March 31, 2012

Analytical Episode Guide-Seinfeld (Season 5, Part 1)

An Analytical Episode Guide to:

Season  5, Part 1

After the amazing success of season 4, expectations were high for season 5. Especially since they were finally airing in the coveted 9:00 at Thursday time slot formerly held by Cheers. Were those expectations met? Let’s check it out.

Episode 1, Season 5
The Mango
Plot Summary-Jerry is stunned when Elaine reveals that she never had one orgasm while they were dating. Kramer gets banned from Joe’s fruit stand and needs George to secretly buy his fruit, which include mango. George is afraid his girlfriend may be faking. He worries so much about performing, he is unable to do anything at all. Until he tries the mango at least.
Best Quote-“It’s like a magic trick. Sometimes I think it would be easier to bend a spoon mentally than to make that transformation”…..George
Nitpick of the episode- While I could understand Jerry being annoyed at Elaine’s revelation, I do think he overreacted a bit. They broke up and aren’t together anymore, so who cares? If they were in a relationship it would make sense.
Seinfeldism of the episode-Jerry is upset that Elaine faked, George worries his girlfriend is faking.
Deleted Scenes-George’s conversation with his girlfriend about how she enjoys their sex life was longer
Episode Fun Fact-Unlike “The Contest”, the fact we are discussing orgasms is made plain and clear.
Final Thoughts-This is a good season opener. After the whole story arc from the year before, it’s nice to see the show doing its regular stories again. I never liked Jerry being so mad at Elaine, it made him darker than usual. I would say that it ruined the episode except for the payoff when Elaine tells him they have to have sex to save the friendship. Great moment. Kramer’s story is ok but it’s George who really gets the laughs in this episode with some great lines.
Grade=B+, decent enough start to the season

Episode 2, Season 5
The Glasses
Plot Summary-George loses his glasses when someone walks off with them in the health club. While helping him get a new pair, Elaine gets bit by a strange dog and thinks she has rabies. Kramer gets Jerry a new air conditioner because his girlfriend is hot, and George is convinced he saw her making out with Jerry’s cousin. Unfortunately he has no glasses so there is no real proof.
Best Quote-“May I have one of those madam?”…Kramer mocking George’s new glasses.
Nitpick of the episode-Jerry has no one else to blame for believing George, he should have known better.
Seinfeldism of the episode-Kramer promises a discount if George mentions his name to his friend
Deleted Scenes-Elaine and Jerry talking about the air conditioner, an alternate ending where we see George was right about Jerry’s girlfriend after all.
Episode Fun Fact-The first script Jerry and Larry David had almost no hand in, and the first script to make the comedy broader. When the series started Jerry and Larry had wanted to be as realistic as possible. By this point they had realized how restricting that was.
Final Thoughts-I always loved this episode. It’s one where all the characters are clicking. This is one of the first times Uncle Leo finally started to become a recurring character with his appearance here. George’s story about losing his glasses is good. Elaine’s story is kind of farfetched, just who is that doctor she goes to see? The dog story is tacked on and the one thing the script didn’t need. However Julia Louis-Dreyfuss did her best with the whole rabies scare. The scene where George bites an onion after spotting a dime is hilarious and Kramer’s scene with the guy in the eyeglass store is one of his best of the series.
Grade=B+, the air conditioner hurting the dog and Jerry having to pay the vet bill was too much

Episode 3, Season 5
The Puffy Shirt
Plot Summary-George is forced to move back in with his parents. While at dinner with them he runs into a woman who decides he would make a good hand model. Jerry and Elaine go out with Kramer and his girlfriend but Jerry unknowingly agrees to wear her new shift design on Today. The design is a puffy shift which looks totally ridiculous, but Jerry has no choice but to wear it.
Best Quote-“But I don’t want to be a pirate!”…..Jerry, always loved the way he said that line
Nitpick of the episode-This is one episode you almost feel sorry for George, the last thing he needs is to move back with his parents (I know that’s not a nit, couldn’t come up with a real one)
Seinfeldism of the episode-Kramer’s girlfriend is a low talker
Deleted Scenes-We find that George’s mother is crazier than Jerry’s in an extended opening scene
Episode Fun Fact-The first real appearance of Jerry Stiller as Frank Costanza. Originally Frank was supposed to be quiet and reserved, but that didn’t last long. Jerry and  Estelle had amazing chemistry, I can’t help but wonder if Frank and Marie in Everybody Loves Raymond were in some way inspired by Frank and Estelle.
Final Thoughts-This episode is simply a classic, which is amazing considering how uneven it is. Kramer barely has anything to do and Elaine has even less to do. However, none of that matters because not only is the sight gag of Jerry in the puffy shirt hilarious, but having him have to wear it on The Today Show is just brilliant. George also gets a strong story as he discovers hand modeling, only to lose it because of the puffy shirt. We finally meet George’s parents as they officially become regular characters. We also learn that George is the one who won “The Contest”, at least that’s what we are led to believe until the series finale.
Grade=A, Jerry and George are at their best in this episode. First classic of the season.

Episode 4, Season 5
The Sniffing Accountant
Plot Summary-Jerry becomes suspicious of his accountant when he is sniffing for no apparent reason. Kramer does some investigating work to find out if the man is on drugs. Elaine’s new relationship is hurt by punctuation, or lack thereof. George is handed a new job as a bra salesman, but blows it by feeling the material on the jacket of a woman who promptly throws him out before he has even started.
Best Quote-“Tuesday has no feel. Monday has a feel, Friday has a feel”…..Newman’s memorable line is followed up by Kramer saying “I feel Tuesday and Wednesday”, before they are shut up by Jerry. Great little moment.
Nitpick of the episode-I know it’s hard to believe, but I see Elaine’s point. If her boyfriend can’t even pretend to be excited about a friend having a baby then what future do they have? For once Elaine’s craziness seems reasonable.
Seinfeldism of the episode-George got the job “barring some unforeseen incident”, which of occurs happens two minutes later
Deleted Scenes-None for this episode.
Episode Fun Fact-The main plotline was based on actual events, Jerry’s real accountant stole his money to buy drugs
Final Thoughts-This episode is…..ok. Kramer really steals the show with his antics in the bar when he smokes and drinks at the same time. That moment earned Michael Richards an Emmy. However, despite that the show isn’t that strong. The best part may be more Frank and Estelle in the scene with George. Newman is also involved in the plot; I always liked it when Newman goes in on the story. He always felt like the missing member of the cast. George is classic, getting a job and losing it in the span of five minutes. Elaine’s rant on exclamation points is one of her better ones. The ending leaves a lot of questions. What happened to the letter Newman dropped anyway? They reveal the sweater caused the sniffing, why did they have to take it back at the very end? Did Elaine and her boyfriend reconcile? Too many questions.
 Grade=B-, decent episode is ruined by a flimsy ending.

Episode 5, Season 5
The Bris
Plot Summary-Jerry and Elaine are asked to be the godparents for a mutual friend’s baby. Jerry dreads the circumcision at the briss, while Elaine is in charge of hiring a moil. Kramer discovers the hospital is breeding a race of pig men and seeks to liberate the pig man (god that sounds stupid!). George marvels at an amazing parking space, until a mental patient does a nose dive right on to his car. The Mohel Elaine hires is, a bit unorthodox.
Best Quote-“He couldn't move over two feet! Land on the sidewalk, it's city property!”….George
Nitpick of the episode-Alright, there is only one obvious nitpick for this episode (aside from the stupid pig man story). Why is George so excited about his parking space? I mean, who cares?? Talk about getting excited about something stupid (I have been nice to him this week, so I can give him a hard time in this episode).
Seinfeldism of the episode-Jerry is chosen to be godfather
Deleted Scenes-None for this episode.
Episode Fun Fact-Jason Alexander wasn’t very pleased with the Mohel’s portrayal in this episode. This was also the final episode where the audience applauds Kramer’s entrance. Larry David stopped it because it disrupted the shows pace.
Final Thoughts-I gotta say, when I first saw this episode I hated it. It was just so weird, and that stuff with the pig man may be the dumbest thing the series ever came up with (at this point in the series anyway). Since then I have seen it a few times and realized….yeah, it’s a pretty bad episode. The moil is way over the top, I am not Jewish but I don’t see how that character isn’t considered offensive, and the whole story with the pig man is totally absurd. There aren’t enough adjectives to describe how much I hated that. On top of that, George is at his most obnoxious. It’s pretty bad when George is so irritating that it makes it into the script.
Grade=D, nothing redeeming in this one

Come back next week and we continue out look at season 5.

Sitcom Face Off = The Brady Bunch vs. The Cosby Show

It's time once again for a sitcom face off, where I take two similar shows and compare them to see which is better. Today we have a real grudge match for you!

For five years the Brady's charmed us on ABC. It left the air in 1974, and ten years later The Cosby Show debuted on NBC and literally revived the sitcom format. On the surface these two shows don't immediately seem like they have a lot in common. But actually they do. These were warm, loving family comedies with simple stories. They were also groundbreaking. Brady Bunch was an example of a successful blended family while Cosby was an example of a successful, upper class African American family. These were both almost unheard of when these respective shows premiered. So, which was better?