August 4, 2012

Analytical Episode Guide-Seinfeld (Season 9, Part 3)

An Analytical Episode Guide to:

Season 9, Part 3

Episode 13, Season 9
The Cartoon

Plot Summary-Elaine draws a cartoon for The New Yorker. George dates a woman with a more than passing resemblance to Jerry. Kramer takes a vow of silence. Jerry is incorporated into a friends comedy act.
Best Quote-“Alright starting now!”…..Kramer
Nitpick of the episode-What is up with Kramer and his big mouth in this episode? Sure he has been known to blurt things out before but here he doesn’t seem to have any idea that he might be crossing the line and repeating things that Jerry told him is too much
Seinfeldism of the episode-Newman congratulates Sally on creating a “show that’s actually…about something”
Deleted Scenes- Elaine trying to get credit for the cartoon, Kramer having trouble with not speaking
Episode Fun Fact-The Jerry story in this episode is based on actual events when Kathy Griffin incorporated her previous experience on the show into her act
Final Thoughts-This episode has two major problems. One is that they decided to keep Kramer quiet for half the episode. That didn’t work for me, and this is one time his character is boring. To be fair, a lot of the funny stuff ended up on the cutting room floor. If those scenes had been included the episode may have worked better. The other problem is George’s story, which is just unsettling. The notion of him dating a woman who looks like Jerry is just creepy, and not the least bit funny. Plus we get not just one, but two scenes of George raging and running out of the room. Great. Elaine’s story is pretty good, but not great. Why does she care so much about that dumb cartoon? The highlight of the episode is the story about Sally Weaver using Jerry in his standup. This is funny, at first. It actually gets old kind of fast and by the end I am just ready for this one to end. Truth is in the real world Jerry could have sued Sally and won big for defamation of character, you just can’t do what she does in this episode and that kind of spoils it.
Grade=C+, a silent Kramer? Fail!

Episode 14, Season 9
The Strongbox

Plot Summary-Kramer acquires a strongbox to keep his valuables. George’s girlfriend refuses to break up with him. Jerry offends a neighbor while Elaine dates a poor man.
Best Quote-“Both parties don’t have to consent to a breakup. It’s not like your launching missles form a submarine and you both have to turn your keys”…Jerry
Nitpick of the episode-I don’t understand why George’s girlfriend would want to stay with him when he so clearly isn’t interested in being with her. The arguments she makes are good if they had been dating for years, not a few weeks. By the way, what is up with Kramer in this episode? Two stupid episodes in a row, a shame after all the raving I have done about him for this season.
Seinfeldism of the episode-Jerry’s cufflinks gives him an in to strike up a conversation with Jerry Lewis
Deleted Scenes-None for this episode
Episode Fun Fact-They couldn’t even get a little detail like an apartment number right, since the neighbor has the same apartment as Newman
Final Thoughts-Oh dear lord, not this episode! This is one of the sloppiest, dumbest, most inane episodes ever! Ok, let’s take this one story at a time. Elaine’s is really boring. It’s one of those things you forget two minutes after you watch the episode. The bit with the buzzer is cute. George’s story, believe it or not, is the only good one. Not only is this a rage-free George, but the story is almost clever. What would you do if the girl you wanted to break up with refused? Jerry’s story is lousy, but because it makes no sense. Are we really supposed to believe he didn’t recognize the neighbor who lives almost across the hall from him! And was the bird invisible or something before? Kramer’s story is soooo bad. First he hides the lockbox key in the dumbest places, did he take his stupid pills before this episode? Jerry’s jacket pocket??? Jamming it in the buzzer? WTF??? Then it gets worst! Kramer inadvertently kills the bird that lived across the hall after he ate the key which Jerry needs to open the lockbox. Problem is they need to get into the lockbox. What do they do? THEY DESECRATE A PET CEMETARY!!!  And the best part is when it turns out the lockbox was never locked in the first place! Aaargh!! This is beyond dumb; I can’t even find the words! I am going to stop talking about this now before this post lasts a whole page. This episode sucks, enough said.
Grade=D+, George’s story is keeping it from being an F

Episode 15, Season 9
The Wizard

Plot Summary-Jerry buys his father an electronic organizer. Elaine isn’t sure if her boyfriend is black or not. Kramer retires to Florida and runs for condo president. George likes to Susan’s parents about purchasing a house in the Hamptons.
Best Quote-“It does other things!”….an exasperated Jerry
Nitpick of the episode-Kramer sells the movie rights to his coffee table book. Ok……… By the way its nice to see Elaine has learned how to pick up someone else’s mail. If you recall my rant in “The Visa”, I noted Elaine not only held Jerry’s mail but never even looked through it. Here we see her looking through it in his apartment. A small thing but I’ll take it.
Seinfeldism of the episode-Jerry’s father thinks the wizard is just a tip calculator
Deleted Scenes-A scene with Bob Saccamano Sr.
Episode Fun Fact-Of course wizard electronic organizers are a real thing
Final Thoughts-Remember the early days when Jerry’s parents were played like normal, albeit quirky, people? Well it seems like the writers sure forgot. Exactly when did Helen and Morty become cartoon parodies of themselves? Maybe I’m being too hard, but this is one episode I don’t like them in. Ironic since it’s the last one they’re in. But the jokes about the old people in Florida are just plain tired. I liked George’s story, while George did not kill Susan directly he sure played a role. I don’t know, I enjoy watching her parents get a little payback by making him suffer. It’s also an amazing example of how far George will go to keep a lie going. As for Kramer’s story, it isn’t bad but it’s not my favorite story of the year. Just because you move him to Florida doesn’t mean it isn’t the same old Kramer, which is what this story is. It is an improvement over the last two episodes. It is nice to see Seinfeld do a race related story, and they do a good job of dealing with the issue sensitively (at least for this show). That being said, do we really care about whether or not Elaine’s boyfriend is black or not? And the little teases were cute at first but get boring.  
Grade=B-, could be worst

Episode 16, Season 9
The Burning
Plot Summary-Elaine discovers that Puddy is religious. Jerry’s girlfriend refers to a mysterious tractor story. George finds himself doing the work for his boss. Kramer and Mickey perform disease symptoms for med students.
Best Quote-“Well, I’ve got gonorrhea”…..Kramer in one of the season’s genuinely funny moments
Nitpick of the episode-It is a little hard to believe at this point that Elaine had no idea Puddy was religious, and if he is religious why didn’t he care more that he traumatized the priest in “The Face Painter”
Seinfeldism of the episode-Sophie gives Jerry the “it’s me” on the phone, Kramer is typecast, George tries to learn showmanship  
Deleted Scenes-The weird guy acting as if he his surgeon had left a sponge in him, George making a quick exit after hitting a fast high note
Episode Fun Fact-Dedicated to the memory of Lloyd Bridges
Final Thoughts-I love this episode! Not only are there really good jokes in here, but we get a script which does not have George raging like a loon! You have no idea what a relief this episode is, to have the George I liked back. Too bad his story isn’t that spectacular, but you can’t have everything I guess. The showmanship thing just doesn’t go very far though it is clever. Kramer really makes his story work, and it’s a clever parody on the typecasting I am sure Michel Richard feared would actually befall him. Elaine’s story is really good as she discovers Puddy is religious. One of my favorite lines comes when Elaine asks him what the fact she is not religious doesn’t bother him. He responds “you’re the one going to hell”. Then we find out that they would both be going anyway in a clever moment. Jerry’s story is good to, as he tries to figure out what his girlfriend’s secret is. Four good stories with actual funny jokes makes for one decent episode.
 Grade=A, solid

Episode 17, Season 9
The Bookstore
Plot Summary-Jerry spots Uncle Leo shoplifting at a bookstore. George can’t get rid of a book he took into the bathroom with him. Elaine has a fake relationship with a co-worker. Kramer and Newman start a rickshaw business.
Best Quote-“We made out at the table like our plane was going down”…Elaine
Nitpick of the episode-Yeah, if I knew where that book had been I wouldn’t want to lay hands on it either
Seinfeldism of the episode-George’s book has been flagged
Deleted Scenes-Elaine hearing about her new office rep
Episode Fun Fact-First episode since season 4 to have music rather than a final scene over the closing credits
Final Thoughts-The teaser is very unique, as we see Kramer doing all sorts of things in, and to, Jerry’s apartment (including riding that famous bike that always hung in the background). This bit felt like the writers knew it was the last few episodes and decided to have some fun. Funny but also a tad contrived. As for the episode, it seems like every episode has to have a weak story. This time its Elaine’s turn. The whole thing about her having a fake boyfriend just feels flat. We barely even meet the guy and the story feels like it’s over before it’s begun. Uncle Leo gets one last appearance and its good, including a clever Cape Fear parody. Unfortunately it’s almost more Leo’s story than Jerry’s which kind of sucks. The rickshaw story is silly, but somehow it works. That final scene with Newman rolling down the steep hill is a very clever moment obviously filmed in downtown LA. Although having him run into Elaine’s fake boyfriend is a tad forced. I don’t think anyone would defend George in this one, but its funny watching him determined to get rid of that book somehow.
Grade=B, ok

Episode 18, Season 9
The Frogger
Plot Summary-George’s purchases a Frogger machine so his high school will live forever. Elaine eats an antique piece of cake owned by Peterman. Kramer makes use of police caution tape. Jerry dates a sentence finsher.
Best Quote-“Game Over”…..Jerry
Nitpick of the episode-I think George should have looked at the big picture. Why not just purchases the machine and bring it home, and he can play it all he wants? Why fixate on a silly high score? Isn’t the machine the source of the good time he had those years ago? Also what are the chances that score is still there anyway, even if no one had beaten the score are we supposed to believe the pizza place never lost power once in all that time? And I’m not even going to mention that the arcade version of the game doesn’t allow people to input their initials, it just displays high scores.
Seinfeldism of the episode-Jerry complains his girlfriend is a sentence finisher, saying it’s like dating Mad Libs. Very glad to see Entenmanns’s get a mention in a Seinfeld episode, what took so long?
Deleted Scenes- There was a whole story about Kramer and a girl he liked which ended up on the cutting room floor
Episode Fun Fact-Jason Alexander did his own stunt in the final scene of this episode
Final Thoughts-Yeah, I kind of like this episode. The whole thing with The Frogger is silly but somehow it works. I used to love to play that game so I got a kick out of that final scene. Elaine’s story is funny to, and for once one of her stories has an actual ending as Peterman points out how much of a mistake it will be that she ate such an old cake. Kramer’s story is kind of weak, but as I noted the deleted scenes include a big chunk of story he was supposed to have. So, I can forgive it if it seems like he gets a little shortchanged here. The whole thing about the serial killer is lame, and probably the one weak part of the episode. Jerry’s story is bland to, but that sequence where he is breaking up with Lisi is really clever so I will let it go. This episode is silly, but the silliness doesn’t seem to be so crazy that it spoils the show.
Grade=B+, in many ways I consider this the final good episode of Seinfeld. I will discuss why next week as I look at the final three episodes including the overhyped, and very disappointing, finale.

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