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October 23, 2014

Seinfeld: The Boyfriend

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 23rd 2006 8:35PM
Seinfeld: The Boyfriend

(S03E16 / S03E17)
"And you want to be my latex salesman."

For the last couple of weeks, I've been reviewing two Seinfeld episodes each Wednesday so I can get them out of the way before the fall season starts. But this one has to stand on its own, because it's one of my three favorite Seinfelds, right up in the pantheon with "The Junior Mint" and "The Contest." It's the culmination of what Larry David, Jerry Seinfeld and the writers had been building since the first episode of Season Three, chockablock with storylines, pop culture parodies, sports references, classic lines, physical jokes, and switcheroos. There's so much to talk about here, that I don't think I'll have the energy to go over another episode.

The reason why the episode is an hour long is because Larry and Jerry had ten extra minutes of material, so they asked NBC president Warren Littlefield if they could make a one-hour episode; Littlefield was very happy to grant the request. But instead of just writing filler to round out the 44 minutes, they added material that was equally as strong as what was in the original script, something the writers of Friends and other sitcoms that got "supersized" never were able to do. Think about what we saw in this episode:

1. An examination of how men in their thirties tentatively make friends with other men,
2. Nick-and-Noraish romantic interplay between Elaine and Keith Hernandez,
3. Multiple references to Game 6 of the 1986 World Series,
4. George's brilliant, albeit unsuccessful, scheming as he tries to keep his unemployment payments coming,
5. A satire of JFK, complete with a Zapruder-style film,
6. Elaine's views on smoking,
7. The definition of a "chucker," and...
8. The sight of George running out of the bathroom with his pants around his ankles (which has always been the biggest laugh in the episode as far as I'm concerned).

There were so many good lines in this episode, besides the one that I used to open this post:
"Whatdelay Industries?"
"Vandelay! Say Vandelay!"
"Who's this chucker?"
"Back... and to the left... back... and to the left..."
"I'm not drivin' him to the airport!"
"I'm Keith Hernandez!"
"I'd watch the third base coach if I were you, 'cause I don't think he's waving you in."
"You know what I would like to do? I would really like to have sex with a tall woman. I mean really tall. Like a giant."
"Nice game, pretty boy."
"When ya gonna see the baby?"
"You know, you're like going out with C. Everett Koop."

And my favortie line, which is actually more like a speech. Well, you'll see it in the "awards":

Best line: I'm just going to print Jerry's entire "second spitter" speech, because all of it is so good, especially the kicker:

According to your story, Hernandez passes you and starts walking up the ramp. Then you say you were struck on the right temple. The spit then proceeds to ricochet off the temple, striking Newman between the third and the forth rib. The spit then came off the rib, made a right turn, hitting Newman in the right wrist... causing him to drop his baseball cap. The spit then splashed off the wrist, pauses -- in mid-air, mind you -- makes a left turn and lands on Newman's left thigh. That is one magic loogie.

Best facial expression: I'll extend my definition so I can include George's hair. The two times he runs into Jerry's apartment after lying to Mrs. Sokol of the unemployment office, the ring of hair around the top of his head is standing straight up. Better than any other facial expression from the episode.
Best Kramerism: The 360 he does when he walks into Jerry's apartment and sees Keith Hernandez sitting there.

Observations and info from the DVD:
  • Keith Hernandez was the show's first big-name guest star. He had never even heard of the show when he was approached about it. Jerry, who's a huge Met fan, was star struck for the first few days Keith was around the set, but they eventually became friends. He does a pretty good acting job here.
  • The episode was named "The New Friend" all the way up until right before air time, when it was changed to "The Boyfriend" for unknown reasons. It's the only episode where the title is shown in the opening scene.
  • Listen to the tone of voice Hernandez uses as he describes to Jerry what they're going to be moving out of his place. He makes it sound like they're doing something other than moving, which makes sense, considering a guy asking another guy to help him move is "like going all the way," according to Jerry.
  • The Zapruder-like "Second Spitter" footage was given that worn look when the production staff took the film and literally dragged it on the floor, giving it the scratches and dirt it needed to make it look like a vintage film.
  • The line "And you want to be my latex salesman" was ad-libbed by Jerry when he did the scene where George runs out of the bathroom with his pants down.
  • Darryl Strawberry was originally supposed to be the "second spitter," but Hernandez figured that was a bad idea, given the bad press Straw was getting at the time (the bad rep he was getting was parodied later that year when Straw guested on The Simpsons), so Hernandez suggested Roger McDowell.
  • The JFK subplot came from Tom Leopold, who was a big assassination conspiracy buff. Wayne Knight played a character in JFK with the first name of Numa, so it was a natural excuse to bring back Newman for a second episode.
  • Hernandez was originally going to do three scenes with minimal lines. But it turned out to be six scenes with many lines. He was an integral part of the "man friend" plot.
  • The woman who played Carrie Sokol, Carol Ann Susi, is notable for a) how flatly she said her lines, and b) how unattractive she made herself for the role. Now that's what I call commitment to a role.
  • Since this was shot before "The Fix-Up," Julia Louis-Dreyfus is slightly less pregnant here. But as indicated by the coats over her lap, the huge jackets she was wearing, and all the tables she sat behind, she was definitely starting to show.
I could write a ton of more paragraphs about this episode, but I'll just leave it here. Now I have to do three episodes next week to catch up...

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fatswalller

i haven't seen a seinfeld show i didnt love.
i'm addicted to the repeats... best show ever made.
consistently funny.

September 02 2006 at 3:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tom Heintjes

Joel--You are so right about the length of the show being put to good use! I've actually found that most of the hour-long Seinfelds are among the lesser lights, but "The Boyfriend" is the exception...the best, Joel, THE BEST! (to paraphrase Bania) When George rushed out of the bathroom and trips, notice that when they show him lying on the ground, there's a newspaper by his arm. Then when the camera pulls back to show the group, there's no newspaper. I like seeing little things like that...makes you wonder how many times the scene was shot to get it just right!

I also liked George's feigned interest in the Sokol daughter. The way she holds her mouth when she goes to kiss George in the car makes me shudder. And when she dumps George because he only going to work in hardware...that might be worse than getting rejected by a bald woman!

I still think of this episode every June 14 (the date of the magic loogie). I guess that's kind of pathetic. And now Roger McDowell is the pitching coach of the Atlanta Braves...I'm sure he does a lot of spitting in the dugout!

August 25 2006 at 9:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michael

This is, without a doubt, the funniest Seinfeld ever made. It may be the funniest episode of any show ever made.

And I agree with Joel..they were mocking JFK, the movie, not JFK's assignation.

August 24 2006 at 11:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joel

I see it more as mocking Oliver Stone's conspiracy theories from the JFK movie. The "second spitter" speech is a direct take-off from the film. It's a fine distinction, but it's one that's pretty clear to me. They're not mocking the assassination itself, but they're mocking the movie that makes a mockery of the assassination. At least that's my take.

August 24 2006 at 9:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Scott

There were lots of great elements in this show, but I found the JFK spoof material incredibly offensive. It's one I always skip when I see it in syndication. It just seems like incredibly bad taste (way beyond Seinfeld bad taste) to be mocking the killing of an American president, especially one less than 40 years ago. I never, ever understood what was funny about those scenes.

August 24 2006 at 8:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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