An Analytical Episode Guide to:

 

 

Season 9, Part 4

 

Episode 19, Season 9

The Maid

Plot Summary-Jerry hired a maid and the starts to date her. George gets an unwanted nickname at work. Kramer’s girlfriend moves downtown. Elaine resent her new area code.

Best Quote-“Well there’s nothing more sophisticated than diddling the maid and chewing some gum”….Elaine

Nitpick of the episode-Do I really have to get into the idiocy of the Kramer story? Why does he act like a few miles away is equivalent to hundreds of miles away? By the way, isn’t Jerry a neat freak? What the heck does he need a maid for?

Seinfeldism of the episode-Koko, that chimp’s alright (yeah, I hate it to)

Deleted Scenes-George sneaking the maid into the meeting

Episode Fun Fact-Was the scene where the firefighters storm into Elaine’s apartment intended as homage to Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Christmas Vacation? If not it’s a big coincidence that a very similar thing happens to her in that film. This is sort of the last regular episode of this show.

Final Thoughts-The fact that this was the third to last episode kills me. It’s so dumb! First we have George’s story. What is dumb about this isn’t the nickname part, I kind of get that, it’s the name he gets stuck with. Did the writers of this show have some kind of fascination with Koko the Monkey? She was a throw away joke in “The Dealership” and here she is a plot point! Ah, guys, the monkey isn’t that funny! And the solution about bringing a maid in who happens to have that name is lame. Elaine’s story about the new area code is also really good, until she gets the wrong number from the kid. Then it just gets, well, uncomfortable. Obviously the writers had no idea what to do with this premise. And why didn’t the firefighters even try knocking on her door first? And they can’t tell Elaine isn’t a dying grandmother? Then we have Kramer’s story, which I have already pointed out is lame. Kramer had been doing so well this season, until they decided to make him an idiot over these last few episodes. Sure it’s not too bad in the start but it gets so lame! The scene at the end where he is crying he is lost is dumb!!!! Ever heard of a cab? Or the subway? Finally, we have Jerry’s story about the maid. This isn’t so bad either, but then it becomes a metaphor for prostitution and somehow by the end of this episode I fell, well, dirty. Esepcially that last scene with Kramer, god is that uncomfortable. There is one good gag, when the four friends try to have a conversation at the counter. We get a great example why this has never been done before. Other than that, I hated this episode.

Grade=C-, every story starts strong but ends poorly

 

Episode 20, Season 9

The Puerto Rican Day

 

Plot Summary-Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer get stuck in traffic during New York’s Puerto Rican Day Parade

Best Quote-“It’s like this every day in Puerto Rico”….Kramer

Nitpick of the episode-First of all, if I were in a theatre and someone was aiming a laser pointer at the screen, I WOULD NOT be laughing and commenting on how brilliant the guy was. I would be aggravated beyond belief!! That scene always pisses me off! Who laughs at that while trying to watch the movie? And news flash George, your zinger is stupid and flat out insensitive. The real question of course is how does this laser pointer guy manage to keep a bead on George no matter where George may be standing?

Seinfeldism of the episode- this is the only time that Kramer, Jerry, and George’s alter ego’s Pennypacker, Varnsen, and Vandelay manage to appear in the same scene

Deleted Scenes-None for this episode

Episode Fun Fact-Of course there was a whole controversy with this episode regarding the scene where Kramer burns the Puerto Rican flag and the general way that Puerto Ricans were portrayed. I always felt that this all blown way out of context. Seinfeld has done more potentially offensive stuff which never offended anyone. I think that some people saw a chance for a little attention with all the hype surrounding the show, and made a big deal out of this issue. Jerry Seinfeld himself admitted that once the finale aired, this issue very quickly disappeared. By the way, almost every writer has their hand on this one because it was last episode written by the standard writing staff.

Final Thoughts-The idea of the gang being stuck in a traffic is very good one. Who hasn’t had to deal with that situation? Too bad they had to muck it up. To be fair, it does feel like it’s trying to be a classic episode. And in some ways it succeeds. But stupid things have to pop in, most notably is George and his idiotic laser pointer story. What the heck was that all about? Elaine’s story is pretty good; she is just trying to get home and ends up in a “Poseidon Adventure”-esque situation. Kramer is pretty good in this one, thankfully, and it is clear that his burning the flag was an accident. In fact he is the only one of the four excited to be there. Jerry once again really has no story, as he lets the other three take over. Well, he does exchange insults with the other car but that hardly counts as a story. I would say it was nice to see Cedric and Bob again, but I never cared much for them. Despite the controversy I kind of liked this episode, pretty good especially for a season 9 episode.

Grade=B-, feels more like a classic episode but still not quite. Maybe if they’d lost that idiotic laser pointer nonsense

 

Episode 21 & 22, Season 9

The Chronicle

Plot Summary-A special look back at the last nine years

Best Quote-“It seemed like every week a whole new set of problems would just crop up out of nowhere. Except for summer, where nothing seemed to happen for months at a time”….Jerry

Nitpick of the episode-Missing clips they featured in the first clip show, I get why they weren’t included but some would have been nice

Seinfeldism of the episode-The whole show

Deleted Scenes-Originally the network cut a lot of it out

Episode Fun Fact-NBC cut this short to make room for the very large final episode, it also has a second opening for the syndicated re-runs that did not appear in the original show

Final Thoughts-Of course this aired just before the finale, and in fact I enjoyed this clip show more than the actual episode. Especially the opening to the Superman theme, brilliant. This was a great way to get us excited for the ultimate disappointment to come

Grade=A+

 

Episode 23 & 24, Season 9

The Finale

 

Plot Summary-NBC decides to produce Jerry and George’s sitcom. As a treat, they give the gang free use of the corporate jet. On the way to Paris, an emergency landing causes them to land in a small town in Massachusetts. When they fail to act to stop a mugging, the four get arrested for violating the Good Samaritan Law.

Best Quote-“The second button is the key button. It literally makes or breaks the shirt. Look at it. It’s too high. It’s in no-man’s land.”

“Haven’t we had this conversation before?”

“You think?”

“I think we have.”

“Yeah, maybe we have.”……..Jerry and George in the episode’s final lines which are also the very first lines of the pilot, one touch I really liked

Nitpick of the episode-Gee, where do I begin? I think I will defer all comments to the end. I will say one thing. GOOD SAMARTIAN LAW???????? WTF???? Ok to be fair there is a law in Massachusetts requiring that people report a crime if they witness one occurring. But guess what, the punishment is just a stiff fine (not even close to the one said in the show) and no jail time!! I don’t think not helping someone would result in the trial of the century! Plus, the crime that Jerry and friends commit would not technically be a violation of “The Good Samaritan Law” which is to protect accident victims or people who are hurt and injured, and the law they did “violate” applies in certain situations-not the one the four find themselves in! They couldn’t have made this up more if they tried!!!!! Ok, got to calm down, haven’t even gotten to the final thoughts yet.

Seinfeldism of the episode-George admits he cheated during “The Contest”, Jerry discourages George from starting an open door urination policy. Elaine has trouble with cellphone etiquette including a phone face off

Deleted Scenes-WAAAYY to much to list here. Let’s just say that lots of great moments were cut out, and thank heavens we can see them on the DVD. I would love to see this moments recut into the episode sometime.

Episode Fun Fact-Of course, series creator Larry David returned to write this final episode. I was happy about that, until I saw the episode. One bright side is that his return meant Jerry was able to do some original stand up for the opening. Seeing that red curtain again and having the show start out like a classic episode made me very happy. That feeling did not last.

Final Thoughts-Well, here we are at long last. The series finale. Let’s start with the good stuff first, at least as much of it as there is. What I liked the finale:

*The first fifteen minutes. It felt like a regular Seinfeld episode, and a good one. I also liked that they resurrected “Jerry”. Alas, they had to get on that plane!

*All the guest spots. Yeah, it was fun to see all those recurring characters again even if it spoiled the episode at the same time. I was surprise to see The Virgin, and glad they did Steinbrenner one last time.

*That cell phone etiquette made into an episode. This was just before the cell phone eruption, but was happy to see it made it into one script.

*They landed in Massachusetts (I live there, that’s why) although Latham is a fake town

*Jackie Chiles opening remarks. I like it because I agree with everything he says

*They remembered the early years. I was afraid they would totally ignore the first couple years but we get callbacks to “The Parking Garage”, “The Library”, “The Red Dot” (in a deleted scene) and of course “The Café”. I was happy to see them remember those classic episodes.

*The judge was named Art Vandelay (predictable but still a cute touch) and they brought Babu back (just wish the circumstances were different)

Ok, let me make one thing clear. I understand this is Seinfeld. I wasn’t expecting an ending like The Mary Tyler Moore Show where the gang was hugging and crying. I do also understand they were never going to live up to all the hype, I get that. What I would have liked was a throwback to the early days, and just do a nice slow paced episode commenting on the things the show may have missed. Kind of like the last episode of Everybody Loves Raymond (only maybe a little bigger than that). Instead what did we get? The equivalent of the cast and crew giving us the finger. Yes others have said that before me but it sums it up so well. It was like we were being told that we were fools for loving this show for nine years, and that is not the way you want to treat your loyal audience.

Actually, this whole episode could have been salvaged if they had just done one thing. One last scene, fast forward one year if they want, with the gang back in the apartment. Show that they learned nothing as they bicker about something, and that’s it. Throwing them in prison was like a punch to the gut, I was enraged when I saw this. No exaggeration, I swore I’d never watch another Seinfeld again. Since then I have seen the episode a few times and realized…..it could have been worst I guess. It started so good, classic Seinfeld and some great callbacks. But I knew I was in trouble when I heard Newman’s speech about a wind coming in and shaking up Jerry’s play world. And then they got on that plane! From then on the episode went swiftly downhill. I kept hoping it would get better, but it never did. There were very small B stories here. We had the story with Elaine and phone etiquette. Kramer getting water stuck in his ear. Forgetting they did that already, how long is he stuck with that in his ear? And of course George complaining that the waitress and later the guard is ignoring him. These were cute but of course the bulk of the episode was the dumb trial story.To be fair, again, I do understand what they were going for. But the creators made a couple fatal mistakes which just ruined the show.

So where exactly did this episode go wrong? Larry David decided to punish Jerry, George, Elaine, and even Kramer because they were not the nicest people, being selfish and greedy and so on.  Fair enough. But the creators forgot two things. The four were not all evil, there were redeeming traits. For example when Babu was sent back to Pakistan they did care. Babu says “but they don’t care, they’re completely indifferent!” Well, no. Not really. I mean Jerry and Elaine were upset about it and did try to get a lawyer to help him. It didn’t work out but it was not the way it was portrayed here as if they were mocking and laughing at him. Even when Susan died, I think George was happy the problem was solved not that she was dead. He admitted he mourned for her in his own way. Sometimes I think the creators wanted the characters to be totally evil but that never happened. Their likability always came out. The second thing the writers forgot is that most of the time, the characters got punished for the bad things they did. There is very little that didn’t come to bite them one way or another. Did Jerry get punished for stealing the rye? Hell yeah! The worst thing is that to make this episode work most of the things brought up in the trial were misunderstandings. Elaine did not try to kill Mr.Pitt, Jerry and Elaine had no idea about Poppie’s condition (deleted scene has Poppie bringing this up as if Jerry and Elaine knew full well the harm that would be caused) and of course the fact Jerry apologized is not mentioned, Elaine falling into Sidra was an accident, Kramer was not a pimp, George was not a communist, Jerry thought he returned that library book, and if the low talker had spoken up Jerry would have never been stuck in the puffy shirt! And by the way, how does the contest make them horrible people exactly? Having to stretch or exaggerate the situations to make the plot work is what hurt the show more than anything else.

Jerry Seinfeld commented that one of the things people hated about this was that it didn’t feel like a Seinfeld episode because it was so big. You know what, I agree 100%! This didn’t feel like a Seinfeld episode and that also hurt it. In fact as the show goes on the four kind of vanish, it almost becomes the story of the guest stars rather than the story of the regulars! I remember wondering what the heck I was watching my first time. My big question about that trial is, why didn’t their friends testify? Bania, Mickey, Keith, and even J.Peterman never said anything in their defense (deleted scenes included). How about their parents or even Uncle Leo? Also, why didn’t we see Jackie Chiles cross examine anyone? He could have established, for example, that George may have gotten into the fight with The Bubble Boy but it was Susan who popped the bubble. Or that the Soup Nazi was incredibly rude to Elaine justifying her actions later. I can defend almost everything in this episode (except George storming over the kids and screaming about the fire, that one is kind of hard to excuse) and demonstrate at least within reasonable doubt that most of the time the four are victims of circumstance and not evil people who mock society.

It is clear that Larry David wanted the four to end up in jail, so much so he made it so they didn’t even get a fair shot. Worse than that, the characters were written flat out wrong to make the story work. Larry David said if he were to do this episode over the only thing he would change would be to make the gang cowardly rather than mocking during the mugging. Again, I agree! When have we ever seen Jerry, Elaine, and Kramer act so coldly? Even George is out of character in that scene. To be blunt, this was a badly written episode. I hated the tag in the end, why would Jerry, George, and Kramer be in maximum security? They didn’t kill someone!  Apparently they added that because they realized the ending with the line from the pilot was too bittersweet, they needed something else. Yeah, nothing like hitting us when we’re down! Thanks guys! It was just the icing on the cake of what was a really really disappointing way to end one of the best series ever.

Grade=C-, average to be kind which is a tragedy for a series finale. Talk about going out with a whimper

 

 

Before we conclude I wanted to briefly mention the Seinfeld reunion which took place a few years ago on Curb Your Enthusiasm. I was excited to hear they were doing a mock reunion, but had to wait for the dvd’s to watch it. When I did, I was impressed. They did a good job recreating the sets and bringing the characters back to life. They also took the chance to show different angles which we never saw on Seinfeld, like what a coffee shop scene looked like from reverse. While it didn’t make me wish the show was still on, the episode felt like a late season episode of Seinfeld which isn’t a good thing, it was nice to have the gang back one last time and did make up for the finale a bit. In fact the mock reunion was a great example of what I would have like the finale to be, not the overblown mess we ended up with.

 

 

 

Well, that’s it. 9 seasons, 180 episodes. I have had lots of fun watching these episodes again, getting to see the stuff that you can’t due to syndication. I feel like I got to experience the show all over and even learned a few new things on the way. If you had the same experience than I have accomplished what I set out to do. This show is very special to me, when it first came on I was in high school. When it ended I had been married for over a year! This show was a big part of my life and every season brings back all sorts of great memories.

 

 

Not sure if I will do one of these again, so I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did. If you didn’t, well, that’s a shame. 🙂

By richb

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