to do this.  Leroy says he has the best table in the house for them and leads them to a table where one man is sitting.  Leroy picks up the chair and the man together and drops him down at another table.  Leroy offers to buy their first round and leaves them.

Larry deduces that Balki and Elaine came to the club the night before.  "Youíd think theyíd have a no smoking section," Larry comments.  "Chill out, bro, this place is baaaad!" Balki says smoothly.  Elaine says it was her idea, that sheíd read about the place in Rolling Stone and that they have great jazz.  "Oh, great!" Larry says facetiously, "Well, who needs to go to New York?  You can throw your life away right here!" Balki reminds Larry that they came there so he could be nice to his sister.  Larry apologizes, saying heís trying to be nice but nasty things keep coming out of his mouth.

"I just donít want you to go to New York and mess up your life," Larry explains.  "Oh, I get it," Elaine understands, "You donít think that I can make it as a classical pianist, do you?"  "Elaine, face reality.  You may be the best little piano player in Madison but in New York theyíll chew you up and spit you out," Larry warns.  "But Cousin, if she can make it there, sheíll make it anywhere!" Balki insists, turning to Elaine, "Itís up to you!"  Larry stops Balki before he can quote any more from the song New York, New York.  "How can you know I canít make it if you havenít even heard me play?" Elaine asks.  "Well, Iíve heard you play," Larry says.  "You know, the last time you heard me play it was Mrs. Barrís class recital when I was in the eighth grade."  "Well, it canít have been that long ago," Larry muses.  "It was," Elaine assures him.

The band finishes their set and Balki suggests that Elaine go up on stage to play the piano so they wonít have to argue whether Larry has heard her play or not.  Elaine and Balki jump up but Larry tries to stop her.  Leroy turns around and slaps Larry on the shoulder, saying firmly, "Hey, man . . . the lady wants to play, let her play!"  "Yes, by all means," Larry agrees timidly, "I think that would be delightful."  Larry and Balki sit on barstools as Elaine launches into a piano piece which impresses everyone in the room, including Larry.

When they get back to the apartment Larry is still talking about how Elaine had the audience in the palm of her hand.  "It was so nice of Leroy to offer you a job playing piano!" Balki adds, "If Philís Harmonica is anything like Leroyís youíve got it made!"  Elaine asks Larry if he thinks she should go to New York.  "Well, what I think isnít important.  Youíre going to go so youíll go.  Good luck."  Elaine thanks Larry although it is obvious this isnít the response she wanted.  She says she has to get an early start in the morning and will turn in.  "Yeah, you donít want to get sleepy on the road," Larry agrees.  Elaine bids them goodnight and goes into Larryís room.

Balki approaches Larry in disbelief.  "Thatís all youíre going to say to your sister?  Good luck?  Donít get sleepy on the road?  Can you afford it?"  "She doesnít care what I think," Larry shrugs.  Balki launches into a tirade of Myposian, starting with "Oh yi yi yi . . . youki biggi mooki, Cousin Larry!"  "Now what is that supposed to mean?" Larry asks.  "Why do you think Elaine come to visit us?" Balki asks.  "She didnít have to do that.  She could have gone right on to the Big Pineapple.  Why you think she come here?  Because you are the most important person in her life.  She need you to believe in her."

"I believe in her," Larry insists, "Itís just I worry about her.  Suppose she goes off chasing this dream of hers and it doesnít come true?  Sheíll be shattered."  "But you are chasing your dream to be a photographer and I am chasing my dream to be an America, what the difference is?"  "The difference is sheís my baby sister," Larry explains.  "But you have to let people chase their dreams!" Balki emphasizes, "Isnít it better to try and fail than not even to try at all?"  Larry agrees that Balki is right.  "Sheís not a little girl any more.  Boy, you leave home for a while and they grow up on ya."  "You do believe in her?" Balki asks.  "Yes," Larry answers.  "You do love her?"  "Yes."  "Why you donít tell her?" Balki wonders.

Larry points out that Elaine has already gone to bed and has a long trip ahead of her but Balki gets up and goes to Larryís bedroom door, knocking and calling for Elaine to come out because Larry has something to tell her.  Larry asks Balki why he did that and Balki says itís because Larry is afraid to.  Elaine comes out of the room and Larry says he hopes they didnít wake her but she explains she was packing.  Larry hesitates, then says if she needs any help to let him know.

"Iíll tell you who needs some help," Balki interjects.  He looks at Larry.  "You do."  He then looks at Elaine.  "And you do."  He walks over to Larry and says, "You have something you want to say to her, and you ask me to do it."  He then walks over to Elaine.  "You have something you want to say to him, and you ask me to do it."  He addresses both of them.  "Shame on you!  If you have something here (indicating his heart) and you stingy with it with each other, who are you saving it for?"  He lets these words sink in, then motions, "Now you stand right there until you say what you feel."  He walks into the bedroom to leave them alone.

Larry begins shakily, saying, "So youíre packing, huh?"  Elaine, looking equally uncomfortable, says "Yeah . . . packing."  "Be sure to put the big stuff on the bottom," Larry advises.  Elaine laughs, saying she did.  Larry then says, "You remember that oak tree thing?"  Elaine says yes.  "Well, if I had known that I was gonna break my arm before I climbed up to get you . . . I would have done it anyway."  "Really?" Elaine asks, touched, "Well, um . . . you know the only reason that I climbed that tree was so youíd see what a good climber I was.  Thatís why I always did all that silly stuff, I just wanted you to notice me."  "Well, I noticed you," Larry smiles, "In fact I kind of admired you for having the guts to take chances.  Boy, you would do anything.  You know, I always wanted to climb that oak tree but I never got up the nerve until you got stuck up there."  Elaineís smile drops in surprise.  "That was the first time you ever climbed the tree?" she asks.  "Yeah, but donít tell the other kids, okay?" Larry asks, "Especially Billy, because you know he makes a big deal out of everything."  Elaine promises she wonít tell.

Larry assures Elaine she is going to do just fine in New York and apologizes for giving her such a rough time.  "Itís just that I worry about you because you were always my favorite."  "I was?" Elaine asks hopefully.  "You still are," Larry confirms.  "I love you, Noogie," Elaine smiles.  She hugs him and Larry says he loves her, too.  Balki comes running out of the bathroom in tears, rushing up to hug both Elaine and Larry and crying "I love both of you!"

Continue on to the next episode . . .