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"The Comeback"
Seinfeld episode
Sein ep813.jpg
George "scarfing shrimp."
Episode no. Season 8
Episode 147
Written by Gregg Kavet
Andy Robin
Directed by David Owen Trainer
Original airdate January 30, 1997
Guest stars

Ben Stein, Mark Harelik

Season 8 episodes
Seinfeld – Season 8
September 1996 – May 1997
  1. "The Foundation"
  2. "The Soul Mate"
  3. "The Bizarro Jerry"
  4. "The Little Kicks"
  5. "The Package"
  6. "The Fatigues"
  7. "The Checks"
  8. "The Chicken Roaster"
  9. "The Abstinence"
  10. "The Andrea Doria"
  11. "The Little Jerry"
  12. "The Money"
  13. "The Comeback"
  14. "The Van Buren Boys"
  15. "The Susie"
  16. "The Pothole"
  17. "The English Patient"
  18. "The Nap"
  19. "The Yada Yada"
  20. "The Millennium"
  21. "The Muffin Tops"
  22. "The Summer of George"
List of Seinfeld episodes

"The Comeback" is the 147th episode of the NBC sitcom Seinfeld. This was the 13th episode for the 8th season. It aired on January 30, 1997.

The episode was written by Gregg Kavet & Andy Robin and was directed by David Owen Trainer.

Like many episodes of Seinfeld, this episode contains a plotline for each of the main characters. George Costanza goes to great lengths to deliver a retort to a coworker (the eponymous comeback, a phenomenon described by the French expression "staircase wit"). Jerry Seinfeld knows the secret of a worker from a tennis club pro shop — that he is a bad tennis player. After seeing a movie, Cosmo Kramer decides he needs a living will. Elaine Benes has a tragic romance with a video rental place worker who shares her taste in movies.




Reilly's Comeback

George Costanza has a conflict with one of his coworkers at the New York Yankees named Reilly (Joel Polis). When Reilly notices George stuffing himself with shrimp cocktail at a meeting, he remarks: "Hey George, the ocean called; they're running out of shrimp." Slow-witted George cannot think of a comeback until later, while driving to the tennis club to meet Jerry. His comeback is: "Oh yeah, Reilly? Well, the Jerk Store called, and they're running out of you." George becomes obsessed with recreating the encounter so that he can make use of his comeback.

Jerry, Elaine and Kramer disapprove of "jerk store" as a comeback mainly because "there are no jerk stores." Elaine suggests, "Your cranium called. It's got some space to rent." Jerry offers, "The zoo called. You're due back by six." Kramer finally suggests that George simply tell Reilly that he slept with his wife.

After discovering that Reilly was let go from the Yankees and now works for Firestone, George flies to Akron, Ohio, sets up a meeting, and brings a tray of shrimp just to try out the jerk store line. When he says it, however, Reilly shoots back with "What's the difference? You're their all-time best seller." George, unprepared for this ends up using Kramer's line, "Yeah? Well I had sex with your wife!" He is then told that Reilly's wife is in a coma.

During the end credits, George is seen driving away from the airport back in New York, muttering to himself that he could not think of another comeback, when he utters, "The life support machine called...", and in an ecstatic fit, whips his car into a U-turn to head back to the airport and fly back to Firestone to deliver yet another comeback, all the while yelling out "You're beat, Reilly! You just screwed yourself!"

The Bad Tennis Player

Jerry meets George at a private tennis club to play tennis. He goes to the pro shop where he is pressured into buying a brand new racquet by the worker there — an Eastern European man named Miloš (Mark Harelik). Later, while playing at a different club with Elaine, Jerry discovers that Miloš is a horrible tennis player. In Jerry's eyes, this undermines Miloš' credibility as a salesman.

When Jerry confronts Miloš at the pro shop, he offers to do anything in exchange for Jerry not revealing his secret. Jerry implies that if Miloš sets him up with an attractive woman that they see in the shop, he will be silent. Later Jerry runs into the woman, who is named Patty (Ivana Milavich), waiting for him outside his apartment. She initially comes on strong, but recoils in shame after revealing that she is Miloš' wife and was instructed to come onto Jerry by her husband (of course she does not know Miloš' reason for setting up the date was to convince Jerry to keep his secret). The incident makes her lose respect for Miloš.

In a new deal, Miloš wants Jerry to let him win in a game of tennis to regain Patty's respect. During the game, Miloš becomes boastful and gloating. After winning another game against Jerry, he exclaims "Another game for Miloš!" Jerry begins to play harder, frustrated at Miloš' taunts. Jerry hits a ball wide of Miloš who swings wildly at it, releasing his racquet into the air, which finally comes down on another tennis player who falls on a ball machine, redirecting its aim to Kramer's head.


Elaine runs into Kramer at Champagne Video, while browsing the staff picks. Elaine is a fan of Vincent's picks, with whom she has the same taste in movies. (Kramer characterizes Vincent as an arthouse goon.) Later, while Elaine is watching Vincent's latest pick, he calls her on the telephone. Elaine becomes romantically interested in him, but is unable to meet him in person.

On a subsequent visit to the video store, Kramer convinces Elaine to forego Vincent's pick in favor of a Gene pick, Weekend at Bernie's II. Vincent feels betrayed by this and terminates their relationship. He sends her the play button from his VCR (a reference to Vincent van Gogh), and stops making picks.

After Elaine rents Vincent's pick that she spurned in favor of Weekend at Bernie's II, Vincent agrees to meet her at his apartment if she brings some things from the store. The stuff he wants includes vodka, cigarettes and fireworks. When she is at his apartment, he refuses to open the door all the way so Elaine can see him. A woman walks up who turns out to be Vincent's mom. She says that Vincent is 15 years old. Elaine takes the vodka from the bag and walks off.

The relationship between Elaine and Vincent is a reference to The Phantom of the Opera, which was in its 9th year on Broadway at the time

Coma Kramer

While at the video store, Kramer rents The Other Side of Darkness, a (fictional) straight-to-video movie that deals with a woman in a coma. Frightened by the movie, he has a living will drawn up. At first he considers making Jerry his executor, but decides that he is too sentimental after Jerry refuses to throw away his old tennis racquet. He decides Elaine should be his executor instead and they meet with a lawyer named Shellbach (played by Ben Stein).

After Kramer finishes watching the movie (when the woman miraculously comes out of the coma), he decides he needs to get his living will annulled, but he misses his appointment with Shellbach because he drives so slowly for fear of getting in an accident. He learns that he can catch up with Shellbach at the tennis club. When he catches up with him, a sequence of events caused by Jerry and Milos' tennis game causes a ball machine to fire at Kramer at top speed. Kramer collapses and ends up in the hospital. When Elaine visits him, looking for an outlet for her VCR, she unplugs a large plug. Kramer wakes up, and seeing the plug, he thinks Elaine is removing his life-support.

A slightly baffling element to this episode is that Kramer claims not to have known that a coma victim may regain consciousness despite having previously witnessed Martin regain consciousness from his coma in The Suicide.

Production Details

  • The tennis court scenes in this episode were set in an indoor court, but the crew could not find an available indoor court in all of Los Angeles to use as a filming location. To compensate, they used a massive crane to drape a large tent over an outdoor tennis court, making it look like an indoor court. Unfortunately, this episode was filmed during the period when El Niño was beginning to affect the weather patterns in the United States, resulting in heavy rain in Los Angeles on the week the crew needed to shoot their tennis court scenes. The rain collected on the outside of the tent, and several large puddles can be seen on the court in several shots in the episode. The tent finally collapsed in a heap shortly after filming of the master shots wrapped, so the remaining footage was filmed back at the studio on a makeshift half-court set.
  • The voice of Vincent is played by Danny Strong.[1]
  • The role of Reilly was played by the character actor Joel Polis.

External links



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