There are a lot of reasons to love the TV show “Seinfeld” but one that I find particularly appealing has little to do with yada-yada-yada, soup Nazis or close-talkers: I love that Jerry liked newspapers.
Having now seen every episode perhaps dozens of times, it’s odd and wonderful how often a newspaper or a newspaper person plays a role in the show.
With Jerry coming to town Friday, it seemed like a good time to recount 10 times Jerry showed that he loved getting his hands dirty with newsprint – including one time when he made joke about the newspaper getting his hands dirty.
Synopsis: Jerry gets tracked down by a library cop named Bookman who wants the New York Public Library’s copy of “The Tropic of Cancer” by Henry Miller that Jerry took out returned.
Newspaper reference: Kramer hates the library, especially those people who go there to read the newspaper.
Kramer: “It's all a bunch of cheapskates in there anyway. People sitting around reading the newspaper attached to huge wooden sticks ‘Trying to save a quarter, ooh.’ ”
The Big Salad
Synopsis: George is dating a woman named Julie and eating lunch with her at the coffee shop. Elaine asks George if he will get her a “big salad” to go. When Julie hands Elaine the bag and Elaine thanks her, George is mad that he didn’t get credit for the big salad.
Newspaper reference: Julie and George are making small talk and Julie is talking about her favorite columnists.
Julie: “I like Anna Quindlen’s column and Safire. Don't you like Safire?”
George: “Oh, Safire. Uh ha.”
Julie: “Although at times can be rather pedantic.”
George: “He can be pedantic. He can be pedantic.”
Julie: “And Bob Herbert's great. He's the Daily News.”
George: “Yes. Yes. You know what's interesting. The quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons is Bobby Hebert. No ‘r’ which I find fascinating. You know it's Herbert, H-e-r-b-e-r-t, Hebert, H-e-b-e-R-t. ‘Hebert’ it's a fun name to pronounce. Try and say it. Hebert. Take a shot. All right.
Synopsis: Jerry finally is fed up with Kramer barging into his apartment uninvited and makes Kramer give him back his spare set of keys. That sends Kramer on a journey of reflection in which he tells George he “yearns.” In the coffee shop, he suggests that George is wasting his life.
Newspaper reference: In a back-and-forth, George comes to realize his life is almost meaningless, except for one thing.
Kramer: Do you have a job?
Kramer: You got money?
Kramer: Do you have a woman?
Kramer: Do you have any prospects?
Kramer: You got anything on the horizon?
Kramer: Do you have any action at all?
Kramer: Do you have any conceivable reason for even getting up in the morning?
George: I like to get the Daily News!
The Red Dot
Synopsis: Elaine tells George that the publishing company where she works has an opening for a proofreader and during her office Christmas party, says all George has to do is meet her boss, Mr. Lippman. So George has an impromptu interview with him.
Newspaper reference: George has to come up with the name of a writer he likes.
Lippman: Who do you read?
George: I like Mike Lupica.
Lippman: Mike Lupica?
George: He's a sports writer for the Daily News. I find him very insightful...
Synopsis: Elaine notices that a fellow diner is eavesdropping on a conversation she is having with George and Jerry, so she jokingly suggests that they are gay. The eavesdropper turns out to be a reporter for the NYU paper who is supposed to be meeting Jerry to interview him.
Newspaper reference: The story from the NYU paper is picked up by the Associated Press.
Man 1: The New York Post. They've got an article about you.
Jerry: "Although they maintain separate residences, the comedian and his longtime companion seem to be inseparable..." Oh no! The Associated Press picked up the NYU story. That's going to be in every paper! I've been "outed"! I wasn't even "in"!
George: Now everyone's going to think we're gay!
Jerry: Not that there's anything wrong with that...
Synopsis: The gang gets tickets in the owner’s box right behind the dugout for the Yankees-Orioles game courtesy of Jerry’s latest girlfriend, whose father is the Yankees’ accountant. Elaine, who told Lippman she was going to be out of town and has to miss his son’s bris, refuses to take off her O’s cap which causes her to be thrown out of the game. Their picture ends up in the Sunday New York Times.
Newspaper reference: Elaine tries to steal Lippman’s copy of the Times so that he does not discover her lie.
Elaine: Oh! Where are you going?
Lippman: Going to Houston. It's a publisher's convention. Can I have my sports section?
Elaine: Ah. ...Yeah.
Lippman: I've been saving it for the plane. I never miss the Sunday sports section.
Elaine: There's nothing to read, it's just yesterday's news. You know, the Yankees won, the Mets lost, Ricky Henderson's unhappy...
The Marine Biologist
Synopsis: Jerry runs into Diane DeConn, whom he and George knew in college, and tells her that George became a marine biologist. This leads to the two of them getting together. On a walk along the beach, a crowd has gathered where a whale is in trouble. “Is anyone here a marine biologist?” a voice cries out. George eventually wades into the surf and rescues the great mammal by pulling a golf ball from its blowhole.
Newspaper reference: The story gets picked up in the New York papers.
Elaine: George, I was just reading this thing in the papers. It's amazing!
George: I know I was just telling them the story.
Kramer: Come on, George, finish the story.
George: The sea was angry that day, my friends, like an old man trying to return soup at a deli!
Synopsis: The four friends take different Subway trains to different destinations.
Newspaper reference: George is reading the paper when he notices a beautiful woman rub her leg.
Woman: You looking for a job?
George: Me, why?
Woman: Well, you're reading the classifieds.
George: Oh, no no no. I was just looking for stock-pages. Here it is.
Looking for the quotes. Gotta check the quotes. Love a good quote. Oh, IBM
up a quarter.
Synopsis: Jerry and Elaine conspire to play matchmaker and set George up on a date with Elaine’s friend.
Newspaper reference: As he does in many episodes, Jerry is reading the paper in his apartment.
Jerry: Look at my hands. Look. Filthy from the paper. You know, they should give you a Wet-nap when you buy one, like at those rib joints.
Synopsis: After Elaine she can’t figure out what a cartoon in the New Yorker is supposed to mean, she decided to try and make one herself. It’s a pig at a complaint window saying “I wish I was taller.” It gets published in the New Yorker, but then her boss – Peterman – recognizes it as a “Ziggy” cartoon from the newspaper comics page.
Newspaper reference: “Ziggy” gets back at Elaine in the comics.
Jerry: You ripped off a Ziggy?
Elaine: It must've seeped up my subconscious. Puddy has Ziggy bed sheets....D'you read the comics today?
Jerry: I see that Ziggy's back at the complaint department. "The New Yorker is stealing my ideas." Ha ha ha. See that's funny ...'cause it's real.