Sports x Pop Culture | Reggie & Kramer
In the Knicks’ 93–86 loss to the Indiana Pacers in Game 5 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals, Reggie Miller scored 25 points in the 4th quarter. Lee was taunting Miller throughout the 4th quarter, and Miller responded by making shot after shot. Even more historic than the performace was the infamous choke sign Reggie gave to Spike. I think people remember Reggie’s performance and the choke sign, but probably forget that the Knicks did end up winning the series. Regardless, this night was epic.
The headline of the New York Daily News the next day read, “Thanks A Lot Spike”. Even better, the moment was parodied in the Seinfeld episode The Susie.
Here’s a quick recap of the episode, in case you’ve never seen it. And if you haven’t seen it, go watch some Seinfeld. Please.
Quick Note – “The Susie” is one of my favorites of the season and of the post-Larry David era. George’s answering machine in the episode [video below] inspired me to make my own version of it back in high school for my phone, but it was nowhere near as awesome as Costanza’s. In case you’re wondering, the jingle is to the tune of the theme song to The Greatest American Hero by Joey Scarbury.
As I write about this, I realize that the plot is classic George – he wants to take his girlfriend Allison to a Yankee ball, but she wants to break-up. Oh yeah, btw, he really wants to show her off at the ball because Allison “looks great in a backless dress”. He starts not leaving his house and screening his calls- “If she can’t find me, she can’t break up with me.”
At work, Elaine is being called Susie by Peggy which seems to upset her a great deal. Of course, she could just tell Peggy her real name, but when Peggy starts talking smack about ‘Elaine’ to ‘Susie’ (remember, both are Elaine), Elaine plays along. Eventually, both Peggy and Peterman are convinced that there are two separate people: Elaine and Susie. This back and forth eventually leads to Elaine making up a story that Susie had passed away, and her funeral was imminent. The climactic scene is a small meeting organized by Peterman with Peggy, Elaine, and Susie—with Elaine somehow managing to be herself, and assume Susie’s role without getting mixed up. Like most Peterman plots, it’s an adventure in absurdity. What makes the episode and the show so brilliant is that every issue stems from a random and weird social miscue.
Now, let’s get the funniest part of the whole episode, and the main reason this episode review can even show up on this blog. We start off with Kramer and Jerry having no clue about Daylight Savings Time, and Kramer hilariously “springin’ ahead riiight now.” They soon run into Mike Moffit, who’s now in the process of starting a sports betting business, and Kramer makes a bet using Jerry’s money (well, Kramer has a gambling issue, you see. very normal to use his friend’s money, right? now it’s jerry’s problem, not his).
Side note for Seinfeld fans: The only friend we ever see of Kramer’s is Mike. I wish we could see Bob Sacamano, Lomez, Corky Ramirez, Jay Riemenschneider, and Kramer’s cop buddy Doug.
Okay, back to the episode. If the Knicks beat the Pacers by 35, Jerry turns that 100 to 1000 (10:1 odds). In what world are the 94 Pacers losing by 35 in? No fear, Kramer to the rescue.
Well, first of all, for some reason, they started the game an hour Late. And uh, I was sittin’ next to Spike Lee and he and Reggie were jawin’ at each other, so I guess I got involved. – Kramer
What do you mean “involved”?! – Jerry
Well I felt pretty bad about everything an’ uh, then the three of us, we went to a strip club. – Kramer
Can you believe that? – Jerry
I didn’t know Cheryl Miller’s brother played basketball. – Elaine
This whole scene just cracks me up. As stated earlier, the topic parodies the NY loss to the Pacers following Reggie Miller’s heroics in Game 5 of the ’94 ECF. We all know that game from Spike Lee and Reggie’s beef, and Seinfeld is on cue with this joke. New York was livid with Spike at the time, and the show makes note of that. But with Kramer in the picture, Lee and Reggie can become friends somehow, and share some great bonding time at the local strip club. How wonderful.
“I don’t see you as a Susie. Sharon, maybe,” Jerry tells Elaine. “What am I, a bulimic chain-smoking stenographer from Staten Island?” “Who are you describing?” “Someone I know.” “Named Sharon?” “I’d rather not say.”
Later on: “What am I, some pom-pom waving backseat bimbo!” “Who are you describing?” “Someone I know!” “Named Suze?” “Nope, still Sharon!”