The Plot: It starts out with Jerry finding a box of items he inherited from his grandfather. He was supposed to send it to his parents in Florida, but had forgotten about it in storage for years. Inside the box is a tiny statue of a female. Upon seeing it, George remarks that it looks just like a statue his parent had when he was a kid. George tells a story of using the statue like a microphone to sing “MacArthur Park” and dropping it. His parents never forgave him for shattering it. He and Kramer fight over the statue, ultimately deciding the ownership issue by a game of “inka dink” (A variation of “eeny meeny miny moe”, but I have never heard of this game). George wins the statue, and Kramer is left with a bunch of vintage clothes and a hat. He casually remarks that the outfit will make him look like Detective Joe Friday from Dragnet. While the morons are playing inka dink, Jerry notices that his apartment is filthy. Elaine is working with a writer from Finland, Rava, who offers her boyfriend (Ray) to clean his apartment.
Ray does an amazing job cleaning the place, even going as far to clean the bottom of the egg cups in the refrigerator and cleaning the little space between the refrigerator and the counter. Later, Jerry and Elaine are at Rava and Ray’s apartment and Jerry notices the same little statue. Jerry freaks out thinking Ray stole it from him. Jerry confronts Ray at Monk’s and Ray denies taking the statue, but can’t come up with where he acquired it. This causes a falling out between Elaine and Rava.
The episode ends with Kramer donning his vintage detective clothes and going to Rava and Ray’s apartment. Pretending to be a police officer, he takes the statue from Ray and threatens him with arrest if he tells anyone. Kramer comes back and presents George with the statue and as he’s leaving Jerry’s, he pats George on the back causing him to drop the statue and see it shattered once again.
- This is the first of many episodes where we are introduced to a dysfunctional writer that Elaine is forced to work with. Future episodes with Jake Jarmell and Yuri Testikov.
- Jan Leeves, who appears in a very memorable episode later in Season 4 auditioned for the role of Rava.
- Both Hank Azaria and Tony Shalhoub auditioned for the part of Ray.
JERRY: So, where's this boyfriend of yours? I can't wait much longer. I've got a flight.
ELAINE: Oh, probably caught in traffic.
RAVA: Or maybe he's dead.
JERRY: So what do you write, children's books?
Favorite Scene: When Jerry confronts Ray about the statue, he does it at Monks. With Ray and Jerry in one booth, George sits in the booth behind them, eavesdropping on the conversation, unable to contain his anger at the excuses Ray keeps throwing out. Finally, George explodes, turning around to confront Ray himself, “That’s it, I can’t take it anymore. You stole the statue. You’re a thief. You’re a liar.” “Who is this,” exclaims Ray. “I’m the judge and the jury pal. And the verdict is…guilty!!”
The Lesson: “The Statute” presents an interesting lesson for entrepreneurs. Once you launch a company and you attempt to build that business into a sustainable enterprise, you constantly come across vendors, service providers, partners, and others you might be important elements in the growth of your company. But it’s important to look at those people carefully. From time to time you may encounter individuals who take short cuts. Individuals who are unethical. Individuals who view you as a target. Make no mistake, these people can help you and your business. They may be able to clean the space between the refrigerator and the counter. They may be able to do things for you that no one else can do. But deep down, they can also be a thief. You can’t allow your business to be dependent on someone who you can’t trust. No matter how much they might help you, as Joe Friday will not always be around to rescue you.