‘The Serenity Now’ the third episode in the ninth season of Seinfeld and originally aired on October 9, 1997. It was directed by Andy Ackerman and written by Steve Koren.
In my opinion, this is one of the best episodes the series has to offer. It’s full of memorable quotes, hilarious story lines, and it captures Kramer at his best.
This episode also focuses on some of the best ancillary characters on the show (e.g. Frank Costanza, Lloyd Braun), and also features one of Jerry’s top tier girls, Patty, played by Lori Loughlin aka Aunt Becky.
‘The Serenity Now’ is a great example of how much the show’s format has changed over nine years. Episode plots in the earlier seasons focused on everyday, real life situations, like waiting for a table at a Chinese food restaurant. Later seasons, especially season nine, seemed to have more outrageous story lines that are not as likely to happen in real life.
The Serenity Now Summary
While George is driving his parents (Frank and Estelle) back to their house, Frank gets annoyed with the lack of leg room he has in the back seat of the car. To help calm his nerves he yells,
“Serenity now! Serenity now!” – Frank Costanza
Frank learned this phrase from a relaxation cassette given to him by his doctor to help lower his blood pressure, however the man on the tape wasn’t specific as to whether the phrase, “serenity now”, should be yelled or spoken.
Inspired by a provocative movie he saw on cable TV called ‘The Net’, with that girl from ‘The Bus’, Frank decides to start selling computers.
When George learns that Frank has hired Lloyd Braun, his long time rival, he decides to join the Costanza & Son sales team. Frank decides that the person who sells the most computers will get their waterpik.
In order to sell more computers than Lloyd, George decides to buy them himself, store them at Kramer’s apartment, and then return them later for a refund. To help keep his cool, George adopts Frank’s ‘serenity now’ technique.
When Frank declares George the winner of the sales contest, Lloyd mentions that the ‘serenity now’ thing doesn’t work. It just bottles up the anger, and then eventually, you blow.
“Serenity now. Insanity later.” – Lloyd Braun
Kramer agrees to go with George to his parents house in Queens to help fix their screen door. He then decides to install the screen door outside of his apartment in order to “experience the cool evening breezes of Anytown, USA.”
Doubling down on his new screen door, Kramer turns his hallway into a small porch that contains a BBQ grill, lawn chairs, fireworks and more (see the complete list here).
Joey Zambino and some of the neighborhood kids start to pester Kramer by throwing rocks at him and spraying him with silly string. To help deal with the stress, Kramer resorts to using the ‘serenity now’ relaxation method he learned from Frank.
Despite Kramer saying he feels perfectly at peace with the universe, his suppressed rage finally reaches a boiling point when the neighborhood kids decide to redecorate his hallway.
He ends up destroying all 25 of the computers George was storing at his place.
Jerry is dating Patty, who claims he suppresses his emotions, stating that she has never even seen him mad before. George agrees and says that Jerry’s voice just kind of raises to a comedic pitch.
Jerry decides to show his anger but takes his new found appreciation for expressing his emotions too far, which causes him and Patty to break up. Even though Jerry breaks up with a girl every week, he becomes too emotional over the loss of Patty and experiences a ‘salty discharge’ from his eyes.
Unlike Frank, George, and Kramer, Jerry continues to wear his emotions on his sleeve. He expresses his love for George and even proposes to Elaine. Jerry’s friends can’t handle the new Jerry.
“George letting my emotions out was the best thing I’ve ever done. Sure I’m not funny anymore, but there’s more to life than making shallow, fairly obvious observations” – Jerry
When George finally opens up to Jerry, he realizes that George scared him straight. Jerry then decides to revoke his marriage proposal to Elaine.
Elaine attends her boss, Mr. Lippman’s son’s bar mitzvah where he tongue-kisses her to signify becoming a man, which causes Elaine to get invitations to six more bar mitzvahs. George is impressed, as he didn’t try that until he was 23.
Both Mr. Lippman and his son are attracted to Elaine because she has “shiksa-appeal”, which George describes as how Jewish men love the idea of a woman that’s not like their mother.
To prove Elaine wrong, Mr. Lippman renounces Judaism.
The Serenity Now opening credit title card.