“That’s not sweetening the deal.”
December 4, 2010

A tasteful comeback for every distasteful quid pro quo that comes your way.

During a vacation at the beach, Kramer asked Jerry to rub some suntan lotion on his back. “Who are you, Mrs. Robinson?” Jerry replied. Overlooking Jerry’s crack from The Graduate, Kramer graduated his request to a proposal: “C’mon. And I’ll rub some on yours.” Jerry’s snicker right into this line let Kramer know that this idea wasn’t exactly rubbing him the right way.

There’s a time to “break bad” when someone wants something from you, and there’s a time to break it gently. When you do the latter–say, for a friend (or just to be friendly)–you reach for lines like this. It’s Not! wrapped in a snicker–a bit of SNL-type sarcasm softened by Seinfeld-ian irony, the irony here being that this line implies that you might like this deal if they offered you something that gets you past no deal. And they’re trying–you’ll give them that.

But that’s about all you’re giving them.

From “The Hamptons”
Episode 21, Season 5
Seinfeld Volume 4, Disc 4
Timecode for the scene: 2:45

“I don’t like this thing! And here’s what I’m doing with it!”
November 29, 2010

A scolding observation to let someone know they made a wrong choice…but the bigger wrong would be for you to not do anything about it.

George’s depression over losing his hair finally ended in his gaining a toupee–and dividing his friends in their reaction. Kramer approved; Jerry demurred. Elaine decided to take the matter into her own two hands: one to yank the “little hair hat” (Jerry’s words) off George’s head, and the other to open the nearest window in Jerry’s apartment.

No subject–or object–is sacred here if you proceed with caution. Could you get away with tossing a loved one’s hair piece out the window? Only you know. Do something they can undo, if they want to. The point is for them to understand that they shouldn’t have done what they did in the first place–not look at you as the angel of death. Take your aunt’s tummy tuck, for example: you could point it out (“I don’t like this..!”) and then, with a smile (“And here’s what I’m doing…!”), plunk down a few Drake’s Coffee Cakes right in front of her face.

That’s giving someone the “It’s not me, it’s you” to get them to see that this thing…it’s not you!

From “The Beard”
Episode 16, Season 6
Seinfeld Volume 5, Disc 3
Timecode for the scene: 15:13

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