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Pop Rocks: The Brilliance of "The Yada Yada" With Video Evidence

Heisenberg as Dr. Tim Whatley.
Heisenberg as Dr. Tim Whatley.

Last week, I was recovering from a nasty flu virus, sitting on the couch and flipping channels. When I saw the Seinfeld listing on the on-screen guide, I checked and, lo and behold, "The Yada Yada." I admit I love Seinfeld, in fact significantly more than I enjoy the stand-up comedy of Jerry Seinfeld himself, though I am a big fan of his Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee web series which just began season three. And when I watch "The Yada Yada" again for what must be the umpteenth time, I realized just how brilliant it is.

The best Seinfeld episodes were usually the ones that had three intertwining stories that would bob and weave their way in and out of one another. Each would be centered around one of the characters, often Kramer, Elaine and George while Jerry sat in the eye of the storm. But, every once in a while, there would be that stellar confluence of four simultaneous stories, the pinnacle of the show. "The Yada Yada" is one of those. The entire episodes illustrates how brilliant the Seinfeld writers could be.

The Kramer Plot

Kramer and Mickey -- the brilliantly surly little-person actor friend of Cosmo -- go on a double date but can't decide which girl was right for each of them.

How it entered the overall plot line:

Mickey and Kramer settle their differences when Kramer finds out Karen has little people as parents. Mickey and Karen decide to wed and the entire gang is reunited at the wedding. Note that Mickey's parents are played by Robert Wagner and Jill St. John.

Best scene:

In one of Kramer's classic moments of physical comedy, he and Mickey jostle over which side of the table they should sit on when they reach the restaurant and the ladies have already been seated. (The ridiculousness of a giant string bean physically fighting with a little person was too much for the writers not to exploit, which is why the two of them ended up rolling around on the ground virtually every time Mickey appeared on the show.)

Best quote(s):

Karen: (To Mickey) I like your shirt. Mickey: Oh, thank you. It's 100 percent cotton, and some wool.

How does yada yada enter?

The priest during the wedding, sore from a root canal he got from Tim Whatley (see below) uses it to speed up the ceremony.

The Elaine Plot

Elaine is listed as a reference for a couple's (Beth and Arnie) application for adoption. She mentions to the agency that Arnie once yelled at her to shut up at a movie causing them to not get the adoption. She later attempts to set it right by approaching the agency representative and seducing him.

How it entered the overall plot line:

Beth (played wonderfully by Debra Messing) is comforted by Jerry when she thinks Elaine and Arnie are having an affair. She ends up as Jerry's date to the wedding where Elaine is attending with Beth and Arnie's adoption agency representative.

Best scene:

Elaine meets Arnie at the coffee shop and tries to explain what happened at the adoption agency. Not wanting to give away what she said, she glosses over everything by using variations on "yada yada" like "blah blah blah." When Arnie tells her to shut up, she finally explains that's why they lost the baby and agrees to try and fix it.

Best quote(s):

Elaine: Look it, look it, Ryan. These people are gettin' a baby. Period. Now we can do this the easy way, or we can do this the fun way.

How does yada yada enter?

See under "Best scene."

 

The George Plot

George begins dating Marcy who substitutes what turn out to be embarrassing (and even illegal) improprieties by simply saying "yada yada." He becomes suspicious when she yada yadas what she did with an ex.

How it entered the overall plot line:

George seeks advice from Jerry and Elaine on the yada yada problem after which Elaine uses the technique to try and placate and angry Arnie.

Best scene:

At the coffee shop, George finally confronts Marcy over her incessant yadas and forces her to recount a story without them. When she tells him she stole a watch and skipped out on paying for a massage and facial, George is shocked until Marcy asks him to explain why he yada-yada'd his finacée (the previous season, George's fiancée died from licking toxic envelopes for cheap wedding invitations he picked out).

Best quote(s):

Elaine: I've yada yada'd sex. George: Really? Elaine: Yeah. I met this lawyer, we went out to dinner, I had the lobster bisk, we went back to my place, yada yada yada, I never heard from him again. Jerry: But you yada yada'd over the best part. Elaine: No, I mentioned the bisk.

How does yada yada enter?

How doesn't it?

 

The Jerry Plot

Jerry is convinced his dentist, Tim Whatley (played by Bryan Cranston long before his role on Breaking Bad), has converted to Judaism so he can tell jokes from multiple religions. Jerry is ultimately accused of being an anti-dentite.

How it entered the overall plot line:

Besides Jerry's apartment being the hub of all activity, each of the other characters seek out Jerry's counsel and are ultimately disappointed. Finally, at the wedding, it turns out that Mickey's father is a dentist and threatens to knock Jerry's teeth out for being an "anti-dentite bastard."

Best scene:

Jerry visits Tim Whatley's former priest in the confessional, making all sorts of mistakes when trying to follow Catholic traditions. When the priest asks if Whatley's jokes offend him as a Jewish person, he says, "No, they offend me as a comedian." He then gives an example of a joke about Raquel Welch that the priest finds hilarious.

Best quote(s):

Beth: What was that all about? Jerry: Oh, I said something about dentists and it got blown all out of proportion. Beth: Hey, what do you call a doctor who fails out of med school? Jerry: What? Beth: A dentist. Jerry: That's a good one. Dentists. Beth: Yeah, who needs 'em? Not to mention the Blacks and the Jews.

How does yada yada enter?

When speaking to the priest, he yada yadas part of the joke about Raquel Welch.

And a little bonus anti-dentite video for good measure...


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