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Jerry Seinfeld’s famed television show is known for many things. Outrageous plots. Crazy main characters. Even crazier supporting characters. But, one thing that it hasn’t been known for, so far, is tricking people into thinking it’s real. Now, someone who’s written into an advice column is able to say that they can finally take credit for that.
Amy Dickinson, the Chicago Tribune nationally syndicated advice columnist behind “Ask Amy,” received a letter that she readily describes on her blog as leading to her being “punked by Seinfeld.” So, how did that letter use Jerry Seinfeld’s eponymous show to punk the columnist? The writer used the plot of the two-part Seinfeld episode “The Boyfriend” as the basis for their bogus advice-seeking letter.
For those of you who can’t remember all of your Seinfeld episode titles and plots, “The Boyfriend” aired late in the show’s third season. The story revolves around Jerry meeting an idol of his, former New York Mets baseball player Keith Hernandez, in the locker room at his gym. Keith recognizes Jerry because of his work as a comedian, and asks him for coffee. After the two run into Elaine, Keith makes a date with her, breaking a date for hang time with Jerry.
Before long, Keith is dating Elaine on a regular basis and Jerry becomes jealous of the time they’re spending together, since it means that he and Keith can’t get together more. Eventually, Elaine ends the relationship, and Keith asks Jerry to help him move furniture, prompting Jerry to finally call off the friendship.
The actual double episode involves a bit more plot than that, but the part that involves Keith Hernandez was the focus of the letter written to Amy Dickinson. And, it’s no wonder; as it has to do with a celebrity, that is the part that would interest people most. The writer asks for help deciding whether or not to dump the “famous local sports figure” who dated his ex-girlfriend and then had the gall to ask him for help shuffling furniture around.
It’s not impossible to believe that Amy Dickinson would think this was an honest inquiry, even though she admits in her blog post that she’s “absorbed enough Seinfeld episodes to power a parallel universe of columns based only on Seinfeld plotlines.” The show did air for nine seasons and rack up 180 episodes; it would be hard, even with repeated viewings of each one, to recognize an episode plot with all the pertinent names removed.
Well, it’s nice that Amy Dickinson at least had a good sense of humor about this instead of feeling offended that someone would take advantage of her advice column. We should all be grateful that she decided to share her “humiliation,” too, because sometimes a little humiliation is worth a good laugh.