Though I was a consistent weekly watcher of Everybody Loves Raymond during its lengthy network run, there is only one episode of that nine-year series that I’d be interested in seeing again. In that episode, entitled “Baggage”, Ray and Debra have returned from a trip, there’s a suitcase involved, and both of them are determined not to be the one to put it away.
I would happily re-watch that episode in reruns, not only because it was hilarious, but– from a professional standpoint – to study how they did it. Plus, there’s an extended I Love Lucy-level physical comedy sequence in “Baggage” that makes the episode worth re-watching just to re-watch that.
I was also an avid follower of Friends. And yet, not only are there no – zero – Friends episodes that I am drawn to revisiting in syndication. I cannot at this moment recall what any of the episodes were. They all seem to amoeba together.
For me, Friends was primarily enjoyable because of the quality of the jokes, highlighted by the much repeated, at least on this blog, Matthew Perry line, “Let’s go for some Chinese food. Or, as they call it in China…food.”
So there you have it. Two great comedy series that I really enjoyed watching the first time around – one of them has one episode I would see again, and the other doesn’t have any.
By contrast, here is just a partial list of episodes of Seinfeld I would enthusiastically watch again, and have on numerous occasions, including as recently as last night, when I re-watched “The English Patient.” (Not on my list, validating my claim that it’s only a partial one.)
And now, the list:
“The Pony Remark”
“The Chinese Restaurant”
“The Pen” (the one the astronauts use.)
“The Parking Garage” (maybe my favorite episode of all.)
“The Bubble Boy” (which includes the not-quite-a-word “Moops.”)
“The Contest” (bold, but not my favorite, because I was never clear about who won.)
“The Junior Mint”
“The Pitch” (where Jerry and George pitch NBC their “show about nothing.”)
“The Marine Biologist” (where George heroically extracts a golf ball from a whale’s blowhole.)
“The Soup Nazi”
“The Sponge” (which introduces the term “sponge-worthy.”)
“The Fix-Up” (where George insists that his blind date’s face exhibit a “pinkish hue”, and upon learning that he may have impregnated her exults, “My boys can swim!”
And “The Limo”, where, to get a free limo ride in from the airport, George and Jerry pretend they're the people the limo was sent to pick up, only to discover that the people the limo was sent to pick up are the keynote speakers at a major Nazi Party rally.
I have just listed fifteen Seinfeld episodes that I would watch, and have watched, over and over. And, that’s, at the risk of being repetitious, only a partial list.
There is also the episode where a defeated George decides to change his luck by behaving the exact opposite of the way he usually behaves; the one where Elaine exposes her dancing ineptitude; and the – I think it’s a two-parter – where Jerry’s involved in a boy-girl-type relationship with former all-star first baseman, Keith Hernandez.
Oh yeah, and the “Serenity Now” episode. And the episode where Kramer and George’s father team up to promote a bra for men. And the one where Jerry believes that his dentist (Bryan Cranston) has deliberately converted to Judaism, so he can get away with telling anti-Semitic jokes. And the one where Kramer’s “Little Person” actor friend starts “heightening.”
Which reminds me of the one where Kramer and his “Little Person” actor friend compete for roles as “patients” exhibiting symptoms that student doctors are required to diagnose. And how about the one where Jerry takes a lie detector test, revealing that he’s a passionate devotee of Melrose Place?
Okay. I was going to examine why two series I once loved inspire in me little to no interest in watching them in reruns, while my enthusiasm for revisiting Seinfeld episodes is virtually open-ended. (There are a few made after Larry David left that I’m not crazy about.)
Unfortunately, an in-depth examination of that nature takes time, something my runaway, favorite Seinfeld episode-listing enthusiasm has caused me to completely run out of.
I will continue with this tomorrow.
Oh, and there’s the episode where an unknowing “Mr. Pitt” makes a speech wearing a “Hitler moustache.” And the one where a Novocained Kramer is mistaken for being “slow.”
Oh yeah, and the “shrinkage” episode.
And the one where Kramer, wearing a white deli jacket, is taken for a dermatologist. And Elaine’s unintentionally revealing Christmas card picture. And Jerry spots his dry cleaner wearing his clothes.
I really have to stop now. I have to get to a “bris.”
Oh, and “The Bris.”
(That wasn’t a set-up. I really do have to go to a “bris.” Which I may also write about, if I can sit through it.)
And there’s the “Mandelbaum! Mandelbaum!" episode; and the one where Kathy Griffin performs a one-woman show about Jerry being “the Devil”; and “The Library”, where Jerry’s hounded for a library book he forgot to return in 1971; and the one where Kramer has to fire Raquel Welch; and the…
Please! I have to get to that baby snipping!