Perfect Strangers Episode Guide

EPISODE 31 - Sexual Harassment in Chicago

First Air Date: October 7, 1987
Nielsen Rating: 17.0 HH

TV Guide Description: Balki has a lot to learn about American women, especially the worldly Olivia Crawford, editor of the paper's Sunday magazine section, who's pursuing the free-spirited Myposian.

Co-Producer: James OíKeefe
Created by: Dale McRaven

Written by: Paula A. Roth
Directed by: Joel Zwick

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

Guest Cast:
Jo Marie Payton-France: Harriette Winslow
Gerald Gordon: Jack Flynn, Managing Editor

Special Guest Star:
Holland Taylor: Olivia Crawford

Dimitri Appearances: Dimitri does not appear in this episode but is mentioned.

"Well, be that as that may be . . . "
"Get out of the city!"
"When do you think Olivia will hit the fan?"

Donít be ridiculous: Said once

Other catchphrases used in this episode:
"Yes!  Yes!"
"Oh, go on with you!"
"Get out of the city!"

Other running jokes used in this episode:
Balki playfully shoves someone a bit too hard

Notable Moments:
In this episode we learn both Balki and Larry are both virgins.

Interesting facts:
Balki shouting "Come on down!" is a reference to Johnny Olsenís (and later Rod Roddyís) common call on the long-running television game show The Price is Right, from which host Bob Barker just recently retired.
- It was exciting to see Holland Taylor make a one-time special guest appearance on the show.  Fans knew her best from her previous star turn as Ruth Dunbar on the Miller/Boyett show, Bosom Buddies.  She would become a regular on another short-lived Miller/Boyett program for TGIF entitled Going Places.  She has made countless television and movie appearances and currently can be seen on the hit CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men.
- During one television interview Bronson explained that he felt it was important that at some point in the series it be established that both Balki and Larry are still virgins, which was accomplished quite uniquely in this episode in a way that got the point across in a tactful manner.
- When Larry opens the door to reveal Olivia striking a seductive pose, the director uses a soft filter on Camera C (the camera to the far right of the set).  Filters such as these were typically used to make women look sexy.  However the filter remains on the camera, so all shots in the scene taken with that camera have a softer look than the rest of the footage.
- Gerald Gordon made a one-time appearance in this episode as the Chronicle managing editor, Jack (IMDb lists his name as Flynn, which may well be the characterís last name but is not mentioned in the show itself).  This character would not recur in the series.  He also made some appearances on the Miller/Boyett series Valerie.  Sadly Mr. Gordon passed away in 2001.

Bloopers and Inconsistencies:
Balki gives their address in this episode as 535 Wilson, Apt. 207.  Their address was never really given out consistently the same throughout the series, but the most common one as the series progressed was 711 Caldwell Avenue, Apt. 209.
- Balki tells Olivia Crawford that he has a tapestry from home which his sister Yanna made.  However the tapestry he shows her is the same one he made for Larry for the Christmas episode the previous year!  Also in later episodes Balki would have no sister Yanna . . . in fact he would say he is an only child!

As the episode begins we see Larry and Balki working in the basement of The Chronicle; Larry is filing something and Balki is sorting papers.  An older, sophisticated-looking woman appears at the top of the stairway and loudly announces in a grand manner, "Well hello darlings, here I am!"  "Well, come on down!" Balki calls back just as loudly.  Balki looks at Larry and asks, "Who is that?"  "Thatís Olivia Crawford, editor of the Sunday Magazine," Larry explains.

Larry is immediately fawning at Olivia Crawfordís side, offering his hand and saying heís always wanted to meet her.  "Of course you have!" she smiles vainly, "And you are . . . . ?"  "Larry Appleton."  She says he is exactly the person sheís come to see.  "This paper has a rather tiresome policy of asking new people to write something for the Sunday Magazine.  And you, I understand, are new."  Larry says he loves the Sunday Magazine.  Olivia suggests he come up with a couple of ideas and theyíll see if somethingís suitable.  "Thank you!" Larry says enthusiastically, "Iíll do my best!  This means a lot to me! Itís a dream come true!  I . . . Iím sorry . . . I . . . I donít mean to gush."  "Too late!" Olivia scolds teasingly.

Balki calls "Miss Crawford!" and steps forward, handing her a bundle of letters.  "Hereís your mail." "Uh, thatís Olivia, darling," she corrects.  "Oh well, if youíre Olivia Darling this is not you mail," Balki says, taking the letters back.  Olivia takes her letters back and says she is Olivia Crawford, "And you are a delight!"  "Well, actually Iím a Mypiot," Balki says.  "Whatís your name, dear?" Olivia asks.  "Balki Bartokomous."  "Ah, from the Mediterranean, right?" she asks.  "Well, actually you go to the Mediterranean and turn left," Balki explains.  "Well of course you do," Olivia says with a twinkle in her eye, "With a face like that you can turn any way you want!  Welcome to the Chronicle, darling."  Balki thanks her as she heads back upstairs.

When Olivia is out of earshot Larry leaps up and runs to Balkiís table, excitedly exclaiming, "This is great!  Iím going to write an article for the Sunday magazine section!  Do you know what that means?"  "No, I donít!" Balki says just as enthusiastically.  "Iíll tell you what that means . . . it means I get byline!  It means people will take notice!  It means Iím on my way to the big time!"  "The big time?" Balki asks with surprise, "Well, why would you want to leave your job and join the circus?"  "Thatís the big top," Larry answers.

The next day we see Larry and Balki working again in the basement; Larry is writing on a pad of paper and Balki is sorting mail.  Larry looks at the writing he has done and exclaims, "Yes!  Yes!  Ooh, I am good!"  "Did you finally beat yourself at tic-tac-toe?" Balki asks.  Larry gets up from his desk and hurries to Balki, explaining that he finally thought of a title for his article for the Sunday Magazine.  "Itís about how a lot of neighborhoods in this town are losing their ethnic character," Larry says, then asks,  "What do you think . . . Is Chicago Disappearing?"  Larry waits for Balkiís reaction, as Balki thinks about this.  "Well, I . . . I donít know," Balki finally offers, adding, "When you work in a basement you miss so much."  Larry stares at Balki incredulously.

The elevator door opens and Harriette steps aside as people pile out.  Oliviaís voice can be heard from the back, telling people to "Move along, please!"  Finally a harried Olivia exits last.  "Harriette, from now on I prefer to travel alone!" she snarls.  "That makes two of us, baby!" Harriette smirks as she goes back to work.

Olivia approaches Larry and asks how his article is coming.  "Great!" Larry informs her, "I think I finally came up with a title."  Before he can finish reading the title Olivia interrupts while she digs into her purse, "Oh, for heavenís sakes, I have gone and left my car keys on my desk . . . Larry, would you be a dear and run up and get them for me?"  Larry is surprised by this request but complies, saying heíll run the article idea by her later.  "Of course!" she smiles.  Larry hurries up the stairs.

Balki is lifting mailbags onto his work table as Olivia approaches him.  "My, my, my . . . how very easily you lift those big heavy bags onto the table," she fawns, "Iím impressed!"  Balki gives her a playful (and strong) shove, throwing her off balance, as he says, "Oh, go on with you!" Olivia insists that she means it, asking "Where did you get such marvelous muscles?"  "Lifting sheep, I suppose," Balki answers.  "Ah yes, of course . . . you were a sheepherder back on Mypos, werenít you?  Ah, that must have been so peaceful!"  "Oh yes, yes," Balki confirms, "sitting on the hillside . . . listening to the goat bells in the distance . . . watching papa sheep eat the grass.  They have four stomachs you know.  And when one of them stomach goes bad everything just backs up and backs up . . . . "

Veering Balki away from that particular topic, Olivia asks, "But youíre so very far from home, Balki, donít you get homesick sometimes?"  "Well, sometimes," Balki admits, "but I bring some things with me that remind me of home.  I have Dimitri, of course . . . heís my stuffed sheep.  And I have a beautiful tapestry that my sister Yanna made . . . . "  "You donít mean it!" Olivia interrupts, "What an extraordinary coincidence . . . I just happen to have a rather extensive collection myself!"  "Get out of the city!" Balki gasps, "You collect stuffed sheep, too?"  "No, tapestries, darling."

Olivia suggests that she come over to see his tapestry, that sheíll be right in his neighborhood that evening.  Balki agrees that would be wonderful as Olivia takes out a little black book and says, "Now where exactly is it that you live?"  Balki gives her his address and then asks if she will be driving herself.  When she says she is Balki says he can save her fifteen minutes and begins to tell her how to go to avoid construction on Holstead, but he has to turn around to get his bearings to give her the proper directions.

Once his back is turned to Olivia she begins to blow seductively on his neck.  Each time she does so Balki stops talking and looks around, trying to figure out where the apparent draft is coming from.  Balki tells her that she will make a hard right and turns around as Olivia steps forward and kisses him on the lips, much to his shock.  He looks embarrassed, mumbling, "Miss Crawford . . . !"  "Call me Olivia!" she says passionately as she locks her arms around him and kisses him, throwing him down onto the worktable as she does so.  Once done, she stands up, saying, "I should be there about seven!"  She heads to the parking garage, pulling her car keys out of her purse as she walks and saying, "Oh would you look at that?  I had my keys the whole time!  See you later, dear boy!"  On Balkiís shocked and frazzled look the scene fades.

Act two opens with Balki still lying across his worktable.  Larry appears at the top of the stairs, running down as he apologizes to Olivia Crawford for not being able to find her keys.  He realizes that Olivia isnít there and then sees Balki on his table and walks over.  "Did Ms. Crawford leave?" he asks.  "Yes," Balki answers, still in shock.  "Did she find her keys?"  "Oh, yes!"  "Are you feeling okay?"  "Oh, no."

Larry asks Balki what happened.  "Cousin, something just happened that I donít understand," Balki begins, "When youíre alone with a woman and she say that she want to come over to your house to see your tapestry, does that mean what I think it means?"  "Welllll . . . " Larry hums, "could mean sheís just interested in tapestries."  "Okay," Balki tries again, "what about if youíre alone with a woman and she kiss you so hard that your eyeballs roll back up into your head?"  "That means what you think it means," Larry replies.

Larry wants to know who the girl is.  "Is this Laura from classified?" he asks.  "No," Balki answers, "Olivia."  "Olivia Crawford?" Larry asks in disbelief.  "No, Olivia Newton-John!" Balki says sarcastically, "Of course Olivia Crawford!"  Larry laughs in a condescending manner, saying, "Balki, I donít mean to hurt your feelings . . . . "  "But youíre going to," Balki interrupts.  "Olivia is an executive and you are just a lowly little mail boy.  Come on, letís go home."

As Larry starts to pack his briefcase and Balki climbs off the table, Larry continues by saying, "People like her donít get involved with people like us."  "Well, be that as that may be," Balki starts, "but sheís coming over tonight."  "She is?" Larry asks in surprise, asking why.  "She says she wants to see my tapestry," Balki answers, "what should I do?"  "Show her your tapestry," Larry suggests.  "But what if she wants to see more?" Balki asks.

Larry says heís sure that itís nothing.  "And even if it were, you can take care of yourself!  Youíve been with women before."  Off Balkiís expression, Larry offers, "I mean on Mypos!  Iím sure the milkmaids were all over you!  You probably had to beat Ďem off with a crook!  Am I right?  Huh?  Huh?"  When Balki doesnít answer, Larry realizes, "Youíre as pure as the driven snow, arenít you?"  Balki eyes Larry, then asks, "Arenít you?"  Larry thinks a moment, trying to decide whether or not to answer that question, then responds with, "If itíll make you feel better, Iíll stay home with you tonight."  Balki thanks him and they leave work.

In the apartment that night Balki and Larry are standing near the kitchen when there is a knock at the door.  "Thatís Olivia," Balki says worriedly, "What should I do?"  "Maybe we should open the door," Larry suggests.  Larry walks to the door to open it with Balki right behind him.  As the door swings open we see Olivia "posed" in a sexy manner in the doorway, but when she sees Larry she falters then tries to compose herself.

"Hello, Larry, I wasnít expecting you here," Olivia says. "I live here," Larry explains, "Balki and I are cousins."  "Oh," Olivia sighs, not hiding her disappointment, "How nice."  Balki asks Olivia if she wonít come in, which she does as she explains, "Actually I was supposed to be at the mayorís for cocktails fifteen minutes ago.  I wonder if you would mind terribly if I just took a quick look at the tapestry and then hit the road."  A relieved Balki replies, "Well, you should have called! I would have run it down to your car!"  He heads for his bedroom to get it as Olivia sits down on the couch.

Larry follows Balki back to the bedroom and stops him to talk.  "Balki, I think Ms. Crawford just wants to look at the tapestry."  "Color me embarrassed," Balki sighs, "I did not understand why she came.  I have so much to learn about American women."  "Reams!" Larry agrees.  Larry says that if he leaves now he can still get some research done at the library and asks Balki if he can go.  Balki says of course and thanks Larry for showing him how wrong he was.  "Hey, itís why Iím here!" Larry smiles.

Balki goes into his bedroom to get the tapestry and Larry gets his jacket and briefcase and apologizes that he canít stay.  "Oh!" Olivia says with happy surprise, then adds a sad, "Oh" to cover it.  "I have to go to the library.  I hear the editor of the Sunday magazine is tough on people who donít make their deadlines."  "They tell me sheís hell on wheels!" Olivia jokes, then adds, "Well, donít just stand there grinning . . . get out there and get me a story!"  "Iím gone!" Larry laughs, and leaves, stopping at the door to smile and nod again.

Once Larry is gone Olivia digs into her purse and pulls out some perfume, spraying it on her neck and around her head.  She tucks it away as Balki enters from the bedroom with the tapestry.  As Balki reaches the couch he stops, coughing and choking from the smell, then comments, "Cousin Larry should go easy on the cheap cologne!"  Balki spreads out the tapestry for Olivia to look at and she says itís exquisite.  "Do you like it?" Balki asks excitedly.  "Oh yes!" Olivia enthuses.

Excited, Balki runs around to sit on the couch next to Olivia, explaining that it is a very special tapestry.  "It show the entire history of the island of Mypos.  For instance, this represent Ferdinand Mypos discovering that Mypos is an island."  "You mean this little man who appears to be drowning?" Olivia asks.  "Yes.  He made the discovery when he was trying to walk to Italy."  Balki moves to Oliviaís other side to show another part of the tapestry.  "This over here . . . this represent the Great Tomato Famine.  It was terrible.  Thousands and thousands of tomatoes died!"  "Fascinating!" Olivia smiles politely.

Balki says he has to tell Olivia something to get it off his chest.  "Well, when . . . when you kissed me I thought for just a second that maybe it wasnít a ĎHello, Balki, how are you today?í kiss, I thought it might have been a . . . more of a . . . ĎHi, sailor, new in town?í kind of kiss."  "Well, you donít feel bad now, do you, Balki?" Olivia asks.  "Well, of course not, donít be ridiculous!" Balki answers, giving Olivia a playful shove to the face.  "Well, tell me," Olivia starts, leaning closer to him, "What do you feel like now?"  "Well, I feel very comfortable!" Balki assures her, "Just like Iím at home with Mama."

Trying her best to ignore that last remark, Olivia sets the tapestry aside.  "Well, Iím very glad, Balki, because I certainly wouldnít want you to be afraid of me.  You see, itís very rare that a person such as yourself comes into oneís life; a complete innocent, pure and unsullied.  A blank page upon which someone . . . perhaps someone like myself . . . can write a tale of searing passion."  Olivia leans over and gives Balki a soft peck on the cheek, which Balki smiles about innocently.  She then kisses him again on the cheek and he squeals shyly.  Suddenly sheís all over him, kissing his neck, which causes Balki to be shocked.  "Mama never did that," he says nervously.

Olivia gets up and walks around to the side of the couch as Balki backs away from her, although she leans over the couch to kiss him anyway.  "Ms. Crawford . . . I donít approve of this!  You see . . . you see, I come from a country where people believe that they should get married before they do some of the things that you and I have already done."  Undeterred, Olivia launches herself onto the couch on top of Balki and starts kissing him passionately as Balki struggles.

There is the sound of keys outside the door and Olivia tries to sit innocently on the back of the couch but falls clumsily behind it.  She stands up and acts casual just as the door opens and Larry enters.  "I forgot my library card!" Larry says with a laugh.  Olivia smiles but Larry takes in the scene of Balki lying disheveled on the couch and Olivia trying to look innocent.  "Whatís going on here?" Larry asks.  Balki eyes Larry incredulously then finally yells, "Are you blind???"

"Donít you have someplace to go?" Olivia asks Larry.  "No, he doesnít," Balki insists as he sits up.  "Cousin, sheís all over me like a wet t-shirt."  "Well, this doesnít seem like a very good time," Olivia sighs, "Oh, if I hurry I can still make it to the Mayorís.  Now, Balki, why donít we continue this some other time and some other place . . . someplace where we can have a little privacy.  What do you say to Mickeyís Hideaway . . . Tuesday evening?"  "Mickeyís Hideaway?" Larry asks in a shocked voice, "Isnít that the adult motel with the waterbeds and the mirrors and the movies?"  Balki and Olivia both eye Larry with surprise, causing him to explain, "Iíve seen the ads."

"Ms. Crawford," Balki says, "I donít want to hurt your feelings, but Iím busy Tuesday nights for the rest of my life."  Olivia is obviously not happy about this answer as she gets up from the couch.  "Balki, let me try and say this in a way which even you will understand.  I am Olivia Crawford.  I am an extremely powerful woman at The Chronicle.  And ĎGoodbye, Oliviaí means ĎHello, unemployment!í"  Larry is shocked at his statement, stating, "You canít get away with this!"  "Youíd be surprised what I can get away with," Olivia sneers, walking out the door with a "Ciao!"  "Goodbye, Olivia," Balki says politely after her, then with realization he looks at Larry and adds, "Hello, unemployment!"  Larry pats Balkiís shoulder and says, "Donít you worry, buddy. Iím not going to let you take this lying down!"  Off Balkiís look, Larry adds, "Well, you know what I mean."

Later in The Chronicleís basement, Balki and Larry sit at Larryís desk, waiting.  "Cousin, do you think weíre doing the right thing?" Balki asks.  "Yes, weíre doing the right thing," Larry assures him, "She canít get away with sexual harassment!"  "I donít want you to lose your job," Balki worries.  "Balki, we built a very strong case here.  Frank Kublick from Classified lost his job because of her.  So did Tommy Dugan in Security and Jeff Maxwell on the loading dock.  This lady has got to be stopped and this is the right way to do it."  "When do you think Olivia will hit the fan?" Balki asks.  "Any minute now," Larry speculates.

The elevator door opens and Harriette steps out, warning Balki and Larry to "Look out, baby!" as an enraged Olivia exits behind her, holding a sheet of paper.  "What do you call this?" she demands.  "Itís a copy of the a complaint I sent to the managing editor," Larry explains, "Weíre charging you with sexual harassment."  "Ha! Youíre bluffing!" she scoffs.  Balki steps forward, saying, "I carried it up to him in my very own muscular arms."  "Well, itís not going to work, you know!" Olivia laughs, tearing up the paper and throwing it on Larryís desk.

The managing editor comes down the stairs, also holding a piece of paper.  He spots Olivia and says, "Olivia!  Iím glad youíre here!  Appleton, I read your memo.  You make some very damaging allegations in here."  "Everything I wrote is true," Larry says confidently, "I even have photocopies of the registration cards from Mickeyís Hideaway.  Ms. Crawford has a suite named after her."  "And if you donít believe him you can dust my body for her fingerprints," Balki adds.  "I donít think that will be necessary," the managing editor says.

"Olivia, what do you have to say about this?" the editor asks her.  Acting shocked and appalled, Olivia cries, "Well, look at him!  You donít seriously think Iíd throw myself at a mail boy, do you?"  "Three people say theyíve lost their jobs because of you!" the editor points out.  "Well . . . Jack, Jack, Jack!" Olivia says, "I mean people get fired, theyíve got to blame somebody!  Now these kids, whom I scarcely know, are trying to slander me!  God knows what I ever did to them!"  "I know," Balki interrupts.

The managing editor steps forward, saying, "Olivia, give me a little credit!  Iím a newspaper man!  I checked Appletonís sources.  And they confirm the rumors Iíve been hearing about you for years.  Now Iíd like to give you the opportunity to resign."  Olivia stands aghast, saying, "I have no intention of resigning!"  "I was hoping you would say that!" the editor beams, "That way I can say this . . . youíre fired!"  He turns to Larry and Balki and comments, "That felt good!"  Olivia acts unphased, snapping her fingers at them.  "What do I need with this two-bit paper anyway?  I think itís time I took a bite out of the Big Apple!"  She turns to get into the elevator but Harriette blocks her way.  "No way, lady!  Employees only!"  Olivia Crawford slinks away to the parking garage and Harriette smiles, saying "Mmm, that does feel good!"

The managing editor tells Balki and Larry, "You two should feel proud of yourselves!  A lot of people wouldnít have had the guts to blow the whistle on her.  Werenít you afraid of losing your jobs?"  "We decided weíd rather not work for a newspaper that would fire its employees for telling the truth," Larry explains.  "How about that?" the editor exclaims, "I have Woodward and Bernstein in my basement!  Not bad!"  He turns and exits into the elevator.

"Well, Balki, Olivia Crawford didnít get away with it that time," Larry states.  "Oh Cousin, Iím sorry that helping me means you donít get an article in the Sunday magazine," Balki sighs.  Larry suddenly realizes this is true with some disappointment.  "Cousin, donít think I donít appreciate it because I do!" Balki assures him, "And the future woman of my dreams thanks you, too!  Because thanks to you she be able to spend her wedding night the way it was meant to be . . . with a husband who has absolutely no idea of what heís doing."

Continue on to the next episode . . .