Strangers Episode Guide
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.
Created by: Dale McRaven
Written by: William Bickley & Michael Warren
Directed by: Joel Zwick
Bronson Pinchot: Balki Bartokomous
Mark Linn-Baker: Larry Appleton
Sue Ball: Elaine Appleton
Tom "Tiny" Lister, Jr.: Leroy
Not seen in this episode.
"Have you tried sushi?" "No, not yet. I donít even have a
"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."
ridiculous: Said once.
used in this episode:
"Thatís a good point, a very good point!"
"Well, we gotta talk about that!"
"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
"The Flintstones Theme Song" - sung by Larry as heís trying to block
out what Balki is saying
- 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
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.
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.
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,"
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!"
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.
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.
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
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
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."
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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,
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
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!"
on to the next episode . . .