Strangers Episode Guide
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.
Created by: Dale McRaven
Written by: William Bickley & Michael Warren
Directed by: Joel Zwick
Bronson Pinchot: Balki Bartokomous
Mark Linn-Baker: Larry Appleton
Rebeca Arthur: Mary Anne
Melanie Wilson: Jennifer Lyons
Belita Moreno: Miss Lydia Markham
Jo Marie Payton-France: Harriette Winslow
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.
"I have been running around like a chicken with his head glued on all
"Cousin, I have a storm in my brain!"
ridiculous: Said once.
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
Harriette insults Lydia
Sheís a Jolly Good Fellow translated into Myposian - sung by Balki,
Harriette, Larry and Lydia
- 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.
- 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?
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.
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.
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
"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,
"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.
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
"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.
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.
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.
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 . . . .
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
on to the next episode . . .