Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Season 3, Episode 12: The Suicide

“A plane crash? A heart attack? Lupus? Is it Lupus???” - George

The Suicide marks our introduction to Newman. He previously appeared as a voice (played by disembodied voice extraordinaire, Larry David). This marks his first physical appearance, as played by Wayne Knight. The original idea for Newman didn’t call for him to be a recurring character. But Knight was so great they decided to bring him back.

The Suicide opens with Jerry and Elaine at the apartment. They’re about to head out to dinner, which will be the last meal Elaine has for three days as she prepared to take an ulcer exam. Over the course of the episode she becomes more and more ravenous and psychotic with each passing scene.

As Elaine scarfs down whatever is in front of her, Jerry takes out the trash and runs into George in the hall. He asks him to take out the garbage for him. George scoffs and continues to walk toward the apartment. Jerry presses him to do it. “It’s just down the hall.” George mulls it over a second.
“Give me two bucks. I’ll do it for two bucks.”
“I’ll give you 50 cents,” Jerry haggles.
“There’s no way I touch that bag for less than two dollars.”
Jerry says for 50 cents George can get a Drake’s coffee cake, which, as a West coast guy, I have no frame of reference for. I assumed (correctly) that this was an actual thing since they like to refer to real products (like the Junior Mints). Drake’s Coffee Cake is a Northeast/Atlantic thing. And since these DVDs are 10 years old, I have no idea if they’re still made.

George is all set for his vacation to the Cayman Islands. “Who goes on vacation without a job?” Jerry asks rhetorically. “What, do you need a break from getting up at eleven?”

Still in the hall, Jerry’s neighbor, Gina, comes out. She flirts with him for just a second, but it’s one second too much as her boyfriend comes out and catches Gina touching Jerry’s shoulder. An innocent gesture, but not to the boyfriend. Gina leaves and Jerry decides to leave the trash outside Kramer’s apartment. He knocks on Kramer’s door and quickly ducks inside his own apartment. Kramer opens his door, looks down the hall, sees the trash, picks up the bag, and brings it inside.

Inside Jerry’s apartment, George remembers having a dream involving Gina’s boyfriend. He mentions that several paranormal things have happened to him. Elaine suggests he go to a psychic.

Jerry is woken up at 3am by Gina banging on his door. Martin, her boyfriend, tried to commit suicide by taking a bunch of pills. At the hospital, Gina explains to Jerry that Martin tried to kill himself because Gina told him it was over between them after he became jealous at other men looking and talking to her, especially Jerry. Gina tells Jerry that she is attracted to him. This, while Martin is in a coma two feet away. “Are you sure he can’t hear us?” a suddenly worried Jerry asks. “Martin! MARTIN!!”

Gina wants to kiss Jerry, who is feeling a just a bit uncomfortable with that. What kind of man is afraid of an unconscious man, Gina wonders. “I’m a man who respects a good coma.”

Kramer comes over to Jerry’s. He’s more upset that Martin still has his vacuum cleaner than the coma. In Kramer’s world, there’s no coma etiquette. After 24 hours all possessions of a coma victim are up for grabs. “That’s why I’m trying to get that vacuum cleaner back. Because somebody’s going to grab it!”

George and Elaine go see the psychic. Among the rubbish she communicates to George:
“Who’s Pauline?”
“Pauline…” George thinks. “My God! My brother once impregnated a woman named Pauline.”
“You think about her?”
“When I hear her name mentioned.”

The Psychic is about to tell George something very bad about his upcoming trip, but Elaine’s pestering the psychic about her smoking while pregnant upsets the psychic and she asks them to leave. George is in a panic about the Cayman Islands. “Plane crash? A heart attack? Lupus? Is it Lupus?”

Jerry’s made the move on Gina but as they’re leaving his apartment, Newman is exiting Kramer’s. “Hello, Newman.”

Jerry, George and Elaine are in the hospital waiting room. Jerry is worried that Newman with snitch to Martin when he wakes up. Elaine looks like death and is hallucinating. George is upset with Elaine for ruining his psychic appointment. Kramer comes over and tells the group that Newman is upstairs in Martin’s room. George offers his Cayman Island ticket to Kramer.

Jerry visits Martin and sees Newman keeping watch and Kramer yelling at the comatose Martin for his vacuum. Newman implies that he will bring Martin up to date on everything that’s happened while he was in the coma, should he ever awaken. Jerry takes out a Drake’s Coffee Cake. Newman begins salivating at the sight of it. Jerry mentions he has a second, but he’s saving it. Newman cracks and promises not to say anything if Jerry will give him the cake. Elaine runs into the room, unable to stand having to wait any longer for her exam. She sees the Drake’s Coffee Cake (did they pay any money for this show- It’s like that Burger King spot in Arrested Development at this point) and tries to grab it from Newman. Jerry tries to stop her. In the scuffle, Martin wakes up. The scene jump cuts to about 30 seconds later. Martin is choking Jerry while Newman says, “They did it right in this bed, Martin. Right here in front of you!”

Some time passes. George and Jerry are getting ready to take Elaine out to dinner again. She’s had to start her whole fast process over again. Kramer has returned from the Cayman Islands. He had a great time and recalls the entire trip to a dazed George: They were photographing the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue right there at the hotel pool and he played Nude Backgammon with Ella MacPherson.  Martin and Gina moved back in together.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Season 3, Episode 11: The Red Dot

“Was that wrong?” - George

We begin with George and Jerry dropping in on Elaine’s company holiday party. Jerry is there to return a watch that Elaine had lost somewhere in the abyss of Jerry’s apartment (presumably between the seat cushions of the couch where Jerry claims to have found it). Before Elaine sees them, Jerry points out Elaine’s new boyfriend with whom she is having an office romance, and mentions that he is a recovering alcoholic. “He’s been off the wagon for two years.”
Elaine introduces Dick, whose first line is, “Is this the guy?” Apparently well of aware of whom Jerry is, just a smidge territorial, and a tad jealous that an ex of Elaine’s would still be friends with her. Elaine also offers George a job at Pendant as a reader. All he has to do is meet her boss, Mr. Lippman (now played by Richard Fancy).

George’s 30 second ‘interview’ with Lippman goes about as well as a job interview for George could go. Lippman asks if George has ever done any work like this before. “Well…you know, book reports.” Lippman, amused, gives George a wry smile and asks who he reads. “Mike Lupica.” When pressed for actual authors (poor Lupica), George comes out with Art Vandalay, an obscure beatnik who authored Venetian Blinds, a ‘searing indictment of the dental profession’ (according to the notes about nothing). George gets the job in spite of himself, because it’s Elaine’s hire.

Dick, meanwhile, is having an animated conversation with Jerry by the pot luck table. They’ve both put down their drinks on the table; Dick’s cranberry juice and Jerry’s cranberry and vodka that he was holding for Elaine. Dick, being one of those assholes whose manhood is always being threatened by other men tells Jerry off, “I’ve got news for you. I’m funnier than you.” He picks up a drink and walks away. Elaine and George come back and Elaine picks up her drink, except it’s just cranberry juice. Jerry realizes that Dick must have picked up her drink by mistake. He’s off the wagon! Or on it, thinks Jerry.

Jerry escorts George while gift shopping for Elaine and comes across a cashmere sweater marked down from $600 to $85. He asks the sales clerk why the sweater has such a steep markdown price. She points out a very small ret dot on it. George has talked himself into getting it. “I don’t even think she’d notice it. Can you see it?”
“Well, I can see it.”
“Yeah, but you know where it is.”
“Well, what do you want me to do, not look at it?”
“Pretend you didn’t know it was there.”
“It’s hard fore me to pretend because I know where it is.”
“Well, just take an overview. Can’t you just take an overview?!”
“You want me to take an overview?”
“I see a very cheap man holding a sweater trying to get away with something. That’s my overview.”

Elaine is concerned Dick is drinking. Jerry asks if she can smell the alcohol on him. She can’t and that is enough evidence for Jerry to be convinced that he isn’t. At that moment Kramer enters and Jerry decides to use him as an example. They have him take three shots of whiskey and smell him. The results are inconclusive. Not inconclusive is the fact that Kramer is a lightweight.

George comes in and gives Elaine the sweater. She’s elated at the gift and can’t believe George would get it for her or that Jerry would let him spend the money on it. “I tried to stop him,” Jerry replies ironically. A drunk Kramer from 10 feet away remarks, “what’s that red dot on your sweater?”

George is staying late at work and encounters the cleaning lady. George gives her a long look as she’s cleaning his cubicle.

Suddenly we’re at Monk’s. “You had sex with the cleaning woman on your desk?!
Says a beaming George, “I don’t know if it was the alcohol or the ammonia, but the next thing I knew she was mopping the floor with me.”
“How was it?”
“The sex was okay, but I threw up from the Hennigans.”
“Good thing the cleaning woman was there.”

Elaine asks Jerry if George bought the sweater with the red dot because he knew he could get a good price on it. Jerry says nothing but his expression gives it away. Elaine confronts George and bluffs that Jerry told her. George immediately turns to Jerry and asks how he could have squealed. “I didn’t tell her you stupid idiot, she tricked you.” George turns back to a grinning Elaine.

George re-gifts the sweater to the cleaning woman as a bribe to keep her quiet. She goes on and on about how she’s loved cashmere ever since she was a little girl in Panama. But it only takes a few minutes for her to notice the red dot.

This lands George in a meeting with Mr. Lippman, who gets right to the point. “It’s come to my attention that you and the cleaning woman have engaged in sexual intercourse on the desk in your office. Is that correct?” This leads into one of my - and Jason Alexander’s as it turns out - favorite George lines. Having been caught in a situation, George’s mind quickly plays out all the scenarios in his head. You can see his eyes dart back and forth from one to the next. His tongue runs across his lower lip as he finally settles on a response: “Was that wrong?”

“I tell ya, I gotta plead ignorance on this thing, because if anyone had said anything to me at all when I first started here that that sort of thing was frowned upon…”

Mr. Lippman fires George and before he leaves the office he says, “She wanted me to give you this,” and tosses the cashmere sweater at George’s face.