The Boyfriend (Seinfeld)
|Episode no.||Season 3
|Directed by||Tom Cherones|
|Written by||Larry David & Larry Levin|
|Original air date||February 12, 1992|
|Running time||42 minutes|
"The Boyfriend" (also known as "The New Friend") is a two-part episode of the sitcom Seinfeld. It makes up the 34th and 35th episodes of the show, and 17th and 18th episodes of the show's third season. It first aired on February 12, 1992. In the "extras" section of the Season 3 DVD, Jerry Seinfeld says it is his favorite episode. Upon its first airing, it was initially titled "The New Friend".
Jerry meets an idol of his—former New York Mets baseball player Keith Hernandez (appearing as himself)—and wants to make a good impression. Meanwhile, George is out of time on his unemployment and he works harder than ever on his scheme to get a 13-week extension. He tells the unemployment office that he was close to a job with Vandelay Industries, a company made up by George that makes latex products and whose main office's phone number is Jerry's apartment. Kramer and Newman accuse Keith of spitting on them after a past Mets game by the players parking lot at Shea Stadium; however, Jerry supports a "second-spitter theory" and that Keith was not involved. Keith asks Jerry about Elaine's relationship status, then makes a date with her, breaking a date he previously made with Jerry.
Having been busted by his unemployment officer after Kramer unknowingly answers Jerry's phone, George tries to curb losing his benefits by taking the officer's daughter (Carol Ann Susi) out for a date, which goes terribly wrong for him and causes him to express to Jerry his desire to date a tall woman. Meanwhile, Jerry becomes jealous that Keith is spending more of his time dating Elaine until Elaine ends the relationship because he smokes. When Keith asks Jerry to help him move his furniture, Jerry finally has enough and ends their friendship. Right then, Kramer and Newman confront Keith on the alleged "spitting incident". Keith provides them with the truth that, he in fact saw the real spitter, and names Phillies relief pitcher Roger McDowell. Kramer and Newman then remember they had taunted McDowell throughout the game and the pair apologize to Keith, also offering to help move his furniture. George rushes in with one last desperate attempt to win over his unemployment officer by getting Keith to meet her, but he is too late. As he mopes, a tall woman suddenly appears with George's wallet, which he had dropped on the sidewalk outside, causing George to give a happy smile.
Pastiche of JFK film
The "spitting incident" depicted in the story is a pastiche of the 1991 film JFK. Jerry presents the "Magic Loogie Theory", a reference to the "Magic Bullet Theory" featured in the film. Also, the recount of the incident in the episode resembles the Zapruder film in JFK, as it uses the same color and photography effects. Additionally, the episode features Wayne Knight (as Newman), who also appeared in JFK in the same position as the scene it depicts.
In the episode "The Seinfeld Chronicles" (which aired July 1989), Jerry notes that Kramer "[hasn't] left the building in ten years," a point which Kramer does not dispute. This was clearly an exaggeration, since this episode reveals that Kramer, with Newman, attended a baseball game at Shea Stadium on June 14th, 1987.
Reception and legacy
TV Guide ranked the episode fourth in their 1997 list of the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time.
On June 23, 2010, Jerry Seinfeld called four innings of a Mets game at Citi Field against the Detroit Tigers on SportsNet New York, reuniting him with Hernandez, now an analyst for SNY. During that time, he revealed that if Hernandez had turned them down they would have asked Gary Carter to take his place.