It really shouldn’t surprise everyone that the creator of Perfect Strangers is one of the people that was involved in creating Mork & Mindy. Same idea, just the foreign guy is from totally different places. The main difference is that Mork and Mindy were nowhere near as funny or lovable as Balki from Mypos and “Coosin” Larry. It is a big no-brainer when it comes to entertainment factor because Mork & Mindy was actually kind of lame. Throw The Odd Couple in that same category because I hated that show. But Perfect Strangers caught my attention in a big way many years ago and still does today.
The premise is quite simple. Larry Appleton is a very common man that has his own apartment and his own job. He isn’t highly successful nor is he struggling either. Larry does like things a certain way, but he’s able to keep them like that because he lives alone. Until the day his dimwitted cousin Balki from the small Mediterranean island of Mypos (which isn’t real by the way) comes to visit and stay for a while. A long while that is. For those that have never seen the series before, you can kind of guess where things go from here. Larry continues trying to live his life and things get fouled up thanks to Balki and his new life in America.
Back in the eighties, I remember this show getting more press then most anything else and becoming extremely popular. It began in 1986 when my schooling was only hitting kindergarten and first grade, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t on list of shows to watch each week. Perfect Strangers is clean cut and always had laughs that all ages could not only appreciate, but also understand. The humor is incredibly funny even though rather outdated, but what can you expect from a series that is twenty-two years old?
Larry is really meant to be the jerk here and Mark Linn-Baker plays the role very well. He is always wanting his life to be just so, and doesn’t really care that Balki may be learning new things or simply wanting to have fun. If you’re a fan of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, then maybe you noticed Linn-Baker’s appearances as Wally Stevens a few times. He was an OCD-laced businessman that needed his life in perfect order for it to ever stay complete. Rather befitting if you ask me.
Balki is of course the comedy relief and in a big way. Looking at these episodes as an adult now, I can see how those who have never seen the show before may find it unfunny or just downright annoying. Balki could possibly get on your nerves with his constant unknowingness and his repetitive catchphrase of “Don’t be ridikalous!” Larry could aggravate you by being so anal and negative all the time. But maybe it’s because you didn’t grow up with Perfect Strangers and unsuccessfully doing the “dance of joy” every time something good happened to you. It’s rather sad that this series may only be appreciated by those who have seen it before, but at least newcomers should give it a try.
This collection is obviously a feeling out stage for the show and didn’t really show the true potential it would in later seasons. The first season only lasted six episodes and by the time the cast was really getting the characters under their belts; season two had come and gone. I urge everyone to take a chance on this series and at least give it a sporting try at enjoying it. Introduce yourself to it with this great collection of episodes that will have you laughing and repeating all you hear for days. Trust me that once season three comes out on DVD, you’ll thank me for already getting you acquainted with the naïve skinny boy from Mypos and his obsessive-compulsive coosin.
Knock Knock, Who’s There
Baby, You Can Drive My Car
Happy Birthday, Baby
Hunks Like Us
Ladies And Germs
Babes In Babylon
Falling In Love Is…
Two Men And A Cradle
Can I Get A Witness
The Rent Strike
A Christmas Story
Dog Gone Blues
Since I Lost My Baby
Trouble In Paradise
Tux For Two
Ten Speed And A Soft Touch
Snow Way To Treat A Lady (1)
Snow Way To Treat A Lady (2)
Up On A Roof
Get A Job
The episodes are shown in 1.33:1 Full Screen format and look like they did twenty years ago. Perfect Strangers truly shows its age, but that doesn’t mean they look awful either. It does the job here and they look fine, but don’t go in expecting to see high quality cinematography.
The episodes are heard in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo Sound and they also sound fine for a half-hour sitcom. All the dialogue can be heard quite clearly along with the background music whenever it happens to come into play. There is no static or breaking up making for a good transfer to DVD.
~ Dance Of Joy: Merry Montage Of Balki and Larry’s Signature Two-Step Throughout The Show’s First Two Seasons – This is nothing more then a seven-minute series of scenes from the first two season. Kind of odd and repetitive considering you just watched all of this if you checked out the episodes first.
Perfect Strangers is by no means perfect (pardon the pun). It got better as the seasons went on, but this is a great way to get started loving it or reliving it. When I first popped the DVD into my player and heard that familiar theme song; it made me feel like a kid again. A smile crossed my face and I knew that some fun times with a good and happy moral were coming my way. Some of these episodes I had never seen before even in syndication so that was a welcome addition to even watching those I had seen for the first time in close to fifteen years at least. This is a series that was a long time deserving of being released on DVD and it’s about time it happened. With only special feature included, that didn’t really need to be, the set itself may only be worth a rental for newcomers. But if you loved this show when it was on the air, then dance with joy all the way to the store and grab your own copy now.
Warner Bros. presents Perfect Strangers: The Complete First and Second Seasons. Created by: Dale McRaven. Starring: Mark Linn-Baker, Bronson Pinchot, Melanie Wilson, Rebeca Arthur. Running time: 700 minutes on 4 discs. Rating: Not Rated. Released on DVD: February 5, 2008. Available at Amazon.com
Tags: Warner Home Video