The Plot: If you ever claimed to suffer from “uromysitisis”, then you know the Parking Lot. An episode that was constantly referred to as “one of those episodes”. You know, the ones that everyone can relate to because they have had the same or similar experience. I’m sure I’ve had many deja vu’s from the show, but I don’t think I’ve ever “lost” my car in a parking garage. I’ve lost virtually everything else at one time or another, but never the car. Oh well, it may not be so relatable to me, but again, contains some of the best and most memorable lines from show history.
Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer head out to a shopping mall in New Jersey so that Kramer can buy and air conditioner. George is in a hurry as he has to meet his parents outside his building at 6:15 to take them to dinner for their anniversary. As the group exits the mall, they realize that no one can remember where the car was parked. After carrying the air conditioner for some time, an exhausted Kramer decides to leave it behind one of the parked cars and tries to memorize the number of the parking space. Elaine, who bought a goldfish and is carrying it around in a plastic bag filled with water, fears that her new pet will die in the airtight bag before they can arrive home.
While they search for the car, Elaine desperately begs people in the parking garage to give them a ride around the building to find their car, but no one is willing to help or has any sympathy for the goldfish.
While walking around, Jerry desperately needs to urinate. Kramer badgers Jerry to do it in some dark corner where no one can see him. After Jerry reluctantly does so, he is spotted by a security guard and is taken to the guard's office. Jerry tries to talk his way out of trouble by making up a story about how he suffers from a fictional disease, "uromysitisis", but the guard is not convinced; Jerry makes up some other stories, but the guard is still not buying it. Meanwhile, Kramer, Elaine and George wonder where Jerry is - George moans, "Unbelievable, I'm never gonna get out of here. The guy goes to pee, he never comes back. It's like a science fiction story." Elaine goes off on her own to find him; Kramer and George decide to do the same.
Later, George also gets caught in the act of urinating, after being convinced to do so by Kramer. Both Jerry and George are fined and released. After the two find Elaine, Jerry convinces George to ask an attractive woman, whom they saw earlier in the episode, to give them a lift around the garage. The woman, accepts without hesitation, and the three of them all enter the woman's car and drive off, but moments later, the woman kicks them out after George has said something to the woman that makes her explode in anger (the viewer is not told exactly what George said to the woman, but it involves L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology). Ironically, the gang is dropped off right by Kramer's car but unfortunately, Kramer, who has the car keys, is still lost somewhere in the garage.
Hours pass by as George, Jerry and Elaine wait. Finally, Kramer shows up, having gone on his own hunt for the air conditioner because he forgot where he left it. Elaine's goldfish did not survive and George is well past the time deadline to meet his parents. Once they are all in the car, the engine fails to start. Just another day with Kramer.
- One of the people Elaine asks to drive them around the parking lot was show co-creator Larry David.
- The second episode that takes place entirely in one location and never enters Jerry’s apartment.
- The car failing to start at the end of the episode was not in the script. The writers actually had the car starting and the crew driving away, but during filming, the car actually failed to start. Everyone thought it was a funny ending and decided to keep it in the episode. If you look closely, you can see all four characters start to laugh when the car won’t start.
Favorite Quote: Again, a couple of great ones:
George: I can tell you this. If I am not in front of my house at six-fifteen, when my parents get there, they will put me on an aggravation installment plan that will compound with interest for decades.
George: I can't stand kids. Adults think it's so wonderful how honest kids are. I don't need that kind of honesty. I'll take a deceptive adult over an honest kid any day
Jerry: You should always carry a pad and a pen to write these things down (the level and color of where they parked the car).
George: I can’t carry a pen. I’m afraid I’ll puncture my scrotum.
Favorite Scene: Jerry trying to explain to the security guard why he was peeing in the parking lot. The entire episode takes place in the mall, so nothing special about the where of this scene. What makes it my favorite is the stupidity from Seinfeld.
Jerry: I've had this condition since I was eleven! I've been in and out of hospitals my whole life. I have no control over it. Doctors have told me that when I feel it, the best thing to do is just release it. Otherwise, I could die.
Security Guard: Well you're still not allowed.
Jerry: Do you hear what I'm saying to you?! I'm telling you that if I don't go, I could die. Die. Is it worth dying for?
Security Guard: That's up to you.
Jerry: So you don't care if I die.
Security Guard: What I care about is the sanitary condition of the parking .
Jerry: It was life and death.
Security Guard: Uh huh.
Jerry: Oh I'm lying. Why would I do it unless I was in mortal danger? I know it's against the law.
Security Guard: I don't know.
Jerry: Because I could get Uromysitisis poisoning and die. That's why!...Do you think I enjoy living like this?...the shame, the humiliation...You know I have been issued a public urination pass by the city because of my condition. Unfortunately my little brother ran out of the house with it this morning. Him and his friends are probably peeing all over the place. You want to call the Department of Social Services? Oh, it's Saturday. They're closed today. My luck.
The Lesson: I was really tempted to make the lesson from this episode, “if you’ve got to pee, just let it go”. It was the overriding theme of the Parking Lot. But alas, that doesn’t really carry a whole lot of assistance for entrepreneurs (more appropriate for college students I guess). So, the true lessons for startups is pay attention to the details. It is surprising to me, the number of business plans I get that start off strong with a solid idea for solving a real world problem. I am excited to see where this business goes, and turning the next page takes me to a conclusion that shows the company with a million customers in six months and an $250 million exit in two years. I’m not saying those projections are unattainable, I just have no idea how they got there. There was no substance, no background and most glaring, no attention to the details of how the company would achieve these results.
These plans are the equivalent of this episode. The founders are so focused on the result (buying the air conditioner) that they forget to address some of the most important details (where they parked so they can get home). The details are not the end all be all of the business. You can’t get so bogged down in details that you lose sight of building the business, but you can’t completely ignore them either, or you may end up on an aggravation payment schedule that will last for years.