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The Old Man (Seinfeld)

"The Old Man"
Seinfeld episode
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 18
Directed by Tom Cherones
Teleplay by Larry Charles
Story by Bruce Kirschbaum
Production code 418
Original air date February 18, 1993
Guest actors

Wayne Knight as Newman
Bill Erwin as Sid
Tobin Bell as Ron
Robert Donley as Ben
Lanei Chapman as Housekeeper

Season 4 episodes
List of Seinfeld episodes

"The Old Man" is the 58th episode of the American television sitcom Seinfeld. It was the 18th episode of the 4th season. It aired on February 18, 1993.


Jerry, Elaine, and George volunteer to help the elderly. Jerry gets assigned to Sid Fields (Bill Erwin), a bad-tempered old man with a Senegalese housekeeper (Lanei Chapman), that he claims is trying to steal his possessions. Elaine is repulsed by the goiter problems of the woman she is visiting and George depresses his assigned senior citizen, Ben Cantwell, by questioning his outlook on dying, until he walks out, telling George that "Life's too short to waste on you". Later, George becomes attracted to Mr. Field's housekeeper when he learns that she can't speak English.

Kramer and Newman try the business of selling some of Jerry's old records to a used record store but are not satisfied when the store's owner (Tobin Bell) offers them a very small amount. The man Jerry is responsible for tells him that he wants to get rid of some of his "junk", including a large amount of old records which Kramer and Newman show up later to pick up. The man gets upset at their intrusion and bites Kramer's arm, causing him to jerk back and launch his dentures in to the garbage disposal. Jerry loses track of Fields when they try to take him to the dentist to repair his dentures which were promptly destroyed after the garbage disposal was turned on by George, mistaken for a light switch.

Meanwhile, Elaine discovers that her old woman had an affair with Gandhi, and one of the stories she tells directly mirrors what George had said to the housekeeper about him "dipping my bald head in oil and rubbing it all over your body".

Kramer and Newman take Fields' records to the music store's owner, who offers them a bigger-yet-still small amount of money. Upset, Newman insults the owner (with help from Kramer) and a fight ensues, resulting in the records being destroyed. The search for Jerry's old man leads to everyone (including the old man's son) bursting in on George having oil rubbed on his head by the housekeeper.

The episode ends with the two old men, in the diner, in the same booth the main characters use, having much the same conversation Jerry and George had at the beginning of the episode, during which Fields tells Cantwell about the woman he was recently "fixed up" with - mentioning both her goiter and her youthful relationship with Gandhi. However, Fields recounts that she put milk in his tea without asking, calling it "a turnoff", an opinion with which Cantwell agrees, telling Fields "you don't need that."


In this episode it is revealed that Newman is a mailman. Lanei Chapman plays the housekeeper. In an alternate ending to this episode that was never broadcast, her character reveals that she speaks fluent English (with an accent native to New York, not Senegal), causing George to lose interest in her.

Cultural references

The old man's name, Sidney Fields, is a reference to Sidney Fields, a writer and actor who was featured in The Abbott and Costello Show. Veteran actor Bill Erwin was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for his portrayal of Sid Fields, the old man Jerry is assigned to.

The scene where Kramer tells Newman what to say is similar to a scene in the 1957 film The Seventh Seal. Tobin Bell—of Saw fame—plays the record store owner. Later on in the series, other Saw actors appear, including Ned Bellamy, Scott Patterson, and Cary Elwes. The record on the top of Jerry's stack after Kramer and Newman return them to him is Journey's Escape.