Thursday, January 19, 2012

SEINFELD - Season 1, Episode 4 - The Stock Tip

"The Stock Tip"

Filmed: March 12, 1990
Aired: Thursday, June 21, 1990 at 9:3
Nielsen rating: 13.5
Audience share: 24
Directed: Tom Cherones
Writer: Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld 

One of the elements Seinfeld became famous and loved for was the array of zany characters that wove in and out of stories. Some characters were recurring, others made a single appearance and were never heard  from again. In the first season, it's common to notice background characters eavesdropping on the conversation between George, Jerry, and Elaine. Often, this seems to be because Jerry or George is being so animated and loud, it is only realistic that those around them might get caught up into what they are saying. 

Something like this happens in "The Pilot." While Jerry is explaining why it is not possible to "over-dry" clothes, George looks around and realizes all of the laundromat customers are listening in. "Any questions?" he asks them. They all turn back to their own business, a little embarrassed.

In "The Stock Tip," George is having a conversation with Jerry at a dry cleaners. (These guys love having clean clothes.) He turns away for a moment. He turns back and mutters, "Boy, I have to get to a bathroom," before he realizes a woman has stepped between him and Jerry. They both stare awkwardly at each other for a few beats.

While the zany characters in the world of Seinfeld would often feed the constant dialogue about minutiae, in season one, it seems that such Seinfeld-ian conversation is marked by background characters as occasionally intriguing but always peculiar. In public, a person isn't supposed to go on a long rant about how its impossible to over-dry clothes, just as a person in public is supposed to be discrete about his bowel movements. (Maybe George had to pee, but that sure looked like intestinal discomfort to me.) Seinfeld hadn't yet become known as a show about nothing, but in season one it was already a show about nothing anyone else would ever talk about.

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