Strangers Episode Guide
41 - My Lips Are Sealed
First Air Date:
January 13, 1988
Nielsen Rating: 18.7 HH
TV Guide Description: Larry
expects Balki to live by a code of honor on the job, but at home he expects his
cousin to reveal information about his raise, which Larry desperately needs to
afford the sports car he's been admiring.
Created by: Dale McRaven
Written by: Paula A. Roth
Directed by: Joel Zwick
Bronson Pinchot: Balki Bartokomous
Mark Linn-Baker: Larry Appleton
Melanie Wilson: Jennifer Lyons (does not actually appear)
Jo Marie Payton-France: Harriette Winslow
Sam Anderson: Mr. Sam Gorpley
Lorry Goldman: Lou Miller
Appearances: Dimitri can be seen sitting on the bookcase wearing a shirt
and with a piece of tape over his mouth.
"I think I have what they call a pornographic memory."
"Four on the floor is better than two in the bush."
"Does a Mypiot spit in the woods?"
"Why donít we quit beating around George Bush and get on with this?"
"That would be such a big load off my spine!"
" . . . to make a short story long . . . "
ridiculous: Said once.
used in this episode:
"You really stepped in something good this time!"
"Watch . . . and learn!"
"Balki, this is great!"
"Let me get this straight."
"I donít think so."
"Oh my Lord!"
Other running jokes
used in this episode:
Balki pays Gorpley a compliment while at the same time inadvertently letting him
know what people really think of him
Larry tries to make a point but Balki jumps in with a completely different point
Larry manipulates Balki by having him "look into the future" and
spinning a tale of woe
Balki sits among the ashes when disgraced
"New Attitude" - sung by Balki as "pneumatic tube" as heís
sending something out that way.
- While Melanie Wilson is listed in the opening credits of this episode
she does not actually appear. Her part was likely left on the cutting room
- The use of the song "New Attitude" but
with the words "pneumatic tube" was something that was created while
the show was being filmed. Bronson asked the audience if anyone new the
lyrics to the song so he could quickly memorize them.
- The phrase "Never let Ďem see you
sweat" was popularized in a series of commercials for Gillette Dry Idea
Deodorant in the 1980's.
- Balki mentions that heís good at bargaining,
something that was alluded to in the previous season three episode Your
Cheatiní Heart as well.
- When Balki mentions George Bush here he is of
course referring to George Bush, Sr.
Lorry Goldman, who plays Lou the used car salesman in this episode, would
return to play Doug Perkins, a fellow Chronicle employee taken in by the STOP!
assertiveness training program in the fourth season episode Assertive
- There is a really nice but subtle panning of the
camera downward as Larry walks away from the used car lot which effectively
gives that scene extra weight.
- Larry makes the comment that the car of his
dreams looked "soft and blurry, kind of glowed" to which Balki asks,
"Like Cybill Shepherd does on Moonlighting?" This is in
reference to the fact that Cybill was often filmed through a soft filter on that
program, a photographic trick often used to make women look even more
attractive. And of course this is yet another reference to the series
which Perfect Strangers debuted in front of in early 1986.
- As Balki and Larry walk to the chair in unison you can see a shadow
fall across the side of the chair facing the camera in the lower left hand
corner of the screen. This is likely the shadow from Camera A moving into
position during the shot.
episode begins in the basement of The Chronicle. Larry is seen working at
his desk with Harriette standing outside the elevator working on a puzzle in a
book. Balki is singing and dancing to the song "New Attitude,"
although on the final lyric he changes it to "pneumatic tube" as he
sends off something in the paperís pneumatic tube system. A moment later
a canister drops out of a neighboring slot and Balki calls out
"Incoming!" He looks at the canister and says, "Hey Cousin,
your used car ads came early today! Somebody up there must like you!"
Balki tosses the canister to Larry, who thanks him.
As Larry removes the ads from the
canister, Harriette walks up behind him. "Looking for a new car,
baby?" she asks. "Not just any car," Larry explains,
"My dream car! A Ď62 Austin-Healey 3000 Mark II."
"Well, itís your life, honey," Harriette says unenthusiastically,
"but I wouldnít buy one of those little convertible things. You
gonna spend a ton of money and
wind up sucking up bus fumes!" Harriette walks away just as Sam
Gorpley comes out of his office and approaches Balki. "Bartokomous, I
need to know if youíve seen a memo from accounting to payroll. It was
about a claim I put in for reimbursement for gas." Balki explains
that he sent that memo upstairs already.
Gorpley sighs with frustration.
"I donít suppose you read that memo, did ya?" he asks.
"No no, I didnít," Balki confirms, "but I did happen to glance
at it and, you know, sometimes if I just look at something it sticks on my
brain. I think . . . I think I have what they call a pornographic
memory." Gorpley smiles sneakily, saying, "You know, Bartokomous,
I probably donít tell you this often enough but I think youíre doing a
terrific job!" "Really?" Balki smiles. "Hey,
would I lie?" Gorpley asks. "Well, isnít that nice?"
Balki smiles, "You know, Mr. Gorpley, people are wrong about you . . . you do
have an ounce of human kindness. So if thereís anything I can do for
you, you just tell me."
me see," Gorpley feigns thinking about it, "What could you do for me?
Oh, I know! You could tell me what was in that memo from accounting!"
Larry watches this exchange unfolding with skepticism. "Oh, thatís
too easy, give me something hard!" Balki insists, arguing with Gorpley
until Gorpley finally yells, "Thatís all I want!" before composing
himself again. "Okay, but you have a favor to be named later,"
Balki says, then thinks about the memo and recites what he sees in his memory,
speaking slowly as he does when reading, "Quote: ĎTo Mr. Marshall from
Mr. Bearson regarding Gorpleyís mileage reimbursement . . . approved . . .
í" Gorpley is satisfied with this and starts to walk away but Balki
continues, "Ď . . . but keep an eye on the little weasel, I think heís
stealing the Chronicle blind.í Unquote." Gorpley gives Balki
a scowl, grudgingly saying, "Keep up the good work, Bartokomous,"
before slumping back into his office.
walks over to Balkiís table and asks, "Balki, what do you think youíre
doing?" "I think Iím making friends with Mr. Gorpley!"
Balki says excitedly. "No, youíre not," Larry explains,
"He was just using you. Balki, your job gives you access to a lot of
confidential information and itís your responsibility to keep that information
to yourself. People like Gorpley will try to take advantage of you but you
canít let them. Itís not easy, but thatís the code you have to live
by." "Itís a code?" Balki asks. "Itís a kind
of code of honor," Larry explain further, "You understand what a code
of honor is?" "Well, of course I do, donít be
ridiculous!" Balki assures him, "We sheepherders have a very strict
code of honor: never practice wolf calls while the sheep are sleeping, never eat
lamb chops in front of the flock, and never, ever let them see you sweat."
this code is even easier," Larry assures him, "You can sweat all you
want, just donít tell anybodyís whatís in the mail."
"Donít tell anybody whatís in the mail," Balki repeats, "Got
it." Larry returns to his used car ads. As Balki is about to
head upstairs Larry calls out, "Balki, come here! Look at this!
I found an ad for a Ď62 Austin-Healey!" "Oh Cousin, thatís
wonderful!" Balki says happily. "Listen to this," Larry
reads, "ĎNew paint, wire wheels, radio and four on the floor.í"
"Oh, thatís too bad," Balki says sadly, adding, "But you know
what they say . . . four on the floor is better than two in the bush."
That evening Balki and Larry arrive at
Louís Used Cars and approach Larryís dream car, a beautiful red Ď62
Austin-Healey 3000 Mark II. "Balki, there it is!" Larry points
out. "Oh Cousin! You really stepped in something good this
time!" Balki says in awe, "This
is nice!" "Nice? Itís perfect! Iíd give my right
arm for this car!" Larry says. "How would you shift gears?"
Balki asks in confusion. "Itís an expression," Larry explains.
The car lot dealer approaches Larry, asking how heís doing today and
introducing himself as Lou Miller. Larry introduces himself and Balki.
"Are you interested in this
car?" Lou asks. Larry starts to act unsure but Balki walks over to
them, saying, "Are you kidding? Is he interested in this car?
Does a Mypiot spit in the woods?" Larry asks Lou to excuse them and
pulls Balki aside. "What are you doing?" Larry demands.
"Iím telling Lou how much you like his car!" Balki explains.
"Balki, if Lou knows I really want the car I wonít be able to get him to
come down on the price!" Larry points
out. "Wait a minute, are we talking about bargaining here?"
Balki asks. "I am!" Larry says. "Well, why you
didnít say so? I am the best bargainer on Mypos! Why donít we
just quit beating around George Bush and get on with this?"
"Balki, this isnít as simple as
bargaining over the price of a sheep," Larry explains, "It takes a
certain amount of finesse. Let me handle it." Balki argues with
him until Larry finally suggests that Balki, "Watch . . . and learn!"
Balki motions for Larry to go ahead. Larry turns back to Lou, saying,
"Iíve been thinking it over, Lou, and Iím not really so sure Iím
interested in this baby after all. It looks pretty bad. Probably
needs a lot of work. What do you say I do you a favor, take this
lemon off your hands for . . . oh say, $4,000?" Lou points to a sign
sitting on the windshield, saying, "The price of the car is $7,500."
laughs, saying, "Lou, Lou, Lou! Now we both know that this number
means nothing." Larry takes the sign and rips it in half.
"You tore up my sign!" Lou says in shock. "$5,000, thatís
my best offer," Larry continues. "My kid made that sign!"
Lou points out, hurt. Realizing he is getting nowhere, Larry starts to
whine. "But, I donít have $7,500 . . . and I really love
this car." "Look, kid, Iím sorry," Lou sighs, "Iíd
really like to help you but I got a buyer coming at nine oíclock tonight
whoís willing to pay my price. You get here first, you pay my price, you
get the car!" Lou walks away as Larry turns to Balki, who says,
"Shall I assume class is over?"
The second act begins at the apartment.
Larry is sitting on the couch working out some figures on an adding machine.
Balki enters from Larryís bedroom, announcing, "Cousin, I went through
all your pockets and the couch and the chair and I got seven
dollars and thirty four cents and a stick of Juicy Fruit that you could cut a
diamond with." Larry adds this into the figures heís adding.
"Have enough to buy the car?" Balki asks. "Well, if I add
in what I could get for my Mustang," Larry figures, punching in more
numbers, "I could buy the Austin, but Iíd have to live in it."
"You know what really bothers
me?" Larry asks. "When you think thereís enough milk for your
morning coffee but thereís only three drops left in the carton?" Balki
interrupts. "Yes, that bothers me," Larry agrees.
"Isnít that the worst?" Balki continues. "Yes, but I am
talking about buying the car!" Larry tries to pull the conversation back on
course, "The timing is lousy! I mean, why did it have to come on the
market now? If I get a raise at my sixth month salary review Iíd be able
to make the payments, but the review committee doesnít meet for two
weeks." "They met yesterday," Balki says. "They
did?" Larry asks. "Yeah, the managing editor is going on
vacation so he wanted to get it out of the way," Balki explains.
"Wait a minute," Larry realizes,
"If they met yesterday the memo was probably sent to payroll today!"
Balkiís eyes widen nervously. "You think so?" he asks, trying
to act casual. "Did you see the memo?" Larry asks.
"Well, I see so many memos," Balki says evasively. "You saw
the memo!" Larry realizes, "Balki, this is great! You can tell
me if I got the raise!" Larry sighs with relief. "So,
Balki, did I get the raise?" Balki hesitates, looking uncomfortable.
"I canít tell you," he finally says. "Let me get this
straight," Larry begins, "You know if I got my raise or not and
youíre not going to tell me?"
"You know, I have a wonderful
idea," Balki says, trying to change the subject, "Weíve been cooped
up here all night, why donít we just go play racquetball with Jennifer and
Mary Anne?" Balki heads for the door but Larry shouts,
"Freeze!" Larry walks to where Balki is standing, holding the
front door knob. "Balki, did I get my raise?" Larry asks.
"I . . . canít tell you," Balki repeats, walking
toward the couch with Larry staying with him step by step. "I live by
a code," Balki explains. "Code, what code?" Larry asks.
Balki steps around to the chair with Larry still staying next to him.
"The mailboyís code of honor," Balki says seriously, sitting down on
the chair. "Oh, forget that!" Larry says, sitting down at the
same time Balki does and even crossing his leg at the same moment as Balki.
"I canít forget that I have a
code!" Balki says in earnest. "Balki, this is the eighties!
Nobody lives by a code any more!" Larry insists, "Just look at the
guys who are running for President! Now did I get my raise or not?"
"Cousin, I know I made a mistake telling Mr. Gorpley about the memo today
but I learned my lesson!" "Oh!" Larry sighs in realization,
"Oh! Now I see what the problem is! Balki, there is a world of
difference between Gorpley and me. Heís a deceitful, mean person who
used you to get information for his own selfish desires. Iím Cousin
Larry . . . your friend,
who would never, ever take advantage of you so, you see, itís perfectly all
right to tell me about my raise." Larry smiles at Balki, who grins
back and laughs twice before finally saying, "I donít think so."
Balki gets up, explaining, "You see, Cousin, no matter who I tell it would
be violating my code."
Balki crosses to the kitchen and Larry
follows, stopping on the other side of the counter from him to continue making
his point. "Balki, itís not like my raise is a big secret.
Iíll find out about it in a couple of days anyway but . . . darn it . . . I
donít have a couple of days. That car will be gone by nine
oíclock tonight." "Cousin, Iím sorry," Balki offers,
"but thereís just no way I can tell you about your raise. Asking a
Mypiot to give up his code is like asking a tsetse fly to give up his
tsetse." "Thereís really no way?" Larry asks.
"No!" Balki confirms, "Thereís no way."
"Nothing I could do or say would change your mind?" Larry asks.
"Absolutely nothing," Balki says. "ĎCause I wouldnít
stoop so low as to offer you money," Larry tries, eyeing Balki to gauge his
reaction. Balki is obviously appalled at the prospect, saying, "Iím
glad to hear that."
another method, Larry continues, "I wouldnít dream of offering you
something . . . sweet." "Cousin, donít do this," Balki
begs. "Something like a Sears Tower Sundae," Larry continues,
crawling over the counter as Balki struggles not to give in, "the tallest
sundae known to man. A mountain of double fudge almond nut ice cream
running with rivers of hot caramel and topped with mounds of whipped cream!
And cherries . . . cherries . . . as many cherries as you want! It could
be yours, Balki! It could be yours and not just tonight . . . every night
for a month! And all you have to do is just tell me . . . tell me if I got
my raise . . . " Balki has collapsed into a chair in the kitchen,
fighting hard against his conscience. He finally breaks down, running to
his bedroom crying, "I canít! I canít! I canít!" as
he slams the door behind him.
Larry chases after Balki and pauses
outside the bedroom door, waiting a moment to rethink his approach. He
taps on the door
and calls out gently, "Balki? I was way out of line. Balki . .
. I owe you an apology. Open the door . . . please?" The door
opens and Balki looks out. Larry walks away, saying, "Iím sorry . .
. I am so, so sorry." He looks back slyly to see if his words are
having any effect, which they are as Balki is following Larry into the living
room. "Iíve been trying to get you break your code and you wonít.
Why? Because you have too much integrity and, hey, I respect you for it.
Why donít we just forget the whole thing and get on with our lives?"
"Really?" Balki asks hopefully. "Really," Larry
promises, "I wonít mention it again." "Oh, oh, Cousin, oh
thank you! That would be such a big load off my spine!" Balki
sighs with relief and laughs as Larry joins him.
"So, what do you want to do?"
Larry asks as they move toward the couch, "Watch a little TV?"
Balki indicates no to this. "Go to a movie?" Balki again
hums no. "Or we could talk," Larry suggests, his voice dropping
into serious mode again. They sit on the couch. "You know,
itís funny," Larry begins, "sometimes the little things can change a
personís whole life." "Oh boy, donít I know
it?" Balki agrees. "Now take me for instance," Larry
tries to begin, but Balki says, "Better yet, take the example of my Cousin
Christos." They both start trying to tell their stories at the same
time. Finally Larry motions for Balki to go ahead.
"When my Cousin Christos, when he was
about eight years old he got kicked in the head by a goat. And we didnít
think that much of it because . . . who hasnít been kicked in the head by a
goat? Anyway, when he grew up he started to have these terrible headaches.
And it was just awful . . . I mean, he couldnít sleep, he couldnít eat, he
couldnít work and nobody knew what to do. And then finally it hit me . .
. I said, ĎChristos, that hat that youíve been wearing since you were eight
years old and the goat kicked you in the head . . . take it off, itís just too
small!í So anyway, to make a short story long, he did, and uh, it made a
world of difference. And today, Christos is the surgeon general of Mypos."
stares at Balki in wonder. "Fascinating," he finally sighs,
"Now, letís take whatís happened to me. Now, I wonít be getting
the car of my dreams. ĎSo what?í you may say, I mean, that happens to
a lot of people, but letís take a look into the future." Larry
indicates a point ahead of them where they both gaze as Larry weaves his story.
"Oh look! Who is that? Why, itís Larry Appleton! But
why is he sleeping on a park bench covered with newspaper? What happened
to him?" "I donít know," Balki says, "His back is to
me." Larry eyes Balki in confusion for a moment then carries on.
they say it started when he got the chance to get the car of his dreams and
couldnít take it. Why? I think we all know why. He was never
the same after that. He spent all his time going from one used car lot to
another. The dealers said theyíd find him another Austin-Healey but they
didnít. And it was all downhill from there. He lost his job, his
friends, and finally his will to live." Larryís voice has become
dramatically emotional and Balki is getting teary-eyed. Suddenly Larry
starts, saying, "Oh my Lord!" "What is it?" Balki
asks, on the verge of tears. "Oh, he just rolled off the park bench!
I . . . I think he stopped breathing!" "Cousin, donít die,
youíre getting a raise!" Balki cries out. "Are you sure?"
Larry asks without missing a beat. "Of course Iím sure . . . "
Balki starts, then stops, realizing what Larry has done and staring at his
cousin in shock. "Thanks, Balki . . . you saved a life!" Larry
smiles wickedly, then runs out the front door leaving a shocked and hurt Balki
Larry arrives at Louís Used Cars lot
just as Lou is placing the newly-taped sign back onto the Austin-Healey.
"Are you gonna buy it, or are you gonna tear up the sign again?" Lou
asks nervously. "Iím ready to buy!" Larry assures him.
"Fine, Iíll go get the paperwork!" Lou starts for his office,
then stops and removes the sign, taking it with him. Larry stands, eyeing
the car excitedly. Slowly his expression drops and he looks guilty and
uncomfortable. Finally Larry turns around and leaves the lot.
Back at the apartment, Balki is sitting in
the fireplace as Larry walks back in the door, stopping to hang his jacket on
the rack. He looks around, then realizes where Balki is. "May I
ask why youíre sitting in the fireplace?" Larry wonders.
"Because I am disgraced," Balki explains, "and when I am
disgraced I have to sit among the ashes." "Oh right, thatís
those Mypos things," Larry realizes, sitting on the couch across from him,
"Balki, I didnít buy the car." Balki looks up in surprise,
asking, "You didnít?" "No," Larry says,
"something happened when I got to the used car lot. This afternoon
the car looked soft and blurry . . . kind of glowed." "Like
Cybill Shepherd does on ĎMoonlightingí?" Balki asks.
"Exactly!" Larry agrees, "But tonight, after what I did to you,
everything changed. Suddenly it just looked like an old car. I
realized I put that stupid car above our friendship."
"Oh Cousin!" Balki sighs, trying
to get to his feet but realizing he canít. Instead he steps to the couch
in the crouched position heís already in. "You didnít buy the car
because of our friendship?" "Yeah . . . I couldnít.
Pretty dumb, huh?" "No, Cousin, Iím proud of you!" Balki
assures him. "Proud of me?" Larry asks skeptically, "I made
you violate your code!" "Well, yeah you did, but I didnít even
know I had that code until you told me about it," Balki points out.
"Oh yeah, Iím great at pointing out codes to other people, I just donít
live by them myself!" "Yes, you do!" Balki insists,
"You live by a code! It
just takes a while for it to kick in." "I just wish it would
kick in sooner so I wouldnít feel like such a jerk!" Larry complains.
"You are not a jerk!" "Iím not?" Larry asks
hopefully. "No!" Balki repeats, then adds "Youíre tricky
and devious and a lousy bargainer but . . . youíre not a jerk."
"Thanks," Larry smiles. "Cousin, I want to do something to
cheer you up," Balki says, "um . . . what can I offer you?
Perhaps . . . something sweet? Why donít we go get a Sear Tower Sundae?
Iíll buy!" "No, no, Iím the tricky, devious one, Iíll
buy," Larry insists. They argue about who will do the buying until
Balki grabs Larry by the shirt and says, very sternly, "Look! I want
you to be cheerful! Iíll buy!" "Okay," Larry smiles
and Balki lets him go and straightens out Larryís shirt as the episode ends.
on to the next episode . . .