S08E14 - The Van Buren Boys

No: 148  |   Season: 8   Episode: 14  |   Air Date: 6-Feb-1997  |   Production #814

I see this guy over at the pizza boxes giving me the stink-eye. So I give him the crook-eye back, you know... I see this guy over at the pizza boxes giving me the stink-eye. So I give him the crook-eye back, you know...


Jerry's girlfriend, Ellen, seems perfect in every way, but everyone else seems to have a problem with her. George interviews candidates for the Foundation's first scholarship. The candidates seem over-qualified, until one comes in who is a lot like he was. Elaine is going to ghost write Peterman's biography. Kramer goes to Lorenzo's pizza, where he has an encounter with the Van Buren boys. He accidentally flashes their gang sign and saves himself. Peterman wants his day to day life covered in his bio; the exotic adventures are for the catalog. His day-to-day life is very boring. She tells him about Kramer's encounter with the gang and he suggests buying the story for his biography. George's scholar makes a change in his plans that causes George to disqualify him from the scholarship. Kramer sells Peterman all of his stories for $750 dollars. Elaine is put at his disposal. To Elaine, Kramer's stories aren't much more interesting. George and Kramer perform an intervention on Jerry's relationship with Ellen. George's scholar joins the Van Buren boys, who apply pressure on George to get the scholarship back. Elaine tells Kramer that he can no longer tell his stories, since they now belong to Peterman. Elaine tries to embellish Kramer's stories, but Peterman finds the rewrites "too clich

Director and Writers

Director: Andy Ackerman
Writers: Darin Henry


Jerry: So you're denying him the scholarship just because he wants to be a city planner?
George: I was betrayed! That kid was like a son to me. And if there's one person you should be able to hold down, it's your own flesh and blood. Like my father... my father's father before him.

J. Peterman: (to Elaine) And by the way, when you get to that chapter about my romantic escapades... feel free to toss yourself into the mix.

Jerry: There's a street gang named after President Martin Van Buren?
Kramer: Oh yeah, and they're as mean as he was.

George: I think we're all aware of the flaws and biases of standardized tests.
Wick: These aren't standardized tests, these are his grades.

Jerry: (about the scholarship candidate) Is he smart?
George: He knows how to read. And he knows that finishing a whole book doesn't mean anything.

George: Maybe she decided to celebrate her birthday the Monday after the weekend.
Jerry: She's not Lincoln!

Jerry: I had a dream last night that a hamburger was eating me!

George: Every group has someone that they all make fun of... like us with Elaine.

Steven: That's not the sign.
George: It was when I was banging!

Notes and Trivia

The character Steven Koren is named after the Seinfeld writer with the same name.

When it is revealed that the "Van Buren Boys" have a secret hand sing, this is probably an allusion to the real Martin Van Buren. Martin Van Buren, a native of Kinderhook, New York, was nicknamed "Old Kinderhook," and a political organization of the time named themselves the OK Club after him. Some say this is the origin of the English expression "OK" meaning fine, good, all right. (Wallace et al., "Significa," E.P. Dutton, 1983.) And a common hand gesture for "OK" -- tips of index finger and thumb touching, the other three fingers extended -- becames half of the Van B. Boys' gang sign.

Guest Actress Christine Taylor would eventually marry Ben Stiller, the son of series regular Jerry Stiller.


When Kramer is running his "new" stories that he bought from Newman to Elaine and Jerry, he runs in and leaves the door open behind. When he goes to leave, the door is now closed and reopens it.


Jerry SeinfeldJerry Seinfeld
Julia Louis-DreyfusElaine Benes
Michael RichardsCosmo Kramer
Jason AlexanderGeorge Costanza
Barney MartinMorty
Liz SheridanHelen
Bruce DavisonWyck
John O'HurleyJ. Peterman
Christine TaylorEllen
Jed RheinSteven Koren
Tony ColittiLeader
David MoscowLomez Jr.
Yunoka DoyleLydia
Dublin JamesMaurice
Justine SlaterMelissa
Michele MaikaKim (as Michelle Maika)
Steve HofvendahlMan
Ruth CohenRuthie Cohen