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Throwback 'Seinfeld' fan recap: Platonic

Season 1 | Episode 2 | “The Stakeout” | Aired May 30, 1990

In the second episode of the first season of Seinfeld, Jerry is faced with the timeless question: Can exes really be friends? So the world in introduced to Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), Jerry’s former girlfriend, whom he is trying to remain a “platonic” friend with.

Things between the two seem to be going well; they hang out and browse video stores (raise your hand if you remember renting a VHS) together, etc. Though when both have social engagements to attend—Elaine has a friend’s birthday dinner and Jerry has a family wedding—what is the harm in going together? Well, of course things get complicated.

During the birthday dinner, Jerry starts conversing with another woman while Elaine is trying to tell him about a dream she had where Jerry had wooden teeth. Elaine confronts Jerry about his “manners” in the cab ride after the dinner. Clearly, being “just friends” with Elaine might be a wee bit difficult, but Jerry can deal with that later, because now he needs to figure out how to get in touch with this mystery woman from the dinner party after only finding out where she works—no name, no number.

Back at his apartment, his parents (who are staying with him for the wedding) greet Jerry. Jerry confides about his ladies woes with his parents. Jerry’s mother doesn’t understand why Jerry and Elaine did not work out, and also does not get why, if he and Elaine our truly friends, he couldn’t just ask for this woman’s name and number. Then Jerry’s father (who is not played by the same actor as in later episodes) has a brilliant idea, which would only work in the early ’90s, because HELLO social media today: Just stake out the woman’s office building and wait to “bump” into her at the elevator.

Jerry enlists the help of George during his stakeout. While waiting to causally bump into the mystery woman, the two start to brainstorm backstories as to why they just happen to be in this office building. George comes up with being an architect who works in the building, and Jerry is visiting—though Jerry quickly discards the story because George as an architect is not believable. So then the two come up with another story: They are meeting a friend, Art Vandelay, who works as an importer and exporter and has an office in the building. The story is not a solid one, but it’s what they go for when they actually bump into Vanessa—yes, we have a name! George does let Vanessa know that he is an architect before excusing himself so Jerry can get her digits. It would seem that Mr. Seinfeld’s plan has worked.

Later that night, while Jerry plays a game of Scribble with his mother—who is an awful Scribble cheater—Jerry’s mother delivers a message from Elaine. She will be ready by 2:30 for the wedding, and she hopes his lunch with Art Vandelay went well. ELAINE KNOWS!

Jerry is dreading seeing Elaine for the family wedding. Before Jerry and Elaine head off to the wedding, they have a chat about their friendship. Elaine admits that it was odd seeing Jerry flirt, but the two agree that if they are going to continue to be friends, they are going to have to be able to talk about other people in a romantic sense with one another. This is fine with Elaine, since she is seeing some good-looking, funny Wall Street guy.

Seinfeldthe entire seriesis now streaming on Hulu Plus.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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