In 1986 ABC
began airing Perfect Strangers
in what would lead to a long line of television shows that were all slightly interconnected. The premise
of the show
is that Balki Bartokomous
from the island of Mypos
comes to Chicago, Illinois
to live with his cousin Larry Appleton
. The catch is that Larry doesn't know he's coming, nor has he ever heard of his cousin Balki. Well, Balki moves in to Larry's apartment
and they get into all sorts of crazy situations and schemes over the course of the show's run. There were a few types of plots that were recycled over the show's run: Larry's crazy schemes, Larry lies and gets caught, Balki doesn't quite fit in, and Larry & Balki get in over their heads.
Originally Larry and Balki worked for Ernie Twinkacetti's discount store, but eventually they quit and took jobs at the Chicago Chronicle (Larry as a reporter and Balki as mailroom clerk). Eventually Balki got the attention of the Chronicle's editor and the paper began running Balki's comic strip, Dimitri's World, based on the life of Balki's old pet sheep from Mypos.
The show came to a close around the time that the cousins married their girlfriends, Jennifer and Mary-Ann, and moved out of the apartment they shared and moved into a big house that they all shared. The series finale saw Jennifer giving birth to a baby on a hot air balloon.
The show aired on ABC from 1986-1993 and eventually anchored the TGIF Friday night line-up. 150 episodes were produced. Reruns air now and then on TV Land and on Nick At Nite whenever there's space to fill on the schedule. In its heydey the show spawned the spinoff Family Matters which also carried over into Full House, placing all three shows in the same universe. Scary, ain't it?
Bronson Pinchot .... Balki Bartokomous
Mark Linn-Baker .... Larry Appleton
Melanie Wilson .... Jennifer Lyons/Jennifer Appleton
Rebeca Arthur .... Mary Anne Spencer/Mary Anne Bartokomous