The Eighties Club
The Politics and Pop Culture of the 1980s
Featured Series (P)
Perfect Strangers
(ABC, 1986-1993)
Bronson Pinchot & Mark Linn-Baker

Larry Appleton
Mark Linn-Baker
Balki  Bartokomous
Bronson Pinchot
Donald Twinkacetti
Ernie Sabella (1986-87)
Edwina Twinkacetti
Belita Moreno (1986-87)
Susan Campbell
Lise Cutter (1986)
Mary Ann
Rebeca Arthur
Melanie Wilson
Harriette Winslow
Jo Marie Payton-France (1987-89)
Lydia Markham
Belita Moreno (1987-92)
Harry Burns
Eugene Roche (1987-88)
Sam Gorpley
Sam Anderson (1989-92)
Mr. Wainwright
F.J. O'Neill (1989-92)
Tess Holland
Alisan Porter (1990)

"Don't be ridikalus!" was Balki Barokomous' favorite line -- and this long-running buddy comedy succeeded in being just that, lasting for eight seasons (150 half-hour episodes). Balki Bartokomous (Bronson Pinchot) is a shepherd from the Mediterranean island of Mypos who comes to America, moving into the Chicago apartment of his distant cousin, Larry Appleton (Mark Linn-Baker). Larry has a little trouble adjusting to Balki's peculiar Myposian customs and outrageous butchery of the English language. But Balki is a good-hearted, fun-loving, incorrigibly optimistic fellow who manages to teach the ambitious and highstrung Larry about the really important things in life. The series revolved around the pair's misadventures as they pursue love, career and the trials of everyday existence.
In the series' first season, Larry works for Mr. Twinkacetti at the Ritz Discount Shop, and Susan is his friend, a nurse who lives in an apartment upstairs. But as the second season opened, Larry got a job as a photojournalist at the Chicago Chronicle, while Balki went to work in the mailroom. Among their coworkers: Harriette, the wisecracking elevator operator, and Lydia, an advice columnist (played by Belita Moreno, who  had previously appeared as Mr. Twinkacetti's wife.) A pair of stewardesses, Jennifer and Mary Anne, move into an apartment upstairs, and the former becomes Larry's love interest while Balki has a hopeless crush on the latter. Eventually Balki earns his high school diploma and begins taking college courses at night school, while being tormented by his grouchy mailroom supervisor, Mr. Gorpley. When Balki draws a comic strip featuring a sheep named Dimitri, Larry is assigned to write dialogue for the strip. By the end of the series' run, Larry and Jennifer get married and move into a big Victorian house where they take in none other than Balki and Mary Anne as boarders. When the series was abruptly cancelled, Balki is about to marry Mary Anne. (Several original episodes were aired in the summer of 1993, in which that marriage took place and both couples had babies.)
Bronson Pinchot was born in New York City (5.20.59) and graduated from South Pasadena High School in 1977 before receiving a scholarship to study drama at Yale University. Hehad garnered small parts in such films as Risky Business (1983) and Beverly Hills Cop (1984), as well as a role as a gay attorney in the sitcom Sara (1985-1988) before landing the part of Balki in Perfect Strangers. The success of the series led to a lead role in the feature film Second Sight, costarring John Larroquette of another hit '80s sitcom, Night Court. Since then, Pinchot has kept busy providing voices for animated movies and TV series. He also starred at Stan Laurel in the 1998 film The All New Adventures of Laurel & Hardy: For Love or Mummy. In 2001 he appeared on stage in London's West End in a production of Stones in Their Pockets.
A native of St. Louis, Missouri (6.17.54), Mark Linn-Baker had appeared in 1983's Doonesbury: A Broadway Musical and the TV series Comedy Zone (1984) before joining the cast of Perfect Strangers. He has since starred in several made-for-TV movies as well as the 1995 Broadway production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. He has also directed episodes for such TV shows as Family Matters and Hangin' with Mr. Cooper in addition to producing the 1992 film Me and Veronica.

The popular theme song for Perfect Strangers, "Nothing's Gonna Stop Me Now," was written by Jesse Frederick and Bennett Salvay, and performed by David Pomeranz, who also composed the theme for the short-lived 1987 TV series, Spies.
The long-running sitcom Family Matters (1989-1998) was a spin-off of Perfect Strangers; both Carl and Harriett Winslow (Reginald VelJohnson Jo Marie Payton-France) appeared in the latter.

Series Highlights
Knock Knock, Who's There (3.25.86): Balki emigrates from Mypos to Chicago and moves in with Larry, his cousin five times removed.
First Date (4.8.86): Larry reluctantly agrees to take Balki to a single's bar to show him how to pick up American women.
Baby You Can Drive My Car (4.15.86): In order to win a bet from Mr. Twinkacetti, Larry has to teach Balki how to drive.
Hello Baby (9.17.86): Balki invites a pregnant woman from his citizenship class to stay over, and she goes into labor.
Hunks Like Us (9.24.86): Larry decides to join a health club so that he can impress a girl -- but then Balki joins too.
Ladies and Germs (10.15.86): Larry gets a date with a beauty queen, but when he catches cold Balki gives him a secret cure that puts him to sleep for three days.
Can I Get A Witness? (11.26.86): Balki unwittingly delivers packages for a racketeer, who threatens to kill him and Larry if he testifies in court.
Dog Gone Blues (1.7.87): Their lease says no pets, so Balki recruits Larry to help him hide the dog he rescued at the pound from their suspicious landlord.
Snow Way to Treat A Lady, Pts 1 & 2 (2.18.87 & 2.25.87): Larry and Balki go on a ski trip with Jennifer and Mary Anne -- only to buried alive in a cabin by an avalanche.
Sexual Harassment in Chicago (11.7.87): When Balki spurns the advances of a female editor at the Chronicle, she gives him an ultimatum.
Your Cheatin' Heart (10.22.87): Balki and Jennifer are planning a surprise for Larry, who concludes that his roommate is having an affair with his girlfriend.
The Horn Blows at Midnight (11.4.87): Larry scoffs when a  psychic predicts he will die at midnight -- until the psychic's other predictions come true one by one.
Just Desserts (2.3.88): Larry thinks a special Myposian dessert is a goldmine, until he discovers that the treats explode if they're not made just right.
Pipe Dreams (2.10.88): Larry tries to impress Jennifer by fixing her shower, but ends up destroying her bathroom.
Defiant Guys (3.11.88): Larry has to take Balki with him to a very important luncheon, because Balki has handcuffed the two of them together and lost the key.
Piano Movers (11.4.88): In a takeoff of a classic Laurel & Hardy skit, Balki agrees to do Lydia favor -- move a piano to the tenth floor of the apartment building.
High Society (11.11.88): Balki goes to a formal party and announces that he is an heir to the throne of Mypos.
The King and I (2.24.89): After being hypnotized, Balki starts believing he's Elvis.
Prose and Cons (3.10.89): When Larry refuses a court order to identify his source for a story, he goes to jail -- along with Balki.
Father Knows Best, Pts 1 & 2 (11.10.89 & 11.17.89): Larry tries very hard to gain approval from his visiting father, only to get them both locked in a flooding basement.