Perfect Strangers Episode Guide

EPISODE 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.

Co-Producer: James OíKeefe
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)

Guest Cast:
Jo Marie Payton-France: Harriette Winslow
Hartley Silver: Ticket Agent

Special Guest Appearance:
Carl Lewis: Himself

Dimitri 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 feet."
" . . . 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 Robinson."
"You are a doubting Tomopolis."

Donít be ridiculous: Said once.

Other catchphrases 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)

Songs: "Bye, Bye Love" - sung by Balki when Larry is explaining about the research heís doing

Interesting facts:
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 sport.
- 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

Bloopers and Inconsistencies:
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 comments.

Larry 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 myself."

"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."  "Cousin, 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.

"I 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 coordination."

Again 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.

"No," 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.

"You 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."

"Well, 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.

Act 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 Robinson."

"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 tickets."

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."

"Okay, 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.

Later 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 announces.

"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 chocolates?"

"Now 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, you know!"

Continue on to the next episode . . .