Perfect Strangers Episode Guide

EPISODE 82 - Almost Live from Chicago

First Air Date: December 1, 1989
Filmed on: July 28, 1989
Nielsen Rating: 13.2 HH

TV Guide Description: Larry has a plan to bolster Lydia's confidence -- and also spare her the pain of missed opportunity and a life of regret -- as she nervously prepares to tape a pilot for the TV version of her advice column.

Co-Producer: James OíKeefe
Created by: Dale McRaven
Written by: Barry OíBrien & Cheryl Alu
Directed by: Joel Zwick

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

Guest Cast:
Zane Lasky: Stage Manager

Dimitri Appearances: Dimitri is not seen in this episode

"TGIF.  Two goats in Fresno!"
"I just see them little babies and I just get the hobie jobies."
"You tell your Uncle Balki and your Uncle Cousin."
"In other words, thatís a Ďdonít doí on the TV show and a Ďdo doí on the column."
"Cousin, whatís wrong with our couch? The salesman said it had my name on it.  I never did find it."
"Be that as that may be . . . "
"Well, I forgave you for taping me up like King Toot."
"Weíre back to Binky McDinky, arenít we?"
"Cousin, I think itís time you said bye bye to Boinki."

Donít be ridiculous: Said once in this episode.

Other catchphrases used in this episode:
"You can say that again!"
"Where do I come up with them?"
Lydiaís pronunciation of Lar-
"Ah ha!"

Other running jokes used in this episode:
Balki laughs at his own joke
Lydia has a crippling fear of something
Balki is flattered and acts humble
Larry has a plan
Larry responds to something Balki has said with a lie just to move on
Alliteration focusing on the letter ĎBí
Mary Anne says something amazingly profound and then explains it in a bizarre way

Songs: "Lemon Tree" - sung by Balki as heís polishing his work table with lemon-scented wax
"There's No Business Like Show Business" - hummed by Lydia after she decides to do the television show

Interesting facts:
While this show aired as the 10th episode for the season, it was actually the second episode that was filmed that fall.
Itís probably no small coincidence that Balki and Larry have a discussion about TGIF at the beginning of this episode, Larry finally having to explain it means "Thank God itís Friday."  ABCís lineup on Friday nights had been dubbed TGIF at the start of the season, although most people donít seem to remember that their TGIF actually stood for "Thank goodness itís funny."
- Balki informs Larry that the show Thatís Incredible! had already been canceled.  The ABC program which featured stories of amazing and unusual people and situations ran from 1980 to 1984 and was hosted by Cathy Lee Crosby, Fran Tarkenton and John Davidson, who would also be mentioned during the first scene of this episode.
- Lydiaís fear of cameras was one of many phobias she displayed over the course of the show.  Her fear of cameras would come up again in the very next episode, Home Movies.
- While trying to encourage Lydia to go ahead with the idea of the TV show, he mentions meeting Barbara Walters at The Pump Room, which is a historical restaurant at the Ambassador East Hotel opened in 1938 by Ernie Byfield, known for being frequented by celebrities.  As of February 2011 the restaurant has been closed.
- Also mentioned in this episode is the ABC news magazine 20/20.  Originally in the script it was to be the 60 Minutes news team. Obviously ABC execs felt it would make more sense to promote their own news magazine instead of rival CBSí show.  To see this and more changes from the original script, scroll to the Script Variations at the bottom of this page!
- The reason Balki uses McLean Stevenson as an example of someone who shouldnít have their own television show stems from the fact that after the end of M*A*S*H he starred in no less than four separate sitcoms which failed miserably, namely The McLean Stevenson Show, In the Beginning, Condo and most notably Hello, Larry.
- Just a note for anyone who may by interested, after Lydia makes the crack about realizing she couldnít be in her apartment and adds, "Not with that couch," the last and loudest female laugh heard after that line is yours truly.
- This is the first time Larry mentions his high school nemesis, Bunky McDermott, but it would certainly not be the last!  Bunky would come up again in subsequent episodes and even show up in the flesh in the season six episode, The Sunshine Boys.
- Larry complains about Bunky meeting and marrying Bryn Bramwell and how her father made him the head of Bramwell Industries. mentions a rich family named Bramwell.  It should be noted that this episode was edited by Robert Bramwell.
almostlivegrab02.jpg (64799 bytes)- There appears to be a little tribute to Laverne & Shirley in this episode.  Lydia Live! is being filmed at the Phister Theater.  In Laverne & Shirley, references to the Pfister family of Milwaukee were made often.  Even though the name is spelled differently, the establishing shot of the theater appears to have been done as a period piece, since the cars appear to be older and even the clothing on the two men walking into the theater appear dated.  It's hard to say what this establishing shot was originally filmed for.

Bloopers and Inconsistencies:
In this episode Lydia says sheís had a fear of cameras since she was six years old.  Yet in the third season episode, To Be or Not to Be she is desperately trying to get a part in the Chronicleís upcoming television commercial.

The episode begins in the basement of the Chicago Chronicle.  We can hear Balki singing the song "Lemon Tree" over the establishing shot of the building.  Once inside, we see Balki is polishing his work table with lemon-scented wax cleaner.  Larry is standing at the file cabinet behind Balki and approaches, saying, "Whew!  What a day!"  Larry attempts to sit on the edge of Balkiís table and slips right off to the floor.  "Wwowww!" Balki comments.  Larry picks himself up off the floor and continues, "Well, as I was about to say . . . 'T.G.I.F.'  You know what that means?"  "Well, of course I do, donít be ridiculous," Balki scoffs, "'T.G.I.F.'  Two goats in Fresno!"  "Thank God itís Friday," Larry corrects.  "You can say that again," Balki agrees, then asks, "What does that have to do with two goats in Fresno?"

The elevator door opens and Lydia steps out, walking over to Larry and Balki.  "Hi guys," she says, "Well, all I can say after a week like this is 'T.G.I.F.'"  "Thank God itís Friday," Larry says to Balki, trying to help him make the connection.  "Oh!" Balki exclaims, finally getting it.  He then runs to the cubby holes with sorted mail, saying, "Oh well then, in that case Miss Lydia . . . uh, all I can say is . . . "  He returns carrying a stack of mail and thinks hard to work out what he wants to say.  " . . . 'H.A.Y.M.'  Hereís all your mail!"  Balki laughs at his own joke, then asks Lydia, "Where do I come up with them?"  "I donít know," Lydia smiles, humoring him.  She starts to look through her letters.  "Oh look," she shows Balki, "another letter from Channel 8.  These people just never give up.  Theyíre still trying to get me to do my own television show."  Larry overhears this and is immediately interested.  "Youíve been offered your own TV show?  Thatís Incredible!"  "No, Cousin, ĎThatís Incredible!í was canceled," Balki says, "Try to keep up."

"Channel 8 wants me to do a pilot for a TV version of my advice column," Lydia explains, "but I turned Ďem down."  She heads toward Larryís desk.  "You turned Ďem down?" Balki asks, following her.  "Why?" Larry asks.  "Well, I have one tiny little fear," she begins.  "It doesnít have anything to do with wool chiggers, does it?" Balki asks, looking nervous, "I just see them little babies and I just . . . I just get the hobie jobies."  Balki wriggles uncomfortably. "Uh, no no," Lydia assures Balki, "I am terrified of television caaa . . . ameras.  When I was six years old my mother forced me to appear on a TV show with Miss Terryís Tapping Tulips.  I was fine until they rolled out the . . . . cameras.  All I remember is that lens moving closer and closer . . . an unfeeling, unblinking eye staring deeper and deeper into my brain . . . !"  She clasps a hand to her forehead and Larry has to give her support, assuring her, "Itís okay!"  "Okay?" she asks.  "Itís okay," Larry repeats.  "Okay," she sighs, "Sorry."  "Itís okay," Balki assures her, although he looks startled by her outburst.

"Anyway," Lydia continues, "my knees locked, my face froze . . . and Herbie the Clown had to carry my teeny weeny little body from the stage."  "I . . . I canít believe this!" Balki gasps.  "Itís true," Lydia assures him.  "You met Herbie the Clown?" Balki asks in disbelief.  "Lydia, you canít pass up the opportunity to have your very own TV show because of something that happened a long, long, long time ago," Larry insists.  "It wasnít that long ago, Larry," Lydia smirks, "To this day I am deathly afraid of . . . . "  "Cameras," Balki fills in for her.  "I canít even face the security monitor at the bank," Lydia explains, "I always have to use the drive-up teller."  "Well, Miss Lydia, they have cameras there, too," Balki informs her.  "They do?" Lydia asks in shock.  "Well . . . well, yeah," Balki says, "They put them way up high but they can zooooom in on you . . . "  Balki motions with his hand the camera zooming in on Lydia and she screams and whimpers, leaning into Larry.  "Itís okay," Larry assures her.  "Okay?" she asks.  "Itís okay."  "Okay?  Okay," Lydia sighs, relaxing.

"I am gonna call Channel 8 and tell them to stop bothering me and then . . . " Lydia walks to the elevator, " . . . Iím gonna learn how to bank by mail."  "Whoa, whoa, wait a minute," Larry says, "Wait wait wait wait wait wait wait wait.  Your own TV show?  Fame?  Fortune?  Picture it, Lydia.  You start with a local television show.  It catches on in Chicago like wildfire.  Everyone wants to talk to you.  Youíre meeting Barbara Walters for dinner at the Pump Room to discuss your upcoming interview."  "Barbara Walters?" Miss Lydia asks, intrigued.  "The Maitre dí recognizes you immediately and gives you the best table.  Youíre sitting next to celebrities."  "Is John Davidson there?" Balki asks excitedly.  "Maybe," Larry says.  Balki gasps happily.

"Across the room," Larry continues, "The rest of the 20/20 news team . . . they smile, wave you over.  They want to do an entire show about you, and do you know why?"  "Because sheís sitting next to John Davidson!" Balki announces energetically.  Larry ignores Balki and continues.  "Because you didnít pass up the opportunity to have your very own television show."  The elevator door opens.  "I am gonna call the station now and tell them theyíve got themselves a deal," Lydia smiles.  Lydia steps into the elevator, humming the song "Thereís No Business Like Show Business."  Larry turns to Balki and looks smug.  "I am going to make that woman a star!" he announces.  "I got that part," Balki says, "but what I really want to know is . . . when is this dinner with John Davidson?"  Larry eyes Balki strangely.

Some time later, it is the middle of the night and there is a knock at the apartmentís front door.  Larry stumbles into the living room in his bathrobe and turns on the light.  He is about to walk to the door when Balkiís bedroom door opens and Balki emerges, wearing long john style pajamas and a tall nightcap.  He is also wearing slippers with curled toes.  He is dragging his robe beside him and puts it on before they sleepily go to answer the door.  Lydia rushes in, crying, "Balki, Larry, I canít do it!  I canít do it!  Donít make me do it!  Please, please, donít make me do it!"  She pauses, staring at Balkiís nightcap.  "Are you on your way to a party?" she asks.  "Lydia, itís three a.m.," Larry notes, "Is something wrong?"  "Yes, there is something wrong," she answers.  "Oh well come on, Miss Lydia," Balki offers, taking her by the shoulders and leading her to the couch, "You come sit down and tell us all about it.  You tell your Uncle Balki and your Uncle Cousin."  They sit down and Larry joins them.

"I have been up all night worrying," Lydia begins, "I want to do the show tomorrow night but I canít.  I just canít face the caa . . . ameras, Larry."  "Well then, donít do it," Balki states, "Goodnight, Miss Lydia."  He leads her to stand up.  "Wait a minute," Larry stops them, "Wait wait wait wait wait wait wait.  This is just a case of nerves.  Youíll get over it."  Lydia shakes her head.  "I donít think so.  I know me.  Once I see the caa . . . ameras my mind will go blank.  And when the audience asks me questions I wonít be able to think of anything to say . . . Iíll be humiliated."  "Cousin, you know, she has a point," Balki says, "Not everyone should have their own television show.  Look at McLean Stevenson.  Miss Lydia, if people want your advice they just have to read your column."  "Balki, thatís it!" Larry exclaims, "Thatís a great idea!"  "Well, itís not like coming up with the cordless shaver," Balki sighs, "I simply stated the obvious."

"And stated it beautifully," Larry flatters.  "Oh, I donít know," Balki says.  "Beautifully!"  "Well, really?" Balki asks humbly.  "Yes, you did!" Larry insists.  "No, I didnít," Balki says bashfully.  "Yes, you did!  Balki and I can memorize questions from your old columns and ask them from the audience!  That way you wonít have to think of the answers, youíll already know them.  And thatíll give you the confidence to forget about the cameras and get through the rest of the show on your own."  "No, I didnít say that," Balki argues, "I . . . I was saying ĎDonít do the TV show, do do the column.  In other words, thatís a Ďdonít doí on the TV show and a Ďdo doí on the column."  Lydia looks confused.  "Okay, it wasnít your idea," Larry admits, "It was mine.  What do you think of my plan, Lydia?"  "I think itís wonderful!" Lydia smiles, "You know, I donít think I say his often enough, Larry, but you are brilliant!"  Larry swells with pride.  "I donít think youíve ever said that," Balki points out.

Lydia takes Larry and Balki by the arms and leads them to the door, sighing, "I feel calmer and more relaxed already.  Thanks so much for dropping by."  She opens the door for them and they start to walk out, when Larry stops.  "Uh, Lydia?  We live here."  "Oh, of course you do," Lydia realizes, "This couldnít be my place.  Not with that couch.  Goodnight, boys."  She leaves and they close the door behind her.  Balki walks to the couch and asks, "Cousin, whatís wrong with our couch?  The salesman said it had my name on it.  I never did find it."  "Itís hidden in the pattern," Larry replies flippantly.  "Cousin . . . now, Miss Lydia keeps saying that she donít want to do the TV show and you keep changing her mind.  Why you do that?"  "Balki, I canít let her miss this opportunity," Larry insists, "I am not going to let her end up regretting what would have been, could have been, should have been while that Bunky McDermott is out there living a life that should have been mine!"

"Weíre talking about you now, arenít we?" Balki asks.  "Yes!" Larry confirms.  "Yes," Balki echoes.  "Yes!  We are talking about me!  And do you know why?"  Balki shakes his head no at Larryís manic expression.  Larry rushes off to his bedroom as Balki motions to a higher power "Why?"  As Larry returns, Balki motions above to shush.  Larry holds up a pair of his pants and cries, "Because of this!"  "Your pants?" Balki asks.  "No, no," Larry says, taking his wallet out of his pants pocket and pulling out a small piece of newspaper, "Not the pants.  This!  I have been carrying this since 1985."  He motions to the paper and reads.  "ĎYoung Man on the Move.í  But not just any young man on the move!  Bunky McDermott, young man on the move!"  "Question," Balki interrupts.  "Yes?"  "Who is Bunky McDermott and why do we care how he moves?"

"Bunky McDermott was the president of my high school chess club," Larry explains, "I should have been president!  I was elected!  But I declined because I was afraid of the responsibility.  So Bunky took over.  And then, at the convention of the chess club presidents, he met the beautiful Bryn Bramwell.  He married her.  Her father made him president of Bramwell Industries.  Today he is one of the wealthiest men in the country."  "You mean Bunky and Bryn are basking in the bosom of Bramwellís big bucks?" Balki asks.  "Basically," Larry replies, "But if I had Bunkyís bravado Iíd be basking with Bryn in the bosom of those big Bramwell bucks, buddy!"  "Boy," Balki comments, looking at the article again.  "Now do you see why Lydia has to do this?" Larry asks.  "Cousin, I donít see why she has to do a TV show let alone play chess," Balki says.  Larry holds a hand to his pained head.  "She doesnít have to play chess," he explains.  "Well, at least youíre letting that go," Balki sighs.

Larry is at the end of his rope.  "Oh, why me?"  "Thatís progress," Balki encourages.  "Why me?" Larry moans.  "Thatís progress," Balki repeats.  "Balki, Lydia wants to do a TV show!"  "Oh, is that so?" Balki asks, "Then how come every time she talks about it she gets so upset?"  "Jitters," Larry explains.  Balki tenses up and starts to shake, crying, "Where?  Where?  I hate those little bugs!"  "Balki, Balki, Balki, Balki," Larry tries to calm him, "Not chiggers."  "No?" Balki asks.  "No.  Jitters."  Balki sighs with relief.  "Sheíll get over it!" Larry assures him.  "Well, even if she do get over it, I donít think she want to do it.  I think youíre just making her do it because of this Bunky in your pants."  "I am doing this because I donít want her to make the same mistake I did," Larry explains.  "Well, be that as that may be, Iím going down to that studio with her and the first time I hear her say ĎI donít want to do this, Lar-ry!í Iím taking her home," Balki insists.  The scene fades to black.

Act two begins at the Phister Theater where the marquee reads, "Lydia Live!  Taping today."  Inside, a studio has been set up and audience members are being seated.  Lydia is on the stage having her makeup touched up.  Balki, Larry, Jennifer and Mary Anne are taking their seats in the audience.  "I still donít understand," Mary Anne says, "If itís called Lydia Live, why isnít it live?"  "Mary Anne, this is a pilot for a television show," Jennifer explains, "Now that means if this goes well then the real show will be live."  "Oh," Mary Anne says, "You mean if it tests well and the demographics are good theyíll give it a short order with a series of options and Lydia could find herself in the middle of a very handsome syndication package."  Everyone looks at her with surprise.  "I was once in an elevator with Ted Turner," she explains.  "Iím gonna go make sure Lydia is okay before the show," Larry excuses himself.  Balki also gets up and says, "Iím going to go make sure Lydia is okay after she talks to Cousin Larry."  They head for the stage.

Larry and Balki approach Lydia, who is sitting in a chair on the stage intently reading over some index cards.  "Lydia?" Larry asks, startling her, "You look great!  Howís everything going?"  "Fine," Lydia says in a stilted voice but with a smile on her face, "Fine.  Iím fine.  Everythingís fine."  "She sounds a little too fine, Cousin," Balki notes.  "Donít be silly, sheís loving every minute of it!" Larry winks to Lydia.  The stage manager walks onto the stage and leans over to tell Lydia, "Weíre ready when you are, Ms. Markham."  "Am I ready Larry?" Lydia asks worriedly.  "Yes, you are," Larry assures her.  She smiles as the stage manager fastens the microphone around her neck.  "Weíd better take our seats," Larry says, then adds, "Lydia?  Have fun with it."  She smiles but doesnít look very confident.  Larry and Balki walk back to the audience.  "Tape is rolling," the stage manager announces.  Theme music starts to play as an announcerís voice begins the introduction as the camera swings from the audience to Lydia standing on the stage.

"Live from our studios in the Phister Building in downtown Chicago, itís time for your favorite advice columnist, the lady whoís never at a loss for words . . . heeeeereís Lydia!"  The audience applauds.  Lydia is smiling and looking very calm and collected.  "Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Lydia Markham and welcome to Lydia Live."  The audience applauds again.  "What did I tell you?  Sheís a natural," Larry says to Jennifer.  "Iím gonna start off todayís show by saaaayinnngg . . . "  The camera starts advancing on Lydia and she starts to panic.  "By sayiiiiinnnggg . . . "  The camera keeps coming closer.  "Get away from me!" she cries, "Go on!  Get away!  Get!"  She shoos at the camera, then loses it completely.  She screams and throws the microphone cord over her shoulder to run off the stage, but it is still attached around her neck and when it tightens it pulls her off her feet so she ends up flat on the stage.  The stage manager runs to her assistance.  "Wow, she does her own stunts!" Mary Anne comments.

Some time later, Lydia is sitting on her chair on the stage, bent over and breathing into a paper bag.  Larry and the stage manager are with her.  "Miss Markham?  Are you okay?" the stage manager asks.  "Am I okay?" she snaps, "Iím breathing in a bag!"  "Sheís fine," Larry assures the man, "Sheís fine.  Itís just an acting technique.  She uses it to clear her head."  "Okay, uh . . . weíll start as soon as youíre ready," the stage manager says and he walks away.  Balki appears from backstage with Lydiaís case and hurries to her, saying, "Come on, Miss Lydia, I packed all your things.  Weíre going home now.  Come on."  She stands up and starts to follow Balki, still keeping the bag over her face.  "Whoa, wait a minute . . . wait wait wait wait wait wait wait," Larry stops them, "Nobodyís going anywhere."  "Cousin, you said that if Miss Lydia didnít want to do the show we could take her home," Balki reminds him.  "I promised if she said ĎI donít want to do the show, Lar-ry!í then Iíd take her home," Larry corrects as he pulls Lydia toward him, "But she still wants to do the show, donít you, Lydia?"

Lydia pulls her head from the bag and says, "I donít want to do the show Lar-ry!"  "Ah ha!" Balki exclaims.  "She didnít mean it," Larry insists, "Sheís fine!"  "Cousin, how can you say sheís fine?" Balki asks, pulling Lydia back toward himself, "Look at her.  Her eyes are bloodshot, her face is losing color and sheís retaining water."  "Itís just a minor case of stage fright," Larry says, pulling Lydia back toward himself roughly, "She can get through it!"  "No she canít, and she donít have to!" Balki argues, pulling Lydia back again roughly.  "Yes, she does!" Larry yanks Lydia toward him.  "No, she donít!" Balki pulls her back.  "Yes, she does!"  "No, she donít!"  "Yes, she does!"  "No, she donít!"  Lydia is being jerked back and forth like a rag doll.  "Okay, she donít," Larry finally agrees.  "She donít?" Balki asks.  "No, she donít," Larry says.  Lydia slumps to her knees at their feet.

"She shouldnít have to do it if she doesnít want to do it," Larry agrees, "Come on, Lydia, why donít you sit down over here while Balki and I go get the car?"  He directs Lydia to sit in the chair as he tries to pull Balki away to the right.  "Come on, Balki."  "No, Cousin I . . . "  "Letís go get the car," Larry urges.  "Cousin, I . . . "  "Letís go get the car."  "Well, but Cousin, the parking lot is over that way," Balki points out.  "Yes, but I know a secret shortcut," Larry says mysteriously.  "I like secrets!" Balki smiles.  "I know you do!" Larry smiles wickedly, "Come on, itís over here."  "Okay," Balki giggles.  "Let me show you!" Larry says, leading Balki offstage and behind some curtains.  Balki follows on tiptoe, acting excited.

When we next see Larry, he is making his way to his audience seat and looks beaten up.  His hair is disheveled, his clothes are a mess and heís holding a tissue to his nose.  "Larry, are you all right?" a startled Jennifer asks.  "Oh, everythingís fine!" Larry assures her.  "Whereís Balki?" Mary Anne asks.  "Heís backstage . . . resting," Larry answers.  "Larry, are you sure Lydia can go on?" Jennifer asks.  "Oh, are you kidding?" Larry scoffs, "She begged me to let her try again."  "Stand by!" the stage manager calls.  "Heeeereís Lydia!" the announcer says again.  The audience applauds.  "Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen," she greets the audience, "My name is Lydia Markham and welcome to Lydia Live.  For many years I have been annnn . . . "  The camera starts to roll in on her again and she loses it.  " . . . nationally syndicated communist."  "Sheís going down, Larry," Jennifer observes.

Lydia starts to laugh hysterically, asking, "Where is Balki?  He told me I didnít have to do this!  He told me that he would take me home!  Balki, are you out there?  Itís time to take me home!"  Balki hops out from behind the curtain where heíd disappeared with Larry.  Heís been wrapped from his ankles to his shoulders with duct tape and can barely keep his balance.  His mouth has also been taped.  He hops up onto the stage as Lydia removes her microphone.  She pulls the tape from his mouth and he screams in pain, causing Lydia to scream as well.  "Miss Lydia, you donít have to do this," he assures her.  "Oh Balki, thank you, thank you, thank you," Lydia cries, leaning into him.  She pulls back, confused, and asks, "Is this what you were wearing earlier?"  Larry runs onto the stage and asks, "Balki, what are you doing?  Lydia was doing great!  She was just starting to warm up.  What do you say, Lydia?  One more try?"  "Drop dead, Larry," Lydia says, then she turns to Balki and says, "Balki, I want you to take me home."  Balki motions for Lydia to take his arm and he starts to hop away.

The next morning at the Chronicle, Larry is on the phone with Balki standing by.  "Iím still getting her answering machine," Larry reports, hanging up the receiver, "All it says is ĎThis is Lydia Markham.  Iím not here right now.  Iím on a remote island where there are no caaa . . . ameras.  Do you think sheíll ever forgive me?"  "Well, I forgave you for taping me up like King Toot," Balki points out.  Lydia enters from the parking garage and heads for the elevator.  "Good morning, everyone," she says coldly.  Larry and Balki hurry to her.  "Oh, Lydia . . . Lydia, I am so very sorry," Larry offers, "I am so, so sorry.  I should never have forced you to do something you didnít want to do.  Can you ever forgive me?"  "Larry, dear," Lydia says, "Please, relax!  I forgive you.  Iím over it, really."  "You are?" Larry asks.  "Letís just put this behind us," Lydia suggests, "It was a bad experience but Iím stronger because of it."

The elevator door opens and Lydia steps in a pushes the button.  A man also gets into the elevator holding a camera with a telephoto lens.  Lydia lets out a shriek and hurries out of the elevator.  "I think Iíll take the stairs," she says, "I need the exercise."  She hurries up the stairs.  "Balki, how could I have gotten so carried away?" Larry asks.  "Well, Cousin, you do get plenty of practice at it," Balki notes.  "But I really meant well," Larry says, "I only wanted to spare her the pain of a missed opportunity and a life of regret.  Like mine."  "Uh oh," Balki sighs, "Weíre back to Binky McDinky, arenít we?"  "Bunky McDermott became president of my high school chess club and one of the wealthiest men in the country," Larry complains, "He took an opportunity that should have been mine and he is living a life that I should be living."

"Now wait a minute," Balki interrupts, "What is wrong with Larry Appletonís life?  Arenít you doing a job youíve always wanted to do?"  "Yes," Larry admits.  "And donít you have wonderful friends?"  "Yes."  "And arenít you dating the girl of your dreams?"  "Oh yes," Larry nods.  "Well, from where Iím standing you look like Larry Appleton, young man on the move," Balki points out.  "I am doing pretty well, arenít I?" Larry asks.  "Cousin, I think itís time you said bye bye to Boinki," Balki suggests, "Come on, get him out here."  Larry takes out his wallet, sighing, "All right.  Youíre right."  He takes out a piece of paper.  "Bunky McDermott," Larry states, "I wish you the best of luck in your life, but itís time to get out of mine."  Balki looks a little surprised when Larry starts tearing up the paper into little pieces and throws them into the air.  "Balki, I feel released!" Larry exclaims, "Cleansed!  Free!"  "Do you feel poor?" Balki asks.  "No, why?" Larry asks.  "ĎCause you just tore up your paycheck," Balki informs him.  On Larryís startled look, the episode ends.

Script Variations:
There were a few notable differences in the first draft script dated July 20, 1989:
In this version, the first scene starts with the conversation about TGIF and not with Balki waxing his worktable.  When Balki hands Lydia her mail he says, "H.Y.M." for "Here's your mail" instead of H.A.Y.M.  After Balki tells Larry that 'That's Incredible!' had been canceled, he asks Lydia, "Let me guess.  You're replacing Cagney?  You're replacing Lacey?  You're going to be all the Designing Women?"  After Larry asks why Lydia turned down the TV show, she explains, "I know people regard me as a pillar of stability, but I have this little emotional problem."  "Wait, don't tell me," Balki interrupts, "You have a Cinderella complex?  A Peter Pan complex?  A Donald Trump duplex?"  "Oh, I have an idea," Larry says, "why don't we stop guessing and let her tell us."  After Lydia tells how Herbie the Clown has to carry her "stiff little body" off the stage, Balki comments, "Well, it's a good thing you're not doing the show.  Herbie might not be in town to carry you off stage."  Balki tells Lydia they have cameras at the drive-thru tellers as well but doesn't demonstrate how they zoom in.  He then says, "Well, Cousin, it sounds like Miss Lydia made the right decision.  Well, 'H.A.N.E.'"  Larry and Lydia look confused.  "Have a nice evening," Balki explains.  After Larry mentions fame and fortune, Lydia points out, "Larry, I'm already rich."  "Okay, fame," Larry says, "You could be bigger than Oprah."  "Is that before or after she lost the weight?" Balki asks.  During Larry's explanation of Lydia's fame he cites the entire 60 Minutes new team is there instead of the 20/20 news team.  He finishes by saying, "They want to do a show about you.  And you know why?"  "Why?" Balki asks.  "Because you're the biggest thing to hit talk television since Geraldo caught a chair with his nose," Larry replies.  After Lydia agrees to do the show and exits, Balki says, "Cousin, that was amazing.  You got Miss Lydia to do something she doesn't want to do.  I thought you could only do that with me.  How do you do that?"  "It's a gift," Larry explains.
At the beginning of the second scene, it describes the action as "There is a loud pounding at the door.  Balki and Larry come stumbling out, half asleep, in pajamas and robes.  Each thinking the other is going to answer it, they both turn and start back to their rooms.  Then, realizing no one is answering it they both head back to the door.  Lydia cries, "Balki, I've got to talk to you.  Larry, I've got to talk to you.  I've got to talk to both of you."  Realizing they are in their pajamas, she comments, "I didn't wake you, did I?"  "Of course not.  Don't be ridiculous," Balki answers, "Who could sleep with all that pounding?"  After explaining she's been up all night worrying and doesn't think she can face the cameras, Balki tells her not to do it.  Larry assures her it's just  case of opening night jitters and that she'll get over it.  "I don't think so," Lydia says, "It's not just the camera, I'm not good in front of people.  I need time to think before I give advice.  That's why I write my column."  After Balki says he simply stated the obvious, Larry says, "What I mean is: Lydia's problem is that she's uncomfortable in front of an audience, but she's very relaxed writing her column.  So all we have to do is make the television show just like writing her column."  "How do we do that?" Lydia asks.  "Cousin, let me take this one," Balki suggests, then says to Lydia, "We'll bring the audience to your office and let them watch you write your column."  "Or . . . " Larry says and then suggests he and Balki memorize questions from her old columns and ask them from the audience.  After Lydia says she doesn't say often enough that Larry is brilliant and Balki points out "I don't think you've ever said that," Lydia replies, "Well, then I was right.  You know all my other friends said I shouldn't do the talk show so I'm depending on you to make sure I don't lose my nerve."  "You're leaning on the right guy," Larry assures her.  After Lydia leads them to the door and Larry points out it's their apartment, Lydia says, "Oh, of course you do.  I guess I'm not as calm as I thought."  Then she makes the crack about the couch.  After she exits, Balki does not talk about the couch at all.  Larry says, "Get dressed.  We're going down to the newspaper right now and spend the rest of the night going through Lydia's old columns.  I want to find some questions that show her at her best."  "Cousin, can't it wait until the morning?" Balki asks.  "No!  We got to do this now.  We can't let her miss this opportunity."  He then goes on about regret and brings up Bunky McDermott.  After Balki realizes Larry's talking about himself, Larry admits, "Alright, you want to know why I know so much about missed opportunities."  Larry picks up his wallet from the coffee table and takes out a crumpled magazine ad.  "Look at this," Larry insists.  Balki looks at it.  'Because Jim Palmer wears jockey shorts?" Balki asks.  "Not that!  The article!" Larry says, turning the magazine page over.  Larry's story about Bunky and Bryn is the same except her name is Bryn Boswell instead of Bramwell.  In the middle of his story, Balki notes, "Cousin, I'm afraid you're hyperventilating."  "Thanks, buddy," Larry offers and composes himself to continue.  After telling the story, Larry says, "You see, every opportunity is a gateway to other, bigger opportunities.  That's why I'm not going to let Lydia down.  Would you want it on your head that you let a friend down?"  "Not without protective head gear," Balki replies.  "Alright then.  Let's get down to the paper and start going through those columns for Lydia," Larry says.  "Right.  Let's go comb some columns, Cousin!" Balki agrees.  They exit.  A beat.  They enter.  "But first we get dressed," Balki says.
At the start of act two, after Mary Anne asks why the show isn't live, Balki says, "You know, Mary Anne, I had the same question.  Larry gave me a rather unsatisfying answer, 'Shut up.'"  After Mary Anne talks about syndication so knowledgably, she explains it, "My great grandfather invented the coaxial cable."  Larry tells Jennifer to "Stay with her and don't let her raise her hand."  After Balki and Larry go on stage and ask how Lydia's doing, to which she answers "Fine" repeatedly, Balki says, "I'm guessing she's fine, Cousin."  "Do you think maybe we could have another quick little rehearsal?" Lydia asks.  "Excellent idea, Lydia," Larry says, "Go ahead, Balki, ask your question."  "Miss Lydia, if you'll excuse us for a minute.  I need to talk to Cousin Larry."  Balki takes Larry aside.  "Cousin, I have been thinking about this."  He looks at the column.  "I can't ask this question on television.  I'm not 'Troubled in Toledo.'"  "And I'm not 'Desperate in Denver,'" Larry agrees, "We're just pretending."  "You mean lying," Balki states.  "It's not lying," Larry assures him, "People really did ask these questions.  Lydia really did think of these answers.  We're simply . . . restaging the truth."  "You mean like 'Divorce Court?'" Balki asks.  "Exactly," Larry confirms.  "Is anything wrong?" Lydia asks with concern.  "No.  No," Larry says, "He can't decide whether to do it with or without an accent.  (TO BALKI)  Go with the accent."  "Okay, here goes," Balki says, then recites from memory, "To fill the lonely hours since my wife passed away, I've started growing rare orchids.  You think it's odd I sleep in a greenhouse?"  "Perhaps a better way to fill those lonely hours is to get out of your greenhouse," Lydia recites, "There might be a few flowers out there worth cultivating."  "Lydia, that was brilliant," Larry encourages her.  "Boy, Miss Lydia, that was great," Balki agrees, "I didn't know if it was you or memorized."  "Yes, I do have a flair for this," Lydia boasts.  The stage manager crosses to them.  "We're ready when you are, Ms. Markham," he states.  "Let's go make some show business history," Lydia says enthusiastically.  "We'd better take our seats," Larry suggests.  The scene plays out the same, except that Lydia only panics, saying, "Get that camera away from me.  Somebody help me.  I can't breathe!" when the camera closes in on her and doesn't try to run or be jerked off her feet by the microphone.  The stage manager yells "Cut" and Balki and Larry rush in to help her.
At the start of the next scene, the stage manager asks, "Ms. Markham, are you going to be okay?"  Lydia replies sharply, "Am I going to be okay?  I'm breathing in a bag."  Larry assures him it's just an acting technique and the manager says they'll go again as soon as she's ready.  Balki is there the whole time and says, "Cousin, how could you say she's fine?  Look at her."  He points out her blood shot eyes, her colorless face and the fact she's retaining water.  "Nit-picking," Larry argues, "Lydia, snap out of it.  I promised I'd get you through this and I'm not going to let you down."  "I don't mind if you let me down," Lydia says weakly, "In fact this might be a good time."  "Ignore the cameras," Larry says, "Just concentrate on Balki and me in the audience.  Remember, we're your friends."  "If you were really her friend you'd let her go home," Balki says.  "And if you were really her friend you'd go back in that audience and pretend you sleep in a greenhouse," Larry counters.  The stage manager comes back in and asks, "Is she always that color?"  "Don't worry," Larry says, "She's always like this before a really spectacular performance."  Larry pats Lydia on the head and says, "Come on, Lydia, you can do this.  You're small but you're tough."  "I am.  Thanks, Larry," Lydia says.  "That's the spirit," Larry smiles, "Break a leg."  "Cousin, hasn't she been through enough?" Balki asks in shock.  Balki and Larry return to the audience and join Jennifer and Mary Anne.  "Is Lydia okay?" Jennifer asks.  "She's fine," Larry insists, "She'll be fine."  "Cousin, she's not fine," Balki argues, "She's turning a color that is not in the Crayola Box of 64."  "It's just the lights," Larry insists.  "I've seen that color before," Mary Anne notes, "It's usually before a passenger asks for an air sickness bag."  "Cousin, this is not going to make good television," Balki warns, "Set her free."  "I think he's right," Jennifer agrees, "She's going down, Larry."  "What is it with you people?" Larry asks, "It's a good thing Lydia's got a friend like me to force her to go through with this.  It's just opening night jitters.  She'll be fine.  Watch."  "Stand by.  Roll tape.  In three, two, one . . . " the stage manager directs.  Once again they introduce Lydia and she begins the show.  As the camera moves in, her eyes glaze over.  "My name is 'Lydia Live' and welcome to my Markham."  "Looks like Miss Great isn't doing so Lydia," Balki comments.  Lydia's eyes dart nervously from side to side.  She is about to panic when Larry leaps to his feet.  "I have a question!" Larry calls.  There is a beat and then Lydia asks, "Any questions?"  "I can't watch this," Balki sighs.  "My girlfriend and I have been living together for two years," Larry recites, "Next week her parents are coming to visit.  She wants me to move out while they're here.  I say we confront them with the truth.  What do you think I should do?"  "How do I know what you should do?" Lydia screams, "I'm just a small neurotic woman who was perfectly happy writing my column and taking two hour lunches.  I didn't ask to do this.  You made me do this."  She points to Larry.  "I don't care what you people do.  I'm getting the hell out of here."  She runs from the stage and this time she is pulled off her feet by the microphone cord.
After Larry talks about calling Lydia's answering machine and asking Balki if he thinks she'll forgive him, Balki offers, "Cousin, I don't know.  All you can do is apologize from the pit of you heart and hope for the best."  After Lydia enters and Larry apologizes she assures him she's over it.  "You are?" Larry asks in surprise.  "Well, in my own sick little way I did ask you to make me do it," Lydia notes, "And in your own sick little way you did."  "You two make quite a team," Balki compliments them.  The rest is the same until Lydia gets in the elevator.  She screams when she sees the camera but the door closes on them, so she doesn't run out and take the stairs.  After Larry says he meant well and recounts his missed opportunity that Bunky took, Balki says, "Cousin, we've got to talk about that.  On Mypos we have a saying: 'When you walk with one leg in the past and one leg in the future, you better be wearing culottes.'"  "How true," Larry says.  "Because 'If you carry yesterday's luggage on today's voyage, you'll have no place to pack tomorrow,'" Balki adds.  "Words to live by," Larry agrees.  "'If you walk uphill looking back at yesterday's sunset, you'll miss tomorrow's sunrise.  And possibly walk into a big rock.'"  "I got it, I got it," Larry says, "Except for the rock part."  The rest of the scene with Larry accidentally tearing up his paycheck is the same.

There are some bits in the shooting draft dated July 26, 1989 that were filmed but cut from the final episode:
According to the cast sheet, Tom Henschel did the voice of the announcer for Lydia Live.  It's not known if he actually did do the voice since he is not credited on the show.
This version begins with Balki cleaning the table with wax and singing Lemon Tree.  After Larry slips and falls, Balki says, "Wow.  It really does wax while it cleans."  Larry pops up and notes, "Hey, I can see myself."  He then goes into the "T.G.I.F." talk.
After Balki tells Larry "That's Incredible!" was cancelled, he says to Lydia, "Let me guess.  You're replacing Murphy Brown?"  "No," Lydia answers.  "You're replacing Molly Dodd?" Balki tries.  "No."  "Work with me Miss Lydia," Balki says, "There aren't that many meaty roles for women on television."  The rest of the first scene is the same.
After Lydia notes that she doesn't say often enough that Larry is brilliant and Balki points out that he doesn't think Lydia's ever said Larry is brilliant before, she says, "Well, then I was right."
The dialogue about Balki's name being on the couch is also not in this version of the script.
Instead of Balki asking, "Then how come every time she talks about it she gets so upset?" he asks, "Then why is it every time she talks about it she starts vibrating?"
After Balki makes the statement that he's going to take Lydia home the minute he hears her say "I don't want to do this, Larry," the scene continues.  Larry says, "Hey, I'm for that."  "No, you . . . you are?" Balki asks with surprise.  "Sure.  Despite what you think this is not personal.  I'm over the Bunky McDermott thing.  The only reason I'm doing this is for Lydia."  "You are?" Balki asks.  "Yes."  "Well, I'm glad to hear that."  "Well, we might as well hit the sack," Larry says.  "I'm too tired to exercise, Cousin," Balki says, "I'm just going to go to bed."  Balki exits.  Larry goes to the phone and looks up a number in a small phone book and dials.  Disguising his voice, Larry says into the receiver, "Bunky McDermott?  Did I wake you?  Good."  Larry hangs up satisfied.  (This scene was filmed but cut from the episode.  If you look at the very end of the fade out for the commercial you can see Larry as he's about to say his next line.)
At the beginning of Act Two, Larry and Balki enter before Jennifer and Mary Anne.  "Can you believe it?" Balki asks, "This is the same studio where they shot 'Gone With the Wind.'"  "No, this is where they showed 'Gone With the Wind,'" Larry corrects, "It used to be a movie theater."  "Oh.  I was wondering how they got all the Munchkins in here," Balki adds.
After Mary Anne displays her knowledge of television syndication, she explains it by saying, "My cousin is Brandon Tartikoff."  Larry tells Jennifer to stay with Mary Anne and not let her raise her hand.
When Larry and Balki first return to their seats, Jennifer asks, "Is Lydia okay?"  "She's fine.  She's just fine," Larry insists.  "I don't know, Cousin," Balki notes, "If she were any whiter, she could do mime."  "It's just the lights," Larry says.  The rest of the scene plays out the same.
The next scene is the same, except for the end after they go behind the curtain.  The script reads: A struggle begins and the curtain moves violently.  Balki's head sticks through the curtain.  Larry pulls him back by the mouth.  The curtain moves again.  The curtain stops.  A beat.  Balki comes out as if he won the fight.  He starts to move towards Lydia.  Larry reaches out from under the curtain and grabs him by the ankle.  Balki falls forward and is dragged back under the curtain.  (This scene was also filmed but not used in the final episode.)
At the start of the next scene, Lydia is sitting in her chair on the stage with her makeup case on her lap.  Larry comes out from behind the curtain and goes to her.  "I'm ready to go, Larry," Lydia says.  Larry takes her case and tells the stage manager, "She's ready to go."  "I thought I was going home," Lydia comments.  "You are.  Right after the show," Larry states.  Then Larry joins Jennifer and Mary Anne in the audience.
After Lydia calls herself a "nationally syndicated communist," she says, "Did I say communist?"  She laughs maniacally.  "I meant to say communist."  Jennifer notes that Lydia is going down.  "I'm not good at this," Lydia cries, "I told him I wouldn't be good at this.  But he made me do this."  Lydia then calls for Balki, who comes out from behind the curtain all taped up.  Lydia asking Balki, "Is this what you were wearing earlier?" is not in the script.  After Lydia tells Larry to drop dead she says, "Balki, I want you to take me home."  "Of course you do," Balki agrees, "But perhaps you should drive."  They head offstage.  Larry looks into the camera and says, "We'll be right back after these messages."
In the last scene, Balki says, "Well, I forgave you for taping me up like a mummy and sticking me in the broom closet.  But I'm family.  I had no choice."  Balki doesn't call Bunky any alternative names in this script.
When Balki is naming the good things about Larry's life, he includes, "Don't you have wonderful friends?" and then, "And a terrific Cousin?"
After Larry admits that he's doing pretty well, Balki says, "For all you know, Bunky McDermott might be carrying a clipping of you around in his wallet."  "You know, there was a rather flattering article about me in the year book," Larry says.  The rest of the scene is the same, except at the very end Larry tries to piece back together the pieces of his paycheck.

Here is a copy of the production schedule for that week's filming:

almostliveproduction.jpg (191401 bytes)

Continue on to the next episode . . .