Monday, February 08, 2016

Art Vandalized

A friend sent me this list, from Vulture, ranking all 169 episodes of Seinfeld.  It's so wrong I'm sorry that it exists.  It would be best to just ignore it, but let me note a few things.

I'll start from the bottom and work my way up, as the list does.  The two worst episodes are "The Puerto Rican Day Parade" and "The Outing."  As far as I can tell, they're at the bottom because they're politically incorrect.  It's certainly not about the comedy, as "The Outing" is a classic or at least near-classic. (It's where a newspaper article appears claiming Jerry and George are gay, and they keep noting "not that there's anything wrong with that.")

In general, the first two season, where the show was good but still finding its way, and the last two seasons, where the show was getting tired and Larry David left, should have the most in the bottom half, but there seem to be more that there should be from the middle years.

The fourth worst episode--#166--is "The Jacket," a fine episodes where the guys meet Elaine's tough-guy father, memorably played by Lawrence Tierney.  #160, "The Ex-Girlfriend," has the classic moment where a girlfriend dumps Jerry because his act is not funny enough.

Others in the bottom 69 that shouldn't be there:  "The Gum," where Lloyd Braun is going crazy; "The Shoes," where George looks at Bob Balaban's daughter's breasts; "The Susie," where there's confusion at J. Peterman over Elaine's name; "The Soup Nazi" at #143, when this is top ten for sure!;  "The Watch," where George screws up the NBC deal; "The Big Salad," which is top 100 for the salad stuff alone; "The Wink," one of the better episodes with George and the Yankees; "The Junior Mint," the classic "Mulva" episode which may be top ten and is certainly top 25; "The Strike," which brought us Festivus and has only improved through the years; "The Comeback," where George will go to any lengths to deliver an insult; "The Switch," where Jerry and George plot on how Jerry can change from his girlfriend to his girlfriend's roommate; "The Boyfriend," the one with Keith Hernandez and pretty decent for a two-parter; "The Parking Garage" where they spend the whole episode looking for their car; "The Virgin," where George gets Susan in trouble he kisses her; "The Pitch," where George insists to executives his show is about nothing; "The Andrea Doria," where George tells his sad life stories to win enough sympathy to get an apartment.

(Let me also note they say of the pilot that the Jerry-George scenes don't work but the Jerry-Kramer stuff is good--if anything, the opposite is true.)

Here are episodes listed from #99 to #51 that are either too high or too low:  "The Calzone" where George's tip isn't seen by the employees is too low; "The Junk Mail," where Kramer discovers a conspiracy at the post office, is too low; "The Sponge," where Elaine decides which suitors are "spongeworthy" is too low; "The Yada Yada" is too low; "The Busboy," an early episode, is one of the worst; "The Pony Remark," an early episode where Jerry mistakenly insults a relative, is too low; "The Puffy Shirt," a classic, is too low; "The Chinese Restaurant," a classic, too low; "The Pilot"--not the pilot, but "The Pilot," is too low; "The Dealership," a weak, late episode, is too high; "The Frogger," a weak, late episode, is too high; "The Pool Guy," a weak episode, too high; "The Marine Biologist," a classic where George explains how he found the golf ball, is too low; "The Barber," one of the worst episodes, is way too high.

The top 50:  "The Cigar Store Indian," not a great episode, should be lower;  "The Trip" is okay, but not top 40; "The Voice" is a weaker episode, bottom fifty; "The Bris" is a horrible episode, bottom ten, why is it listed at #35?; "The Stall" is no classic, rated way too high; "The Burning" is not great, far too high; "The Bizarro Jerry" is a top five episode and only makes #27; "The Café" is okay, but shouldn't be anywhere near #21; "The Gymnast" is okay, but not top 20; "The Mom & Pop Store" is okay, but not top 20; "The Conversion" is okay, but not top 20: "The Merv Griffin Show" is okay, but is regularly overrated; "The Secret Code" is good, but not top ten; "The Old Man" should be in the bottom fifty; "The Pen" is a memorable episode, but nowhere near the top ten; "The Subway" is okay, but no way is it #2.

So once again, my main point: ignore this list.

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