USA Today
April 29, 1986

A 'Perfect' Start to a Beautiful Friendship
By Tom Green - USA TODAY

HOLLYWOOD - Perfect Strangers has taken an unlikely pair of pals and converted their friendship into one of this spring's biggest TV hits.

The ABC comedy, about a sheepherder from the mythical isle of Mypos who moves in on his distant Chicago cousin, is a major hit because of its dynamite Tuesday time slot nestled between ABC's Who's the Boss? and Moonlighting, and its stars, Bronson Pinchot and Mark Linn-Baker.

"Bronson and Mark are as good as it gets," says co-executive producer Thomas L. Miller.  And casting is the key to making a friendship show work, adds Miller, who has worked on other buddy hits, The Odd Couple, Laverne & Shirley, Bosom Buddies and Happy Days.

What gets across to audiences, Miller says, is that Pinchot and Linn-Baker have become close friends off the set.  That happens in many successful friendship shows, the producer says.  Ron Howard and Henry Winkler still are close years after working together on Happy Days.

"That is an 'X' Factor that somehow gets on the screen," Miller says.

It happened between the two actors immediately, he says.  Linn-Baker had not been the first choice to play the U.S. cousin.  But when the role was recast, Pinchot took to the new guy when they first read together.  "There has not been one blowup between them," Miller says.

He offers no explanation of why there haven't been more great friendship comedies on TV.  Maybe producers feel uncomfortable with something so obvious.  Maybe they're afraid the TV executives will hear about the idea and say, "Oh, puhleeze . . . "  In the meantime, Miller and his partner, producer Robert Boyett, seem to have tapped into something successful.

"Friendship has never gone out of fashion."