The first in a new series celebrating brilliant individual episodes of classic shows. The Boyfriend was a double episode from the third season of Seinfeld.
How do we treasure “The Boyfriend”? Let us count the ways. This is the episode in which Jerry “dates” former New York Mets first baseman Keith Hernandez but eventually loses him to Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus); in which George (Jason Alexander) tries to get an extension on his unemployment benefits by fabricating a bogus job selling “latex and latex-related products”.
In which Kramer (Michael Richards) ruins George’s scam by forgetting to answer the phone as “Vandelay Industries,” forcing George to come scurrying out of the bathroom with his pants around his ankles; in which George sinks so low he even dates his caseworker’s ugly daughter to ensure that his benefits continue; in which a pair of pixilated new parents keep nagging Jerry and Kramer, “You gotta see the baby”; in which Jerry sneers “Hello, Newman” for the first time.
In which Kramer and Newman (Wayne Knight) unveil their own conspiracy theory in a brazen satire of the J.F.K./Zapruder film.
Just about every other current TV comedy prays that it could come up in its entire run with as many time-capsule highlights as this single, one-hour episode contains. Seinfeld makes this funny, smart, ingenious, and risk-taking hour look effortless.
“I was so nervous in front of a live audience,” said Hernandez. “The cast was like, ‘Why are you nervous? You have to get up in front of 50,000 people with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth.’ But doing that show was very nerve-racking.”
Season 3 Episodes 17 and 18. Broadcast 12 February 1992.