Perfect Strangers Episode Guide

EPISODE 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.

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
Melanie Wilson: Jennifer Lyons (does not actually appear)

Guest Cast:
Jo Marie Payton-France: Harriette Winslow
Sam Anderson: Mr. Sam Gorpley
Lorry Goldman: Lou Miller

Dimitri 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 . . . "

Donít be ridiculous: Said once.

Other catchphrases used in this episode:
"You really stepped in something good this time!"
"Watch . . . and learn!"
"Balki, this is
"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

Songs: "New Attitude" - sung by Balki as "pneumatic tube" as heís sending something out that way.

Interesting facts:
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 floor.
- 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 Training.
- 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.

Bloopers and Inconsistencies:
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.

The 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."

"Let 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.

Larry 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."

"Well, 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."

Larry 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."

Trying 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."

Larry 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.

"Well, 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 behind.

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 one of 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.

Continue on to the next episode . . .