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The Understudy (Seinfeld)

This article is about the Seinfeld episode. For other uses, see The Understudy (disambiguation).
"The Understudy"
Seinfeld episode
Episode no. Season 6
Episode 24
Directed by Andy Ackerman
Written by Marjorie Gross & Carol Leifer
Production code 621
Original air date May 18, 1995
Guest actors

Bette Midler, Amy Hill, Michael McDonald, & Adelaide Miller

Season 6 episodes
List of Seinfeld episodes

"The Understudy" is the 110th episode of the NBC sitcom Seinfeld. This was the 24th and final episode for the sixth season. It aired on May 18, 1995.


Jerry is dating Gennice, the understudy of stage performer Bette Midler, who bursts into tears for foolish reasons (for instance, when she drops her hot dog at the park) but not for expected reasons (such as when her grandmother dies). In the opening moments of the episode, Jerry and Gennice are in his apartment watching the film Beaches (starring Midler), and she is sobbing. He cannot decide whether to move from his chair to the couch to console her, but is not inclined to.

During a baseball game held in Central Park, in a parody of the 1994 Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan scandal,[1][2] George accidentally(?) injures Midler, who is playing catcher, while he charges for home plate. While Midler goes to hospital, the understudy takes Midler's part in the musical Rochelle Rochelle. Gennice believes George did it all for her, but Kramer (a fan of Midler) is outraged at George, Gennice and Jerry (who, after all, did nothing wrong):

"So, my dear, you think you can get to Broadway. Well, let me tell you something. Broadway has no room for people like you. Not the Broadway I know. My Broadway takes people like you and eats them up and spits them out. My Broadway is the Broadway of Merman, and Martin, and Fontaine, and if you think you can build yourself up by knocking other people down... GOOD LUCK!"[3]

Enraged New Yorkers turn against George, Jerry and Gennice, while Midler is nursed back to health by Kramer, who fetches every food and drink she desires.

Meanwhile, Elaine brings Frank Costanza to her favorite beauty shop to translate the jokes being made at her expense by her Korean manicurists. Within moments, Frank realizes they are insulting him in Korean, and angrily confronts them. It happens that an old flame, Kim, is also working there, but Elaine is thrown out of the shop and banned for "spying." Despondent, she wanders the streets of New York on a rainy night, where she meets J. Peterman, and when they find themselves compatible in discussing clothing, she wins a new job.

Frank takes Kim out and discuss their future in his car. When he uses his "special move" on her, "stopping short" (see also the episode "The Fusilli Jerry"), she gets angry and never wants to see him again.

At the premiere of the musical, Elaine (as a form of apology) brings along the Korean manicurists; however, when an announcement tells the audience that Midler will not perform (Gennice will perform instead), the manicurists get angry with Elaine and leave, leaving her once again despondent. When Gennice finally takes the stage, she has a problem with the laces on her boot and, in an act reminiscent of Harding's bootlace incident, tearfully asks that she be allowed to start over.

In a scene after the credits, Jerry is seen unlocking his front door; he overhears Kramer and Bette singing in Kramer's apartment.


  1. Van Cassel, Elke (2006). "Getting the Joke, Even if It Is About Nothing: Seinfeld from a European Perspective". In David Lavery and Sara Lewis Dunne. Seinfeld, Master of Its Domain: Revisiting Television's Greatest Sitcom. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 179. Retrieved 2009-04-09. 
  3. Gross, Marjorie and Carol Leifer. "The Understudy". IMSDb. Retrieved August 12, 2012.