Seinfeld: Season 6, Episode 23

The Understudy (18 May 1995)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Comedy
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Jerry dates the ultra-sensitive understudy for Bette Midler in Rochelle, Rochelle: The Musical. When the Improv is scheduled to play Rochelle Rochelle in a softball game, George plows into ... See full summary »



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Airs Fri. May. 15, 7:00 PM on TBS


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Title: The Understudy (18 May 1995)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Ruby (as June Kyoko Lu)
Adelaide Miller ...
Lotus (as Bok Yun Chon)
Vonnie C. Rhee ...
Player #1
Player #2 (as Michael James McDonald)
Lou DiMaggio ...


Jerry dates the ultra-sensitive understudy for Bette Midler in Rochelle, Rochelle: The Musical. When the Improv is scheduled to play Rochelle Rochelle in a softball game, George plows into catcher Bette Midler to score the winning run. Bette is injured because of the incident and is unable to perform in the Broadway premiere. Jerry, George, and the understudy are vilified for the incident, and Kramer goes out of his way to help Bette. Meanwhile, Elaine suspects that a local nail shop is making fun of her in Korean. She learns that George's dad Frank speaks Korean and brings him along to spy on them. Frank recalls his time in the Korean war and how he had an affair with a young Korean woman. Elaine gets kicked out of the nail shop and wanders around aimlessly, and has a chance encounter with catalog magnate J. Peterman, who hires Elaine to work for the catalog. Written by halo1k

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18 May 1995 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


When George runs over Bette Midler while scoring the winning run, you can see someone catching Bette's stunt double as she flies backwards. In the next cut, she is lying unconscious against the fence giving the impression that she hit the fence after the blow. There is no sign of the person who caught her in the previous cut. See more »


Cosmo Kramer: [has just learned Jerry's girlfriend is Bette Midler's understudy in the Rochelly, Rochelle musical] Understudys, now they're a shifty bunch. The substitute teachers of the theater world.
Jerry Seinfeld: I'm glad that she's an understudy. This way I avoid having to go backstage and think of something to say.
George Costanza: Going backstage is the worst. Especially when they stink, then it's a real problem.
Jerry Seinfeld: Just once I'd like to tell someone they stink. 'Ya know what? I didn't like the show, I didn't like you, ya just really ...
See more »


Features Beaches (1988) See more »


Wind beneath My Wings
Written by Larry Henley and Jeff Silbar
Performed by Bette Midler
Sung by Michael Richards
See more »

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User Reviews

Season 6: Not quite as brilliant as seasons 4 & 5 but still very enjoyable and strong stuff
7 September 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This sixth season of the show marks the 100th episode milestone (which it celebrates, as was the fashion, with a clip-show) but more importantly for me it shows that it can more or less maintain the standard set in seasons 4 and 5 (both of which I really loved). I say more or less because there are episodes here that do not quite have the natural spark and wit that was so consistent and appeared so easy through the last two seasons. Season 6 opens with Jerry being Jerry, Kramer being Kramer, George working for the Yankees and Elaine unemployed and the season more or less goes from there with all the usual social misunderstandings and scenarios peppered through with imaginative excess.

Not all the scenarios are as sharp as the show at its best here. There isn't really a total episode that doesn't work but there are certainly individual threads that come over as being too elaborate or perhaps a bit too silly to really function. The best scenarios are the simplest ones where one or two really nice touches can make all the difference – the messier it becomes the less effective it is. Messy nonsense is best left to Kramer and his stuff is generally the exception because his character can carry it but the others not so much, they tend to require a base of some form of reality from which to go from.

Season 6 contains fewer "classic" episodes than the previous fewer seasons. I think for sure "The Switch" is classic Seinfeld but the rest are not quite there, partly for the weaknesses discussed already. However this is not to say that any of them are bad or even weak, just that they are coming in to my head having to compete with the previous two seasons. The finale and the clip-show were the only two episodes that didn't really do much for me, but I did still enjoy them regardless. This is to the show's credit – if you can have a season where it is clearly not quite as good as you have done before but yet still have it be really funny and enjoyable then you're doing a lot right. And so it is with season 6; it is not quite as brilliant as I have seen the show be before, but yet it is still of a very high standard.

The cast are perhaps a bit too comfortable as well and there are signs of occasional over-playing of their characters here and there, but not too much. Seinfeld and Louis-Dreyfuss continue to be funnier and more important to the comedy than they were and both actors benefit by maintaining from previous seasons. Alexander and Richards remain my favourite characters, they have the most colour and they work with it well with the only downside/risk being that they both do occasionally overplay the quirks that they normally deliver in controlled (and funnier) ways. The additional cast are mostly good. Knight continues to be my favourite second tier character but Stiller continues to dominate like he did in season 5. Although he is used sparingly, George's boss is a hoot whenever called upon to deliver a long rambling story that goes nowhere.

I have sounded a little negative here but I think that is mainly down to how strong the previous two seasons of Seinfeld have been, Season 6 is still of a very high standard, very funny and cleverly done. Some bits are a bit weaker than I would have liked but these do not really damage any specific episode and certainly not the season. Not quite as classic as 4 and 5 then, but there is more than enough to season 6 to make it fit into the high standards of the series generally.

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