Chronicling Seinfeld — Season 1
Episode 4: Male Unbonding
Original Air Date: June 14, 1990
Written by: Larry David & Jerry Seinfeld
Directed by: Tom Cherones
Opening Monologue: Jerry talks about men fixing things and how other men naturally want to congregate around the said fixing. This is absolutely true. I work at a restaurant and sometimes the owner will make things and some of the regulars will just watch him do it. It’s one of the most bizarre things ever but it’s 100% accurate.
George and Jerry wait for the elevator. One thing I want to immediately point out is George is wearing a blue fanny pack. Now remember folks, this is 1990. Fanny packs are not cool or uncool. They have not become a fashion item ironically because it’s be a few decades. George has a fanny pack and I can only image what’s it it. Really what could George have that requires him to have this accessory. Of course, we later find out that George has floss, and that him taking floss out of the fanny pack caused him to involuntarily tell a women he’s seeing that he likes her. This apparently ruined his chance of getting laid. Jerry suggest that maybe the fanny pack was the proverbial “cock blocker.” I love the idea that George sees women that are so shallow they will not sleep with him because told them he “liked” them and/or that he wears a fanny pack. Like where is George meeting these people? Also, why does George assume he’s getting laid otherwise?
Jerry and George get to Jerry’s apartment and find Kramer on the phone. Kramer offers the phone to Jerry, who asks who it is but Kramer doesn’t tell him. Jerry finds out it’s Joel Hornick, a friend he knew years ago who he took advantage of because he had a ping pong table (one of the best jokes is here).
Jerry meets Joel at the diner (I think it’s officially Monk’s at this point) and we see what a terrible person Joel is. He’s rude to the waitress, mocking of other people and flat out inconsiderate. Jerry can’t take it any more and asks him how he can talk to someone like that. Joel dismisses the call out, from which Jerry tries to break up with him. This episode (and scene) has always been with me since the first time I saw it. The idea of breaking up with your friends. The idea is so fascinating to me. I’ve had plenty of people I’ve been friends with over the years. Some I talk to, others I don’t. The ones I don’t, sometimes I see them and it’s like no time has passed. I’ve never been in a situation where I told a friend I can’t be friends with them. Most of the time, the people that we are no longer going to be friends with, we just stop talking to them and they fade away. The idea of one of my friends insisting on us hanging out and being a terrible person is so baffling to the point of it being a fairy tale. Jerry tries to break up with Joel, which leads to one of the classic moments in Seinfeld history. Joel loses it. Starts to cry. Jerry, in a panic, tells him he’s not serious and that the two are still friends. Easily one of the best moments of this episode and one of my favorite bits on the show.
At the bank, Jerry breaks that he gave away George’s ticket to Joel. George is understandably perturbed, but is understanding in a very George sort of way when he finds out that Joel was literally crying. Kramer also makes an appearance, pitching his idea for a restaurant where the customers make their own pizzas. It’s so interesting how they shoehorn Kramer into these episodes. They knew what they had, they just didn’t know quite how to integrate him into the show organically.
Jerry and Elaine try to figure out what to do now that Jerry gave away his Knicks tickets. She suggests they go eat, but doesn’t care where they go cause she’s not hungry. Jerry suggests a cafe, which Elaine is game to go to if she doesn’t have to talk. This is a character that just keeps on giving. Kramer then comes in and we find out that he went to the game with Joel Hornick. Joel then tries to return the favor by taking Jerry (and Elaine) to a game. Jerry and Elaine make up one excuse after another until we fade to the last stand up bit of the episode.
Next Episode: Season One Finale — The Stock Tip.