First Script Read: March 8, 1998
Filmed: March 12, 1998
Aired: April 30, 1998
Nielsen rating: 22.1
Audience share: 34
Directed: Andy Ackerman
Writers: David Mandel, Jeff Schaffer, and Alec Berg (teleplay and story). Kit Boss and Peter Mehlman (story only).
With "The Puerto Rican Day" shot at the Universal Studios back lot instead of CBS Studio Center where the main sets were located, and only a clip show and "The Finale" after that, this is the last "normal" episode of the series. It contains one of my favorite Kramer-isms. Whenever I'm around Lower Manhattan I like to try to make it to the corner of 1st and 1st. As a lost and frantic Kramer explains it, "How can the same street intersect with itself? I must be at the nexus of the universe!" There's even a club on that corner called "Nexus Lounge."
Kramer is lost because he's not used to leaving their Upper Manhattan stomping grounds. With his girlfriend moving downtown, he's forced to explore uncharted waters. As George similarly discovers when a mere change of wardrobe leads him to take on the life of an out-of-towner in "The Muffin Tops," there's a fine line between the inside and outside of a comfort zone.
There's also a fine line between a normal relationship and prostitution. Jerry starts sleeping with his maid, who gradually stops cleaning his apartment even though he continues to pay her. The woman is offended when Jerry brings the awkward situation to her attention, but the more the problem drags out, the more she seems to share other attributes with prostitutes. Her contractor (pimp) confronts Jerry about the money she is owed and sends Jerry to pay the woman directly. When Jerry spots her from his car he pulls over and offers her money and is promptly arrested for soliciting prostitution. That's what it looked like anyway.
But the funniest storyline is the pinnacle of George's hilarious stint at Krueger Industrial Smoothing. George tries to get himself the nickname "T-bone," but is thwarted when a co-worker also orders a T-bone for lunch. Instead, George ends up with the nickname "Koko" because of his resemblance to the famous gorilla. If there was one reason to keep Seinfeld going into a tenth season it was Daniel von Bargen's performance as Krueger. With a another season or two he would have matched J. Peterman and Steinbrenner in the pantheon of famous Seinfeld bosses. Von Bargen plays Krueger with a dry, sleepy gruffness that is hysterical and a little odd. Krueger is an incredible match for George, the first boss who seems even more incompetent than George Costanza. In "The Burning," George figures out how to leave meetings on a high note. This catches Krueger's subconscious and he brings George in to work mano e mano on a special project. In a role reversal, George finds himself in the position of needing to motivate a lazy Krueger to get work done.
I would've liked to see more Krueger, but Jerry Seinfeld knew there was a fine line between leaving on a high note and staying around too long. Even coming into season nine, Seinfeld sensed the show had explored its limits and decided to wind things down.