The Plot: Another episode that dances around several little stories, but the main focus is Jerry’s relationship with a childhood friend, Joel Horneck. Jerry & Joel were friends as kids, because Horneck had a ping pong table, but as he grew up, Jerry came to hate Horneck. As Jerry puts it: “I like ping pong…should I suffer the rest of my life because I like ping pong. I was ten. I would have been friends with Stalin if he had a ping pong table” George suggests a breakup as if he were a woman. When Jerry can’t bring himself to end the relationship, he creates a list of Horneck excuses to use every time Joel calls. Horneck’s persistence convinces Jerry that he’ll never be able to avoid him and he’s just stuck with him. This is the first of hundreds of episodes that focused on the group complaining about the self centered nature of an outsider, while conveniently ignoring their own selfish behavior.
- This is the first episode with Kramerica Industries. In this version, Kramerica is looking to open a do-it-yourself pizza parlor. A concept that will recur over several years.
- This was also the first episode that used what became the show’s theme song, the quirky bass notes that opened the show.
- Jerry’s apartment is #411. In season 2 and beyond it becomes #5A.
- Horneck, played by Kevin Dunn, had originally auditioned to play the role of George.
Favorite Quote: George is afraid his girlfriend is going to break up with him after he tells her he likes her. She calls and says they need to talk.
George: “She calls me up at my office and she says we have to talk”
Jerry: “Ugh, the four worst words in the English language.”
George: Yeah, that or ‘whose bra is this?’”
Favorite Scene: George goes to the bank with a jar full of change asking for bills. The teller hands him a bunch of sleeves and tells him he'll have to roll them up. In classic Costanza frustration, he screams, "You want me to roll all 6,000 of these? You want me to quit my job?"
The Lesson: In the early stages of almost every startup, there is a moment when the founders believe they have hit on the right combination for success. Whether it is the right product, service, customer or audience. The successful entrepreneur is able to mine that opportunity for all it is worth, but does not become so wedded to it that it keeps them from exploring new markets and new ways of doing business. Just because you love ping pong when you are a kid, doesn’t mean that you will always be friends with your ping pong buddies as you grow older. Just because one certain customer or one certain aspect of your business worked in the early stages, does not mean that you are forced to follow that path. You sometimes have to let go of your childhood friends in order to grow. The same goes for startups. Sometimes you need to abandon the early way of doing things in order to achieve long term success.