The Wizard (Seinfeld)

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"The Wizard"
Seinfeld episode
Episode no. Season 9
Episode 15
Directed by Andy Ackerman
Written by Steve Lookner
Production code 915
Original air date February 26, 1998
Guest actors

Mike McShane, Samuel Bliss Cooper

Season 9 episodes
List of Seinfeld episodes

"The Wizard" is the 171st episode of the NBC sitcom Seinfeld. This was the 15th episode for the ninth and final season. It aired on February 26, 1998.[1]

Plot[edit]

Jerry buys his dad a $200 Wizard organizer for a birthday present. George receives a message from Susan's parents, the Rosses. Jerry and George debate about the race of Elaine's new boyfriend and that intrigues her – is he black? George returns the call from the Rosses; the Foundation is having an event this weekend, but George doesn't want to attend, so he comes up with a story that he has to close on his house in the Hamptons. Kramer announces his retirement, a Hollywood big shot has optioned his coffee table book about coffee tables. Elaine finds evidence that leads her to believe her boyfriend is black. Susan's parents see George on the street in the city, during the time he is supposed to be in the Hamptons.

Jerry is woken up early in the morning at his parents' house and gives his father the Wizard, which Jerry claims he got from a deal at only $50. Morty is only impressed by it being a "tip calculator", although Jerry claims it does other things. Later he discovers that Kramer has moved down there, to join the other retirees. Elaine laughs when Susan's parents ask her about George's house in the Hamptons, revealing the lies. Morty, who can't run for president of the condo association because he was impeached from their previous condo, decides that Kramer should be elected condo board president of Del Boca Vista phase III, so Morty will run things from behind the scenes, like a "puppet regime". Elaine schemes to try to determine her boyfriend's race. As George finds out the Rosses knew that he lied, and they allowed him to continue lying, he keeps building on his lie and picks up the Rosses to take them to the Hamptons, to "see who'll blink first".

Kramer begins his campaign and the condo newsletter, The Boca Breeze has good things to say about him. When Elaine's boyfriend says they are an interracial couple, she is convinced he is black. Kramer receives some bad press from The Boca Breeze; it's damage control time. Kramer suggests buying each member of the board one of those Wizard "tip calculators". Jerry knows he can't get the deal he told his father he'd received, but Kramer says not to worry, Bob Sacamano's father lives down there and can help them out. Elaine discovers her boyfriend is not black, and that he referred to them as an interracial couple because he thought she was Hispanic. Sacamano's father comes through with knock-off "tip calculators" called "the Willard", which can't calculate tips properly and in some cases lack a full complement of numerals, costing Morty and Kramer the election. George and the Rosses reach the Hamptons, where he blinks first and the truth is revealed. The Rosses confirm that they dislike George, and blame him for Susan's death.

Production[edit]

The Seinfeld writers had always planned an episode dealing with race. An initial idea had Elaine getting lost in Harlem, but the idea was abandoned when "they simply could not get the tone right."[2]

Reception[edit]

Tim Delaney, in Seinology: the sociology of Seinfeld, wrote that The Wizard "does a wonderful job of illustrating the delicate nature of discussing race, even when it's between friends, who assumingly, are not racist."[3] Albert Auster, of Fordham University, wrote of the episode: "If the series did have one strong point in its dealings with race, it was with the embarrassment and uneasiness that middle-class whites often feel about the issue."[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Wizard" - TV.com
  2. ^ Lavery, D. & Leverette, M. (2006) Seinfeld, master of its domain: revisiting television's greatest sitcom, Continuum International Publishing Group, p214-5
  3. ^ Delaney, T. (2006) Seinology: the sociology of Seinfeld, Prometheus Books, p171
  4. ^ Auster, A. (1998) "Much Ado About Nothing: Some Final Thoughts on Seinfeld," Television Quarterly, no. 29, pp. 24–33

External links[edit]