The Busboy

The Busboy

Infobox Television episode
Title = The Busboy
Series = Seinfeld

Caption = George, Kramer, and the busboy.
Season = 2
Episode = 17
Airdate = June 26, 1991
Production =
Writer = Larry David & Jerry Seinfeld
Director = Tom Cherones
Guests =
Episode list = List of "Seinfeld" episodes
Season list = Infobox Seinfeld season 2 episode list
Prev =
Next =

"The Busboy" was the seventeenth episode of "Seinfeld" to air, despite being the eighth produced. The episode was the 12th and final episode of the show's second season. It aired on June 26, 1991.


Jerry, George, and Elaine are at dinner when a menu on an adjacent table catches on fire. George puts it out and explains to the manager that the busboy (David Labiosa) left the menu too close to a candle (although, in explaining the situation, he is hoping to get some free dessert as he is rather displeased with his pesto pasta) and Elaine jokingly declares she is never eating there again. The busboy is subsequently fired, upsetting Elaine and George. George and Kramer later go to his apartment to apologize, only to accidentally let his cat out of the apartment. A few days later, the busboy comes to see George, and tells him that there was an explosion at the restaurant, killing five employees, including the busboy hired to replace him. He thanks George for saving his life, only to be seriously injured on his way out of the building. Meanwhile, Elaine faces having her boyfriend (Doug Ballard) live with her for a week. Then, she tries to get him onto a plane back to Seattle, only to encounter a five-car pileup on Rockaway Boulevard. With her boyfriend still with her, he gets into a fight down the hallway with the busboy, resulting in injuries on both ends.


This episode was noted by the supporting cast in an interview used for a DVD set as the first sign that Jerry would be a generous writer, being very good about including his co-stars into story lines. In fact, Jerry doesn't even have a storyline. The episode is the first to show George and Kramer alone together, Elaine without Jerry, and a scene not including Jerry.

Though considered a classic "Elaine" episode, actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus has said that she dislikes the way her acting was in the episode, noting that the "deadpan stare" in the Rockaway Boulevard Shortcut scene was a bad choice.

This episode was also noted by co-creator Larry David as a major turning point for the series. He stated that the literal intersection of the two major storylines at the end of the episode (the fight between Elaine's boyfriend and the busboy George got fired) was something he had not thought to do previously and became enamored with as a result of.


* This is the only episode in which the entire episode storyline does not involve Jerry in any way. George and Kramer's part is about the busboy and his cat and Elaine has boyfriend problems. Jerry does not have a problem or any kind of story in this episode. This is referenced in the restaurant scene, where George and Elaine fret over their problems and Jerry continues to eat contentedly.
* In the restaurant scene, George calmly and swiftly puts out the flaming menu with no loss of composure - a sharp contrast to his cowardly reaction to a minor conflagration in Season 5's "The Fire".
* In "The Wait Out", Elaine returns to drive, but in this episode she uses Jerry's car to take Ed to the airport. So we can say she didn't drive in 5 years.
* This is the only episode in the series in which the audience shows sympathy. They show sympathy for Elaine when she says how her boyfriend did not get to the airport on time.

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