Sunday, 15 October 2017

Theme Time: David Pomeranz/Jesse Frederick/Bennett Salvay - Perfect Strangers

How's this for an '80s nostalgia rush? Yes, it's the theme to Perfect Strangers

This was a US sitcom that ran from 1986 to 1993 and was quite a favourite in our house. It was shown over here fairly quickly, with screenings on Saturday evenings in early 1987 before settling down in the post Wogan 7:35 slot on Monday evenings. I also have memories of reruns in the early '90s on Friday mornings during the summer holidays, but as far as I'm aware it hasn't been repeated since and despite being popular, the series is not available on DVD here in the UK. 

The series starred Mark Linn-Baker (who starred opposite Peter O'Toole in the film My Favourite Year) and Bronson Pinchot (who had appeared as Serge in Beverly Hills Cop) as distant cousins, Wisconsin born Larry Appleton and Balki Bartokomous, a shepherd from the Mediterranean island of Mypos, who each attempt to strike out in Chicago. The series was created by Mork & Mindy creator Dale McRaven who was inspired by the renewed patriotism he felt in America after the 1984 Olympics and wanted to write something about a couple of people who dream they can make it in a big city. The show's theme, written by Jesse Frederick and Bennett Salvay and performed by David Pomeranz encapsulates that bright, optimistic, empowering American Dream vibe with effortless, catchy and utterly '80s ease... 

And if you don't like that, then you've no poetry in your soul!

A consistent hit across its eight seasons in America, much of the success of Perfect Strangers came down to the great chemistry between Linn-Baker and Pinchot, a chemistry that thankfully seems to exist in real life too (how refreshing is it to find actors from a favourite '80s show who genuinely get on with one another? Yes Moonlighting I am looking at you) The pair perhaps haven't reached the peaks of success they deserved once the show concluded, but they continue to work extensively to this day, with Linn-Baker even appearing as himself in the recent HBO series The Leftovers, which looks at the inexplicable disappearance of 2% of the world's population. In the show, it's revealed that the entire cast of Perfect Strangers where amongst those who 'departed', but Linn-Baker is actually revealed to have faked his disappearance. 

Perfect Strangers had its own spin-off in the sitcom Family Matters and was even remade for Russia television in 2006.

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