Strangers Episode Guide
35 - Karate Kids
First Air Date:
November 11, 1987
Nielsen Rating: 18.1 HH
TV Guide Description: Intimidated
by a bully at a bar, the guys take up karate -- which turns Larry into a
"lean, mean fighting machine."
Created by: Dale McRaven
Written by: James OíKeefe & Alan Plotkin
Directed by: Joel Zwick
Bronson Pinchot: Balki Bartokomous
Mark Linn-Baker: Larry Appleton
Rebeca Arthur: Mary Anne
Melanie Wilson: Jennifer Lyons
Randy Kovitz: Chuck
Bill Ryusaki: Pete Nakima sensei
Marcus Mukai: Goldstein
Appearances: Dimitri can be seen very briefly as Balki is being thrown
over the couch. He is sitting on the far counter and wearing a ninja
outfit like Balkiís!
"I donít understand how one mean person can ruin everyoneís happy
"What about David and Goliath? What about Jack and the beanstalk?
What about the Captain and Tennille?"
"Now Cousin, your fists can be just as furry as the next guy."
"You could cut your toenails on my senses, too."
"Now that weíre lean cuisine fighting machines . . . "
ridiculous: Not said in this episode.
catchphrases used in this episode:
"I donít think so."
jokes used in this episode:
Larry answers a question of Balkiís in a pat way instead of trying to explain
what he meant
Jokes are made about Larry being short
Larry whines, putting the emphasis on one syllable of a word to draw it out
"The Impossible Dream" - sung by Larry and Balki as Balki talks Larry
into taking karate lessons
- The man with the mustache who steps up to Chuck to speak to him briefly
in the opening bar scene was a fairly regular extra used on the show. He
also appeared as one of the party guests in the episode The Gift of the
Mypiot and made more non-speaking appearances throughout the seriesí run.
In fact he even shows up in the second scene at the same restaurant later in
- The exterior shot of the restaurant / bar,
Edwards, used in the beginning of the episode is the same as the one used later,
so the same people are again walking into the same place at supposedly different
Balkiís ridiculous reference to the Captain and Tennille is a bit dated
today, but back then fans still remembered the male and female married singing
duo who hit the charts with songs like Love Will Keep Us Together and Muskrat
When Balki takes up takes up the one-legged stand in front of Larry while
imitating The Karate Kid heís referring to the karate move called the
"Crane Kick" which Mr. Miyagi taught to Daniel in that film, the
stance of which he practiced on the beach. The image from that scene was
even used on promotional posters for the film.
- When Larry makes he comment about "Larry
Appleton, Fists of Fury" itís a reference to a very well-known Bruce Lee
movie entitled Fists of Fury.
- This song The Impossible Dream is from the
Broadway musical Man of La Mancha. This would be the first of many
Broadway numbers Bronson and Mark would perform on the show.
- Sensei Nakima refers to his students by their
last names, adding the suffix "san." This is used in Japan,
where last names are often preferred and "san" is a term of address
unique to that country. Likewise the term "sensei" for teacher
or one with superior knowledge, usually comes after the last name as well.
- The scene in the apartment when Balki mounts a
surprise attack dressed as a black-clad ninja-style character against Larry was
a loving tribute to the original Pink Panther movies starring Peter
Sellers with Burt Kwouk as his manservant, Cato Fong. In those films Cato
was instructed to surprise Sellersí Inspector Clouseau character with an
occasional sneak attack to keep the Inspector on his toes and ever-ready for
possible danger. Unfortunately these attacks were sometimes ill-timed to
hilarious effect and became a staple gag throughout those films.
- Their neighbor, Mrs. Schleggelmilch is mentioned
in this episode when she calls to complain about the noise the cousins are
making with their karate. Either she moved into the new building with them
or theyíre making enough noise that she can hear them from their old building!
- As Larry is unpacking the groceries in the
kitchen there is a Raisin Puff box sitting on the table.
- Bill Ryusaki, who played the sensei, Pete Nakima,
would go on to do stunts for the movie Karate Kid II, as well as
Son of the Pink Panther!
- A blooper from this episode in which Mark fumbles on his words during
the first scene can be seen on our YouTube
Channel, along with other bloopers from the series! Another short
blooper where Bronson and Mark break up laughing can be seen at the very
beginning of the Friendship
commercial for the series, which also featured outtakes from the show.
episode begins in a restaurant / bar called Edwards. Balki, Larry,
Jennifer and Mary Anne are at the buffet table filling their plates with food.
Balki is excited because it is his first happy hour. "You know what I
donít understand?" he says to Larry, "I donít understand how
restaurants can make money by giving away food." "Well, the food
is just an inducement," Larry explains. Balki eyes the food
suspiciously, commenting, "And it looks so real." "The food
is real," Larry continues, "they just give it away so people will
spend a lot of money on drinks." "Oh!" Balki says,
understanding, then understanding even more he states, "Oh! So people
like you who only drink ice water make out like bandits!" Larry
shushes Balki and directs him toward a table.
is waiting for Mary Anne and finally asks, "Mary Anne, are you
coming?" Mary Anne, who is holding a plateful of food, thinks a
moment, then says, "Well, I guess I could come back later." She
picks up a second plateful that sheís also compiled and follows Jennifer to
the table. As theyíre leaving the buffet a rough-looking guy says to
Jennifer, "Hey, baby! My nameís Chuck. You wanna go home with
a love machine?" Larry is quick to hop up and step in front of Jennifer,
saying, "I hate to pull the plug on you, Chuck, but the ladyís already
going home with someone." "Wait a minute!" Balki cries
excitedly, getting up to join them, "A happy hour game! Love machine
. . . pull the plug . . . I get it, I see it and I love it!"
Balki, Larry dismissed Chuck by saying, "Iíd love to stay and chat but
weíre going to sit down now." As they go back to the table Balki is
disappointed. "Stay and chat? Sit down now? Itís a
little weak. I think you can do better, Cousin. Youíre turn
Chuck!" Chuck has followed them to the table and leans by Jennifer,
asking, "Why would you want to go home with him anyway? Oh, yeah . .
. I forgot . . . itís shrimp night!" "Heís got you two to
one, Cousin," Balki points out. "Say Chuck, do you have a
blueprint for your brain?" Larry counters, "Iím building an
idiot!" Chuck is angry and about to retaliate when a man steps up to
say something. During this interval Balki says in a hurt tone,
"Cousin, you didnít tell me you were building an idiot."
"It was going to be a surprise," Larry answers.
with his friend, Chuck grabs Larry by his jacket and pulls him up to his feet.
"I donít like your jokes, little man!" Chuck growls.
"Humor is very subjective," Larry says nervously. Chuck pulls
Larry across the room and slams him up against a wall then throws him down the
bar, with Balki chasing after them yelling "What are you doing?"
As Chuck grabs Larry by the lapels again Balki cries, "Put Cousin Larry
down!" Chuck pushes Larry over the edge of the bar. "Now
you know that isnít what I meant!" Balki says seriously. Chuck then
grabs Balki and throws him over the bar as well, then turns to the stunned
spectators and says, boastfully, "I love shrimp night!"
As he walks away the girls run to the bar just as Balki and Larry stand up,
pained and embarrassed.
Back at their apartment, Larry and
Balki are sitting on the couch. "I was humiliated in front of
Jennifer," Larry complains. "Well . . . maybe you were not the
only one who was humiliated," Balki adds, "Perhaps you have forgotten
but that thing that fell on top of you was me. I donít understand how
one mean person can ruin everyoneís happy hours." "I
do!" Larry insists, "This isnít the first
time this has happened to me. All my life bullies have pushed me around.
Iím like a bully magnet. Youíd think when you grow up things would
change. But they donít! Itís always the same . . . the big guy
takes advantage of the . . . " "Little tiny . . . " Balki
offers. " . . . more average size guy!" Larry finishes in his
"And you know what really makes my
blood boil?" Larry continues. "Mexican food?" Balki
answers. Larry tries again. "You know what really makes me
angry is that there is nothing guys like you and me can do about guys like
Chuck." Balki gets a thoughtful expression on his face.
"Now you know, Iím not sure I agree with you. What about
David and Goliath? What about Jack and the beanstalk? What about the
Captain and Tennille?" "What are you talking about?" Larry
cries in exasperation.
"Cousin, Iíve been thinking
about this all on the way home and Iíve got an idea!" Balki gets to his
feet, standing in front of Larry. "Now . . . " he begins, then
takes up a position on one leg with his arms held out above him, " . . .
what am I?" "A crazy man standing on one foot," Larry
snaps. "No! Iím the Karate Kid!" Balki explains, holding
the position. "And Iím Ferris Bueller," Larry says
sarcastically. Balki look at Larry in confusion. "What are you
talking about?" Larry cries. "Cousin, weíll learn
karate!" Balki explains. "Balki, it takes years to learn
karate." "Well, Cousin, Iíve got a bulletin for you! I
saw that movie. I went back for popcorn and when I got back that kid was kicking
everything he could get his feet on!"
"I donít know," Larry
sighs, "Larry Appleton, Fists of Fury? It just doesnít sound
right." "Now Cousin, your fists can be just as furry as the next
guy," Balki assures him, "This is America, donít forget! Where
the little, tiny . . . " Balki changes this off Larryís look,
" . . . more average size guys can do whatever they set their mind to!
Think of it, Cousin! We could walk down the street with our heads held
high, not afraid of the Chucks of this world. Never again we be
humiliated." "Nnnaaww," Larry whines, "Thatís impossible."
"What did you say?" Balki
asks. "I said thatís impossible," Larry repeats. "To
dream the impossible dream . . . " Balki starts to
sing. "I donít know, Balki," Larry sighs. " . .
. To fight the unbeatable foe . . . " Balki continues.
"Chuckís an awfully big guy." " . . . to bear with
unbearable sorrow . . . " Larry sits up straight, becoming
inspired by Balkiís song. "But weíve got to do something!"
" . . . to run where the brave dare not go!" Larry is on
his feet now, fully inspired. "Youíre right, Balki!"
Larry now bursts into song, climbing onto the couch as he sings, with Balki
filling in with comments between the lines. "This is my quest . .
. " "Bring it on home, Cousin!" " . . .
to follow my star . . . " "We never be afraid again!"
" . . . no matter how hopeless . . . " "Weíll take
karate!" " . . . no matter how far!" They
finish with a flourish together, "To dream . . . the im-poss-i-ble . . .
We next find the Cousins in a karate
class. They are already dressed in appropriate clothing with white belts.
They are approached
by the teacher, or sensei, who is wearing a black belt. "Welcome to
my dojo," he offers, bowing, "I am sensei Pete Nakima, your
instructor." "Iím Larry Appleton and this is . . . "
Before he can introduce him, Balki is already hugging the sensei, much to the
manís chagrin. " . . . my cousin, Balki Bartokomous."
"Why did you come to my karate class?" the sensei asks.
"Are you familiar with the concept of Happy Hour?" Balki asks.
Larry pulls Balki back and explains, "Iím with the Chicago Chronicle and
Iím doing a piece of self-defense and the urban male ego for our Sunday
Magazine section. I want to explore how civilized man deals with his own
primitive instincts." "You got beat up, huh?" Nakima-sensei
asks. "Yes," Larry answers. The sensei says he can help
them with that and invites them and his class to sit around the edge of mats.
When everyone is seated the sensei
addresses them. "Konichiwa . . . good afternoon, everyone.
Iíd like to introduce you to our new students." Balki raises his
hand and smiles. The sensei rolls his eyes at this. He motions for
one of the students to step up on the mat. It is a young, skinny man with
glasses. "Goldstein will help me demonstrate what you will be
learning today. I need a volunteer." He looks around and then
acts as if he is suddenly inspired. "What about one of the new
students?" Balki motions for Larry to step up to volunteer, but the
sensei has other ideas.
up!" the sensei calls, bringing Balki up onto the mat. "Bartokomous-san,
I want you to attack Goldstein-san from the back." "Why?"
Balki asks, "Iím not even mad at him." "Attack him!"
Nakima-sensei commands, pushing Goldstein toward Balki. As Balki grabs
Goldstein he is flipped over Goldsteinís shoulder and lands hard on his side
and hip. Nakima-sensei squats down next to Balki, enjoying this.
"Bartokomous-san! Now, attack him from the front!" "I
donít think so!" Balki says in the same tone, then gets up timidly,
asking, "Is he gonna do that again?" "No! Heíll do
something . . . different," the sensei smiles wickedly.
grabs Balki and rolls backward flipping him over his body so that Balki lands on
his behind in front of Larry. "Balki, are you all right?" Larry
asks with concern. "Well, I . . . I think so," Balki answers,
not certain. "Balki, this karate stuff is great!" Larry
enthuses. "It is?" Balki asks. "Before you know it
weíre going to be two of the toughest guys in Chicago!" "Well,
you know, Iím already feeling a kind of tough," Balki admits.
"Good," Larry says, "Because here comes Goldstein." As
Goldstein and Nakima-sensei advance on Balki he cowers into Larryís arms.
two begins with an exterior shot of the apartment building and the caption
"Three Weeks Later." Larry is slowly entering the apartment,
pushing the door open carefully while remaining outside. He enters with a
grocery bag, having been shopping, and looks around warily. "Balki?"
he calls. When there is no answer he swings the door shut, reacting with a
karate yell and pose when the noise of it closing startles him. Larry
walks further into the apartment, still vigilant. He paused in front of
the bookcase, not noticing that Balki, who is wearing a black ninja-style
outfit, is posed upon it, perfectly still. "Balki?" Larry asks
again, still nervous.
finally relaxes and carries the bag over to one of the stools next to the
counter where he sets it down. Balki climbs down from his hiding spot and
begins to approach Larry in a squat, stealth position, inching closer to him.
Larry has become aware again, his eyes open wide as he listens to the soft
sounds Balki is making as he moves. Balki makes a low breathing noise as
he moves his hands threateningly, making Larryís eyes open even wider.
Turning his head, Larry spots Balki
just before Balki attacks. Larry grabs a loaf of bread from the bag and
holds it up as Balki brings down a karate chop, breaking the loaf in two.
Balki chases Larry around the kitchen counter and into the living room where
Larry stops and takes up a defensive pose. They face off, posing and
making karate grunts and noises. Balki takes a chop at Larry who ducks and
Balki his the front door, crying in pain. Larry laughs but Balki is on the
attack again and
they run in front of the couch.
Balki tries to hit Larry with various
moves which Larry blocks, each time they cry out a karate yell. Balki then
tries a series of moves which Larry blocks in succession, making Balki call so
often he starts to cough and choke. Larry takes a moment out to pat Balki
on the back and make sure heís okay before Balki takes up the "karate
kid" pose. Larry runs for the grocery bag and pulls out two sausage
links which he wields like nunchaku (or nunchucks). Larry flips the
sausages over his shoulders then lets out a loud yell and chases Balki back
around the couch.
Balki by the kitchen, Larry swings the sausages around until he loses his grip
and they fly off behind him. Balki and Larry each throw blows blocked by
the other and stand, groaning as they push against one anotherís hands for a
moment. Finally Larry throws off Balkiís hand and is about to throw his
cousin over his shoulder when the phone rings. "Iíll get
that!" Larry announces as he picks up the receiver. They find out it
is their neighbor Mrs. Schleggelmilch. "Hmm? Oh, the noise!
Well, we were just moving the furniture," Larry explains, "Oh yes,
well, weíll try to keep it down." He thanks her and hangs up.
He and Balki exchange a smile and then Larry proceeds to throw Balki over the
couch, taking the groceries into the kitchen triumphantly.
Balki sits on the couch, then says,
"Pretty good workout, huh?" "You know, Balki, these sneak
attacks have really sharpened my reflexes.
My senses have been honed to a razorís edge." "Yeah, you could
cut your toenails on my senses, too," Balki agrees, taking the hood part
off his outfit and folding it back over the top of his head. "The
next guy who messes with Larry Appleton better have major medical," Larry
Balki gets up and heads for the
kitchen, doing more karate moves as he goes. "Cousin, now that
weíre lean cuisine fighting machines . . . I hope we donít have to use
karate on anyone because as the sensei said, Ďthe most powerful weapon is the
voice of love.í" "Hey, tell me about it," Larry agrees,
"Itís not like Iím looking for trouble!" Larry glances out
the kitchen window then angrily throws it open, yelling out, "Hey you!
Get away from my car! Now get outta here!" Balki is looking out
the window as well and looks embarrassed as he observes, "Cousin, I think
that lady was just waiting for the bus."
next scene finds Balki, Larry, Jennifer and Mary Anne back at Edwards, having
finished visiting the buffet. "You know, Balki, I was surprised to
hear you wanted to come back here after that guy Chuck wiped up the bar with
you," Mary Anne comments. "I didnít want to come back
here," Balki says, "Cousin Larry told me that you and Jennifer wanted
to come back." "Oh, Iím not wild about this place," Mary
Anne assures him, "The lighting makes my skin look sallow."
"Balki, Larry told us you wanted to come here," Jennifer
gives Larry an accusing look which Larry tries to ignore. "I can see
clearly now, the rain is gone," Balki notes, "Nobody wants to be here
. . . how come weíre here?" "I wanted to come here,
okay?" Larry insists, "So relax! Iím picking up the Chuck . .
. check! Iím picking up the check." Larry tries not to look
guilty but Balki has caught on. "Cousin, your motives are less than
pure! You came here to pick a fight with Chuck! Now weíre
Larry urges them to sit down.
"Now weíve been avoiding this place for weeks. I came here as a matter of
principle. We should have the freedom to eat where we want without having
to worry about bar slime like Chuck!" Jennifer is looking across the
room and says, "Larry, you better lower your voice because the bar slime
just slid in." Chuck enters through the doorway (bumping into a man
as he does so) and walks behind Larry on his way to the bar. Seeing him
pass, Larry quickly picks up his water glasses and chugs the remaining water in
a couple of seconds. "Oh, will you look at that? Iím out of
water! Iíd better go to the bar and get a refill."
Larry gets up Balki tries to stop him. "Cousin, Cousin . . . have you
forgotten what our sensei told us? A victory born of revenge will satisfy
only the shallowest of souls." "Iíve got no problem with
that," Larry insists, then adds, "Itís not like Iím looking for
trouble." He turns back toward the bar with a look of determined
anger on his face. Balki cuts him off again, saying, "If youíre not
looking for trouble then sit down at the table." "Balki, Iím
out of water and Iím darn thirsty," Larry laughs, then seeing this
isnít working he steers Balki back to the table and says, "Look, Iíll
go out of my way to avoid a fight. Is that what you want to hear?"
"Yes, it is," Balki says. "Fine," Larry agrees,
"Iíll be right back."
Balki is seated again Larry walks straight to the bar . . . and straight into
Chuck! "Watch it, buddy!" he warns. Chuck looks over his
shoulder in surprise, then says, "Sorry!" "I just bet you
are," Larry eggs, then when Chuck doesnít react he says, "You
donít remember me, do you?" "Should I?" Chuck asks.
"A few weeks ago you hit on the woman I was in here with," Larry
explains, "When I said something about it you dragged me down this bar then
you beat up my cousin. Now do you remember me?" "Youíre
gonna have to be a little more specific," Chuck answers.
"You beat me up," Larry says,
"That may not have meant anything to you but it meant something to me and I
demand an apology!" "Look, I donít apologize to nobody!"
Chuck scoffs. "Chuck, I think you and I had better step
outside," Larry challenges.
Chuck laughs, then suggests, "Why donít you get out of here before you
get hurt?" "Whatís the matter?" Larry continues to taunt,
"You chicken, Chuck?" He steps back, addressing the patrons.
"Hey, everybody! Chuck here is chicken!" He adds a loud
cluck for further effect.
"Nobody calls me chicken!"
Chuck says, angry now. "Oh, is that right, my fine feathered
friend?" Larry asks. Chuck starts to advance on Larry but Balki steps
in, trying to stop him. "Now, Chuck, you know where I come from
thatís a compliment! The chicken is a symbol of bravery and honor, and
as a matter of fact the chicken happens to be the Myposian national bird.
And thatís the kind of thing that I felt would be of interest to man of your
integrity and . . . " (as he lifts Balki onto the bar) " . . . obvious
walks to Larry, ready to fight. "I must warn you, I know
karate!" Larry offers. "I must warn you . . . I donít
care!" Chuck scowls. Larry blocks two of Chuckís punches and then
flips him over onto the floor. The restaurant-goers stare in surprise as
Larry holds up his arms to address them. "Everything is under control!
Go back to your libations. Showís over." As Larry is gloating
Chuck is getting up off the floor. Balki sees this and jumps off the bar,
trying to warn Larry. "Balki, please . . . do you mind? Iím
having a moment." Chuck grabs Larry and runs him over to slam him
into the same wall as before, then to throw him down the bar again then tries to
strangle him as Balki cries for Chuck to leave Cousin Larry alone.
Back at the apartment the couples
enter, Larry looking embarrassed. "Larry, are you sure youíre all
right?" Jennifer asks. "Iím fine," Larry assures her,
"In karate we learn how to take a fall." "And you do it
very well!" Mary Anne offers, trying to be helpful. "Well, Iím
just glad everyoneís all right," Jennifer says. She and Mary Anne
leave and Balki closes the door behind them.
donít feel bad," Balki offers, "You almost had him. I had you
ahead on points until he cut off your air supply." "Balki,
itís not just that I got beaten up." "Again," Balki adds.
"And itís not that I was humiliated." "Again."
"In front of Jennifer." "Again." "Are you
helping? Is this some kind of help?" Larry asks in frustration,
"Donít you see whatís happened? Iíve gone from peaceful little
Larry Appleton to a guy who picks fights in bars. At least when I was
getting beaten up I was a nice person." When Balki doesnít say
anything Larry asks, "I was a nice person, wasnít I?" Balki
starts to shrug but Larry reacts with such a look of shock Balki quickly assures
Larry, "Oh, Iím just kidding! Of course you were a nice person!
You still a nice person, thatís why youíre upset."
Balki sits Larry down on the couch and
says, "Listen . . . you learned a very important lesson tonight."
"Oh youíre darn right I did!" Larry agrees, "I learned I never
should have taken karate to begin with!" "No, no, no, no, no,
no, no!" Balki insists. "No?" "What did I just
say?" "No." "Thatís right. Now, Cousin,
thereís nothing wrong with taking karate. Itís fun! Itís good
get to wear snazzy outfits and go barefoot. But youíre doing what you
always do . . . you take a good thing and you pound it into the ground!
Now why canít you just take karate and learn self defense and be a nice
person?" "I do enjoy the classes," Larry admits.
"And our sensei said you were a karate natural!" Balki adds.
"He said I was a natural?" Larry asks, tickled. "In two
languages," Balki says. "He probably said that because I move so
well," Larry speculates, standing up and doing some karate moves.
"You know, I think he said it because your legs are so short," Balki
observes. Larry urges Balki to get up and throw a punch at him.
Balki resists but Larry keeps taunting him, slapping at his face and egging him
on. Balki finally throws a punch which lands squarely on Larryís
abdomen. "Cousin, are you all right?" Balki asks. Larry
breathes in painfully and gasps, "Fine. Iím fine." He
then adds, "Balki . . . Iím going to pass out now." He starts
to fall as the episode ends.
on to the next episode . . .