STUDIO: Warner Brothers Home Video
MSRP: $29.95
RATED: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 700 minutes
• Dance of Joy: Merry Montage of Balki and Larry’s Signature Two-Step Throughout the Show’s First Two Seasons

The Pitch

Balki is foreign. Larry is American. They don’t understand each other, but they’re roommates.

The Humans

Bronson Pinchot, Mark Linn-Baker, Ernie Sabella, Lise Cutter, Rebecca Arthur and Melanie Wilson

Balki’s foreign and poor. Do you understand?

The Nutshell

The Television Gods decreed that there weren’t enough sitcoms about a straight laced man being forced to live with the unkempt. So, they decided to create yet another tired show based on the formula that was older than Neil Simon’s balls. This lead to the fictional island of Mypos where America met Balki. It wasn’t long before Balki would soon be on his way to Chicago to meet his American cousin Larry Appleton. What adventures would they find in the Windy City? Would it be over in twenty-two minutes? These are the questions that plague my mind to this very day.  

The Lowdown

Perfect Strangers – The Complete First and Second Seasons has been a long time coming. I’m one of those crazed TV on DVD diehards that lives and dies by what shit show they barely remember getting released to DVD. If you don’t believe me, I’ve signed the petition to get Hi Honey, I’m Home released to DVD. I remember every piece of crap I’ve seen since I was a small child and I looked forward to reviewing this release. It’s just that I never remember the show being this bad. 

What’s a phone book? I’m foreign and poor. Do you understand?

The first two seasons have been included in this first bundle and they show a tremendous amount of development. Sure, it only amounted to a change of employment and girlfriends for the two leads. But, it showed that the first season was very much a work in project. Much of the show was saved by Director Joel Zwick’s steadfast hand in maintaining a sense of continuity between each episode. But, when each episode consists of Balki finding a dog or discovering pink lemonade, there’s not much to the mix.

Casual viewers will have a hard time getting into the show due to the dated humor and the corny setups used to force the main plot. In this day and age of the new televised serial, much of the happenings will look akin to something out of the 1950s.

Perfect Strangers is disposable television at its most generic and your passing memories of Balki being funny will soon past when you reach the end of the first disc. You’ll start to despair and wonder if other pop culture moments of your childhood ultimately meant nothing.

He’s not from here! DO YOU UNDERSTAND?!?

There have been multiple variations of this show. Some had Urkels, some had Morks and others didn’t last a full season. There are no real developments in this field as all of the work ultimately means nothing. No one grows and develops as a character. One episode has no lasting impact on the other episodes. It’s a filler show that closed a gap during TGIF on ABC. I can’t even recommend a rental.

After finishing the release, I was left wondering whatever happened to Mark-Linn Baker. He did My Favorite Year before the show started and he has done much after the show went off the air sometime around 1994. Baker’s a decent straight man and he’s prime for a comeback. Sure, he’ll probably get stuck as the guy who has to clean up generic television idiot’s mess. But, he’s got personality and personality goes a long way. That’s what Jules Winfield said and if he said it…it’s good enough for me.

Balki also eats dogs for Cousin Larry’s amusement.

The Package

Perfect Strangers – The Complete First and Second Seasons comes to DVD with a lackluster package. There are no special features outside of a careful montage that shows off the many Dances of Joy that Cousin Larry and Balki performed. The discs are crammed tightly in a case that’s flimsy plastic and broke upon shipping to this reviewer. If you’re looking for information about the show, you have to open the cases as they’ve taken to printing show info on the inside liner. If you had to do anymore work to enjoy the set, you’d be taping them off of TV Land.

The A/V Quality is horrible due to the fact that the show was shot on video. A lot of the colors are washed out unless it’s stock footage that was used as bumpers. The sound is tinny and is plagued by dropouts during scene changes. All and all, it’s pretty forgettable and not worth your time. This is the first truly disappointing DVD of the year for me. 

4.6 out of 10