Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Episodes 34 & 35 - The Boyfriend

The Plot:  A two part episode featuring the first appearance of Keith Hernandez.  After a basketball game at the gym, Jerry meets one of his idols, former New York Mets baseball player Keith Hernandez and wants to make a good impression. Meanwhile, George is out of time on his unemployment and he works harder than ever on his scheme to get a 13-week extension. He tells the unemployment office he was close to a job with Vandelay Industries, a company that makes latex products and whose main office is Jerry's apartment. Kramer and Newman accuse Hernandez of spitting on them during a Mets game at Shea Stadium; however, Jerry supports the "second-spitter theory" that Hernandez was not involved citing the “incontrovertible laws of physics” or the “magic loogie”. Keith asks Jerry about Elaine's relationship status. Keith makes a date with her and breaks a date with Jerry.

Having been busted by his unemployment officer after Kramer unknowingly answers Jerry's phone, George tries to curb losing his benefits by taking the officer's daughter out for a date, which goes terribly wrong for him and causes him to express to Jerry his desire to date a tall woman. Meanwhile, Jerry becomes jealous that Keith is spending more of his time with Elaine on dates until Elaine breaks up with Keith because he smokes. When Keith asks Jerry to help him move his furniture, Jerry finally has enough and breaks up their friendship. Right then, Kramer and Newman confront Keith on the alleged "spitting incident." Keith provides them with the truth that, in fact, he saw the real spitter, Mets relief pitcher Roger McDowell on the “grassy knoll” next to the player’s entrance. Kramer and Newman then remember that they had taunted McDowell throughout the game going so far as to pour a beer on him while he was in the bullpen and they apologize to Keith and offer to help move his furniture. George rushes in, with one last desperate attempt to win over his unemployment officer by acquiring a baseball autographed by Hernandez, but he is too late. As he mopes, a tall woman suddenly appears with George's wallet, which he had dropped on the sidewalk outside, causing George to give a happy smile.

Fun Facts:
  • The first episode in which the live audience applauds when Kramer enters.
  • The first episode in which “Vandelay Industries” is a latex firm.
  • The “Magic Loogie Theory” is based on the “Magic Bullet Theory” outlined in “JFK” the Oliver Stone film about the assassination of JFK.

Favorite Quote:   Some of the best one line quotes in show history:

Jerry: I have to dribble, if I give it to you, you just shoot.  You’re a chucker.

Kramer: Hey, you know this is the first time we’ve seen each other naked?

George: I’d love to be a Civil War buff.  What do you have to do to be a buff?

George: You know Keith, what I’ve been wondering, with all these ball clubs flying around all season, don’t you think there would be a plane crash?

Jerry: Newman, Kramer, if you'll indulge me. According to your story Keith passes you and starts walking up the ramp then you say you were struck on the right temple. The spit then proceeds to ricochet off the temple striking Newman between the third and forth rib. The spit then came off the rib turned and hit Newman in the right wrist causing him to drop his baseball cap. The spit then splashed off the wrist, Pauses In mid air mind you- makes a left turn and lands on Newman's left thigh. That is one magic loogie.

Elaine: Well I’d watch that third base coach because I don’t think he’s waving you in.

Favorite Scene:   George has told the Unemployment Office that he is close to landing a job with Vandelay Industries and gives them Jerry’s phone number.  He runs from the office to Jerry’s apartment to tell him to answer his phone as Vandelay.  Thinking he’s beaten the bureaucrat to the punch, he heads to the bathroom.  At that moment, the phone rings and Kramer answers, not knowing about the Vandelay scam.  As Kramer is telling the Unemployment Office that they have the wrong number, George comes running out of the bathroom with his pants around his ankles screaming at Kramer to tell them they have the right number.  He falls face down onto the floor, crying at the loss of his benefits as Jerry enters to stare at the half naked Costanza lying on his floor.  Pondering the situation, Jerry deadpans:

Jerry: So you want to be my latex salesman.

The Lesson:  There are so many storylines in this episode that I struggled to pull out just one lesson, but then again, I’ve got so many episodes to go, I can’t afford to waste any good ones.  After careful consideration, the primary lesson provided by this episode is “keep everyone you do business with in perspective.”  Jerry becomes infatuated with a guy, simply because he is one of the greatest baseball players of all time.  It screws with his head and makes him doubt himself and how he should interact with Hernandez. 

Startups can fall into the same trap.  I can’t tell you how often we see entrepreneurs come to us and boast that Google, Microsoft, Twitter or some other corporate giant is reaching out to them as a potential partner.  These companies are ready to change their business model, their core product or even their marketing themes, simply to please the corporate all-star. The plain truth is that one of these giant companies has reached out to them in the first place, because they saw value in the company just the way it was.  There is no need to change or doubt yourself, just because a recognized name has taken an interest.

In the episode, Hernandez tells Jerry he would love to do comedy.  Instead of taking it as a compliment, it furthers Jerry’s insecurity.  Startups are faced with the same insecurities.  Don’t let a bigger brand’s admiration make you question your value.  


Sorry to all for the disappearance.  I can whine about how busy things have been recently, but all of you are busy and that is no excuse.  I will try my best not to let another month go by without a posting.  Thanks to everyone for sticking with the blog.