Thursday, September 1, 2011

Bon Voyage

TigerBlog had two "Seinfeld" options last night at 11.

The first was "The Contest," which is about a game in which the four main characters have a bet to see who can go the longest without, you know, doing that.

The second was "The Chinese Woman," the one where Jerry accidentally ends up talking to a woman named Donna Chang on the phone and asks her out, thinking she's Asian. When it turns out that she shortened her name from "Changstein" and is from Long Island, Jerry is very disappointed, even though she's an extremely nice woman. Other sub-plots included Kramer's attempts to improve his chances for fertility and Elaine's efforts to avoid having to make small talk with her friend's boyfriend, whom Jerry dubs a "long talker."

"The Contest" was the 51st episode of the series and first aired on Nov. 19, 1992; "The Chinese Woman" was the 90th and aired on Oct. 13, 1994.

Flipping back and forth between the two only confirmed for TigerBlog what he's know for years - that "Seinfeld" went downhill after Season 4 and way downhill after Season 5.

"The Chinese Woman," like many of the shows in the final four seasons, isn't really all that funny. It's trying too hard to be zany and to incorporate phrases like "long talker" into pop culture, rather than being what it was when it first started, which is television as good as it's ever been.

"The Contest" is brilliant. It's primary subject is never mentioned by name, yet it's present in every moment of the episode. The story has one central plot, and the situations that the characters find themselves in are completely believable, which makes it funny, not zany.

TigerBlog thinks "The Contest" is the best episode of the series and one of the best in television history. He's not alone in that: TV Guide called ranked it No. 1 on its list of the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All-Time.

TB wouldn't go that far - it's got nothing on the episode of "The Odd Couple" with the ghost in the air conditioning, the "Whitecaps" episode of "The Sopranos" and the show that TB would rank No. 1, the episode of "All In The Family" with Sammy Davis Jr.

Still, it's' a Top 10 episode of all-time, as far as TB is concerned.

And TB's August faded away with a reminder of what happened to the show over the course of a few seasons.

Then he woke up and it was September, which meant, among other things, that last year's Princeton Athletics calendar had to be replaced with this year's.

It also meant that opening day for Princeton athletics is a day away, with teams on the road in California (women's soccer), South Carolina (men's soccer), Pennsylvania (field hockey) and New York (women's volleyball).

And it also meant that another team is going on a road trip way longer than all of those combined.

Around 3 this afternoon, the women's basketball team will roll out of Jadwin Gym on its way to Kennedy Airport, as the two-time defending Ivy champion begins an 11-day excursion to France and Senegal.

The team will fly to Paris and stay there through Monday before heading off to Dakar. The trip will feature four games, two in France and two in Senegal, as well as educational, recreational, cultural and service-oriented opportunities for the team.

While in Paris, there will be a trip to the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and the other famous landmarks.

While in Senegal, there will be a trip to Pink Lake (which really is pink), a safari and a visit to a port where slave ships left for America.
The advantages on court to getting extra practice and playing a few preseason games is huge, especially with a veteran team. It helped, among others, the 1997-98 men's basketball team and 2009 men's lacrosse teams to big years.

The off-the-court benefits are huge as well.

TigerBlog went with the men's lacrosse team to Spain and Ireland in 2008, and it was an incredible experience.

No member of the travel party for the coming women's basketball trip will ever forget this opportunity, to tour and play in Paris - arguably the No. 1 travel destination in the world - and Senegal - a place that few would ever go to were it not for something like this.

Bon voyage, Tigers.

1 comment:

CAZ said...

I trust at this point you're a Curb Your Enthusiasm fan. We didn't really start watching until last year and so far this year has been "LOL" (inside joke). My absolute favorite so far has been the first episode of this season about the Palestinian chicken restaurant -- CLASSIC!!!

OF course "Murray, I wish my horse had your nose" still stands the test of time :-)