Retro T.V. Reviews: Perfect Strangers (1986)
Show Name: Perfect Strangers
Created by: Dale McRaven
Actors: Bronson Pinchot, Mark Linn-Baker, Lise Cutter, Ernie Sabella, Belita Moreno, Melanie Wilson, Rebeca Arthur, and Sam Anderson
Number of Seasons: 8
Run Dates: March 25, 1986 to August 6, 1993
We have started a new year!!! So, we decided to have a new segment where we review older TV shows from our past. Back when people would gather at a specific time to watch their favourite shows.
This time we are starting with the 80's and 90's classic, Perfect Strangers.
All of our favourite shows have that opening theme that just stays stuck in your head. If you have read our Cartoon's Corner segment, you would have noticed that we mentioned the exact same thing numerous times.
The theme has a catchy 80's sound and it is a motivational song. It advises that sometimes, you need to take risks in order to achieve your goals. Once determined nothing will stand in your way of your goal. I know that I am over simplifying it, but that is the gist of the message. Here it is for your viewing pleasure.
The theme was written by Jesse Frederick who went on to write themes for many other sitcoms such as Full House, Step by Step and the Perfect Strangers spinoff Family Matters.
Perfect Strangers Theme
The premise of the sitcom is one that has been done many times in the past. The formula is not a new one. Think of an 80's version of the Odd Couple. Two roommates that cannot be more different.
Let us start with Larry Appleton (played by Mark Linn-Baker). Larry lived in Wisconsin and decided to move to Chicago so that he could get his shot at being a photo journalist.
His roommate Balki Bartokomous (played by Bronson Pinchot) is the long lost cousin of Larry. He comes from the fictional Mediterranean island of Mypos. Balki was known to be a shepherd in Mypos. He is known for his stories about his experiences in Mypos.
The rest of the series is basically their journey together while Larry gets used to living with Balki. In the end, both main characters grow together and have great respect for one another.
What do I like about this series? It is just a fun series to watch, I have rewatched the first 2 seasons recently and they are still enjoyable. Yes some references are dated but the subject matter is still relevant for today's society.
The episode that always sticks in my mind is when Larry is sick with the flu and they have dates with their girlfriend's planned. So, Balki gives him a home remedy that will help with his cold. Balki tells Larry that he should take only a spoonful of medicine. However, Larry drank the whole bottle. Then he wakes up refreshed and ready for the date. However, he did not know that it was 3 days later and he missed his date with Jennifer.
Another thing that I loved about this show is that, you felt good after each episode. You laughed and cried with these characters. People felt an emotional attachment to the show. The ending of each episode did not feel forced. I believe this was done a lot better with shows during the 70's and 80's. Nowadays sitcoms feel forced and most of them are not filmed in front of a studio audience and it takes away from the experience. There were many sitcoms filmed with a laugh track and they were good, but I think it adds authenticity to the show.
Who can forget the ever so popular dance of joy. For the longest time, this was part of popular culture. You are so happy that you could do the dance of joy. Below is a sample of the said dance.
Dance of Joy
I will admit that I think the series ran about 2 years too long. In the end, it seemed to have lost its magic. I do commend them to having a proper ending to the show but it should have been on tv for 5 seasons maximum. Then again, that could be said of about 90% of all sitcoms.
Rating: 4 Balki's out of 5
Perfect Strangers Gag Reel
What do you think? Do you remember this show? Let us know what you think in the comments.