May 14, 2010
"Seinfeld" went off the air 12 years ago Friday, ending a nine-year, 180-episode run that included a number of tennis-themed storylines. Kramer as a ballboy, Jerry buying a new racquet. Monica Seles impersonators grunting loudly, yada, yada, yada.
Jerry Seinfeld is a big tennis fan who often attends U.S. Open matches with his wife or other celebrity friends (like Larry David, below), so it's not surprising he worked tennis into a number of episodes. To celebrate the finale anniversary of the greatest sitcom in the history of television, and of this Juilliard-trained dermatologist, here are the top five tennis moments on "Seinfeld":
5. George gets caught on TV at the U.S. Open scarfing down a hot fuge sundae in "The Lip Reader." Watch it here. Eventually his girlfriend breaks up with him because of how he inhaled the sundae (she used his "it's not you, it's me" line in the break-up). Two interesting notes about this: The score chryon shows Mary Pierce losing to Natalia Baudone. The two actually played in the '93 Open, but Pierce prevailed in three sets. Also, the second announcer who makes fun of George is none other than series co-creator Larry David.)
4. Elaine needs to get Mr. Pitt a $300 racquet for his match against Ethel Kennedy in "The Switch." Elaine's quest to get her boss' Bruline racquet back from a woman with whom she had a job interview is the "C" story of the classic episode where Kramer's first name finally gets revealed, and Jerry and George figure out a way to make the roommate switch. There's not much to it except for Jerry's line, "Mr. Pitt needs a $300 Bruline to beat Ethel Kennedy?" (RFK's widow was 67 years old at the time.)
3. Jerry dates a deaf lineswoman in "The Lip Reader." Tennis is at the forefront of 1993's episode "The Lip Reader" when Jerry falls for a "B.L." (beautiful lineswoman) who happens to be deaf. Marlee Matlin plays Laura, who helps get Kramer a job (see No. 1) and gets confused while trying to read the lips of George's ex-girlfriend.
2. Jerry tanks a match against Milos, the hapless tennis pro in "The Comeback". Milos dabbles in the flesh trade by offering his wife to Jerry as some sort of medievel sexual payola. When that fails, Jerry agrees to lose to Milos so the pro can regain the respect of his wife, thus leading to the classic taunt, "another game for Milos!" (Note: There were serious discussions about naming this blog "Another game for Milos." Well, serious may be the wrong word. But there were discussions.)
1. The great ballman experiment ends with Kramer injuring Monica Seles in "The Lip Reader".
Kramer: "Hey Jerry, do me a favor. The next time you see that lineswoman ask her how those ball boys get those jobs. I would love to be able to do that."
Jerry: "Kramer, I think perhaps you've overlooked one of the key aspects of this activity. It's ball `boys,' not ball men. There are no ball men."
Kramer's gusto for going after the balls lands him a spot ballboying the finals, but the experiment ends when he injures Monica Seles while running to grab a ball that hit the net.