Archive for the ‘The Shout-Outs’ Category

“Hellooooo!”
February 14, 2013

A jovial shoutout to insider-joke stupidity, disguised as a greeting—for when you care enough to send the veritable jest.

Jerry joked with George that, when Clare, the woman Jerry was then dating, fell asleep, her stomach stayed awake and talked to Jerry–the voice overblown and jolly, like a caricature of a human being: “Hel-looooo!” followed by “Talk to meeee!” or “La-la-laaa.” Jerry and George laughed it up with Kramer, who also picked it up (Elaine just put it down)…until Clare found out about it and, disgusted, basically told Jerry It’s me or the voice. And, just like that, Jerry’s hel-lo became a good-bye.

This is the voice of one talking behind another’s back. That someone you are talking about walks into the room right as you and a friend are talking about that someone, and up goes your voice, silly big, the “o’s” booming out of one side of your mouth, Hel-looooo! The gusto of the faux greeting will leave the butt of your joke thinking that nothing but kind things are going on here.

Don’t let one too many know what’s going on here. The fewer who are “in” on your joke, the better, as Elaine pointed out when, hearing “the voice” for the first time, she asked Jerry what it was:

Jerry: “Oh, it’s just this stupid thing.”
Elaine: “Well, I’m sure it’s stupid….”

That is to say, at some point the stupidity of your joke will be revealed. And it is at this point that, as George, Kramer, and Clare illustrated, your friends will likely abandon you. Unless, of course, that sort of thing doesn’t bother you—in which case, by all means, continue the voice, starting with those “friends”:

“Fare thee welllll! La-la-laaa.”

From “The Voice”
Episode 2, Season 9
Seinfeld Disc 1, Volume 8
Timecodes for the scenes: 1:06 (Jerry and George initially), 3:02 (Kramer and Jerry), 3:50 (Elaine to Jerry), 6:50 (George, at work, to Jerry), 9:10 (George and Jerry, at the café, to Kramer), 9:50 (Jerry to Clare), 13:24 (Jerry, again to Clare, saying good-bye), 14:20 (Jerry and George, the latter souring on the voice), 14:45 (Jerry to Elaine), 15:10 (Jerry saying good-bye in the voice to Kramer), 20:55 (Jerry to Clare, at the end), 22:05 (Jerry, George, and Kramer at the end)

“Chinese food!”
July 29, 2011

A diversionary shout-out to use when it appears to someone that you’re digging yourself into a hole, but rather than come clean and get out of it–you’re acting like you meant to dig that hole (and you’re not stopping until you get to China).

When Jerry got into a phone call that he suddenly wanted out of, a bystanding, quick-thinking George rapped on the counter like a knock at the door and chirped, in a gravelly falsetto, “Chinese food!” George’s parents later used the same diversion on him–much to his derision, when he found out that they basically wanted out of talking so much to him.

Quick, we need a distraction! It’s the stuff of TV and movies because it’s the stuff of life–trying to do something spontaneous (or unusual…or wild…) without others questioning you (or judging you…or laughing at you…) for it. It’s not that you don’t want them to know; you just don’t want them to know right away. If you can find a way to distract them, you’re out the door, you’re free. You just need a start.

You need look no further than Costanza. Chinese takeout is the perfect distraction because, universally loved as it is, it’s also a suggestion. People are moved by their stomachs, so you’re using it–as the Costanzas used it–to move someone on. “Nothing to see here, just…something to eat here.” Now they’re thinking of something to eat there. Hmm, that sounds good.

Make mei fun their fun, and you’re on to your fun.

From “The Junk Mail”
Episode 5, Season 9
Seinfeld Volume 8, Disc 1
Timecode for the scenes: 00:03 (George’s “fakeout” order), 02:27 (Frank and Estelle’s)

“I’m the wiz! And nobody beats me!”
December 18, 2010

A carnival-barker shout-out to clarify for those around you that you are in fact full of yourself. Because being someone you’re not is hypocrisy…and you’re not going to be one of those people who’s full of it.

Elaine’s new boyfriend had this attractive twinkle in his eye that she couldn’t explain–until a channel-flipping Jerry discovered the explanation in a tacky commercial: the guy was a local actor whose claim to fame had him in kingly garb, a goofy grin, and this bombastic line. In the end, he was the wiz, leaving Elaine to ease on down the road.

Remember who you are. We grow up hearing it because, once grown up, we easily forget it–our true identity. This line is one way to avert the infamous identity crisis: have an identity circus. Anytime you find you’re not feeling like yourself, take that one word that summarizes who you are (architect, coach, etc.) and, like the long pole in a tent, build a three-ring show around it with these six words (e.g., “I’m the professor! And…”).

Your show may be less talent than freak in other people’s eyes, but social interaction is a high-wire act for everyone, no matter who you are. So, while you’re performing, you might as well be one of the main attractions.

From “The Junk Mail”
Episode 5, Season 9
Seinfeld Volume 8, Disc 1
Timecode for the scene: 18:31 (that’s the main attraction; for the warm-up act, see 10:48 and 11:41)

“Giddy-up!”
November 23, 2010

An unbridled shout-out to Opportunity–exciting, boring, doesn’t matter. Because in everything you see something better…and you’ll leave everyone in your dust to get it.

After landing a date with a Miss America contestant, Jerry discovered a pageant requirement: a chaperone for such evenings out. When pageant aficionado Kramer balked at Jerry’s offer to be that chaperone (uninterested as he was in a contestant from Rhode Island because “they’re never in contention”) Jerry threw in dinner–and Kramer threw out his catchphrase in affirmative reply.

In this classic expression of carpe k-man, seizing the day doesn’t require much; all you need is an idea that gets you out and about. The littlest things spurred Kramer to adventure because to him Life was an adventure. Even a tumbleweed a’tumbling would be a thing to follow, in Kramer’s worldview: paradise might lie around that next desert bend.

Announce your next adventure by pronouncing this line–with or without the exclamation mark. You mustn’t always sound like you’re hoisting your hat with a holler; sometimes you’re just tipping your hat with a nod. Somewhere between enthusiasm and intrigue–that’s where you are…and you’re home on that range.

From “The Chaperone”
Episode 1, Season 6
Seinfeld Volume 5, Disc 1
Timecode for the scene: 6:38

“Khaaaaan!”
September 10, 2010

A window-shaking shout-out for those times when you know you can’t arrange for someone who screwed you over to die a fiery death in a starship explosion…but it sure is cathartic to think about for a moment.

At the graveside of George’s fiancee, Susan Ross, Jerry stood nearby with Mr. and Mrs. Ross (while George “mourned”). “She’s not really dead,” Jerry told Susan’s parents–quoting Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan–“if we find a way to remember her.” When the Rosses’ way to remember Susan came to be–a philanthropic foundation with George on the board–Jerry’s remark incurred the Wrath of George against Khan–er, Jerry.

How you react to someone who screws you over ranks right up there with the most important decisions you’ll ever make in life–because, ultimately, you must act decently. (After all, we do live in a society.) George demonstrated for us one measure we might take: yelling at the top of your lungs in public. You might yell at the abstract World, but in this situation that’s not sufficient. Better to yell the name of the person you’re deriding.

But since life doesn’t really work like that–that’s the stuff of movies–better to yell a fictitious name, like one from a movie. Because to quote a movie that fits a life situation…that’s the stuff of life.

From “The Foundation”
Episode 1, Season 8
Seinfeld Volume 7, Disc 1
Timecode for the scene: 13:11

Dedicated to Flick Club.

“Serenity now!”
September 8, 2010

An insane shout-out for those You vs. the World moments, because you’re trying to get it together—and you’d like the World to get it together too.

George’s mom, Estelle, had just ignored Frank’s advice in the car, which led to Frank’s outburst for peace and quiet. Frank’s doctor had given him a relaxation tape that exhorted the use of this line in stressful times. “Are you supposed to yell it?” George asked. “The man on the tape,” Frank answered, “wasn’t specific.”

TV Guide magazines shelved in the right order, a son who knows what the standard bra sizes are—these were just a few of the specifics that kept the stars aligned in the world of Frank Costanza. So when he started randomly yelling this line, we knew…something was missing. We don’t know what exactly. The reason Frank’s doctor gave him the relaxation tape is no clearer than why the man on the tape wasn’t specific.

Even if something is missing with you too, Frank’s “tape” is now yours to use anytime, anywhere. Any explanation to others for your outburst—that can be missing too. Because if you’re mad enough at the World to open your mouth like this, you’re sufficiently mad to keep it closed too…and no one will think anything of it.

Indeed, as George and company showed, everyone else will probably get in on it too.

From “The Serenity Now”
Episode 3, Season 9
Seinfeld Volume 8, Disc 1
Timecodes for the scenes: 00:15 (that’s the main scene, described above), 00:40, 2:58, 8:15, 17:29-30, 22:08 (all of those were from Frank!), 8:45, 22:20 (George), 14:38, 14:50-51, 14:58, 15:06, 17:55-56, 18:07-08, 18:15-20, 18:28-40 (Kramer), 17:31, 17:48 (Lloyd Braun)

“You’re a great guy. I love you, but you’re a pod.”
August 30, 2010

A back-slapping shout-out to use on those people in your life who look like human beings, act like human beings, but every time they open their mouths it becomes clearer that they’re from another planet.

Thanks to Jerry, Elaine landed the chance to rent an apartment in his building–a gesture he soon regretted when he realized she’d pop in even more. After the rent deposit turned out to be more than Elaine could afford, Jerry rejoiced…until Kramer suggested Jerry lend Elaine the money. Elaine took the offer, and Jerry looked at Kramer like he was less “K-Man” than “K-Pax”–an alien being whom Jerry wasn’t sure had come in peace.

The cosmic Kramers in your life put you in Jerry’s dilemma: these people could be phenomenally brilliant or galactically stupid, you’re not sure which; you just know you’ll never really rid your world of these lovable creatures because they are your friends. Putting up with them is part of the universal pact of friendship. So is reminding them every once in a while, as Jerry did here with Kramer, that you see through their pretense of being from planet Earth.

Indeed, if any one of these people became suddenly, consistently down to Earth, you would think they’d “been replaced”: Who are you and what have you done with _________ (insert the extra-terrestrial’s name)?

From “The Apartment”
Episode 8, Season 2
Seinfeld Volume 1, Disc 3
Timecode for the scene: 13:58

“You’re Schmoopie!”
August 13, 2010

A chameleon-like comment (observation, put-down, etc., depending on the context) to use on people who’ve really opened their hearts for their loved ones, and–Moses smell the roses–it’s one of those heart-shaped box of chocolates.

Soon after Jerry and Shiela, his latest love interest, took up this sugary manner of addressing one another, they strolled unwittingly down their Candy Land lane until George and Elaine nearly vomited from all the gumdrop comments that kept falling on their heads. When Jerry clued them in that he and Shiela might be on the outs, George couldn’t help upchucking all over the schmoopie-ness: “People who do that should be arrested!”

People who do that (i.e., the die-hard romantics) demand that others tolerate their greeting card life–where words rhyme but have no reason–and schmoopie is their piece de resistance. People who can’t stand that (i.e., the saccharine-intolerant) can learn from George and Elaine’s derision: call out the schmoopie. You witness a couple locking lips like their ship is going down and you interrupt: “Hey–Schmoopies. Would you mind….”

Just be careful not to overextend yourself in calling out the schmoopie–and don’t focus so much on any one person or couple that your calling-out becomes a “death to schmoopie” campaign. You may end up dating or even marrying one of these people someday.

From “The Soup Nazi”
Episode 6, Season 7
Seinfeld Volume 6, Disc 1
Timecodes for the scenes: 00:45, 1:10, 15:15, ad nauseam

“Rusty!”
August 10, 2010

A ripcord-pull of a shout-out for when you head unexpectedly into the winds of change–someone else’s, that is, forcing you to change direction before others think the wind came from you.

Kramer got the opportunity to manage a hansom cab, making a lot of money giving people a “rustic” tour of New York City. His windfall soon fell victim to a certain wind coming from the direction of Rusty, Kramer’s equine buddy in this buggy business. Kramer the driver or Rusty the horse? The customers in the carriage couldn’t tell at first where the smell was coming from. Kramer’s announcement cleared the air…sort of.

Kramer had no idea what buckets of “Beef-A-Reeno” would do to the digestive tract of a horse–just like you have no idea what you’re getting into when you walk down that greeting card aisle, around restaurant tables, or into any other non-bathroom place where you a bathroom-specific odor lurks. You might stop to look for the source, but what you’re likely to find instead are other people looking at you like you’re a character straight out of Monty Python and the Holy Grail—and they don’t think you’re funny.

You’re not trying to be funny if you give a shout-out to Rusty when stumbling into such a situation. But if they do laugh—all the better. Because if they’re wondering who this “Rusty” is, that means they’re off of you—and you…you’re riding off into the sunset.

From “The Rye”
Episode 11, Season 7
Seinfeld Volume 6, Disc 2
Timecode for the scene: 17:40

“No soup for you!”
July 21, 2010

A brazen shout-out for when you need to let someone down a la You’re out of luck, and you don’t mind bludgeoning their feelings while doing it.

George and Elaine fell victim to this verbal assault from the culinary genius known as the Soup Nazi, whose zeal for his craft so focused him on that craft, that normal communication was beneath him in the presence of anyone who didn’t pay his craft the respect it deserved—people who, for example, kissed on their “schmoopie” while standing in line rather than saying “One mulligatawny” and stepping to one side.

No need to substitute for “soup” another subject you want to dish up, a la No raise for you! (The approach has obvious delicious merits, but if you’re not fully committed to the blunt wording and psychotic exclamation, your substitution will only produce quizzical looks, like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.) The universal images conjured by the word soup—ordering a favorite one in a fine restaurant, receiving an efficacious one from a friend while you’re ailing, etc.—all have to do with being provided a comfort food.

Being denied that comfort, courtesy of you channeling the Soup Nazi, is punishment enough for anyone, in any discussion.

From “The Soup Nazi”
Episode 6, Season 7
Seinfeld Volume 6, Disc 1
Timecodes for the scenes: 4:00, 8:35

“Kudos, Elaine on a job…done.”
July 7, 2010

A massive shout-out to use on those who foul-ball on a job you asked them to do–and you weren’t even asking them to hit it out of the park, just get it on the field.

J. Peterman, Elaine’s boss, had just returned to the helm of his adventure-chic clothing-catalog company after leaving Elaine in charge while he got over a little case of Office Space. When he saw that Elaine’s biggest decision precipitated fashion disaster, this was his summary reply–delivered in the same room-filling, syllable-smacking voice he used to say just about anything (e.g., “Elaine…you’ve got to see The English Patient“).

Fill the room with your voice when you say it–the more flourish, the better, to give it that Peterman-ian flair–and don’t forget to give a full pause between the words “job” and “done.” Volume is not the point here; calling attention to the one word you’re leaving out of this universal courtesy is.

From “The Money”
Episode 13, Season 8
Seinfeld Volume 7, Disc 3
Timecode for the scene: 15:44

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