|Index||2 reviews in total|
Following a smart inaugural season and an exhilarating start of the
second, The Pony Remark stands out as the first must-see episode of
Seinfeld, and even though I haven't seen the entire series I'm placing
it directly in my personal Top 10.
Much of the episode revolves around the titular event, which is supposedly based on writer Larry David's personal experience, as many other memorable moments of the show: Jerry's parents ask him and Elaine to come with them to a dinner hosted by a foreign relative, leading to an excruciating evening, especially for the protagonist, who has to sit next to his really boring uncle Leo. For some reason the people at the table start discussing ponies, prompting Jerry to fearlessly say he never understood and in fact hated anyone who had a pony when they grew up. Predictably, someone isn't thrilled, namely Manya (the Polish relative I mentioned earlier), who angrily states: "I had a pony!". With the dinner ruined, all Jerry can do is try to apologize, although that ends badly too ("Who figures an immigrant is gonna have a pony?").
The second half sees our beloved comedian dealing with remorse, a feeling that is increased by the news that Manya has passed away and the implication that he may have caused her death with the pony remark. As if that weren't enough, the funeral is set to occur on the same day as an important baseball game Jerry is supposed to take part in.
Seinfeld always stunned audiences for its innovative formal and narrative choices, turning the ordinary into something extraordinary, and while previous episodes were justly praised for how they toyed with conventional ideas, The Pony Remark deserves extra marks for sheer originality: the remark itself is the single best piece of writing in the whole season (and laid the foundations for Larry David's autobiographical misbehavior in Curb Your Enthusiasm), and the brief digressions, such as Kramer's decision to rebuild his apartment to make it similar to a pyramid, are clever enough to amuse the viewer but never distract from the embarrassingly funny main misadventure.
Still fresh, intelligent and timed to perfection, The Pony Remark is essential Seinfeld, even if you don't know anything about horses.
Great episode, full of great laughs and a very memorable plot line, but
I wouldn't say I'm as impressed as most Seinfeld fans appear to be with
it. I actually preferred the opening episode of season two, and felt it
had much more laughs and interesting character development in it.
Nevertheless, 'The Pony Remark' is a fine effort itself and is
certainly one of the best I've seen thus far (8 episodes in to
My main problem with the episode comes from the distinct lack of George, a character who I grew to love during the very first episode. Instead Larry and Jerry decide to focus this one on Elaine, hoping to maybe flesh out her character a little more. Unfortunately it still hasn't worked for me. I still don't get Elaine; don't know who she is as a character and don't really find her funny. This episode was a good chance to fix that, but ultimately it fails to do so.
Even Uncle Leo who is first introduced here, I feel I know more than Elaine. Maybe Elaine is more of subtle character than the rest featured so far, and I'm sure I'll grow to love her soon enough- but for now, her focus in this episode in place of George kind of ruined the episode in terms of laughs. Furthermore, I have the same problem with Jerry's parents, they seem like they have identity's here but it's still not clear at this point. So I had a real problem enjoying their scenes, at least until Jerry arrives to strengthen things up.
Kramer's brief involvement is humorous with Richards giving yet another amazing performance, which is always wonderful to watch. My favourite scene however comes from inside the Diner where Jerry, George and Elaine are eating whilst discussing George's sex life (briefly), the nature of spirits' travelling habits and Jerry's guilt over his relative's death. I think it's the way the dialogue is written in combination with the everyday-casual nature of the cast's tone that brings out the real comedy in this scene. Everything about it works, and it's a joy to watch, really helping to solidify the episode.
In addition to this I enjoyed the various stand-up scenes (as I always do) and thought the main plot involving the funeral being on the same day as Jerry's baseball final was pretty clever and evenly paced out. Overall, a great episode for sure, but perhaps missing the mark on some jokes here and there and failed to convince me of Elaine's character, again. Nevertheless I did get to know the rest of the characters a little bit more, so the characterisation on the whole, was good.
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