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July 31, 2014

Seinfeld

Seinfeld: The Pez Dispenser

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 9th 2006 8:29PM
Seinfeld: The Pez Dispenser
(S03E13)
Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, as they were doing the DVD commentary for this episode, really were laughing a lot (and in a bunch of unexpected places). I just love the fact that the two of them could go back and relive these scripts that they lived with and pored over so closely, and still laugh at them as if the jokes were fresh. To me, that's the sign of quality writing. What I found interesting is that they both felt that the material in this episode hadn't aged at all; the clothes may look old, said Jerry, but the jokes are timeless. Their wonderment at this is quite refreshing to me, since every one of the show's fans could have told Jerry the exact same thing a long time ago.

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Seinfeld: The Subway

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 9th 2006 4:04PM
Seinfeld: The Subway(S03E12) The synchonization of the airing and production orders of the Season Three episodes started to getting a little dicey as the series entered 1992. For instance, the episode "The Suicide" was produced before "The Subway", but was aired two weeks after "The Subway" aired . But since I'm trying to present these in the order they aired, I'm doing "The Subway" next.

At this point in the third season, the memorable episodes are coming with more frequency. And they're getting more daring; because most of the scenes were shot on a subway-car set specially made for movie and TV shoots, the episode had to be shot out of order without a studio audience. Considering the logistics involved in the previous audience-less episode, "The Parking Garage", this one was realtively easier to do. But it still wasn't easy. The results, though, are pretty damn great.

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Seinfeld: The Red Dot

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 2nd 2006 8:32PM
Seinfeld: The Red Dot(S03E11) Why is this one of may favorite Season Three episodes? Well, mainly because three of the Fab Four's storylines come together in quite satisfying ways. There's a refrain ("Of course it's cashmere!") that, while it didn't become a catchphrase, certainly put a nice punctuation on the episode. We saw some warmth and caring between the friends, which ended up engendering trickery and resentment. And George uttered one of the ultimate Costanza lines of all time.

Oh, and Kramer got drunk. On one drink. Even the DVD notes thought he was a lightweight.

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Seinfeld: The Alternate Side

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 2nd 2006 3:37PM
Seinfeld: The Alternate Side(S03E10) How many shows airing in 1991 would have had a plot revolve around breaking up with a man who had a stroke? I can tell you this much: even Roseanne Barr couldn't have thought of a such a dark plotline, but, for some reason, Larry David could. That's what made Seinfeld so great; it touched on topics that other sitcoms of its era never even dared to touch. And, though the characters do horrible things to each other and the people who come into their world, it was done in such a funny way that people latched onto these characters. It's a formula that's been tried over and over since without much success; just ask the producers of Arrested Development how hard it was to get people to like unlikable characters.

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Seinfeld: The Nose Job

by Joel Keller, posted Jul 26th 2006 8:01PM
Seinfeld: The Nose Job

(S03E09)
This episode is always the one I remember as either -- using Friends nomenclature -- "the one with all the flashbacks" or "the one with all the cut-ins." It's a format that Seinfeld used rarely before or after this episode, but this episode seems to be rife with it. When George mentions how big his girlfriend Audrey's nose is, we cut to a close-up of Audrey's face, then we cut back. We see Jerry introduce himself to the beautiful Isabel as he's talking about it with George. Then, when he later explains to George how he tried to get Kramer to keep him from calling her again, we flash back to that, too. Add to that Jerry's imaginary "brain vs. penis" chess match, and this is one of the more conceptual episodes Jerry and Larry ever made.

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Seinfeld: The Tape

by Joel Keller, posted Jul 19th 2006 8:32PM
Seinfeld: The Tape(S03E08) I've never been enamored with this episode, even though it's pretty funny. For some reason, the way everybody acts in this one is just enough out of character that something about it just seems off to me.

Don't get me wrong... the thought of Elaine / JLD breathily speaking the unspeakable into a tape recorder makes me a little weak in the knees. But it just seems like everyone's reaction to the tape was just a little too creepy for my tastes. But, again, it's a pretty funny episode; in fact, it was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Writing In a Comedy Series. So what do I know?

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How do you say 'No soup for you' in German?

by Anna Johns, posted Jul 13th 2006 5:58PM
soupman restaurant logoThe New York City chef who inspired the infamous Soup Nazi character on Seinfeld is expanding his restaurant worldwide. Al Yeganeh plans to open up 50 SoupMan franchises in Britain next year, with openings in Germany, Italy and Japan to follow. His original restaurant, Soup Kitchen International in Manhattan, is what inspired the Soup Nazi episode on Seinfeld. Just like at the American restaurant chain (there are 20), employees will follow Yeganeh's strict rules. Customers must have their money ready and move to the left after ordering or they can be denied service (the rules are on the restaurant website). The employees do not yell, "No Soup For You", however. It's amazing to me that he's still making money on the venture, considering the episode aired in 1995.

Anybody ever eaten at a SoupMan restaurant? How's the mulligatawny?

[Via TV Tattle]

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Seinfeld: The Cafe

by Joel Keller, posted Jul 12th 2006 8:04PM
Seinfeld: The Cafe(S03E07) Ah, Babu Bhatt. He's got to be one of my favorite Seinfeld side characters of all time. He only appeared in three episodes, one of which was the finale that brought back almost every peripheral character in the show's history. How can you not feel bad for the guy? He opens a restaurant that no one goes to. He takes Jerry's advice to remake it as a Pakistani restaurant. Still no one comes. Maybe his mistake was listening to Jerry in the first place. But he'll make that mistake again in the Season Four episode "The Visa", so fool me once, etc., etc.

This is one of those good four-plot episodes: Kramer is being chased by a former boyfriend of his mom's, all for a snazzy jacket; Elaine takes an IQ test for George, who's taking it for his current girlfriend and doesn't want to look like a moron. And, of course, there's Jerry and Babu.

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Seinfeld: The Parking Garage

by Joel Keller, posted Jul 5th 2006 8:03PM
Seinfeld: The Parking Garage

(S03E06)
It isn't often that an episode of a sitcom is noted as much for its set design as it is for its writing or acting. But "The Parking Garage", which solidified to Seinfeld fans that it truly was "a show about nothing", is one. The set design is so important in this episode, that the DVD commentary for it is conducted not by one of the writers, Jerry Seinfeld, or Larry David; it's conducted by director Tom Cherones and production designer Tom Azzari.

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Seinfeld: The Library

by Joel Keller, posted Jun 28th 2006 8:07PM
Seinfeld: The Library(S03E05) Phillip Baker Hall is The Man.

It doesn't matter how many times I see "The Library", or even how many times in the span of an hour I see Hall's scenes as library investigator Lt. Bookman (like I did when I watched the epiosde on DVD just now... once with notes, once with writer Larry Charles' comments, and again in a mini-featurette about the episode). I laugh out loud every single time.

And how can you not? Bookman's Joe Friday-inspired speeches are a complete riot. The intensity that Bookman has for his seemingly mundane task -- investigating overdue library books -- comes through in Hall's performance, especially in the long rant directed towards Jerry in his apartment. More on that a little later.

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Seinfeld: The Dog

by Joel Keller, posted Jun 21st 2006 8:05PM
Seinfeld: The Dog(S03E04) This is one of the last episodes in Season Three that feels  like "early Seinfeld": slow plotting, a somewhat awkward dialogue rhythm, and the exploration of interpersonal relationships that actually makes it seem like the Fab Four are caring, functioning human beings. Don't worry, though; Larry David and company shook themselves of that notion pretty soon after they wrote this one.

The thing that's always bugged me about this episode is the Elaine - George plot. This is where Elaine and George find that they don't have anythng to say to each other unless it's about Jerry. They're "friends-in-law," as Elaine puts it. For some reason, I never bought this plot; we had seen the two interact without Jerry in the past and get along great.

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Seinfeld: The Pen

by Joel Keller, posted Jun 14th 2006 8:37PM
Seinfeld: The Pen(S03E03) My brother Rich and I can both tell you about the grudges our grandparents had with people who, in the grand scheme of things, didn't seem to do much to earn that grudge. It could have been something as silly as a birthday card that was a few days late or a remark heard through an intermediary. But the passive-aggressive venom put forth from both sets of grandparents (one who lived in the Bronx, and one who lived in Florida) made it seem like the person being grudged against was the Jewish version of Joey Buttafuoco.

That's why "The Pen" is one of my all-time favorite episodes of Seinfeld. Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David did such a pitch-perfect job of capturing the silly pettiness that goes on in Floridian retirement communities, that when I first saw it, it took me right back to my mother's parents' condo in Lake Worth.

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Seinfeld: The Truth

by Joel Keller, posted Jun 7th 2006 8:38PM
Seinfeld: The Note

Do not adjust your web browser. You are now entering the Retro Squad, where we are reviewing past episodes of your favorite shows, in order, every week.

(S03E02) Like I said last week, the reason why I picked this season of Seinfeld to review was because Season Three is the first one that's, well, Seinfeld-ian. But it still took a while, especially early on, for the show to find a groove. This episode, "The Truth", is an example of that: really funny, but a little slow in parts.

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Seinfeld: The Note

by Joel Keller, posted May 31st 2006 9:13PM

Seinfeld - The Note

Do not adjust your web browser. You are now entering the Retro Squad, where we are reviewing past episodes of your favorite shows, in order, every week.

(S03E01)
Most of my fellow Squadders are starting their Retro Squad coverage at a particular show's pilot. Not me. I decided to be different in my coverage of Seinfeld and start with Season Three. Why? Well, let me put it in as delicate a way as I possibly can: the first two seasons of Seinfeld kinda sucked.

Don't get me wrong; the first 18 episodes had some brilliant moments, like the episode where Jerry, George and Elaine wait for a table at a Chinese restaurant, or the one where George does everything he can to keep his girlfriend from hearing a bad phone message of his. But, overall, the episodes in those first two seasons moved pretty slowly and concentrated on a single plot, often to an episode's detriment. Even Seinfeld and Larry David would likely acknowledge that the show really found its legs creatively in Season Three (1991-92), which is also the first one where a full slate of episodes were ordered. So that's where I decided to start.

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The big finales are over, so now what?

by Keith McDuffee, posted May 26th 2006 12:45PM
retro squadThe big finales are finally over. Though we have a few cool premieres starting in the coming weeks, from Rescue Me (5/30) to Deadwood (6/11), let's face it -- TV isn't the same after May sweeps. The question that's floated around the TV Squad headquarters in the past couple of months has been, "what else can we review for the readers?" Enter "Retro Squad."

Starting this coming Sunday, we're going to take you back in time just a little bit. Remember all of those great shows that are no longer airing, either from being cancelled or ending long runs and taking a bow? Or maybe you remember the first seasons of shows still on the air? Of course you do; it's what makes you one of the millions of fans of these cult-classic shows. Well, we're going to bring them back to you, one episode at a time, every week. Read on for the exciting details.

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