The Bus Boy Episode of Seinfeld
I have started watching Seinfeld from the very beginning. For years, even before I had a podcast where people listened to me spew absolutions, I always said that the early Seinfelds are best. I just watched episode 8, The Bus Boy and it is the first episode that has had a glimmer of what Seinfeld will become. The first couple of episodes were more interesting than funny. But the main thing was they were not DUMB. In my opinion the final 3 seasons of Seinfeld were just ridiculous and left nothing of the inner workings of humanity that Seinfeld studied in its first 5 or 6 years. However we will get to that opinion when I get up to those seasons. For now, we focus on one episode only: The Bus Boy. I suggest that anyone who is a Larry David fan should watch this episode. I know all of you went out and bought the first season when it was released but you really never watched many of the episodes because you wanted The Contest, The Soup Nazi or Yada, Yada, Yada. I submit that if in the following years you have grown to love Curb Your Enthusiasm, then The Bus Boy is a real gem. It's like finding a rare dinosaur fossil. In the first 7 episodes (of which 6 out 7 were written by Larry and Jerry) the stories were just about small things: meeting a girl, having a house guest, and offending a relative. In fact, these episodes are so much about nothing that I was surprised even though that is why the show is famous. In the Bus Boy, for the first time, they had two separate stories going on. Elaine had a man staying with her for a week. George got a bus boy fired. At then end of the episode, these two stories collide outside and off camera in Jerry's hallway. Larry David brought two stories together and in doing so it negatively effected Elaine and George. It also left Jerry trouble free. Both of these themes would continue forever on this show. The fact that these characters know each other will be detrimental for the Elaine, George and Kramer but Jerry will always be fine. In fact, I am surprised that Jerry isn't the most hated character on television ever because of his Teflon life but we'll get to that in a later blog as well. Back to The Bus Boy. Seeing this first collision of two plots is like seeing a grade school finger painting from Picasso. You could see the shades and tools that were to come. By Season 3 of Curb, Larry would be juggling 12-14 stories that will collide in an amazing way in the grand opening of his restaurant. But here, in 1990, he takes two and learns what happens when they collide. Networks tried for about 10 straight years to re-create Seinfeld. They set every show in New York. Always had a wacky neighbor. Tried to force TV catch phrases to catch on. But everyone missed the point. It wasn't the plot. It was the visionary. Larry David. What you want to do is find a singular voice, support them and watch them grow. Examples: JJ Abrams, David E. Kelley, Aaron Sorkin. Just to name some of my favorites. I am really enjoying watching Seinfeld grow and become what it did. And while all of us know the famous episodes, go ahead and grab that DVD set down off the shelf and dust off some of the ones you don't remember. It will make you miss when a simple line was true: must see TV.