Internet scholars have recently either made a startling discovery, or revealed one of the most pointless coincidences in the history of bipeds:
The 1994 mid-season Seinfeld episode ‘The Suit’…
And Elvis Presley’s 1959 greatest hits collection and gold lame fetishist’s dream, “50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong“…
… unfurl in perfect sync, rhythmically as well as thematically.
No matter the provenance, it’s a stunning finding that overshadows any other possibly more well-known but ultimately too loosely associated attempts at this kind of multi-media cross-pollination.
The lowdown, then:
Cue up “I Need Your Love Tonight:” just as the show’s bumper music fades and George enters Jerry’s apartment.
He’s wearing a top hat and a cape and announces that he’s finally going out on a date with Wanda, whom he’s been pursuing for weeks. He’s also discovered that she’s a huge fan of The Phantom of the Opera, explaining his get-up.
Note the look on Jerry’s face just as Elvis sings ‘I’ve been waiting just for tonight,’ a sign of the emotional complexity of their friendship. The song fades just as George exits and Kramer enters.
Kramer asks to borrow Jerry’s bicycle. Jerry asks why.
Kramer, shoving a brisket into Jerry’s oven, says he’s gotten a paper route.
While they discuss the pros and cons of running a paper route, Elaine enters and immediately goes into a rant about men’s watches, their exorbitant prices and Byzantine inner workings, but mostly about their chunkiness: ‘Who wants to wear a $5500 ice cube with numbers on the their wrist?’
Kramer agrees. ‘Don’t’ plays precisely over the scene, Elvis pleading with Jerry to ignore what’s going on with these two in his apartment.
Jerry meets his current dating partner, Nina, at the restaurant.
They’re in the midst of planning a getaway weekend to Belgrade that involves a wedding while “Wear My Ring Around Your Neck” plays jauntily, epitomizing their carefree back and forth, despite Jerry’s ongoing concern about Nina’s apparently ‘enormous’ uvula, which he keeps glancing at while she talks or takes a bite of her meatloaf.
She, on the other hand, is secretly concerned about his insistence on eating fois gres with a spork, as her interior monologue reveals.
This tune opens as George enters Wanda’s heavily TPOTO-centric bedroom.
George remains wary, even as Wanda vamps around as Christine Daae in full Don Juan Triumphant fig (‘Let’s go past the point of no return’), finally sitting coquettishly on the bed. George approaches, still hesitant, and then is nearly crushed by the chandelier swinging down from the ceiling.
Kramer attempts to deliver his papers, which of course goes badly.
He hits people, almost gets run over, is chased by bees near Central Park, and is on the receiving end of a public dressing down by the owner of a butcher shop, who calls him ‘the hairiest teenager he’s ever seen.’ And, buoyed by the bopping ‘I Got Stung,’ we go to commercial. Pause through the ensuing ads before starting next song.
Jerry gets a call from Nina, who asks him about picking up the suit she selected for him to wear to the wedding.
He tells her he’s going down there soon, and we cut to him at ‘Bertie’s Suit and Sport Coat Emporium.’ A smooth-talking tailor brings out the suit, which is a huge, boxy white monstrosity. Jerry tries it on and sure enough, it makes him look like David Byrne in “Stop Making Sense,” even as The King finishes with a flourish: ‘The things that we two could plan / Would make my dreams come true.’
Elaine gives her boyfriend Seamus, who is flamboyantly red-headed, a smaller watch that he accepts rather reluctantly.
After putting it on, he walks around his apartment while looking at it on his wrist. After dissembling for a minute or so about how much he ‘likes’ the gift, he finally admits that it’s simply too feminine for his tastes. Elaine insists that he look at it outside on his fire escape. He tries to get a good angle with the sun to look at it, and tumbles over the railing. ‘A Big Hunk o’ Love,’ indeed.
Kramer returns Jerry’s now beat-up bicycle, explaining more of the difficulties he experienced while on his paper route…
… pummeled by a phalanx of umbrella-toting grannies, taxis veering into his path unexpectedly, his inability to accurately throw newspapers onto second or third floor balconies. A flashback reveals Kramer botching one such throw: an errant toss ends up with a rolled-up paper landing atop a flaming hibachi, causing the small group up there to scatter and employ fire extinguishers.
This combination of song and scene is perhaps the most incompatible, although Jerry’s feelings about his bike are well-documented.
George recounts his night with the Opera fetishist, which, after coitus, included a breakfast with Phantom-silhouetted pancakes.
Jerry, who empathizes in the most thin and shallow way possible (‘Yeah, it’s too bad… at least you had a meal and a show… maybe next time go out with a woman who likes Oklahoma and avoid any overhead lighting hazards…’), tells a story about going out with a woman who insisted that corn chips were not made of corn, but of deoxidized and flavored foam detritus.
George asks what the latter story has to do with his tale of Broadway-adjacent debauchery. Jerry replies that it doesn’t; he was just reminded of one of his own dating misfortunes.
As “Doncha’ Think It’s Time,” with its opening bass line (reflective of the show’s actual intro music) introduces the scene:
Jerry models the suit for Elaine, who responds negatively. They both reject it without reservation, and she suggests breaking up with a woman who is so obviously fashion-ignorant. She then reveals she broke up with her boyfriend because of the watch, coldly delivering the news at hospital bed-side after his unfortunate tumble off of his balcony. She offers to sell him the watch at a substantial discount; he declines, finding it too feminine. Elaine replies that his entire arm is already too feminine. Finis…
And so, the question:
Was this an intentional mashup that Seinfeld and David cooked up over a tranche of kippers and Ritz as a gift to the uber-fan, a kind of an Easter egg, if Easter was an obscure holiday celebrating the last neap tide before the next transit of Mercury, and egg a wolverine’s toe?
If so, the sheer obfuscatory nature of the enterprise obviates its own existence, a nice bit of ouroboros, but: if an invisible snake ate its own tail, would it amuse anyone, other than invisible cannibal snake aficionados.
The creators remain mum; the mystery endures.
An exploration of the curious parallel orientation between the national anthems of Sub Saharan African nations, performed east to west, and the preparation of cinnamon-steeped blancmange according to Martha Stewart’s recipe.
Until then, sigue sigue sputnik.
Let the author know that you liked their article with a “Green Thumb” Upvote!