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TeeVee Exclusive: The Twilight of Seinfeld
This is the Big One.
Bigger than "Who Shot J.R.?" Bigger than "Who Killed Laura Palmer?" Bigger than "Who Went and Knocked Up That Nice Murphy Brown?" It's TV, with both a capital T and a capital V.
It's the end of Seinfeld. The last episode airs Thursday. And I think you'll agree that I'm not exaggerating when I call this final Seinfeld installment The Most Important Event By Far This Year.
I mean weddings and funerals and births are a dime a dozen. Graduation ceremonies... those roll around every year. And we can spend time with our loved ones any day of the week.
Except for Thursday night, of course. Because that's when Seinfeld -- the most watched show in these here United States -- goes off the air forever, never to be seen by a living soul again.
Except in summer reruns. And in syndication. But I think you see my point.
Need any indication as to the impact that Seinfeld has on the very pith and marrow of our lives? Witness the NBC promotional machine -- a whirling dervish of hyperactivity even in the most placid of times -- crank into high gear as Seinfeld's D-Day draws ever closer. Observe the morning zoo radio shows give away Seinfeld gift pack after Seinfeld gift pack. And mark the entertainment reporters, the gossip columnists and the puffy-haired L.A. TV news anchors speculating as to what will happen in the final episode.
And really, why shouldn't they speculate. If the Seinfeld's swan song is -- and I believe I'll get no argument -- The Most Important Event By Far This Year, then certainly how the final show shakes down is The Biggest Question Surrounding The Most Important Event By Far This Year.
But still, we have to chuckle at the naivete and childlike ignorance of your garden-variety Liz Smiths and Army Archerds and Mary Harts as they scratch their collective noggins trying to ponder the unponderable. Will Elaine and Jerry marry?, they ask. Will Kramer finally settle down? And what about George? What about George?
We chuckle at this guesswork, these conjectures, this jaw-jacking because, frankly, it's beneath us. After all, we already know how the last episode of Seinfeld ends.
That got your attention, didn't it?
A few months ago, when speculation about Seinfeld's goodbye had reached a fever pitch, we here at TeeVee decided to cash in on the media gravy train. So I formed the TeeVee I-Team -- an crack investigational unit formed for the sole purpose of probing the issues that matter to you! Our first mission -- find out how Seinfeld ends at any and all costs.
And let me tell you, it wasn't easy.
For one thing, there were about a dozen different shooting scripts, most of which were decoys. Then there was that whole non-disclosure business--the cast, crew and lucky members of the studio audience who watched Jerry and George and Elaine and Kramer go down in a blaze of glory had to pledge in writing that they wouldn't divulge the show's ending.
Then, of course, they shredded the scripts after the show was over. That complicated matters some.
But perseverance and patience are our watchwords. And bribery.
Truth is, we staked out NBC and Warner Brothers in Burbank for three days. We watched. We waited. Because sooner or later -- no matter how tight-lipped those NBC suits were -- someone had to take out the trash.
It took 12 of us three weeks -- more than 950 manhours -- to reassemble the shredded script. Working day and night in double and sometimes triple shifts, our TeeVee I-Team carefully pasted and stapled and collated until our mission was complete. Even then, we didn't get the whole thing. But what we got was good enough. It was better than good.
We got the ending.
And what an ending! We knew that Jerry and the gang wanted to go out with a bang, but this is something else--something other than else!
Passion! Betrayal! Fire! Rivermaidens! A climatic fight between Newman and Kramer that left us in stitches, and leaves Kramer a stiff!
But we've said too much already! You've got to read the wackiness to believe it!
Interior. Day. Seinfeld's apartment.
What has happened? Kramer! I did not hear Jerry's schtick!
Men and women, with lights and firebrands, lead the procession returning home with Seinfeld's body. GEORGE and KRAMER are among them.
The pallid comic can quip no more, nor master his domain, nor wear the puffy shirt.
(With growing horror)
Get Out! What are they bringing?
The procession reaches the couch, where the people set down the body on the coffee table.
A fat mailman's prey, Seinfeld, your dead ex-boyfriend.
Elaine shrieks and falls on the body. General shock and grief.
Elaine, open your eyes, speak to me!
Seinfeld -- Seinfeld slain!
She pushes Kramer violently away.
Get out! Faithless doofus! Oh help! They have killed Seinfeld!
Do not reproach me! Complain to Newman. He is the accursed mailman who savaged this noble comic.
Do you revile me for it, Elaine?
May anguish and misfortune dog you forever!
(stepping forward with terrible defiance)
So be it! But I killed him. I, Newman, struck him dead. He was forfeit to my spear, on which he swore falsely. I have now exacted the sacred right of reparation, for which I now demand this ring.
Would you lay hands on Elaine's inheritance, shameless son of a gnome! Not that there's anything wrong with that. Wow! Some ending, huh? Almost operatic! It didn't make a lot of sense to me, either, but the way I see it, the proof of the comedy pudding will be in the wacky crust! And if there's anyone who knows about funny pudding, it's the gang at Seinfeld!
Thus does his son demand the gnome's inheritance!
He rushes Kramer, who fights like a woman. Kramer falls dead from a slap of Newman's mailbag.
Give the ring here!
He grasps at Seinfeld's hand, which raises itself menacingly. All stand motionless in horror.
There's something you don't see everyday.
Silence the shrill clamor of your grief, all of you High-Talkers and Close-Talkers, too! All of you betrayed his girlfriend who now comes for vengeance. I have heard children cry to their mother when sweet milk had been spilled. But no lament reached my ear fitting for this supreme comedian!
Fearfully ELAINE turns away from JERRY and, dissolved in grief, bends over KRAMER's body. NEWMAN stands leaning defiantly on his mail sack, sunk in deep thought.
Curses on you, Newman, for suggesting to me the potion that snatched away our comedian! Ah, woe is me! Suddenly I understand. I was his true love whom the draught drove from his mind!
Exterior. Night. Hudson River.
Stack stout logs for me in piles there by the shore! High and bright let a fire blaze which shall consume the noble body of the mighty comic. Lead here his horse...
ELAINE motions to NEWMAN to lift JERRY's body onto the funeral pyre. She removes the ring from JERRY's finger and gazes thoughtfully at it.
Bring here his horse, that with me it may follow the comedian; for my own body longs to share Jerry's holiest honor. Fulfill Elaine's request! No man more honest ever took and oath, none more true made a treaty, none was more pure in love. . . yada yada yada.
Now I take up my inheritance. Accursed ring, terrible ring, I take your gold and now I give it away. Wise sisters of the water's depths, you swimming daughters of the Hudson, I thank you for your good counsel. I give you what you crave: from my ashes take it for your own! The fire that consumes me shall cleanse the ring from the curse! You in the water, wash it away and keep pure the gleaming gold that was disastrously stolen from you.
ELAINE has put on the ring and now turns to the funeral pyre on which JERRY's body lies stretched. She snatches from one of the mailmen a huge torch, swings it and points toward the background.
Fly home, you pigeons! Recount to your master what you have seen here by the Hudson! Pass by Monk's Diner to Manhattan, for the end of the show is nigh. Thus I do throw this torch at Manhattan's vaulting towers.
ELAINE hurls the torch into the pile of wood, which quickly bursts into flame. Two pigeons fly up from the 50-gallon drum by the shore and disappear into the background. ELAINE catches sight of her horse, which MR. PETERMAN leads in. She runs toward it, takes hold of it and quickly unbridles it: then leans towards it confidentially.
Horsey, my steed, greetings! Do you too know, my friend, where I am leading you? Radiant in the fire, there lies your lord, Seinfeld, my blessed comedian. Are you neighing for joy to follow your friend? Do the laughing flames lure you to him? Feel my bosom, too -- and what a bosom it is! -- how it burns; a bright fire fastens on my heart to embrace him in the intensity of love! Hey hey! Ho ho! Horsey! Greet your master! Seinfeld! See! Your girlfriend joyfully greets you!
ELAINE jumps onto the horse and with one bound leaps into the burning pyre. The flames immediately crackle and flare up high, so that the fire fills the whole space in front of the cityscape and seems to seize on this too. Terrified, the men and women press to the extreme foreground. GEORGE sobs. The Hudson greatly overflows its banks, and its waters inundate the area of the fire. The three RIVERMAIDENS swim past on the waves and appear above the pyre. NEWMAN throws down his mailbag and plunges, as if insane, into the flood.
Keep away from the ring!
Two of the RIVERMAIDENS twine their arms around NEWMAN's neck and, swimming backward, drag him into the depths of the Hudson. The third RIVERMAIDEN, swimming in front of the others, exultantly holds high the recovered ring. From the ruins of Monk's restaurant, which has collapsed, the men and women watch the growing firelight in the city. When this finally reaches its brightest we see PUDDY, SUSAN ROSS, POPPIE, MICKEY THE DWARF, the COSTANZAS and UNCLE LEO sit assembled. Even BANIA is there. Bright flames seem to set fire to the hall of these characters.
FADE TO BLACK
And check out that last cryptic line from Newman. I think I smell a spin-off!