May 28, 2012

Top 5 Things I Got to Experience by Being an 80's Kid



Last week I talked about five things I kind of missed by being an 80’s kid. Today I wanted to touch on a few things I was lucky enough to experience.

#5.MTV

I know it's hard to believe, but there was a time when MTV actually showed music videos! All day! I used to sit there for hours watching, and they even had "v-j's" to introduce the songs. My favorite was Martha Quinn, man did I like her. I know when they dumped that format it was still decent; they had Remote Control and Beavis and Buthead among other things. Still, I miss the good old days. Then VH1 came along and went the same route. What on Earth do these networks show now? I can’t remember the last time I turned either on.


#4. Birth of Syndicated Cartoons

Until the mid-80's programmers didn't believe that new cartoons would work during the week, so kids were stuck with reruns of Saturday morning stuff. That was until the mid-80's when a little show premiered called He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Not only was this watched, it was a mega-hit. Yes, I watched it every day for a while twice a day if memory serves. The success led to other first run cartoons during the week including G.J.Joe, Transformers, She-Ra, Thundercats, DuckTales, and later on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Batman: The Animated Series and the X-Men cartoon I never watched. But He-Man was the first, and I enjoyed every second of it. Yes some people say these shows were just thirty minute commercials for toys, but I never understood the problem with that. Don't kids play with toys? Are there people who really thought kids had no interest in the toy area of stores until these shows came along? And even if it’s true, it's still the parents responsibility to decide what they are going to purchase, isn't it? These shows were awesome, how awesome? Well, there’s a reason why Hollywood keeps trying to revive them as movies. Transfoerms and G.I.Joe sucked, maybe a Master of the Universe movie will work (oh wait, they did that in the 80’s…) The cartoons were awesome, 'nuff said.


#3.Family Networks
I don’t mean Family Channel; I am talking about the good old days of network television. It’s hard to believe but around 1983 many experts thought sitcoms were dead. Nah, that would take another thirty years or so. That’s because of a little show called The Cosby Show which revived the format and got people excited about sitcoms again. What people may not realize, and the thing I really miss, is the family feel that the three networks had. This was especially true of NBC but ABC didn’t do so bad (it’s hard to believe, but CBS was hardly a blip on the radar in my day). What I mean by family is that people would wacth the show together and it felt like the shows on the networks were all part of a larger family that you were lucky enough to be a small part. It’s kind of like TGWTG is today.  For example, during the 80’s one of NBC’s slogans was “Come Home to NBC”, because the idea was you’d come home to your family at the end of a long day and that, in a way, included the network. You really cared about the shows and watching them was a natural part of your routine.  In 1985 there was a prime time special on NBC called “Let’ All Be There” where the casts of every show on the network gathered to promote the upcoming season. I would be lying if I said I remembered that special real well, but I do remember that special connection you had in those days. It’s why when shows like Happy Days or MASH went off the air, it was an event.  It was like losing a cherished friend or family member! In today’s fast paced world of 150 channels, DVR’s, inane reality shows, and of course the internet people just don’t form those kinds of bonds with sitcoms and dramas. Not that there’s anything wrong with those things I listed, I just miss that era when watching television as a family was a real experience and something to be treasured and enjoyed.  A lot of young people wonder why people in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s get so nostalgic about those days. Well, I just explained one reason why in a nutshell.


#2.Bob Hope Specials

It's hard to believe, but there was a time when celebrities would have specials. And I don't mean just at Christmas, all year round! These were like little variety shows with sketches and songs, and celebrities. They had specials for every holiday not just Christmas. Then they had specials which had nothing to do with holidays, they were just meant for fun. Carol Burnett had several like one with Robin Williams, and others with her good friend Julie Andrews. Dick Clark produced and starred in many specials. There was Circus of the Stars which I frankly didn't like, birthday and anniversary shows. Disney was always cranking specials out which were loads of fun. John Denver and The Muppets even did a Colorado holiday special (which for years I confused with the Christmas one--that still pisses me off!!) which had them all going to the great Rockies for a getaway and was quite boring to be honest with you. But these specials were great; the talent behind them took time to write these elaborate shows which unfortunately faded along with the Variety era.
My favorites were the Bob Hope specials. Some people know Bob Hope from his silly movies and others from his amazing work with the USO. I know him from his specials (and that one time I saw him live). I loved these, and during the 80's he would do four a five a year. They had music numbers and sketches and Bob would banter with his guests. Bob Hope was the perfect entertainer; he could entertain someone even if they were in a coma. I used to love how he would allow his guests to get the punch lines, even at his own expense. That is real class. The best part of these shows was his monologues. 8-10 minutes making fun of everything from politics to celebrities. It’s hard to say who is better, Johnny Carson or Bob Hope. While Carson was the far better interviewer, Hope’s monologues and sketches were stronger than Carson’s. Well, they’re both legends. Thank goodness my father recorded many of these specials so I can still watch them. Bob Hope was a true legend, and I feel fortunate I got to see some of his brilliant work firsthand. For some reason  these kind of shows just aren't made anymore. In fact one of the reason I liked the Betty White 80th Birthday Special a few months ago was because stuff like that just isn't seen anymore these days, which is a shame.


#1.Classic Nickelodeon

Ah, old school Nickelodeon. When it was a really great network. I was so lame I actually mailed away for a printed schedule. Don't worry, I don't understand why either. Let's see, Mr.Wizards' World, Double Dare….yeah, we all remember those. Who remembers the more obscure stuff like Danger Mouse (a cartoon about a British mouse who solved crimes…yes, really), Today's Special (look it up, I loved this show!), Pinwheel (this scared me, it used to be one for six hours straight, years later I realized it was just re-runs they showed all afternoon), Out of Control (a quirky show which gave Dave Coulier his start. It was a mock news program/sketch show and was really funny. In between the news segments a story line would run through the show, one which I never forgot had the cast age for no reason. hmmm, wonder if Linkara ever saw that show), and a show called Standby..Lights, Camera, Action which had Leonard Nimoy going behind the scenes of hit movies at the time. Ah, good times.
My favorite is the one I left out.  Of course we had You Can't Do That on Television! If there one review nostalgia critic did that I 100% disagreed with, it’s what he said about that show. It was a fantastic show, but I think you had to be there. Yes, the jokes were corny but even they knew that. That was part of the fun. The kids had fun chemistry, most of the time, and it was great watching them interact. The pace of the show was so quick that even if there was a lame sketch, don’t worry another one will be coming in about five seconds. Basically Laugh-In for kids, the show even did their version of the wall on that show only instead of a wall they used lockers. They had water and green slime fall if you said the right words, and we lived for those moments. I always loved how Nickelodeon kept the green slime concept after they faded the show out. I think that show may have done more to shape Nickelodeon than any other (well, not counting that guy who lives in a pineapple under the sea).  I won’t go into any more detail because my faithful colleague pbmiranda is planning a much more detailed article on these great shows which I look forward to reading. I will say that aside from He-Man no other show reminds me of my childhood like You Can’t. I loved it. Now to be fair, unlike MTV I think Nick is still a decent network and has some good stuff. But man, those classic days were great and still bring a nostalgic tear to my eye.

 Honorable Mention:
PSA's
Ok, there is one other thing I had to mention. PSA's! The 70's Saturday Mornings had Schoolhouse Rock (I'm a bill, an ordinary bill....), the 80's had One to Grow One. I LOVED THESE! Basically the concept was we would see a situation involving kids, for example complaining about having homework, and suddenly the scene would zoom out to a celebrity explaining whatever the moral was. Not only were these fun and educational, they were who's a who of who was on NBC at that time! Name a star on NBC in the 80's, from Michael J.Fox to Soleil Moon Frye, and they did in one of these. Even Mr.T! This ties into that "family" thing I brought up earlier. These were so much fun and if you never heard them, YouTube has plenty to check out. It would not have been Saturday morning without them. Schoolhouse Rock was fun, we had psa's at the end of all our cartoons at the time (And knowing is half the battle!) and the "time for timer" ads which never leave my head were cute, but One to Grow On was my favorite. Hey, they released a dvd for Schoolhouse Rock, maybe someday....nah, thank goodness for YouTube.

There you have it, things I am happy to have experienced first hand. Man do feel nostalgic all of sudden!

May 27, 2012

Random Thoughts-The Avengers 3-D



***SPOILERS!!****
So I finally went to see The Avengers this weekend. To be honest, I was worried. The last time I saw a movie that everyone loved was The Muppets and, well, that was a disappointment to me. So I was a little nervous, is this going to live up to the hype from everyone I have heard? Well, I went to the theater and after two  hours my reaction was simple.

THIS MOVIE WAS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yep, this was as good and everyone said it was and I enjoyed it. There were a few nitpicky things I could harp on. For instance, the villain was really bland. I didn’t see Thor so maybe I missed something, but this villain was boring (I should have seen that I just don’t like Thor-but he was great in this film). I was also annoyed with the resolution, the whole nuclear bomb thing reminded me of Armageddon and that is one movie I don’t want to be reminded me of. It felt like they had no idea how to end this so they just made something up. How come Banner couldn’t control Hulk at first but later he seemed to? The whole Hawkeye being evil thing seemed pointless, New York and an alien invasion….again??

Ok, now that my nitpicking is done I can say that flaws aside, this was a really well done film. The characters were so much fun which is one thing that made this a great watch. From Iron Man to Black Widow. The other thing was the actions scenes were done just right. This wasn’t a Michael Bay type of film where the action is so much that you are shouting stop by the end. It was refreshing to see a movie that felt like an honest to goodness comic book movie! Green Lantern was weak, and Dark Knight was a good movie but it was not a good comic book movie.  It was very well done, well balanced and it didn’t feel like any one character got overshadowed or neglected. The action scenes were very well done, and to be fair there wasn’t a boring moment to be had. The battle between Iron Man and Thor (and Captain America) was amazing. In fact this movie felt like an old fashioned comic book team up which was awesome. I was expecting to get bored with the heroes bickering but they handled it very well. Could go on but I think I made my point. I was very impressed, well worth the wait and totally lived up to the hype.

I could get into the plot and story but that has been done to death. I think I explained why I liked it, and if anyone has an answer to my nitpicks feel free to share I am by no means an expert and may have missed something especially since I did not see all the previous movies.

May 26, 2012

Analytical Episode Guide-Seinfeld (Season 7, Part 1)


 
An Analytical Episode Guide to:
 

Season  7, Part 1

It must have been obvious that Season 7 needed a new direction. So Larry David created the inspired idea of getting George engaged. The result was new stories regarding relationships which would have never been conceived before. It also shook up the dynamic between the friends a bit, as we saw how a relationship changes many things. This was a rich new area to explore, and that is what the arc in the season deals with. The one problem I had with this season was with Elaine, gone was the sweet character and slowly emerging was someone shrill and mean. Why did this happen?  Basically I think Julia Louis-Dreyfuss started to hate her character (not hate playing her just hated who she was) and those feelings spilled into her performance. We will discuss that more as we go. All in all, this was a great season, and started with a very strong episode.

Episode 1, Season 7
The Engagement
 
Plot Summary-Jerry and George agree to start acting like grownups. However, while Jerry gets talked out of it by Kramer George decides to spontaneously propose to Susan. When George finds out Jerry dumped his girlfriend he accuses of him or reneging on their pact. Meanwhile, Kramer and Newman plan to eliminate a dog whose barking has been keeping Elaine up at night.
Best Quote-“They're prisons! Man-made prisons. You're doing time! You get up in the morning, she's there. You go to sleep at night, she's there. It's like you gotta ask permission to use the bathroom. "Is it all right if I use the bathroom now?"”….Kramer on marriage, love this speech.
Nitpick of the episode-This is actually a hard episode to nitpick, but I guess I can point out how foolish the idea of kidnapping the dog is. They couldn’t anticipate the result, which of course was the dog safely returning?
Seinfeldism of the episode-“The pact” which Jerry insists never happened, and Jerry breaks up with his girlfriend because she eats her peas one at a time.
Deleted Scenes-The scene with Elaine, Kramer, and Newman stealing the dog was longer
Episode Fun Fact-The end of the episode has George and Susan watching an episode of Mad About You, the same show Kramer appeared on a few years earlier. Weird. Elaine has a raw voice in this episode which wasn’t act, Julia lost her voice filming the scenes of her screaming at the dog.
Final Thoughts-This episode is like a breath of fresh air to the series, and is very well done. The whole thing works, from the brilliant opening scene with the agreement in the coffee shop to the reasons why Jerry and George went different directions with it. It is also real nice to see Susan again, as I said last time she was a nice addition to the cast, she fit in very well. Kramer becomes part of Elaine’s story is which is kind of weak but not enough to ruin the episode. Elaine is still teetering on the sweet side here, but that won’t last long. This episode is full of cute little moments including George calling his parents to tell them he is engaged, Kramer talking about how he doesn’t wear watches, and a callback to “The Fix-UP” when Jerry asks if Susan has the pinkish hue that George likes in women.
Grade=A, good start

Episode 2, Season 7
The Postponement
 
Plot Summary-George discovers the power of tears, other and his own. Elaine has mixed feelings about George’s engagement and shares them with a rabbi. Jerry and Kramer try to see Planet 9 from Outer Space but Kramer ends up spilling hot coffee on himself when trying to sneak it into the theatre.
Best Quote-“You see those tears streaming down you don’t know what to do. It’s like she was on fire and I was just trying to put it out”….George describing Susan’s tears
Nitpick of the episode-Nice to see Kramer got over his thing about rules in “The Big Salad”. Since I already went on that rant, I’ll just point out that Jerry still didn’t get to see that film with one of his friends. I can understand George’s worries since he got engaged to be married in three months and live with his fiancée in the span of, what, a week?
Seinfeldism of the episode-This episode has the rabbi with a very big mouth
Deleted Scenes-None for this episode
Episode Fun Fact-The story of Kramer suing a company because he burned himself by spilling coffee on himself was of course inspired by an actual lawsuit involving McDonald’s.
Final Thoughts-A great follow up to the previous episode. It is so funny to watch George squirm and worry about the situation he has found himself stuck in. George learns very quickly why men work so hard to not disappoint women. This is a very relatable situation for anyone who has been in some kind of relationship.  We also get a nice call back to “The Chinese Restaurant” as Jerry finally gets to see Plan 9. Elaine’s attitude about George’s engagement is actually pretty believable; it’s just too bad Elaine chose to discuss things with rabbi.
Grade=A-, Jerry’s story is flimsy

Episode 3, Season 7
The Maestro
 
Plot Summary-Kramer consults a lawyer regarding the coffee burn, George obsesses about a security guard who stands all day, Elaine goes with a maestro who insists on always being calls a maestro. Jerry becomes obsessed with proving the maestro wrong about vacancies in Tuscany.
Best Quote-“That’s why I’m different. I can sense the slightest human suffering”…George
Nitpick of the episode-The maestro is a huge jerk, I wouldn’t call him anything else but Bob if I knew him in real life. He’s a maestro, so what? I can think of at least a dozen more respected jobs and the people who do them don’t demand people refer to them by their title rather than their name.
Seinfeldism of the episode-Jackie Chiles has his own catchphrases which begin here including the discussion on balms
Deleted Scenes-None for this episode
Episode Fun Fact-The first appearance of Jackie Chiles, one of the best characters the show would produce.
Final Thoughts-While anyone with any sense can tell where the story of the security guard is going, it’s still funny when we see the guy sleeping. It’s funny because we see how much George messes things and people up, even with good intentions. It’s a classic George moment even though he isn’t in the scene. All of the stories in this episode just kind of quit through the episode. Kramer’s story is great in the first half but vanishes in the second. I find it hard to understand why Jerry obsesses about Tuscany, even George points out that he shouldn’t care. Another example of neurotic Jerry. We get a  Poppie reference, but no cameo? What a disappointment. Finally, the Maestro is not very likeable it’s no wonder he only returned on more time.
Grade=B -, The first three episodes almost make one complete episode. However as installments go this one is the weakest.

Episode 4, Season 7
The Wink
 
Plot Summary-Jerry accidentally squirts juice in George’s eye which causes him to involuntarily wink. The wink causes trouble with a co-worker and causes Kramer to sell a card meant for Steinbrenner. Jerry dates a woman who likes meat while Elaine gets involved with the guy who runs her wake up service.
Best Quote-“Salad, what was I thinking? Women don’t respect salad eaters”…Jerry
Nitpick of the episode-Easy one, if Jerry is swearing off meat and his girlfriend is a meat lover, what makes him think the relationship is actually going to go anywhere? You’d think the first time he had to hide the meat would have been enough to end the relationship. And by the way Jerry, I agree that ordering a salad on a date was a huge mistake.
Seinfeldism of the episode-George’s incessant winking
Deleted Scenes-None for this episode
Episode Fun Fact-Jerry becomes a health nut in this episode.
Final Thoughts-The stuff with Kramer and the sick child is handled so well that it comes off as really funny rather than offensive, a real testament to what good writing can do. George’s story is strong but once it sets the other stories in motion doesn’t really go anywhere. I do like how the plot ties Elaine’s story about the wake up service into George’s story about his boss, clever. Elaine’s story also kind of falls flat and that last scene of the episode is so weak that it almost feels as if they just gave up and said “ah, let’s just end this thing”.
Grade=B+, Good episode with a lousy ending

Episode 5, Season 7
The Hot Tub
 
Plot Summary-A runner is staying with Elaine and Jerry takes over making sure that the guy wakes up for the race. Kramer installs a hot tub in his apartment. George’s boss thinks that he is stressed out. Elaine tries to come up with an idea for a piece about a walking shoe.
Best Quote-“A wake up call! These people never fail; they sit in a room with a big clock all night long. Just waiting to make that call”….Jerry
Nitpick of the episode-The blackout is a bit contrived. I can buy that the generator blew out the fuses, but in the four 1/2 hours between 4:02 and 8:47 neither Jerry nor Jean Paul woke up once and noticed the time? A little hard to believe.  And apparently Jerry never learned how to put batteries in his clock radio so it will keep running if the power should go out. By the way, I had to ask, how do you oversleep at the Olympics???
Seinfeldism of the episode-Elaine’s problem with alarm clocks comes back to haunt her
Deleted Scenes-A scene with Elaine and Jean Paul visiting George in his office, and a return of the rabbi (I see what that scene was cute it slowed the whole show down)
Episode Fun Fact-Finally this season we start to get more than passing glimpses of Kramer’s apartment, as seen in this episode.
Final Thoughts-I loved the ending of this episode. Yeah, it’s kind of an old gag but I thought it was really funny. It’s amusing to see Jerry get so worried about waking Jean Paul up, it’s kind of the reverse of his usual worrying because this time he is obsessed with someone else. They do a great job with Jean Paul, we actually feel bad for him and maybe that’s why the ending works so well. George’s story is the bad one, it’s just not interesting and the end tag with George and Steinbrenner in the hot tub was lame. Kramer’s story is classic Kramer, as he winds up freezing all the time. It’s amazing the ailments he gets over the course of the series he loses his sense of taste, roasts himself, and suffers from hypothermia among other things.
Grade=B

Episode 6, Season 7
The Soup Nazi
 
Plot Summary-Jerry, George, and Elaine deal with an angry soup vendor. Jerry and his girlfriends have annoying nicknames; Kramer gets mugged by two odd men for an armoire which Elaine had purchased.
Best Quote-“You can’t eat this soup standing up your knees buckle”…..Jerry
Nitpick of the episode-I would say how ridiculous the idea of the soup Nazi is in real life, except that he’s based on a real person!
Seinfeldism of the episode-“No Soup For You!”
Deleted Scenes-None for this episode
Episode Fun Fact-Of course, the Soup Nazi was based on a real man who did not appreciate the attention this show created for him. At one point even demanding an apology from Seinfeld. Of course all that attitude did was make the characterization in this episode even more true to life.
Final Thoughts-This episode has some good stuff in it, but almost all of that is Soup Nazi related. The rest of it is really weak. Elaine’s story about the armoire is not bad, since it leads to the end of the Soup Nazi. Kramer meets Bob and Cedric, who come back a few more times. I never cared much for these guys, although they are kind of funny. George’s story doesn’t even really start until the second act, when his attempts to show Jerry how annoying he had been with his girl only makes Susan even more amorous toward him, to his chagrin. Jerry gets back together with his girlfriend to pad the show out since he has broken up with her a few short scenes later. Bania and Newman are wasted, but the Soup Nazi steals the show with the memorable performance yelling and staring the way he does in this episode.
Grade=C+, Yeah the soup Nazi is funny but that’s about all this episode offers

May 23, 2012

Top 5 Things I Missed Out on by Being an 80's Kid



I loved growing up in the 80's. We had Pac-Man, Masters of the Universe, and Transformers when it was cool and awesome! However, despite how much I loved that decade I still feel I missed something not being born a decade or so earlier. What exactly? Here's a look.

#5.Early Saturday Night Live

I missed the glory days of SNL, when it was the Not Ready for Prime Time cast which included Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase. Sure, I've seen the clips but it's just not the same. I actually didn't start getting into SNL until very late, so late I even missed a majority of the Dana Carvey/Phil Hartman era. I would have loved the see the show in its prime, before it became the empty shell it is today.


#4. Saturday Morning Cartoons

Yeah, I got to experience some of the glory days of Saturday mornings when it was actually worth getting up and watching cartoons all morning. However, I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had gotten to experience Saturday morning in the 70's. I missed when it was really popular. They had the silliest shows, many based on popular sitcoms of the time (I would like those? Who's surprised?). Ah, the shows I missed (not The Brady Kids, I hated that!). Fonzie and The Happy Days Gang, Laverne and Shirley Join the Army, and the early days of Superfriends which I managed to experience in syndication. That's only scratching the surface of course.


#3. Commercials

He likes it! Mickey likes it! I wonder who remembers that classic ad from Life cereal ad which ran so long that Mickey was an adult when it finally faded from the airways. 70's commercials were unique, while not as theatrical as the golden age of television there was also real care put to those ads. One of the most famous Christmas ads ever was the classic Coca-Cola one which simply has people singing. Unlike the noisy crap that fills the airways today, back in the 70's and 80's the clever ads were simple, straightforward, and as much a part of watching TV as the program itself.Today commercials are something that give our dvr's some exercise as it fast forwards by them, which is a shame.


#2.Tonight Show with Johnny Carson

I was too young for almost all of Carson's reign as the king of late night. I was familiar with him of course; in fact his cameo in an episode of Night Court was one of my favorite moments on that show. By the time I was old enough to watch, he was on his way out and Jay Leno was on his way in. While I loved Jay and was kind of happy he was taking over, I still feel like I missed something never getting the chance to see classic Carson in his prime. He was the quintessential entertainer. He could tell jokes, do sketches, and carry one a heck of an entertaining interview. He interviewed celebrities and regular people, and it's no wonder he reigned for thirty years wiping out any competition who dared to air against him. I did get to see his final episode, and that was one very moving hour of television.



#1.Variety (Carol Burnett Show)

I'm not kidding making this #1; it kills me that I missed out on the variety era. I know I would have loved it. Sony and Cher, The Smother's Bros, Donny and Marie, The Brady Bunch (well, ok maybe they weren't all good. Thank heavens I missed that disaster). However, as much I regret missing these there is one that I truly regret more than any other, one show I know I would have cherished and loved every second of. Which show? Let's talked about The Carol Burnett Show.

I have a memory of being a kid and see the closing credits to some strange show; the credits had a cartoon lady dressed as a maid watching the scroll of names. I wondered, what the heck show was this? A few years later I discovered Carol Burnett and Friends (a syndicated version of the variety show), and learned to love the crazy characters and performers. The brilliant family sketches, Nora Desmond, Mr.TuddBall, and even the famous Gone with the Wind spoof which was great even though I never saw the movie. It was gold, and I still haven't seen so many of the moments because only the sketches were syndicated not the music numbers and other stuff.
Name a celebrity from that era; they were on the show at least once. The cast included Carol Burnett, of course, as well as Harvey Korman, Tim Conway, Vicki Lawrence, and Lyle Wagoner. This show was an institution, and if there is one thing that I wish I had seen when it was originally on, this was it. I could go on and one talking about the sketches and music numbers. If you're not familiar the show than check the show out on dvd and there are clips on YouTube.

Well, there you have it. Five things I missed being and 80’s kid. Until next time when I discuss the things that I did get to experience being an 80’s kid.

May 19, 2012

Analytical Episode Guide-Seinfeld (Season 6, Part 4)




An Analytical Episode Guide to :
 

Season 6, Part 4

Episode 19, Season 6
The Jimmy
 
Plot Summary-Jerry, George, and Kramer meet a man named Jimmy who likes to refer to himself in the third person. Kramer’s drooling causes him to hurt himself which put a kink in George’s new business venture. Elaine accidentally asks him out to see Mel Torme. Jerry finds very odd reading material at his dentist office, where he believes he was violated while under the laughing gas.
Best Quote-“You know just admitting a man is handsome doesn’t necessarily make you a homosexual”….Elaine
Nitpick of the episode-I wouldn’t be able to stand Jimmy for a second. Who refers to himself in the third person like that? But that’s just me. I also didn’t care for the final scene with Kramer and Mel Torme. It just wasn’t funny to me.  Yes I know I am in the minority on that.
Seinfeldism of the episode-George’s sweating when being questioned about the stolen property which makes him appear guilty. This is actually clever, and in the next couple seasons we will learn how winking and throat clearing can have similar repercussions.
Deleted Scenes-Jerry telling Ellaine about Whatley’s new policy, more with Whatley’s new nurse
Episode Fun Fact-The scene with Kramer and Deensfry in the cab was alluded to in the series finale, but that was removed from that episode.
Final Thoughts-This episode seems to be trying hard to be insensitive. We have Kramer being mistaken for a mentally challenged person, Jerry discovering his dentist has a Penthouse in his office and later being violated. The funny thing is that the episode doesn’t seem that offensive. George’s story is really pointless and goes nowhere. Elaine’s story is ok but it’s really Kramer who steals the show at the end. Jerry does a good job in this episode being disgusted at his dentist, you really feel like there is something rotten going on. The amazing thing is that he goes back to Whatley in a later episode!
Grade=B+, I like it but it’s not a favorite

Episode 20, Season 6
The Doodle
 
Plot Summary-George dates a woman who doesn’t think he’s attractive. Jerry has fleas which causes his parents to stay at the Plaza thanks to Elaine’s new job interview. Kramer loses his sense of taste after breathing in toxic gas. He also loses Elaine’s manuscript which she needed for the interview.
Best Quote-“I’m grotesque. I look like a troll”…..George
Nitpick of the episode-I would have liked an explanation why the gas didn’t kill Kramer. And what in the world happened to that manuscript?
Seinfeldism of the episode-George gets to live his dream, being draped in velvet
Deleted Scenes-The scene between Jerry and Newman was longer as Newman makes a full confession
Episode Fun Fact-This may be the first we see of Jerry being anal retentive, when he gets upset about eating a pecan which his girlfriend already had in her mouth and then can’t use her toothbrush. By the way, there is no such thing as a Mackinaw peach.
Final Thoughts-The stuff with Jerry’s parents doesn’t work, but otherwise this is a pretty good episode. The scene between Jerry and Newman is one of the better Newman moments in the series. Elaine really has nothing to do here except to advance everyone else’s plot. Kramer’s story is kind of lame but as usual Michael Richards makes the most of it. The whole thing with the fleas really doesn’t go anywhere either in fact. It is funny to watch George when he realizes that first his girlfriend doesn’t think he is attractive, and then discovers the benefits of that.
Grade=C, The stuff with Jerry’s family isn’t funny and Kramer’s story is hard to swallow

Episode 21, Season 6
The Fusilli Jerry
 
Plot Summary-Kramer makes an image of Jerry with Fusilli pasta. His new vanity license plates cause a stir. George’s mom has an eye job while he tries to master Jerry’s sex move, which it appears Elaine’s boyfriend has adopted and used on Elaine. Frank believes Kramer made a move on his wife, and he ends up 0falling on the Fusilli Jerry.
Best Quote-“I can’t believe he stole my move!”….Jerry
Nitpick of the episode-Why wasn’t this episode called “The Move”? Think the whole story of Jerry and his “move” was an attempt to duplicate what L.A.Law had done years earlier with the Venus Butterfly (look it up) but it didn’t have the same kind of appeal. George having to write it on his hands is a bit hard to swallow, how complicated a move could it be? Even if it, how stupid would you have to be to write it on your hands????
Seinfeldism of the episode-Kramer is The Assman
Deleted Scenes-None for this episode.
Episode Fun Fact-First appearance of David Puddy
Final Thoughts-Amazed by how much sex happens in this episode, literally and in discussion. This is a really good episode, including the Assman stuff with Kramer who finally gets a funny story with a good payoff! The end with Frank falling on the fussilli is one of those silly things that manages to work and not be incredibly stupid. Jerry’s story is funny, you would think they would use comedians stealing each other’s material as a metaphor for sex, but instead it’s the other way around as Jerry is upset Puddy stole his sex move the same way he would be upset about a comedian stealing his material. Very good writing. Finally, as noted this is the first time we see Puddy who will become one of the more popular characters on the series for being so delightfully dimwitted.
Grade=A

Episode 22, Season 6
The Diplomat’s Club
 
Plot Summary-Jerry has trouble making it back to New York for a date. Kramer gambles on planes at the airport. George tries to prove he has black friends, while Mr.Pitt believes that Jerry tried to poison him and fires Elaine.
Best Quote-“But you don’t really have any black friends, and aside from us you don’t have any white friends either”….Jerry to George
Nitpick of the episode- I guess it’s only fitting in his final episode I make fun of Mr.Pitt a little. Why does he think Jerry is a pharmacist exactly? Don’t pharmacists have white coats on and name tags and stuff? Mr.Pitt was many things but an idiot was never one of them.
Seinfeldism of the episode-Kramer’s betting problem comes up again
Deleted Scenes-George working the ticket booth at Yankee stadium (not sure why)
Episode Fun Fact-The story about Jerry and the pilot in his audience was based on a true story, this episode was filmed with no live audience at all
Final Thoughts-When I first saw this episode I hated it. Seeing Jerry so freaked out was unsettling, and the episode just didn’t work for me. Now time has passed and while I realize it wasn’t so bad, it is still a weak one.  It was an ambitious episode, and maybe it was a little too big to the point where it doesn’t feel like an ordinary Seinfeld. While the stuff with Jerry is actually kind of funny, the other stories are so boring. George trying to prove he has black friends to impress his boss? Lame. Kramer betting on incoming planes? Lame. And Elaine’s story was obviously leading to the end when she is fired. I wasn’t sad to see that happen, Mr.Pitt got boring fast.
 Grade=D, everything just feels off in this one

Episode 23, Season 6
The Face Painter
 
Plot Summary-Elaine’s boyfriend paints his face before a hockey game. Kramer runs into trouble with a monkey at the zoo. George wants to say he loves his girlfriend, while Jerry decides to put a stop to having to say thank you a million times.
Best Quote-“Well he started it!”….Kramer about the fight with the monkey
Nitpick of the episode-Kramer is right in this episode when he tells Jerry that calling and saying hello after the hockey game is a rule of society. Jerry was foolish for not listening, and waiting so long to finally call to say thank you. While I agree with Jerry that it’s annoying, it’s still a rule of society especially when Jerry wants to get more tickets.
Seinfeldism of the episode-Jerry points out if George doesn’t get the return after saying I love you, he’s a pretty big matzo ball hanging out there
Deleted Scenes- Jerry tries to convince George not to try to say he loves Siena again, an alternate ending where she hears him and says yes to a marrying him. Larry David still didn’t believe in the shows strength at this point and filmed that in case they were cancelled (yeah, like that was going to happen).
Episode Fun Fact-The character Alec Berg was named after one of the show’s writers
Final Thoughts- This is a great episode, as we get to see Puddy’s odd habit of face painting. Puddy really steals the show in this episode. The story about Kramer and monkey is classic, I admit it. The bit with George is great, for once he feels confident and sure of himself only to get shot down by the girl he tries to tell he is in love with. Elaine just reacts to Puddy’s eccentrics.  The story with the priest is funny but could have been developed more. Jerry also has a weak story; he basically spends the second half sitting on his couch waiting for the phone ring. Boring, and dumb. The classic moment in this episode is the funeral scene; we see Jerry and Elaine totally passive while mourners are crying around them. Then Elaine turns to Jerry and comments on her clothes? That is a typical Seinfeld moment, and isn’t so dark that the characters come off as totally cold hearted.
Grade=A-, Jerry’s story is boring, it’s just build up for the (predictable) payoff at the end with no substance

Episode 24, Season 6
The Understudy
 
Plot Summary-Jerry’s girlfriend is the understudy to Bette Midler in a play and cries a lot, George injures Bette during a softball game. Kramer makes it a point to take of care of her. Elaine uses Frank to find what the Korean Manicurists are saying about her.
Best Quote-“Hey, you know what, I didn’t like the show, I didn’t like you. You just really stunk. The whole thing real bad. Stinkaroo. Thanks for the tickets though”….Jerry pretending to tell someone they stink.
Nitpick of the episode-What is up with Elaine in this episode? When she finds out what the manicurists are saying behind her back, she should be enraged (Frank has it right when he screams at them).  Instead she feels guilty?  And since when does Elaine cry like that? Obviously this was all designed to set up her meeting with J Peterman, even if it meant taking her way out of character. Actually her character unfortunately goes in a very different direction next week, but we’ll get to that.
Seinfeldism of the episode-Rochelle Rochelle becomes a musical on Broadway
Deleted Scenes-This overstuffed episode had lots of stuff trimmed including Jerry and George running into the apartment after being chased out of the park, more of Jerry and George in the hospital, Bette Midler commenting on George in the park,  and more of Bette and Kramer in the hospital room.
Episode Fun Fact-Too much story made this the first episode to open with no stand-up routine, we meet the character of J Peterman for the first time.
Final Thoughts- This is such a great episode. The whole send-up of the Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding incident was just brilliant! Elaine’s story is out of character for her, but I already talked about that. The stuff with Frank and the Korean woman feels like filler, in fact I don’t know why they bothered I guess it was here the writers started over stuffing the episodes with stories. The story is pointless; if they dropped it the episode would lose nothing. The bit with Kramer and Bette Midler works well, and Jerry and George are funny in this too. Truth is George may have the weakest role, after plowing into Bette Midler in the ballgame he has nothing else to do. This episode has one of my favorite endings ever; the bit with Gennice having to stop the show due to an untied lace is an hysterical parody of Tonya Harding in the '94 Olympics. The boot even looks like a hockey skate, and she bears a strong resemblance to Harding. I realize that people who weren’t around at that time may not get the joke, but it was just and still is a huge laugh for me.
 Grade=B+, Elaine’s story keeps it from being an A but overall a great (albeit overstuffed) season finale!

The season didn’t start strong, but it ended pretty well. However, it was pretty clear the show needed a new direction for season 7. Maybe a story arc!  But what could they do that would be shake things up a bit and be interesting enough to last a season? Come back next week as we begin our look at season 7.

May 13, 2012

Five Things I Hated in “The Goonies”





In 1985 Steven Spielberg created this fun little film about a group of kids having a wild adventure. It was campy and lots of fun. When I was eleven. Now I look back, and I find all kinds of things wrong with it. Some things that bothered me even when I first saw the film and others which are more new. This is just for fun and will not contain a detailed plot or character analysis but will contain spoilers.
The film's premise is that a band of pre-teens who live in the "Goon Docks" neighborhood of Astoria, Oregon try to save their homes from demolition. On their last day together they discover an old Spanish map that leads them on an adventure to unearth the long-lost fortune of One-Eyed Willie, a legendary 17th-century  pirate. Sounds like fun, right? Well it is for the most part, but some things in this film bother me enough to nudge it into my “movies I just don’t like” list. This is my opinion of course, feel free to disagree.

#5. Coming down with asthma
Ok, this is a small one but a small one that always bugged me. There is a line early in the movie where we establish that our main character, Mickey played by Sean Astin, has Asthma. We learn this because his mother cautions him from going outside “if he's coming down with asthma I don't want him out in the rain”. Asthma is not a cold; you don’t “come down” with it! And by the way, he must have been diagnosed with it because he is using an inhaler through the movie (it’s actually a clever device to illustrate the rising tension). Yes, this is nitpicking but that line always bugged me.

May 12, 2012

Analytical Episode Guide-Seinfeld (Season 6, Part 3)




An Analytical Episode Guide to :
 

Season  6, Part 3

Episode 13, Season 6
The Scofflaw
 
Plot Summary-Jerry discovers a friend has been lying to him about having cancer. George considers getting a toupee. Kramer wants a new look and settles on an eye patch. He also discovers a secret about Newman. Elaine runs into an old boyfriend.
Best Quote-“Who’s he not to tell you about his life threatening illness? His illness is your business!”…Jerry (this is one of my favorites but I can’t do it justice here)
Nitpick of the episode-It is hard to believe that Elaine couldn’t see how her getting the same glasses as Jake would blow up in her face by giving them to Mr.Lippman.
Seinfeldism of the episode-Elaine tries to get the upper hand in her post breakup relationship with Jake. We also learn the difference between “saying hi” and “sending regards”.
Deleted Scenes-We actually see Gary try to pick up the quiet woman in the coffee shop
Episode Fun Fact- I do give the show credit for having a cancer related story which manages to be funny and inoffensive.  
Final Thoughts-Jon Lovitz plays one of the most boring characters ever. It’s no wonder they killed him off a few episodes from now. Aside from that, this is an ok episode. Yeah, the stuff about Newman being the white whale is kind of lame. Elaine’s story is pretty good as we get to see Jake Jarmel one last time and the scene where she buys the guys classic is cute. Although the coincidence that he would step out in front of George’s car, in front of the coffee shop where Kramer was, is a little hard to believe. Jerry’s story has a real bad payoff. When Jerry finally reveals to Fogel that he knew about the lie the moment is a letdown. Kramer’s new look and the whole white whale thing is a letdown, and George’s story is so weak he needs to start a new one half way through about the toupee in order to get through the episode.
Grade=C , points for effort but that’s all

Episode 14 & 15, Season 6
The Highlights of 100
 
Plot Summary-An hour long look back at highlights from the first 100 episodes
Best Quote-“There have been some relationships that haven’t worked out, ambitions that were unfulfilled. Hopes dashed, some property damage, hurt feelings. I know one guy got deported. Physical injury and alright maybe even a death or two.”
Nitpick of the episode-None for this episode.
Seinfeldism of the episode-None for this episode.
Deleted Scenes-None for this episode.
Episode Fun Fact-The syndicated version has a second opening for part 2 not seen in the original
Final Thoughts-Clip show, but a really good one. Very well done including the great opening montage.
Grade=A

Episode 16, Season 6
The Beard
 
Plot Summary-Elaine poses as a beard for a gay man, who she decides she really likes. Jerry tries to convince a female cop that he has never watched Melrose Place. George enjoys his new toupee until Elaine takes action, while Kramer sets George up with an old female friend who, it turns out, has more in common with George than he could have thought.
Best Quote-“I don’t like this thing, and here’s what I’m doing with it!”…..Elaine in a great moment
Nitpick of the episode-While I can understand why Jerry might be a little embarrassed to admit he watched Melrose Place, seems like it would have been easier to confess. I could also point out how boring a police department it is that we see since the officers have nothing better to do than draw sketches of women and give polygraphs for no real reason.
Seinfeldism of the episode-George advises Jerry that “it’s not a lie, if you believe it”. Elaine tries conversion on her gay friend but Jerry tries to explain that when you join that team it’s not a whim, he’s set with that team. Great stuff in this episode.
Deleted Scenes-Jerry comments on Elaine’s attempt to convert a gay man
Episode Fun Fact-When Elaine rips the toupee off and George races after it, the blinds on the window crash into his head. Apparently Jason Alexander suffered a minor injury doing that.
Final Thoughts-I love the Melrose Place stuff in this episode! Sure, it kind of dates the episode but it’s a lot of fun. The scene where Elaine rips the toupee off of George is a classic, and it is kind of refreshing to see him return to his normal self. It’s funny how unlikable George becomes when he ceases to be whiny and neurotic. Kramer’s story is so dumb! He stands in a police line-up a couple times. That’s it! It’s like the writers ran out of ideas for him this season. They try to tie it in with the homeless man in the start, but it’s so stupid. Elaine’s story is actually a good solid story. It has a good start where we find out she is helping a friend, then we see her wanting to date him even though he’s which leads to a satisfying conclusion. Nice to see and the explanation Elaine gives for why the relationship failed is really clever. I love the ending with the Melrose Place theme, a great moment. Not being a fan of that show I never knew the answers to the questions the interrogator asks Jerry, until my then-wife was kind enough to inform me one time when we saw this episode.
Grade=B+, solid episode except for Kramer (again)

Episode 17, Season 6
The Kiss Hello
 
Plot Summary-Elaine has a friend named Wendy who is a physical therapist. Jerry tries to get her to stop kissing him hello. George is charged for an appointment with her he had to miss, and Elaine injures herself after Jerry drops her off from a ski trip a few blocks from her building. Meanwhile, Kramer comes up with an idea to put pictures up in the lobby of his building so all the tenants will be friends, and Jerry has to mediate a dispute between his grandmother, Uncle Leo and his parents.
Best Quote-“Thank you very much for putting my picture up on that wall. I’m like Richard Dawson down there now”….Jerry
Nitpick of the episode-You gotta love Jerry’s father in this one. Does he really think Helen is going to go after Leo, her brother, for back payment on the interest on the $50 he was supposed to give her years ago? By the way, I kind of liked Kramer’s idea in this episode but in the real world that would never work. And finally, I would have yelled at George too for asking Wendy about his arm. It doesn’t occur to him how annoying it would be to have people coming up asking you health questions all day?
Seinfeldism of the episode-Jerry wants off the kiss hello program with Wendy
Deleted Scenes-None for this episode
Episode Fun Fact-This was the official 100th episode
Final Thoughts-Jerry at his most neurotic, he even beats George out in this one. He obsesses about getting kissed hello and decides to stop no matter what the consequences. When the consequences are the building hating him he realizes his mistake and tries to make up for it. This is a classic George story but in this episode it’s Jerry who goes for the ride. This episode is only ok. The physical therapist gets involved with everyone and that kind of makes the episode dull since its essentially one story. The exception is Jerry who gets two stories for the price of one. One is obsessing about the kiss hello. We also get the story about Jerry’s grandmother and Uncle Leo, which is pretty good to. Of course the classic moment in this episode is the one where Kramer actually plants one on Jerry. It’s not a favorite moment of mine, but it works in the context of the episode. Kramer gets a decent story in this one but it’s really here to affect Jerry’s life and goes nowhere for him.
 Grade=B-, all about Jerry in this one

Episode 18, Season 6
The Doorman
 
Plot Summary-Jerry runs afoul of a doorman. His attempt to be friends causes a couch to be stolen from Mr.Pitt’s building where Elaine is house-sitting. George tries to find a way to get his father out of his apartment while Kramer comes up with an idea for an undergarment for older men. 
Best Quote-“I was throwing up all night. It was like my own personal Crying Game”….George about his father
Nitpick of the episode-While it has a great payoff, Kramer pretending to mug George in front of some German tourists is kind of dumb.
Seinfeldism of the episode-The Bro or Man-zier
Deleted Scenes-Frank making Kasha, Kramer and Frank talking about the botched meeting with the bra salesman
Episode Fun Fact-The product Kramer creates in this episode prompted a similar real life product.
Final Thoughts-Larry Miller is just great in this episode as the odd doorman. This is actually a very well done episode, with some great moments including a brilliant spoof of Marathon Man. The scene where Elaine and Jerry hash out their story about what happened with the doorman is very well done. Kramer and Frank are great together, and this episode is no exception. George’s frantic effort to get his parents together is great, especially the scene where George and his mother walk in on Kramer and Frank trying the Bro on. We get a decent Kramer idea and even get a Poppie cameo in the end, which is really funny!
Grade=A-, I may be alone but I hated the tag with Frank and George. Just doesn’t work for me.

May 10, 2012

Top 5 Favorite Sitcom Mother-in-Laws



When a mother gets a long with her son or daughter in law, then everyone is happy. It’s when they don’t that things get interesting. There is something special about an aggravating mother in law. They are there to adore their children while giving their daughter or son in law's a hard time. As hard a time as they can. Let's look at my five favorite meddling mothers in laws.

#5. Mother Winslow (Family Matters)
 
Ok, I am cheating a bit. When we first met her in the pilot (and when she was referenced in Perfect Strangers) Mother Winslow was not a nice person. The family is dreading her visit and don’t want her to move in because she is such a nuisance. However, it didn't take long for that to fade and she became a very likable grandmother figure. She was actually one of the best characters on Family Matters, and was one of the few people who openly respected and cared for Steve Urkel. She had a big love for life, actively dating and participating in any activity she could. Truth be told she could have easily been on yesterday’s list, but I’ll make a place for her here. Rosetta LeNoire was so great at being the sweet grandmother with a very grandmotherly smile, and it amazed me the way she could give a line about wanting to go on a hot date like she was a 16 year old with that same sweet smile!

May 9, 2012

Top 5 Favorite Sitcom Grandmothers



I know the line between grandmother and mother-in-law is pretty gray, but I'm going to give it a shot. Today I will be talking about my favorite grandmother's, and tomorrow will go into the ladies who are more known as mothers-in-law. As I said the line does blur, but I will try explain my reasoning. So if your favorite isn’t on this list she may be on tomorrows. Let’s focus on some funny sitcom grandmothers.
Grandmothers are called that for a reason; they have been there and done that raising their kids. Now they can just relax and enjoy, but leave the real dirty to work to their children. Well, in theory anyway. On TV the grandmother’s do more than just sit in rocking chairs knitting. They get involved, help as much as they can, and some of them even get out and have some fun. The only rule for this list is that the character has to be a regular or recurring part of the cast, appearing in more than a handful or episodes.

#5. Yetta Rosenberg (The Nanny)
Breaking my rule a bit because she wasn’t exactly regular, but she popped up so much she may as well have been. Of course Sylvia was the real nuisance, but she was Fran’s mother that is why Yetta gets on the list. However the two of them made a very funny pair. Yetta was a little nuts and would pop up in the oddest places, but she was always good for a laugh. She was also great for complicating the plot in several episodes.

May 8, 2012

Top 5 Favorite Sitcom Aunts




Part two of our look at sitcom mothers. I may be stretching things, but aunt's and mothers have a lot in common. Sometimes aunt’s are surrogate mothers just by being there when the kids don't feel they can talk to their actual mothers. Sometimes they literally raise the kids, for different reasons. The only rule for this list is that the character has to be a regular part of the cast, appearing in more than a handful or episodes. For example Bewitched had some great relatives such Aunt Clara and Aunt Haggatha, but they were never regulars (except one relative was, and we'll get to her tomorrow).

#5. Aunt Zelda/Aunt Hilda (Sabrina, The Teenage Witch)
 
Unable to live with her mortal mother (I never did understand why), Sabrina was raised be her aunt's. Zelda was the wise and logical one while Hilda was the free spirit, more interested in having fun. Together they made a decent parenting team. Of course being the typical teen Sabrina was never inclined to actually listen to what they advised which caused all sorts of trouble.

May 6, 2012

Top 5 Favorite Sitcom Mothers




In honor of Mothers Day next weekend I present a four-part series of articles looking at sitcom mothers. Mothers on sitcoms have a lot of responsibility, they have to take care of a home while raising the kids and dealing with a husband who is usually a pain in one way or another. Some mothers are "perfect", while others are downright awful. There are lots of mothers out there so narrowing it down to five was not easy. However, I managed to come up with my picks, and I can’t express enough this is just opinion.

#5 Marion Cunningham (Happy Days)
 
Happy Days is corny as heck, but the actors on it did a great job making their characters fun to watch despite the corny dialogue and silly stories. Marion is a prime example; Marion Ross gave a very memorable character who I wish had been seen a little more. Usually when you think of mom's from the 50's you think of the type played by Alley Mills in The Wonder Years. Perfect with a smile which never broke for anything. Marion was a little more realistic, believe it or not. She could be calm when she needed to be and tough when she needed to be. She was the only character who had the nerve to stand up to the Fonz, even calling him by his real name. She tended to be a mother to all the cast no just her kids. There is one moment where Chachi says he has to marry Joanie, and misunderstanding Marion goes over and starts to strangle him! Great mother played by a great actress.


May 4, 2012

Analytical Episode Guide-Seinfeld (Season 6, Part 2)



An Analytical Episode Guide to :
 

Season 6, Part 2

Episode 7, Season 6
The Mom & Pop Store
 
Plot Summary-Kramer gets involved with an elderly couple who own a store. Jerry allows Kramer to give them his shoes only to lose them when the couple split. George buys a car because it was previously owned by Jon Voight, or was it? Elaine wins Mr.Pitt a spot holding the Woody Woodpecker balloon at the Thanksgiving Day parade. Kramer suffers from nose bleeds while Jerry tries to figure out if he has in fact been invited to Tim Whatley’s party.
Best Quote-“That’s the genius of it”…Jerry responding to George questioning why the car dealer would say the former owner was Jon Voight of all people.
Nitpick of the episode-Once again, Elaine causes her own troubles. She arrives at the party unable to hear a thing, why does she not tell Tim this fact? It makes no sense; instead she tries to figure out what he is saying and ends up offending him. I mean, it’s not as if it’s embarrassing or some big secret, just explain what happened! I think it was supposed to be funny but it doesn’t work.
Seinfeldism of the episode-George buys a car believing Jon Voight was the previous owner
Deleted Scenes-Jerry calls Elaine at Mr.Pitt’s house, the scene was actually kind of important it’s too bad they took it out the episode would have worked better with it in
Episode Fun Fact-First episode with Tim Whatley
Final Thoughts-When I first saw this episode I hated it, but there is a simple reason. I totally missed the Midnight Cowboy references especially the end. I know, but Jon Voigt is not a favorite of mine and I only saw that movie once which is a long story. After I realized what they were going for I realized I was too hard on this episode, which is actually pretty good. Jon Voight has an amusing cameo, wonder how he felt about biting Kramer. Elaine’s story is dumb, we barely know that she is interested in Whatley and then she acts so dumb in the scene I already noted. They also tried to tie Kramer’s nose bleeds in with the kidney stone story but this also goes nowhere and his story in this episode is bland. He has to become part of George’s story in order to make it through the episode.
Grade=B-, not bad but not great

Episode 8, Season 6
The Soup
 
Plot Summary-Jerry pays dearly for a “free” suit from a fellow comedian. After his experience with the kidney stone Kramer has decided to only eat fresh food. George asks a waitress for a date, but his odd conversation spoils the mood. Elaine has a friend from England visit, but it turns out he’s no gentleman.
Best Quote-“I don’t even mind the word Manure. Its’  nure which is good, and a ma in front of it. Manure. When you consider the other choices, manure is pretty refreshing”….George with a line that absolutely amazes me, who says things like this?
Nitpick of the episode-Ok, let’s go over the events in this episode. Bania calls Jerry to see if he can get his dinner. Jerry agrees so they go to a nice restaurant. Then Bania orders soup, saying that he had a hot dog and wants to save the meal. Ok, hold on a second! He called Jerry!! No one forced this guy to go to dinner then, he chose to! So, Jerry is more than justified to refuse to take Bania out again. It seems like Jerry wins one here, but of course it comes back and bites him in the next episode. Also, Elaine totally misses the point when Jerry complains about this to her, what kind of soup Bania had is irrelevant. Also, what in the world makes George think that talking about Manure would be endearing? It doesn’t even make sense to me, how does dissecting the word make the concept more pleasant? I’m actually with the waitress on that one, and then George tries to get her fired? Just wrong and I am almost happy he wound up punished at the end (being forced to eat at Reggie’s all by himself).
Seinfeldism of the episode-Jerry notes that George’s waitress may have called an audible when he started talking about manure, “she got to the line of scrimmage, didn’t like the look of the defense and changed the play”. One of my favorite lines!
Deleted Scenes-George brags about making the date with the waitress. The scene at Reggie’s was longer as was the last scene of the episode.
Episode Fun Fact- Of course, this episode gave birth to the famous “The soup is the best Jerry, the best!”
Final Thoughts-This episode has one of my favorite endings, when Elaine’s jerk friend is hinting about staying thanks to the suit Jerry gave him, Elaine tells Kenny that the suit is walking out the door. Bania and the jerk get into a fight, while Elaine and Jerry exchange smiles. I don’t know; guess it’s nice to see them win one for a change (even if there is a fight going on outside where someone is probably getting hurt). Good episode, even if Kramer once again is saddled with the weak story. He is dating a bossy girl whom who have to wonder how he could stand for a second. Obviously the writers had no idea where to take the whole Kramer only wants to eat fresh food thing. I also didn’t buy the whole thing with Kramer calling his girlfriend so much that he gets her fired. As for George, he gets zero sympathy from me in this one. Elaine’s jerk guy is too much of a jerk; he is so unlikable it actually hurts the episode!
Grade=B, Good effort!

Episode 9, Season 6
The Secretary
 
Plot Summary-George hires a secretary; he ends up having sex with her during which he promises to give her a raise. Jerry spots his dry cleaner wearing his jacket. Kramer sells his clothes to Bania, while Elaine tries to return an ugly dress she purchased.
Best Quote-“Your arms look like something hanging in a kosher deli”…George
Nitpick of the episode-I find it hard to believe the dress Elaine wears in this episode ever looked good in any kind of lighting.
Seinfeldism of the episode-Elaine blames her purchase of the dress on false reflecting from skinny mirrors
Deleted Scenes-None for this episode.
Episode Fun Fact-The first real appearance of the George Steinbrenner character, voiced of course by Larry David
Final Thoughts-What a weak ending! This episode is really a follow-up to the previous, and it is so bland. George’s story is been there, done that. He already slept with a secretary; the only difference here is he didn’t lose his job. Bania pops up to continue the story from the previous episode, and Jerry ends up getting the raw end of the deal and is forced to have not one, but two dinners with him! Kramer is just here to be dumb, why would he give his clothes to Bania? Even the thing about Uma Thurman is boring, why pick her it could have been any actress for all the difference it made? Jerry is good in this episode but the story is not enough to make this one interesting.
Grade=C-, Bland bland bland (even the dvd had nothing to offer on this one)

Episode 10, Season 6
The Switch
 
Plot Summary-George dates a woman whom he believes is bulimic. He enlists Kramer’s mothers help to prove it, in the process learning a secret. Jerry dates a woman who doesn’t laugh at anything he say, which has roommate who does. He and George try to determine how to successfully perform the roommate switch. Elaine tries to get her racquet back.
Best Quote-“Do you ever just get down on your knees and thank god you know me and have access to my dementia?”….George. 
Nitpick of the episode-Maybe it’s me, but I just don’t understand why Elaine can’t just take the racquet back. Yeah, I can see how it is awkward with the woman crying and all, but still it is her racquet! I also agree with George, since Kramer was fully aware of the plan with his mother then he could have informed George after that plan evaporated when his mother quit at Kramer’s urging.
Seinfeldism of the episode-We finally learn Kramer’s first name is Cosmo
Deleted Scenes-We get a longer description of the injury Ms.Landis suffered
Episode Fun Fact-It was here the creators finally decided it was time to at long last reveal what Kramer’s first name was.
Final Thoughts-I really liked this episode. The whole thing was done well, including the reveal of Kramer’s name. Rather than hype it up through the whole episode they do it very quickly and simply. It’s a great moment and then the show moves on. Nice. Cosmo is very clever, and sticks for the rest of the series. On top of that the way the whole thing with the roommate switch handled is just so great. Sometimes doing things different can be a good thing, and it is here. I also loved Kramer’s mother and wish we’d seen her a few more times. They even handle George’s story just right, so that George is neurotic without being totally insensitive. The whole ménage a toi thing is silly, but also quite funny. And the turn the master plan takes is hilarious! Elaine has the only weak story, it just doesn’t work the way I think it was intended to. The scene with Julia and Terry Sweeney is a classic however.
Grade=A-, good stuff here

Episode 11, Season 6
The Race
 
Plot Summary-Jerry dates a woman named Lois, whose boss happens to be an old friend from high school who refuses to believe Jerry beat him in a race. George is mistaken for a communist while Elaine dates a man who actually is. Kramer plays Santa Claus at the mall.
Best Quote-“I choose not to run”….Jerry
Nitpick of the episode-Elaine orders the Chinese food using Ned’s name, and then we see her “accidentally” come out of the kitchen so the delivery guy can catch her. Ok, how hard would it have been to make sure she hid until the guy had left? Also, Ned shouldn’t be mad at her because she tried to explain that she’d had a fight with the guy earlier. Another Elaine moment that doesn’t work.
Seinfeldism of the episode-George gets to finally pretend to be an architect!
Deleted Scenes- Lots, including an entire scene with Kramer infiltrating the Cuban embassy in a Santa suit, coming down a chimney no less.  It’s too bad they had to cut it.
Episode Fun Fact-For obvious reasons this is a favorite of Jerry’s
Final Thoughts-What can you say about this one? The Jerry story is classic, which is good because the other stories in this episode are week as heck. When you see how much was cut out of Kramer’s story you can see why it goes nowhere. Though it is nice to see Mickey again. George’s story is filler, and Elaine’s isn’t much better. I always hated the Cuban thing, just didn’t work for me. However, thank goodness we get Jerry and the great scene at the end with the race accompanied by the Superman music. Then the way Jerry pushes Elaine out of the way at the end to hug Lois, that is just a great moment and Jerry is just fantastic in this episode.
Grade=B+, giving this episode a bit of a break because of that last scene

Episode 12, Season 6
The Label Maker
 
Plot Summary-Jerry can’t get rid of Super Bowl tickets, and when he does give them to Tim Whatley  Time responds with a thank you gift which Elaine had previously given him. Kramer and Newman play a board game while George dates a woman with a male roommate who looks like him.
Best Quote-“I’m going to the Super Bowl with Tim Whatley”….Elaine and this line is better when heard
Nitpick of the episode- This episode is a great example of how Jerry just manipulates George’s neuroses for his own enjoyment. When George is complaining that his girlfriend has a male roommate, Jerry supports George’s drive to do something to change the situation. When he does, and the roommate is gone, Jerry suddenly does a 180 and points out that George had unwittingly made a commitment to her, and ruined a good thing. Um, then why didn’t Jerry advise George not to do anything in the first conversation? Because he couldn’t get to watch George squirm, of course. Oh, and who’s dumb enough to use a label maker to label boxes? Always use a marker!
Seinfeldism of the episode-Tim is a re-gifter after he re-gifted the label maker
Deleted Scenes- More with Newman trying to cheat
Episode Fun Fact-Julia Louis Dreyfuss was quite ill during the filming on this episode
Final Thoughts- Good episode is ruined by the lame Kramer and Newman story. I mean, it’s just a board game guys! It is fun to watch the Super Bowl tickets get handed around. George is classic in this episode, first worrying about a problem and then when he solves the problem it just leads to more worrying. The ending has him trying the ménage a toi bit he had previously sold Jerry on, only to have it similarly backfire on him. The bit about the re-gifter is so great that regifting became part of popular culture after this episode. I also like the line about how if you repeat the name of a gift when you open it; it means you can’t possibly like it. To true. Jerry is the one who ends up suffering at the end, being stuck next to Newman at the big game.
Grade=B+, Kramer’s story is just boring