Seinfeld: "The Soup Nazi" Episode

I’ve been rewatching Seinfel lately. “The Soup Nazi” is a great episode, and is easily one of my favorites.

I’ve never been entirely happy with the ending in the sense that I’m not so sure that Elaine having the recipes is that big of a deal. The Soup Nazi has a reputation for making exquisite soups, would releasing the recipes really be that big of a deal? She mentions a few courses of action she might take:

1 - Give them away to other restaurants. Of all her plans this might have the greatest effect by making his soup available elsewhere, but I’m just not that convinced many restaurants would bother. Ok, some might duplicate his soups, others would probably not, but he’s first to market. He’s a dedicated soup provider.

2 - Publish them. I predict this has no effect. People are too lazy to make their own soup even with the recipe.

3 - Drop them from the sky on leaflets. Well, to start I think don’t think she’s being serious. Of course it is meant to be simply be a funny line and show Elaine’s rage. But what if Elaine did drop them from the sky? I think this would have less effect than publishing them. I don’t think people would bother to gather them or know the context of this recipe falling from the sky. People I think would be more inclined to get a cookbook of his recipes, once they knew it existed, then to simply grab some recipe dropped to them from above.

Any thoughts? If the episode were extended, would the next act be about how Elaine’s plan has failed and so she must find a new way to destroy the villain?

Great Classic Lines:

Soup Nazi: “No soup for you!!!”
Soup Nazi: “You’re pushing your luck little man.”
George: “Ah-HA!”
Newman: “Jambalaya.”

I’m guessing his soups were more that the sum of the ingredients on the recipe. Maybe if it was one transcendental soup then there is a chance he stumbled upon a magic formula for it. But apparently all his soups were incredible, which leads me to believe that even with the exact recipe other people wouldn’t get it quite right.

Yeah, WOLFMAN is right, great soup isn’t necessarily a “recipe” food. It’s all about de LOVE you put in de pot, mon.

Also, this is New York. You could publish the recipes or drop them from the sky, but people would still line up to buy them from the Soup Nazi rather than do all that chopping and simmering themselves.

I agree with both of you. Clearly, the Soup Nazi is an incredible soup chef. The recipes only represent a very small portion of that skill. I also think that people are too lazy to do the cooking themselves.

Poll results so far are interesting.

Of the three options Elaine mentions, “Give them away to other restaurants” would probably have the farthest-reaching effects, but not necessarily the effect of destroying the Soup Nazi. Restaurants are a cut-throat business to begin with, and if anyone is going to have the skill and wherewithal to make the soups properly, it’s another professional chef.

However, the Soup Nazi would probably still be just fine. He’s the “original,” he can market himself as such, and lots of people tend to put a lot of stock (ha!) into that sort of thing. I could imagine it actually being a major boon to the Soup Nazi. Other restaurants from across the country, hell, around the world, would be serving his soups, spreading them to a much wider customer base than just the local New Yorkers, and people would come to New York to try the “original,” and then probably want to take some home with them.

Well, she could go commercial.

Buy “Soup Nazi” soup online or at limited grocers.

Hell, from the looks of it, there is even a franchise restaurant right here in Dallas. Looks like the Soup Man himself took this Seinfeld meme and milked it for all it’s worth.

Grrr! I had never seen that before, that’s so awesome! I love it. Thanks for sharing that.

Good point DCnDC, I think ultimately the Soup Nazi wins for reasons such as those you point out.

So, for everybody, if you wanted to destroy the Soup Nazi, how would you do it?

I think the most obvious is point out to the media that he’s the Soup NAZI! That’s bound to create some protests right? But is it true there’s no such thing as bad publicity? Would this only strengthen his business as people flock to see what the controversy is about? Or is the inherent negativity of the term Nazi enough to sink him?

Any thoughts? How do we destroy the Soup Nazi?

I’m ignoring the question of whether he deserves to be destroyed or not. I think he doesn’t deserve it. He’s not discriminating against anybody. He’s not doing anything illegal or even immoral. He simply demands a certain code of conduct from his customers. His customers are free to vote with their wallets if they don’t like it.

I think all of her options are an empty threat, but the fact that the Soup Nazi is such an artiste, it’s able to get under his skin. Now, she could just publish the recipe online and in his Yelp review to try and mess with him.

In the episode of Comedians in Cars, Getting Coffee with Larry David, Larry and Jerry are walking in a store when they come across the Soup Guy’s soup on the shelf and comment on what a jerk he is. IIRC, he tried to sue them.

In the end, the Soup Nazi basically pulls a Hitler and commits (business) suicide.

“You’re shmoopy!”

“No, you’re shmoopy!”

Nothing about that episode made me feel any animosity toward the soup guy (it was only much later that I found out the character was loosely based on an actual person). If anything, I thought Elaine was being a jerk within the fictional context and Larry and Jerry are being jerks in the real world context. The soup guy likes efficiency and makes good soup. Don’t waste his time and don’t waste the time of the people lined up, waiting their turn.

Worst SO nickname ever. And thanks to Seinfeld, I, and two other women I know (and who knows how many others?) have used it to certain BFs.

Elaine is SUPPOSED to be a (really hot) jerk. So are the other three (minus the hot part).

It’s just a TV show and not a reality program. Why not use a real world example for the ‘What if’ scenario’s?

Yes, our main characters are jerks. But so is the soup guy. He has a bunch of arbitrary rules that don’t actually save him any time, since he has to enforce them. He arbitrarily decides to not give George his free bread. He decides that kissing is not allowed in his line. And he just treats people poorly, like he hates everyone.

Just because Elaine is also a jerk at the end doesn’t mean a lot. If anything, it’s nice to see Soup Nazi come up against a bigger jerk. Getting his recipe is less about screwing the guy over financially and more about a display of dominance.

It doesn’t really matter what she does with the recipe as long as she can let him know she has it, while making sure he’s not in any position to do anything about it.

For what it’s worth, the real life soup Nazi, Al Yeganeh, was running a lunch place. I never ate there, but his selling point was that he made excellent soups for a very affordable price.

If an office worker near Yeganeh’s restaurant had the recipe, what good would that do? He couldn’t cook it himself at his desk.