Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Episode 7 - The Pony Remark

The Plot:  One of the iconic episodes.  People who are not Seinfeld fans usually remember this episode.  Jerry's parents are staying at Jerry's apartment when he bursts in, wearing baseball clothes, carrying a bat and glove, and proudly tells them about the incredible plays he made during his softball game, leading them to a victory and a spot in the Championship game in a couple of days.  His mother, unimpressed, reminds them that they are all going to the 50th anniversary dinner of her cousins Manya  and Isaac. Though Jerry does not want to go—he has made plans, he doesn't know the people—his mother coerces him: "At least come and say hello, have a cup of coffee, then you'll leave." Jerry knows it won't be that simple, so he persuades Elaine to attend, too.

During the dinner, he makes the tactless comment to which the title refers:

HELEN: I hear the fella owns a couple of racehorses. You know, trotters, like at Yonkers.
JERRY: Horses? They're like big riding dogs.
ELAINE: What about ponies? What kind of abnormal animal is that? And those kids who had their own ponies...
JERRY: I know, I hated those kids. In fact, I hate anyone that ever had a pony when they were growing up.
MANYA: (angry) I had a pony.

JERRY: Well, I didn't, uh, really mean a pony, per se...
MANYA: When I was a little girl in Poland, we all had ponies. My sister had pony, my cousin had pony... So, what's wrong with that?

Jerry tries to apologize, but Manya gets even more angry and leaves the table. After the dinner, when Jerry's parents are leaving, his father soothes his embarassment: "Hey, I agree with him. Nobody likes a kid with a pony." But Jerry receives a phone call from Uncle Leo, who informs him that his great-aunt Manya has died. Jerry is very upset about it, but he's also upset to learn that the funeral will be held on the same day of his softball championship.

Feeling guilty, Jerry ends up going to the funeral, where he, again, apologizes for his remark. Isaac informs him that Manya had forgotten Jerry made the pony remark: "Oh, no no no. She forgot all about that. She was much more upset about the potato salad." Elaine asks Isaac multiple times about what is going to happen with their apartment. Isaac eventually tells her that Jerry's cousin Jeffrey is going to live in it. When it starts to rain, Jerry realizes that the game will be postponed. The following day, after the game, Jerry, George and Elaine meet at Monk's, where they discuss the lousy way Jerry played softball. (Jerry recalls a certain play, about which he admits, "It was the single worst moment of my life.") Elaine wonders if Manya's spirit put a spell on him.

In a subplot, Jerry and Kramer bet whether or not Kramer will rebuild his apartment so that it has multiple flat wooden levels instead of needing furniture. Kramer changes his mind and decides not to build levels, but refuses to pay Jerry, arguing that since he did not attempt it, the bet was invalid.

Fun Facts:
  • This is the first episode to reference Morty Seinfeld’s invention of the beltless raincoat.
  • This is the first appearance of Uncle Leo and the first reference to Jerry’s cousin Jeffery who works for the Parks Department.
  • This is the first reference to Kramer’s gambling problem.

Favorite Quote:  Jerry:  “I mean, in all the pictures I saw of immigrants on boats coming into New York harbor, I never saw one of them sitting on a pony.”

Favorite Scene:   Manya’s funeral, where the man giving the eulogy looks back on Manya’s life.  Although this may seem like a sad event, it should not be a day of mourning.. for Manya had a rich, fulfilling life. She grew up in a different world - a simpler world - with loving parents, a beautiful home in the country, and from what I understand, she eve had a pony… Oh, how she loved that pony. Even in her declining years, whenever she would speak of it, her eyes would light up. It's lustrous coat, it's flowing mane. It was the pride of Krakow.”

The Lesson:  While it may not have been the primary story line for the episode, the dilemma facing Jerry is one every entrepreneur will face in their lifetime.  Do I got to the funeral or play in the championship game?  Every entrepreneur is faced with the challenge of balancing interests.  Family dinner versus client dinner, exercise versus phone calls.  Do I stay at the office and finish up this work, or do I cut out and attend my child’s piano recital?  The work/family balance is one every entrepreneur struggles with.  If I stay at work, I might be able to grow the business a little bit and make a little more money to provide for my family.  But at what cost?  If I miss my child’s game, do I miss the joy of watching them grow up, which happens way to fast.  These difficult decisions are one of the toughest aspects of being an entrepreneur.  In the early days of your company, there is no one to delegate certain tasks to, and you are faced with a gut wrenching decision on how to spend your time. There is never a clear answer and more often than not, you can’t count on a rainout to allow you to satisfy both interests.  You just constantly try and create some semblance of balance and hope that you make the right calls.

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