Thursday, June 13, 2013

Episode 10 - The Apartment

The Plot:  When his 94 year old neighbor dies, Jerry offhandedly asks Elaine if she wants to move into his building.  Eager to move away from her crazy roommate and ecstatic at the ridiculously low rent, Elaine jumps at the opportunity.  Only after she decides to take the apartment does Jerry fully comprehend the consequences of having her in the building.  She’ll always be around.  She’ll constantly be able to drop in and as George notes, “you’ll have to have all your sex at the woman’s apartment…it’s like a permanent road trip…Forget about the home bed advantage.”

While lamenting what an idiot he is, George and Jerry begin to discuss George’s friend Adam, who is shaped like a cube, and his claim that ever since he got married, women have been coming onto him.  George decides to borrow a wedding ring to test the hypothesis. 

At a party to celebrate the running of the New York Marathon, George meets a series of woman who offer him everything from sex, to tickets for any event at Madison Square Garden, but unfortunately, they won’t deliver on their offers because of his wedding ring as they vow they would never get involved with a married man.

Ultimately, someone offers the landlord five thousand dollars for the apartment upstairs.  He tells Elaine that because she was first, he’ll rent it to her if she can match the five thousand dollar fee.  Jerry is ecstatic thinking he’s out of his awkward situation, until a moussed up Kramer urges Jerry to loan Elaine the money in front of her.  In one of the better banters between Kramer and Jerry, Jerry is incredulous that Kramer would suggest such a thing.  Kramer, still not seeing his own error, suggests that maybe Elaine won’t accept the loan, causing Jerry to reply, “People don't turn down money! It's what separates us from the animals.”

Fun Facts:
  • This episode was the first to feature Elaine’s trademarked “Get Out!!!” line.
  • It was also the first episode to reference Kramer’s father, who never appeared on the show.
  • It is also the first time that Jerry was living in Apartment 5A, which he would keep for the remainder of the show.  Up to this point, it was either not seen or a different number.

Favorite Quote:   This episode actually has some of my favorite quotes of all time.  It was hard to narrow down, so I am cheating and picking two:

KRAMER: I still don't understand what the problem is having her in the building.

JERRY: Let me explain something to you.. You see, you're not normal. You're a great guy, I love you, but you're a pod. I, on the other hand, am a human being. I sometimes feel awkward, uncomfortable, even inhibited in certain situations with the other human beings. You wouldn't understand.

KRAMER: Because I'm a pod?

Discussing the horrible decision to offer the apartment to Elaine:

JERRY: My censoring system broke down. You know that little guy in your head who watches everything you say? Makes sure you don't make a mistake? He went for a cup of coffee, and in that second - ruined my life.

GEORGE: My censor quit two years ago. He checked into a clinic. Emotionally exhausted.

Favorite Scene:   Again, this is when we started to get a sense that show was really onto something and could be special.  There are some great quick shot scenes in this episode, but my favorite is near the end, at the NYC Marathon party.  Jerry is complaining about what an idiot he is.  A disgusted George scoffs at the complaint, noting “I just threw away a lifetime of guilt-free sex and floor seats for every event at Madison Square Garden.  So please, a little respect.  For I am Costanza, Lord of the Idiots.”  At that point, the nutty host of the party screams out the window at the marathon runners passing by, “You’re all winners.”  Prompting George to deadpan, “But suddenly a new contender emerges.”

The Lesson:  The lesson of “The Apartment” is sometimes a difficult one for entrepreneurs to adhere to.  In the frenzy that is a startup environment, things happen so fast, it is often impossible for founders to adequately review all sides of the decisions they make.  They do not have the luxury of giving careful study to all options presented.  Sometimes, entrepreneurs have to make a snap decision, and hope that the little guy who watches everything you say did not go on a coffee break at that time.  Sometimes we can just blurt out an answer that sounded so good in our head, but is obviously a disastrous mistake.  Failure to at least explore the consequences of your decision can lead to situations that you will come to regret. 

In 2006 we launched our Arena Football franchise from inception to first game in 115 days.  We had no employees, no coaches, no players, no team name, no uniforms and no clue what to do next.  We didn’t have the time to carefully study all of these issues as we were making our decisions, but our core beliefs were based on creating the most fan friendly experience we could.  Every decision, while not analyzed to death, was made with the fan experience in mind.  Over and over, we asked ourselves, if I was sitting in the 15th row in our arena, what would I want to see, hear, eat, etc.  And for the two years I owned the team, we were near the top of the league in tickets sold and attendance.

No, as a startup, you do not have the time or the ability to do a 360 degree analysis of every situation.  But as long as you stay true to your company’s underlying philosophy, you shouldn’t find yourself claiming to be king of the idiots.

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