“The Good Samaritan” is remembered today as a middle of the road episode of Seinfeld, if it’s remembered at all. Probably the most memorable plotline is George saying “God bless you” to a married woman when she sneezes, which pisses off her husband for some reason. But, what surprised me about the episode when I re-watched it the other day, was that they missed a major opportunity to exploit a guest appearance by Helen Slater, best known for her role in “Supergirl” (1984).
I mean this is the show that many people have claimed contains a reference to Superman in every single episode. I don’t think that’s true, but both Jerry Seinfeld the character and the real guy have a love for all things comicbooks, especially Superman. So he must have been familiar with Slater and the role that made her famous.
As a side note look at the episode “the Race” which does have a lot of comicbook references. In that episode Jerry is dating a girl named Lois and just her name makes him feel as if he is Superman, saying lines like “Excuse me, Lois. Stand back, Lois. Jimmy’s in trouble, Lois.” At the climax of the episode Jerry and an old school rival have a rematch of a legendary race that they had in High School and as they run the John William’s “Superman” theme is played. And at the end of the episode Jerry tells Lois, “Maybe I will Lois, maybe I will” and he winks at the camera like George Reeves did in “Adventures of Superman.” And all of that was for no reason but that his girlfriend happened to be named Lois.
And yet in an episode where one of the guest stars played Supergirl the only reference to Superman is a poster of the JLA hanging over George’s bed in one scene.
Jerry says he’s had a crush on Slater’s blue sweatpants wearing character, Becky Gelke for a year because “she looks like she belongs on one of those hallmark cards.” But what he should have said is, “I don’t know there is just something about her that is so super. She just makes be want to leap tall building at a single bound.” I mean, if they wanted to keep it subtle they could have had her wear a tee-shirt with a superman logo. Surely that wouldn’t have clashed with the sweatpants look.
Jerry’s plotline involved him following someone that hit a parked car and didn't even stop. Jerry is determined to confront him. But when the driver turns out to be a beautiful woman Angela, Jerry switches tactics and flirts with her and ends up dating her. However later in the episode he finds out from Krammer that it was Becky’s car that Angela had hit and Jerry decides he’d rather make a play for Becky who he’s had a crush on for two years, but hasn’t ever talked to. Jerry confronts Angela and she turns into a femme fatale like Ann Savage in “Detour” only worse if that’s possible. She tells him, “You tell anybody anything and I will carve my initials on your brain tissue. I'll bash your skull into a vegematic like a bad cabbage, and I'll have a party on your head.” Since Angela had refused to pay. Jerry decides to pay to fix Becky’s car, but she is convinced that it must have been Jerry that hit her car and that he’s not man enough to admit it so she rejects Jerry when he asks her out.
Then at the end of the episode we find out that Krammer has a date with Becky. But the date doesn’t go well because Krammer has a seizure when he goes to pick her up because he hears Mary Hart’s (“Entertainment Tonight”) voice (Don’t ask).
Now with Becky the victim of a hit and run and Jerry determined to give her justice, doesn’t that sound like a job for Superman? They could have played up the damsel in distress angle of this episode and had Jerry feel like he was rescuing her. Call me crazy but I think this is one time Seinfeld really whiffed it!