Seinfeld Episode

Jack Lund

In my first blog I talked about the production of “Seinfeld”, specifically two episodes:“The Old Man” and “The Marine Biologist.”   In this blog I am going to talk in greater depth about additional episodes.  The first episode that I am going to discuss is the production of the episode called “The Soup Nazi.“The Soup Nazi” is the 116th episode of the NBC sitcom Seinfeld, which  was the sixth episode of the seventh season and first aired on November 2, 1995. The Soup Nazi is the nickname of the eponymous character Yev Kassem, played by Larry Thomas. The term “Nazi” is used as an exaggeration because of his strict regimen that he constantly demands from his customers. This episode was the first episode that producer Spike Ferestein is  credited as a writer. The idea for this episode came up when Ferestein told Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David about a New York soup vendor his name was Ali Yeganeh who was nicknamed “The Soup Nazi.”  Another part of this episode was when Elaine buys an armoire from a guy on the street. Ferestein’s information for the armoire subplot was the New York apartment which he lived did not allow people to move furniture on certain days. In the episode Elaine was not allowed to move her armoire into her apartment because it was Sunday. What happened next was that her armoire gets stolen by two guys on the street. The armoire thieve were homosexual guys. The reason for this is because Larry David said “only gay guys would steal an armoire”.

The reason that the subplot about this episode is important because even though in the episode Elaine was not allowed to move her armoire into her apartment because it was Sunday this actually happened to writer Spike Ferestein who had just bought a brand new television that he was not allowed to move into his apartment however, unlike Elaine Spike Ferestein  was eventually allowed to move his new television into his apartment he just had to wait for a few hours. In the DVD which shows the inside looks of the episode Spike Ferestein explains that he doesn’t know what he would have done if he had to keep his television on the sidewalk from when he first got it which was on Saturday until Monday morning. There has been some critical responses to this episode one in particular was from Linda S. Ghent, who is a Professor in the Department of Economics at  the University of Eastern Illinois, she discusses this episode in terms of its dramatization of the economic issue of market power. She states that the Soup Nazi has a monopoly power because he has the power to alter the market price of the goods and services he sells, one example of this is when he charges George two dollars for soup, and then three dollars for bread. She says that the soup seller is free to practice price discrimination against George Costanza and he has the right to banish Elaine from the restaurant because she didn’t follow the rules. Because of the fact that the soup is good, his reign over New York’s soup is so powerful that his customers prefer his soup and his abuse, rather than seek soup elsewhere. At the end of the episode Elaine finally breaks his monopoly when she finds his recipes in the armoire that he gave to her. Which is why the armoire subplot in this episode makes sense.

The second episode that I am going to discuss is called “The Puffy Shirt.” The Puffy shirt is the second episode of the fifth season. It was the 66th episode the episode originally aired on September 23, 1993. Larry David, the creator of the show,  came up with the idea to use the shirt.  This episode was directed by Tom Chereones, with writing credits to Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David. Chereones began working in educational television while a student at the University of Alabama. After moving to Hollywood his first work in television was a production manager for General Hospital in 1975.

The plot of this episode is George is upset because he has to move back in with his parents. Jerry and Elaine are out to dinner with Kramer and his new girlfriend who is a softly- spoken Leslie who is played by Wendel Meldrum. Kramer explains Leslie is a fashion designer and has designed a new puffy shirt. Elaine tells Leslie that Jerry is making an appearance on the Today Show to promote a Goodwill benefit to clothe the poor and homeless. Unable to hear Leslie’s reply Jerry and Elaine nod their heads agreeing. The next day, when Jerry is talking to Kramer, Jerry  realized inadvertently agrees to wear the puffy shirt on National Television.  Jerry feels the shirt is ridiculous, however Kramer urges him to wear it as stores have stocked the shirt in anticipation of Jerry wearing it on The Today Show. Heres more about the episode after dealing with his parents at a restaurant, George accidentally bumps into a woman spilling her things. The woman notices his beautiful hands and suggests he become a hand model. George then becomes very protective of his hands, shielding them with oven mitts and manicures. After his first photo shoot goes well, one of the people tells him about a famous hand model named Ray Mckigney who lost everything after damaging his hands.  

The next thing that I am going to talk about is the puffy shirt itself. In November of 2004 Jerry Seinfeld donated the puffy shirt to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. The way that this moment is related to the episode is because in the episode Jerry agrees to perform at a benefit to help clothe homeless people. Jerry Seinfeld said that he donated the shirt to the Smithsonian museum in the spirit of goodwill which was the main premise of the  episode however things get out of control when Elaine realizes that Jerry is wearing the Puffy Shirt to the benefit. He also says that the puffy shirt is the first joke to ever be inducted into the Smithsonian.

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