Perfect Strangers Episode Guide

EPISODE 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 Mypos.

Co-Producer: James OíKeefe
Created by: Dale McRaven
Written by: Tom Amundsen
Directed by: Joel Zwick

Cast:
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

Guest Cast:
Bobbi Jo Lathan: Guest "Lydia"
Gary Bolen: Gentleman Guest
Darla Slavens: Lady Guest

Dimitri Appearances: Dimitri is not seen in this episode

Balki-isms:
"Winter in a box!"
"Now on this point Iím going to have to put my foot down on your face."
"Cousin . . . this film is becoming a pain in my essence."
"But Cousin, the straw that broke Glen Campbellís back . . . "

Donít be ridiculous: Said once in this episode.

Other catchphrases used in this episode:
"Where do I come up with them?"
"Wwowww!"
"You are good!"
"Oh, right!"

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"

Interesting facts:
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Balki and Larry hosted TGIF the same night as this episode aired.  You can now view the spots on our YouTube Channel!
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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.  That episode 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 and understand.
- 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 Warner Bros.
- 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.
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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.

Bloopers and Inconsistencies:
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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 Channel.
- 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.


Synopsis:
The 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.

Balki 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."

"Cousin, 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 windmill."

"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 hello."

"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 work!"

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."

At 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."

Balki 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."

"The 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.

"Cut!" 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."

Balki 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.

Act 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.

"Come 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 film."

"Heís 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!"

Mr. 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.

"Hi, 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.

"Well, 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 television.  "Mama, 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.


Script Variations:
There are some differences in the first draft script dated October 18, 1989:
In 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.)
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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 company."
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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."
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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 headache."
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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."
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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.
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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 really rocks."
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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?"
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The part about eating bran any day Balki feels a bit sluggish is now in the script.
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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.
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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 explains.
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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."
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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."
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The part with the "mayor" has been cut from this version.
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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.
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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.
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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.

Continue on to the next episode . . .