Christoph Waltz got his first taste of IHOP on this week’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Regardless of his opinion on the pancakes, could the actor be a funny enough “comedian” to make this episode worth watching?
With his “Viennese sensibility,” Waltz dressed like he was ready for most of the events of the episode. But he could not have predicted the meal he was in for. Something tells me he won’t be going to IHOP anytime soon.
I found the car, a 1957 BMW 507 Series II Roadster with a top speed of 136 miles per hour, to be a very chic vehicle. Considering it came in a color known as papyrus white, along with a blue leather interior and the optional hardtop, it just screamed mid-20th century Europe to me. I think it’s neat that the car was hand-formed, but I can only imagine how expensive that process would be. As Seinfeld put it in the intro, “here’s a car that shouldn’t even exist and yet, here it is.” Just like his Waltz, the car is “very light and delicate.”
After the title screen, one question popped into my head: why is Christoph Waltz in a hardware store? I just cannot imagine him needing anything there, though his gripe with inches made me chuckle.
When Waltz goes outside, he loves the car, and the fact he’s dressed exactly like it. I usually praise Seinfeld for his car choices, but I’m convinced that the Cars movie version of Waltz would be based on this exact BMW.
Once Waltz finally got in the car, the drive felt kind of boring and dull. It wasn’t until he and Seinfeld ran into Comedians in Cars fans at a red light that I was sucked back into what I was watching. “See, you’re on a huge hit show right now!” Seinfeld said. “Make no mistake,” Waltz responded, “I’m fully aware of it.” Honestly, I cannot tell if he was being funny or serious with that line, but the deadpan kind of worked there.
Somehow, they end up in Torrance and go to the IHOP because it is the International House of Pancakes and Waltz is a foreigner. Anyone else think this is a brand deal? It’s just such a step down compared to all of the local joints Seinfeld and co. have gone to in the past.
In the restaurant, Waltz makes note of that stark contrast. “I have to show you pictures of the cafes that I grew up in.” “Are they like this?” Seinfeld replies. With more deadpan, Waltz says “not really,” which made for the first truly funny moment of the episode.
Comparing the United States to Austria, Seinfeld says “You eat what you want, we’ll fix it. That’s the American way of life.” He’s not completely wrong here. But then Seinfeld tries to get Waltz to compare Vienna and Torrance, which was a head-scratcher. It could have something to do with my complete unfamiliarity with both Vienna and Torrance, but I sense I am not alone in not knowing much about either of these places.
Later, Waltz explains Viennese humor, which Seinfeld doesn’t like because it isn’t necessarily funny. My question: if it isn’t funny, can it even be called humor? Of course, Jerry doesn’t care. He just wants to visit for the food and shoot a “reverse” episode of Comedians in Cars where Waltz is showing him around. At this point in the episode, I would have preferred that because it was looking like a dud.
Then the food came.
Waltz first tried some pancakes, and he did not care for them, especially the butter on top. So, Seinfeld decided to order him a crepe because it is a European pancake for his European guest. Waltz’s response? “The great thing about this is how they can make it look so different from what it tastes.” I had to pause the episode I was laughing so hard.
The final stop on Waltz’s international breakfast journey was a Belgian waffle. Waltz isn’t a fan of that, either, and responds with a line that had Seinfeld doubled over in the booth. “I was about to ask what I ever did to you. This IHOP… I never knew what it is. I always thought it was cheap shoes.” Honestly, cheap shoes is a good way of describing some of the food options at IHOP.
The post-restaurant portion of the episode was…weird. They went paddle boating together with a bottle of champagne and some cigars. I just didn’t understand why. The only worthwhile line from this point was Waltz’s description of both cigars and comedy. “It has to be exquisite to be good. If it’s any less, you might as well skip it.”
Using Waltz’s own argument for comedy, most of this episode is worth skipping. It wasn’t that funny and, despite its shorter length (just 13:43), it dragged a fair bit. That said, Waltz’s IHOP experience made for exquisite comedy. It saved the episode from being bad, but it couldn’t make up for the minutes of confusion and awkward silence that surrounded it.