topics last updated: march 8, 2000  

Season 7

EPISODE 105

THE ENGAGEMENT

FIRST AIRED 9/21/95 WRITER David DIR. Ackerman SYNOPSIS The end of two painfully superficial Jerry and George relationships prompts the friends to strike a pact and "become men." George assumes this means marriage and proposes to Susan; Jerry quickly comes to his senses. Elaine hires Kramer and Newman to kidnap a noisy dog. HISTORIC MOMENT Oddly, given the show's signature brazenness, Seinfeld says the dognapping incident generated the most flak from viewers. CRITIQUE A killer first 10 minutes, in which Jerry and George's wheel-spinning immaturity is totally nailed. It also leads off a season that will see Seinfeld's already Rube Goldbergian plots get even denser and more complex. A-

 

EPISODE 106

THE POSTPONEMENT

FIRST AIRED 9/28/95 WRITER David DIR. Ackerman SYNOPSIS Elaine—overcome with feelings of bitterness over "loser" George's engagement—confides her jealousy in a blabbermouth rabbi (Bruce Mahler). George, panicked and resentful over his hasty betrothal, attempts to delay the wedding. Kramer's café latte jones (he's been sucking 'em down since fifth grade) creates a litigious situation. HISTORIC MOMENT Jerry finally sees Plan 9 From Outer Space. CRITIQUE George's premarital squirming is, of course, a pleasure. But like the mohel of episode 66, the rebbe is a preposterous, off-putting caricature. C+

 

EPISODE 107

THE MAESTRO

FIRST AIRED 10/5/95 WRITER David DIR. Ackerman SYNOPSIS George's compassion for a clothing-store security guard turns into a disastrous crusade. The settlement of Kramer's lawsuit with Java World leaves him all hopped-up. Elaine dates the Maestro, a pretentious conductor Jerry suspects of lying about Tuscany rentals. INTRODUCES Phil Morris as Johnnie Cochran-style lawyer Jackie Chiles, who'll represent Kramer in future mishaps; and Mark Metcalf as the Maestro. HISTORIC MOMENT Jerry and Kramer in Europe. CRITIQUE Cheeky references galore (a high-profile McDonald's lawsuit, A Room With a View, the O.J. trial) pepper this otherwise hollow mélange. C+

 

EPISODE 108

THE WINK

FIRST AIRED 10/12/95 WRITERS Gammill/ Pross DIR. Ackerman SYNOPSIS Opposites attract, then combust: Dog-hating Elaine dates multiple-dog owner and wake-up caller James (Brian McNamara); newly vegetarian Jerry takes up with Elaine's mutton-lovin' cousin, Holly (Stacey Travis). Somehow, grapefruit pulp in George's eye leads to Morgan's dismissal and George's promotion. HISTORIC MOMENT Jerry calls Kramer "Jughead," prompting Kramer to dub Jerry "Archie," Elaine "Veronica," and George "Mr. Weatherbee." CRITIQUE For a plot so steeped in foodstuffs, there's curiously little to chew on. C+

 

EPISODE 109

THE HOT TUB

FIRST AIRED 10/19/95 WRITERS Kavet/ Robin DIR. Ackerman SYNOPSIS George's theory—that when you look annoyed all the time, people think you're busy—backfires. Elaine's inability to set an alarm clock, Kramer's faulty hot tub, and Jerry's good intentions are a losing strategy for New York Marathon runner Jean-Paul Jean-Paul (Jeremiah Birkett). CRITIQUE Effective if predictable doings; you can see Jean-Paul's downfall coming from 26 miles away. And this is the third subplot hinging on Elaine's inability to wake up promptly (one of them just last week). What gives? B-

 

EPISODE 110

THE SOUP NAZI

FIRST AIRED 11/2/95 WRITER Spike Feresten DIR. Ackerman SYNOPSIS The excellence of a local soup merchant's (Larry Thomas) product is exceeded only by his rigid guidelines for customer behavior. Jerry's incessant baby talk with a new chick drives a wedge between him and George. Antique-collecting thugs (John Paragon and Yul Vazquez) terrorize Kramer. CRITIQUE You know, despite all the attention this Emmy-nominated episode got (partly because it's based on a real NYC vendor), the idea is funnier than the execution. B

 

EPISODE 111

THE SECRET CODE

FIRST AIRED 11/9/95 WRITERS Berg/Schaffer DIR. Ackerman SYNOPSIS George's ATM code instigates the passing of J. Peterman's mother. Jerry's chronic foot-sleeping offends limpin' electronics-discount king Leapin' Larry (Lewis Arquette). Elaine goes for hapless Fred (Fred Stoller) simply because he can't remember her. CRITIQUE A disjointed effort, clumsily balanced on the head of a PIN. C+

 

EPISODE 112

THE POOL GUY

FIRST AIRED 11/16/95 WRITER David Mandel DIR. Ackerman SYNOPSIS George loses it when Elaine—upon realizing she has no gal pals—befriends Susan. Jerry gets an unwanted buddy in the form of Ramon (Carlos Jacott), the pool guy at his club. Kramer's new phone number—one digit off from Movie Phone—provides him with a new (pre)occupation. CRITIQUE Forget the Ramon bit, it's Kramer-as-phone-recording and George's panic at watching his worlds colliding ("relationship George" with "independent George") that drive this doozy. A-

 

EPISODE 113

THE SPONGE

FIRST AIRED 12/7/95 WRITER Mehlman DIR. Ackerman SYNOPSIS After getting a woman's number off an AIDS Walk list, Jerry fears she's too good ("You can't have sex with someone you admire!"). Elaine's loyalty to her discontinued birth control method (the Today Sponge) prompts hoarding and a new boyfriend-screening process. HISTORIC MOMENT We learn that Jerry relabels his jeans (from a 32" to 31" waist). CRITIQUE Eminently Sponge-worthy. A-

 

EPISODE 114

THE GUM

FIRST AIRED 12/14/95 WRITERS Gammill/ Pross DIR. AckermanSYNOPSIS Kramer takes both a rehabilitated movie theater and post&endashnervous breakdown Lloyd Braun (68) under his wing. George meets Deena, a high school chum who's convinced he's having a breakdown. HISTORIC MOMENT That's cocreator Larry David refusing to change George's $20 bill. INTRODUCES Mary Jo Keenan as Deena, who will make two more cameos, always catching George at his most unhinged; and Ruth Cohen as Monk's cashier Ruthie Cohen. CRITIQUE See it for a thickly bespectacled Jerry doing rare—and rewarding— physical shtick. B+

 

EPISODE 115

THE RYE

FIRST AIRED 1/4/96 WRITER Leifer DIR. Ackerman SYNOPSIS Elaine's desire to do "everything" proves disastrous for sponge-worthy sax player John (Jeff Yagher). The Costanzas meet Susan's stuffy parents and clash over any number of topics—most significantly a ''de-gifted'' loaf of marble rye. Moonlighting hansom-cab driver Kramer takes the Rosses for an aromatic, Beef-A-Reeno-fueled ride. HISTORIC MOMENT A frustrating trip to Schnitzer's Bakery results in Jerry mugging an elderly woman (Frances Bay, who will get her revenge in 118). CRITIQUE It's no mean feat tackling two potentially tasteless topics (flatulence and oral sex) in one prime-time setting. To do it so elegantly is just icing on the rye. A

 

EPISODE 116

THE CADDY

FIRST AIRED 1/25/96 WRITERS Kavet/ Robin DIR. Ackerman SYNOPSIS Kramer makes his caddy, Stan (Deep Space Nine's Armin Shimerman), his consigliere. Elaine's high school nemesis—quot;Braless Wonder" Sue Ellen Mischke—resurfaces, and Elaine's attempts to mend her "freewheelin'" ways lead to a car accident, an O.J.-esque trial, and a new Peterman catalog item. INTRODUCES Brenda Strong as smug Oh Henry! candy-bar heiress Mischke, who will further irk Elaine in 124 and 135. CRITIQUE The caddy angle is disposable, but Elaine's beautifully articulated, anti-Mischke furor is something any red-blooded woman can endorse. B+

 

EPISODE 117

THE SEVEN

FIRST AIRED 2/1/96 WRITERS Berg/Schaffer DIR. Ackerman SYNOPSIS Jerry is perplexed by Christie (Lisa Deanne), a woman who always appears to wear the same dress. Newman arbitrates a Kramer&endashElaine dispute over a bike. George is incensed when a couple steals his preferred baby name (Seven—Mickey Mantle's number). CRITIQUE Newman's overblown take on Solomon and Jerry's escalating pique over his girlfriend's superhero-like approach to fashion eclipse a rather harping George. B

 

EPISODE 118

THE CADILLAC (ONE HOUR)

FIRST AIRED 2/8/96 WRITERS David/Seinfeld DIR. Ackerman SYNOPSIS A particularly fat stand-up check prompts Jerry to buy his father a Cadillac, which provokes a Jack Klompus-led impeachment of condo-board prez Mr. Seinfeld. George becomes aware of—then obsessed with—an opportunity to date Marisa Tomei (in a cameo). Kramer plays cat and mouse with a cable guy. CRITIQUE What a bad parental Seinfeld spin-off might look like. Throw in a woefully silly Kramer angle and you're watching a car wreck. C-

 

EPISODE 119

THE SHOWERHEAD

FIRST AIRED 2/15/96 WRITERS Mehlman/ Gross DIR. Ackerman SYNOPSIS The building's new low-flow showerheads wreak havoc on Kramer's and Jerry's hair. The Costanzas and the exiled Seinfelds play chicken over who will move to Florida and who will stay in NewYork. Elaine's Peterman trip to Africa ("There's a Masai sandal...") is jeopardized by her predilection for poppy-seed muffins. HISTORIC MOMENT A second Tonight Show appearance for Jerry (Jay Leno cameos). CRITIQUEAbrasive parental stuff—this time astute. The rest isas flat as Kramer's insufficiently rinsed hair. C+

 

EPISODE 120

THE DOLL

FIRST AIRED 2/22/96 WRITERS Gammill/ Pross DIR. Ackerman SYNOPSIS Jerry must go on Charles Grodin with nothin' when Memphis FedEx exec Sally (Kathy Griffin) screws up a barbecue-sauce delivery (hello?). George's apartment becomes home to Susan's dolls—one of which is a dead ringer for Mrs. Costanza (hello?). Elaine must get an autograph from "the third" of the Three Tenors to reconnect with the Maestro (107), who has a photo from their Tuscany trip of a guy who Frank Costanza believes is his long-lost cousin Carlo (hellooooo?). CRITIQUE Hello? C

 

EPISODE 121

THE FRIARS CLUB

FIRST AIRED 3/7/96 WRITER Mandel DIR. Ackerman SYNOPSIS Elaine is convinced new Peterman employee Bob Grossberg (Rob Schneider) is faking deafness. Prospective Friar Jerry forgets to return a borrowed Club jacket, only to have it "misplaced" by The Flying Sandos Brothers (The Flying Karamazov Brothers). Kramer's latest Big Idea—Da Vinci sleep—nearly kills him. CRITIQUE More pointless repetition; this is the fourth time hearing issues have been played for laughs, not to mention another jacket-dependent riff. Only Kramer saves the day. C+

 

EPISODE 122

THE WIG MASTER

FIRST AIRED 4/4/96 WRITER Feresten DIR. Ackerman SYNOPSIS Another smarmy Brit—this one a clothing salesman (Harry Van Gorkum)—is the catalyst for Jerry's feeling emasculated and Elaine's suspecting she is being strung along for sex. A parking-lot prostitution ring and Susan's guest, Ethan the wig master (Ellen's Patrick Bristow), are the catalysts for George's appearing to be a john and Kramer a pimp. CRITIQUE A bedroom farce minus the bedrooms, and a breath of fresh air after the clumsy, shrill escapades of recent episodes. Kramer's mack-daddy transformation is another example of how gracefully this show can still pull off the ludicrous. A-

 

EPISODE 123

THE CALZONE

FIRST AIRED 4/25/96 WRITERS Berg/Schaffer DIR. Ackerman SYNOPSIS Elaine keeps company with Todd Gack (John D'Aquino), a guy who won't admit they're dating despite the telltale signs. Jerry makes use of the persuasive talents of Nicki (Danette Tays), a "bold and beautiful...Godzilla" men can't say no to. George hooks Steinbrenner on a particular calzone, only to be banished from the pizzeria. CRITIQUE Contained and by the book, in a good way. B

 

EPISODE 124

THE BOTTLE DEPOSIT
(ONE HOUR)

FIRST AIRED 5/2/96 WRITERS Kavet/Robin DIR. Ackerman SYNOPSIS A deranged mechanic (Brad Garrett) abducts Jerry's car (along with JFK's golf clubs, bought at an auction by Elaine for Mr. Peterman); George is mistakenly committed to a mental institution; and Kramer and Newman hit upon a lucrative recycling scam that has them Michigan-bound. CRITIQUE Unlike the smart, elaborate construction of their best episodes, "Bottle Deposit" seemslike one sprawling ad-lib. At this point, the prospect of an hour-long episode incites dread. C

 

EPISODE 125

THE WAIT OUT

FIRST AIRED 5/9/96 WRITERS Mehlman/ Matt Selman DIR. Ackerman SYNOPSIS Elaine and Jerry pounce on newly separated couple David (Cary Elwes) and Beth (Ned and Stacey's Debra Messing) after a "folksy" comment from George splits them up. Kramer starts wearing jeans again. HISTORIC MOMENTElaine drives (badly). CRITIQUE Highlights the latest expression of a trend that will continue into next season: This year, as Elaine's look has become increasingly (and, we think, inappropriately) glam, her appealingly aggressive spunk has crossed the line into obnoxious boorishness. Why? C+

 

EPISODE 126

THE INVITATIONS

Susan's GraveFIRST AIRED 5/16/96 WRITER David DIR. Ackerman SYNOPSIS In the series' most controversial episode, Susan Biddle Ross dies from licking cheap wedding-invitation envelopes—to George's extreme relief. Jerry meets his cereal-lovin', wisecrackin', Superman-obsessed counterpart, Jeannie Steinman (Janeane Garofalo), and proposes marriage—to his immediate distress ("I can't be with someone like me—I hate myself!"). CRITIQUE A sublime coda for the season and cocreator David. However, the resulting uproar over the macabre callousness of this episode perplexes us. This is, after all, a show where Jerry once mugged an old woman for a loaf of bread. A

 

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