"The Stake Out" is the second episode of Season 1, and it first aired May 31, 1990. It was written by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, and was directed by Tom Cherones.


Jerry and Elaine have just ended their relationship, but have chosen to remain friends. Elaine invites Jerry to a birthday party; he agrees to go on the condition that she accompanies him to a wedding to which he and his parents have been invited. At the party, Jerry meets an attractive woman. He wants to flirt with her, but is uncomfortable doing so in Elaine's presence. The woman leaves with another man before Jerry finds out her name; however, he learns that she works at a law firm called "Sagman, Bennett, Robbins, Oppenheim and Taft". During the party, Elaine tries to tell Jerry about a dream she had, which featured him. Jerry tries to end the conversation but this results in an argument after the party is over.

Vanessa, upon meeting Jerry and George

Back at his apartment, Jerry's parents, Morty and Helen, sleep over, with Jerry sleeping in Kramer's apartment. He talks about the party and claims that he cannot get the phone number of the woman from Elaine because he does not talk about other women with her; additionally, she is still angry with him. Morty suggests that Jerry "stake out" the woman by waiting outside her office, an idea which Jerry likes. The following day, Jerry and George Costanza perform the stake out, pretending that they are coming to see someone else in the building named "Art Vandelay". They meet the woman, Vanessa, who says that man she left the party with was her cousin. The two then decide to go out on a date.

Later that night, Jerry finds out from his mother that Elaine knows about the stake out. On the day of the wedding, Elaine tells Jerry that the reason that she was angry was because it was the first time she saw him flirt with another woman. They decide that they have to be able to talk more about their relationships if they wish to remain friends. Elaine then reveals that she has recently met a man using a stake out.

Guest Stars

Lynn Clark as Vanessa
Phil Bruns as Dad
Liz Sheridan as Mom
Maud Winchester as Pamela
William Fair as Roger
Ron Steelman as Artie
Joe George as Uncle Mac
Ellen Gerstein as Carol
Janet RotBalatt as Woman

Notes About Nothing

  • Elaine was not in the pilot "The Seinfeld Chronicles"; so this is her first appearance. The character was added after the pilot was criticized for not featuring any female characters. Her name was originally Eileen.
  • This is the first episode where the now-famous name "Art Vandelay" makes its appearance
  • This is the first episode with Jerry's Parents. Philip Bruns plays Morty in this episode. The part is played by Barney Martin in future episodes.

    Helen and Phil Bruns as Morty Seinfeld

  • This is the first episode in which George displays his proclivity for pretending to be an architect.
  • The plot is drawn, as are many, from incidents in Larry David's life. He once staked out a woman's workplace because he wanted to meet her and didn't have any other information.
  • The episode was nominated for a Writers Guild Award in 1991.
  • The fold-out sofa-bed Jerry's parents sleep on in this episode is replaced by a non-fold out sofa in The Couch. Jerry states that he especially liked that it doesn't fold out as it helps prevent people staying over.
  • Jerry's apartment is set up as a studio, and Jerry refers to the fold out bed as his bed. The door to Jerry's bedroom does not appear until Season 2. In Season 1, there is just a blank wall next to the bookshelf in the bathroom hallway.
  • Champagne Video, the video store in this episode, is reused in "The Smelly Car".
  • The top of the adult video box displays the name "Emerald Dimples"

    The adult video Jerry and Elaine hold while discussing pornography ("He's a public fornicator") appears to be titled Emerald Dimples, which is a real video released in 1985 according to Internet Adult Film Database.


For this episode's quotes, see The Stake Out/Quotes.



The Stake Out 00011.jpg
The gallery page for The Stake Out can be found here.

Season One Episodes
The Seinfeld Chronicles | The Stake Out | The Robbery | Male Unbonding | The Stock Tip