The Plot: True Seinfeld fans will always remember “Sagman, Bennett, Robbins, Oppenheim and Taff” from the second episode of the show. This is when we are first introduced to Elaine as Jerry’s ex-girlfriend. Vowing to remain friends despite their breakup, Elaine invites Jerry to a birthday party where he meets a woman but never catches her name. All he knows is that she’s a lawyer at “Sagman, Bennett, Robbins, Oppenheim and Taff”. A phrase he repeats constantly throughout the episode. In what could be considered a major case of stalking, Jerry and George go to the building where she works and wait in the lobby until she comes down on her way to lunch. He engages her as if they accidently bumped in to one another and he casually asks her out on a date. It is in this episode that we first become aware of George’s desire to be an architect and the first time he adopts the alter ego of “Art Vandelay”.
- George originally wants to be called Art Cordelay, but in a last second panic attack changes it to Vandelay.
- This is the first episode with Jerry’s parents. Jerry’s father in this episode is played by Phil Bruns who never again appeared on the show. Bruns was replaced by Barney Martin who became the Morty we all know and love.
- This episode was based on a real life incident of co-creator Larry David who actually staked out the lobby of an office where a woman he met worked.
Vanessa: Almost exclusively.
Favorite Scene: The entire dinner scene at the birthday party is the first sense that the show had something unique that would make you come back for more. Especially, Elaine’s interuption, to tell Jerry about her dream.
The Lesson: As all entrepreneurs learn very quickly, startups are messy. Sometimes you have to do some crazy things, things that make you feel uncomfortable, in order to reach your business goal. Apprentice winner Bill Rancic talks about sending a care package with a set of nerdy looking glasses in every box to radio stations asking them to “take a look” at his first venture. Or the real life version of the episode, Bill Simons. Simons, a co-founder of ClassConnect, actually lived for two months inside AOL’s Palo Alto campus while he was building his startup. Not exactly a novel story, until you realize that Simons didn’t actually work for AOL. He was basically homeless, hiding out at night on couches, eating the company’s food and showering in their gym. Most important however, he used their office building and their resources to start his company. The moral of the story: Sometimes you have to stakeout the lobby of the building (metaphorically) to get your first customer to say yes. Art Vandelay would have no trouble hiding from security guards at Google in order to sell some latex.