The Hollywood Reporter
September 17, 1986

TV Reviews - "Perfect Strangers"
By Miles Beller

When ABC's "Perfect Strangers" debuted last March, it was one of the midseason's zippiest shows.  The characters were clever and energetic, the writing catching the quality of two very far-flung relatives getting to know one another.

If "Stranger's" fall preview is a portent of things to come, the series is off to a sassy season.  In the opening episode of this urban sitcom, foreigner Balki (Bronson Pinchot) and his American cousin Larry (Mark Linn-Baker) are faced with the prospect of delivering a baby.  Balki has invited a pregnant classmate (Candi Milo) from his citizenship class who has been evicted from her own digs, to stay at the apartment he shares with Larry.  "You are a saint," the woman exclaims to a shocked Larry.  When Larry discovers that she is, in fact, two weeks overdue, he devises a plan to rush her to the hospital.

Yet when the baby arrives, things don't go as smoothly as planned.  Larry loses his cool and it's Balki who takes charge, bringing the infant into the world in the back seat of Larry's car.

As essayed by Pinchot and Linn-Baker, the relationship between the two boys is growing ever closer.  They're different but alike, sharing a sense of honesty, integrity knowing no international borders.  While Linn-Baker's character is no doubt more of a reactor, depending on Pinchot's Balki for comic relief and "business," Linn-Baker's talent is such that he breaks through stereotypical sitcom flatness.  And this is no easy victory, given the genetic generic breed of this type of TV character -- Linn-Baker playing the "adult" to Balki's mischievous "child."

Pinchot, too, in his own way, overcomes the limitations of his alter ego.  Though by definition Balki is a caricature, a funny-speaking immigrant who acts oddly and behaves unorthodoxly, Pinchot puts his stereotype over, transmitting farcical matters while at the same time shows us something of Balki's deeper nature.

The chemistry generated by these two young actors makes TV screens shimmer.  They should not be overlooked when Emmy nominations come round next year.


Miller-Boyett Prods. in association with Lorimar Telepictures Prods. Inc.
Executive producers . . . .     Thomas L. Miller, Robert L. Boyett, Dale K. McRaven
Producer . . . . . . . . . . . . . .     Mark Fink
Director . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    Joel Zwick
Writer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    Paula A. Roth
Art director . . . . . . . . . . . .    Lynn Griffin
Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    Kelly Sandefur
Director of photography .     Sherman Kunkel
Cast: Bronson Pinchot, Mark Linn-Baker, Ernie Sabella, Lise Cutter, Candi Milo
--- Closed Captioned ---
Airdate: Wednesday, September 17, 1986, 8-8:30 p.m.