Seinfeld: Season 1, Episode 4

Male Unbonding (14 Jun. 1990)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Comedy
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 1,051 users  
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Jerry tries various excuses to avoid meeting with an old friend with whom he no longer shares any interests.



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Airs Fri. Oct. 23, 6:30 PM on TBS


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Episode complete credited cast:
Anita Wise ...
Frank Piazza ...
Kimberley LaMarque ...


Jerry desperately wants Joel Hornek, a childhood friend who keeps calling him and wanting to hang out together, to leave him alone. George suggests Jerry tell him the truth and break up with him much as he would with a girl. Joel doesn't take the news very well and Jerry backs off, even giving him George's ticket to an upcoming Knicks game. George meanwhile thinks he's blown it with a new girl after he lets he know he likes her. Kramer comes up with a new business idea - a make-your-own pizza place. Written by garykmcd

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14 June 1990 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


This episode the only episode not to have the word "the" before it. The writers figured creating simple titles like "The Chinese Restaurant" and "The Parking Space" were better because they were simply the main idea of the show, the writers would not have to spend time thinking of clever titles, and they figured many people would never see/hear the titles. See more »


Jerry mentions in one scene how he would have been friends with Stalin if he had had a pool table. However, Josef Stalin died in 1953, while Jerry Seinfeld was not born until 1954. See more »


Jerry Seinfeld: Should I suffer the rest of my life because I like to play Ping-Pong?
See more »


Featured in Seinfeld: Highlights of a Hundred (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

The one with no "The" at the beginning...
11 November 2007 | by (Italy) – See all my reviews

Male Unbonding is the only Seinfeld episode that doesn't have a "the" in the title, but it is hilarious nonetheless, featuring some of the most brilliantly awkward moments in the history of American situation comedy.

As suggested by the title, this is a man-centric story, from the beginning, where Jerry delivers a monologue about men's obsession with tools. This is supposed to introduce the episode's "theme": male partnership. Problem is, Jerry sees it as a burden: an old friend of his, Joel Horneck (Kevin Dunn), keeps asking him to do stuff, even though our favorite comedian would rather engage in silly conversations with George and Elaine (with occasional input from Kramer). Unable to bluntly tell Joel to get lost ("As a guy, I don't know how to break up with another guy!"), Jerry has to come up with a list of excuses, which actually only makes things worse.

Being an early episode, Male Unbonding still suffers from some minor character development issues: while the protagonist, Elaine and especially Kramer (who plans to open a pizza place where you can make your own pie - excellent!) are already fully rounded, George is still somewhere between the confident sidekick seen in the pilot and the whining, insecure loser who went as far as being called "the greatest sitcom character ever" by Ricky Gervais (director/writer/star of the UK version of The Office, in case you didn't know). Fortunately, this flaw (which is probably the reason this show is listed as Episode 2 on the DVD, as the remaining Season 1 stories got the character right) is compensated by the presence of Dunn, who plays Joel as George's wimpy brother, all anxious and unable to do anything by himself: the "break-up" conversation between him and Jerry, which has a not-so-subtle homo-erotic connotation (still a bit risky in 1990), is embarrassing, ridiculous and very funny, spawning dozens of imitations (a couple of Friends episodes most notably) and making the character's disappearance after this episode a bit of a let-down. Maybe, though, his one-off guest spot was for the best: I'm not sure the show would have been as good with two George Costanzas in it.

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