Strangers Episode Guide
48 - You Gotta Have Friends
First Air Date:
March 25, 1988
Nielsen Rating: 12.7 HH
TV Guide Description: Olympic
gold medalist Carl Lewis has a cameo as Balki's new friend, who borrows some
money and then invites him to a track meet, but doubting Larry thinks the man's
an imposter who took Balki's money and ran.
Created by: Dale McRaven
Written by: Robert Griffard and Howard Adler
Directed by: Joel Zwick
Bronson Pinchot: Balki Bartokomous
Mark Linn-Baker: Larry Appleton
Belita Moreno: Miss Lydia Markham (not actually in this episode)
Jo Marie Payton-France: Harriette Winslow
Hartley Silver: Ticket Agent
Carl Lewis: Himself
Appearances: Dimitri can be seen on the right side of the bookcase
wearing track shorts and holding a baton.
"I love The Elderly Brothers!"
"Are you out of my mind?"
"If you need a helping hand, Balki will be there to jump in with both
" . . . because I also had to pay for his Dang Dongs."
"I was wondering what you had a bee in your pants about."
" . . . your face is going to be green with embarrassment."
"And youíre going to come crawling to me on your hands and face . . .
"Ready to eat pigeon, Cousin?"
"Weíll be out of here before you can say Smokey
"You are a doubting Tomopolis."
ridiculous: Said once.
used in this episode:
"Get out of the city!"
"Balki, Balki, Balki . . . . "
Other running jokes
used in this episode:
Balki and Larry sigh simultaneously
Balki reads very slowly
Balki runs into the apartment and jumps on the couch (twice)
"Bye, Bye Love" - sung by Balki when Larry is explaining about the
research heís doing
- The title of this episode is a line from the 1973
Bette Midler song Friends.
- Belita Moreno is listed in the opening credits of this episode but does
not appear. It's possible another scene at the office was cut from the
airing of this show but we have no confirmation of that at this time.
- During the transition shot between Larry leaving
Balki at the arena alone and the apartment scene there is the sound of a police
siren over the establishing apartment building shot. This adds a subtle,
eerie touch to the mood of the coming scene where Larry is trying to find out
what has happened to Balki (the fact that the outside of the stadium entrance
was covered with graffiti and litter was blowing around also added to the sense
of danger of Balki staying there alone).
- When Balki runs into the apartment and leaps over
the couch into the chair he announces "Thatís called a Fosbury
Flop!" The Fosbury Flop is a technique used in the high jump and was
created by Dick Fosbury, an Olympic medal winner in 1968. The move,
which entails jumping over the high jump bar backwards, revolutionized the
- Track and field multi-Olympic gold medalist Carl
Lewis had a hilarious turn playing himself in this episode. Carl would
portray himself in television and movies countless times and in recent years has
done a bit of acting in movies as well. In a way it was fitting that Carl
Lewis make this appearance, since the idea for Perfect Strangers was born
during the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles where Carl made such an
impressive showing by winning four gold medals. You can learn more about
Carl by visiting his official website at http://www.carllewis.com.
- A blooper from this episode in which Bronson loses his line can be seen
on our YouTube Channel,
along with other bloopers from the series! Another short outtake where
Bronson and Mark can be seen bouncing up and down as they sit on the couch can
be seen during the Friendship
commercial for the series, which also featured outtakes from the show.
The episode begins in the basement of the Chicago Chronicle. Balki is
sitting on his work table reading the newspaper. Larry appears at the top
of the stairs carrying what is a ridiculously high pile of books and boxes.
"Yes, sir, Iíll have that for you tomorrow morning!" Larry calls
behind him, then starts down the stairs. Balki jumps up from the table and
hurries up the stairs, urging Larry to wait for him to help. "Iíve
got it, Iíve got it, just get away!" Larry insists, making his way down
the stairs to the first landing where Balki tries desperately to take the top of
the stack but Larry spins around to keep Balki away, insisting heís okay.
Harriette watches this nervously from below. On one turn the top of the
pile starts to topple but Balki catches it, setting it all back upright.
They both sigh with relief. "Now see? Itís a lucky thing I
was here!" Balki says, then tries again, "Now, very slowly let me just
take the top one." Larry pulls away as Balki tries to take the top
book and most of the pile falls over the stair banister to the ground below.
"Good thing they donít let you guys handle explosives!" Harriette
goes down the stairs to gather his materials with Balki following.
"Cousin, what is all this? Donít tell me youíre still writing
that article." "Oh no, Balki, Iím not writing it," Larry
explains, "Iím just doing the research. Three feature reporters are
writing it." "Oh. Well, that hardly seems fair,"
Balki comments, helping Larry pick up the items from the floor and put them on
his desk. "Oh no, no," Larry insists, "Itís great!
Iím learning a lot. See, the series is on senior citizens, and this
afternoon I interviewed a pair of elderly brothers . . . . " Balki gasps
excitedly, "I love the Elderly Brothers!" He starts singing The
Everly Brothers hit "Bye, Bye Love" then asks sharply, "Cousin,
why you didnít tell me you were meeting The Elderly Brothers?"
"It was last minute," Larry finally explains, not wanting to explain.
"Well, you tell me all about it on
the way to the movies tonight," Balki says. "Movie?" Larry
asks. "Yeah, Benji the Hunted is playing at the theater or a
drive-in near us," Balki answers, bringing the newspaper over to Larry to
show him. "Oh, oh, oh," Larry sighs, "Uh, Balki, I canít
go to a movie tonight. Iíve got to stay home. Iíve got to go
through all these files and take notes on each
one." "Oh Cousin, Iím sorry. I forgot how busy youíve
been." "Oh, thatís okay, Balki," Larry assures him,
"You enjoy the movie!" "Enjoy the movie? Are you out
of my mind? If you stay home, I stay home! Now this is what weíre
gonna do . . . Iíll read you the files and you take notes." Balki
picks up one of the files and starts reading the page very slowly. Larry
takes the file from him, saying, "No, uh, Balki I really should read them
"Youíre absolutely right,"
Balki agrees, "What kind of fool am I? Listen, this what we gonna do
. . . you read the files and Iíll take notes. I have to start sharpening
pencils right now." Balki takes a pencil from Larryís pencil holder
and starts to sharpen it using the electric sharpener on the desk, which he
enjoys very much. Balki takes another pencil and does the same, then
another. Larry gets frustrated and starts taking the pencils from Balki
but Balki keeps going, having too much fun to stop. Larry finally takes
the sharpener and pencils and moves them away, saying, "Balki, Iíd better
take the notes myself. Iíve kind of got my own system. But to tell
you the truth, Iíd feel terrible if you missed Benji because of me."
please donít give it a second thought," Balki says, "If you need a
helping hand, Balki will be there to jump in with both feet." Balki
reaches down to pick up one box of files, accidentally opening it and spilling
the files all over the floor.
That night at the apartment Larry is
working hard. There are files and papers on the kitchen counter, table,
couch and coffee table. Larry gets a paper from a file folder on the
counter and walks to the couch where he starts to take notes. Suddenly
Balki rushes in the front door and leaps onto the couch hard, landing next to
Larry as he exclaims, "Cousin, youíll never guess what happened
tonight!" Larry continues to take notes despite Balkiís obvious
anxiousness to tell his story. "Wait a minute, Balki, let me finish.
Let me finish, please . . . please . . . please . . . . " Balki hangs on to
Larryís arm, impatiently waiting for him to finish. Larry finally sets
down his pencil and looks at Balki.
went to see Benji the Hunted . . . mindblower!" Balki begins as
Larry goes to the kitchen counter to get another paper and Balki follows him
there and back to the couch, "I mean the whole movie is shot from a dogís
point of view! Yeah, you know I never thought about it before but that
Benji must get a stiff neck from looking up all the time." When they
return to the couch Balki accidentally sits on a scrapbook of articles Larry has
open and Larry has to move Balki to the other side. "Well, anyway,
anyway," Balki continues, "the really exciting thing happened after
the movie . . . . " Larry is once again taking notes and begs Balki
to wait until heís finished. Once done, Larry sets the paper down and
looks at Balki. "Okay," Balki continues, "I went to the
night mart. Did you know they let you make your own hot cocoa?"
Larry again gets up to go to the kitchen table and counter as Balki follows him
there and back. "Well, they do, and itís not as easy as most people
think. Thereís a trick to it. Youíve got to keep stirring and
stirring as you add the hot water. It entails a lot of hand / eye
Balki sits on the scrapbook when he returns to the couch, prompting Larry to
say, "Balki, look, look, look . . . Iíve seen you make hot chocolate and
hey, youíre the best. But I am up to my neck in senior citizens here so
it would really help me right now if you could just save your story for
later." "But Cousin . . . " "Later. Could
you do that? Could you do that for me? Could you save your story for
later, please? Please." Fighting back his enthusiasm, Balki
answers, "Okay." "Thank you," Larry offers, sitting
back down but Balki stands where he was, his expression growing ever more pained
as he struggles with himself to keep his story inside. This is as
distracting to Larry the story itself had been so finally Larry concedes,
saying, "Whatís your story?" "Okay!" Balki says
happily, sitting down and giggling, then exclaiming, "I made a new friend!
I made a new friend!" "Great story . . . I laughed, I cried . .
. now can I get back to my work?" Larry asks.
Balki answers, continuing as Larry once again gets up to get some files,
"So Iím at the night mart and I see this guy trying to make hot cocoa and
he doesnít know what heís doing, heís messing it all up and heís ending
up with this brown glop at the bottom of his cup. Disgusting! So I
went up to him and I decided I would show him how to make it the Balki way
which, as you know, entails a degree of stirring." "Well,
thatís nice," Larry offers, "Thatís nice, you help someone, you
make a friend. Thatís the way it works." Once again Balki
sits on the file and Larry scolds, "Ah!" which causes Balki to get up
on his own this time and move to the other side. "So, well it was a
good thing I was his friend because I have to pay for his hot cocoa!"
"Ah, you paid for his hot cocoa?" Larry says absently as he takes more
notes. "Yeah, yeah, because when he got up to the checkout counter he
realized he had forgot his wallet at home," Balki explains. "Oh
. . . getting through the checkout line, realizing you donít have any money,
that can be embarrassing," Larry smiles.
can say that again!" Balki agrees, "And it was a good thing I was
there because I also had to pay for his Dang Dongs." "You paid
for his hot chocolate and his Dang Dongs?" Larry asks, paying attention
now. "Yeah," Balki answers, "I paid for his Dang Dongs, and
his Double Stuffed Oreos and his Scooter Pies and his Twinkies and his two
gallons of cookies Ďní cream ice cream." "Uh, Balki . . .
" Larry begins. "Cousin, Cousin," Balki interrupts, "I
know what youíre thinking, and I asked myself the very same question . . .
isnít this just a little too much sugar in oneís diet?"
"Thatís not what I was thinking," Larry assures him.
"Well, youíll be happy to know he didnít touch a single Dang Dong until
after his dinner." "Dinner?" Larry asks. "He
took me to a very expensive restaurant!" Balki says happily, getting up to
hang his coat on the door.
"Wait a minute!" Larry cries,
"Back up! Back up! Whoa!" Balki literally backs up
across the living room as Larry gets up to confront him. "He took you
to a very expensive restaurant? If he didnít have any money how did he
pay for this dinner?" "Well, I loan him the money," Balki
explains, "and believe me he pulled out all the stops! He insisted we
have the best dinner my money could buy. But Cousin, this is the part
youíre not gonna believe." "I donít know, itís pretty
unbelievable so far!" Larry says. "My
new friend is a world famous athlete!" Balki announces.
"Youíre right, this is the part I donít believe," Larry sighs.
"At the 1984 Olympics he won four gold medals! Two for running, one
for jumping and one for handing someone a stick!" "Let me guess
. . . Carl Lewis?" "Get out of the city!" Balki cries,
"You know him, too?"
"No. No, I donít know him and
neither do you," Larry sighs, "This Carl is a con artist."
"No, Cousin, he is not an artist," Balki explains, then rolls his
eyes, "Have you been listening? He is a runner and a jumper and a
stick-hander-offer." Larry motions for Balki to sit on the back of
the couch with him. "Balki, Balki . . . your friend Carl Lewis
isnít the real Carl Lewis and he certainly isnít your friend. Heís a
fake, a fraud, a phony and probably hypoglycemic." "Cousin,
Iím surprised at you," Balki says, "You are saying these things
about someone you have not even met!" "Balki, just think about
it . . . you met him in an all night grocery store. He borrowed money to
buy his hot chocolate. He borrowed money to buy his groceries. He
borrowed money to pay for an expensive dinner. Surprised he didnít
borrow money to pay for a
cab." "Only twenty dollars," Balki states.
"Twenty dollars?" Larry cries in frustration. "Well, itís
all that I had left . . . I hope he got home okay!"
"Balki, the real Carl Lewis doesnít
hang out in night marts," Larry explains, "and he doesnít need to
borrow money from you." "Oh, Cousin, is that whatís bothering
you?" Balki asks, "I was wondering what you had a bee in your pants
about. Cousin, heís going to pay me back tomorrow at the track
meet." "What track meet?" Larry asks. "He told
me that heís in town for a track meet tomorrow and heís leaving two tickets
at the box office," Balki explains. "All right, Balki, listen to
me . . . there wonít be any tickets. Itís all part of the same lie.
This guy already has your money. Youíre never going to see him
again." "Cousin, do you know what your problem is? You
donít trust people." "I trust some people," Larry
clarifies, "I just donít trust strangers who claim to be somebody famous
and take all my money."
listen, you come with me tomorrow to the box office and when you see those
tickets, and you will, your face is going to be green with embarrassment."
"Thatís red with embarrassment," Larry corrects him, "and there
wonít be any tickets." "There will be tickets!" Balki
insists, heading for the front door, "And youíre going to come crawling
to me on your hands and face and say, ĎBalki, why . . . why canít I be more
like you and less like me?í Now if youíll excuse me Iím going to go
upstairs and get Mary Anne and take her out for a cup of coffee because Iím
sure sheíll be excited about my new friend!" Balki walks out the
door. Larry reaches into his pocket and pulls out his wallet just before
Balki walks back in the door saying, "Cousin, could I borrow some money
until Carl pays me back?" Larry hands Balki a bill and Balki leaves.
two begins with an establishing shot of the Chicago Arena (I have yet to
determine if the footage shown is of the actual arena). Balki and Larry
approach the box office which displays a sign reading "Indoor Track and
Field - North American Invitationals - World Class Event." Balki
stops and says to the man working the will call booth, "Uh, please, two
tickets under the name of Carl Lewis." Balki turns to Larry and asks,
"Ready to eat pigeon, Cousin?" "Balki, if there are any
tickets here Iíll eat pigeon, crow, any bird you want," Larry assures
him. "I got nothing for Carl Lewis," the ticket agent announces.
"Oh, um, try under the name of Bartokomous . . . thatís B - A - R - T - O
with a kamous at the end," Balki asks, then turns to Larry again saying,
"Thatís the thing. Weíll be out of here before you can say Smokey
"I got nothing," the ticket
agent states. "Well, they have to be there," Balki insists,
"Did you try under Bartokomous? B - A - R - T - O . . . . "
"I know, with a kamous at the end . . . but Lewis didnít leave anybody
any tickets," the agent repeats. "Well, eh . . . but heís a
friend of mine," Balki says. "Iím happy for ya," the
agent says, "but your friend didnít leave any tickets." Balki
sticks his head under the bars of the window until Larry pulls him back and the
agent calls the next person waiting in line to the window. "Balki,
Iím sorry," Larry offers, "I know youíre disappointed."
"He probably just forgot to leave the tickets," Balki says, pulling
his coat tighter against the cold wind, "You know heís very forgetful.
What probably happened is he decided to take a nap and he forgot to set the
alarm and then when he woke up he was so weirded out that he forgot to bring the
Larry looks exasperated, rubbing his face
with his hand as he sighs, "Balki, you have to understand there are people
out there just waiting to take advantage of people like you."
"Well . . . Cousin, maybe there are but my friend Carl is not one of
them," Balki counters. "Your friend Carl isnít even
Carl!" Larry says. "Cousin, do you know what you are? You
are a doubting Tomopolos." "I am not a doubting Tomopolos,"
Larry disagrees, "Iím a realist. A realist who is freezing his buns
off. Now can we go home?" "No, Cousin," Balki sighs,
"we came here to wait for Carl and if you are not willing to wait for Carl
I donít know why you come in the first place." "Balki, I came
to look out for you," Larry explains, "I knew there wouldnít be any
tickets and I knew youíd be hurt." "Well, I am not hurt,"
Balki insists, "so you have wasted your trip."
fine," Larry says, "You stand out here in the cold . . . I am going
home." "All right, go home," Balki says. "I
will!" Larry threatens. "Go home," Balki agrees.
"You think I wonít?" Larry asks. "No, I think you
will," Balki answers, "Iím not a doubting Tomopolos."
"Okay, here I go!" Larry states, staying where he is. Balki
looks down at Larryís immobile feet and back up at Larry, so Larry finally
turns and walks away. A moment later Larry walks back up to Balki.
"So youíre just going to stay here?" Larry asks. "Look at
me, am I moving?" Balki asks. "Okay, okay, fine," Larry
says reluctantly, "I guess thereís some things you just gotta learn for
yourself." "I guess so," Balki nods, "Goodnight,
Cousin." Larry walks away, leaving Balki to wait alone in the cold
outside the arena entrance.
at the apartment, Larry is on the phone to the arena, sounding worried.
"How long has the track meet been over? Well, are you sure thereís
no one there? Well, yes, I know youíre there! Is there
anyone else there? I left him standing right outside the Will Call window.
Could you just run outside and check for me?" After a moment Larry
looks shocked, then angry, saying, "Oh well, thatís real nice.
Thatís real clever. Well, let me tell you something, buster . . . Iím
rubber and youíre glue, everything you say bounces off me and sticks to
you!" Larry slams down the phone, steaming. After a moment he
says, "Iíll find him myself!" and starts for the front door.
He takes his jacket off the rack and opens the door. At that moment Balki
rushes into the apartment, flips over the back of the couch, rolls off and into
the chair neatly. "Thatís called a Fosbury Flop!" Balki
"Balki, itís one a.m. . . . where
have you been?" Larry asks angrily. "Funny, funny story,
Cousin," Balki says, taking off his scarf
and coat, "Not two minutes after your compact little legs carried you away,
Carl came running out of the stadium, apologized for not leaving the tickets,
and swept me into the stadium! And . . . and there were no seats left so
he had to give me a press pass." "A press pass?" Larry asks
skeptically. "It gets better!" Balki promises. "Iím
sure it does," Larry sighs. "Cousin, it was so much fun inside
that stadium! Everybodyís running and jumping and throwing things!"
"Okay, Balki," Larry says, approaching him, "Are you trying to
tell me that Carl really showed up?" "Cousin," Balki begins
patiently, "half of communication is being a good listener. Iím
sorry to rub it in, I know how embarrassed you must be by being completely wrong
but I was just so happy when Carl showed up!" Balki leaps joyfully
onto the couch.
"Oh, Balki," Larry sighs, moving
to sit next to him, "Balki, Balki, Balki . . . listen to me."
Balki leans forward to listen. "I know what youíre going
through," Larry begins, "In junior high I told Bobby Caruso that Henry
Aaron was a friend of my dadís and that he was coming over for dinner that
weekend. Well, the next day every kid in the eighth grade begged me for
his autograph." "Bobby Carusoís?" Balki asks.
"Henry Aaronís," Larry clarifies, "So, what could I do? I
had to save face . . . I spent the whole weekend
signing pieces of paper that said ĎBest wishes, stay in school, Henry
Aaron.í I stooped to forgery to avoid humiliation. Do you see what
Iím getting at?" "Well, of course I do, donít be
ridiculous," Balki says, then adds, "But shouldnít you be telling
all of this to Bobby Caruso?"
"Balki, the point is when youíve
been hurt you donít have to make up a story to save face," Larry
explains. Balki is stunned. "You . . . you donít believe
me!" "Balki, this is Cousin Larry youíre talking to."
"Cousin, ever since Iíve known you, I have never lied to you. And
even before I knew you, I never lied to you. And even before I never lied
to you, I never lied to anyone! Not even the littlest sheep in my
flock!" Larry is unconvinced, sighing, "So, youíre gonna stick
to your story?" "Itís . . . the truth!" Balki insists.
"Okay, fine!" Larry sighs, "Carl Lewis is your friend, Iím
happy for you." "He is!" Balki states. "Hey, I
believe it!" Larry says facetiously, "So what did you and Carl do
after the meet? Hit the night mart and throw down a couple of hot
youíre making fun of Balki," Balki sighs in frustration.
"Letís just forget the whole thing," Larry suggests, getting up from
the couch, "I gotta turn in. Iíve got a big day tomorrow . . .
Iím playing handball with the Pope." Balki rolls his eyes and heads
for the kitchen as Larry passes the door, just as someone knocks.
"Oh, that must be Morgan Fairchild!" Larry says, "I met her at
the laundromat you know!" Larry opens the door and who should be
standing there but Carl Lewis! Larry stands, stunned, as Carl says,
"Iím looking for Balki Bartokomous?" Balki closes the
refrigerator door and looks around, seeing it is Carl he says casually,
"Carl, come in." "Oh, hey Balki! How you doiní?"
Carl smiles, passing by Larry and shaking hands with Balki, then hands him some
photos, saying, "Oh, you left these autographs in the limousine."
"Oh, thank you!" Balki offers.
"Youíre Carl Lewis!" Larry
states, still stunned. "Yeah," Carl nods, then turns back to
Balki. "Harriette is gonna love these," Balki
says, "Sheís a big, big fan of yours and your brother Jerry!"
Carl turns, saying, "You must be Larry. Balki talks about you all the
time!" "Youíre Carl Lewis!" Larry repeats, still staring
wide-eyed. "I was the last time I looked at myself," Carl
agrees. "Youíre Carl Lewis!" Larry says again. Carl
places a hand on Larryís shoulder, sighing, "Whoo!" Carl heads for
the door, saying to Balki, "Next time Iím in town Iím gonna give you a
call." "Okay!" Balki smiles, Bye, Carl! And listen,
if you ever need a place to crash, feel free." "Iíll do
that," Carl agrees, then adds, "And nice talkiní to ya, Larry!"
Larry only mutters some babble as Carl leaves. Larry turns to Balki, saying,
"That was Carl Lewis!" "Yes, yes it was," Balki
agrees, walking to the couch as Larry closes the door.
Larry sits down on the couch and laughs
nervously. "Y . . . you know . . . I didnít believe you."
Balki smiles, enjoying the apology to come. "No, you didnít!"
he agrees. "Carl must think Iím a real jerk," Larry laughs.
"I think thatís a distinct possibility," Balki agrees, much to
Larryís chagrin. "I made fun of you," Larry confesses.
"Oh Cousin, I forgive you," Balki smiles, hooking an arm
around Larryís shoulders, "You were just trying to protect me."
"I was, I was!" Larry insists, "And I promise . . . from now on I
will never doubt you ever again." "Really?" Balki asks.
"Never ever! Never!" Larry assures him. "Never?"
Balki asks. "If you say it, Iíll believe it!" Larry promises.
Balki thinks about this, then tries, "Well, what if I said that I had
dinner with the Mayor?" "Iíd ask what he ordered," Larry
says. "What if I said that NASA wants me to be an astronaut?"
"Iíd mix up a pitcher of Tang!" Larry states. Balki is really
enjoying the idea of this, thinking a moment before his next try.
"What if I said . . . that I bought a handful of magic beans and I threw
them out the window and they grew up into a beanstalk and it reached through the
clouds and I climbed up it and I met a giant who wrestled me and I came down
with his golden goose?" Larry hesitates a long moment before
answering, then finally says, "Iíd believe you." "Oh
Cousin, show a little judgement!" Balki scolds, "I could lose my mind,
on to the next episode . . .