Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Episode 37 - The Good Samaritan

The Plot:  We’ll play the “one phrase” game once again for true Seinfeld aficionados.  Tell me if you recognize the line, “you are so good looking”. 

The episode starts with Jerry witnessing a hit-and-run driver hitting another car. He is on the car phone with Elaine at the time, who tells him he has to go after the driver. He does, but when the driver steps out he realizes that she is a beautiful woman named Angela and decides to date her.

Jerry lies to Elaine saying he went into Queens and intimidated the man with karate moves. After dating the hit-and-run driver, Angela, Jerry finds out that the car that she hit belongs to Becky Gelke, another woman he has always wanted to date. He tells Becky that he will do something about the damage. Meanwhile, Kramer has been experiencing convulsions and passing out and ultimately determines he is having an adverse reaction to the sound of Mary Hart's voice on Entertainment Tonight.

George and Elaine go out to dinner with a married couple. Elaine makes up an elaborate story that she once dated a romantic matador from Spain named Eduardo Corrochio, making his name up hesitantly on the spot. When the wife sneezes, George casually tells her "God bless you", but her husband does not say anything. When George points this out, the husband, Michael, gets mad. Later, when George is describing the story to his friends, Jerry opines that “God bless you” is really just a random phrase with no meaning and could easily be replaced by saying “you are so good looking” after a sneeze.

The wife, Robin, ends up liking George because of the “God bless you”, and they have an affair. As George and Robin are in bed together, Michael calls Elaine to find out where his wife is. Elaine does not know, but soon realizes that Robin used her as an excuse and tries to cover up. Michael doesn't buy it and figures out Robin is with George. He then exclaims into the phone, "He's finished! I'm going to sew his ass to his face! I'm going to twist his neck so hard his lips will be his eyebrows! I'm going to break his joints, and reattach them!"

Meanwhile, Jerry confronts Angela about Becky's car, but unfortunately Elaine walks in at that very moment and figures out that Jerry "lied" about his story. Jerry goes to Becky's house to write out a check for her damage and then ask her out, but Becky accuses him of hitting her car. George manages to escape from Michael by joining Jerry on his out of town gigs. Kramer uses the accident as an excuse to talk to Becky and ends up getting a date with her. But when he rings the bell at her apartment and she opens the door, Mary Hart is on the TV and Kramer has another convulsion..

Fun Facts:

  • Kramer’s convulsions when hearing the voice of Mary Hart was based on an actual case reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.
  • In 2009, an Iowa man was fired from his job for repeating the “you are so good looking” phrase to a co-worker who had sneezed and being accused on sexual harassment.
  • This was the only episode ever directed by a cast member.  Jason Alexander directed.

Favorite Quote:   

George: I said 'God bless you'. Was that so wrong?
Jerry: The question is, did you allow a space for the husband to come in with his 'God bless you'? Because as the husband, he has the right to first refusal.
George: Yes, yes, I definitely waited. But let me say this: Once he passes on that option, that 'God bless you' is up for grabs.
Jerry: No argument. Unless, she's one of these multiple sneezers, and he's holding his 'God bless you' in abeyance, until she completes the series.
George: Well I don't think she is a multiple sneezer, because she sneezed again later, and it was also a single.
Jerry: What if she's having an off night?

Favorite Scene:   Robin, the woman George said “God bless you” to, has called and left a message asking him to call her back.  He calls her from Jerry’s bedroom and returns with a befuddled look on his face:

George: Oh my God.
Elaine: What?
George: Well she apologized, and then she wanted to know if we could get together Wednesday afternoon.
Jerry: Get together?
George: Maybe she just wants to talk to me?
Elaine: Married women don't 'get together'. They have affairs.
George: Oh my God, an affair. That's so adult. It's like with stockings and martinis, and William Holden. On the other hand it probably wouldn't cost me any money.

The Lesson:  Is the lesson in this episode tied to the hit-and-run, the “God bless you” or Mary Hart?  Good question.  I actually had a lesson from all three story lines, but I’m going to go with the hit-and-run.  How often do you see companies that launch with the best intentions.  Their vision is based on solving a significant problem in their community or society in general and their solution is one with the potential to make the world a better place.  And somewhere along the line, the company bumps into a potential partner or customer that causes them to reject their original focus and take a more short-term, me-first approach.

Like Jerry dating the hit-and-run driver only to find out that the victim was the woman he really wanted to date, companies can find they miss their bigger calling (and possibly even greater success) when they get distracted from their original mission by the pretty girl (partner/customer) in front of them.  By no means am I suggesting that you do not pay attention to your customers or partners as you grow your business.  They are the end-all/be-all of your company.  But if one potential partner can knock you off stride and turn you against what you know is right from wrong, then you probably need to take a step back and refocus your attention.

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