Thursday, July 18, 2013

Episode 19 - The Truth

The Plot:  “Kramer, saw me naked”.  With those four words, the Note episode changed forever, the way we looked at Elaine.  We knew Jerry had seen her naked, but now Kramer, this was too much.

The basic plotline of this episode centers around Jerry being audited by the IRS.  What triggered the audit?  When Jerry and Elaine were first dating, he contributed money to a charity (at the suggestion of Kramer) for the surviving victims of the Krakatoa volcano disaster.  Despite Jerry’s feigned concern for the “brave Krakatoans”, he later admits that the contribution was nothing more than a feeble attempt to look good in front of his new girlfriend, Elaine.

While griping about the horrible experience of the audit, Jerry gleefully announces that he has a secret weapon in his fight with the government.  George is currently dating a woman who used to be with the IRS and she has taken his case and assured him that all is well.

At that moment, they cut to George and said girlfriend having lunch at Monks.  After a couple of light back and forth comments, she senses something is wrong with George and demands “The Truth”.  George explodes, telling the woman how pretentious she is and how he can’t stand being around her any more.  After he leaves the woman at Monks, George walks into Jerry’s apartment to tell him about the outstanding breakup, only to realize how integral she was to Jerry’s tax situation.  George places a call to the woman’s office to try and mend the relationship, only to find out that she has been taken to a mental institution (along with Jerry’s tax papers.

While this is going on, the infamous “Kramer saw me naked” scene plays out.  Despite not being part of any story line for a couple of episodes, Kramer is apparently still dating Elaine’s roommate Tina.  Elaine enters Jerry’s apartment and is clearly annoyed at Kramer.  As Jerry asks what is going on, Elaine describes how Kramer came into her bedroom without knocking.  “I thought it was a closet,” says Kramer.  After some uncomfortable conversation, Kramer offers to allow Elaine to see him naked and starts to disrobe, causing Jerry to freak out.

The episode ends with George and Jerry visiting his ex-girlfriend in the mental institution.  After some polite conversation, George is able to convince her to give him another chance, which allows Jerry to ask about his tax matter.  The girlfriend lets him know that she was so upset by the breakup with George that she threw all of his tax papers and receipts in the trash on her way to the nut house.  The final scene has Jerry trying to track down copies of receipts for his tax case.

Fun Facts:

One of the best quotes ever from George, “I’ve driven women to lesbianism before, but never to a mental institution,” becomes the basis for an entire episode later in the show’s history.
This is the last episode to feature Tina and Kramer’s relationship although the show never discusses their breakup.
The Krakatoa volcano erupted in 1883 (no real need for a charity donation in 1991) and is still considered one of, if not the loudest sound ever heard in modern history.  It was heard more than 3,000 miles away.

Favorite Quote:   

George:  The truth? You want the truth? It is your earrings! It is the chopsticks, but it's so much more! You're pretentious! You call everyone by their full name! You call my doorman, Sammy, "Samuel" but you didn't even say "Samuel", you went "Samuelle!" Pappy-ay mach-ay? What the hell is pappy-ay mach-ay?.

Favorite Scene:   Jerry trying to explain that his intentions when contributing to the Krakatoan relief fund were purely charitable.

ElaineWhat did you think, that would impress me?
JerryYou got it all wrong! I was thinking only of the poor Krakatoans!
ElaineLike you give this donation for 50 bucks and I'd start tearing my clothes off?
JerryThose brave Krakatoans east of Java! Who sacrificed so much for so long!

The Lesson:  Once again, the obvious lesson (take every step necessary to avoid running afoul of the IRS) is too easy and no fun.  The real lesson for startups is to make sure your intentions are honorable for all of your actions.  How often are entrepreneurs tempted to spend money, build a feature or take a meeting in an effort to try and impress an outside constituency?  I know over the many years I’ve been involved with startups that I’ve lost count.  You deviate from the plan, from the core mission of your venture and ultimately find that you missed the mark completely and there is time or dollars that you’ll never get back.  Don’t waste your time buying a sponsorship to a big event because you want to see your name associated with others on the marquee.  Don’t take a meeting with a well established VC group before you’ve finished building your MVP, just so you can say you had the meeting.  The truly successful startups stay focused on the tasks at hand.  They stay true to the purpose and mission of the company, and they do not run head long into situations just trying to impress the pretty girl at the end of the bar.  Stay focused on your business and not on the Krakatoans and you’ll see a better return on your investment.

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