LETHAL WEAPON
written by Paula Wilshe

Being married to a Keebler Elf has many advantages (Paula's husband worked for Keebler).  The first is that there is never a shortage of cookies in our house.  The second is that I have occasionally been able to take advantage of my husband's Frequent Flyer Miles and visit Los Angeles.  And between the shopping and sightseeing, one of the highlights of each trip had been attending a Perfect Strangers filming . . .

As excited as we were about attending the filming, there was a certain sadness in the air, knowing that this was the last Perfect Strangers filming we would ever attend.  We arrived at the studio right on time, and found Linda almost immediately.  We waited in line for quite some time -- while we were there we saw Bob Saget, who came out of the Full House building next door and waved to all of us.  Finally moving inside, we were escorted through the security check, and taken to our seats -- which were fantastic, third row center!

The show got underway shortly after seven with the cast introductions -- first F.J. O'Neil, who was introduced but did not run out, then the girls, then Bronson and Mark, who were twirling around and leaning on each other, until Bronson finally dragged a laughing Mark off.

A retake was needed of the scene where Balki gives Mitch, his ant, artificial respiration and CPR.  Since the retake was primarly to redo the girls' reactions, Bronson hammed it up, pretending to blow the ant out of his nose and wiping it on Mark, who laughingly played right along and flicked it away -- the girls had a terrible time keeping straight faces, and they their their napkins at the guys, who were still chuckling.  As soon as the scene ended, they went hysterical.  Bronson and Mark spent virtually the whole filming together -- making each other laugh, and chatting continuously, often right until "Action!" was called -- and picking up their conversation without missing a beat as soon as Judy said, "Cut!"

The dinner scene in the kitchen took quite a long time to film, as the crew kept having to replace the salad exactly as it was each time.  Despite the arduous task of getting the scene on film, the cast kept the mood light.  At one point Bronson threw the pot roast, then Judy Pioli Askins ran in and messed up the salad, and he chastised her, "Don't put your fingers in the iced tea!"

A whole scene was cut from the middle of the show, where Balki and Larry went to work -- Balki angering everyone in the elevator by inadvertently pushing all the buttons with his mitts, and incurring Mr. Wainwright's wrath because the drawings of Dimitri are not up to par.  Larry tells him, "You can't kill a pencil," and urges him to take off the mitts to draw, but Balki says that if he did a good drawing the cousins would automatically do the Dance of Joy, and "by the last 'di di di' you'd be 'dead, dead, dead!''  Larry tries to convince him that if he doesn't take off the mitts that his fingers might fall off.  When he takes off the mitts to assess the damages, Larry tells him "that food poisoning thing is coming back," and says he's going to faint, urging Balki to catch him.  Balki refuses, and puts the mitts back on.  After watching the episode on television, I think the last scene would have made more sense had this scene been shown.

Also missing from the end was the last scene which took place in the living room.  Balki, still suited up, but without the mitts, is overjoyed because he can now touch people, and sing the "eensy weensy scorpion" song -- he does, the last line of which was adorable: "I love crunchy insects with pinchers on, don't you?"  [Editor's note - this song would again turn up in the last episode of the series as Balki sings it to their infant sons].  He tells everyone that now it's only necessary to wear a decompression suit for a few days -- a tasteful Armani with a delicate pinstripe and seven foot wings.

All in all, it was a really fun filming.  The cast obviously enjoyed themselves, and their enthusiasm was infectious -- the audience had a wonderful time as well.  Despite the fact that Bronson looked like he was about to suffer heatstroke, the cast came out for questions and answers, during which they did the obligatory Dance of Joy.  Then, suddenly, it as over, and we were walking out slowly into the warm summer evening knowing we'd never have another evening quite like it -- but it sure was fun while it lasted!

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