|"The Soup Nazi"|
The Soup Nazi
|Episode no.||Season 7
|Written by||Spike Feresten|
|Directed by||Andy Ackerman|
|Original airdate||November 2, 1995|
|Season 7 episodes|
|Seinfeld – Season 7
September 1995 – May 1996
|List of Seinfeld episodes|
"The Soup Nazi" is the title of the 116th episode of the NBC sitcom Seinfeld, which was the 6th episode of the 7th season. It first aired in the United States on November 2, 1995 and is considered a classic episode of the series.
The Soup Nazi is also the nickname of the titular character played by Larry Thomas. The term "Nazi" is used as an exaggeration of the excessively strict regimentation he constantly demands of his patrons.
Jerry, George and Elaine go out to a new soup stand Kramer has been raving about; its owner is referred to as the "Soup Nazi" due to his temperament and insistence on a strict manner of behavior while ordering. Jerry explains the procedure for ordering which George accepts, but Elaine rebuffs. Elaine notices a sidewalk furniture dealer with an armoire for sale and decides to stop and buy it. However, when she returns to her building with it, the building superintendent tells her there is no moving on Sundays.
When Jerry and George get to the soup stand, George follows the procedure but notices that he did not get bread with his soup. Jerry tells him to let it go but he asks for some, and is told he will have to pay for it. George objects, claiming everybody in front of him got free bread, and quickly has his money returned and his soup taken back with the catchphrase "No soup for you!"
Meanwhile, Jerry has been annoying George and Elaine with his open affection and baby talk (calling each other "Schmoopie") towards his new girlfriend Sheila (Alexandra Wentworth). When Sheila will not stop kissing Jerry in line at the soup stand, the Soup Nazi orders her out of the line, and Jerry is forced to pretend he does not know her. When he finds out, George admits his annoyance to Jerry. Jerry later tells Sheila he was joking and makes up with her. When George finds out, he begins to act similarly with Susan to make a point. Susan misinterprets George's intentions and thinks that George is finally enjoying showing his feelings in public, continuing to act that way after Jerry again breaks up with Sheila.
Elaine asks Kramer to guard her armoire on the street overnight. When he arrives, she goes to the soup stand to get him soup. While she is gone, some "street toughs" intimidate Kramer and steal the armoire. Elaine ignores everyone's prior advice and annoys the Soup Nazi with her behavior. He refuses her soup and bans her from coming to his restaurant for one year. She returns to her building to find Kramer without the armoire. Kramer, who has become friends with the Soup Nazi, tells him the story in passing. The Soup Nazi offers Kramer an antique armoire he has in his basement. Kramer gives the armoire to Elaine as a replacement for her stolen one. Elaine goes to thank the Soup Nazi for the armoire, but the Soup Nazi declares that he never would have given it to Kramer if he knew it was for her. Offended, Elaine returns home to discover the Soup Nazi's secret soup recipes stored in the old armoire. She returns to his shop, recipes in hand, and declares that she is going to destroy him by exposing the recipes. Feeling ruined, the Soup Nazi decides to close the business and move to Argentina.
The Soup Nazi was portrayed by Larry Thomas, who was nominated for a 1996 Emmy for the role. Thomas, who did not realize that the character was based on a real person, received the inspiration for his portrayal from watching Lawrence of Arabia and studying Omar Sharif's accent.
A stone-faced immigrant chef with a thick Stalin-esque moustache, he is renowned throughout Manhattan for his soups. He demands that all customers in his restaurant meticulously follow his strict queuing, ordering, and payment policies. Failure to adhere to his demands brings the admonition, "No soup for you!", whereupon the customer is refunded and denied his or her order.
The Soup Nazi character has a cameo in the Seinfeld series finale, in which his name is revealed to be Yev Kasem.
The character was inspired by Al Yeganeh, a New York City soup vendor who ran Soup Kitchen International in midtown Manhattan at 259A West 55th Street, near 8th Avenue. The store closed during the summer; a sign posted outside informs customers that the chef is in "Argentina for the summer".
According to an Associated Press article published April 29, 2005, Yeganeh planned to open a chain of soup stores called The Original Soup Man. The first franchise opened in Princeton, New Jersey, on October 24, 2005. His company, Soup Kitchen International, plans to open 1,000 outlets nationwide. Soup Kitchen International's original West 55th Street location is now closed.
Prior to his fictional counterpart's appearance on Seinfeld, the real Al Yeganeh was unflatteringly referred to by local patrons as the "Terrorist." His soups were renowned for their excellent quality, but his interactions with customers seemed somewhat capricious. Some were granted extra side items like candy or bread, but no clear rules for this attention were ever established; this was referenced in the episode by George's incident with the bread.
Before the episode was written, much of the cast of Seinfeld (including Wayne Knight) had been to Soup Kitchen International. One day, during production of the eighth season of Seinfeld, Seinfeld and several writers went to Yeganeh's soup stand for lunch. Upon recognizing Seinfeld, Yeganeh launched into a profanity-laced rant about how "The Soup Nazi" episode had "ruined his life", and he demanded an apology. Seinfeld gave what writer Spike Feresten described as "the most sarcastic, insincere apology" he'd ever heard. Yeganeh bellowed "No soup for you!" and ejected Seinfeld and his friends from the restaurant.
According to Nora Ephron's DVD commentary, the first pop culture reference to Yeganeh (though not by name) seems to have come years before the Seinfeld episode, in the 1993 movie Sleepless in Seattle. In the film, a magazine writer discusses writing a story: "This man sells the greatest soup you have ever eaten, and he is the meanest man in America. I feel very strongly about this, Becky; it's not just about the soup."