Season 2 Episode 9

The Deal

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM May 02, 1991 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
252 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Jerry and Elaine establish a new set of ground rules so they can remain friends but still sleep with each other often. With Jerry in a dilemma to find Elaine an "appropriate" birthday gift and with George's scepticism, their new deal is doomed from the start.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • the usual shticky approach

    Okay, admittedly Seinfeld is far from my favorite show in the universe...and this is a prime example. The opening discussion starts out well enough but then devolves into the usual arm-waving, gesturing, stage-yelling, rather canned approach. In fact, all too often this show plays like a stand-up routine come to life...well, almost-life. It's the "wink wink" often found in Taxi taken a little too far. Still, the buying-of-the-birthday-present scene was pretty fun (with "Too gubernatorial" a great line).moreless
  • One of my first and favorite Seinfeld episodes.

    This episode is definitely one of my favorites. The concept is great and it has the total "Seinfeld" vibe, especially when Jerry and Elaine were talking about "this" and "that". It was also funny the day after when Kramer came in and sees Elaine come out of the bedroom. The sheer awkwardness of the concept made it hilarious.

    It's episodes like these that make me love the show.
  • A early classic, albeit uncharacteristic episode

    Although Seinfeld took a while before it established the formula which would make it so successful in later years, there are some great early episodes that showed what was to come. This episode contained a sentimentality that was uncharacteristic of Seinfeld, but that was a result of pressure from NBC to get Jerry and Elaine together. Despite that, the comedy in this episode was brilliant. The scene with Jerry and Elaine on the couch, working out "The Deal" has gone down as a classic, and the scene with George and Jerry in the gift shop was also hilarious - "who puts a bench in their house", which led to Jerry giving Elaine the gift of $182 cash, and hench George giving her $91 cash. Very funny episode.moreless
  • a unusual episode, a bit out of character but still good entertainment

    This episode for me was out of character for the series but never the less entertaining. I found that the idea of Jerry and Elaine even considering a "deal" after being such good friends for so long a bit out of character. The fact that it was an actual story from Larry David's life i suppose means that it isn't out of character because after all many of the shows plots are based around his "misadventures".

    I think this was a good episode in the entertaining sense but believe that the friendship should have stayed at that. Anybody agree with me on this?moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Goof: When Kramer comes into Jerry's apartment to give her the bench, he leaves the door open, as can be seen when he's talking to Jerry. However, after cutting to Jerry and back to Kramer, the door behind him is closed. Then, the camera cuts back to Jerry, and when it goes back to Kramer, the door is open again.

    • Goof: In the store, when George is suggesting gifts for Jerry to give Elaine, he picks up a picture frame and suggests getting it for her. George continues to hold the frame while they joke about putting someone else's picture in it, and the camera cuts to Jerry. When it cuts back to George, the frame is back on the counter. Seems it's a case of poor editting.

    • When Jerry and Elaine are in Elaine's apartment and he starts to button his shirt, he buttons the second button from the top.  The shot goes to Elaine and when it comes back to Jerry, the previously buttoned button is undone.

  • QUOTES (15)

    • Kramer: (to Jerry and Elaine) Boy, I liked you so much better when you weren't a couple.

    • (Elaine is surfing through TV stations)
      Elaine: Ooo the naked channel!
      Jerry: (reaching for the remote) No, I don't want to watch the naked channel.
      Elaine: (Pulling the remote away) Been a while?

    • Jerry: Sometimes when people get involved with that, they feel pressure to sleep over. When that is not really sleep. Sleep is separate from that and I don't see why sleep got all tied up and connected with that.

    • Elaine: What was that look?
      Jerry: What look?
      Elaine: The look you just gave me.
      Jerry: I gave a look?
      Elaine: Yes.
      Jerry: What kind of look?
      Elaine: I know that look.
      Jerry: Then what was it?
      Elaine: Why should I tell you?
      Jerry: Well, you're the big look expert. I want to see how smart you are.
      Elaine: Trust me, I know the look.

    • George: What's up with you?
      Jerry: Nothing much. I slept with Elaine last night.
      George: Oxygen! I need some oxygen! This is major!

    • Kramer: What are you guys going to do today?
      Elaine: This... and that.
      Jerry: And the other!

    • Jerry: (about Elaine's birthday) What did you end up getting her?
      George: (irritated) $91.
      Jerry: Yeah, sorry about that.

    • George: Bust of Nelson Rockefeller?
      Jerry: Too gubernatorial.

    • George: You know I gotta tell you. These are really bad details.

    • Elaine: Pal? You think I'm your pal?
      Jerry: I said "…and more."

    • George: You ask me to have lunch, tell me you slept with Elaine, and then say you're not in the mood for details. Now you listen to me. I want details and I want them right now. I don't have a job, I have no place to go. You're not in the mood? Well you get in the mood!

    • Jerry: I mean, really, what is the big deal? We go in there. We're in there for a while. We come right back out here. It's not complicated!

    • George: Where are you living? Are you here? Are you on this planet? It's impossible. It can't be done. Thousands of years people have been trying to have their cake and eat it too. So all of a sudden the two of you are going to come along and do it. Where do you get the ego? No one can do it. It can't be done.

    • George: I know less about women...than anyone in the world. But one thing I do know is they're not happy if you don't spend the night.

    • Elaine: We just want to take this, and add that.

  • NOTES (3)

    • Like many other episodes of Seinfeld this episode was based on a story from Executive Producer Larry David's life. In a DVD commentary he reveals that he actually tried setting up a "friends who do that" relationship with one of his female friends, complete with a list of rules to keep things from getting complicated. He doesn't reveal on the DVD whether or not his friend actually agreed to the proposition like Elaine did here.

    • This episode received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series.

    • This storyline was developed, as NBC executives wanted Jerry and Elaine to get together. However, after poor reviews of this episode, the idea was dropped.


    • (Elaine is surfing channels)
      Jerry: What about that one?
      Elaine: Robert Vaughn, The Helsinki Formula?
      Jerry: He was good in Man From U.N.C.L.E..

      Robert Vaughn is an actor who played a spy in the TV series The Man From U.N.C.L.E. that ran from 1964 to 1968. He is also known for his role as one of the gunfighters in the movie The Magnificent Seven. Elaine is referring to a 1989 commercial for The Helsinki Formula, a hair loss product, that featured Vaughn.

    • Elaine: (reading Kramer's birthday card) Think where man's glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such a friend.
      Kramer: (to Jerry) Yeats.

      This is a reference to poet William Butler Yeats (1865-1939). The line from the birthday card comes from Yeats' poem The Municipal Gallery Revisited.

    • George: (suggesting gifts for Elaine) You wanna get her something nice? How 'bout a music box?
      Jerry: No, too relationshippy. She opens it up, she hears that "Lara's Theme", I'm dead.

      "Lara's Theme" is a piece of music that was originally composed by Maurice Jarre for the 1965 movie Doctor Zhivago. Musician Ray Conniff later scored a top-ten hit with a version of the song that included lyrics.