April 28, 2012

Analytical Episode Guide-Seinfeld (Season 6, Part 1)

An Analytical Episode Guide to :

Season  6, Part 1

By the time season 6 had rolled around, Seinfeld was officially NBC’s mega-hit. This was the year it exploded, because it was paired on the same night as Mad About You and a new show called Friends. Add ER at 10:00, and you had a powerhouse lineup. However, at the same time many say that this was the year Seinfeld started to get a bit stale. The stories and the writing just weren’t up to standard. Is that true? Well, let take a look as we begin season 6.

Episode 1, Season 6
The Chaperone
Plot Summary-Jerry has a date with a Miss American contestant, but things don’t go as planned when Kramer goes along and becomes the girl’s chaperone. George pushes for cotton uniforms for the Yankees, while Elaine gets a new job being a personal assistant to Mr.Pitt.
Best Quote-“That was just Kramer. Apparently I killed Ms.Rhode Islands doves with the bucket of water last  night”…..Jerry
Nitpick of the episode-Magic was her talent? Doves???? And having them killed by Jerry was just dumb.
Seinfeldism of the episode-Jerry starts using his famous “That’s a shame”. George actually says it first, but Jerry adopts it. This is my personal favorite; I also adopted it and use it to this day.
Deleted Scenes-More with Mr.Pitt and Elaine
Episode Fun Fact- This was the first episode for director Andy Ackerman, and you could feel his influence right away. However, it took several episodes for that influence to be positive.
Final Thoughts-And we’re off, with a real weak episode. One gets the feeling that the creators decided to make the show bigger. I mean the Miss America pageant?  Seinfeld is supposed to be about the little things that happen in life, how does that make sense? George pushing for cotton uniforms…gee, wonder how that will work out? Elaine having to buy socks for Mr.Pitt, yeah that’s hilarious. The worst part of this episode is that for once Kramer comes off as unlikable. This episode is so badly written by the end Jerry and Kramer feel like supporting characters in the Miss America contestant’s story!
Grade=D, this is the first episode to come after two months off?

Episode 2, Season 6
The Big Salad
Plot Summary-Jerry dates a woman who was rejected by Newman. Elaine deals with a creepy stationary store guy when she needs to be a pencil for Mr.Pitt. George is annoyed when Elaine thanks his girlfriend Julie for the salad he bought her. Kramer gets into a fight with a friend on a golf course, and then worries when that friend is later a suspect in a murder.
Best Quote-“She went out with Newman!”….Jerry
Nitpick of the episode-I agree with George on this one. Why did Elaine thank Julie when George bought the salad? He has every right to be annoyed though he could have just let it go. Also, I love the scene where George notes how fascinated he is that Bobby Hebert’s named is Herbert minus the R. Here is my question, why is this fascinating exactly? So what? Judging by Julie’s face as he discusses it, she agrees with me. This nit was just for fun, more serious complaints come below!
Seinfeldism of the episode-Jerry uses the phrase “buh-bye” which was popular in the 90’s
Deleted Scenes-Jerry discussing stationery stores
Episode Fun Fact-Obviously this episode was meant to satire the O.J. Simpson story which had broken the summer before. The final scene includes footage from the actual chase in LA. This is also the first episode to use the brand new New York Street the studio built just for the show.
Final Thoughts- Sometimes an idea seems like a great idea, but it really isn’t. That’s my take on Kramer’s story in this episode. Not only is it dated now, but it’s just not funny. At least when Murphy Brown did the same thing they were commenting on the situation. The worst part is that in order to make the story work they had to make Kramer a stickler for following rules. The same Kramer who encouraged Jerry to urinate in a garage (and actually said the line “don’t you get tired of following rules”?), illegally scalped tickets to an opera, told George to park in a handicap spot, stole live lobsters out of commercial traps, and will in future episodes try smoking indoors, scamming the post office, and work with Newman on a bottle deposit scam? Yeah, he’s a real stickler for rules! I don’t understand why the episode needed that anyway; it would have worked just the same without that bit. As bad as that is, Elaine is even worst in this one! Why would she tell the stationary store guy to order the pencil and then buy it somewhere else? It just doesn't make sense. She already thought he was a creep, that is why she gave the guy Jerry’s number, why do anything to cause a situation where she would have to apologize to him? The guy asks the very same thing I just did and obviously asks her out. She says yes, but I don’t feel bad for her she made her own bed with that one. It just doesn’t make sense. Jerry’s story is the good one; I can see how dating someone who not only went out with, but was rejected by, Newman would be unsettling. How bad is this episode? Newman is the best character in it!  
Grade=C-, Newman saves one!

Episode 3, Season 6
The Pledge Drive
Plot Summary-Jerry gets a thank you card from his girlfriend after agreeing to help with the PBS pledge drive and proceeds to offend her by throwing the card away to soon. Kramer encourages Jerry to cash his grandmother’s old checks, which causes the woman to disappear. Elaine disrupts the relationship between her friend Noreen and her guy who happens to be a high talker with a very similar voice. George thinks people keep giving him the middle finger. Elaine is mystified when Mr.Pitt eats a Snickers with a knife and fork.
Best Quote-“We were just talking about you. Listen, Jerry doesn’t want to talk to you. Nobody wants to talk to you. So why don’t you just drop dead!”….Elaine to Jerry’s grandmother
Nitpick of the episode-I disagree with Jerry’s attitude about cards, but that’s because I grew up in a family that took greeting cards very seriously. I actually agree with Kramer when he criticizes Jerry not cashing his grandmother’s checks, that is kind of rude but you can’t take checks that are years old and cash them!!!!!!
Seinfeldism of the episode-Noreen is dating a high talker, who has a very high pitched voice
Deleted Scenes-Mr.Pitt commenting on Elaine’s coffee, Elaine explains the difference between a high talker and a loud talker, Kramer commenting on Jerry throwing his card away
Episode Fun Fact-Of course, the high talker’s voice is not the real actors voice. This is the first episode to not end with Jerry’s stand up routine, they were phased out to make room for more story.
Final Thoughts-This episode tries real hard! This season would begin the trend of having episodes with almost too many stories, to the point where there are so many things to cover that stories don’t get any real ending, the stories just kind of stop because they’ve run out of time. This episode is like that. I did like the whole thing with eating hand food with a knife and fork, that was kind of clever. No one would eat Snickers with a knife and fork, but when you think about why can’t you? If Elaine knows that Noreen and his boyfriend have the same voice, why isn’t she more careful when she calls? The scene with Jerry’s grandmother in the ally is a favorite of mine. Kramer’s story is pretty dull and George’s story is barely a story.
Grade=B-, some great gags but the stories just kind of go nowhere

Episode 4, Season 6
The Chinese Woman
Plot Summary-Jerry makes a date with a woman he who he thinks it Chinese, but in reality is not. Elaine and Jerry see George’s father with a man in a cape. Turns out the man is Frank’s lawyer, and he is discussing the possible divorce between Frank and Estelle. Kramer has a low sperm count and tries to get off jockeys. Elaine continues to interfere with her friend Noreen, until Kramer steps in.
Best Quote-“I’m out there Jerry and I’m loving every minute of it”….Kramer
Nitpick of the episode-The idea that George’s phone lines are crossed with the Chinese woman is so absurd that it makes it into the script. When Jerry tells George about the lines being crossed, he makes a face like it’s the dumbest thing he ever heard. There’s a reason for that, it is.
Seinfeldism of the episode-Kramer wears jockeys because “my boys” need a house
Deleted Scenes-The scene about Kramer not wearing underwear was longer
Episode Fun Fact-The man in the cape was played, of course, by Larry David
Final Thoughts-The story with Elaine and Noreen is even worst in this episode than it is in the last. The end has Kramer revealing he may have impregnated Noreen, but someone must have realized this was dumb because it’s never brought up again, and Noreen is never seen again. I understand that they wanted to do something with Frank and Estelle, but having them separate never sat well with me.  The bit with the Chinese woman is pretty clever, with all the subconscious Chinese references. Kramer’s story is lame, although Michael Richards gets some good laughs with it. The tag at the end where the man in the cape rescues Noreen is so dumb, thankfully she never appears again.
Grade=B-, this episode really feels like a continuation of the previous one, which isn’t a great thing.

Episode 5, Season 6
The Couch
Plot Summary-Freedom of choice issues affect Elaine’s relationship and Kramer’s new business. Jerry gets a new couch which ends up ruined by Poppie. George tries to read Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but ends up watching the movie with the family who happened to rent it.
Best Quote-Is it? Could it? Could he have?...It is!”….Jerry
Nitpick of the episode-I know Jerry and Elaine didn’t know about Poppie’s special condition, but five alarm chili and wine? What were they thinking? George never ceases to amaze me, the way he pushes his way into a stranger’s house to watch the movie. If that wasn’t bad enough, he shushes the wife as she talks about a dying relative! He even manages to ruin the families couch! He reaches new levels of rudeness with every episode, and in the next one he really crosses a line.
Seinfeldism of the episode-Kramer’s idea for a pizza place where you make your own pie goes all the way back to the second episode.
Deleted Scenes-George discusses joining the book club for his girlfriend as Jerry looks over couches in a longer opening. We also hear how much George loves velvet in this deleted scene, the funny thing is that this dialogue would be called back in a latte episode. Also, the scene with Kramer visiting Poppie in the hospital was longer and Kramer chews out Jerry and Elaine about their gift in yet another deleted moment.
Episode Fun Fact-At the top of the scene where Poppie urinates on the sofa, we see Jerry sitting on the couch with newspapers strewn about. The papers are actually to cover the fact the spot is already there, hidden until the proper reveal.
Final Thoughts-For some reason this episode feels like it belongs in season 5, but maybe that’s a good thing.  This is actually a really good episode. The way that the show discussed abortion in this episode is very good. Especially in the scene were Poppie and Kramer argue over when it’s a pizza, is it a pizza when you take it out of the oven or when you first put your fist in the dough? Brilliant. The same thing happens with Elaine and her boyfriend although that isn’t as subtle. The way Jerry uses the abortion issue to manipulate Elaine is priceless, and his reaction to what Poppie does to his sofa is hilarious. George is, well, George.
Grade=A-, Very good episode (at last!)

Episode 6, Season 6
The Gymnast
Plot Summary-Jerry dates a gymnast, Kramer suffers from kidney stones. George’s girlfriend’s mother thinks he is a bum. 3-D art mesmerizes Mr.Pitt.
Best Quote-“Well you my friend have crossed the line that divides man and bum. You are now a bum”…Jerry to George
Nitpick of the episode-Not worst than what he did in The Fire, but what George does in this episode is just gross! He tries to defend it, but what it comes down to is he took some food, that had been bitten into, out of the trash and ate it!! How can anyone justify that one, Yuck!! By the way, the development that George takes his shirt off when he goes to the bathroom is a little forced; we know he has never done that before. It’s a little late in the series run to start creating new character traits like that.
Seinfeldism of the episode-Kramer mentions his fear of clowns again
Deleted Scenes-The scene where George comes out of the bathroom without a shirt was longer originally, another scene had George trying to explain away his eating out of the trash to the mother
Episode Fun Fact-The night this episode aired was supposed to be a stunt night on NBC called Blackout Thursday. The gimmick was Mad About You would cause a blackout that would affect Friends, Seinfeld, and Madman of the People (the one horrible show on that night). However, Larry David refused to participate so the stunt ended not quite working. I give credit to Larry David for not agreeing to such a silly idea, and it shows what kind of clout a top rated sitcom can have.
Final Thoughts-Kramer’s story is not funny for me because I have had kidney stones, and that really hurts. Despite that this is a funny episode. George makes the worst possible impression he can with his girlfriend’s mother, and at the end when he comes out of the bathroom without a shirt on you can just see him accept that he has messed up and will ever redeem himself. Elaine kind of steps aside to let Mr.Pitt be the focus, and we get one of the most blatant Hitler references on any Seinfeld episode. Jerry’s story is only ok. Nice of Seinfeld to memorialize one of the odder fads of the 90’s, 3-D art.
Grade=B+, Not that bad at all

Sitcom Face Off = Night Court vs. Scrubs

Another sitcom face-off where I take two similar shows and decide which one is superior. Today we have two great ensemble comedies, one from the 80’s and the other from the 00’s.
Night Court premiered in 1984 and was a major part of NBC’s Thursday night lineup for years. Scrubs premiered in 2001, and was also a dependable hit for NBC. What these programs have in common is the type of shows they were, both being physical comedies with very broad, slapstick kind of humor including great sight gags and physical comedy. The jokes came fast on these shows and the characters were quirky and a bit crazy. Both of these shows were fun, but which one was superior?
As with the last time I did two ensemble comedies, I need to change the categories a bit. I broke the cast down into three categories, comparing similar characters on each show. So for the first category, we will discuss the main characters.

April 23, 2012

TOP 5 Star Trek (TOS & TNG) Episodes I Was Wrong About

Many moons ago I did an article on movies I loved when I first saw them, only to get older and realize the films were that good after all. Sometimes when you first see a movie or TV show as a kid, for one reason or another you get the wrong impression of it. You love it initially because it’s got cool effects and action, only to revisit it and realize the story sucked. Sometimes it goes the other way, an episode you initially hated turns out to be really good there was just something you didn't get the first time around. For me, there are several episodes of the original Star Trek and Next Generation that fit this description. I had strong feelings for the show, which I would later find were misguided. I wanted to talk about the main five one's today. This is limited to the first two series.

#5 And The Children Shall Lead (TOS)
I don’t know why I liked this, but when I was a kid I did. Looking at it now, yeah I can see the bad acting and silly special effects. The story is full of holes and the ending is so corny and lame. I just don’t understand what the thinking was with this one, or why it took me so long to realize just how bad it was.

#4. Genesis (TNG)
This episode was a lot like a certain Voyager episode called Threshold. It was promoted as a classic “characters transform into something" story with cool make-up effects, only problem was the story was so stupid! Just like that famous Voyager episode, nothing about this show really makes any sense. It’s also the start of the cliché used in Star Trek where a crewman or two leave the ship just long enough to miss what happens, and then return in time to save the day.

#3.The Empath (TOS)
Kirk, Spock, and McCoy spend an entire episode standing on a dark stage talking. Sounds pretty boring, doesn’t it? Well that’s what my first impression of this episode was when I was a kid. Truth is, this episode is one of the highlights of the third season. It is really all about the close friendship between these three guys, as we see just how much they care for each other. When the aliens decide they are going to torture one of them, Spock refuses to let Kirk volunteer but McCoy knocks them both out, sacrificing himself. A very nice moment in a real touching episode. Yeah, it's kind of boring and a little more surreal than a typical Trek episode but if you watch it you see a real beautiful story.

#2. Lower Decks (TNG)
This really wasn't bad, I get the premise. I just didn't like it. However, just because I didn't like the concept doesn't make it a bad one. Sorry, but I don't care what is going on when the regulars are busy or what it's like for the other crew who aren’t in on the action.  I watch Star Trek to watch the regulars, not these unknowns. But, to be fair, it is kind of interesting. I also objected to what Picard does in the episode sending the ensign on such a dangerous mission but that again is opinion. This episode will never be a favorite of mine, but that doesn't mean it’s bad.

#1. Inner Light (TNG)
This one is kind of embarrassing. When I first saw this I thought it was the most boring episode. It was a confusing story that was uninteresting. Before everyone comments on how wrong that is, I know. True it’s not an exciting episode it is a beautiful story. I think that this is the kind of episode that works better when you know the resolution. Once you find out that Picard is living the life of a man from a now dead world, suddenly it works. Yeah, it’s hard to buy how this society built this thing that locks on to Picard and just how real the experience was for him, did it really feel like thirty years had passed? Despite the question this is a beautiful episode and very well written.

Honorable mentions include Time Squared, Who Watches the Watchers, and The Menagerie.

I guess that what happens when we get older, we get wiser and realize things we thought were cool weren’t so great and the things we thought were dull were, actually, pretty good. Funny how age alters our perceptions.

April 21, 2012

Analytical Episode Guide-Seinfeld (Season 5, Part 4)

An Analytical Episode Guide to :

Season  5, Part 4

Episode 17, Season 5
The Wife
Plot Summary-When Jerry gets a deal on dry cleaning; his new girlfriend pretends to be his wife to also get the discount. Kramer dates an African American girl while George is caught urinating in the shower. The man who caught him is the same man Elaine is interested in, whom she gets all kinds of mixed messages from. Needing rest Kramer goes to a tanning booth, where he falls asleep.
Best Quote-“Do the medical journals mention anything about standing in a pool of someone else’s urine?”…Jerry
Nitpick of the episode-What Elaine sees in the boring guy she is interested in is beyond me. As for George and what he does in this episode…..think I’d better not go there (no pun intended).
Seinfeldism of the episode-Jerry’s coat is made of gore-tex
Deleted Scenes-None for this episode
Episode Fun Fact-The woman Jerry meets in the dry cleaner had her dialogue dubbed over to her give her a more exotic feel.
Final Thoughts-Kramer’s story is probably one of his worst in the whole series. The thing with the quilt is lame, he doesn’t have another? And then what happens after he goes tanning…gee, didn’t see that coming! It’s predictable and dumb, not to mention borderline offensive. Thankfully we have George and Elaine who are really funny discussing whether or not it’s ok to go to the bathroom while showering. Also, watching Jerry and his girlfriend act like an old married couple is definitely lots of fun. There story is very clever. I like how Uncle Leo pops up just long enough to complicate the situation.
Grade=B-, Kramer really brings this one down

Episode 18, Season 5
The Fire
Plot Summary-George has a girlfriend with a child. At a birthday party, George sees a fire and proceeds to storm out as he tramples over everyone. Kramer’s coffee table book is being produced by his new girlfriend Toby who is a rival for Elaine’s job. When Kramer takes Toby to an important show of Jerry’s, she heckles him so bad that he ends up having a bad review in Entertainment Weekly. As revenge, he decides to go to where she works and heckle her.
Best Quote-“This is like working with a contestant from the Price is Right”…Elaine on Toby
Nitpick of the episode-Wow! You know, sometimes you try to defend George and the things he does but how do you defend this one? He sees smoke and flies out of the place, stepping on children and even pushing an old lady aside. This is his lowest moment, but because it’s Seinfeld we love it. The worst part is he actually tries to defend himself, the scene with Jerry afterward is perfect the way Jerry comments on it.
Seinfeldism of the episode-George can’t believe no one has heard of Bozo the Clown
Deleted Scenes-Elaine discovers Jerry heckled Toby and a scene with Kramer finding the toe
Episode Fun Fact-The monologue Kramer gives about his experience on the bus was supposed to be filmed, but the creators realized the monologue was sufficient.
Final Thoughts-Funny episode, which is amazing because George is horrible and Kramer’s story is farfetched. But it works because we love George at his worst and this is as bad as he gets, and Michael Richards knows how to sell a crazy story. I was very happy to see Jerry tear into Toby after she has ruined his performance, she really deserved it. She didn’t deserve what would later happen to her, but since Jerry didn’t mean to cause her to have an accident we don’t think any less of him.
Grade=B+, not much substance but the funny stuff is really funny

Episode 19 & 20, Season 5
The Raincoats
Plot Summary-Elaine’s boyfriend Aaron takes an odd interest in Jerry’s parents. Jerry tries to find time alone with his girlfriend, but his parents are in town waiting to go on a Paris trip, Kramer goes into business with Jerry’s father selling vintage raincoats. George tries to get out of a big brother program and determine why Jerry’s parents don’t seem to want to spend any time with his own. George sells his father’s clothes, but they are infested with moths and end up burned by the owner of the vintage store. The moths also disrupts Morty and Kramer’s business deal.
Best Quote-“They had plans huh? They were busy? They were busy with their big plans!?”….George
Nitpick of the episode-Gotta go along with the crowd. Who makes out during Schindler’s List? What amazes me is that the film is easily three hours, and Jerry indicates he and Rachel were making out that whole time. Wow, that’s a long time to make out with someone!
Seinfeldism of the episode-Elaine’s boyfriend is a close talker
Deleted Scenes-The last scene was longer as the guy who leads the big brother org gets the postcard from George, with a Florida postmark.
Episode Fun Fact-Reportedly while making Schindler’s List, Steven Spielberg would watch Seinfeld after he was done filming. This makes sense, filming that movie had to be depressing I can see him needing an escape. That is why the movie gets a special mention in this episode.
Final Thoughts-Well, this episode has lots of problems.  I never understood why Morty had to cancel his trip. I mean, the raincoats weren’t going anywhere. Why not go back to New York after and take care of it? Or have Kramer do it alone and then work out an arrangement so Morty got his cut? And the fact that Rudy changed his mind suddenly is hard to swallow. We see him tell Kramer, after Rudy burned the clothes, to let him know when the jackets arrived…so he was still interested then! What made him change his mind by that last scene? Oh I know because if he had said something at that point the Seinfeld’s would have gone on the trip, of course. The kid who George is supposed to look after’s father happens to live in Paris? Please! Klompas not being able to get into the garage is lame, the key didn’t work? What, this complex they live in doesn’t have an office with extra keys? Why is Rachel so aggravated at Jerry because his parents are in the way, the Seinfeld’s are only there for three days, she lived with her father! I think you get the drift. Lots of plot holes and inconsistencies. The show had to be stretched to make it an hour, and it shows. Take the totally pointless scene where Kramer and Morty argue over Kramer’s cut. However, it’s not as bad as the next one hour episode. The funniest moment has to go to Aaron, who does a parody of the speech at the end of Schindler’s List. “I could have done more; I could have done so much more!” That alone is worth checking the episode for; the guy was nuts but in a very funny and watchable way.
Grade=C+, Not the worst episode by far but a little tighter writing may have helped this one

Episode 21, Season 5
The Hamptons
Plot Summary-On a trip to the Hamptons, Elaine tries to determine if a doctor likes her or not. Kramer steals lobster right out of the ocean. George is seen naked by Jerry’s girlfriend, which wouldn’t have been so bad if he hadn’t just been swimming in some very cold water. George’s girlfriend walks around topless for no apparent reason.
Best Quote-“I don’t know how you guys walk around with those things”….Elaine
Nitpick of the episode-So apparently none of the doors in this place have locks, since they are opened while people are changing at least three times.
Seinfeldism of the episode-George suffers from shrinkage
Deleted Scenes-None for this episode.
Episode Fun Fact-Of course, the actress who played George’s girlfriend wasn’t really totally topless when they filmed the scene.
Final Thoughts-There is some funny moments with the shrinkage thing, but overall this is a really weak episode. This is one time when George’s neurosis is just plain annoying. Why does he punish Rachel at the end, it was his girlfriend who ran because of here say without so much as talking about it with George. I admit she may owe him an apology but she didn’t deserve what George did to her with the eggs. And then he walks in on her….He comes off as a total jerk! Kramer is also awful; he breaks the law and gets busted for it. Funny?? The ugly baby gag is funny, at first, but by the time Kramer reacts to him the joke isn’t funny anymore. Elaine wondering if the doctor likes her or is just being nice is filler, and Jerry really has nothing to do but sit back and observe.
Grade=C-, a couple classic lines does not a good episode make

Episode 22, Season 5
The Opposite
Plot Summary-George realizes every decision he has ever made in his life was wrong, so he starts doing the opposite which causes him to finally have good fortune including a new job and his own place. Juji fruits affect Elaine’s relationship, and her job. She also gets evicted. Jerry realizes he always evens out no matter what, and Kramer’s coffee table book is published so he starts the book tour with Live with Regis and Kathie Lee!
Best Quote-“My name is George. I’m unemployed and live with my parents”…..George
Nitpick of the episode-Kind of hard to defend Elaine in this one. First of all, what did she think would happen as she scarf’s juji fruit down in front of her hospitalized boyfriend? However, while you can blame her for what happens with Mr.Lipman (what was stopping her from running after him?); she doesn’t deserve the entire blame. While it’s nice that Lipman is so concerned about germs, considering how important this merger was I would have just wiped my hands on pants and shook the guy’s hand!
Seinfeldism of the episode-In the end Elaine discovers that the worst has happened, she’s turned into George! I had never heard of Juji fruits until this episode. Still haven’t tried them.
Deleted Scenes-After breaking up with Rachel, we see Jerry immediately meeting someone else thus breaking even once again. We also had more of George doing the opposite. More of George talking about doing the opposite and Tina had a longer list of complaints for Elaine.
Episode Fun Fact-the line from George's angry rant at the movie theater – "...we're gonna take it outside and I'm gonna show you what it's like!" – is taken almost verbatim from Buddy Rich. Also the last time we see Rachel, who is the longest lasting relationship Jerry will have on this show lasting three episodes!
Final Thoughts-I love the scene where Kramer tells Jerry he is going on Regis and Kathie Lee, Jerry’s responds that he’ll loan him his puffy shirt. That’s a great little callback. The other classic scene is the opening one in the coffee shop when Jerry encourages George to do the opposite. What a great episode, and great way to end the season! It’s so much fun to watch George and Elaine basically change places. The scene with Regis and Kathie Lee is clearly fake. For one thing, they more than likely wouldn’t have him on in the first place being an unpublished author, new authors rarely have book tours, and the applause the audience gives is clearly for the actor not an unknown author no one’s ever heard of. We even see Kathie Lee chuckling away at the end, just having fun. But it’s so cute I enjoy it anyway. George is so great being the opposite of himself. At this point we knew enough about George to get a real laugh watching him not react the way we expect him to.  I worried that this may last into the next year and thankfully it didn’t. What did last was George’s job with the Yankees, and this is the first time we see Steinbrenner on the show. I was glad they moved George out of his folk’s house, as funny as it was for a few episodes I think it would have started getting old. It is nice to see Elaine get the short end for once. Jerry is really good in this episode, being confident in himself and his good fortune.
 Grade=A, Great way to end the season!

So how did season 5 measure up? There may have been a few more duds than the previous year but overall I think they were able to keep up the quality and produce some good shows. Next week we will begin our look at season 6, which is considered by many to be a disappointing season. Are they correct? Come back and find out.

Sitcom Face Off = Who's The Boss? vs. Roseanne

Another TV Face-Off where I take two similar shows and see which one is better. Today I am going to talk about two of my favorite family shows which aired on ABC from the mid 80's to the early 90's. One was a role reversal comedy, and the other a more realistic sitcom than we had seen.
Who’s The Boss? was the star vehicle for Tony Danza, fresh off of Taxi. It was a role reversal sitcom as he was the housekeeper while the woman he worked for, Angela Bower, was a high profile professional. Roseanne was the star vehicle for Roseanne Barr, and it was a true working class sitcom. This may have been the first time in a family show both parents had to work, and the family had struggles and difficulties that many in middle American may experience. These shows were big hits in their time, but how do they stack up when put side by side?

April 18, 2012

My Tribute-Remembering Dick Clark

I was very saddened today when I went on my break, and found out that Dick Clark had passed away at the age of 82. Dick Clark is one of those entertainers that even if you never watched a minute of television, you know who he is. My father grew up with him hosting American Bandstand. He always talked about how he would run home to watch the show, and watch he did very intently. American Bandstand was on for over thirty years, and introduced America to legends from Buddy Holly to Madonna.

 Of course I remember him from his later ventures. There was a time in my life when Monday meant watching Dick Clark, as he hosted TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes with Ed McMahon. This was a great show which does not get the appreciation it deserves. Showing bloopers from shows and practical jokes on many celebrities, the show was a real fun program. After the show was cancelled he kept having specials keeping the concept alive until 2002. For a time Dick Clark was as synonymous with bloopers as he was with bandstand.

Many people also forget that he was a game show host, hosting shows like the always entertaining $250,000 Pyramid and the not so great Scattergories and The Challengers in 1990. He also did the show Winning Lines for CBS. Despite all these example, the one that will truly always be a part of my past is his work on New Year’s Rocking Eve.

Every year, New Year’s Eve meant putting Dick Clark on. Without fail. That show premiered in 1972, which means it was on every year of my life. I know that it will feel odd when next New Year’s rolls around. Then there were the other things Dick Clark did, including specials everyone forgets about. In 1988 I recorded on tape a special he hosted called Surprise!, it was a silly show where he presented clips of celebrities either surprising or getting surprised. I still have this program on tape, and watch it every so often.

Of course Dick Clark was a producer responsible for many things including the American Music Awards. He appeared as himself on the sitcom The Fresh Prince, and probably did countless talk shows over the years. Dick Clark was an amazing entertainer, how many people successfully hosted different shows on all three networks at the same time? He also did radio, hosting a top 40 and other programs. In 2004 he suffered a stroke which caused him to basically drop out of public eye. Sure, he still appeared on New Year’s Eve and did work behind the scenes but it wasn’t the same. He was one of my favorites, I watched anything he did. Today is a sad day, because he is one of those people you think will never leave us. The world’s oldest teenager he was called for the longest time. It’s true; we will never see his likes again.

April 17, 2012

Look at Sitcom Clichés : The Drop-In Character

It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these, but this is one cliche I just couldn’t pass up talking about. It amazes me how often this happens in sitcoms, so often that it’s almost just a part of the formula that makes a show work. It always works the same way. The character barges in unannounced and often unwelcome, has a few funny lines, and then he’s gone.

There is a simple reason why this happens so often, in virtually every example the annoying character barging in is also the most popular character on the show. Fans look forward to their arrival and love it when they finally appear. In some cases the character becomes so popular that they actually are the one thing the show is watched for.

These are friends who don’t understand boundaries. Sometimes these are obnoxious neighbors that the characters of the show have just learned to tolerate. They all have one thing in common, barging in whenever they want. Does anyone lock their doors in sitcoms? Let’s look at some famous examples.

The Honeymooner-I think if this trope started anywhere, it was here. Jackie Gleeson played Ralph Kramden and his friend was Ed Norton played by the amazing Art Carney. I would be lying if I said I have seen many of these, but Ed Norton may have been the first friend who just barged in without warning.

I Love Lucy-Not sure if Fred and Ethel really count, but how could I not mention them in passing?

Laverne & Shirley-Lenny and Squiggy were the all time classic example (well, until a more famous one came along which we'll get to in a minute). Not only did they just barge in, unannounced, but almost every entrance was preceded by a cue. The cue would be some vague remark about something horrible, immediately followed by Lenny and Squiggy storming in with Squiggy's famous "Hello!” This is also an example of people barging in who aren’t particularly welcome. Laverne and Shirley generally met the arrival of the guys with groans.

April 14, 2012

Analytical Episode Guide-Seinfeld (Season 5, Part 3)

An Analytical Episode Guide to:

Season 5, Part 3

Episode 11, Season 5
The Conversion
Plot Summary-When a woman dumps George because he does not share her religion, George decides to convert to win her affection. Elaine is dating a proctologist while Jerry tries to figure out why his new girlfriend has fungicide in her medicine cabinet. Kramer unintentionally attracts a nun, and works to find a cure for the way he attracts women.
Best Quote-“So, I guess this one is my fault?”…..Elaine after accidentally talking George into changing religions
Nitpick of the episode- I always had trouble accepting George would go to such lengths to keep a girl.
Seinfeldism of the episode-Kramer has the Kavorca, or “lure of the animal”
Deleted Scenes-More conversation with Jerry and his girlfriend, an alternate ending where Elaine’s boyfriend indentifies the ointment. Another alternate ending where Jerry is rushing his girlfriend to a vet while Elaine’s guy finds the ointment and storms out.  Of course the ending they went with had the boyfriend come across the ointment in the medicine cabinet and no resolution to the cat story.
Episode Fun Fact-There really is a religion called Latvian Orthodox, a fact unknown to the writer when he wrote this episode.
Final Thoughts-Pretty good episode. The discussion about opening medicine cabinets is kind of clever. Of course, George goes to all this trouble just to have it not work out. It would have been nice if his girlfriend had mentioned her trip to Latvia and the fact that she wasn’t ready to settle down when she was breaking up with him. Of course if she had, we would have had no episode. Elaine’s story is really just to support Jerry’s, it’s really pointless.  Judging by the alternate endings and the way this episode was cut up and re shot, I get the feeling they just didn’t know how to end this one. Kramer’s story is pretty good, how does he always attract women the way he does? Finally, an answer!
Grade=B-, not bad but the ending sort of falls apart. This episode was re shot and cut up, and it shows

Episode 12, Season 5
The Stall
Plot Summary-Elaine is out of toilet paper but the woman in the next stall refuses to give her any. The woman named Jane is Jerry’s new girlfriend, who has a boring job she won’t talk about. Kramer is hooked on phone sex while George has a man crush on Elaine’s new boyfriend, who is hurt rock climbing with George and Kramer.
Best Quote-“You cannot judge a person in a situation like that, I mean it’s like asking for someone’s cantine in the desert. Its battle conditions”….Jerry
Nitpick of the episode-Totally agree with Elaine on this one. How would Jane have felt if her position were reversed? As we see at the end, not happy! I realize it’s a bit awkward, I would feel awkward to, but give the girl a break and help her out! The downside to this is that right from the start, we don’t like her.
Seinfeldism of the episode-Elaine doesn’t have a square to spare; she is also dating a male bimbo or “mimbo”
Deleted Scenes-A scene with Elaine and her boyfriend rock climbing was thankfully removed. In the scene her boyfriend breaks up with her because she has a pimple and leaves her on the rock. Stupid.
Episode Fun Fact-Obviously, the rock climbing scene was done on a fake wall against a blue screen. We also get to see Jerry working at his computer for a change.
Final Thoughts-This episode is weak, I mean is the ending any surprise when we find out that the girl Kramer talked to on the sex line and Jane are one in the same? The show acts like it’s such a shock but it’s as predictable as it gets. What happens to Elaine’s boyfriend isn’t funny, and yes it was all George’s fault so I sure can’t blame the guy for hating George afterward. Kramer’s story is flimsy, and Elaine has the only good moment in the end when she finally has her revenge. Seinfeld is remarkable, how many shows will actually have a scene with two women talking to each other in two stalls while going to the bathroom? Despite that some and a few cute cute lines like Elaine's boyfriend telling people to step off (private reason why I like that one), this episode falls flat on its face.
Grade=C, this episode tries but fails at almost every level

Episode 13, Season 5
The Marine Biologist
Plot Summary-Elaine gets an assignment working with a famous Russian author, but Kramer’s organizer keeps beeping causing the author to throw it out the window. The organizer hits a woman in the head and she seeks out Jerry to track down the owner. Kramer hits golf balls in the ocean while George has to convince a woman he is a marine biologist thanks to a lie Jerry told her about how he works with whales.
Best Quote-Of course the best quote in this episode is the final speech by George. I am not going to attempt to rewrite it here, if you don’t know it seek the episode out. It’s a classic and done very, very well. Great moment and one of the biggest laughs of the series.
Nitpick of the episode-I think George should have just been honest with his girlfriend right up front. He could have just blamed Jerry, and that would have then that. By not doing that he becomes a big liar, which is why she dumps him.
Seinfeldism of the episode-Jerry tells Elaine that War and Peace was supposed to be called “War, what is it good for?”
Deleted Scenes-George’s phone call with his girlfriend was longer, we see Newman in another scene which explains his brief appearance in the episode, and more with the Russian author.
Episode Fun Fact-Michael Richards hates golf, Kramer got his love of golf from Larry David. Julia Louis-Dreyfuss was very sick during the filming of this episode.Originally there was going to be a fake whale in the episode and one was also created in post production, but Larry David finally realized we didn’t need to actually see the whale.
Final Thoughts-What can I say about the final scene in this episode? It is one of the best the series did, flat out. Ok, it’s farfetched and a bit hard to believe….but it’s still great! It’s funny to watch George get trapped in a lie that he didn’t make up. Kramer seems to have almost no story, until the end when we find out he is the reason for the whale beaching that George went out to save. Not sure why Elaine would believe Jerry’s story about how War and Peace got its name, but I’ll buy it. Her story is ok, but why no resolution? We never find out what happened with the organizer or the women who got hit with it. Jerry’s only story is lamenting on his t-shirt golden boy. If it’s his favorite how come we never saw him wearing it?
Grade=A, just a classic

Episode 14, Season 5
The Dinner Party
Plot Summary-The four are en route to a dinner party, but a quick stop for wine and cake doesn’t go as planned when Kramer and George get doubled parked in their space while Jerry and Elaine have trouble getting the dessert they want.
Best Quote-“Hey, do you believe I got Happy New Year’d today? It’s February!”…Elaine, this is one of my favorites because I have been there
Nitpick of the episode-A few weeks ago I commented on how absurd it was that Kramer believed that Salman Rushdie was in the health club. In this episode we have George and Kramer believing the man who double parked is Saddam Hussein. This is even stupider!!! I mean, really? This wasn’t that long after the U.S. defeated Iraq in the Gulf War, who with any ounce of common sense would think Saddam Hussein, leader of Iraq, would just be walking around New York one afternoon? Then he has a British accent, and they’re still not sure! I realize this was supposed to tie into the discussion Kramer and George have on dictators it’s just so stupid! These characters aren't morons but they had to make them that so the joke would work. Joke still doesn't work.
Seinfeldism of the episode-Jerry explains how everyone loves Cinnamon, saying it should be on tables at restaurants. This episode introduced the world to Chocolate Babka’s.
Deleted Scenes-None for this episode.
Episode Fun Fact-The double parker is voiced, once again, by Larry David
Final Thoughts-Overall, I enjoyed the episode. Yeah, the Saddam Hussein thing is as dumb as it gets but that’s ok. The ending of the episode is one of my favorites, as the frustrated friends finally make it to the party but are so worn out they give the host her wine and cake, and promptly turn and leave! Clever ending. We get more whining from George on endless gift giving only this time it is more about the rule that says if you are invited to someone’s house you have to bring something, Well, duh. George suggests Pepsi, yeah that would work. We also get Jerry and Elaine complaining they didn’t get a number upon entering the bakery, Jerry’s thoughts on the black and white cookie, George and his $100 bill, the end of Jerry’s vomit streak, George and Kramer discussing how dictators get started by being double parkers, and we see a hint of Elaine’s dark side which will be expanded later in the series. This episode is lots of cute lines jammed together, and for me it works. The only down side is the episode doesn’t go anywhere in the physical sense, and staying in the bakery and the liquor store for most of the episode somehow feels confining.
Grade=B, Not terrible but not great either.

Episode 15, Season 5
The Pie
Plot Summary-Jerry is perplexed when girlfriend won’t try his pie for any reason. Later when she takes him to her father’s restaurant, he refuses to eat there. She thinks its revenge, but it has more to do with her father’s bathroom habits. Kramer has an itch he can’t get rid of, Elaine discovers a mannequin which looks just like her at a store George tries to buy a discount suit at for a job interview. The suits makes an odd noise which George fears will cost him a job.
Best Quote-“It’s like some pot landed from a different planet and took your body. Don’t fall asleep Elaine”….George
Nitpick of the episode-Well, may as well go with the obvious. What in the heck was the reason Jerry’s girlfriend refused the pie? Like the later episode with the woman who wore the same dress every day, this is one curiosity I can’t blame Jerry for obsessing about.
Seinfeldism of the episode-Poppie has been a little sloppy, also that unique head nod when refusing to try food.
Deleted Scenes-A longer opening, and the scene where Jerry confronts his girlfriend on the pie she ate was longer.
Episode Fun Fact-The 1994 Northridge Earthquake interrupted the shooting of this episode. The earthquake seriously damaged the stage Seinfeld was shot on and it took three weeks to repair. The show almost moved but the studio scrambled to get the stage fixed, and as a reward for Seinfeld staying they created a formal New York Street which would be seen for the first time the next season. Will talk more about that in a few weeks.
Final Thoughts-First of all, the scene where Poppie comes out of the bathroom and just walks out without washing his hands is hilarious! Very well done moment and Jerry handles it perfectly. I never liked Kramer’s story, sure the mugging is funny but the story is very boring. Elaine’s story about the mannequin is really funny, and has a great payoff. Turns out the mannequins are being made by the creepy guy Elaine met on the subway a few episodes ago. George also finally gets the chance to win one, not only does he get the suit but he avoids the revenge set up by the man he was able to hide the suit from. Sure, it cost him a job in the process but George can never be completely successful, even when he wins he loses.

Episode 16, Season 5
The Stand-In
Plot Summary-Kramer and his new friend Mickey are stand-in’s for a soap opera. When the child Mickey is standing in for grows, Kramer pushes him to get some lifts for his shoes. George stays with a girl because a friend told her that George would break up with her. Jerry is determined to cheer up a hospital ridden friend. Elaine has a date with a friend of Jerry’s who does something peculiar during the date.
Best Quote-“Nobody put a gun to your head”….Kramer’s usual defense when his advice backfires horribly as it does in this episode.
Nitpick of the episode- I still can’t understand why Elaine’s date did what he did. It’s funny because it’s so well written, but it also doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Seinfeldism of the episode-Elaine explains that her date “took it out” for no apparent reason.
Deleted Scenes-None for this episode.
Episode Fun Fact-The first appearance of Kramer’s friend Mickey. Kramer and Mickey have great chemistry and it’s no wonder they brought him back several times
Final Thoughts-This is a tough one, this episode is funny but there is something off about it. I can’t explain it. The stuff with Mickey wearing lifts in his shoes gets dark. Of course wearing lifts are offensive, I could see that. As usual Kramer pushes him into it and then takes no responsibility when it blows up. The scene where it is revealed in front of everyone is funny but a little disturbing, Jerry’s story gets dark at the end when Fulton stops laughing abruptly, did Jerry kill him? George stays with a woman he hates to prove that someone else was wrong about him. That seems kind of mean. Then we have Elaine and her odd date. Hey, maybe that is the problem with this episode; it is just too dark even for Seinfeld. Thankfully it is well written.
Grade=C+, the episode feels oddly paced and, as noted, is a bit dark.

A Look at Comic Book Movies (that I've actually seen)

As we get closer to the big movies coming out this year, I finally decided it was time to discuss the comic book movies I’ve seen in the past. The superhero genre has brought us some great films and some not so great.
Now I know this has been, and will be, done to death in other fantastic articles so rather than rank them in some kind of top ten list or give character and plot analyses which everyone is already familiar with, I am simply going to go over them and give my opinions on them. This list is restricted to mainstream DC and Marvel Comics (with a couple exceptions) and live action, theatrical releases. And I can’t stress enough; this is just my opinion feel free to disagree if you like.
Before I discuss the movies I did see, let me briefly explain why certain movies are not on here.

The Watchmen & Swamp Thing-I have great respect for Alan Moore, but I just never got into these creations.
Catwoman-I have common sense.
The X-Men
This is a tough one, the X-Men films have been praised by critics and fans (well, the first two anyway) but I simply have never liked The X-men. Not just because I am a DC fan, but I have always hated the whole way the heroes are hated by the public in those stories. So, I had no desire to see the movies. I am sure they are great and very well made, but I have no interest in them. However, I have heard so many good things I may have to check it out someday.
The Hulk & Thor-Same story, just not interested. Hulk actually looked real dumb.
Batman (1966)-I have already done a review of this, and covered everything I could have said.

April 10, 2012

Top 5 Favorite Program Blocks

It’s one thing when a program is a big hit, but what is really cool is when an entire block of programs are a big hit. Everyone turns the channel to one station and leaves it there because every show is worth watching. This is rare, especially today, but I wanted to take a moment to look at my favorite program blocks. Those times when you put the channel on, toss the remote away, and just enjoy. I have already gone over most of these shows so I will not go into too much detail.

#5.NBC Saturday Night (1984-1994)
Saturday night is generally a rough night to schedule family programming because people are usually out. However, from the mid 80’s to early 90’s, NBC found a winning formula for Saturday night comedies. Gimmee A Break, Facts of Life, Golden Girls, and 227 were a killer line-up which was later joined by Amen, Empty Nest, Carol & Company, and Sisters at 10:00. After Golden Girls went off the air nothing else really worked and when Empty Nest was cancelled that was it for sitcoms on Saturday night. However the memories linger. It is a really amazing time, if you look at the schedule prior to 1982 or after 1993 or so you see dramas or movies, sitcoms aren’t supposed to work on Saturday’s! In fact when ABC tried it, they failed horribly but NBC found a way to make it work, credit to them.

#4. Disney’s One Saturday Morning (1997-2002)
I loved this; it made me start watching Saturday Morning Cartoons again. Here is the embarrassing part; I wasn't exactly a kid when it was one. My ex was kind of, weird, and she watched this and got me hooked. I loved the shows they had on here, including Pepper-Ann, Recess, Sabrina, The New Adventures of Winnie The Pooh, and later on Mickey Mouse Works and The House of Mouse. I guess I was at that funny age when between childhood and adulthood, and this block afforded me a chance to pretend to be a kid again. What's wrong with that?

#3. CBS Mondays (1997-2004)
This one doesn’t have a cool name, but for a while from around 1998-2004 CBS Monday night was my second favorite night of the week. Cosby and later Yes, Dear, King of Queens, Everybody Loves Raymond, and Becker. What a great schedule! Ok, let’s be fair. Yes, Dear was not a great show. In fact it was downright stupid. However, as part of the Monday line-up it just kind of worked. When Still Standing and Two and a Half Men came on and Everybody Loves Raymond finally went off the fun was over, but for awhile there that was a fun night of television. I could go even further back and say this started with The Nanny and Murphy Brown, but I didn’t watch it regularly then.

#2. ABC’s TGIF! (1989-1999)
During the 90’s if you were watching TV on Friday night, chances are you were watching TGIF. It makes sense; most people are out on Friday except for kids. Why not gear the programming toward them?  A brilliant idea which worked! When this premiered the line-up was Full House, Perfect Strangers, Family Matters and Just the Ten of Us. One of the gimmicks was to have the casts of the shows introduce all the programs for the night. Yeah, these intros were kind of lame but they were cute also. As the years went on TGIF included Dinosaurs (which was awesome!), Step By Step, Boy Meets World, Hangin w Mr.Cooper, and Sabrina. After about ten years it faded away. ABC tried to revive the format in 2002 but it didn’t last very long.

#1. NBC’s Must See TV (1984-2002)
Ok, let’s talk about the glory days when NBC was a respected network. Thursday nights on NBC was it, for twenty years. It started in 1982 when Cheers came on, and exploded in 1984 when Cosby Show, Family Ties, Cheers, Night Court and finally LA Law made for a powerhouse lineup. These shows were fantastic and worked so well on the same night. When Cosby and Cheers went off the air, it was clear A Different World and Wings weren’t going to keep the viewers interested. So what to do? Mad About You came in, and then two little shows called Friends and Seinfeld exploded onto the scene. Add ER, one of the greatest dramas on television, and you have the 1994-1995 season. NBC Thursday was king, and it lasted until Friends and Frasier finally ended. The funny part of Must See TV was that there was so much pressure; I could do a list of the shows which tried and failed on that night. It took a special show to last but some did including Frasier, Will & Grace, and Just Shoot Me. NBC tried to expand the concept to every day of the week, but Thursday was the only real day of Must See TV.  It’s been ten years and NBC still hasn’t been able to reclaim the glory they had in those days, but boy were they fun!

Those were my favorites, which were yours? 

April 7, 2012

Analytical Episode Guide-Seinfeld (Season 5, Part 2)

An Analytical Episode Guide to:

Season 5, Part 2

Episode 6, Season 2
The Lip Reader
Plot Summary-At a tennis match Jerry is so smitten with a lineswoman he asks her out. George is caught on TV with ice cream all over his face, which quite possibly is the reason his latest girlfriend suddenly ends their relationship. The linewoman is deaf so George tries to get her to read his girlfriends lips at a party. Kramer becomes a ball boy while Elaine is caught faking hearing loss to avoid talking to her driver.
Best Quote-“Alright it’s terrible but I’m not a terrible person”….Elaine  
Nitpick of the episode-I am with Elaine on this one. I don’t need to chit chat when I am being driven, just drive! However, faking being deaf probably wasn’t the way to go. She should have just been honest.
Seinfeldism of the episode-George is given the “it’s not you it’s me” routine, which he invented (and perfected)
Deleted Scenes-None for this episode
Episode Fun Fact-The first episode written by Carol Leifer, who went on to write many episodes.
Final Thoughts- This is a clever episode. The whole thing with the lip reader is done very well. A big part of that was Marlee Matlin who was real good in this episode. The best scene is the one where Jerry and George discuss asking her to help eavesdrop while covering their mouths with anything they can. I am surprised Elaine is so upset that the driver caught her overhearing, if she was going to worry about it then why pretend to be deaf in the first place? Her story is kind of weak. Kramer’s story is also weak but he does get the last laugh at the end of the episode. Of course seeing the tables turned with George, where his girlfriend dumps him for superficial reasons is really clever.
Grade=B+, the end of the episode is kind of lame.

Episode 7, Season 5
The Non-Fat Yogurt
Plot Summary-Jerry, George, Kramer, and Elaine have discovered an amazing new yogurt shop which serves no fat yogurt. Kramer invested in the place, and Jerry is so impressed he accidentally swears in front of a child. George runs into old childhood friend Lloyd Braun who is now an advisor for Mayor Dinkins. Braun also dates Elaine, who comes up an idea about name tags which Dinkins actually runs with, unfortunately. Kramer’s fling with a lab tech causes Giuliani’s cholesterol level to be misreported. George has to pretend something is wrong with his arm after Braun catches him poking Jerry.
Best Quote-“Lloyd doesn’t know what he is up against. This is nothing to me. My whole life is a lie”….George
Nitpick of the episode-Kind of hard to believe that the test tube Kramer knocks over wasn’t taken better care of at an FDA lab.
Seinfeldism of the episode-Jerry uses bleeped out profanity
Deleted Scenes-A longer ending where we see Braun upset with Elaine for coming up with the lame nametag idea (you’re the idiot who told your boss Braun, but I digress). We also get more bragging about Braun from George’s parents.
Episode Fun Fact-There is actually two versions of this episode. One where Dinkins wins and Giuliani is the guy who ok’d the nametag idea. The reason was of course because the creators had no idea who would win when the episode was being produced. When Giuliani won, the episode aired as we are familiar with. The Giuliani scenes were filmed just two days before the episode aired! It is worth getting the DVD to see the alternate footage which would have been used had Dinkins won. Also, If Dinkins had emerged as the winner; the character of Jackie Chiles might not have existed. As Dinkins declined to appear in person the actor who was later cast as Chiles in the seventh season was going to be used as a spokesman for Dinkins in this episode.
Final Thoughts-Very good episode. This is such a New York episode with the whole governor’s race being part of the story but it’s still enjoyable for those of us who don’t live in The Big Apple. So glad Giuliani won because the version that made it to air is much better. Seinfeld is amazing, how many shows would have a character swearing in front of a child several times and get away with it? Elaine’s story is kind of small but it’s also pivotal since she is the one starts the whole name tag idea (which was stupid, by the way).
Grade=A-, This is a great episode, it’s fun to watch Seinfeld’s small world effect a mayoral election.

Episode 8, Season 5
The Barber
Plot Summary-Jerry worries about hurting his barber’s feeling if he stops going to him. An attempt to see another barber on the side is ruined by Newman. Kramer agrees to help Elaine in a bachelor auction. George isn’t sure if he was hired or not, so he goes in to work anyway.
Best Quote- "I could raise enough money to cure polio."….Kramer
Nitpick of the episode-The idea Jerry is more worried about his barber’s feeling is ludicrous. It is out of character and makes no sense. He’s an entertainer; wouldn’t he be more interested in looking his best if he is going to be on stage?
Seinfeldism of the episode-The line “I want you to have this job, of course,….” And not following up the thought.
Deleted Scenes-None for this episode.
Episode Fun Fact-The series usual music is replaced in this episode by opera music throughout the episode
Final Thoughts-I really didn’t want to watch this one because I really hate this episode! It is just so awful. Ok the site gag of Jerry’s haircut is funny but this episode is so lousy. I am not even referring to the opera music though the whole show. As bad as that is, the real problem here is the story. It’s just so dumb! Jerry really cares about his barber’s feelings so much he is willing to look foolish? Is this the same Jerry who will complain about the low flow shower heads in a few seasons? The whole episode feels off, the characters are so broad they are almost cartoons and there is even a moment where Jerry lets Newman hang out in his apartment. How wrong is that! Then to top it off Elaine’s story is stupid too. Bachelor auctions are a big cliché which never works, and this episode is no exception. It’s no surprise that her story was a replacement for another. The only bright side is George; his story is kind of funny but gets mired down by the rest of this terrible episode. It’s also rehash, isn’t his showing up not knowing if he had the job a lot like him walking back in after quitting? Still, I’ll take it considering the rest of this episode.
Grade=D-, I’m keeping it from being F because George’s story is pretty good.

Episode 9, Season 5
The Masseuse
Plot Summary-Jerry is dating a masseuse who refuses to give Jerry a massage and does not like George. George obsessed about the fact she does not like him to the point it ruins his relationship with a girl who does like him. Elaine dates a man who happens to have the same name as a horrible serial killer.
Best Quote-“This woman hates me so much, I’m starting to like her”…..George
Nitpick of the episode-We learn in this episode that someone can’t just hate George for no reason but it is perfectly fine to hate him with a reason. OK.
Seinfeldism of the episode-We learn Jerry hasn’t vomited in 13 years
Deleted Scenes-None for this episode.
Episode Fun Fact- It’s always amusing to hear Elaine suggest her boyfriend change her name to OJ to avoid confusion with a serial killer. Who knew what would happen with OJ Simpson a few months later?
Final Thoughts-This could have been a great episode except Elaine’s story, which starts out so strong, goes nowhere! It’s such a great idea, dating someone who happens to have the same name as a horrible serial killer. The first half is well done including the scene at the football game. But, the second half I get the feeling the writer just had no idea where to go with it and it ends with the two yelling alternate names at each other. Aside from that, it’s a good episode. Jerry can occasionally be as neurotic as George and this is a good example. He has the idea in his head he wants a massage, and that’s all he can focus on. We’ll see an even better example of this in a couple weeks. George is always neurotic and the fact that he obsesses over the fact the girl hates him, while ignoring the girl who does like him, seems exactly like something he would do. Kramer gets a bit shortchanged in this ep as he just advances Jerry’s story.
Grade=B-, stories just kind of fade in the end, a trademark of this writer he never seems to know how to end his stories after building them up

Episode 10, Season 5
The Cigar Store Indian
Plot Summary-Jerry has to get George’s parents coffee table fixed after he leaves a coffee ring on it. Elaine takes a TV Guide to read on the subway and runs into an odd character. Kramer comes up with an idea for a coffee table book about coffee tables. George’s parents discover just what their son did on their bed while they were away. Jerry buys a cigar store Indian to impress a woman, but the woman is Native American and is offended. He tries to apologize but instead makes one politically incorrect goof after another.
Best Quote-Aren’t we all getting a little too sensitive? I mean if somebody asks me which way is Israel, I don’t fly off the handle”…Jerry
Nitpick of the episode-The whole premise for Jerry buying the cigar store Indian in the first place feels forced. He says he did it because he and Elaine had a fight earlier. Really, when? I thought it was because he didn’t drive her home. It just isn’t believable he would buy it, obviously the writers needed to come up with some way for him to offend Elaine’s friend. A little too obviously.
Seinfeldism of the episode-Kramer’s coffee table book about coffee tables
Deleted Scenes-None for this episode.
Episode Fun Fact-Of course TV Guide is at the center of this episode, and it’s actually a bit dated since TV Guide is a very different magazine today. I could do a whole article about how as a kid I looked forward to it every week with anticipation and then absorbed every word when it did. Strange as it sounds, I have some fond memories of that magazine. I actually think Frank Costanza was smart, I wish I had more than just a couple old issues lying around. They are like little time capsules. Ah, the good old days! I miss the old TV Guide.
Final Thoughts-The scene where George’s parents find a condom wrapper on their bed is one of the best of the series. It is funny to see the effect George’s folks have on him, it makes us better understand his character. I think the reason this episode works is because we can see that Jerry doesn’t mean to offend anyone. When he asks the Chinese man if there are any Chinese Restaurants in the area, because he is a postal worker who probably knew the neighborhood, it makes a certain amount of sense. Seinfeld got into a trend of having angry characters that were angry for no reason, and the postal worker here is a good example. Kramer’s idea for a coffee table book about coffee tables is one idea that actually sticks, as we will see in the next few episodes. The best part of this episode is that the whole story is centered around a TV Guide with Al Roker on the cover, and Al Roker himself appears at the very end in small but effective cameo.
 Grade=A-, I always really liked this one