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Throwback 'Seinfeld' fan recap: Joel the Jerk

Season 1 | Episode 4 | “Male Unbonding” | Aired June 14, 1990

George Costanza made a mistake—and it was not wearing a fanny pack. He told a girl he was seeing he actually liked her. Who does that? Then George made another mistake that will lose him the girl. He took a piece of floss out of his pocket, looked at it, then placed it back in his pocket in front of said girl. Yep, this relationship is over.

George shares this tale with Jerry Seinfeld, who takes one look at the fanny pack George is wearing and believes the floss may not have been the real issue.

George and Jerry enter Jerry’s apartment to find none other than Kramer sitting on the couch, engaged in a phone conversation. When he is done with his conversation, Kramer hands Jerry the phone. Jerry asks who it was on the other line, but Kramer won’t say. Jerry is filled with dread when he realizes that his childhood friend Joel (Kevin Dunn) is on the phone. Jerry quickly ends the conversation, but will be meeting Joel for lunch next week.

Once Jerry hangs up the phone, he explains to George and Kramer that Joel has made him a “screener.” He just can’t shake his self-absorbed friend who at least had a Ping-Pong table back when they were 10 years old. Jerry wished he could break up with a male friend just like you would break up with a woman you are seeing. George, of course, thinks this can happen, and convinces Jerry to make a break for it with Joel at lunch next week.

Flash-forward to lunch: Joel is rude, self-absorbed, and just plain annoying. No wonder Jerry wants to break up with him.


After being a complete a–hole to the waitress about a turkey roll, Jerry has had it with Joel. Jerry tells Joel that he doesn’t believe they are “suited to be friends,” and that “it’s not you, it’s me.” Joel starts crying and making a scene, talking about how Jerry is best friend, etc. Jerry gets cold feet and backs out of the breakup. To make it up to Joe, Jerry invites him to the Knicks game, giving Joel the ticket Jerry promised to George for next Wednesday.

Jerry meets George at the bank; George is now looking to cash in a huge jar of pennies for bills. While waiting in the bank line, George informs Jerry that floss girl did finally break up with him. Then Jerry has to break the news to George that he gave Joel the extra Knicks ticket. If that news wasn’t bad enough, when George finally gets to the front of the line, the bank teller informs George that they only accept rolled coins!

Back at Jerry’s apartment, George is now rolling his pennies, and Jerry is trying to think of an excuse to get out of going to the game with Joel. George thinks Jerry should lie and say he lost both tickets—then Jerry and George can just go. But Jerry is not that cold.

Meanwhile, Kramer enters the apartment to see if Jerry and George are interested in investing in his new restaurant idea: a make-your-own pizza place. No surprise that neither invests. Jerry then calls Joel and tells him that he cannot attend the game because he has to “tutor his nephew,” but Joel should still go and take someone else. Jerry has used so many excuses with Joel, he now thinks he needs to keep a list near the phone to stay quick on his feet.

Elaine and Jerry are about to head out when Elaine finds Jerry’s list of excuses and starts to add ridiculous ones to the list: “I ran out of underwear and can’t leave the house.” Before they can leave, both Kramer and Joel walk in. Kramer and Joel attended the Knicks game together. Joel starts hitting on Elaine and wants to take both her and Jerry to a Knicks game. Elaine and Jerry start listing excuses: choir practice, getting tested to be an organ donor, etc. Joel then pulls out the Knicks schedule and starts going through the calendar with them. Some friends, you are just stuck with …

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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