In Honor of Seinfeld Night At Dodger Stadium, We Took A Look Back At That Time 'Seinfeld' Made Fun Of LA
Legendary sitcom Seinfeld celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, and the Dodgers are paying tribute with Seinfeld Night at Dodger Stadium. It's going down on Wednesday night, when the boys in blue will spar against Jerry Seinfeld's favorite team, the New York Mets.
The stadium also has plans for Seinfeld-themed pregame ceremonies and in-game entertainment. Unlike in New York, where Seinfeld himself is scheduled to make a Mets game appearance in July, the best coast will be graced by Seinfeld's archnemesis Newman -- aka actor Wayne Knight -- who will throw out the first pitch.
But the show's no stranger to Los Angeles. The exterior of Seinfeld's own apartment, which was allegedly on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, was actually an apartment building west of MacArthur Park.
The show really stuck it to L.A. in 1992 with two-parter "The Trip" at the start of season 4, paying off a setup from the season 3 finale. It gives us the New York-minded show's take on Southern California culture -- they don't appear to be fans.
Kramer lands a guest spot on (non-revival) Murphy Brown and tries to make a go of it as an actor and screenwriter -- but doesn't find the fast success he hoped for. Meanwhile, Jerry and George fly out for Jerry's appearance on The Tonight Show, back when Jay Leno was still a relatively new host.
The first of two episodes focuses on the entertainment world, along with some of the airplane/travel humor that Seinfeld popularized in the 1980s (though, to be fair, the show never seriously used the phrase "What's the deal with...?"). Somehow Kramer's managed to position himself as an actor who can dispense thespian wisdom, explaining to his fellow actors on set how he gives each line a color, then memorizes the colors rather than the lines. He drives off set, crashing through a studio gate.
The depiction of Kramer's apartment throws even more classic New York shade on L.A., harping on all the wanna-be actor stereotypes available. Someone's practicing opera down the hall, and a never-was actress who hasn't worked since her 1934 appearance (still a long time ago, even when this show aired in the '90s) in a Three Stooges film, is hitting on him. He tries calling Candice Bergen from Murphy Brown, but her secretary immediately hangs up on him.
Kramer auditions for commercials and music videos, but it doesn't seem like he's going to get booked anytime soon. He goes on a date with an actress, who pitches him a project based on Hitler's companion Eva Braun -- and she later ends up murdered by a serial killer. Are you seeing a pattern here about L.A. lifestyles?
Kramer runs into Fred Savage, still in his Wonder Years heyday, and pitches his own movie. Savage does his best to escape Kramer, having little-to-no interest.
Backstage at The Tonight Show, George makes his own pitches to show guests backstage -- he tries selling L.A. Law's Corbin Bernsen on an idea for a case about a dead cat, and tells George Wendt from Cheers that they should consider setting the show somewhere other than a bar. The guests both go on the show and bury George in front of a national audience, calling him a nut and saying his ideas were terrible.
The first part of the two-parter ends with Seinfeld bombing his stand-up set, thanks to the hotel housekeeper throwing away some jokes he wrote, and Kramer's face showing up on the news as potentially being the "Smog Strangler."
Part 2 switches its focus from entertainment to criminal justice, while still taking shots at the City of Angels. While trying to go to the police to report that they don't think Kramer could possibly be a serial killer, Jerry and George explain to the cops that they can't find the police station because they have no idea where the 101, the 170, or the 134 are.
They get an escort to the station, but are pulled into the cops investigating various other crimes along the way. Kramer gets arrested. When Jerry and George visit him in the L.A. County Central Jail, Kramer has fallen deep into his delusions of fame, -- he tells them that he's getting auditions, that there's interest in his movie treatment, and that he's now a Hollywood player. He finally snaps out of it when he gets dragged to the back of the station for interrogation.
In a perfectly Seinfeldian moment, Kramer gets released from jail when another murder goes down in Laurel Canyon while he's being questioned -- and he joyfully celebrates the murder with Jerry and George, thanks to it setting him free. By the way, the real serial killer was a guy that Jerry and George accidentally helped escape when they were with the police earlier.
The show's writers take the next opportunity to fully drive home their cynicism about L.A. life pretty clearly with a semi-dramatic Kramer monologue, delivered with the Hollywood sign in the background.
"What do you want me to say? That the things haven't worked out the way that I planned? That I'm struggling, barely able to keep my head above water? That L.A. is a cold place even in the middle of the summer? That it's a lonely place even when you're stuck in traffic on the Hollywood Freeway? That I'm no better than a screenwriter driving a cab, a starlet turning tricks, a producer in a house he can't afford?"
Given sitcom logic, while it initially appears that Kramer's going to stay in L.A., he ends up appearing back in New York without much of an explanation -- other than a heartwarming reconciliation with Jerry.
The show closes with a Seinfeld stand-up segment where he mocks L.A.'s smog alerts.
Meanwhile, Elaine is nowhere to be seen and has not made an appearance in either episode. Maybe she was doing a commercial side gig that week.
Everyone seems happy to be back home in New York City, now that they've gotten mercilessly mocking L.A. out of their system.
Well done! You've reached the end of this recap and now you're ready to make "The Trip" references to the unaware baseball fan sitting next to you at the game, who will most likely stare blankly back at you, because he's never watched the show and didn't know it was Seinfeld Night.
The game against the New York Mets is Wednesday night at 7:10 p.m. at Dodger Stadium. If that's not enough Seinfeld for you, you can also play Seinfeld Trivia at the Friend Bar this Thursday night.