“I think Poppie’s got some problems. There’s a whole other thing going on with Poppie.”
July 17, 2015

pizza_yeahthatskosher dot comA summary observation to make around people who know someone who has problems, but they act as though he or she has no problems. But you’ve no problem pointing it out.

When Jerry’s girlfriend took him to the eatery owned by her father, “Poppie,” Jerry excused himself before the meal that Poppie was to make. In the bathroom, Jerry was washing up, when out of one stall came Poppie, zipping up. A finger-flick double-check of the hair (and zipper), an Ah! Jerry, tonight you in for a real treat, and Poppie was out the door. Apoplectic, Jerry glanced at the stall—then the sink—then the stall…then later gabbed about it all to an unfazed George, who popped this unvarnished take.

Clearly, this wasn’t the first restroom-related Poppie infraction. Surely, others in the restaurant had seen Poppie inaction but, for whatever reason, did not confront Poppie with his sloppiness.

Just the same—with any Poppie crossing your path—don’t talk about the Poppie in front of the Poppie. (And leave “Poppie” in the line, no matter whom this is directed toward. Poppie could be anybody, so use it on every-problematic-body.) And don’t confront the Poppie. This is not cause for a “Sloppy, Poppie?

This is diagnostic—not antagonistic. Not yet. Conditions must be right. Confer with a friend or other confidante to ensure you are not the one with the problems. Then make your move (contact health inspectors, slip him a mickey, etc.).

Then you can wash your hands of the situation.

From “The Pie”
Episode 15, Season 5
Seinfeld Disc 3, Volume 4
Timecode for the scene(s): 10:00-12:50

Dedicated to MFD

“Happy, Pappy?”
May 9, 2011

An ambiguous question to use on those who fancy themselves to be this big, bold character out of some story, and you’re just wondering Is this a comedy I’m watching? Or a tragedy, or a cartoon…?

George recalled this line to Jerry with serious distaste after breaking up with a woman who asked him this question. A tastefully silly Jerry then asked the same question of a woman he’d just gotten back together with.

Silly or serious? The listener won’t know where you’re coming from as you try, using this line, to determine where they’re at. First there’s happy, a word that denotes “positive,” “contented,” etc., yet is also one of that group of words ending in “-appy” that sounds a little insulting: sappy, nappy, crappy. (Even snappy has a critical ring: “Make it snappy!”) The next time you hear a “Look at him, he’s so happy,” note how what seems like a compliment can lend a hapless, almost idiotic quality to the person being described.

Then there’s Pappy, which brings to mind daddies and grampies and poppies and grandies…and the cartoon character Popeye, whose father was Pappy. Which also sounds nice until you realize that Pappy’s first name was Poopdeck.

Will they think they just got slapped–or crapped–on the shoulder, when you Happy Pappy them? Who knows. Who cares! Because, either way, the resulting conversation is sure to be animated.

From “The Engagement”
Episode 1, Season 7
Seinfeld Volume 6, Disc 1
Timecode for the scene: 1:06 (George) and 3:40 (Jerry)

“I would lose that.”
August 23, 2010

A decisive comeback to use on anyone who drops a tired expression into a conversation.

When a trivial conversation sidetracked Jerry and Elaine from talking to George about his piano-playing girlfriend, George cut in with a Can we cut to the chase? Cut to the chase?” Jerry mocked. “Who are you, Joe Hollywood?” George had an answer for why he said it–and Jerry told him what he could do with it.

No, we’re not battening down the hatches–we’re preparing for difficult times. Yes, we’re pretty satisfied with our station in life at the moment, but we wouldn’t describe that location as cloud nine. The list of expressions we can do without is long, but your patience with people who use them doesn’t have to be. Knit your brow at every By Jove…! or Happy, Pappy? and repeat that expression back to them.That should be enough to rid them of their idioms. Most people don’t know–or can’t explain with a straight face–the origins of such phrases well enough to defend them.

If that doesn’t work, Jerry’s four-word declaration should be enough to make them go cold turkey.

From “The Pez Dispenser”
Episode 14, Season 3
Seinfeld Volume 2, Disc 3
Timecode for the scene: 7:23

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