The Butter Shave

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"The Butter Shave"
Seinfeld episode
Episode no.Season 9
Episode 1
Directed byAndy Ackerman
Written byAlec Berg & Jeff Schaffer & David Mandel
Production code901
Original air dateSeptember 25, 1997
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"The Summer of George"
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"The Voice"
Seinfeld (season 9)
List of Seinfeld episodes

"The Butter Shave" is the 157th episode of the NBC sitcom Seinfeld. It is also the first episode of the ninth and final season. It aired on September 25, 1997.[1]


Over the summer both George and Jerry grow mustaches as a way of "taking a vacation from themselves"; they both admit it was a bad idea and Jerry suggests they should have taken real vacations. George quickly thinks a different style of facial hair might be the answer but Jerry tells George that he has to get a job. Not fully recovered from "The Summer of George", George is using a cane to get around. Jerry might have another shot at NBC, through an appearance on an NBC Showcase that might lead to another pilot. He is also annoyed that lame comic Kenny Bania's act is working, only because he is following on Jerry's coattails. Jerry refers to Bania as "a time-slot hit" (a reference to the success of many shows that aired between Seinfeld and ER). Bania is also dating one of Jerry's ex-girlfriends.

George learns of a job interview with a playground equipment company. George is hired for the job at Play Now because they think he is handicapped due to his use of the cane. George takes full advantage of the situation after they offer him his own fully equipped handicap bathroom. While returning home from a month-long vacation in Europe, Elaine and Puddy break up, then get back together on their long flight home, only to break up again.

Kramer finds butter is better than shaving cream. Kramer's skin feels so good after shaving with butter he takes to spreading it all over his body. Unfortunately, he falls asleep as he lies out in the sun where he begins to cook. Newman, reading the cannibalism-themed story Alive, finds the smell of a buttered Kramer appealing. In his disturbed state, Newman sees Kramer's head on a turkey in Monk's, panics, and runs out. George sprains his good leg and begins favoring the other leg, and Play Now buys him a motorized cart as a result.

Jerry is informed that Bania is going to follow him on the NBC showcase. Jerry then plans to sabotage his own act, surmising that Kenny's act will also bomb. George manages to keep up his handicap bluff until he gets into some trouble with an old man after bumping his cart. The old man begins to chase George's cart with his own. George decides to jump off and pick up his cart. He begins to run but is seen by his boss. George, now concerned about what will happen to his job, is caught by the mob and one older gentleman hits George with his cane ("Eat hickory!"). After Jerry sabotages his act, Newman meets Kramer backstage. After Kramer accidentally has oregano and Parmesan cheese spilled on him, Newman then attempts to eat him. As Kramer fights off Newman, the two run onto the stage during Bania's act. After Bania's act, two NBC executives offer him a pilot on NBC, thinking Kramer and Newman running onto the stage was part of the act.


The episode was dedicated to the memory of Brandon Tartikoff, NBC's President of Entertainment from 1981 to 1991, who had died on August 27, 1997 at the age of 48 after lifelong complications from Hodgkin's lymphoma. Tartikoff championed Seinfeld in its rocky days at the start of its run.


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