Episode 14: The Van Buren Boys

Episode #148; 8:14

Our Summary

Peterman requests that Elaine ghostwrite his autobiography. However, he wants the book to be about his day to day life, which it turns out, is extremely boring. So, they buy Kramer's life stories, but Elaine doesn't like them, so tries to make up her own, which Peterman hates and says that they are cliche, so she uses one of Kramer's without telling Peterman, which he loves, and so when Kramer calls up to get his stories back b/c he his stories are his life, Peterman gives them back to him, even though Elaine still uses his stories. One of these stories which occurs in this episode and is very key to this episode, is that Kramer walks into Lorenzo's when he is accosted by the entire Van Buren Boys gang. He flashes their secret sign of 8 fingers, b/c he was the 8th president, and so he is saved. This becomes important as Kramer can't tell George what the secret sign is b/c Peterman owns his stories now. The reason why George is in trouble with the Van B Boys is that he found a kid for the scholarship given by the foundation who reminds George of himself, and he wants to become an architect, just like George always wanted to be. However, when he changes his mind and wants to become a city planner, George takes the scholarship away from him, he joins the Van B Boys, and they mess with George. Finally, we have an almost insignificant storyline involving Jerry and his perfect gal that everyone thinks has problems, except his parents, which causes Jerry to start wondering about other gals, like Amber.

Our Commentary

A quick warning about this commentary is that JJ was here during the viewing of this ep as well as the next one. I doubt that this has much effect on my commentary, but I know that it affects Adam's. JJ hasn't watched an ep with us in a while, but he is a welcome addition to this commentary. That said, on to the ep.

This hilarious episode contains so many funny lines and scenes that it deserves to be in the Top 25, but alas, it does not make it, but must retain its current position in the Top 50. From the beginning to the end, this ep has hilarious written all over it. We start off with George's Artemis N. Folkmore and we end with George being super cool and confident by saying "Van B-Boys", like when he says "Hanky, others" (See 9:9 The Apology). Then we have some hilarious stuff with George interviewing the kids for the scholarship with his favorite animal, frog is wrong, why do they tilt the harp, and then hearing an answer to his question, he cuts her off. Beautiful stuff with little Stevy Koren, the whole thing of Ellen being the loser, but she's perfect, which is classic Season Eight nuttiness, and finally we get two HI-larious scenes: Kramer explaining the whole scene in Lorenzo's:

KRAMER: Alright, so there I am at Lorenzo's - loading up my slice of the fixin's bar.. garlic, (imitates the shaking of garlic onto a pizza) and what-not.. mmm, mmm.. and I see this guy over at the pizza boxes giving me the stink-eye. (Imitates the 'stink-eye') So I give him the crook-eye back, (Imitates the 'crook-eye') you know.. Then, I notice that he's not alone! I'm taking on the entire Van Buren Boys!
JERRY: The Van Buren Boys? There's a street gang named after President Martin Van Buren?
KRAMER: Oh yeah, and they're just as mean as he was! So, I make a move to the door, you know, (makes a noise) they block it! So, I lunged for the bathroom. (demonstrates) I grab the knob - Occupado! Then they back me up against the cartoon map of Italy, and all of the sudden, they just stop.

Finally, the other HI-larious scene is with Kramer and Peterman, with him explaining the tale with his ripping good yarns, and being the worst negotiator ever, starting with $1500 for his whole life, and then cutting that in half, then acting in his typical fashion that he does not know Elaine. Also, right before we are about to watch 8:15 The Susie, I remembered that Peterman said to Elaine to throw herself into the mix when dealing with sexual escapades, and in the next ep, she does just that, at least in Peterman's mind. Finally, we get a Peterson by Kramer and then another HI-larious scene with George and Kramer sitting down with Jerry like it's an intervention and becoming like his parents, worrying about his career and suggesting the Bloomingdale's executive training program for him. Overall, a solidly hilarious episode, well deserved of the Top 50, just missing the Top 25. Adam - Episodes like these don't come along very often. Maybe once every two episodes. As JJ dies of laughter, asking Adam if he meant to say that. Adam - In all seriousness this episode was just tremendous. You had some excellent lines, such as "smart like a computer", JJ - smawt like a computa. Probably one of the most oft-quoted lines that any person with the last name of Somer recites thrice daily. Adam - or Kramer wearing the same pants he was returning, JJ - the very Adam - and why does he have a golf club in Elaine's office? Maybe they're Peterman's, from JFK Adam - this episode was truly, truly a wonder. Granted it does miss the Top 25, but in our heart of hearts, it really makes it. JJ - He speaks from the heart. . . . With me here, I influence you to give a nice long one. Am I up? Yeah, hold on. Adam - Ahh, the Suse. JJ - He's writing everything that we're writing, so keep quiet, same goes for me. Jared. Go. JJ - Alright folks it's nice to see you again. When I watch an episode of Seinfeld, I don't have this automatic feeling where each episode ranks, and unlike the Somers I don't automatically put an ep in a Top 50 or Top 25, just based on the fact that I enjoyed it, because being a true Seinfeld fanatic I enjoy almost every episode. But with that having been said this is clearly one of the all time greats. Adam - Whooa, big boys. JJ - First of all, the whole scene where Kramer tells his story about what happens at Lorenzo's, ending with (high pitched) Occupado! had me rolling on the floor gasping for my last breath of air and in addition to long funny scenes like that one, the episode over all was brilliantly written, like the seemingly meaningless parts of the episode are brilliantly brilliant as well, for example as Jared says earlier, who on earth thinks to have Kramer say Peterson instead of Peterman, like the whole Gatsby thing. I'm not gonna rehash all the funny scenes in the episode. I think the thing that stands out most is the writing, peppered with classic lines and irreverant wit. Adam - Whooo whoo hooo! JJ - Why do I say that? B/c Peterman said it. And I'm introducing a new thing to this website, called Aihud. The brilliant critic that you guys have learned to love known as Adam will now be known simply as Aihud. Revel in his brilliance. After hearing what he wrote, he says that he's not too happy with what he wrote.

EPISODE GUIDE from Jerry Seinfeld: The Entire Domain by Kathleen Tracy

148."The Van Buren Boys" (February 6, 1997)

SUMMARY Jerry's girlfriend Ellen seems perfect to him in every way, but everyone else seems to have a problem with her. George interviews candidates for the foundation's first scholarship. Peterman buys stories from Kramer's life to use in his own autobiography, which Elaine will ghostwrite. Jerry flies his parents in to get their impression of Ellen.

TRIVIA The character name "Steven Koren" is the name of one of Seinfeld's writers.

DIRECTOR Andy Ackerman

TELEPLAY Darin Henry

GUEST CAST Bruce Davison (Wyck); Christine Taylor (Ellen); Jed Rhein (Steven Koren); Tony Colitti (Leader); David Moscow (Lomez Jr.); Yunoka Doyle (Lydia); Dublin James (Maurice); Justine Slater (Melissa); Michelle Maika (Kim); Steve Hofvendahl (Man)

RECURRING CAST Barney Martin (Morty Seinfeld); John O'Hurley (J. Peterman); Liz Sheridan (Helen Seinfeld)


2nd Siyum


Things We Know About Lomez
*Possibly has a son who is the head of the Van Buren Boys, whom he named after himself

Stuff That Happened to Bob Sacamano
On phone with Kramer before he slips and falls in mud

Kramer's Friends
Corky Ramirez - 8:4 The Little Kicks & 8:14 The Van Buren Boys

Real People's Names
Steven Koren

3rd Siyum

Things We Have No Clue About
Smith Co (something like that)

Full Script