The Soup Nazi

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Not to be confused with another Seinfeld episode, "The Soup".
"The Soup Nazi"
Seinfeld episode
Episode no. Season 7
Episode 6
Directed by Andy Ackerman
Written by Spike Feresten
Production code 706
Original air date November 2, 1995
Guest actors
Season 7 episodes
List of Seinfeld episodes

"The Soup Nazi" is the title of the 116th episode of the NBC sitcom Seinfeld, which was the sixth episode of the seventh season. It first aired in the United States on November 2, 1995.

The Soup Nazi is also the nickname of the eponymous character played by Larry Thomas. The term "Nazi" is used as an exaggeration of the excessively strict regimentation he constantly demands of his patrons.[1]

Plot[edit]

Jerry, George and Elaine patronize a new soup stand Kramer has been praising; its owner is referred to as the "Soup Nazi," due to his temperament and insistence on a strict manner of behavior while purchasing an order. Jerry explains the procedure for purchasing, which George accepts but Elaine rejects. En route, Elaine notices a sidewalk furniture dealer with an armoire for sale and decides to stop and purchase it. However, when she returns with it to her building, the building superintendent informs her that moving items inside is prohibited on Sundays.

When Jerry and George arrive at the soup stand, George follows the procedure but notices that no free bread was included with his purchase. Jerry instructs him to ignore it, but George requests bread and is told its price is $2.00. When George mentions the free bread that customers before him received, he is then informed that the price increased to $3.00. George's continued protest is met with a harsh "No soup for you!" from the Soup Nazi, followed by the cashier immediately confiscating his purchase and brusquely refunding his payment.

Over the past weeks, Jerry has been annoying George and Elaine with his open affection and baby talk (calling each other "Schmoopie") with his new girlfriend Sheila (Alexandra Wentworth). During another visit to the soup stand, when Sheila protests the Soup Nazi's angry objection to her kissing of Jerry in the line of customers, the Soup Nazi expels her from the stand and Jerry feigns ignorance of her to proceed with a soup purchase. When George learns about Jerry's decision, George admits his annoyance with their "baby talk" romantic behavior to Jerry. Jerry claims to have behaved facetiously with Sheila at the soup stand and vows to redeem himself. When George learns about Jerry's decision, he begins to behave similarly with Susan to express his disgust. Susan misinterprets George's intentions and believes that he is finally enjoying publicly displaying his affections, continuing to behave as such after Jerry again ends his relationship with Sheila.

Elaine, still awaiting the chance to move her new armoire upstairs, asks Kramer to monitor the piece of furniture on the street overnight. When he arrives, she visits the soup stand to purchase soup for him. While she is away, some "street toughs" intimidate Kramer, when he confronts them, and steal the armoire. At the soup stand, Elaine ignores everyone's prior advice and annoys the Soup Nazi with her behavior. He refuses her soup and imposes upon her a one-year soup-purchasing ban. She then returns to her building to find Kramer without the armoire who informs her of its theft.

Later, Kramer, who has befriended the Soup Nazi, tells him the incident of the stolen armoire in passing. The Soup Nazi offers Kramer an antique armoire he has in storage 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 angrily declares that he would have never provided it to Kramer if he had known it was for her, stating he would have smashed it to pieces with a hatchet instead. Offended, Elaine returns home, where she and Jerry subsequently discover the Soup Nazi's secret soup recipes, which have been left behind in a drawer of the old armoire.

She returns to his shop, with recipes in hand, and declares that she will devastate his business by exposing the recipes. Her glee matches his in the way that he angered her before. Feeling ruined, the Soup Nazi decides to close the business and emigrate to Argentina and starts giving away his remaining soup, which Newman and Jerry hurriedly try to take advantage of.

Production[edit]

"The Soup Nazi" was Spike Feresten's first credited Seinfeld episode as a writer. The idea for the episode arose when Feresten told Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David about New York soup vendor Al Yeganeh, who was nicknamed "The Soup Nazi." Seinfeld and David laughed and said, "That's a show. Do that as your first show." Feresten's inspiration for the armoire subplot was a New York apartment building in which he had lived, which forbade moving furniture on certain days. The armoire thieves were written as homosexual because Larry David decided that "only gay guys would steal an armoire."[2]

The first cast table reading for "The Soup Nazi" was held on September 28, 1995, and it was filmed before a studio audience on October 3.[3] In the episode, Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) imitates Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman. This was done at Jerry Seinfeld's suggestion, even though Louis-Dreyfus had never seen the film.[4]

The character[edit]

Actor Larry Thomas effected his portrayal of the Soup Nazi by studying Omar Sharif's accent in Lawrence of Arabia.

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.[5][6][7]

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 stern admonition ("No soup for you!"), whereupon the customer is refunded and denied his or her order. He will then yell at the top of his lungs to the next person in line, "Next!" Elaine parodies this when she reveals that she has his recipes. She says to him, "You're through, Soup Nazi. Pack it up. No more soup for you. NEXT!"[8]

The Soup Nazi has a cameo in the Seinfeld series finale, in which his name is revealed as Yev Kassem, which he refuses to spell. While serving his soup to people at the courthouse, Kassem is asked by Poppie for some salt. This angers Kassem, who takes away his soup.

Inspiration[edit]

The restaurant Soup Kitchen International was the inspiration for this episode of Seinfeld. The restaurant closed in 2004, but has since reopened.

The character was inspired by Al Yeganeh, a soup vendor who runs Soup Kitchen International in New York City.[9] Yeganeh has stated on numerous occasions that he is very offended by the "Soup Nazi" moniker.[10]

According to writer Spike Feresten, Jerry Seinfeld and several members of the production team went to Soup Kitchen International for lunch weeks after "The Soup Nazi" aired. Upon recognizing Seinfeld, Yeganeh went into a profanity-filled rant about how the show had "ruined" his business and demanded an apology. Seinfeld allegedly gave what Feresten describes as "the most insincere, sarcastic apology ever given". Obviously having seen the episode, Yeganeh then bellowed, "No soup for you!" and ejected them from the restaurant.[11]

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."

Legacy[edit]

Advertising[edit]

Like Jackie Chiles, the Soup Nazi character (played by Thomas) has appeared in commercials after the end of the series.

  • In an advertisement by the corporate lobbying group Center for Consumer Freedom, he denies food to people he considers to be too fat.
  • Thomas appeared, in character, along with Jerry Seinfeld in a television commercial for Acura that aired during the 2012 Super Bowl. In the advertisement, Seinfeld is trying to bribe an ordinary guy to get an Acura, offering him soup from The Soup Nazi, who happily offers "Soup for you!".
  • In 2013, Serbu Firearms refused to sell their model BFG-50A semi-automatic .50 rifles to the New York City Police Department after the passage of the NY SAFE Act that classified their weapon as an assault rifle.[12][13] Following their refusal to sell the rifles, Serbu had T-shirts printed with an image of the The Soup Nazi character with the words "No Serbu For You".[12] Thomas, a gun control advocate, contacted Facebook and the T-shirt printers to have the shirts removed.[12] Serbu has since removed the image of Thomas and replaced it with one of their founder Mark Serbu.[14]

In popular culture[edit]

  • Larry Thomas appeared as himself in the Scrubs episode "My Self-Examination." He denies he is the Soup Nazi when asked by J.D. (Zach Braff), who then tricks him into saying the catchphrase "No soup for you!" by asking him "What is [the catchphrase] again? It's like, 'You're out of luck in the soup department...'"
  • Seinfeld: A XXX Parody, a 2009 porn parody of Seinfeld, is a spoof of "The Soup Nazi".[15] In it, the Nazi character is named "The Porn Nazi" and is played by Evan Stone.
  • Rapper Wale used lines from the episode as an introduction and outro to his song "The Soup" on his 2010 mixtape More About Nothing. He acts as the Soup Nazi and uses the catchphrase "No soup for you!"
  • In the 2010 reboot of classic video game NBA Jam for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii, when an alley-oop maneuver is blocked by an opponent, you can hear the announcer say, "No hoop for you!"
  • In 2011's NBA Jam: On-Fire Edition, the tagline "No soup for you!" can be purchased as a reward for the player's card.

In-person promotions[edit]

  • Larry Thomas has used the character to promote soup kitchens for the homeless.[16]
  • In July 2012, the "Seinfeld Food Truck" embarked on an eight-stop United States tour. The truck, driven by Larry Thomas, handed out free soup along with other Seinfeld related food items: Snapple, Twix, Junior Mints, black and white cookies and muffin tops.[17]

Other[edit]

  • The episode inspired an actual soup chain, "Soup Nutsy", which opened in 1996 in New York City. Though it had no official connection to, or endorsement from, Seinfeld or its creators, it included specific Seinfeld references such as describing two of its soups as "Jerry's Favorite" and "Kramer's Favorite", respectively.[18] In 1997 it was bought by Franchise Concepts.[19] A few of its locations remain in Toronto, Ontario in Canada.[20]
  • In August 2009, Albert Gonzalez was convicted for robbery, being the most prolific hacker of credit cards (130 million). He operated on the Internet using the handle "Soupnazi".[21]

Critical response[edit]

Linda S. Ghent, Professor in the Department of Economics at Eastern Illinois University, discusses this episode in terms of its dramatization of the economic issue of market power. The Soup Nazi has monopoly power because he has the power to alter the market price of the goods and services he sells, such as charging George $2, and then $3, for bread. The soup seller is free to practice price discrimination against George and can banish Elaine from his restaurant because he doesn't like her attitude. Because the Soup Nazi's soup is so good, his reign over New York's soup is powerful to the point that his customers prefer his market, and even his abuse, rather than seek soup elsewhere. Elaine breaks his monopoly when she finds his recipes.[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Top 15 Seinfeld Food Related Episodes". Eating the Road. Retrieved July 13, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Seinfeld - Season 7" DVD bonus material, in which during the episode's "Inside Look" featurette, Feresten recounts this story.
  3. ^ "Seinfeld - Season 7" DVD bonus material, "Notes About Nothing" subtitles
  4. ^ "Seinfeld - Season 7" DVD bonus material, in which during the episode's "Inside Look" featurette, Louis-Dreyfus recounts this story.
  5. ^ Schwartz, Lance (May 30, 2012). "Lance's Journal: The Soup Nazi Visits Lincoln, May 30". 10 11.
  6. ^ Jeffery, Morgan (January 20, 2012). "'Seinfeld': The greatest ever moments". Digital Spy.
  7. ^ "Hulk, Soup Nazi to greet Wheaton flea market visitors". Daily Herald. August 18, 2011.
  8. ^ "Script, Episode 116 - The Soup Nazi". Seinology.com. Retrieved July 13, 2012. 
  9. ^ See a profile of Yeganeh in "The Soup Man of 55th Street." New York Cookbook. ed. Molly O'Neill. Workman Publishing, 1992. pp. 70-71. ISBN 1-56305-337-3; See one of his recipes on p. 78. of the same work.
  10. ^ Associated Press via CNN Money[dead link]
  11. ^ See the Season 7 DVD extras, in which during the episode's "Inside Look", Feresten recounts this story.
  12. ^ a b c staff (2013-04-02). "Soup Nazi fires off over guns". New York Post. Retrieved 2013-04-25. 
  13. ^ Berman, Jillian (2013-04-03). "Larry Thomas, 'Soup Nazi' Actor, Pushes Serbu Firearms To Pull Pro-Gun T-Shirt Featuring His Face". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-04-25. 
  14. ^ Higginbotham, David (2013-04-09). "No Serbu For You, Soup Nazi Wants His Image Back". guns.com. Retrieved 2013-04-25. 
  15. ^ Myers, Quinn (February 10, 2011). "The Black Sheep Reviews: Seinfeld: a XXX Parody". The Black Sheep. Retrieved August 25, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Seinfeld star makes sure there is soup for Boise homeless | KTVB.COM Boise". Ktvb.com. 2010-10-05. Retrieved 2013-06-07. 
  17. ^ Lam, Charles (Jul 19, 2012). "Soup for You! Seinfeld Food Truck Stops Off In Newport". OC Weekly. Retrieved 2013-06-07. 
  18. ^ In This Corner, Soup Nutsy, Anthony Ramirez, The New York Times, August 4, 1996
  19. ^ Soup Nutsy on the Move, David Chen, The New York Times, June 4, 1997
  20. ^ Soup Nutsy homepage (retrieved January 28, 2014)
  21. ^ "Ex-informant charged with even bigger data theft this time". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. 2008-09-03. Retrieved 2013-06-07. 
  22. ^ "Seinfeld Economics: The Soup Nazi". Critical Commons. Retrieved July 13, 2012. 

External links[edit]