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"The Pony Remark"
Seinfeld episode
Ten people eating dinner. Eight people sit at large dinner table, two on the left side, four on the right side and two at the head of the table. In front of the large dinner table is a small dinner table at which two women are eating across each other.
Jerry makes a tactless remark during the 50th anniversary dinner of his great-aunt Manya. During this scene director Tom Cherones deliberately made Elaine sit at a smaller table.
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 7
Written by Larry David
Jerry Seinfeld
Directed by Tom Cherones
Production no. 202
Original airdate January 30, 1991
Guest stars

Liz Sheridan, Barney Martin, Len Lesser, Rozsika Halmos, David Fresco, Milt Oberman

Episode chronology
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"The Ex-Girlfriend" "The Jacket"
Seinfeld (season 2)
List of Seinfeld episodes

"The Pony Remark" is the second episode of the second season of the NBC sitcom Seinfeld, and the seventh episode overall. The episode was written by series co-creators Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, based on a remark David once made. In the episode, protagonist Jerry Seinfeld (Seinfeld) makes a tactless remark about hating everybody who had a pony when they grew up during the 50th anniversary dinner of a relative of his. When the woman dies shortly after the dinner, Jerry and his friends wonder if the pony remark had something to do with her death.

The episode featured the first appearance of Jerry's uncle Leo (Len Lesser), who became a recurring character on the show. The episode also featured the first appearance of Barney Martin as Morty Seinfeld, replacing actor Phil Bruns who had portrayed Morty in the season 1 episode "The Stake Out". "The Pony Remark" aired on January 30, 1991 and gained a Nielsen rating of 10.7/16. It gained positive responses from critics and The New York Times considers the episode a turning point for the show.

Contents

Plot

Jerry's parents Helen Seinfeld (Liz Sheridan) and Morty Seinfeld (Barney Martin) visit Jerry in New York City on their way to the 50th anniversary dinner of their second cousin Manya (Rozsika Halmos) and her husband Isaac (David Fresco). Though Jerry does not want to go, his parents pursuade him to go anyway. During the dinner he remarks, "I hate anyone who ever had a pony when they were growing up!", to which Manya reacts angrily because she had a pony when she was growing up in Poland. Jerry tries to apologize, but Manya gets even more angry and leaves the table. After the dinner, when Jerry's parents are about to leave, Jerry receives a phone call from his uncle Leo, who informs him that his great-aunt has died. Jerry and his friends George Costanza (Jason Alexander) and Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) speculate as to whether his comment may have been a factor.

The funeral is held on the same day that Jerry has a softball championship, and he has difficulty deciding whether to go to her funeral, much to the disgust of Elaine. Jerry ends up going to the funeral, where he, again, apologizes for his remark. Isaac informs him that Manya had forgotten Jerry made the remark. Elaine asks Isaac multiple times about what is going to happen with their apartment, Isaac eventually tells her that Jerry's cousin Jeffrey is going to live in it. When it starts to rain Jerry realizes that the game will be postponed. The following day, after the game, Jerry, George and Elaine go meet at Monk's Cafe, where they discuss the lousy way Jerry played softball. Elaine states she wonders if Manya's spirit put a spell on him.

In a sub plot, Jerry and his neighbour Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards) bet over whether or not Kramer will rebuild his apartment so that it has multiple flat wooden levels instead of needing furniture. Kramer changes his mind and decides not to build levels, but refuses to pay Jerry, arguing that since he did not attempt it, the bet was invalid.

Production

Seinfeld co-creators Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld wrote the episode,[1] which was based on a remark David once made during a conversation.[2] The episode's director, Tom Cherones, deliberately made Elaine sit at a smaller table while directing the dinner scene.[2] "The Pony Remark" was the first episode in which Kramer wants to gamble, it is later established that he has a gambling addiction.[3] The idea of Elaine asking Isaac what is going to happen with his old apartment was added during rehearshals.[3] The first table reading of the episode was held on October 24, 1990, and a run through was held two days later.[3] "The Pony Remark" was filmed in front of a live audience on October 30, 1990, while Seinfeld's stand-up routine was filmed one day earlier,[3] along with the performances used in "The Ex-Girlfriend" and "The Busboy"; Seinfeld would change wardrobe between takes.[4]

"The Pony Remark" featured the second appearance of Helen and Morty Seinfeld, who had previously appeared in the season 1 episode "The Stake Out".[3] In "The Stakeout", Morty was portrayed by Phil Bruns, however, David and Seinfeld decided they wanted the character to be harsher,[5][6] and re-cast him with Barney Martin, who auditioned for the part on October 15, 1990 at 12.45PM.[3] Martin was unaware that another actor had already established the part.[7] Helen was portrayed by Liz Sheridan, in an early draft of the episode her name was Adele, though this did not match her name from "The Stakeout".[3] It was later changed back to Helen.[3] The episode also introduced Jerry's uncle Leo, portrayed by Len Lesser, who was known for his acting in gangster films such as The Outlaw Josey Wales and Kelly's Heroes.[3] When Lesser auditioned for the part on October 22, 1990,[3] he got a lot of laughs from David, Seinfeld and casting director Marc Herschfield, but did not understand why, because he did not think his lines were funny.[2] Herschfield stated that when Lesser had auditioned it was very clear that he was the right actor for the part.[2] David Fresco guest starred in the episode as Isaac, he had some difficulty with his lines in the episode, and would sometimes burst into laughter during filming.[3][8] Other actors that guest starred in the episode were Rozsika Halmos, who portrayed Manya and Milt Oberman, who played the funeral director.[3]

Reception

On January 30, 1991, "The Pony Remark" was first broadcast on American television.[3] It gained a Nielsen Rating of 10.7 and an audience share of 16, this means that 10.7% of American households watched the episode, and that 16% of all televisions in use at the time were tuned into it.[3] The episode gained two Primetime Emmy Award nominations; Seinfeld and David were nominated for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series and Cherones was nominated for Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series.[9] Though the episode did not won either of its Emmy nominations, Seinfeld was praised for co-hosting the Emmy telecast.[10]

Dave Kehr of The New York Times felt that "The Pony Remark" was a turning point for the show, stating that after the first few episodes, the show "turn[ed] into something sharp and distinctive [...] Here, suddenly, is the tight knot of guilt and denial, of hypersensitivity and sarcastic contempt that Seinfeld would explore for the next eight years."[11] Holly Ordway of DVD Talk considered the episode the best episode of Seinfeld's second season.[12] "The Pony Remark" is considered one of Seinfeld's "classic episodes".[13] Writing for Entertainment Weekly, critics Mike Flaherty and Mary Kaye Schilling called the episode "Seinfeld at its mordant best" and graded it with an A-.[14]

In the book Something Ain't Kosher Here: The rise of the "Jewish" sitcom Vincent Brook analysed the episode saying "Jerry is made to feel guilty for his 'lethal' pony remark, whence the episode's macabre humor; yet the moral in terms of ethno-spatial identity is clear. In its violent rejection of Manya, Seinfeld has driven decent-based ethnicities (and their legacy of privation and self-sacrifice) off the face of the earth, and literally off the air. There is no place for traditional Jewishness in the hedonistic Seinfeld world, "The Pony Remark" vociferously proclaims."[15]

References

  1. ^ Lavery, David; Dunne, Sara Lewis (2006). Seinfeld, master of its domain: revisiting television's greatest sitcom. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 232. ISBN 9780826418036.  
  2. ^ a b c d David, Larry; Cherones, Tom; Lesser, Len; Herschfield, Marc. Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Inside Looks - "The Pony Remark". [DVD]. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.  
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Notes about Nothing - "The Pony Remark". [DVD]. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.  
  4. ^ Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Notes about Nothing - "The Ex-Girlfriend". [DVD]. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.  
  5. ^ Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Notes about Nothing - "The Stake Out". [DVD]. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.  
  6. ^ Seinfeld, Jerry; David, Larry. Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Audio Commentary for "The Stake Out". [DVD]. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.  
  7. ^ Martin, Barney. Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Inside Looks - "The Stake Out". [DVD]. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.  
  8. ^ Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Not That There's Anything Wrong With That (bloopers). [DVD]. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.  
  9. ^ DuBrow, Rick (July 19, 1991). "Networks Facing Cable, Syndication Emmy Challenge". Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California): p. F1.  
  10. ^ Weinstein, Steve (September 4, 1991). "Tiny Issues, Big Laughs `Seinfeld' Earns Right to Weekly Berth to Toy With Life's Little Dilemmas". Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California): p. F1.  
  11. ^ Kehr, Dave (November 23, 2004). "New DVDs". The New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F06E2DF163EF930A15752C1A9629C8B63. Retrieved August 10, 2009.  
  12. ^ Ordway, Holly (November 28, 2004). "Seinfeld - Seasons 1 & 2". DVD Talk. http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/13443/seinfeld-seasons-1-2/. Retrieved August 11, 2009.  
  13. ^ Nichols, Adam (November 21, 2004). "Re-Disk-Overing Seinfeld Fans rush to buy first DVD". New York Daily News. http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/news/2004/11/21/2004-11-21_re-disk-overing__seinfeld___.html. Retrieved August 11, 2009.  
  14. ^ Schilling, Mary Kaye; Flaherty, Mike (April 7, 2008). "The Seinfeld Chronicles: Season Two". Entertainment Weekly. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20189707,00.html. Retrieved August 26, 2009.  
  15. ^ Brook, Vincent (2003). Something Ain't Kosher Here: The rise of the "Jewish" sitcom. Rutgers University Press. p. 105. ISBN 9780813532110.  

External links

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