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Perfect Strangers (1986-93)

Updated on August 4, 2012

Perfect Strangers was a TV sitcom that originally aired on ABC. It starred Bronson Pinchot as Balki Bartokomous, Mark Linn-Baker as Larry Appleton, Melanie Wilson as Jennifer, and Rebeca Arthur as Mary-Anne. The series was created by Dale McRaven.

The story takes place primarily in Chicago. Larry Appleton's distant cousin, Balki Bartokomous from the fictional Mediterranean island of Mypos, shows up on his front step looking for a place to live. His knowledge of America lies only in what he's heard from American pop culture. Larry tries to show him the ropes.

Together, Larry and Balki form a sort of "Laurel & Hardy"-type duo. One particular episode comes to mind which slightly resembles the old Laurel & Hardy short The Music Box. Larry and Balki are to bring a piano up to a top floor apartment for their friend Lydia. The piano doesn't fit in the elevator, so they are forced to take the stairs. After much trial, they finally get it up there only to find out she didn't need it.

Based on the series pilot, one may have assumed that the series was going to be about an immigrant being shown the American ways of life by his distant cousin. While it was that, it also went the other way. Larry didn't just show Balki was life was like in America; Balki showed Larry what it was like to feel enthusiastic and happy about life every single day. Before the two met, Larry was all-business in pursuing his dream of being a photojournalist. After Balki came along, he seemed to become a happier and more relaxed person. In effect, both cousins become better people by being roommates.

To wrap, Perfect Strangers was one of the most heart-warming sitcoms on TV and it's still one of my all-time favorite TV shows!

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