Well I got a flash for ya, joy boy: Party time is over. Y’got seven days, Seinfeld. That is one week!
Seinfeld, like many great episodic sitcoms before and after it, is a show heavily reliant on the bit character. A character created for a single episodes use that is both funny enough to provide a necessary function within that episode and eccentric enough that it would probably overstay their welcome if extended beyond that (elsewhere I state that my favorite ‘non-reoccurring character’ is ‘The Wig Master’s (Season 7, episode 129) Jiffy Parking lot attendant, mainly for his assured aloofness to any of his customers many woes). Sometimes they’re mere caricature providing outlandish mannerisms or physicality, sometimes they’re so odd that their mere existence is comedic fodder (the previously talked about Donald, better known as the Bubble Boy, would fit nicely here) and sometimes it’s an entirely singular ethos that is so steadfastly assured on an inconceivably trivial point that its outlandishness is sourced for belly busting laughs.
Such would be the case with perhaps the greatest single bit character in the Seinfeld universe, and it almost goes without saying. Trod out my opening paragraph above without any episode title over it and most Seinfeld aficionados would immediately being prepping a discussion on Robert Altman/Paul Thomas Anderson regular Philip Baker Hall and his remarkable turn as strong armed pseudo-sleuth Mr. Bookman. Appearing with dialogue patterns straight from a pulp novel of the 1940’s (and a trench coat to match), Hall’s performance is one of sustained hilarious aggressiveness. He’s always lurking, whether it’s to break up the possible romantic shenanigans of Kramer and the attractive, demure short-haired Librarian or to burst into Jerry like a pit-bull in desperate need of the five cent overdue fee. The substance of his arguments never matches the tenacity at which he’s ready to spout them, but that only adds all the more to the manic intensity of it all. It’s a bit performance for the ages.