|Air Date||October 2, 1991|
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“The Pen” is the twentieth episode of Seinfeld. The episode was the third episode of the show's third season. Written by Larry David and directed by Tom Cherones, it originally aired on October 2, 1991.
Jerry and Elaine go to Florida to visit Jerry's parents for the weekend and go scuba diving. Morty Seinfeld is also being honored at a ceremony the next night. Jack Klompus comes over to write Morty a check for a previous night's dinner and Jerry notices Jack's pen. When he asks Jack about it, he tells Jerry that it can write upside down and that astronauts use it in space. Jack offers an interested Jerry the pen. Jerry refuses his offer several times, but Jack insists and Jerry finally gives in. Jerry's mother asks why he took the pen and says he should give it back because rumors will spread around the community that Jerry made Jack give it to him.
Elaine sleeps on a sofa bed with a bar that sticks up through the mattress and hurts her back. She is extremely uncomfortable and it is not helped by the fact that the air conditioning is turned off. Jerry tries to console her by saying they only have two more days left before they go back to New York. The next morning, Elaine's back is so painful that she can't go scuba diving with Jerry. Morty suggests she take muscle relaxants. Rumors begin to spread around the community that Jerry wanted Jack to give him the pen. Jerry goes scuba diving without Elaine. When he returns, he has black eyes because the capillaries around his eyes burst when he went underwater and pressure was too tight on his mask.
Jack comes over again and Jerry returns the pen. Morty yells at Jack for "taking Jerry's pen." Elaine decides she wants to take the muscle relaxants, but takes a slight overdose and acts strangely at the ceremony. Jerry has to wear sunglasses because of his black eyes. Jack is the emcee and makes cracks about Morty at the podium. Morty starts arguing with Jack again about taking back the pen and they start fighting. The next day, a chiropractor looks at Elaine's back and tells her she shouldn't go anywhere for at least five days, extending both hers and Jerry's stay even longer.
- This is the only episode of Seinfeld in which both George Costanza and Cosmo Kramer do not appear. Jason Alexander confesses in the DVD extras that he walked up to Larry David and told him he would quit if he was ever written out of the storyline again. Despite not appearing in this episode, both Jason Alexander and Michael Richards were still credited in the opening titles.
- This was the second-to-last episode not to feature all four main characters. (Elaine Benes was not seen in Season 4's "The Trip".)
- This is the first appearance of Jack Klompus and his pen. He would lose the pen in the Season 8 episode "The Money" when he drives Morty's Cadillac into a swamp.
Notes about Nothing
- The storyline for this episode was inspired by an NBC executive demonstrating a Space Pen to Larry David, and then giving him the pen afterwards. Jerry now owns that pen.
- There's an urban legend that NASA spent over a million dollars developing the space pen to solve the problem of writing in a vacuum whereas the Russians simply used a pencil. Funny, but it is false according to snopes.com.
- The Astronaut Pen is featured again in “The Money” (Season 8).
- Series co-creator & executive producer Larry David makes a couple of uncredited voice cameos during Morty's event. When Jerry takes the microphone and asks how everybody is doing that night, Larry asks him, “Who are you?” He later yells, “I’d rather have a bottle of scotch!”
- Elaine roars "Stella!" several times in this episode, referencing Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire.