Perfect Strangers Episode Guide

EPISODE 28 - Up on a Roof

First Air Date: May 6, 1987
Nielsen Rating: 13.4 HH

TV Guide Description: Larry's found the perfect subject for the paper's photo contest, and he needs only to get on a rooftop to shoot it; the building, however, belongs to Twinkie and he won't permit it.

Co-Producer: James OíKeefe
Created by: Dale McRaven
Written by: Dale McRaven
Directed by: Joel Zwick

Bronson Pinchot: Balki Bartokomous
Mark Linn-Baker: Larry Appleton
Ernie Sabella: Mr. Donald Twinkacetti

Guest Cast:
Rebeca Arthur: Mary Anne

Dimitri Appearances: Dimitri can be seen facing outward as he sits on the shelf dividing the kitchen from the living room in the first scene.  In the final scene he is sitting in nearly the same place but is facing left and appears to be wearing either sunglasses or 3-D glasses.

"Well, it would be nice if you were launched!"
"Over my dead battery!"
"Now youíre talking, turkey!"
"Cousin, youíve flipped your coin!"
"Just like the time Mary Anne got her picture in the paper because she got her head stuck in a chain link fence."

Donít be ridiculous: Said three times.

Other catchphrases used in this episode:
"I donít think so!"
"You tricked Balki!"
"Donít do that."
"What was the question?"
"Question . . . "

Other running jokes used in this episode:
Larry drinking Maalox from the bottle
The Dance of Joy
Balki laughs at his own joke
Twinkacettiís angry growl

Songs: "Theme from The Patty Duke Show" - sung by Balki as heís lint painting.

Interesting facts:
The title of this episode is a play on the name of a 1962 Drifters song called Up On the Roof.
- Sequentially, this episode should have aired before the episode Tux for Two, since itís the photo contest from this show, in which Larry places tenth, which leads to his invitation to the black tie opening party of the Roger Morgan exhibit in the other episode.
- This is actually the first time Balki mentions the dish Ding Ding Machmud.  Larry has to ask what it is, to which Balki replies, "Pig snout with saffron."  Larry then replies with the classic retort, "No thank you . . . Iím on a low saffron diet."
- The beginning of this episode utilizes some interesting camera shots in which the cousins would communicate with one in the foreground and the other at a distance in the background in the same shot.  This style, while working well in this instance, would not be used very often in the series.
- It was unusual to see Jennifer or Mary Anne appearing on the show individually but in this case Mary Anne makes an appearance in this episode while Jennifer does not.
- To distract Balki, Larry claims to see the Wicked Witch of the West.  The Wizard of Oz references were not uncommon in the series, probably because Bronson is a major Wizard of Oz fan and collector.

Bloopers and Inconsistencies:
When Balki leans over the side of the roof to peer in the window there is no way he could safely lean over so far as is shown from that angle.
- Similarly Larry said the house is only two stories high, but when we see the shot from the roof to the street below it looks like it was taken from a much greater height.
uponaroofgrab29.jpg (46716 bytes)- The amazing TorinoKitty on the Forums spotted this hilarious blooper which she screen capped for us.  On the long shot of Twinkacetti's house it's clear the house is a prop on a set, as the bottom corner can be clearly seen on the cement soundstage floor.  Also there's a red mat at the front that is most likely a safety mat in case the actors slip off the "roof."

As the episode begins we see Balki working on a canvas set upon an easel by the window as he sings a personalized version of the Patty Duke theme song: "While Larry adores the minuet, the Ballet Russes and crepe suzette; but Balki like to rock Ďn roll, the hot dog make him lose control . . . what a wild duet; still theyíre cousins . . . "  At this moment Larry walks in the front door and Balki greets him with "Hi, Cousin!"

Larry is obviously in a bad mood and sets down his camera and equipment before going to the refrigerator to get his bottle of antacid.  Balki informs Larry that if heís hungry thereís some Ding Ding Machmud on the bottom shelf.  "Whatís Ding Ding Machmud?" Larry asks.  "Pig snout with saffron," Balki answers.  "No thank you," Larry quips, "Iím on a low saffron diet."

Larry takes a swig of his Maalox and walks to Balki see what heís doing.  Balki explains heís doing a Myposian lint painting.  "On Mypos we waste nothing," Balki explains, then continues, "Interesting story . . . the first one was done by Brektos, our spiritual leader in the storybook days, and the legend says that he went up on the mountain for sixty day and sixty night to contemplate his navel and when he came down he had a lint painting."  Balki asks Larry how he likes it and Larry hesitates then offers, "You can hang this under any rug in the world."  Balki, not understanding this is not a compliment, is flattered.

Balki says that itís because of Larry taking so many photos for the photo contest that he got back into lint painting, wanting to also do something creative.  "Well, Iím glad one of us benefited from all my hard work," Larry sighs, moving to the couch.  Balki asks Larry if canít pick a photo to enter into the contest.  "Yes . . . none of them," Larry answers.  "What?  Youíre not going to enter the photo contest?" Balki asks in surprise.  Larry explains that the Chicago Gazette Photo Contest is one of the most prestigious there is.  "It was just a crazy dream.  I thought if I won my photojournalism career would have been launched."  "Well, it would be nice if you were launched!" Balki offers.

Balki doesnít understand because Larry has been taking pictures for three months.  "You must have a hundred here!"  "A hundred and six," Larry confirms, "and they all stink."  "No, they donít!" Balki insists, "They are very, very good!"  "Balki, very, very good will not win this contest," Larry explains, "I need that one special picture.  I need something . . . extraordinary!  Something thatíll make the heart of man leap within him!  Something that sums up the meaning of life.  You know what I mean?"  "Well, of course I do, donít be ridiculous!" Balki answers, then adds, "You need something . . . a little different."

Picking up a picture from the coffee table where Larry has his photos spread, Balki asks, "Well, what about this one of the kitty cat being carried away by the big bird?  Thatís different!"  "Balki, look at the kitty catís face," Larry says, "What do you see?"  Balki has to turn the picture upside down and then notes, "Fear."  Larry takes a second look and then replies, "Sure, you see fear.  But the keen eye of the photographer sees a kitty cat with three whiskers on the left side of his face . . . and two on the right!  Thereís no symmetry!"  Balki gives Larry an incredulous look then settles for, "Ooookay."  Picking up another picture Balki asks, "What about this one of the fireman catching the baby that was thrown from the burning building?"  Larry is already shaking his head no before Balki can finish asking.  "Itís been done," he explains.

"Why am I even talking to you about this?" Larry asks impatiently, "You probably donít even have photographers on Mypos!"  "Well, no we donít," Balki confesses, "but we have a guy named Nikoli who has a very good memory.  Whenever we have a fire, Nikiís the first thing we save."  "Well good," Larry says facetiously, "Why donít we enter Niki in the contest?  He has a better chance than me!"  Larry gets up and walks into the kitchen to put away his Maalox but Balki follows him, saying he sees what Larry is doing.  "You had the crazy dream and you spend three months taking pictures and now with only one day left youíre just going to roll over and die?"  "Thatís basically what I had in mind, yes," Larry agrees.

"Well, let me tell you a story about a immigrant boy who had a crazy dream to come to America . . . " Balki begins.  Larry interrupts him, saying heís heard this story and it isnít going to do him any good.  "Iím feeling sorry for myself," Larry explains, "If you were a real friend, youíd join in."  "Well, I do feel sorry for you," Balki states, "Poor little Larry Appleton.  He could have been a great photographer but heíll never know, because he gave up!"  Balki walks back to his lint painting as Larry moans, "Oh, I hate it when you do this."  "In the years to come youíll back on what you might have been and youíll remember that your best buddy Balki said, ĎKeep trying, Larry Appleton!í but you didnít," Balki warns.  "Canít you just let me accept failure?" Larry asks.  "Over my dead battery!" Balki exclaims.

Larry says that he doesnít know what heíll be able to find in just one day but heíll give it a shot.  "Now youíre talking, turkey!" Balki says enthusiastically, then adds, "Now we are so happy, we do the Dance of Joy!"  He starts the dance but Larry doesnít join in.  "Balki, why donít we hold up that," Larry asks, "At least let me find the picture."  He walks back to the door to get his camera as Balki follows, saying he knows that Larry will find the perfect picture.  "Yeah, and pigs can fly!" Larry scoffs.  "That would make a great picture!" Balki states.  Larry leaves and Balki stands, saying to himself, "The man just needed a little push."

Later, Larry is working the counter at the Ritz Discount Store when Mary Anne walks in, saying she got their mail again.  "Itís an easy mistake," she says, "Iím in 302, youíre in 203.  Perhaps the mailman has lysdexia."  "Thatís dyslexia," Larry corrects.  "Is that it?  I always get that word turned around!" Mary Anne asks Larry if heís sent a picture for the photo contest yet.  Larry says he hasnít but that heís found the perfect shot and that heís going to take it that afternoon.  "Itís a little church with a cross on the steeple but thatís not the shot.  I am so proud of myself, thereís not a photographer in a million who would have ever seen this shot!  At exactly 6:02 the setting sun drops between these two big buildings and a shaft of light hits the cross, turning it this brilliant gold and it glows like something supernatural.  It only lasts for a second and then itís gone.  Itís beautiful."  "Yeah, churches are nice," Mary Anne nods, then says "See ya!" and walks away.

As Mary Anne exits the store Balki enters excitedly.  He runs to the counter and takes off his jacket, explaining to Larry that he was late because Mrs. Twinkacetti asked him to move some furniture in her house, " . . . and behind the dresser I found a goldmine in dustballs!"  He shows Larry a pouch which he squeezes slightly, shooting dust into Larryís face.  Larry tells Balki to forget the dust and explains that he found the photo for the contest.  He begins to explain the shot of the church when Balki interrupts, "Wait a minute, this isnít the little church where the setting sun falls between two tall buildings and casts a shaft of light on the cross that makes it glow a brilliant gold as if it had taken on a life all its own, is it?"  Trying to ignore this, Larry says, "Well, itís the angle thatís important!  What Iím going to have to do is . . . "  "Get on the roof of the building across the street," Balki interferes.  Larry tries again, "The address is . . . "  "2831 Garfield," Balki finishes.  "Could I tell this?" Larry asks.  "Oh well I wish you would," Balki answers.

Larry says he has to get the shot that afternoon, so he has to get the ownerís permission and Balki is going to have to help him get all his equipment to the top of the roof.  Larry believes he has the photo contest in the bag.  "Iím on my way to the good life!"  "What means Ďthe good life?í" Balki asks.  "It means the, uh . . . good . . . . life," Larry struggles, unable to think of any other way to put it.  "Wwowww!!" Balki says, then, "I am so happy for you!  Now we can do the Dance of Joy!"  "You bet!" Larry agrees.  They break into the Dance of Joy as Mr. Twinkacetti walks out of his office to the cash register.  Once the cousins have finished the dance, Twinkacetti says, "Hey! (to coincide with their last "Hey!")  Fred and Ginger . . . front and center!"

The guys hurry to the cash register as Twinkacetti takes out some money and explains that heís taking the rest of the day off to be with his lovely wife and lovely children at his less-than-lovely mother-in-lawís.  "Appleton, this is what I want you to do . . . Iíll get there around four.  Call my wife and tell her the store is on fire.  That way I gotta come back and spend the rest of the weekend playing poker!  See ya!"  He turns to leave but Larry stops him, saying he canít tell his wife thereís a fire in the store.  "Right," Twinkacetti realizes, "Iíve used that excuse before.  Tell her the turnip locked himself in the safe!  Who wouldnít believe that?"  He tries to leave again but Larry says he canít tell her that either.  Twinkacetti yells at Larry to make something up.

Balki tries to interject but Larry stops him, telling Twinkacetti that he will not lie to his wife for him.  "Appleton, one day you will want something from me and no matter how small that something is my response will be a well-known gesture."  Twinkacetti leaves and Balki informs Larry that the building Larry wants to get on top of to take the photograph is Mr. Twinkacettiís house.  Larry breaks into tears and Balki says, "Oh, donít cry!"  Larry immediately stops, saying, "All right" and looks determined.  "That was easy!" Balki says in amazement, "You know, youíre bouncing back better all the time!"  Larry states firmly, "Balki, you and I are going to get on that roof and we are going to get that picture even if it kills us!"  Balki looks happy until he realizes what Larry has said, then looks understandably worried.

Act two begins on top of the windy Twinkacetti house as a ladder suddenly appears.  Larry scrambles up the side of the A-frame roof, reaching the top.  Balki hands up his tripod and asks Larry if he can give him a hand, but a determined Larry is focused only on the task at hand.  Balki manages to climb to the top of the roof as well as Larry sets up on the other end.  "I donít like this!" Balki states, "Weíre not supposed to break into somebodyís house!"  "Weíre not breaking into Twinkieís house weíre breaking onto his house!" Larry corrects Balki, pointing out that Twinkacetti isnít even home and that theyíll be done in five minutes.

"Itís pretty far down!" Balki realizes.  "Only two stories," Larry assures his cousin.  "The roof is pretty steep," Balki notes.  "I hadnít noticed," Larry dismisses the comment, removing the lens cap from his camera which rolls down the side of the roof.  "Oh Balki, get that for me, will you?" Larry asks.  "I donít think so," Balki says.  Balki points out that Larry is the one whoís afraid of heights.  "You scream if you stand up in the bathtub!"  Larry explains that he has to get this picture and his whole future depends on it.  "Nothingís going to stop me!  There are no obstacles and absolutely nothing can go wrong!"  "I know that nothing can possibly go wrong but . . . have you noticed that itís getting a little windy?" Balki calls over the gale that is blowing around them.

Larry only admits itís a little breezy and assures Balki that he has everything in his camera bag you could possibly need in a photographic emergency, placing his camera around Balkiís neck.  He reaches into the bag and pulls out sandbags.  "We canít have the tripod blowing off in the wind now, can we?"  "What about me blowing off the roof?" Balki asks.  "Youíre not in a photographic emergency," Larry says.  "Iím human!" Balki cries.  "Thatís not good enough!" Larry insists, promising to be off in two minutes.  He finishes setting up the tripod and asks Balki to hand him his camera.

Balki takes the camera from around his neck but doesnít hand it to Larry.  Larry asks for it again.  "No . . . I have the camera and I say we get off the roof!" Balki states.  The cousins get to their feet and Larry insists that Balki give him the camera.  "Uh uh!" Balki refuses.  Larry approaches Balki as Balki backs up.  Finally Larry points off into the distance, saying, "Oh look!  Thereís the Wicked Witch of the West!"  Balki turns to look and Larry lunges forward, grabbing the camera as he swings around on a pole to return to his original spot, shouting "Ha ha!" in triumph.  "You tricked Balki!  There was no witch!" Balki cries.

Larry returns to the tripod and places the camera on it, saying thereís no way heís getting off the roof, saying heís taken the shot a million times in his head and has planned every minute detail.  He swings the camera around only to find itís facing a brick chimney.  "Whereíd that chimney come from?" Larry asks.  "I bet it came with the house!" Balki jokes, laughing.  "What idiot architect would put a chimney where it blocks the view of the beautiful church?" Larry cries, "Where have all the good craftsmen gone?"  "Maybe they were blown off the roof," Balki speculates.

"Cousin, youíve flipped your coin!" Balki observes, "You have a plenty of good picture at home!"  Larry thinks a moment then takes the camera off the tripod and announces that if he can get on top of the chimney he can still get his shot.  Larry heads for the chimney and Balki starts after him to stop him but slips and slides down the side of the roof.  He manages to hang on to an A frame over a window and stops himself from falling, although he hears a telephone ringing inside.  Peeking down to look, Balki can see Mr. Twinkacetti answering the phone and saying he can make the card game after all.  "I told my wife the turnip got locked in the safe!  She bought it!  Who wouldnít?  See you at eight!"

Larry is now clinging to the edge of the chimney, his legs scrambling for a foothold.  He calls to Balki for help.  "Hush!" Balki urges.  "Never hush a man whoís hanging by his fingertips!" Larry insists, then calls loudly for help again.  "Mr. Twinkacettiís home!" Balki explains.  Larry calls much more quietly for help.  Balki helps Larry back onto the roof and says they have to get off before Mr. Twinkacetti catches them but Larry says he still has 50 seconds to get the picture.  He edges himself around the chimney and explains that if he holds onto the TV antenna there he can lean past the chimney and get his photo.  Balki comments that the picture of the kitty cat is looking better all the time.

As Larry leans over the edge of the roof holding onto the antenna it starts to bend, causing Larry to lean out further and further.  "You know, Iím getting an optical illusion!" Larry notes, "It looks as if the church is getting closer and closer!"  Balki realizes the antenna is bending and tells Larry to come back.  Larry says it will hold for five more seconds.  He counts down the seconds and just as he reaches "one" the sun disappears behind some dark clouds.  "Where is the shaft of light, whereís the sun?" Larry cries.  Balki sees the clouds over his shoulder and says, "Maybe itís behind those big black clouds over there!  Cousin, donít panic, just slowly come back here!"

Larry cries that the weather report had said it was supposed to be sunny and what is he going to do.  "Cousin, just to get an idea of where you are, you might look down," Balki suggests.  Larry looks down to see heís precariously dangling high above the street.  He screams and struggles to get back onto the roof with Balki helping him.  Balki insists that they get off the roof but Larry remembers heís afraid of heights.  "Well, you picked a fine time to remember that!" Balki sighs, then suggests, "Okay, weíre going to wait until it gets dark and then you wonít see how far down it is."  "Did I mention Iím afraid of the dark?" Larry asks.  They slide down into a sitting position to wait.

Once it gets dark Balki tells Larry so he can open his eyes and they can get off the roof.  Larry complains that this is all Twinkacettiís fault.  "Boy, the next time I see him, heís in trouble!"  Twinkacetti suddenly appears, scrambling from the ladder onto the roof and asking what theyíre doing up there.  "Mr. Twinkacetti, this is all my fault," Larry crumbles.  "That goes without saying!" Twinkacetti yells.  "I was trying to get a picture of the church for my photo contest," Larry cries.  "But he didnít get the picture," Balki explains.  "Cry me a river!" Twinkacetti says callously.  "Okay," Larry agrees and starts crying.

Twinkacetti tells them to get off his roof but as they start to move the wind blows the ladder down.  "Now Iím stuck up here and itís your fault!" Twinkacetti yells.  "My fault?" Larry cries, "You wouldnít be up here if you were with your wife and kids like youíre supposed to be!"  "I wouldnít have come up here if you werenít playing Tarzan on my antenna!" Twinkacetti points out. "Well, I wouldnít have had to if youíd put your chimney on the right side of your house where it belongs!" Larry snaps.  "Iím gonna put my fist where it belongs!" Twinkacetti snarls.

Larry and Twinkacetti move to one another and start to fight as Balki tries to break them up.  Balki slips suddenly and Twinkacetti, sitting on top of the roof, holds onto Balkiís right arm as Larry, whoís holding onto Balkiís left arm, swings down toward the edge of the roof but manages to stay on his feet.  Larry manages to climb back up and together he and Twinkacetti pull Balki up to sit between them.

"We have to stop fighting and find a way to get off the roof!" Balki insists.  "What did you have in mind?" Larry asks.  Balki cries for help but Larry tells him to save his voice.  "No one can hear you because their windows are closed, and do you know why their windows are closed?"  "Because itís starting to freeze?" Balki asks.  "Bingo!" Larry confirms.  "Iím sorry I got that right!" Balki cries.  "What else can possibly go wrong?" Larry asks.  At that moment there is a clap of thunder and it starts to rain.  "It was a rhetorical question," Larry assures them.

"You know, this might be a good chance for us to just chat and get to know one another," Balki suggests.  "Iím going to throw the turnip off the roof!" Mr. Twinkacetti states, "If weíre lucky, heíll drag himself to get help.  If weíre unlucky, weíre still lucky!"  There is a another clap of thunder and a flash of lightning.  Twinkacetti suddenly cowers, saying he hates thunder.  He clings to Balkiís arm in fear.  "You know, thereís something aesthetically pleasing about your face when youíre terrified," Larry notes as he starts taking pictures of his whimpering boss, who is now calling out for his wife.

After a flash of lightning Larry is excited, saying his thinks he captured Twinkacettiís face framed by lightning.  "Youíre cruel, Appleton!" Twinkacetti growls.  "No, Iím not!" Larry says, then asks Twinkacetti to "hold that whimper."  A streak of lighting suddenly shoots out of the sky and hits the pole next to Larry, which falls to the roof as Twinkacetti screams.  "Whatís that?" Balki cries.  "I donít know," Larry says, reaching for the pole, "Is this another TV antenna?"  "Itís a lightning rod!" Twinkacetti cries as Larry scrambles back from it quickly.  "That draws lightning?" Larry asks.  "Itís a real good one, too!" Twinkacetti assures them.  "If we stay up here, weíll die!" Larry cries.  The three of them climb to their feet and start screaming for help.

At the apartment some days later, Balki and Larry are sitting at breakfast as Balki is looking at the newspaper.  "Larry Appleton, tenth place!" Balki says proudly.  "Yeah, Iím good all right," Larry agrees, "I even helped somebody else win first prize."  "I think it was very nice of someone to take that picture of the fireman rescuing us from the roof."  Larry looks over at the picture and comments, "Itís a terrific picture . . . if you call that composition."  Balki points out that itís wonderful that Larry won tenth place.  Larry thanks Balki for making him keep trying and for helping him get the picture.  "And for saving your life," Balki adds.  "That, too," Larry agrees.  Balki says, "Cousin, I couldnít let you quit . . . or die.  And if you ever see me giving up you must stop me, too.  Thatís what friends do for each other."

Balki suggests they go down to Curlyís news stand and buy every newspaper he has to send to everyone Larry knows "Just like the time Mary Anne got her picture in the paper because she got her head stuck in a chain link fence."  "It was her hair," Larry corrects, then goes on to say, "Balki, I donít need to buy newspapers Ďcause I donít need to brag."  Balki points out itís a great accomplishment and that Larry should be proud.  "I donít need to send a newspaper to anyone, the important thing is that I know," Larry assures Balki.  "Wwowww!" Balki says, impressed.  "Youíre some humble guy!"

They get up and move to the couch as Larry points out that most of it was blind luck.  "I didnít get the picture I was after."  "Yes, but if you hadnít risked your life, and mine, trying to get the picture of the church you never would have gotten this picture of Mr. Twinkacetti framed by lightning!" Balki points out.  "It is pretty good, isnít it?" Larry asks.  "Good?  Good?  Good?" Balki exclaims, then asks, "What was the question?"  Larry announces that to celebrate heís going to take Balki to his favorite place.  "Not the petting zoo?" Balki asks excitedly.

They move to the closet to get their coats as Balki asks if Larry is going to ride the camel with him this time.  "No," Larry answers, "That camel always spits at me."  As Larry opens the closet to put the newspaper upon a huge, tall stack of newspapers Balki asks if he can chase the chickens.  Larry says no and hands Balki his jacket.  Larry closes the door and Balki asks, "Question . . . am I wrong or is that closet full of newspapers?"  "Not full," Larry clarifies, "Only head high."  "Oh, I see," Balki hums.  "All right, so I got a few for my family and friends," Larry admits, "and a lot for my enemies . . . high school graduation class . . . Time / Life . . . . "  They exit the apartment.

Continue on to the next episode . . .