Spectator TV Times
June 13 - 20, 1987
Guys are a 'Perfect' Match
Written by: Eric Kohanik
HOLLYWOOD - Bronson
Pinchot and Mark Linn-Baker have got what folks in "the biz" like to
The actors co-star
in Perfect Strangers (Wednesdays, 8 p.m., Ch. 7, 11, 24), a situation
comedy revolving around a former Mediterranean shepherd named Balki (Pinchot)
who has moved in with Larry, his American cousin (Linn-Baker).
premise is reminiscent of past shows, including the old Mork & Mindy
series. (In fact, some of Balki's innocent observations of North American
lifestyles seem to echo Robin Williams' comical views as Mork.)
was introduced last year as a limited-run spring series. Critical and
audience response to the initial six episodes were strong enough to convince ABC
to bring the show back as a regular series in the fall.
surprised it did as well as it did as fast as it did," admits Pinchot.
"But I was expecting it to do pretty well because I liked it."
Pinchot says he
suspects that one of the reasons for the show's success is that it is simple
entertainment -- comedy with no message.
"When I first
started to read the scripts, the thing I liked about it is that it skipped over
all the topical stuff," he says. "It's just pure comedy."
Linn-Baker both studied drama at Yale University, although neither new the other
until later. Linn-Baker's work in commercials and New York theatre led to
guest spots on several TV series and a starring movie role opposite Peter
O'Toole in My Favorite Year.
meanwhile, made his movie debut in Risky Business. He didn't gain
widespread recognition, though, until his brief but hilarious appearance as
Serge, the odd art-gallery clerk in Beverly Hills Cop. It was that
performance that attracted producers when it came time to cast the character of
Pinchot says he was
concerned at first about doing another character with a foreign accent.
"But, over the course of a few months," he explains, "it clicked
that the major thing about this character is his way of looking at the world,
and not his way of talking."
Linn-Baker is quick
to agree. "This show is a combination, so I think we have it both
ways," he says. "It's a completely innocent, admiring viewpoint
from a foreigner who has come here and just thinks everything is
wonderful. And it's also a little more realistic viewpoint from somebody
who lives here who has doubts about whether the way things work here are
completely right or correct or just. So I think we get a balanced view of
Pinchot admits he
bears certain similarities to Balki's character. "I'm incredibly
impulsive," he explains. "And I'm very gullible and I'm very apt
to do rather uninhibited physical things. And I'm very curious about the
"I think the
main thing that I do when I play the character is that I just try to lift all of
the adult, urban, tense, mindful things off and just be like a complete