Amph The Seinfeld Chronicles: A Thread About Nothing (Episode-by-episode) THE MOVIE

Discussion in 'Archive: The Amphitheatre' started by Havac, Feb 19, 2011.

  1. yankee8255 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 31, 2005
    star 6
    You really hit the nail on the head there in your appraisal, Havac. I remember the first time I saw this one, couldn't stop laughing. On subsequent viewings I always end up a bit disappointed.
  2. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    The Pez Dispenser

    The opening stand-up is about the weird way women apply perfume, with all these areas, like the wrist. "Women are convinced that this is the most action-packed area that could ever happen in the dating world. What, what is that, ladies, what is happening here? Is that in case you slap the guy? He still finds you intriguing? 'Ohhh . . . Chanel!'"

    George is shouting excitedly about how brilliant his pianist girlfriend Noel is and how happy he is with her to Jerry, who's in the bathroom. "We did a crossword puzzle together in bed! It was the most fun I've ever had in my life! Do you hear me? In my life!" There's something hilarious about seeing George manically upbeat. Jerry comes out. "Were you talking? I couldn't hear anything." George starts complaining to Jerry that he has no power in the relationship, though -- she's way smarter than him, she's out of his league, she controls the relationship. He wants the upper hand, but he has "no hand." George invites Jerry to one of Noel's recitals. "Yeah, that sounds like something," says Jerry. Jerry has a real skill with those sort of non-committal assessments. Kramer comes in and starts sticking his arm in George's face. "Smell my arm." Jerry thinks it smells good. It's the beach. Yet another brilliant Seinfeld running joke has arrived. Kramer was at the beach in the middle of winter because he joined the Polar Bear Club. "It's invigorating!" "So's shock therapy." "Yee-eee-eee-ah!" Kramer then pulls out a Tweety Bird Pez dispenser and starts popping Pez. There's something a little awkward, but always impressive, in how deeply the show is frequently managing to lay on the exposition and set up all its plotlines in one rapid-fire opening scene. Kramer bought it at the flea market. "Hey, what goes on there, exactly?" asks George. "You don't know?" "No, oh, uh, um, I know." "You think they have fleas there, don't you?" "No!" "Yes you do, Biff! You've never been to a flea market, and you think they have fleas there." George admits his ignorance, and Kramer gives the Pez dispenser to Jerry, who was very pleased with it, because he bought five of them. Which is a great little Kramer detail. The guy goes around to flea markets buying large quantities of Pez dispensers.

    At the recital, Jerry and Elaine are arguing about how pianists warm up their fingers: Jerry says there's a piano backstage they warm up with. It's not like they just crack their knuckles and come out cold. Noel starts playing, and Jerry pops a Pez. The fact alone of him popping candy at a highfalutin' piano performance, like it's a movie, is good enough, but then he just sets it down on Elaine's leg, as if to offer it to her. Elaine takes one look at Tweety Bird staring absurdly from her leg and starts laughing. Jerry just looks confused, with that great I'm-disappointed-in-you glare he has. It's distracting Noel and making her screw up, and Elaine climbs out of the seat to leave and just breaks out into gales of laughter. The shot of Jerry and George staring at each other across her open seat as Elaine's ducklike laughter rings throughout the room is just perfect.

    Elaine goes outside and sees John Mollika, a guy who knows Jerry. He starts awkwardly hitting on Elaine.

    Jerry and George are in the recital: Jerry has set the Pez dispenser down in Elaine's seat, where it's even more gloriously absurd. George is just glaring at Jerry.

    John mentions that Richie Appel, a mutual comedian friend, is on drugs. Elaine suggests an intervention. John says that the only person Richie would listen to is Jerry. I . . . suppose that's believable. Jerry's a successful, clean-living, respectable kind of guy.

    Back in the recital, it's over and Jerry is clapping around the Pez dispenser. He may not have intended to make Elaine laugh, but he's clearly latched onto the silliness of the whole thing.

    Now all three are outside the dressing room, and George is bitching at them for the Pez thing. "It was an impulse!" says Jerry. "What kind of sick impulse is that?" Elaine can't stop laughing while trying to
  3. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    The Boyfriend

    Seinfeld ventures out into its first one-hour special episode.

    The opening stand-up is about the gym; people aren't getting in shape for anything. They're just getting in shape so they can get through the workout. Then he goes off about carefully locking up dirty gym clothes, and how this makes no sense. It goes on for quite a while.

    Jerry, George, and Kramer are all in a locker room, arguing about a basketball game they played. Jerry accuses George of being a "chucker" who shoots as soon as he gets the ball. Jerry and Kramer finally convince him that he is, in fact, a chucker. "All these years I've been chucking, you've never told me?" "Hey, you know this is the first time we ever saw each other naked?" breaks in Kramer. Oh my God. Just perfect Kramer. Jerry says he didn't see anything. Kramer "snuck a peek." "Why?" "Why not?" George is forced to nervously confess to having snuck a peek, but he says he didn't see anything because it was so fast that it was all a blur. Perfectly captures the personality of all of them. Jerry's all closed up and has no desire nor need to look. Kramer is wide-open; he doesn't care. George doesn't want to look, but doesn't have Jerry's self-control; he looks, and gets embarrassed, and is of course insecure about everything. Kramer takes off, and George starts complaining about somebody stretching -- who Jerry realizes is Keith Hernandez. They both get excited, and start saying how great he is. Jerry says he's a Civil War buff. "I'd love to be a Civil War buff," whines George. "What do you have to do to become a buff?" "So Biff wants to be a buff? Well, sleeping less than eighteen hours a day would be a start." George mentions that he has to prove that he's been looking for work to get an extension on his unemployment. Then Jerry starts saying they should say hi to Keith, and George says that it's ridiculous. "What, he could say hello to me, I wouldn't mind." "He's Keith Hernandez. You're Jerry Seinfeld." I love that the passage of time has totally turned that comparison around. And then . . . Keith Hernandez comes over to tell Jerry he's a huge fan of his comedy. George tries to get in on this from the side, and is mercilessly ignored. Then he tries again. "You know, Keith, what I've always wondered is, with all these ball clubs flying around all season, wouldn't you think there'd be a plane crash?" Keith and Jerry both give him "What the hell is going on in your head?" stares and then resume ignoring him. Jerry invites Keith out to see him perform, and George keeps going about how, given the statistics, "you'd think eventually, an entire team would just get wiped out." Jerry gives him one of the best looks ever, and George continues to fail to understand what he's doing wrong here.

    Now we're in Monk's, and Jerry is obsessing to Elaine about how Keith hasn't called in the three days since. Jerry is surprisingly natural when whining like a woman, but the whole gag about look, Jerry's whining about a man as if he were in fact a woman discussing a boyfriend and not a man discussing a friend! is played out pretty long, and it's kind of cliched. Elaine mentions her hate of smoking. Has that appeared yet? Yet another yuppie preoccupation on her part. Elaine's "I'm sorry, honey," at Jerry is great, though. Finally she gets fed up with Jerry analyzing whether it would be coming on too strong to call up Keith and invite him to dinner. "Jerry. He's a guy."

    Then we get stand-up about how, in your thirties, you've already got all your friends and you feel no need to make any new ones. Which seems to run against the point of the episode.

    George is in with Mrs. Sokol, his unemployment benefits person, trying to get the benefits extended. He wanders around trying to avoid having to say where he's been looking for work. You'd think George would have this worked out in advance. "Well, you know what I've discovered, Mrs. Sokol? It's not so much the looking as the listening. I listen for work." He keeps going on in that vein, until she demands he be specific. "One name, absolutely.
  4. Katana_Geldar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2003
    star 8
  5. yankee8255 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 31, 2005
    star 6
    Sorry to have been out of the loop for a while, the last two are two of my favorites. The Pez Dispenser is absolutely perfect George, the whole "Hand" concept is brilliant. Great finish with the chaos caused by Kramers Polar Bear friends, gives a great setting for the reveal of Elaine as the laugher.

    The Boyfriend, menawhile, a great episode overall, also has one of the single best scenes in the run of the show and in TV history, imo) with George running out of the bathroom with his pants down when Kramer answers the phone. Jerry's "And you want to be my latex salesman" is delivered perfectly. I pretty much wet myself every time I see this scene.
  6. timmoishere Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 2, 2007
    star 6
    Huh, I never realized this was an actual hour-long episode. Every time I watched it, it was in syndication, and they always split it at the "And you want to be my latex salesman" scene.
  7. yankee8255 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 31, 2005
    star 6
    That line is absolute perfection -- such brilliant build-up, then the look from Jerry, slight pause and then the delivery. Comic Nirvana.
  8. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    The Fix-Up

    The beginning stand-up is about orchestra conductors, and what they're actually doing and why they're needed. It's fine.

    The opening is Jerry and George dining out, and George ranting about how he's giving up on his love life and won't find anyone. "Yeah, maybe you won't." Jerry then breaks in with this great question about whether his nostrils are getting bigger -- not only is it hilarious and random, but it reveals just how little Jerry cares about this conversation, or George's problems. He's off in his own head. George does a rant about how it shouldn't be hard at all to walk up to a woman and say hi, leading to this woman walking past their table and a stuttering attempt at a hi from him that quickly trails off into a quiet cough. (There's a good deleted scene with a longer opening to the talk conversation, with George complaining that he can talk to a woman in a singles bar, but set one foot outside that, and "You're a potential rapist," Jerry finishes. "Me?" George asks, looking really confused. "The general you." So they go back to declaiming on how it's silly that you're somehow legitimate inside the bar, but not outside.)

    This is intercut with Elaine and her friend Cynthia out at dinner, talking about how all the good ones know they're good ones and won't settle with one woman. "I hate the good ones," says Elaine. "Is Jerry one of the good ones?" "That's a good question. I think he thinks he is." Then Cynthia complains that the mediocre ones are all that's left, and they're too insecure about not being one of the good ones that they can't stay in a relationship. What she needs is someone who's so desperate that he'll be ecstatic just to have her and desperate to hang on to her.

    Cut to George, slurping spaghetti and talking about how he flirts with operators on the phone, and almost got a date with one. "Oh, so there's still hope." "I don't want hope. Hope is killing me. My dream is to become hopeless. When you're hopeless, you don't care. And when you don't care, that indifference makes you attractive." That's got to be one of the all-time George lines. "My dream is to become hopeless." How come that's not on T-shirts? "So hopelessness is the key?" "It's my only hope."

    Cynthia is now complaining that she feels bad for her mother. "I'm telling you, if I'm not married by the time I'm forty, I'm going to have to kill her, because it's the only fair thing to do." They discuss whether she's too young to be bitter, and then Cynthia, who's been stealing food from Elaine's plate the whole time, delivers this beauty: "Order me a piece of cake. I'm going to go throw up." Ah, bulimia.

    Jerry and Elaine are in the apartment, and Jerry's complaining about the ink rubbing off the newspaper. It's one of many great little asides the episode is packed with. (A deleted scene goes on longer, with them changing over to discussing cruises, and how Jerry doesn't get the whole women and children first thing.) They start talking about their dinners last night. They talk about how each of the others has given up, and then just look at each other. I love that it takes a woman giving up to provoke the idea that she should go out with George. Elaine says that she doesn't want to have her first time setting up people be with George, and Jerry starts trying to sell her on him. "Because if you think that she is too good for George, you are dead wrong, dead wrong. Who is she?" "Who is he?" "He's George." Elaine then tries to sell him on Cynthia, and Jerry nitpicks that her eyebrows are wrong. Elaine hits the nail on the head by pointing out that his standards are too high. "I went out with you." Dominated. "That's because my standards are too low." Elaine starts on about how women would kill for Cynthia's eyebrows. "Well, let me tell you something about George. He is fast. He can run like the wind. And he is strong. I've seen him lift a hundred pounds over his head without even knowing it. And you wouldn't know it to look at him, but George can bait a hook." They agree to do it, and El
  9. yankee8255 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 31, 2005
    star 6
    Fully agree, a classic. MY BOYS CAN SWIM (coupled with George's arm gesture) is a great line.
  10. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    The Limo

    The stand-up is about how airport stores gouge you -- the entire airline industry is just a front to sell you nine-dollar tuna sandwiches. Not bad.

    George is at the airport, asking a woman where the arrivals board is. She just walks away. He harasses a guy about the time, who keeps pointing over to a clock nearby despite having a watch on his arm. George just keeps bugging him, and finally grabs at his wrist to look at it, because he just can't accept that this guy won't look at his watch for him. "YOU KNOW, WE'RE LIVING IN A SOCIETY!" he shouts as everyone around him moves away. I love that they brought that line back. Then Jerry shows up, and George tells him that his car broke down, so he can't get him back from the airport. "So you have no car. So what good are you?" Jerry mentions that one of the chauffeurs holding a sign isn't going to get his guy, because O'Brien didn't make it onto the plane. George jokes that they should take the limo -- and then realization dawns on him and insists that they really should take his limo. "What if we get caught?" "What's gonna happen? They can't kill us!" I love what a great caper here. It really is the kind of thing you'd love to do, would talk about doing, but would never actually do. Jerry and George actually go ahead with it. They start doing one of their back-and-forth scheme routines, with George saying he'll be O'Brien and Jerry getting upset that he doesn't get to be anybody -- so he decides he'll by Dylan Murphy. They go over to the chauffeur and identify themselves -- after George blows off a guy who asks for the time by pointing to the clock.

    Inside the limo, Jerry appears merely pleased, but George is raving about how this is the best thing he's done in his life. He calls up his mom, which is wonderful as a first reaction. "Hello, Ma? It's me. Guess where I am. In the back of a limo! No, nobody died. It-it's a long story, I can't tell you now. Because I can't! I can't! If I could, I would! Would you stop it? Look, I'm getting off. How's this? I'm not telling you! No, I'm never telling you! I don't care! No! Fine! NEVER!" "Was she happy for you?" Then the two start speculating about whether the driver can hear them, and test him. "Hey, driver! What say we stop, pick up your sister, and have a little fun back here!" They roll down the barrier, and ask where he's dropping them, and he tells them he's got four passes and is taking them to Madison Square Garden. George realizes they're going to the Bulls-Knicks game. Michael Jordan! They start grabbing each other and shaking like they're a pair of overexcited schoolgirls. Jerry's finally excited. I love scenes of just Jerry and George playing off each other. George tries to do the whole "see things as they are, and say" routine, except he can't figure out who sees what and what they say. Jerry calls Elaine and tells her to get Kramer and meet them on the corner to get picked up for the game. Jerry rolls down the divider and tells the driver they have to make a stop, to which he says that he knows. Jerry and George just look at each other in fear and confusion. It's a great little bit of writing, the way that they're able to drag George and Jerry deeper and deeper into this without their knowing.

    Jerry and George get confused when the driver pulls off, and ask him, and he tells them he's going to pick up the other members of their party -- and finally they realize that they're part of a party. "I'm telling you, the jig is up!" "It was a bad jig to begin with! We should have started this jig!" "It was a good jig!" "It was a bad jig, a terrible, terrible jig!" They start bickering over the plan and what to do. "Let's just jump out of the car!" "We're doing sixty miles an hour!" "So we jump and roll! You won't get hurt!" "Who are you, Mannix?" They they pull up to the others, so Jerry has George lean over with his arms over his face and pretend to sleep. Jerry does a pretty good job lying his ass off to them, as they go on about how they're huge fans of his book and his newsletter. Jerry makes sure they've
  11. yankee8255 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 31, 2005
    star 6
    Brilliant episode, one of the first I c an recall where they start out with something mundane and then take a left turn into an insane premise, and it really works well. Kramer's bit about Jerry really being head of the Aryan Union is tremendous.
  12. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    The way they sort of slowly build Jerry and George getting themselves into this bad situation, and then bang, they come back to the limo with George reading that speech -- bang, we're in a whole new world of trouble. You've got to love Larry Charles's ability to bring in the craziness so naturally.
  13. yankee8255 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 31, 2005
    star 6
    I like the way they use as a premise something you could see yourself trying and have it turn into a disaster.
  14. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    The Good Samaritan

    The stand-up is making fun of the endless phone innovations of the nineties, and how "we all have absolutely nothing to say, and we have got to talk to somebody about it right now."

    Jerry is on his car phone with Elaine as he drives; she's complaining that he's on speaker. "It's safer. Plus, it's more annoying to the other person." Jerry rants about the other drivers to her and agrees to go to dinner on Friday with a friend of Elaine's and her husband. Then Jerry sees another drive smack into a parked car and drive off. Elaine demands that he follow, and accuses him of being "yellow." Jerry sees the car park, so he goes up, ready to point out that he witnessed the hit-and-run . . . and a hot woman gets out. He stumbles into saying that her tires are low.

    Jerry's talking to George about it the next day, saying he went for coffee with her. George is impressed. "I'm speechless. Speechless. I have no speech." Jerry really liked her, and loved the way she'd touch his arm when she laughed. George agrees that that's sexy. "Why is that?" "Let's not even analyze it," says Jerry. Great gag. While George randomly goes over and pours a glass of milk for each of them, Jerry starts complaining, though, that he can't stand the fact that this woman hit and ran, even though he can't bring himself to stop seeing her. Then he looks down, confused. "What am I drinking, milk?" I love the moment of utter confusion as to why this little bit of action is taking place underneath the dialogue. It's a great self-parody by the show, as well as being funny on its own. Elaine comes up and asks about the hit-and-run car, so Jerry starts making up a story about how he followed the guy into Queens. George is clearly enjoying the fact that Jerry is now in the position of spinning a story, and Jerry starts going on about confronting the guy, which has Elaine all excited. Of course, she should know that Jerry could never possibly be this heroic. "Tell her about the shoving," George breaks in. I love the fact that George, who's promised to keep the dating thing secret from Elaine, just can't resist screwing with Jerry when Jerry's being so obviously silly. So Jerry has to tell about how he went into a karate stance to scare the guy away. Kramer then pops in with a band-aid on his head and agrees that Jerry did the right thing in confronting the hit-and-runner. "What kind of a sick lowlife would do a thing like that? You know those people, you know they're mentally disturbed. They should be sent to Australia." "Australia?" "Yeah, yeah, that's where England used to send their convicts." "But not anymore." "No." The delivery of that no is just great, like, "Of course they don't do it anymore," then this kind of stare as he realizes that he's just willfully undermined his own position. Elaine has to shout at him to get him to pay attention to her asking how he hurt himself; he says he was watching Entertainment Tonight when he got dizzy and hit his head. Jerry has to bail on Elaine's dinner because he has a date; he suggests taking George instead. "George, come on, I'll pay for you!" It's great to see Elaine now excited about taking George; the group is finally growing closer together. "You'll pay? I'm there." Elaine can't stand being alone with married people, because they always make her feel inferior with their married life. She goes out the door claiming her life is exciting too.

    Which means that when we go to the dinner, we get her talking about her love affair with a matador. George is over in the corner eating like a pig. Great callback to The Fix-Up. The woman of the couple is entranced by the story. She then sneezes; George looks at the husband, but he doesn't do anything, so George says the bless-you. She thanks him, with a rather intense look. "I wasn't going to say anything, but then I could see that he wasn't going to open his mouth," says George with a chuckle. Obviously, it's a Georgelike jerk move, and the husband just glares at him.

    Jerry and the driver are in the car, eating ice cream cones, which I find a hilari
  15. yankee8255 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 31, 2005
    star 6
    Not sure if you realized this, but the Kramer sub-plot is based on actual stories of people having seizures at the sound of Mary Hart's voice. Maybe not the best execution by Richards, but very much catching a bit of Zeitgeist there.
  16. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Yeah, it's a real incident, but the show just doesn't seem to know what to do with it other than throw it in there. It's a thin contemporary reference that doesn't go anywhere. It doesn't tie into the plot at all. Its sole role is as a gag thrown in where Richards flails around a lot; there's no larger significance or humorous context to it. When Kramer's flailing around trying to get the cement into the washing machine, it's great because it's Kramer's nature turning this simple act into an incidental bit of high physical comedy. Here, it's too direct. Just, "Apropos of nothing, here's some physical comedy for you." It's a clumsy way of handling it.
  17. yankee8255 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 31, 2005
    star 6
    You're completely correct. I still laugh my ass off every time I see it, though.
  18. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    I have let this thread get completely away from me. Forthwith, I begin catching up.

    The Truth

    I remember the whole Kramer plot seeming a little strange here, in particular the "tribal music" angle. That's about all I really remember from this one.

    The Dog

    Like you, I remembered very little of this, except for the idea of George and Elaine only being friends when they're both around Jerry. It's an idea that didn't get a whole lot of mileage in the series, for obvious reasons. But it is an amusing idea and one that accurately reflects reality.

    The Library

    One of my all time favorite episodes. Kramer's plot with the librarian is pure gold. Philip Baker Hall is just astoundingly funny as Bookman, one of my favorite supporting characters: "Well, I've got a flash for you, joy-boy. Party time is over. You've got seven day, Seinfeld." My favorite moment is Bookman's entry when he discovers Kramer and the librarian purposely making echoes in the library: "HEEEELLLOOOO." "*coolly* Hello." [face_laugh] His kiss off is great too: "You ever have a man die in your arms?" I mean, this is such a great character. Wow.

    The Pen

    Oh, God, this is the episode at which Jerry's parents achieve a sort of Zen perfection that is almost too painful to watch. The whole plot about the pen is almost too real, the mind numbing stupidity of it, the annoying refusal of the issue to just die, the awkward overkindness that is. just. so. true. ("We don't even sleep." "Do me a personal favor. Take the pen.") It's cringe comedy at the level of The Office, if you ask me. It's odd just having Jerry and Elaine in the episode, but Dreyfuss is close to her absolute best work here: "Mrs. Seinfeld, I'm begging you," she weeps about the air-conditioning and her Brando impression at the dinner is breath-taking. The loopy way she lunges at the camera, laughing insanely. My God; brilliant. What an episode. It's exhausting in a way; you feel like you've been punched in the head when this episode is over, it's so intense.

    The Nose Job

    The main thing I remember from this episode is the brain/penis chess game; I remember that because I think it's the dumbest thing I've ever seen on Seinfeld. They should have been way past jokes this stupid by this point. Richards is fantastic in the van Nostrand plot, though. The pipe-smoking stuff is just amazingly funny.

  19. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    The Alternate Side

    This was the second episode of Seinfeld I ever saw, so I have a soft spot for it. That aside, I actually think it is legitimately a brilliant episode. The "pretzels are makin' me thirsty" bit is brilliant and I remember just absolutely losing it over the whole thing about putting cookies in Owen's mouth. "Did you put cookies in his mouth?" The car thief conversation is brilliant and this whole thing about the car reservations is one of the great scenes of consumer angst ever. This is really kind of a perfect episode. The "Who's putting your pants on?" line is one of the all time great Seinfeld lines.

    The Pez Dispenser

    I think the highlight of this episode, despite the iconic scene of Jerry setting Elaine off into gales of laughter with Tweety Bird, is George's pre-emptive break-up with Noel. Alexander just kills this scene. I totally forgot this was the episode that started the whole Beach thing. But the intervention plot goes nowhere fast.

    The Fix-Up

    This is a great George episode; the scene where he's just peppering Jerry with questions about Cynthia is high comedy: "Is there a pinkish hue?" got an absolutely huge belly laugh out of me the first time I saw this one and I'm snickering now, just remembering it. It's a fabulous line and Alexander sells it with absolute conviction. Kramer's condom plot gets some good gags: "Here, Elaine, take a half a bag!" Half a bag? The bit where Kramer breaks up Jerry and George fighting is sidesplitting; and then the brilliant deadpan way he drops that line about the defective condoms is unbelievably perfect. And "Don't you two see that you're in love with each other?!" is fan. tas. tic. I find the bit about George saying she can count on him and all a little forced, but it's a funny episode.

    The Limo

    This? Very first Seinfeld episode I ever saw. And it is a crack up of an episode. The "Dylan Murphy" gag is one I still use occasionally; it's a little too vanilla of a name to have caught on like Art Vandelay or Peter van Nostrand, but it really is such a cool name that's it's perfect here. This is a masterpiece of escalation; it really just has the one plot, but the way in which things just keep getting progressively more dangerous in the limo is fantastic. The reveal of "And the Jews steal our money . . ." is a great laugh line. Alexander's Astroturf rant put me on the floor.



  20. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    The Letter

    The initial stand-up is about how useless security guards in art museums are. It's one of the better ones lately. "I mean, crooks must look at this guy and go, 'Alright, all I gotta do is get past the folding chair and the thermos of coffee, we can get a Rembrandt.'"

    The episode opens with Kramer having his portrait painted by a woman. "You sure you don't want me to take my clothes off? Because I'll do it!" "No, that's the last thing in the world I want you to do." "Well, why don't you take your clothes off?" "I don't know, I don't think Jerry would like that." "Well, it would be our little secret." Richardson is making these awesomely weird joking-around faces. So, apparently she's Jerry's girlfriend; this is one of the only times Seinfeld has been subtle in dropping its opening-scene exposition on you. Also, she's Catherine Keener, so add one to the list of later-known Seinfeld ladies-of-the-week.

    In Jerry's apartment, George comes out of the bathroom with his pants half-undone, ranting to Jerry about how terrible button flies are because you spend forever trying to get them open and closed. I agree, but why did he buy button-fly pants, then? Jerry likes the button fly. "That is one place on my wardrobe I do not need sharp, interlocking metal teeth. It's like a mink trap down there." Jerry invites George to come with him to see Nina, his girlfriend. George says that he doesn't get art. "No, it always has to be explained to me, and then I have to have someone explain the explanation . . ." "She does a lot of abstract stuff. In fact, she's painting Kramer right now," says Jerry. Apparently she sees something in him. "Well, so do I, but I wouldn't hang it on a wall."

    Back to the painting, where Nina asks Kramer about Elaine. "You know, she and Jerry were a big thing. Like Abe Lincoln and Mary Todd." Nina seems to be bothered by the fact that Jerry and Elaine are still friends. Outside the door, George is nervous about meeting her, but Jerry says he doesn't know how long it'll last anyway, since she's jealous. "You know, it's a miracle you're not married," cracks George with this eye-roll that gets huge laughs from the audience. "Hey, I'm not obligated to buy anything, am I?" They go in, and Jerry mentions that he brought George to see some of Nina's paintings. She immediately asks if he's interested in buying. Cheap George is always good for laughs. He fumbles (and gets pushed by Kramer, of course) into saying he'll buy something. George is such a coward. She's got tickets for the Yankees' owner's box through her dad, who's the Yankees' accountant, but Jerry can't go so she doesn't want to go without him. She asks if the others want them; Kramer barks out a yes almost before she finishes. George goes ecstatic over the tickets before Nina reminds him that he's stuck buying art.

    At the game, George, Elaine, and Kramer are getting led to their seats, and George is all jazzed until he realizes that they're in the second row of the box, not the front row like Nina had said. Then he gets all mopey, like suddenly second-row seats are a terrible curse. It's a wonderful play on how expectations will screw with you, and perfect for neurotic George. Elaine says she skipped out on Mr. Lippman's son's bris for this and told him she had to visit her father, and they start a conversation about why anyone would want to watch a circumcision. "I'd rather go to a hanging," says George. "Is it that unattractive they have to take it off?" "Have you ever seen one with it?" "No." "You wouldn't even know what it was." Then Nina's dad comes down and starts chatting with them, and asks Elaine to take her Orioles cap off because he thinks Steinbrenner wouldn't like it. They never actually use the name, just "the owner," but count this as the first time Steinbrenner starts looming over the series. George wants her to cave; Elaine is outraged that she'd be asked to take a cap off. "This is America!" George starts trying to grab it off her so she doesn't get kicked out; she fights with him, and gets kicked out. George reluctantl
  21. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    The Parking Space

    See, I do find this to be one of the all-time greats. In part, it's because I love Lee Arenberg's turn as Mike a lot more than you do. I think he's one of the best recurring characters on the show and he just kills this episode, as in awesome kill, not bad kill. The bit where he is being supernice to Jerry and then just pivots and screams, "WHY'D YA TELL HIM?!" right into Kramer's face is a sidesplitter for me. The very idea of the two guys moving their cars and then putting them back into the space in their conflicted positions is so perfectly absurd that it's awesome. Other great little bits abount: Newman is really slipping into place here and the hat routine with George is brilliant; Elaine's routine with the Hennigen's and her insane story about the teenagers is pure Dreyfuss awesomeness; Kramer cold shouldering Elaine and George is downplayed more than it could have been, but what's there is gold. This is a classic for me.
  22. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    I love Mike's instant pivots between suck-up and screaming jackass too, but they're just not enough to carry the episode. It never really gets anything else going.
  23. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    The Keys

    Our stand-up is about buying the Ginsu knife late at night. "So I called up the number on the screen, you know, and I said, 'I'd like to order the Ginsu knife,' and the lady went, 'Really?'" It's really funny for once.

    Jerry stumbles through his apartment in the middle of the night, only to find the door ajar -- and have Kramer bump into him on the way back out. He was watching Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo and wanted popcorn, so he used his spare keys to get Jerry's popper. "You scared me!" "It's just me." "That's enough!" Richards does a great job of playing awkward and embarrassed here, with Kramer finally showing some awareness of himself.

    Jerry comes home to his apartment -- only to find Kramer in his tub, taking a bath and wearing a shower cap. Because it's not a bath on TV without a shower cap. "But my drain's all clogged up!" he protests as Jerry kicks him out so he can take an urgent pee, right back to not understanding the social norms of humanity. Jerry then realizes that Kramer left in his towel, so Kramer throws it back through the apartment door. Bare-ass sudsy Kramer is not something you want to see in your apartment hallway.

    Jerry brings a girl back to his apartment and starts to kiss her -- only for Kramer to run out, fooling around with some girl. Jerry demands his keys back on the spot. Kramer can't see the problem, because he thought Jerry was going to be at the movies. Kramer storms out, and his girl just sits there in Jerry's apartment, obliviously doing her lipstick. Great beat.

    Now we have Jerry giving the spare keys to Elaine. A subdued Kramer actually knocks on the door and requests permission to enter, and apologizes for breaking "the covenant of the keys." Elaine tries to give him the keys back because she feels bad, but Jerry won't have it. Then Kramer keeps going on about how he's changed and understands what he did wrong, and Jerry tries to force the keys back on him. It's become a good running gag that every attempt to transfer the keys results in an arm-slapping tussle. Kramer won't take the keys, but he wants his spares back from Jerry -- which of course turn out to be a giant, fifty-key set of rings.

    At Monk's, Kramer throws the keys onto the table in front of George. George looks at them with an absolute lack of energy, and reluctant starts about how he's got to give Kramer his spares, then. Kramer does a routine about how having Jerry's keys kept him in a "fantasyland" where he was always on vacation across the hallway. He goes on about how he was living in the squalor, the twilight, the shadows, the darkness -- like George, he adds. "Oh, yeah. I can barely see you, George." Then he comes around to George's side of the booth, leans up against him, and asks, "Do you ever yearn?" "Yearn? Do I yearn?" "I yearn." "You yearn?" "Oh, yes, yes, I yearn. Often, I . . . I sit, and yearn. Have you yearned?" "Well, not recently. I crave. I crave all the time, constant craving. But I haven't yearned." The total befuddled apathy Jason is putting into this scene is what makes it work so well. He just sits there, taking this bizarre conversation. Kramer keeps trying to tell George about how he's wasting his life, he's not living. No job, no money, no woman. No prospects. "Do you have anything on the horizon?" "Uhh . . . no." "Do you have any action at all?" "No." "Do you have any conceivable reason for even getting up in the morning?" "I like to get the Daily News," George says, increasingly pathetic. What a glorious, devastating scene. This is perfect George and perfect Kramer. Kramer says that he's going to be a man, and move to California to follow the acting bug he's gotten ever since he was in the Woody Allen movie. "THESE PRETZELS ARE MAKING ME THIRSTY? THAT WAS ONE LINE, YOU GOT FIRED!" George spits out incredulously. Kramer then asks if George is coming with him, like he's going to the grocery store. George of course says no, but Kramer tells him he has to keep it secret, because "we're key brothers now." But he's really going. "Up here, I'm already gone
  24. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    I think I would knock The Revenge down the list quite a bit; definitely out of the top ten and maybe out of the top twenty or even thirty. It's just not that great to me. I'd also kick The Parking Space way up the list, as I kind of talked about in my last post.

    Your top ten is pretty solid, outside of The Revenge; no one with a lick of sense will quibble with your placement of The Chinese Restaurant at number one and The Library at number two and I'm glad to see The Jacket, The Busboy, The Alternate Side and The Pen in the top ten as well, though I might shuffle them a bit (The Jacket a little lower; The Alternate Side a little higher). Also, I'd kick The Limo up the list a bit.
  25. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    It could be that The Revenge isn't as good as I recall, but I loved so much of the George plotline there, and that's what sticks in my head. I definitely wouldn't put it outside the top twenty, though.