Sunday, March 18, 2007

If I Can't Be a Banker, I Don't Wanna Live

Happy day after St. Patrick's Day everybody! Hope you all had a nice holiday. If you're not Irish or don't like to pretend to be, then I hope you had a nice Saturday. For today's entry, I thought I would do something a little different. Now, if everything goes to plan, my book should end up as the be all, end all guide to Seinfeld. But I must acknowledge those that have come before me, to wit, The Entertainment Weekly Seinfeld Companion. This was a guide written in 1993 that covered the show's first four seasons. It was written by Bruce Fretts, who is now the editor in chief of TV Guide. I spoke with Mr. Fretts on the phone some months ago, not a bad guy. He said he was given the assignment and basically had to do a rush job on it. This is what I think led to an incomplete and sometimes incorrect guide.

So on to the fun. For a few entries, I will do a side by side comparison, first the EW version, then mine. The goal is to show just how complete my book will be. Here we go.

The Banker Story Alibi Kramer uses to try to help Newman overturn a speeding ticket; i.e., Newman was racing to save Kramer, who was going to commit suicide because he had never become a banker (42)

After Newman gets a speeding ticket, he tries to get out of it by saying he was rushing home to stop a friend from committing suicide; Newman gets Kramer to be that friend, “All we need is a reason why you were gonna commit suicide.” Kramer first suggests that it’s because he never had an air conditioner, but Newman shoots that down; Kramer then suggests, “I was never able to become a banker.” Newman perks up, “Banker! So you’re killing yourself because your dreams of becoming a banker have gone unfulfilled. You can’t live without being a banker.” Kramer adds, “Yeah, yeah. If I can’t be a banker, I don’t wanna live.” Newman continues, “You must be a banker!” and Kramer repeats, “Must be a banker!” They decide to go with the banker story; when Newman gives his testimony regarding the suicide, the judge doesn’t understand and Newman explains, “You see, it had been his lifelong dream to be a banker, and he, just the day before, he was turned down by another bank. I believe it was the Manufacturers Hanover on Lexington and 40th Street. That was the third bank in two weeks to turn him down, so I was a little concerned.” Newman goes on to admit that he was indeed speeding, but doing so to save a man’s life. “An innocent person who wanted nothing more out of life than to love, to be loved, and to be a banker.” Kramer finally takes the stand and says that he was upset over not becoming a banker; Newman, who is now acting as a prosecutor, asks, “And this failure to become a banker was eating at you. Eating, eating, eating at you inside…It was your family that pushed you into banking. It was their dream for you.” Kramer explains, “Well, my father, when I was a kid, he took me to the bank and he lifted me up, and he pointed to the teller, and he said, ‘Sonny boy, take a good look at him. That’s gonna be you someday.’” Newman then asks why Kramer failed and gets right into his face; Kramer says he doesn’t know and Newman tells him, “Because you hated your father and you would do anything to displease him!” However, Kramer becomes forgetful, due to the kick in the head from Joe Davola, and cannot continue the lie; the jig is up and Newman is forced to pay the 75 dollars (42)

The Kramer Portrait of Kramer in his beloved jacket painted by an artist girlfriend of Jerry's and purchased by a pair of pretentious collectors. "His struggle is man's struggle...he's a loathsome, offensive brute, yet I can't look away." (37)

The Kramer
Title of the portrait Jerry’s girlfriend, Nina, does of Kramer; two art enthusiasts, Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong, marvel at the painting, and Mrs. Armstrong says, “I sense great vulnerability. A man-child crying out for love. An innocent orphan in the postmodern world.” However, Mr. Armstrong responds, “I see a parasite. A sexually depraved miscreant who is seeking only to gratify his basest and most immediate urges.” Mrs. Armstrong goes on to say, “His struggle is man’s struggle. He lifts my spirits.” Mr. Armstrong argues, “He is a loathsome, offensive brute. Yet I can’t look away.” Mrs. Armstrong says, “He transcends time and space,” while Mr. Armstrong says, “He sickens me.” Finally, Mrs. Armstrong says, “I love it,” and Mr. Armstrong replies, “Me too.” They eventually buy the painting for $5000 (37)

Pez Dispenser
Difficult-to-load cartoon candy holder that Jerry places on Elaine's leg during a classical piano recital, causing her to burst out laughing (31)

Pez Dispenser Candy toy that Kramer buys five of at a flea market; when he pulls it out to get some Pez, Jerry gleefully asks, “Is that a Pez dispenser?” Kramer gives him the Tweety Bird dispenser and Jerry is delighted; Jerry takes it with him when he and Elaine attend the recital of George’s classical pianist girlfriend, Noel; after taking a Pez, he places the dispenser on Elaine’s lap which cause her to burst into laughter; she tries to control it, but cannot, and leaves, laughing all the way; Jerry then stands the dispenser in Elaine’s empty seat; backstage after the show, George asks Jerry why he did it and Jerry replies, “I don’t know. It was an impulse.” George then asks, “What kind of a sick impulse is that?” Soon, Jerry takes out a new pack of candy and states, “These things are really hard to load.” Meanwhile, Jerry agrees to host an intervention for Richie Appel and the day after, he tells George it was ugly at first, but suddenly Richie spotted the Pez dispenser on the coffee table; “He picks it up, he’s staring at it. It’s like he’s hypnotized by it. Then he’s telling us this story about how when he was a kid, he was in the car with his father and his father was trying to load one of them.” George says, “Well, they’re hard to load,” and Jerry replies, “Tell me something I don’t know. So as the father’s trying to load it, he loses control of the car, crashes into a high school cafeteria…Nobody’s hurt, but Pez was all over the car. And the dispenser was destroyed virtually beyond recognition…So as he’s telling the story, he starts crying.” George asks what he did and Jerry responds, “What do you think? I gave him my Pez dispenser…Two hours later, he checks into Smither’s Clinic. Talked to the doctor yesterday. He’s doing great on the rehab, he’s hooked on Pez. He’s eating them like there’s no tomorrow.” (31)

Day and night, huh? Now this was not meant as a knock on Bruce Fretts, I mean, I own two of his books. This was merely a fun comparison that shows off my dedication to going above and beyond what may be necessary. Speaking of going, why not go and click the link on the right that gets your name in the book. That's right. You sign up, your name will appear in my book. You think Bruce Fretts would do this for you? Well, maybe, but let's say no anyway.


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