So Larry Appleton’s sitting on his couch in his new Chicago bachelor pad when there’s a knock at the door. Whoever could it be?
Why, it’s none other than one of the funniest characters to hit any sitcom in our favorite decade: Balki Bartokomous, whose fifth cousin three times removed was the step-uncle to Larry’s father on Balki’s mother’s side, two continents removed. Balki, you see, had decided to try his luck in America, leaving behind his life as a shepherd on the tiny island nation of Mypos.
And so began Perfect Strangers, one of ABC’s most consistent hits of the 80s, running a total of eight seasons from 1986 to 1993.
With the vastly underrated Mark Linn-Baker as Larry App-leh-ton and Bronson Pinchot as Balki, the show gave us all we could ask for: a great fish-out-of-water storyline, all kinds of silliness and goofiness, and, occasionally, some nice little life lessons added for good measure.
Throw in Rebecca Arthur and Melanie Wilson and Balki and Larry’s stewardess (make that ‘flight attendant’) girlfriends Mary Anne and Jennifer, and suddenly everything just fell into place. Mary Anne was a ditz, Jennifer was a hottie, Balki had a wonderful way with the English language (“I just hate sitting around like a bump on a frog.”), and Larry was the always-flustered glue that held them all together.
Over the years, more and more hijinks would ensue (particularly once Larry got a job at the Chicago Chronicle), and eventually Perfect Strangers would all wrap up with Larry and Balki marrying their ladies and having children of their own.
Along the way, the show would not only launch a super-successful spin-off (Family Matters), it be lead-off leg in ABC’s original TGIF lineup (along with Full House, Mr. Belvedere and Just the Ten of Us).
How great was Perfect Strangers? We could tell you, but we’re busy doing the Myposian Dance of Joy.
We ♥ Perfect Strangers.