This all started when I opined on Facebook that if Seinfeld were set in 2017 then there would definitely be an episode about ending a text conversation with “K”. And since the show has been off the air since 1998, I guess I have to write it.
But the one thing I cannot write is the “stand up open” that often preceded episodes. For that, I present you with Jerry Seinfeld himself.
(Also, I have never written a script, screenplay, or even a treatment – whatever that is, but I’ve heard it’s nice – so just roll with me here. I hope you enjoy it.)
[Setting: Monk’s Diner, Jerry and George sitting across from each other in a booth]
GEORGE: Is it weird that Janet only wants to communicate via text messages? I swear, Jerry, I am a neanderthal. And my fingers are too fat to reply without a stupid typo.
JERRY: Wait – I thought you were a hand model? Doesn’t that help when you text?
(Jerry smirks and George scowls. Then George’s phone starts playing “Hello” by Lionel Richie. Jerry cannot help himself.)
JERRY: Hellllloooooo….. la la la.
(George stares at phone and then slowly looks up at Jerry.)
JERRY: Ronnie Kay? Why is he texting you? Did he pick up a stand up gig somewhere?
GEORGE: No, no, no, NO. Not Ronnie Kay. Just the letter K. That’s all it says.
JERRY: Well that is certainly better than “no”, right? Unless you just asked someone to engage in a menage a trois with her roommate and the roommate is a guy.
GEORGE: No, it’s Janet. I just asked her if she would like to eat at my parents’ on Saturday. My mom is making paella.
JERRY: Well ok, then. It sounds like she is on board with this. What is the big deal?
GEORGE: I take the “meet the parents” step, with a home cooked meal on their turf, so that she can see why I am as twisted as I am, and all I get is one letter? K?
JERRY: Well maybe she’s driving. Or grocery shopping. Or pulling a golf ball out of a whale’s blowhole. You can’t make assumptions based on a single letter text message.
GEORGE: You know as well as I do that she is not pulling a golf ball out of a fish, or…
GEORGE: Whatever. (Waves dismissively.) We’ve been seeing each other for a month now, you’d think I’d rate more than a one letter reply.
JERRY: Again, maybe she is pressed for time? And she just wanted you to know that she got your invitation and is ok with it? If she waited, say, an hour to reply, you’d freak out about that, right? (Blank stare from George) Right?
GEORGE: Is the “O” too much to ask, then? Couldn’t it be “ok” and not just “k”? For that matter, “sure” is only 3 more letters and “sounds great” is only 10 more. Or 11 if you count the space. That’s not too much to ask, is it?
JERRY: Oh, Biff…
[Setting: Jerry’s apartment, George and Jerry standing in the kitchen)
JERRY: I really think you’re overreacting. There are a million reasons why she replied with “K”. All of them valid, by the way.
GEORGE: But this is a big step, Jerry! She’s going to meet my parents! She’s going to see my loins, Jerry. MY LOINS.
(Door chime buzzes)
JERRY: Saved by the bell. (Presses button) Who is it?
SPEAKER: It’s Elaine
JERRY: Come on up. (Presses button)
GEORGE: You’ve met my parents. You know how traumatic it can be. And by just replying with a “K”, I have to think… (Door chime buzzes again)
JERRY: (Pressing button) Again?
ELAINE: (Over speaker) Jerome… (Jerry presses a different button and cracks the door)
GEORGE: (looking exasperated) Anyway, I don’t think she understands the… the gravitas of this night. My mom. My dad. The possibility of a cape being worn, not to mention the Manzere.
JERRY: I thought it was The Bro?
GEORGE: Semantics, but the visual is the same. Plus… you know. (George walks to the couch)
JERRY: I know what?
GEORGE: I’m not sure how my parents will feel about me dating a… you know…
GEORGE: Har, har, har. A woman who happens to be black, Jerry?
(Elaine enters the apartment)
ELAINE: What’s up with the buzzer? It’s been terrible ever since that new company took over the management of the building. Vanda whatever they are called. But guess what, boyz-os. Have I got some news for you guys.
JERRY: The sponge is making a comeback?
GEORGE: Joel Rifkin was found innocent and you got back together with his namesake?
ELAINE: No – that guy I mentioned meeting at the bodega? He sent me a text today.
JERRY: Oh, good. Bodega meetings always go well. So how much do you have to traffic? A kilo? More?
(Door bursts open as Kramer enters)
KRAMER: Is it edibles? Because if it is, I’m in.
ELAINE: What is it with you guys? It’s not like that. In fact, Randy is an undercover police officer. He’s looking for people selling cigarettes to minors.
JERRY: You and the cigarettes again…
GEORGE: So he just told you that? That he is undercover? Cops don’t do that.
ELAINE: I’m not a minor, so I guess he felt it was safe to tell me. What am I going to do to undermine him? Hang around middle schools and tell everyone to be careful?
KRAMER: If you want the good edibles, you should.
(Elaine rolls eyes and takes a Snapple out of the fridge)
JERRY: So what’s the big news?
ELAINE: I invited Fern to a baseball game at Camden Yards. To watch the Orioles play the Yankees. With my parents.
JERRY: Well at least this time you’ll be in Baltimore wearing that cap.
GEORGE: Wait – you said he texted you back? What did his text say, exactly?
ELAINE: (glaring at Jerry) Fern said he’d love to and that he was looking forward to it.
JERRY: What kind of name is Fern, anyway? It’s an a-frond to my nomenclature.
(Everyone rolls eyes)
ELAINE: (to George) Hold on… let me look. (pulls out phone) He said “That sounds great. I look forward to meeting your parents. I hope they like me.” Then a heart emoji.
GEORGE: Son of a…
ELAINE: What’s wrong with that?
GEORGE: Nothing. Fern…
JERRY: … texted on the spore of the moment.
GEORGE: As I was saying (glares at Jerry), I invited Janet to my parents’ for dinner. And all she sent as a reply was “K”.
ELAINE: That’s it? Really?
KRAMER: One letter. The kiss of death. (Makes a Kramer face. You know what I mean.)
GEORGE: Yes – one letter. But Elaine’s new houseplant somehow managed a thoughtful reply to her.
JERRY: Houseplant? Let’s be fair. We have no idea how much… Never mind. You have no idea how hard it is to come up with fern-centric jokes.
ELAINE: (to George) So you invited Janet to meet your parents and she replied with just “K”?
GEORGE: Yes. It’s the risotto all over again…
ELAINE: No… She has to do better than that. There is a text code. Something of this magnitude deserves a better reply.
GEORGE: That’s what I told Jerry, but he just smugly told me that I was overreacting.
ELAINE: So, Kramer – what do you think?
KRAMER: I think that the radiation from cell phones is going to take care of this supposed “problem”. Hey, Jerry – do you have any scallions?
JERRY: Scallions? Who has scallions? And who expects their neighbor to have scallions?
GEORGE: (to Kramer) So you don’t have a cell phone?
KRAMER: Nope. Don’t believe in them.
JERRY: How can you not believe in them? They exist. Just look. Look at George’s cell phone. George, show him your phone.
GEORGE: What? No way!
KRAMER: C’mon. What’s it gonna hurt? Do you have some (Kramer winks) photos on there I shouldn’t see?
GEORGE: (defensively) No… (hands phone over to Kramer)
KRAMER: (looking through phone) Well here’s your problem. There are no sexy George photos here. And you, my friend, are sexy.
GEORGE: You really think so?
KRAMER: You better believe it, bogombo. Jerry – do you still have that sexy picture of George?
JERRY: I have the picture that I think you’re referring to, but I don’t know if I’d call it “sexy”.
KRAMER: Come on, Jerry – it isn’t all svelte people out there. Some prefer a larger man – or woman – despite how superficial your tastes might be.
JERRY: Ok, fine. I have the photo. Give me your number and I’ll send it to you.
KRAMER: Oh, send it to George. Cell phones are dangerous. I won’t have one.
(Jerry sends the following picture to George’s phone)
KRAMER: Send that to Janet, George. Let her see that you deserve more than one letter.
JERRY: I hope she doesn’t mind back hair…
ELAINE: I don’t have a good feeling about this.
(George’s cell phone starts playing Lionel Richie’s “Hello” again.)
GEORGE: (looking at his phone) Janet says she is “really looking forward to meeting the parents”.
KRAMER: Tell her that she won’t regret it, and send that photo with your reply.
JERRY: This has disaster written all over it.
GEORGE: You know what? You’re right, Kramer. I am going to send that picture, but I’m also going to add “K” just to let her know I’m on to her minuscule missives.
ELAINE: And this is why only adults should have cell phones.
JERRY: But George is… Never mind. I see your point.
GEORGE: (hitting buttons on his phone) Ok, I’ve got the photo on there and the only thing I’m adding is the letter “K”.
JERRY: That’ll show her.
GEORGE: What the… ? My key is stuck! It added “KKK” for the message with my photo! What should I do?
JERRY: Turn the phone off, you idiot. The very last thing you want to do is to send that message to your black girlfriend…
GEORGE: She just HAPPENS to be black.
JERRY: Anyway, you don’t want her to see “KKK” as a message, right?
GEORGE: Well, no. Obviously. How do I make sure it won’t get sent to her?
KRAMER: Let me have your phone. I’ll fix this.
(George reluctantly hands his phone over to Kramer)
KRAMER: So is this the backspace button?
ELAINE: You handed your cell phone over to someone who has no idea how to use one in this time of crisis?
JERRY: This cannot – will not – end well.
KRAMER: There! Got it! It says “message sent”, so that’s good, right? She got the “K”?
GEORGE: Yes, she did. Three times. In a row.
(Blank stare from Kramer, head shaking from Jerry and Elaine)
KRAMER: So I guess there is some paella available?