‘Seinfeld’ Ponders One of Life’s Eternal Questions: Is Soup a Meal?
Enter Kenny Bania, Granny boxes a “jackrabbit” and Endora teaches Darrin a lesson.
Classic TV on Today: Monday, March 20
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Seinfeld: “The Soup”
Comedy Central, 4:30pm
Seinfeld is more than likely the only sitcom in history to have two memorable episodes involving soup. Ranking No. 1 among those two episodes in popularity and cultural impact would probably be “The Soup Nazi,” from Season 7. But Season 6’s “The Soup,” which first aired on NBC Nov. 10, 1994 — almost exactly a year before “The Soup Nazi” debuted — is hilarious as well, and not just because it wrestles with one of those Seinfeldian topics that at first seems like nothing, but actually applies to something that a lot of us have also experienced or considered in our lives, like “Is soup a meal?”
What also makes this installment notable is that it introduces one of the great secondary characters from the series, one of Jerry’s (Jerry Seinfeld) memorable foils — hack comedian Kenny Bania (Steve Hytner), whose act primarily consists of hot takes on Ovaltine and who seems obsessed with wanting to eat (at Jerry’s expense) at Mendy’s. Hytner is great, and his character would return to some degree in six more episodes (including “The Soup Nazi”), each of which — to quote Bania — is “gold.”
The Beverly Hillbillies: “The Giant Jackrabbit”
The first airing of this episode from the classic CBS sitcom’s second season on Jan. 8, 1964, somehow ranks as one of the most-watched primetime telecasts in U.S. television history! At the mansion, the Clampett clan is in need of food because the hunting in Beverly Hills is horrible. They call a catering company, but get mean-mouthed. At the bank, Drysdale (Raymond Bailey) gets a call and learns that he got a kangaroo from a friend and it is at his house. When the kangaroo escapes, Granny (Irene Ryan) sees it, but thinks it is an oversized jackrabbit (even after engaging it in some fisticuffs!), leading the rest of the family to suspect that she has had too much moonshine.
Bewitched: “A Very Special Delivery”
Antenna TV, 7am & 2pm
Talk about sympathy pains! In this second episode of the ABC sitcom’s second season, which first aired Sept. 23, 1965, Darrin (Dick York) gets some bad advice from a book that leads him to think that strenuous work is good for moms-to-be like Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery). Darrin’s mother-in-law, Endora (Agnes Moorehead), is furious with this and teaches him a lesson by casting a spell that makes him experience all of Samantha’s pregnancy-related symptoms.