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It's Been 20 Years Since We Last Saw Balki

  • Written by The Chicago Defender
  • Published in Chicago

    It's been 20 years since "Perfect Strangers" left the airwaves on August 6, 1993, after eight seasons and 150 episodes of hijinks with cousins Larry Appleton (Mark Linn-Baker) and Balki Bartokomous (Bronson Pinchot).

    Filmed in front of a live studio audience, the laugh-track-heavy, multi-cam sitcom was a staple on ABC, even anchoring its Friday night TGIF block for several seasons. It was a fish-out-of-water storyline for Balki, who came to America from the Mediterranean island Mypos to meet and live with his straight-laced cousin Larry in Chicago.

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    The two opposites balanced each other out, and the show featured them dancing, doing a lot of physical comedy and, eventually, finding love and settling down (still together, of course) with their neighbors.

    They definitely don't make TV shows like they used to: "Perfect Strangers" was one of the last sitcoms that could get away with doing a sappy montage to wrap up the series -- complete with dream sequence and wavy screen transitions, all set to Nat King Cole's "Unforgettable," of course.


    Miller-Boyett Productions -- a name you saw a lot of on TV shows in the '70s, '80s and '90s -- produced "Perfect Strangers" and it followed in the tradition of their other big hits like "Bosom Buddies," "Mork & Mindy" and "Laverne & Shirley." Shows like this, dated as they might seem today, helped pave the way for more "opposites attract" buddy comedies, like "2 Broke Girls," "Two and a Half Men" and "The Big Bang Theory" (basically anything on CBS from Chuck Lorre), and more modern spins like ABC's late "Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23" and NBC's "Community."

    So we're giving props to "Perfect Strangers," and what better way then to join them in a Dance of Joy!


    Since the "Perfect Strangers" finale, Linn-Baker and Pinchot haven't strayed too far from the small.

    Linn-Baker (below) appeared on "Spin City, "Ally McBeal," "Family Matters," "Law & Order" and, of course, "Twins." The now-59-year-old actor most recently made a cameo in a 2012 episode of "The Good Wife."

    Pinchot (below) recently made a splash on Fox 43, a central Pennsylvania affiliate, hijacking the weather report. In recent years, the now 53-year-old actor has appeared on Disney Channel's "Shake It Up!," "Hawaii Five-0" and "Chuck."

    Tell us: Did you watch "Perfect Strangers"? What's your favorite memory of the show?

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