Strangers Episode Guide
83 - Home Movies
First Air Date:
December 8, 1989
Nielsen Rating: 13.2 HH
TV Guide Description: Balki
objects to the script changes when Larry takes charge of shooting a home video
to send to Balki's mother for the Bartokomous family reunion and jamboriki in
Created by: Dale McRaven
Written by: Tom Amundsen
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
Sam Anderson: Mr. Sam Gorpley
Bobbi Jo Lathan: Guest "Lydia"
Gary Bolen: Gentleman Guest
Darla Slavens: Lady Guest
Dimitri is not seen in this episode
"Winter in a box!"
"Now on this point Iím going to have to put my foot down on your
"Cousin . . . this film is becoming a pain in my essence."
"But Cousin, the straw that broke Glen Campbellís back . . . "
ridiculous: Said once in this episode.
used in this episode:
"Where do I come up with them?"
"You are good!"
Other running jokes
used in this episode:
Larry has a plan
Larry uses a clipboard to stay organized
Balki pouts to get what he wants
Balki calls Mary Anne his "little lamb shank"
Balki and Larry hosted TGIF the same night as this
episode aired. You can now view the spots on our YouTube
- Balkiís comment about his family wondering "Is it Balki or is it
Memorex?" is a reference to the classic Memorex commercial tag line,
"Is it live or is it Memorex?" The most famous of these
commercials featured singer Ella Fitzgerald hitting a high note and shattering a
glass, then the same done with a Memorex recording of Ella (which was referenced
in the very first episode, Knock, Knock . . . Whoís There?)
- Lydiaís fear of cameras was established in the
episode that aired right before this one, Almost Live from Chicago.
was actually filmed much earlier in the season, but it made sense for it to air
right before this one so the running joke would be easier for people to remember
- Actor Gary Bolen, who played the actor keeping
watch at the door, provided his own biography for IMDb and mentioned that he
used to work as a Jungle Cruise Guide at Disneyland and even managed to
"derail" the boat once!
- Life would imitate art again in this episode, as
Mark Linn-Baker would begin to direct various shows for Miller / Boyett and
Thereís a very strange bit of ADR (additional dialogue recording) on
Balkiís line to the male actor at the door, "Who are you?" If
you look closely, you can see Bronsonís mouth does not match the line at all.
Since we donít have a shooting script for this episode, we arenít sure what
the original line was or why it needed to be dubbed over.
- Darla Slavens, whose name is now Darla Haun, played the party guest who
kissed Balki, much to Mary Anne's chagrin. She continues to act, most
recently appearing in the movie American Summer, which is due for release
in 2008. You can
visit her official website by clicking here.
- Actress Bobbi Jo Lathan was a standout supporting
player in this episode as the actress who played Lydia at the party. Bobbi
Jo is not only an actress but has published several cookbooks as well! You
can visit her official website by clicking here.
- In this episode Larry wears his watch on his left
arm. Larryís watch switched arms often throughout the series.
There is an interesting blooper which can be found in this episode when
Balki is showing Mama the kitchen on video. As Balki turns on the stove,
the camera is facing out toward the "fourth wall" and you can clearly
see the C Camera and crew standing in the background! You can view this
blooper on our YouTube
- At the end of the episode, Balki is watching the
tape of the video heís taken with Jennifer and Mary Anne. But if Balki
removed the videotape to watch in the VCR, how is it there is still a tape in
camera to record Cousin Larryís greeting? It would be possible if they
were using the video camera to watch the tape, but there is no wires going from
the camera to the TV so this wasnít the case.
episode begins at the Chicago Chronicle. We see the entry to the parking
garage and hear Balkiís voice saying, "Okay Mama, if you thought the
parking lot was spectacular, wait until you see what Iím going to show you
next! Because Mama . . . this is where Cousin Larry and I work!"
Balki runs into the basement with a video camera to his eye as he scans the
room. "Yes, Mama Bartokomous," Balki continues, taping Larryís
desk, "this is Cousin Larryís desk. And this is his favorite coffee
cup." Balki turns to camera toward himself and adds, "I give it
to him last Christmas." We see the black and white image that Balki
is seeing through the viewfinder. "This is Cousin Larryís pencil
cup and this is Cousin Larryís typewriter . . . " The elevator door
opens and Larry steps out behind Balki. "And this . . . " Balki
begins, turning to point the camera at Larry but losing track of him.
pulls his eye away from the camera and jumps when he spot Larry. " .
. . is Cousin Larry!" We see the black and white closeup of Larry
through the viewfinder. "Donít you want to just pinch them little
cheeks?" Balki asks, reaching out and pinching Larryís cheek and making a
cutesy noise. "Whereíd you get the camera?" Larry asks.
"Cousin, I rented it," Balki explains, "Iím going to make a
videotape story of my life for Mama. Iím the guest of honor at this
yearís Bartokomous Family Reunion and Jamboriki." "Youíre
going to Mypos?" Larry asks with surprise. "Well, of course
Iím not, donít be ridiculous," Balki says, "Iím sending this
tape in my place. Everyone will ask ĎIs it Balki or is it
Memorex?í" Balki looks into the camera lens and asks, "Where
do I come up with them?" "Well, itís a very nice idea, Balki,"
Larry comments, "but you have a minor technical problem."
Iím way ahead of you," Balki assures him, "Iíve already taken off
the lens cap and Iím looking through the small end." Balki walks
around to film Larry from the other side. "No, what I mean is your
Mama wonít be able to watch this without a video cassette playback
machine," Larry explains, "See, the tape youíre making goes into a
machine . . . " "You mean a VCR?" Balki asks, "Mama
has one." "They have VCRs on Mypos?" Larry asks.
"Well, they have one," Balki answers, "Mama rented it from Vito
Vavoomikiís Video Land and Sheep Shearing Emporium." "Ah, but
does she have a TV set?" Larry asks. "Well, Iíll tell
you," Balki begin, "Last fall Poknok the peddler came through town
with his donkey all loaded down with pots and pans and dried herbs and a
50" rear projection TV set. Mama got it on Poknokís famous
revolving credit plan. If you donít pay, he straps you to a
"Well, youíve got the
technology," Larry admits, "Whatís your movie about?"
"I thought Iíd just let the camera run for twenty-four hours and call it
Ď24 Hours in the Life of Balki Bartokomous.í" Balki raises the
camera to his eye again and points it at Larry as he
starts to back away. "Leaving Cousin Larry and them pinchable little
cheeks . . . " He make the same cutesy noise he made when pinching
Larryís cheeks. " . . . and what do we see? Balkiís
workplace! Mama this . . . this is my table . . . " Balki
climbs up on the table and shoots down into one of the baskets. " . .
and this is a letter thatís going to the second floor . . . and this is a
letter thatís going to the third floor . . . " The elevator door
opens and Lydia steps out. "Hello, Larry," she smiles.
"Hi, Lydia," Larry replies. "Hello, Balki," Lydia says
as she approaches his table. Balki quickly hides the video camera behind
his back. "Hi, Miss Lydia!" "What have you got there,
Balki?" Lydia asks. "Well, you donít want to know," Balki
assures her. "Yes, I do!" Lydia smiles. "Well, itís
. . . itís the thing that frightens you most in the whole world," Balki
warns. Lydiaís face drops. "You have a copy of my driverís
license photograph?" "No,
Miss Lydia, itís a video camera," Balki explains, "Iím making a
tape of my life to send home to Mama and Iím having all my friends say
"Oh, Balki, donít worry,"
Lydia insists, "Iíve been working with a therapist. He taught me a
way to overcome my fear of cameras. Itís
a new Russian technique. I would love to say hello to your Mama."
"Okay!" Balki says happily, bringing out the camera and pointing it at
himself. "Mama, I would like you to meet Miss Lydia . . . "
He turns the camera on Lydia. " . . . sheís the Chronicleís
advice columnist. Whenever youíre ready, babe." We see Lydia
through the viewfinder as she lifts her left hand and makes it talk like a
puppet as she speaks. "Hello, Mrs. Bartokomous. You have a fine
son, itís a pleasure knowing him." Larry watches this in shock.
"Do you need anything else, Balki?" Lydia asks in her own voice.
"Thatíll do it," Balki says gently, looking a bit unnerved himself.
"See you later boys," Miss Lydia offers, then she turns and heads for
the parking garage, still holding her hand up. She says to her hand,
"You were very good!" "Thank you," she makes the hand
reply as she exits. Larry covers his startled expression as she leaves.
"Okay, Mama," Balki says into the camera, "Time to watch me
Balki gets off the table and sets the
camera down next to a stack of letters. He kneels down beside the table so
he is in the cameraís range and starts demonstrating how he sorts the letters
into different baskets. Larry gets up from his desk and walks
to Balkiís table. "Excuse me, Balki." Balki lifts the camera
to point up at Larry. "The film youíre making is going to give your
Mama whiplash and motion sickness." Balki points the camera back at
himself. "Uh oh. Thatís what happened when she rented ĎJaws
3-Dí and forgot to wear the glasses. Excuse us, Mama." Balki
places a letter in front of the camera lens and stands to talk to Larry.
"You know, I could help you," Larry says, "I have some experience
in film making." "You do?" Balki asks. "I was
audio / visual monitor in grade school for five years," Larry boasts.
"Well, you live with someone, you think you know them!" Balki says
with amazement. "Iím sure we could make a film that would make your
Mama the proudest woman at the reunion," Larry says. "Well,
Cousin, that was my goal!" Balki says excitedly. "I think we
share a vision," Larry notes, "and we could make that vision a
reality. That is if you want my help." "Oh, I do! I
do!" Balki insists as he grabs the camera and hands it to Larry, "I
do! What do we do first?" "Well, first thing weíre gonna
do," Larry says as he looks at the camera, "is . . . get a tape for
this thing." He points to the little window to show there is no tape
inside. "Wwowww!" Balki says, "You are good."
the apartment the next morning, we hear Larryís voice over the establishing
shot saying, "Okay, here we go." Inside, he is standing in the
living room with the video camera pointed at Balkiís bedroom door.
"A day in the life of Balki Bartokomous. You ready?" Balki
opens his bedroom door and hurries out, saying, "Yeah, Iím ready!"
Larry looks frustrated as Balki runs back into his room and closes the door
again. Balki comes out again and calls, "Good morning, Mama!"
and throws kisses as Larry films him heading to the kitchen. "Okay, I
just, I want to show you the kitchen," Balki continues, "Mama you
wouldnít believe the things we have in here . . . "
"Cut!" Larry calls, "Stop. What are you doing?"
"Iím showing Mama the kitchen," Balki explains. "Balki,
this is the breakfast scene," Larry points out, "Youíre supposed to
come in, grab your cereal, sit down and have breakfast. Did you look at
the script?" Larry holds out a clipboard.
"Yeah," Balki says,
"Whereís the part where I show Mama the kitchen?" "I cut
that part, we were running long," Larry explains. "But I like
the part where I show Mama the kitchen," Balki says. "Balki, it
doesnít move the story," Larry argues. "But I like the
part where I show Mama the kitchen," Balki pouts. "Okay, weíll
shoot it and deal with it in editing," Larry sighs, setting the clipboard
down and raising the camera, "Okay, uh . . . take it from . . . this is our
kitchen." "Give me a minute," Balki asks, and he lowers his
head into his hand like an actor taking a moment to get into character.
Larry looks frustrated again. Balki raises his head and begins again.
"This is our kitchen and Mama you just wouldnít believe the things we
have in here!" He motions to the stove. "Right in this
room, inside our apartment we have . . . " He turns on a burner.
"Fire!" He moves to the sink and turns on the faucet.
"Water!" He then moves to the refrigerator and opens the door.
"And . . . you better sit down for this one, Mama . . . winter in a box!
If you had one of these, you wouldnít have to take your frozen foods to the
top of Mount Mypos."
closes the refrigerator and says, "Well, I guess Iíll have my breakfast
now." He walks to the counter and picks up a box of cereal then heads
to the dining table. "Cut! Hold it!" Larry says, "No,
no, no, no, no, no, no . . . cerealís no good. Letís go with the
bran." "But Cousin, I always eat Sugar Booms on Saturday,"
Balki points out. "Balki, do you want your Mama to think you always
have a cereal loaded with sugar and lacking in nutritional value?"
"Well, I . . . I . . . " "Donít you eat bran
sometimes?" Larry asks. "Well, I . . . I eat bran on Mondays,
Wednesdays and . . . on any day when I feel a bit . . . sluggish," Balki
admits. "Well, letís pretend itís Monday or Wednesday or a day
you feel a bit . . . sluggish," Larry suggests.
"Pretending?" Balki asks Larry suspiciously, "Ainít that
lying?" "No! No!" Larry insists, "We are making
a movie! We are filming the highlights of your day. Any day.
Could be yesterday. It could be today. It could be tomorrow.
It will be tomorrow at the rate weíre going."
important thing is to capture the essence of your life," Larry explains.
"And thatís not lying?" Balki asks. "No, no! Itís
film making!" Larry says, "You take a seed of truth, fertilize it with
your imagination, water it with exaggeration and . . . voila!
Docudrama!" "You mean like Saturday Night with Connie
Chung?" Balki asks. "Exactly," Larry confirms, "All
right, come on, here we go." He pulls Balki back into the kitchen.
"Here we go. Over here. All right? And weíre gonna go
with the bran." He pulls out the box of bran for Balki then takes up
the camera. "All right, now just show your Mama how you eat a nice,
nutritious breakfast." Balki carries the box of bran to the dining
table and pours a bowlful before he sits down. He takes the lid off the
sugar bowl and pours one spoonful onto the cereal. He then drops the
spoon, picks up the sugar bowl and dumps the entire contents into his bowl.
Larry cries. "Cousin, I didnít finish my breakfast," Balki
points out, getting up from the table. "We got enough of the
breakfast scene," Larry says, consulting his clipboard, "Okay, now,
later on this evening Iíve arranged a little get together here at the
apartment. Instead of going out to film all the people you know, theyíll
come here. And think of the artistic statement it will make! Our
party here in America sending our film to their party in Mypos."
"I see it and I love it!" Balki smiles, "But Cousin, I better
change my shoes so that Mama can see me in the new boots she just sent me."
"Yes, yes," Larry agrees, catching Balki as he heads for his room,
"Good, change the shoes and letís lose the vest. Itís kinda busy.
And, you know . . . I see the character of Balki in a pale blue shirt."
looks startled. "Cousin, Balki Bartokomous wears vests. Now on
this point Iím going to have to put my foot down on your face. I want
this film to be truthful." "Hey, weíre on the same side on
this one," Larry agrees, "Go with the vest. If thereís one
thing I want this film to be, itís truthful." Balki smiles and
says, "Thank you, Cousin," before heading into his room. Larry
walks to the counter and picks up the receiver of the phone, consulting his clip
board to dial a number. "Yeah . . . hello, Don?" Larry says,
"Larry Appleton. Yes, I just wanted to confirm Iíve got ten actors
from your theater group for the film Iím shooting this evening? Yeah,
now they will be playing the starís closest friends in a party scene so I want
them to dress accordingly. I want this film to be truthful."
The scene fades to black.
two begins that night at the apartment. The ten actors are scattered
around the living room. Larry stands in the middle with the video camera.
"Okay, everybody? Listen up!" Larry calls, "Quiet, people!
I want to go over this one more time. Now . . . weíre going to do the
party sequence. Now weíre gonna surprise Balki because heís not
expecting anybody Ďtil much later." "I hear someone
coming," a man with his ear to the door reports. "Okay, here we
go," Larry says, "Weíve only got one shot at it. Letís
really nail it. Ready? Action!" The man opens the door as
Larry starts to film. "Surprise!" everyone shouts.
Jennifer and Mary Anne are at the door. "Oh my gosh!" Mary Anne
smiles. "Cut!" Larry sighs. "Ah! A surprise
party for me?" Mary Anne gasps, "I . . . I never even suspected!
Thank you, Larry! Thank you, Jennifer!" "Mary Anne, the
partyís not for you, itís for Balki, remember?" Larry reminds her.
"Oh, right," Mary Anne says.
in, come in," Larry urges. The girls step into the apartment and the
man closes the door behind them. "Larry? Who are all these
people?" Jennifer asks. "Oh, theyíre actors from the
neighborhood players," Larry explains, "I hired them to be in the
film." "Well, why wouldnít you just use Balkiís
friends?" Jennifer asks. "Well, Iím going for a real festive
look here and Balkiís friends just donít . . . Ďpopí on film" Larry
explains. "Well, thanks a lot," Jennifer says sarcastically.
"No, not you! Youíre here! You Ďpop!í" Larry assures
her, then adds, "You pop, too, Mary Anne." "Thanks, I
try," Mary Anne replies. "Larry, donít you think you should
have asked Balki before you did all this?" Jennifer asks.
"Jennifer, Balki asked me to make this film for him and I am going to make
this the best film Mypos ever saw! It may be Balkiís life, but itís my
coming!" the man at the door reports. "Okay, all right, over
here," Larry says, moving back to the middle of the living room, "All
right, come on, everybody. Now when he comes through the door I want to
see surprise! I want to see warmth! I want to see a lot of emotion!
Remember, you love this guy! Okay . . . ready? Action!"
The man opens the door and Balki, who has a hold of the doorknob and is carrying
a bag of groceries, is yanked inside. "Surprise!" everyone
yells. Balki looks stunned, but Larry is on him immediately with the
camera. "Great! Hold the look, hold the look!" Larry
urges, "Cross over here, cross over here." He motions Balki to
move to his left where a man wearing glasses is standing. "Big
hug!" Larry urges. Balki hugs the man, who looks right in the camera.
"Say something!" Larry directs. Balki looks down at the man and
asks, "Who are you?"
"Okay, good, cross over here,"
Larry motions for Balki to come forward, "Cross over here. Good!
You are so surprised!" The
man at the door closes it and Jennifer and Mary Anne sit down on the couch.
One man pats Balki on the back. "Youíre happy! Youíre
happy!" Larry directs, then adds, "Choke back a tear if you can."
Balki acts as if heís crying. "Good! Good!" Larry
encourages. "Hi, Balki!" a woman exclaims as she runs to him and
gives him a big kiss on the lips. She walks away and Balki turns and
starts to follow her in a daze. Mary Anne looks shocked. Larry pulls
Balki back toward the kitchen. "Over here, cross back over here.
Cross back over here," Larry says. "Cousin, Cousin . . . who are
all these people?" Balki asks. "Theyíre all your
friends!" Larry exclaims, "You love them so much!"
"Well, I recognize those two," Balki says, pointing to Jennifer and
Mary Anne. "Good, cross over here, cross over here," Larry
urges, pulling Balki toward the counter, "Oh, and look who it is!
Itís Mr. Gorpley!"
Gorpley is sitting at the counter stuffing himself with hors díoeuvres.
"Big reaction! Big reaction!" Larry urges, "Big! Big!
Big! Big!" Balki looks overly surprised. "Okay, all
right, Mr. Gorpley, is there anything youíd like to say to Balkiís
Mama?" "Balki is a real swell guy, whatís for dessert?"
Mr. Gorpley asks quickly. "Terrific," Larry says, "Okay,
Balki . . . Balki . . . cross over here." "Wait a minute, I want
to say thank you to Mr. Gorpley," Balki says, hugging Mr. Gorpley, who
tries to wave him off. "No, no, no, wait wait wait, no no no, you can
do that when we do the warm scene later," Larry says, "Cross over
here." Larry motions Balki back behind the couch. "Yes,
oh, and look who it is! Itís Miss Lydia from work!" There is
a tall, blonde woman standing in front of Balki. Balki looks around her,
trying to find Lydia. The woman grabs Balki and pulls him to her, turning
him toward the camera as she smiles.
Mrs. Bartokomous," the woman addresses the camera, "Iím Lydia
Markham." Balki looks shocked and confused. "And Iím so
happy and proud to be here at this party to honor my best friend, Bilki.
All of us at the Chronicle love Bilki. Heís such a joy to be around.
And Bilki is such a hard worker." Balki fumbles for words to say,
then finally asks, "Miss Lydia, have you done something different with your
hair?" The woman turns to Larry and asks, "Do I have another
line here? I mean, is he supposed to say that?" "Cousin,
could I . . . could I have a word with you?" Balki asks. "Okay,
cut!" Larry calls, "Hold your places, people." Balki walks
up to Larry. "Iím pretty sure . . . that isnít Miss Lydia,"
Balki says. "Of course itís not Miss Lydia," Larry confirms,
"Miss Lydia talks to her hand. Your Mama doesnít want to see that.
I got an actress to play Lydia." "But Mama will think that is
Miss Lydia," Balki points out.
"So what? It happens in the
movies all the time. The always get an actor to play a real life
person." "Oh, and I suppose Crocodile
Dundee was some actor?" Balki scoffs. "Balki, buddy, Miss Lydia
wanted to be here. She even wrote the words the actress is saying.
But remember . . . we are trying to capture the essence of your life."
"Yeah, but Cousin . . . " "Weíll talk about it
later," Larry interrupts, "Come on, weíre losing the energy of the
scene. Okay, Jennifer? Mary Anne? Are you ready?
Jennifer, why donít you start? Okay. Balki, ready?
Action!" Balki runs around the other side of the couch to sit between
Mary Anne and Jennifer. He sets down the groceries as Larry gets into
position to film them. "Mrs. Bartokomous, you must be very proud of
your son," Jennifer begins, "Heís kind and generous and loving and
Iím glad heís my . . . " "Cut!" Larry calls.
"Cousin, why you did stop her?" Balki asks, "She was on a
roll." "Jennifer, that doesnít sound like the script I gave
you," Larry notes.
Mary Anne and I thought it would be nicer if we say what we really feel,"
Jennifer explains. "Iím not paying you to say what you feel,"
Larry says. "Youíre not paying us at all," Jennifer points out
sharply. "Okay, all right," Larry sighs, "Uh ladies, let me
explain a basic fact of film making. I am the director. You are the
actresses. My job is to tell you what to do, your job is to do it.
Okay, now letís take it again." Larry turns his back on them to
fiddle with the camera. "Iím gonna get him," Jennifer snarls.
"No, no," Balki says, holding her back, "No, Jennifer, Jennifer,
no. Cousin Larry, I need to talk to you for a moment in the kitchen."
"No, Balki, sit down, letís finish this up." "Cousin . .
. now!" Balki insists. "Okay, now," Larry finally agrees,
and they walk into the kitchen. Larry checks his watch. "Make
it quick," he says, "These people have to do ĎFiddler on the Roofí
in twenty minutes." "Cousin, you were rude to Jennifer and Mary
Anne," Balki says.
"Balki, buddy, babe! A little
spat over creative differences!" Larry shrugs, "Weíll make up at the
cast party!" "Cousin, I agree
with Jennifer. Why you donít let them say what they feel instead of what
you make up for them?" "Balki, everyone has to follow my script
if we are going to capture the essence of your life," Larry explains.
"Cousin . . . this film is becoming a pain in my essence," Balki
states, "Now . . . now . . . now first you bring in a lot of people who I
donít even know . . . and then you hire an actress to play Miss Lydia, and
donít think I didnít notice the difference in height. But Cousin, the
straw that broke Glen Campbellís back is that you wouldnít let Jennifer and
Mary Anne speak from their heart. This is not my life! This is
something you are making up! And I donít want to do it any more!"
"What?" Larry asks. "Cousin, read my lips . . . itís
over, finished, kaputiki!" Balki states. "So what are you
saying?" Larry asks. Balki prepares himself and finally says,
"Youíre off the picture." Larryís mouth drops open in shock.
Even later that night, Balki, Jennifer and
Mary Anne are sitting on the couch watching the tape Balki has made on the
I would like you to meet Jennifer," Balki says on the TV as Jennifer
appears on the screen in the shaky video, "This is Cousin Larryís
girlfriend." "Balki, this is a wonderful film," Mary Anne
comments, "Your Mama will love it." Larry enters through the
front door behind them but they donít notice. "We all love Balki
very much," Jennifer says on the TV. "Mama, I want you to meet
someone really special to me," Balki on TV continues, "My little lamb
shank, Mary Anne." On the television, we see Balki swing the camera
around to Mary Anne standing by the fireplace. "Okay, go," he
says. "Mrs. Bartokomous, I just want to say how glad I am I met your
son." As she speaks, Balki lets the camera drift down to her legs,
then finally back up again. "He has a very special place in my heart.
Thank you so much for letting him come to America." Mary Anne smiles
and moves toward Balki and the camera to hug him. The camera starts
shaking uncontrollably as Balki reacts to the hug.
Mary Anne steps back and says,
"Bye!" Balki then turns the camera on himself and says, "Wwowww!
Well, Mama, um . . . that
about wraps it up. I hope everyoneís having a great time at the reunion!
Mama, I wish I could be there with you. You could tell me everything
thatís happened since the last time I was on Mypos. I wish we could go
walking in your garden again. We could go and sit under the olive tree and
watch the sunset and spit pits for distance. Well, maybe I see you at the
next reunion. Okay? Bye bye, Mama." Balki turns the tape
off with the remote control. "Oh Balki, that was beautiful,"
Jennifer smiles. "Yeah, it was," Larry agrees, letting them know
heís there. "Oh, Larry, hi," Jennifer says, "Um . . .
well, itís getting late. Uh, you two probably want to talk."
Jennifer gets up from the couch followed by Mary Anne. "Right,
weíll come back in the morning and help you clean up," Mary Anne offers.
As they head for the door, Mary Anne comments, "You know, I donít know
what Lydiaís been doing to herself but she sure looks fabulous."
"I saw a little bit of your
film," Larry tells Balki, "It looked good." "Thank
you, Cousin," Balki says, standing up, "You know my only regret is
that I donít have my closest and dearest friend in the whole world in it so
that Mama could meet him." "Well, I wish I
could have been in it," Larry sighs. "Well, I still have the
camera." Balki points to the camera which is set up on a tripod
pointed toward the couch. Balki turns the camera on and he and Larry sit
down. "Well, Mrs. Bartokomous . . . everyone . . . " Larry
begins, then hesitates. "Cousin, just say what you feel," Balki
encourages, "Theyíre your family, too. Go ahead."
"I know youíre all sad because Balkiís not there," Larry says to
the camera, "and I know you miss him. I know because uh . . . Iíd
miss him too if he werenít here. Heís my best friend. And
donít worry about him because heís doing fine here in America. I look
out for him. Well . . . we . . . we look out for each other. And I
hope youíre having a great reunion. Bye, bye, Mama."
"Bye, bye, Mama," Balki repeats, then turns to Larry and says,
"Aw, Cousin, that was very nice. Now can you take it again and this
time make it Ďpop?í" On Larryís reaction the episode ends.
There are some
differences in the first draft script dated October 18, 1989:
the first scene, Larry is at the file cabinets when Balki enters with the video
camera. When Balki explains to Larry what he's doing he says, "I'm
making a video tape story of my life to send to Mama. Since I can't make
it to the Bartokomous family reunion, I thought it would be the next best thing
to being there." After Larry explains that Mama will need a machine
to play the tape on, Balki says, "You mean a VCR? Mama has one.
It's solid state of the art, cable ready with remote control in a handsome wood
grain finish." The name of the place where Mama rented the machine in
this script is Maltinopolous Video Land and Sheep Shearing Emporium (likely
named for film historian Leonard Maltin.)
- As Balki is sorting the letters for
the camera, Mr. Gorpley enters. "Bartokomous, I know I'll regret
asking this, but what are you doing?" Balki points the camera at
himself and says, "Oh, Mama, talk about a 'movie moment' . . . this is my
boss, Mr. Gorpley." Balki points the camera at him. "Would
you like to say hello to my Mama?" "I'd love to," Mr.
Gorpley says, "Mrs. Bartokomous, your son has worked for me for three years
and I can say without hesitation he is totally inept." Balki blushes
and turns the camera on himself again. "I didn't tell him to say
that, Mama. I may be somewhat inept, but totally . . . Mr. Gorpley is too
kind." Gorpley shakes his head and returns to his office as Balki
continues to talk to the camera. "There goes Mr. Gorpley back to his
office where he disappears for several hours each afternoon. Don't worry,
he's not lonely. Miss McPhaul from circulation usually keeps him
- Lydia's entrance and Balki hiding
the camera from her are the same. After Lydia assures Balki that he's been
working with a therapist and would love to say hello to his Mama, Balki
introduces her and points the camera at her. Lydia screams and runs out.
Balki turns the camera back to himself and says, "We've been trying to get
her to switch to decaf."
- Balki says the line about his Mama
getting whiplash and motion sickness after renting Jaws 3-D but doesn't say she
forgot to wear the glasses. "I knew this felt too easy," Balki
continues, "Cousin, what am I doing wrong?" "Almost
everything, Balki," Larry answers, "You're going to end up with a
confusing, shaky, out of focus, amateur effort." "You're right,
Cousin," Balki sighs, "Who am I kidding? I'm no Ingmar
Spielberg." "Who is?" Larry asks. "I wanted to
send Mama a good movie of my life, but I guess I'll just have to go the
traditional route and send her some Polaroids," Balki says. "Balki,
fortunately I might be able to help you," Larry says. "You have
a Polaroid?" Balki asks. "No. I meant I might be able to
help you make a movie. You see, I was audio-visual monitor in grade school
for five years. And in high school, I carried the tripod for the guy who
filmed the football games. You can learn a lot out there in the wind and
freezing rain. Like how not to lose a punt in the lights."
Balki makes the comment about thinking you know a person. The rest of the
scene is the same as in the final episode.
- The next scene begins slightly
differently when Larry is ready to film Balki coming out of the bedroom he says,
"Action, Balki." Nothing happens. "Action, Balki,"
Larry repeats. Nothing. "You can come out now, Balki,"
Larry calls. Balki finally comes out. After Balki starts showing the
kitchen and Larry says it should be the breakfast scene, Balki says, "But
it seemed like the ideal time to show Mama the wonders of American technology,
not to mention formica." "Balki, I'm fighting the clock,"
Larry complains, "We have a lot to accomplish today." Balki's
line about eating bran on any day he feels sluggish is not in this version, he
just says he eats bran on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. "Balki, let
me explain," Larry says, "Before we were filming your entire
day." "Friday," Balki notes. "Let's try to get
past this day thing," Larry suggests.
- Balki also does not pour sugar onto
his bran in this version. When he sits down to eat, Larry directs, "Mmmm,
what a good breakfast. Take another spoonful." Balki looks down
to take another spoonful. "Look into the camera," Larry says.
Balki stops his action and looks up. "Take another spoonful,"
Larry repeats. Balki look down to take another spoonful. "Look
into the camera," Larry says. Balki is frustrated and says,
"Well, which is it, Cousin? Take another spoonful or look into the
camera?" "Take another spoonful while looking into the
camera," Larry explains. Balki attempts to put a spoonful of cereal
in his mouth while still looking into the camera. He misses his mouth and
spills the cereal. "Cut," Balki says, "Cousin, I think I
can do that last spoonful better. Because the essence of my life is that
I'm not a sloppy eater." Balki takes another spoonful and guides it
slowly into his mouth.
Larry says "Cut," and then,
"We've got all the breakfast scenes we need. But because of that
appliance thing we're behind schedule." Larry consults his clipboard.
"Okay, next we've got exteriors by the lake. Lunch at a typical
American restaurant." "How about Wang's Sushi on a Stick?"
Balki asks. "Fine," Larry agrees, and then he talks about the
party that evening. "It will knock their socks loose,"
Balki smiles, "But I'd better change my clothes so that Mama can see me in
the vest she just sent me. It makes me look thinner. And you know
how the camera can add weight." Balki exits and Larry calls Don to
arrange getting the actors for the party that night.
- Act two begins at the party
with Larry in the living room surrounded by "guests." Gorpley
approaches Larry. "Hey, Appleton, where's the food?"
"Mr. Gorpley, please don't eat anything until after Balki gets here,"
Larry asks, "I want to get all the food in the shot and I don't want the
look ruined. I'm sure you understand." "Yeah, right,"
Gorpley says dryly, then asks, "Who are all these people?"
"Actor," Larry answers. "Actors? I don't have to eat
with them, do I?" Gorpley worries. "I'll fix a plate for you and
you can have it on the fire escape," Larry offers.
- After Jennifer and Mary Anne enter
and Mary Anne thinks the party is for her, Larry explains how he hired actors
for "pop." "Does Balki know about this?" Jennifer
asks. "Of course not," Larry says, "Since he can't pretend
to be surprised, it's going to have to be real." Jennifer then asks
if Larry thinks he should have told Balki about all of this and Larry explains
it's his film. Balki enters the front door unnoticed, looks around the
room and crosses to Larry, tapping his shoulder, "Cousin, what are the
Neighborhood Players doing in our apartment? Is this street theatre?
I love that." "How did you get in here?" Larry asks with
surprise. "No, no, no, this won't do," Larry says, "You're
going to have to come in again so I can get everyone's reaction to your
entrance." "But I'm already here," Balki points out.
"Humor me," Larry asks, "Go out that door and come in again.
Please." Balki reluctantly agrees and exits. Larry says to
everyone they know what to do and calls for Balki to come in again. Larry
films, Balki enters and everyone yells "Surprise!" Balki stares
deadpan into the camera. "Maybe just a little more reaction, Balki,"
Larry coaxes. "But Cousin, it's not a surprise," Balki says,
"I knew about the party. Though I didn't know it would be dinner and
a show." Larry stops filming and puts his arm around Balki.
"Balki, Balki, Balki. Walk with me, talk with me." They
cross to the counter. "You see, I thought a surprise party would be
much more exciting for the film," Larry explains. "But, Mama
might think it really is a surprise party," Balki points out.
"Exactly! Remember that surprise party I gave you when you graduated
from night school?" Larry asks. "Oh, yes. It was
wonderful," Balki remembers, "Too bad we couldn't have filmed
that." "Well, in a way we are. This is the essence of that
party." "Gosh, I don't recognize it at all," Balki says.
"Okay, okay. What do you say we forget about the party? Let's
start getting some of your friends on film." "I think that would
be a good idea," Balki agrees, "This essence stuff is giving me a
- They cross to Mr. Gorpley and Larry
starts to film. "Oh, look, here's Mr. Gorpley from work. Would
you like to say anything to Balki's Mama?" "Get me a plate of
meatballs, Appleton, and we'll talk," Mr. Gorpley smirks. They then
meet the actress "Lydia" and after asking if she's going something
different with her hair Balki adds, "And your height?" She
pronounces his name as "Ball-kie."
- After Larry notes that what Jennifer
is saying doesn't sound like the script he gave them, Jennifer explains how she
and Mary Anne thought it would be nicer if they said what they really feel.
"That's sweet," Larry replies, "but remember I am the writer /
producer / director. Your job is to do it as written. Why don't you
and Mary Anne take your scripts and work with each other? We'll get back
to you." Jennifer and Mary Anne walk away. "Cousin, I
think you hurt their feelings," Balki says. "I don't have time
for temperamental actresses," Larry says, "We're running behind."
Suddenly upbeat, Larry continues, "But, hey, look who else is here to say a
few words." Larry begins filming and motions to one of the guests.
"It's the mayor of Chicago!" The "mayor" crosses to
Balki and says to the camera, "Mrs. Bartokomous, in honor of your son's
civic pride and community leadership . . . " Balki interrupts and
turns to Larry, sternly saying, "Cousin. I'd like a word with you in
the kitchen." "I'll be right with you," Larry says.
Balki turns off the camera. "Now." They go to the kitchen.
"Cousin, that is not the mayor," Balki says, "I don't even know
the mayor." "Yes, you do," Larry argues, "Remember the
time the mayor was at the paper and you were on the elevator with him?"
"As I recall, the mayor sneezed, I said 'gesundheit' and the mayor said
'thank you.'" "Right, exactly, and at that moment you were two
human beings interacting, laying groundwork for a lasting relationship.
That is if the mayor hadn't gotten off at the fifth floor," Larry rambles.
"Cousin, that is not the mayor, that was not Miss Lydia and this is not my
life," Balki complains. Larry reminds Balki it's supposed to be the
essence of his life and Balki says the film is becoming a pain in his essence.
Balki finally tells Larry he's off the picture. "Fine, if that's the
way you want it," Larry snaps, "But I think you're making a
mistake." "I'm sorry, Cousin," Balki offers. They
enter the living room. "Well, that's a wrap, everyone," Larry
says to the actors, "If anyone needs a ride back to the theater, I'll be
out front." Larry exits. Mary Anne crosses to the
"mayor." "Mr. Mayor I just wanted you to know I voted for
you in the last election," she says.
- The last scene starts out mostly the
same, except during Balki's on-screen words to his Mama he says, "Oh, and
Uncle Porkos, go easy on the swine cooler. You don't want to fall in the
well and get stuck again." As Mary Anne is leaving she says, "It
was fun. I especially enjoyed meeting the mayor. He sure looks
different on TV." Larry tells Balki the little bit of his film he saw
looked good. "Thank you, Cousin," Balki says, "After you
left I got everyone to say something to Mama. Well, everyone I knew."
"Balki, I'm sorry. I guess I got a little carried away. I lost
sight of the fact that we were just making a small film." "There
are no small films," Balki notes, "only short directors."
"I meant well," Larry explains, "I thought you'd want to impress
your family. I know if I was making a film of my life to send home I'd try
to paint a more impressive picture so they would be proud of me."
"Cousin, I don't have to impress my family," Balki says, "They
love me and accept me just the way I am. Besides, I think my life is
pretty swell without trying to make things up. I have a good job, all of
my friends are wonderful and I have actually been to the Chicago Stockyards.
Something most young Myposian boys only dream about." "You're
right, Balki," Larry agrees, "I apologize for trying to make you into
something you're not." Balki says he wishes his dearest friend could
have been in the film. Larry notices the camera on a tripod behind them.
"Maybe it's not too late," he says. Larry starts to turn on the
camera but Balki stops him. "Cousin, wait . . . " "Balki,
please. I'd really like to do this." "Okay, Cousin,"
Balki agrees. Larry turns on the camera and sits on the couch next to
Balki and makes his speech to Mama. Balki says it was wonderful.
"It was, wasn't it?" Larry asks. "Now let's try it, once
more," Balki suggests, "This time with tape in the camera."
Balki goes to get the tape as the episode fades out.
There were some further
changes in the Revised First Draft dated October 23, 1989:
- In this version of the script,
Larry points out to Balki that Mama will also need a TV set to view the tape.
"No problem, Cousin," Balki says, "Mama's got a big screen TV
complete with surround sound. Boy, when she jacks that thing up the island
- In this version, after Lydia sees
the camera then screams and runs, Balki says into the camera, "She's just a
bundle of energy, isn't she?"
- The part about eating bran any day
Balki feels a bit sluggish is now in the script.
- After Larry cuts short the breakfast
scene, he says, "I think we've spent enough time in the kitchen.
Unless there's another appliance you'd like to show Mama."
"Well, there is the Mr. Coffee," Balki says. "Why don't we
save it for the sequel," Larry suggests.
- After Mary Anne thinks the party is
for her, Jennifer says, "Mary Anne, your birthday isn't for six
months." "That's why it's such a surprise," Mary Anne
- After Balki enters without anyone
seeing and asks what the Neighborhood Players are doing in their apartment, he
says, "Is this street theatre? I love it when they stop people that
are in a hurry and make them juggle."
- In this script version, after Mr.
Gorpley says "Get me a plate of meatballs, Appleton, and we'll talk,"
Balki says, "Meatballs loosen my lips, Mr. Gorpley."
- The part with the "mayor"
has been cut from this version.
- The exchange where Larry tells
Jennifer, "I'm not paying you to say what you feel," and Jennifer
replying, "You're not paying us at all" is now in the script.
- In this version, after Balki tells
Larry he's off the picture he just says, "Fine, if that's the way you want
it," and leaves.
- The last scene is pretty much the
same as the last version except Mary Anne comments about Lydia looking fabulous
when she leaves. After Balki points out that he doesn't have to impress
his family, Larry says, "I apologize for trying to make your life a Larry
Appleton production." In this revision, the episode just ends after
Larry's heartwarming speech to Mama and he and Balki wave goodbye to her.
on to the next episode . . .