Thursday, April 19, 2012

SEINFELD - Season 3, Episode 11 - The Alternate Side


“The Alternate Side”

First Script Read: Friday, November 1, 1991
Filmed: Tuesday, November 5, 1991
Aired: 9:00 pm, Wednesday, December 4, 1991 (new time slot, moved back from 9:30)
Nielsen rating: 12.4
Audience share: 19
Directed: Tom Cherones
Writer: Larry David and Bill Masters (also wrote season four’s “The Movie” and season six’s “The Chaperone.”)


"These pretzels are making me thirsty."

This line was quickly seized upon by Seinfeld fans; according to the DVD's "Notes about Nothing," audiences would shout the line at Jerry Seinfeld's stand-up performances. One of the first catchphrases in Seinfeld fan culture was a catchphrase within the show.

George finds it has a cathartic use:
GEORGE: These pretzels... are making me thirsty!!
JERRY PINCHES HIS NOSE
GEORGE: That was no good?
KRAMER: I didn't say anything.
ELAINE: I'm gonna go break up with Owen.
GEORGE: What was wrong with that? I had a different interpretation! Do you know anything about this pretzel guy?! Maybe he's been in the bar a really long time and he's really depressed because he has no job and no woman and he's parking cars for a living! [OUT THE WINDOW] Alright! Alright!  Shut up! Shut up! I hear you! I'm coming down! These pretzels are making me thirsty!

Jerry uses it to punctuate an argument he has with a rental car agent when he learns his insurance won't cover an accident because George was driving the rental car:
JERRY: Your whole business is based on other drivers. It's a rented car.  That's who's driving it: other drivers. Doesn't my credit card cover me or something?
AGENT: Not that particular one.
JERRY: Well I got a hundred cards. Here, pick a card. Take a card, any card you want. Go ahead, whichever one. I don't care.
AGENT: Sir, if you had read the rental agreement...
JERRY: Did you see the size of that document? It's like the Declaration of Independence. Who's gonna read that?
AGENT: Mr. Seinfeld, as it stands right now, you are not covered for that damage and there is absolutely nothing that can be done about that.
 JERRY: These pretzels are making me thirsty!

Elaine uses it to fill an awkward pause after she breaks up with Owen, the 66-year-old writer/stroke victim:
ELAINE: Owen, I think we have to talk. I mean, uh, "I" have to talk. It would be nice if "we" could, but, uh, whatever. Um, don't get me wrong, I like coming here, and uh, feeding you and cleaning a little, and paying your bills, that's good stuff.  Good stuff! I have a wonderful time when I'm with you, wonderful! But at this point in my life, I'm not really sure that I'm ready to make a commitment to one person. I'm just not really sure that we have enough in common. I mean, for example, I like running in the park, bicycling, roller skating, tennis and skiing, and um, well, I'm gonna be brutally honest with you now, Owen, it's a bitch to get here.  It's two subways. I have to transfer at Forty-second Street to take the double-R. Anyway, I mean, this doesn't mean we can't be friends. These pretzels are making me thirsty.

Ironically, "these pretzels are making me thirsty" is a movie quote within a television show. It's Kramer's line in the Woody Allen film being shot on Jerry's street. The characters are demonstrating a certain behavior that fans of the show would quickly adapt. "These pretzels are making me thirsty" means nothing, so it can mean anything, at anytime, anywhere. This is postmodern humor, and that's why this episode feels fresher than other episodes in season three. 

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