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Fun show even for kids who didn't speak Spanish..., 12 February 2009

I remember I used to watch the whole PBS kids show lineup in the mid 70s to early '80s. I didn't speak a word of Spanish but I loved watching the beginning of this show and liked to sing along with the theme. I never saw more than a few minutes of it, because my mom would inevitably decide I watched enough TV and didn't need to watch TV that I couldn't understand, and she would make me turn it off. I don't think it dawned on her that maybe I would have learned something useful.

As someone else mentioned, I also heard "Vi Allegre" in the song, but once I learned some Spanish I knew that had to be wrong. I figured it had to be either "villa" or "vida". Finally the mystery is solved.

I credit this show, along with the bilingual "Sesame Street" clips, for my interest in learning languages. I did eventually study Spanish(as well as a couple of other languages), but I wonder if I would have been more proficient if I had learned by watching this when I was younger.

Mr. Potato Head..., 18 November 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In this episode, Larry and Balki get cable, and Balki discovers the meaning of the phrase "couch potato". Those of us old enough to remember the dark time before cable TV can probably relate to Balki's fascination with the sudden ability to watch "Leave it to Beaver" on his lunch hour, or 3 different Schwarzenneger movies in the middle of the night. (Oddly enough, the guys apparently still did not have a VCR.)

Especially funny in this episode is the expression on Balki's face as he sits entranced by the TV (blank eyes with his mouth hanging open), and the climactic "give me my remote" fight at the end. I suppose there was a little lesson in the end for the kiddies watching (be selective about how much TV you watch so it doesn't keep you from doing other things), but really it is just funny.

Hilarious!, 14 November 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Larry and Balki get beat up in front of the girls, so what do they do? Do you think they would simply try not to put themselves in that situation again? Do you think they would simply not go back to the bar where the bully hangs out? No, of course not...they decide to take karate so they can fight back!

This is worth watching just for the "ninja scene" where Balki does a sneak attack on Larry and they practice their new karate moves for several minutes; it is hilarious. And if you are a fan of their musical routines, their rendition of "The Impossible Dream" is not to be missed! A little something for everyone in this one!

Saddest episode, but well done, 13 November 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Originally I found it odd at the beginning that Balki seemed to have forgotten how to dress himself, but by the end of the show I realized that was probably done to throw in a little extra humor to offset the serious tone of most of the episode. It was unusual to see such a sad episode of this show. One of very few to end on a sad note, it was really the only one where we really can't dismiss the sadness as something to get over eventually. Unlike "Falling in Love Is..."(which I felt was the saddest episode up until this one) where you know Balki will eventually get over it and fall in love again, you do not ever really get over the death of a loved one, you only learn to live with it.

I feel this episode really gave both Mark-Linn Baker and Bronson Pinchot an excellent opportunity to display their ability for drama as well as comedy. Bronson does an especially good job here of going from one to the other in an instant. Balki's "conversation" with Yaya Biki, where we learn she was the one who inspired him to follow his dreams and come to America, was very touching. Larry got to display a somewhat softer side than we usually see, with his heartfelt concern for his cousin.

All in all, a very good episode, but just be prepared for a lot less humor and happiness than the typical episode.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Very touching, well-acted episode (major spoilers included), 8 November 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is one of my favorite episodes, though it is one of the few that can make me cry. Watching Balki get his heart broken for the first time is heartbreaking to watch every time. It never dawned on him that someone would treat him so badly, because he would never treat anyone like that. When he says he will never fall in love again because it hurts too much, you can see him losing a part of his innocence, as he realizes for the first time that simply caring about someone can cause him pain. (Of course, fortunately, he will eventually fall in love again...)

One of the excellent things about this episode is that it establishes that when all is said and done, Larry is a true friend to Balki. He never once says "I told you so", even though he surely could have. Even though Balki, in a very rare moment of meanness, had accused Larry of being jealous when he was simply concerned. It proved that there was very much a give and take in the friendship between the two, a good balance that would keep them on an even keel whatever happened along the way.

Even though this was a sadder episode in the end, it still has many funny and light-hearted moments. It is definitely one of my favorites.