Perfect Strangers Episode Guide

EPISODE 50 - Bye, Bye Biki

First Air Date: May 6, 1988
Nielsen Rating: 9.8 HH

TV Guide Description: The most difficult task for Larry concerning the impending visit of Balki's 106-year-old grandmother isn't coping with the cow, goat and chickens in the apartment or the eels in the bathtub, but giving Balki the bad news: Grandma Balki died when she got off the plane from Mypos.

Co-Producer: James OíKeefe
Created by: Dale McRaven
Written by: William Bickley & Michael Warren
Directed by: Joel Zwick

Cast:
Bronson Pinchot: Balki Bartokomous
Mark Linn-Baker: Larry Appleton
Rebeca Arthur: Mary Anne
Melanie Wilson: Jennifer Lyons
Belita Moreno: Miss Lydia Markham

Guest Cast:
Jo Marie Payton-France: Harriette Winslow

Dimitri Appearances: Dimitri can be seen throughout most of the episode sitting on the bookcase and wearing a sweater.  In the final scene he has tiny balloons on his head and a red nose like Balkiís and there is also a little box of popcorn in front of him.

Balki-isms:
"I have been running around like a chicken with his head glued on all day!"
"Cousin, I have a storm in my brain!"

Donít be ridiculous: Said once.

Other catchphrases used in this episode:
"Get out of the city!"

Other running jokes used in this episode:
Balkiís mama (or in this case his yaya) yelling "Balki!" over the phone
Harriette insults Lydia

Songs: For Sheís a Jolly Good Fellow translated into Myposian - sung by Balki, Harriette, Larry and Lydia

Interesting facts:
-
The voice of Balkiís Yaya, who is only ever heard calling "Balki!" over the phone, is the same as Balkiís mama who does the same thing.  Since Yaya Biki is Balkiís motherís mother, it would make sense that they would sound the same.
- When Balki describes the man on the flying trapeze itís a bit of an in-joke because Bronson appeared on Circus of the Stars the previous year to perform on the trapeze himself!
- The seriousness of this episode was quite unusual for the series.  Only a few episodes ever ended on a sad note, and none as deep or meaningful as seen here.  While the message of the episode was strong, it was especially strong for those who had lost loved ones.  Many fans, especially those who had recently suffered a loss of someone close, found this episode incredibly intense and reacted in many ways.  Some found the message comforting, others found it hard to take.  In any case, it was a moment of television which touched a lot of people and stayed with many fans for a long time afterward.

Bloopers and Inconsistencies:
-
As can be imagined, the cowís mooing had to be dubbed in.  If you look closely, the cow never actually moos when the mooing is heard!  They cleverly try to cover this by adding the moos when the cowís mouth isnít clearly seen.
- Okay, this is ridiculously picky, I know, and the explanation is blatantly obvious, but here goes . . . when Balki says goodbye to Yaya Biki why does he not speak to her in Myposian as he did on the phone?


Synopsis:
The episode begins one morning in the apartment.  Larry, dressed for work and holding his jacket over his arm, gets his briefcase and knocks on Balkiís closed bedroom door calling, "Balki, will you come on?  If we donít leave for work right now all the really good donuts will be gone!"  Larry undoes the chain on the front door as Balki emerges from his bedroom, insisting, "Okay, Cousin, Iím ready, Iím ready!" although he is only loosely dressed with his shirt hanging out, no socks or shoes and his suspenders hanging down.  He drops his shoes and socks on the floor as the phone begins to ring. Larry walks over to answer the phone as Balki starts to finish dressing.  "Hello?" Larry asks into the receiver.  "Balki!" comes the sharp womanís voice on the other end of the line.

"Itís for you," Larry tells Balki.  "Well, tell them I call them back later," Balki says.  "I think itís from Mypos," Larry explains, "I hear chickens in the background."  Balki hurries to the phone, taking the receiver from Larry.  "Nay?" he asks, then reacts happily, exclaiming "Dazo Yaya!"  He continues in Myposian until Larry asks, "Who is it, your mother?"  "No, itís my Yaya!" Balki explains excitedly.  "Your Yaya?" Larry asked, confused.  "My grandmother!" Balki explains, until he hears the sharp "Balki!" through the receiver and goes back to his conversation.  He ends the conversation with, "Okay . . . bye bye, babe" and hangs up.  "Cousin, the most wonderful news!  My Yaya is coming to America!"  "Well, thatís great!" Larry smiles, "Grandma Bartokomous is coming to America!"  "Get out of the city!" Balki gasps, "Sheís coming, too?"  "You just told me she was coming," Larry points out.  "No . . . em . . . no . . . my Yaya Bartokomous is not coming to America.  This is Yaya Biki from my motherís side," Balki explains.

"Wait a minute," Larry realizes, "Is this the Yaya Biki whoís a hundred and six years old?"  "No, this is the Yaya Biki who has a lounge act in Vegas," Balki says sarcastically as he puts on his socks.  "What I meant was I canít believe someone whoís a hundred and six is going to be making a trip like this," Larry says, finishing putting on his jacket and getting his briefcase again, "Isnít it too much for her?"  "Well, maybe for your average hundred and six year old but not for my Yaya," Balki assures Larry as he puts on his shoes, "This woman, every morning before the sun come up, she takes the goats six miles uphill to graze them, then she come back down the hill and cook breakfast for twenty six men and then after the twenty six men go out to the fields she does forty five minutes of low impact aerobics.  So you see, for someone over a hundred sheís very much an eightiesí woman."  Balki finishes dressing by pulling his suspender straps up over his shirt and jacket, looking very odd as they walk out the door.

The next scene takes place at a later date in the apartment.  Balki is busy hanging garlic over the fireplace, which is festooned with plants, pans and even a large cooking pot.  He then walks into the kitchen and goes to the sink.  Larry enters the apartment and sees the fireplace in all its Myposian glory, pausing to shake his head in exasperation.  He closes the front door and hangs up his jacket then turns around . . . to find a cow standing in the living room behind the couch.  As the cow chews its cud, Larry calls out, "Balki!"  Balki pokes his head between several potted tomato plants that are on the kitchen counter and smiles, asking, "What can I do you for?"  "Could we have a . . . chat?" Larry asks.  Balki meets Larry at the couch and they sit down.

"Balki . . . when you brought a hundred pounds of garlic into the apartment I said to myself, ĎOkay . . . so Yaya Biki loves scampi.í  When you told me she likes to keep fresh eels in the bathtub I said to myself, ĎHey . . . no problem . . . I take showers.í  But . . . . "  "Itís the cow, isnít it?" Balki asks.  "Well, yes," Larry admits, "The cow . . . bothers me.  I want Yaya Biki to feel at home, I really do!  But have you ever thought that sheíd like to see how we live?  Experience the American way of living?  Things like, oh . . . uh, I donít know, uh gee, what exactly can I think of?  Uh . . . oh!  Beef on the table instead of beef at the table?"  The cow moos after Larry says this.  "Sorry!" Larry offers, then turns back to Balki, begging, "Please?  Can we get rid of the cow?"  "Well, Cousin, Iím just trying to give Yaya Biki a few of the little comforts of home," Balki explains, "See?  Look . . . I made her this blanket."  He shows Larry a pretty woven blanket and adds, "I weave it myself so that she wonít get cold while sheís watching Letterman."

"Itís beautiful," Larry agrees.  "And how Ďbout that chair?" Balki asks, pointing to an old-style rocking chair next to the coffee table, "That chair is just like the one she has on Mypos!"  "Look, I donít mind the chair . . . I mind the cow," Larry repeats, "Please . . . letís take it back?"  When Balki doesnít answer right away Larry grows worried, saying, "We can take it back, canít we?"  "Okay, we can eighty-six the cow," Balki sighs, "Sheís just a rental."  "Good," Larry sighs, getting up and saying, "Iíll go change clothes."  "Ah, Cousin, before you go," Balki says as he stands up, "um . . . you ought to know that there may be a penalty for returning her unmilked."  Larry eyes Balki a moment, then says, "Iíll chance it!" before going to his bedroom.

The next scene takes place in the basement of the Chicago Chronicle the morning Yaya Biki is due to arrive.  Balki is leading Harriette, Larry and Lydia in a song with Myposian lyrics (see our Myposian Dictionary for our best interpretation of these lyrics).  Once the song is over, Balki leans back and looks at them approvingly.  "Very good," he nods, "I think ĎFor Sheís a Jolly Good Fellowí really works in Myposian.  Donít you?"  "Oh, real toe tapper!" Larry agrees sarcastically.  "Okay now, um . . . " Balki begins as he gets his coat, "everybody please be at the apartment at seven oíclock so that when Cousin Larry and I arrive with Yaya Biki you can jump out and yell ĎSurprise!í"  "Wait, wait, hold on, honey," Harriette interrupts, "You sure itís such a good idea to jump out and yell at a woman whoís a hundred and six?"  "No problem," Balki assures her, "Yaya Biki is as strong as a sea turtle . . . course she has better legs.  Now, I got to run.  I got to pick up party hats and half a pound of head cheese.  And listen, donít forget to bring your dancing feet . . . Yaya Biki loves to party down!"  Balki exits to the parking garage.

"A hundred and six and as strong as a sea turtle," Lydia sighs, "I wonder what Iíll be like when Iím old?"  "Probably a lot like Yaya Biki," Harriette comments, then turns to return to the elevator.  "Why, Harriette!" Lydia says with surprise, "You think so?"  "Sure I do, honey!" Harriette says, "Youíre already starting to look like a sea turtle!"  Harriette disappears into the elevator.  Lydia reacts to this comment as the phone on Larryís desk rings.  "Iíll get that," Larry says and walks to his desk to answer it.  "Hello?  No, Mr. Bartokomous is gone for the day.  Well, uh, if itís important I can take a message; Iím his cousin."  Larryís face grows serious as he listens a moment.  Lydia approaches him, noting the look on his face.  "Oh no.  Yeah . . . I . . . I understand.  Uh . . . thank you.  Goodbye."  Larry hangs up the phone, looking shocked.  "Larry . . . whatís wrong?" Lydia asks.  "That was the airline," Larry explains, "Yaya Biki got off to change planes in New York and, uh . . . her heart stopped.  Sheís dead."  Larry and Lydia stand in shock as the scene fades.

Act two begins in the apartment later that evening.  Mary Anne and Jennifer are helping Balki to finish decorate the apartment.  Mary Anne is on a ladder as she finishes hanging a banner that reads "Welcome to America" and Jennifer is placing little American flags in and around the tomato plants.  Balki is walking to the front door to hang something and walks by Mary Anne just as she falls from the ladder.  Without stopping, Balki catches her, and continues on his way, placing her back on the ladder as he returns. "Jennifer, are you sure we have enough potato chips?" Balki asks.  "Balki, you already bought fifteen bags and we only have ten people coming," Jennifer points out.  "Youíre right, maybe we do need more," Balki surmises.

Larry enters the apartment and Balki runs to him excitedly, pulling him into the apartment and saying, "Cousin!  Cousin, look!  Look, look what we did!  Does this say ĎWelcome to Americaí or what?"  "Well, yes it does," Larry agrees nicely.  "When Yaya Biki sees all this, sheís gonna die!" Mary Anne exclaims.  Larry tries not to react to this comment and steps past Balki to address the girls.  "Uh, Jennifer and Mary Anne, donít you need to hurry upstairs and change for the party?"  "Larry, we have changed for the party!" Jennifer notes in a hurt tone.  "And lovely you are, too," Larry notes, then tries again, "Uh . . . I donít know how to tell you this but Lydia is wearing that exact same dress.  But if you donít mind . . . . "  "No, no, Iíll change!" Jennifer says, walking to the door to leave.  "Mary Anne, did I mention that Harriette is wearing what you have on?" Larry adds.  "Wow, small world!" Mary Anne gasps, then shrugs, saying, "I better change!"  She leaves as well.

Balki carries some party favors to the living room and asks, "Cousin, is fifteen bags of potato chips enough?  We have ten guests coming, I made four gallons of sheep dip."  Larry grabs Balkiís arm to keep him from walking away.  "Balki, sit down," he encourages.  Balki thinks a moment then concedes, sighing, "Okay.  I guess I could take a break."  Balki sits in the chair by the couch, sighing, "I have been running around like a chicken with his head glued on all day!"  Larry begins slowly, saying, "Balki, the airline called.  Yaya Biki is . . . is going to be late."  "How late?" Balki asks.  "A lot," Larry sighs.  "Cousin, what is it?" Balki asks.  "Yaya Biki . . . is . . . not coming.  Something happened."  Balki thinks a moment, then gasps, "She bought the farm, didnít she?"  "Well, yes she did," Larry nods.  "Oh!  Oh, this is wonderful!" Balki cries happily, "Sheís always wanted that farm!  Well, of course she canít come now, sheís got to go out and buy sheep and goats and ducks and I donít know what all . . . . "

"No, Balki . . . Balki, Ďbought the farmí is an expression," Larry explains.  "Well, of course it is, donít be ridiculous!" Balki says knowingly, then has to ask, "What does it mean?"  "I know this is gonna come as a terrible shock," Larry continues gently, "but . . . Yaya Biki got off the plane in New York . . . and died."  Balki stares at Larry for a long moment, then looks ahead before saying anything.  "Okay . . . so we got . . . ten guests coming . . . fifteen bags of potato chips enough?"  "Balki, did you understand what I said?" Larry asks.  "Yes, you said Yaya Biki is dead," Balki answers, "but that donít solve the chip problem."  Balki gets up from the chair and heads for the door, putting on his jacket.  "Where are you going?" Larry asks, standing up in surprise.  "Iím gonna go out and buy some more potato chips," Balki says, "If we run out of munchies this partyís gonna be a dud."  Balki walks out the door, leaving Larry stunned and confused.

The outside of the apartment building is shown with a title that reads "Three Weeks Later."  Larry walks in the front door followed by Balki, who is wearing a red nose and balloons around his head.  "Cousin, wasnít that the best circus you ever see?" Balki asks Larry, "How about that Joko the Human Fireball?  What an entertainer!  I just hope they got him to the hospital okay!"  "Balki . . . " Larry tries to interrupt.  "And the daring young man on the flying trapeze?  What kind of a person would climb twenty five feet up in the air then just drop off and then swing back . . . and forth . . . and back . . . and forth . . . "  Balki makes the swinging motion as he speaks, and then finishes with, " . . . and then just hand himself to somebody?" as Balki throws himself into Larryís arms.  After Larry drops him, Balki leans forward and touches the red ball nose to Larryís nose, causing the rubber nose to squeak.

"Cousin, Cousin, I have a storm in my brain!" Balki says, putting an arm around Larryís shoulder, "Why donít we invite the girls down and rent a movie and get ourselves a pizza and just . . . . "  "Balki, Balki, Balki, why donít you give the girls and me a night off?" Larry asks, "For the past three weeks youíve dragged us around to every amusement park, zoo, movie and video arcade in Chicago!"  "Well!  Excuse me for being fun!" Balki scoffs, putting a whistle in his mouth and blowing some funny notes, the leaning forward to squeak his nose against Larryís again.  Larry reaches up and pulls the nose off Balkiís face, then pulls the whistle out of his mouth and finally the balloons off his head.

"Okay, I know," Balki tries again, "Iíll make some popcorn and we can practice catching it in our mouths!"  Balki walks into the kitchen.  "Balki . . . Balki!  This is Cousin Larry!  You donít have to do this!" Larry says.  "No, Cousin, itís no bother!  I love making popcorn!" Balki says.  "No, no, not that," Larry clarifies, walking into the kitchen where Balki is putting some butter into a pan on the stove, "I mean you donít have to pretend youíre happy around me."  "What are you talking about?" Balki asks, "Iím happy!"  "Youíre not happy," Larry says.  "I am happy!" Balki insists.  "No, youíre not."  "Iím happy!"  "No, youíre not."  "Iím happy!"  "No, youíre not."  Balki grabs Larry roughly by the shirt and says in a serious tone, "Iím happy.  Now let it go."  Balki releases Larry and goes back to making popcorn, placing more butter into the pan.

"Okay, fine.  Youíre happy," Larry states, "Your Yaya dies and youíre happy.  It makes perfect sense."  "Okay, Cousin . . . Iím not happy," Balki admits, taking Larry aside, "Let me explain something to you.  Iíve been prepared for this.  On Yaya Bikiís one hundredth birthday she pulled me aside, she said ĎBalki . . . today I am one hundred years old.  Chances are Iím not going to make another hundred.  So when I go please just go on with your life as if nothing happened.  Please!  Promise me this so that I can rest in peace.í  I promise her that, and thatís all there is to it."  Balki returns to the stove, placing some kernels in the pan to test the heat.  "Well, youíre not going on as if nothing has happened," Larry notes, "Youíre doing happy things but I can see youíre hurting inside and youíre trying to hide it.  You canít hide it from me, Balki, I know you too well."  "Cousin, I am trying to do what I promised Yaya Biki I would do!" Balki states.  "Yaya Biki was very wise," Larry continues, "Iím sure she wanted to make things easier for you.  But if she could see you now sheíd say she made a mistake.  When someone close to you dies you have to mourn for them."  "No!  No . . . no . . . . " Balki says, walking to the kitchen table and sitting down.

"I had an uncle whose wife died," Larry says, "and he had a very hard time getting over it.  He held things in . . . but the poor guy was a wreck.  So he tried something.  He wrote a letter to his wife telling her all the things he wished he could say to her."  "And did this make everything better?" Balki asks.  "Well . . . it made things a little better," Larry answers, "But if you donít want to write to her try talking to her . . . it doesnít matter what you do, the important thing is to get it out, to . . . say goodbye."  "I donít want to say goodbye," Balki says.  Larry waits a moment, then reaches over and touches Balkiís shoulder, adding, "Iím only trying to help.  Iím gonna go upstairs and tell the girls they donít have to come down tonight and watch you be happy."  Larry walks out the front door, giving Balki a sympathetic look before he exits.

Balki gets up from the kitchen table, motioning impatiently and walking to his bedroom.  He stops outside his bedroom door and then returns to the living room, stopping at the couch and throwing his leg over the back of it as he faces the empty rocking chair with the blanket he made resting on its arm.  "Well, Yaya, here we are!" he states, then says "Oh, what the . . . !" under his breath and throws his hands up as if he feels ridiculous, walking back toward his bedroom.  He stops again, thinking a moment, then walks back into the living room and sits down on the coffee table in front of the rocking chair.  He motions with his arms, holding them out as if he doesnít know where to begin or what to say.

Finally he begins.  "Yaya . . . here I am . . . in America, just where you wanted me to be.  I . . . I know it was your dream to come here, too.  I just wish you could have seen more of this country.  I was thinking . . . maybe you saw the Statue of Liberty from the window of your airplane.  Wasnít she beautiful?  I remember the first time I ever saw her I was . . . I was sailing into New York Harbor on the tramp steamer and the sun was coming up and . . . there she was, just like you said . . . bringing light to the world.  And it was the most wonderful day of my life . . . and you . . . made that day possible.  I am so blessed to have had somebody to fill my heart with such wonderful dreams and then to help me to make them come true."  Balki sighs and leans his head in one hand.  "Yaya . . . you donít make things easy.  Iíve been trying to do what you told me to do . . . to go on with my life as if nothing has happened.  But you donít understand how hard it is . . . because . . . youíve never lost you."

Balki takes the blanket from the arm of the chair and holds it.  "I made this for you," he says, getting up and placing it across the back of the chair as if he is wrapping it around her shoulders as he kneels beside her.  "I hope you like it.  Um . . . Cousin Larry said that I have to say goodbye and that . . . and that I have to feel sad before I can feel happy again . . . and I think he was right."  He lays his head upon the blanket, sighing, "I miss you."  Finally he lifts his head and says, "Well . . . Iím gonna go upstairs now and tell my friends that Iím sad.  I think thatíll make them happy."  Balki gets up and walks to the front door, opening it but pausing just before he opens it.  "Bye, bye, Yaya . . . Iíll see you again someday."  Balki walks out the door and the camera pans down on the empty rocking chair and blanket as the scene fades to black.

Continue on to the next episode . . .