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.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

We're Back!!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry again fans.  I had no idea how hard it would be to stay current with a Blog.  I have no excuses other than my own inability to devote time to this effort.  I hope that this is the last long term hiatus in the project.  Thanks for sticking with me.

Episode 36 - The Limo

The PlotAgain, it just takes the one simple phrase to identify the episode to fans.  Jerry’s, “She’s a Nazi George” is a highlight. 

Jerry flies in from Chicago and George arrives to take him home. His car has broken down on the Belt Parkway and the two are stranded. Jerry points out a limousine chauffeur with a sign for someone named O'Brien. Jerry had seen an O'Brien in Chicago complaining to the airport staff that he had to reach Madison Square Garden. Since the real O'Brien's flight is overbooked and he will not be arriving in New York, George tells Jerry that since it is such a long wait to get a cab, they should pose as O'Brien and his colleague and take the limo home. George chooses the first name Colin and assumes the identity of O'Brien, as Jerry makes up the name Dylan Murphy. The chauffeur believes them and lets them into the limo and then informs them that they will be heading to Madison Square Garden and that they have four passes for the night. George remembers the Knicks are playing the Bulls that night at the Garden, which must be why O'Brien wanted to get there. Jerry calls up Elaine and tells her to wait with Kramer for them to pick them up for the game, and also tells her to call him and George by their pseudonyms.

After the call, Jerry and George learn that two of the people the passes were intended for are still coming. The chauffeur stops and a man, Tim, and a woman, Eva, get in with them. George feigns sleep and Jerry introduces himself. Eva and Tim tell Jerry that they are great fans of O'Brien's newsletter and book, The Game, neither of which has he heard of. Luckily, the two have never seen a picture of O'Brien and have no way of knowing who George really is.

As Kramer and Elaine wait outside the apartment building, Jerry mentions that they will probably miss the tip-off, and Tim wonders if he means "someone's been tipped off." George, interested about the book he supposedly wrote, asks Eva to describe her view of it. She and Tim cite the book's analysis of something called "the game," all its major players, and how the fate of the world depends on it. Eva mentions that O'Brien is making a speech that night, and George nervously reads a faxed copy of it for the first time. Kramer mentions how strange it is that George and Jerry took a limo when they had the former's car, and wonders why they insist on being called different names.

George reads O'Brien's speech and finds to his and Jerry's dismay that it is full of remarks expounding antisemitism, anti-Zionism and white supremacy. As he continues it, a loud bang is heard outside. Tim pulls out a pistol and exits the car. Eva tells George that she would do anything for him, even die. Tim comes back and says it was just a flat tire. He then adds if someone really were shooting at them, he would be prepared, and pulls out a briefcase of pistols. A news report reveals that Donald O'Brien, head of the regional chapter of the Aryan Union, a high-profile Neo-Nazi organization, is scheduled to make his first public appearance at the Paramount, adjacent to MSG, to deliver the speech at a rally. He is an outspoken Neo-Nazi, admirer of Adolf Hitler, and passionate fascist  Crowd control officers have lined up several barricades to keep away hordes of protesters.

On the street, Kramer and Elaine run into her friend Dan and his friends, who tell them they are going to the Nazi rally to protest O'Brien. He then mentions no one knows what O'Brien looks like. As George explains to Jerry that he is attracted to Eva, they plan to have the limo drive back to the Upper West Side and get out when they see Elaine and Kramer, who realizes that Jerry must be the O'Brien at the rally, which explains the limo. As it drives past them, Kramer sees Jerry and shouts, "O'Brien!" This attracts other protestors across the street standing at a bus stop. As Kramer and Elaine dive through the door and they chase the limo down the street, the phone rings. Kramer picks it up and hands it to Eva. She listens for a few seconds and tells the others, "It's O'Brien." Tim pulls out his gun and demands that George and Jerry say who they really are, and Jerry and George, and later Elaine, all rapidly (and nervously) attempt to explain themselves at the same time. The car pulls up to the Paramount and the protesters begin rocking it. Dan notices Elaine as one of the passengers, and she awkwardly acknowledges him. George is placed in front of the news teams identified as Donald O'Brien, and the protesters horde around him as he frantically denies being O'Brien and shouts for Jerry.

Fun Facts:
  • Eva is obviously a reference to Hitler’s girlfriend, Eva Braun.
  • The woman that plays Eva, Suzanne Snyder, returns in Season 5 as Poppie’s daughter.
  • In a reference to late 1980’s and early 1990’s American politics, O’Brien is supposedly too controversial for David Duke, a former KKK member who was elected to the Louisiana State Legislature and ran unsuccessfully for President in both the Democratic (88) and Republican (92) primaries.

Favorite Quote:   

Kramer: Don't you see? There's always been something very strange about Jerry, always so clean and organized. Do I have to spell it out for you? The limo? The name? The rally at Madison Square Garden? Jerry, O'Brien are the same person. Jerry is the leader of the Aryan Union!
Elaine: Jerry's a Nazi?!
Kramer: I can't believe I didn't see it.
Elaine: Listen, you idiot! Just calm down! I know Jerry, he's not a Nazi.
Kramer: You don't think so?
Elaine: No, he's just neat.

Favorite Scene:   George and Jerry are in the back of the limo and George is like a little kid.  He’s so excited he can’t sit still.  He decides to call his Mom and tell him what he’s done and in typical Costanza fashion, the entire call goes horribly wrong:

George: This is incredible! This is one of the greatest things I've ever done in my life! I'm gonna call my mother.
Jerry: What for?
George: I dunno, I'm in a limo. (dials) Hello ma? It's me. Guess where I am.  In the back of a limo. No, nobody died. It's a long story, I can't tell you now. Because I can't. I said I can't. If I could, I would. Would you stop it? Alright, look, I'm getting off. No, I'm not telling you! How's this? I'm never telling you! I don't care! No! Fine! Never!!
Jerry: She happy for you?

The Lesson:  I think I remember why I stopped this Blog prior to this episode.  How do you derive a lesson for entrepreneurs out of a mixup in which someone is mistaken for a Nazi?  Hmmm.  Well, here it goes:

In the early stages of most startups, it is difficult to truly define your company and explain it to people in a way that can be clearly understood.  Oftentimes, people come away from interactions with startups, with a wildly different take on the business than that of the founder.  It is important when starting a business, to take some time and practice explaining what it is you are trying to build.  As silly as it may sound, take some time to practice in front of a mirror or in front of a camera.  Try to tell the audience what you do and why they should be intrigued within 30 seconds.

Don’t focus on buzzwords or things you think your audience wants to hear.  Focus solely on the vision you have created for the business and how you can communicate that vision clearly and concisely so that all who have heard you, understand what you have built.  Trying to be something you are not, letting someone believe you are something you are not, probably won’t end up with people calling you a Nazi, but it will end up with people having unreal expectations for your company and failing to appreciate the progress you make along the way.