Seinfeld (1989–1998): Season 8, Episode 14 - The Van Buren Boys - full transcript

Kramer has a run-in with a gang named after president Van Buren, but he accidentally flashes their secret sign and becomes a member of the gang. Elaine finds this fascinating as she's ghost-writing Peterman's autobiography and needs some stories to use as filler material. George has to pick a scholarship recipient and picks an average Joe instead of an over achiever.

- Who is the last president to have a beard?
- Nixon.

- No, I mean a real thick beard.
- His was thick.

No, I mean like a full, long beard,
like Smith Brothers Cough Drops.


- Who?
- Artemis N. Falkmore.

- You made that up, right?
- Yeah.

- But it sounds like a president name?
- Yeah.

Why do presidents all
have bad names?

Woodrow, Grover, Millard.

The presidency attracts
the badly named.

Their ambition is based on
personal insecurity.

It's classic male overcompensation.

Are you wearing lifts
in those shoes?


So they have this clock now,
where you punch in your age...

and all your risk factors...

and it actually counts down
how much time you have left to live.

What's the great moment?
On your deathbed.

They're pounding on your chest,
and you're going: "Ten, nine, eight...

I told you this thing was good."

- I can't believe this is our first date.
- I know. Dessert?

I suppose I have to get
a piece of cake.

- Why?
- Today is my birthday.

What? Today?

- Really?
- Yep.

So she went out with you
on a first date and it was her birthday?

Yeah, and she picked the day.

Is she socially...


No, she's great.

- She's attractive and fun.
- Well, maybe she decided...

to celebrate her birthday on
the Monday after the weekend.

She's not Lincoln.


Anybody up for Lorenzo's pizza?

- I'll pass.
- Oh, really?

Hey, George. Pizza.

I can't. I gotta go down
to the foundation.

I'm interviewing high schoolers
for the Susan Ross Scholarship.

Does it ever bother you
that this organization...

- Nope.
- is beating the bushes...

- No.
- to basically give this money away...

- No.
- to virtually anyone...

as long as they're not you?

I'm fine with it.

Fine, I say.

And then I received a 740
on the English Achievement Test.

Quick, what's your favorite animal?

I don't know. Frog?


- Well, I...
- Frog is wrong.

I see here that you play the harp.

Tell me, why do they have to tilt it?

Can't they just build it on an angle?

Save you a lot of trouble.

Well, the modern-day harp has been
refined over thousands of years...

- back to...
- Yeah, yeah, we'll let you know.

I see your GPA is 4.0.

You like that, don't you?

So, Steven, I see you're
president of the chess club.

State champs.

Who's your favorite chess player?




What country is he from again?

I don't know.

I made it up.

I'm never gonna get this thing.

What are you telling me for?

You really had me going there.

Come on, sit down.

What do you want to do
when you grow up?

Well, I've been telling people
that I'd like to be an architect.

So get this, Mr. Peterman is finally
letting me do some real writing.

He's got this book deal
for his autobiography.

He's gonna let me ghostwrite it.

Wow, that's great.
When it comes out...

I'll have to get someone
to ghost-read it.

- Hey. Oh, hi.
- Hey.

- Hey.
- So there I am at Lorenzo's...

Ioading up my slice
at the fixings bar.

Garlic and whatnot.

When I see this guy over at
the pizza boxes...

giving me the stink eye.

So I give him the crook eye back,
you know?

And I notice that he's not alone.

I'm taking on
the entire Van Buren Boys.

- Van Buren Boys?
- Yeah.

There's a street gang named after
President Martin Van Buren?

Oh, yeah, and they're
just as mean as he was.

So I make a move to
the door, you know?

They block it.

So I lunge for the bathroom.
I grab the knob.


Then they back me up
against the cartoon map of Italy...

and all of a sudden they just stop.

What? What happened?

Because I'm still holding
the garlic shaker, like this:

I'm only showing eight fingers.

- Well, what does that mean?
- That's their secret sign.

See, Van Buren, he was
the eighth president.

They thought I was
a former Van B Boy.

- How was the pizza?
- It was a little oily.

Jerry, can you hold on a sec?
I just wanna check my messages.

Oh, Melissa, Kim.

- Ellen.
- Hey. I want you to meet Jerry.

Oh, we've heard a lot about you.

It is so sweet of you to take her out.

Yeah, you don't even know
how much she needs this.

Is she coming off a bad breakup?


See you.

- Get your messages?
- Yeah. No one called.

They acted like it was some
act of charity, going out with her.

So she's the loser of the group.

Every group has someone
that they all make fun of.

Like us with Elaine.

There's no way Ellen
is the loser of that group.

Are you looking deep down
at the real person underneath?

No, I'm being as superficial
as I possibly can.

- Well, stick with it.
- Yeah.

- I think I may have found someone for the scholarship.
- Yeah?

I'm interviewing all these
annoying little overachievers...

and finally this kid walks in,
Steven Koren, a regular guy.

Likes sports, watches TV.

- Is he smart?
- He knows how to read.

And he also knows that finishing
an entire book doesn't prove anything.

But get this:

He's into architecture.

Hey, just like you pretend to be.

Yes, with a little guidance...

Steven Koren is going to be
everything I claim to be, only for real.

That's my dream, Jerry.

I had a dream last night
that a hamburger was eating me.

Mr. Peterman, thanks
for having me over. I...

Your place isn't quite
what I imagined.

Oh, it's just a place to flop.

Well, what part of your life
do you want to start with?

Foreign intrigue? Exotic romances?

Oh, Elaine, we've covered all of that
in the catalog, ad nauseam.

No, I would like this book
to be about my day-to-day life.

Oh, damn, they changed
the cable stations again...

just when I finally
memorized them.

- Well, Mr. Peterman, do you want to...?
- Two: CBS.

- Get started?
- Three....

I don't know what that is.

Where's my damn preview channel?

Well, I gotta tell you, Mr. Peterman...

I don't know if I see
a whole book here.

Well, I'm sure we'll
come up with something.

What do you say you and l
order ourselves a pie?

Do you like Lorenzo's?

A friend of mine almost got beat up
at that place by the Van Buren Boys.

- You don't say?
- Yeah.

The only thing that saved
him is...

he accidentally flashed
their secret gang sign.

- Well, that's pretty exciting.
- Yeah.

Let's put that in the book.

But that didn't happen to you.

Well, so we pay off your friend,
and it becomes a Peterman.

No, I really don't think
you can do that.

Oh, damn, I forgot to buy
plant food again.

I'll bet I got a coupon for it.

You know what?
Maybe I better talk to my friend.

Is that the same outfit
you were wearing yesterday?

No, this is brand-new.
Do you like it?

Actually, yeah.

Wait a second.
Is that the fork that fell on the floor?

Are you using the fork
that fell on the floor?

No, Jerry, the waitress
gave me another one.

I guess that's all right.

- Is something wrong, Jerry?
- No, absolutely nothing.

You're fantastic.

- Hey, guys.
- Hey.

Kramer, George, this is Ellen.

Ladies and gentlemen,
I am happy to introduce you...

to the first Susan Ross Scholar.


is Steven Koren.

His GPA is a solid 2.0.

Right in that meaty part
of the curve.

Not showing off, not falling behind.

George, the qualifications
for this scholarship...

were supposed to be
largely academic.

I'm sure we're all aware
of the flaws...

and biases of standardized tests.

These aren't standardized tests.
These are his grades.

Besides, Steven Koren has
the highest of aspirations.

He wants to be...

an architect.

Is that right?

Actually, maybe I could set
my sights a little bit higher.

Steven, nothing is higher
than architect.

I think I'd really like to be
a city planner.

Why limit myself to one building
when I can design a whole city?

- Well, that's a good point.
- No, it's not.

Isn't an architect just
an art school dropout...

with a tilting desk and a big ruler?

It's called a T-square.

You know, the stupidest guy
in my fraternity became an architect...

after he flunked
out of dental school.

Congratulations, young man.

Susan would be very proud
of what you're doing.

Thank you.

And they made it their sign because
Van Buren, our eighth president...

was the man they most admired.

Kramer, my friend,
that is one ripping good yarn.

You know, if you liked that one,
I got more.

What are you looking for?

Romance? Comedy? Adventure?


No, Kramer, I don't think...

How much would you take
for the whole lot?

- My whole life?
- Name your price, man.


- I'll give you half that.
- Done.

Kramer, my friend, you consider
Elaine at your disposal.


Well, I....

I like to work in the evenings.

Would you please just get on
with the stupid Bob Sacamano story?

Well, I'm on the phone with Bob,
and I realize right then and there...

that I need to return this pair
of pants. So I'm off to the store.

What happened to Bob Sacamano?

Well, nothing. His part
of the story is done.

I'm waiting for the subway.
It's not coming.

I decided to hoof it
through the tunnel.

Well, now, that's something.

I don't know
if I lost track of time or what.

- The next thing I knew...
- A train is bearing down on you?

No, I slipped and fell in mud...

ruining the very pants
I was about to return.

I don't understand.

You were wearing the pants
you were returning?

Well, I guess I was.

What were you gonna
wear on the way back?

Elaine, are you listening?

I didn't even get there.

- All right. Next story.
- I think I've got enough for one day.

- Yeah, chew on that.
- I'll chew on that.

Hey, listen. By the way, I'm hosting
a little get-together tonight...

in honor of my little
financial upturn.

Oh, thanks, I've got plans.

Yeah, Elaine, you should be there
to document it.

Oh, you're getting together with
some of your jackass friends?

- You want me to take notes?
- Yeah, but get there after 9.

You know, give the people
a chance to loosen up.

So you're denying him the scholarship
because he wants to be a city planner?

I was betrayed.

That kid was like a son to me.

If there's one person
you should be able to hold down...

it's your own flesh and blood.

Like my father
and my father's father before him.

You know, maybe philanthropy
is not your field.

Hello. Oh, hi, Ellen.
Yeah, I called the hotel.

- We're set for the weekend.
- Spending the weekend with Ellen?


You know, we can stay
an extra couple of days if we want.

Four days at a beautiful

I can't wait.



What is this?

- You wanna start?
- No, no, no. You go ahead.

I gotta get my thoughts together.

Jerry, this whole Ellen situation
has gone far enough.

- What?
- Jerry, she's a loser.

Where is this coming from?
She's great.

Why are you doing this, Jerry?

Is it your career?
Things are gonna pick up.

There's nothing wrong
with my career.

I like the Bloomingdale's
executive training program for him.

We weren't gonna
discuss that now.

- It's something he should consider.
- Of course he should.

- But now is not the time.
- Listen, these issues are interrelated.

All right. Excuse me.

I'm not buying any of this.

So, what are you saying? That we're
wrong? Everybody's wrong but you.

This is like that Twilight Zone
where the guy wakes up...

and he's the same,
and everybody else is different.

- Which one?
- They were all like that.

Why did you take away
my scholarship, Mr. Costanza?

Well, Steven, I....

These are my new friends...

the Van Buren Boys.

He became so disillusioned,
he had to join us.

- Nice.
- I want my scholarship back...

so I can be a city planner.

What about architect, Steven?

City planner.

- Great party, K-Man.
- You got that straight.

Elaine, try the beef, because that's
real au jus sauce. Real au jus sauce.

- I'll make a note of it.
- Hey, Kramer.

- Yeah.
- Ramirez has never heard your story.

Oh, okay.

Well, I had Bob Sacamano
on the phone...

- and I suddenly realized that I...
- Hey, Kramer, Kramer.

You can't tell that story now.

It belongs to Peterman.

- What do you mean?
- You signed the release.

- Yeah.
- He sat in mud, not you.

- But I did sit in mud.
- You didn't.

You never sat in mud.

I was all dirty.

- It never happened, you understand?
- Come on.

- Hey, all right. Yeah.
- Finish the story?

Oh, yeah, well, I...
Yeah, the pants... They...

They... They fit well and so I decided
I wasn't gonna return them.

- Getting late. We better get going.
- Okay.

You're gonna go now?

Hey, whoa. Come...

I don't...

Kramer, Kramer, I got big trouble
with the Van Buren Boys.

- They're tough cookies.
- I heard that you...

got on their good side.
What did you do?

Oh, nothing, nothing.

No, I certainly don't have any stories
if that's what you're implying.

You know what those guys
are gonna do?

Yeah, well, you didn't hear it
from me...

but the Van Buren Boys,
they never hassle their own kind.

You mean, like a former member?

These Kramer stories are unusable.

I mean, some of them
aren't even stories.

Look, this is the list
of things in his apartment.

Is my toaster oven on there?

How am I ever gonna
turn this into a book?

Well, just shape them, change them.
You're a writer.


I'm a writer.

Make them interesting.


Of course.

People love interesting writing.

Well, I gotta go to the airport.
I'm picking up my parents.

What? Weren't they just here?

Yeah, I'm flying them in
to meet Ellen.

I don't know where to turn.

- I gotta see what they think of her.
- Maybe we can have dinner later.

I don't think so. I'm gonna try
to get them to fly right back tonight.

Oh, hey. Hey, have I told you
about my bunions?

You're going to love this story.

So I line up my cold cuts
on the couch next to me...

but as I'm stacking them up
they keep falling into my footbath.

Kramer, this is awful.

We don't wanna hear about this.

- Damn.
- What?

Oh, I bought a bunch
of bunion stories from Newman.

But they all stink.

- How much did you pay for them?
- Eight bucks.

I think I'm getting ripped off.


Well, what didn't you like
about the first chapter?

Well, it started out nicely.

I'm returning some pants...

a very identifiable problem.

I set off down a train tunnel.

Now, that's where the story takes
a most unappealing turn.

Oh, no, no, that's where
it gets interesting.

Don't you see? The train
is bearing down on you...

you dive into a side tunnel...

and you run into a whole band
of underground tunnel dwellers.

It just seems so clich?d
and obvious.

It's not interesting writing.

Yeah, yeah, I know.

How about if instead
of diving from the train, you...?

I don't know. You slip
and fall in some mud...

and ruin your pants?

The very pants I was returning.

That's perfect irony.
Elaine, that is interesting writing.

I have a Cosmo Kramer on line four.

- Peterman here.
- Mr. Peterson...

you gotta sell me
my stories back.

You wanna know something?
I no longer need them.

No, no, no, Mr. Peterman, why
don't we keep them as a reference.


I have Benes' wonderfully
imaginative mind to spin my stories.

You take back your tales,
you vagabond.

There you are, Elaine.
Go forth and create.

And by the way, when you get to that
chapter about romantic escapades...

feel free to toss yourself
into the mix.

Hey, Van B Boys.

So, Mr. Costanza,
did you get my scholarship back?

Now, fellas, fellas, easy.

Wouldn't wanna beat up
on one of your own.

Is that right?

Then why don't you
flash us the sign?


The sign.

That's not the sign.

It was when I was banging.

All right...

if you are really one of us...

Iet's see you take the wallet
off the next guy who walks by.

Love to.

And after college I got my
master's at the Sorbonne.

Oh, hey, that's in Paris.

Jerry, your parking meter
is about to expire.

Don't get up. I've got change.

- So, what do you think?
- Jerry, she is fantastic.

I knew it. I'm not crazy.

She's so sweet.

And she's got some body on her.

And smart, like a computer.

And so much personality.
But it doesn't matter what we think.

Do you like her?

Now I'm not so sure.

She's 10 times better than that
awful Amber girl that you were with.

Yeah, Amber.
I wonder if she's back from Vegas.

All right, no more stalling.

Next one or you're meat.

All right. All right.

- Seinfelds.
- Hey, George.

You gotta do me a favor.

Give me your wallet.
I'll give it back to you later.

How are your folks?

Trying to pick out a new couch.
You don't wanna know.

Give me your wallet or I'll spill
your guts right here on the street.

What did you say?

Come on, hurry up, old man.

I'm an animal.

You're being very rude.
Come on, Morty.

- Please, they're gonna hit me.
- What?

George Costanza,
what is the matter with you?

Tell your parents we said hi.