Reviews: Perfect Strangers

Culture Shock

When introverted, neurotic Larry Appleton moves from Wisconsin to Chicago, Illinois, he was never informed that his long lost cousin, the innocent, naive Balki Bartokomous, would be moving in with him as his roommate. Hilarity ensues as it turns out Balki comes from a strange little Greek country with very different traditions and knows very little about American society. So after Larry tells him he can stay after very nearly turning him out, he gets Balki a job at his store unintentionally and the swarthy, hazel-eyed Myposian turns Larry's life upside down, one hijink at a time.

The episodes are pretty formulaic. It's the usual idealism-vs-cynicism show, with the idealist winning over every time, and the cynic's schemes failing miserably with either him or both of them suffering miserably. But it has enough laughs to hold up every once in a while and plenty of sentimental moments where the cousins show they do care about each other.

Balki comes across as this typical foreigner that we're all supposed to laugh at because of his foreign nature. He's sweet, innocent and childlike, but rarely to the point of being annoying. He's excitable, but then goes very quiet and understated, which makes him all the funnier. And it's all thanks to Bronson Pinchot's performance. Additionally, Balki's unending loyalty to Larry actually makes him kind of awesome. He stood up to an armed burglar, for corn's sake!

Larry, on the other hand, sometimes, nay often, comes across sometimes as an arrogant know-it-all whose schemes always blow up in his face. But Mark Linn-Baker is still very funny in the role, especially in Larry's more slapsticky moments. He and Pinchot play off each other wonderfully.

I don't know what else to say about the show, except that it's a sweet little show worth checking out.