“The Red Dot”
First Script Read: Wednesday, November 13, 1991
Filmed: Monday, November 18, 1991
Aired: December 11, 1991
Nielsen rating: 12.2
Audience share: 19
Directed: Tom Cherones
Writer: Larry David
The Seinfeld characters occupy such a particular socioeconomic bubble that when class does appear in the series, it is blatant. The moment George re-enters the white color workforce he has sex with the cleaning lady: not "Evie," as she is called in the script, but "the cleaning lady." Amusingly, all of the characters call her "the cleaning lady" throughout the episode. Even George, who gives her alcohol and then has sex with her on his desk. Even Mr. Lippman (Richard Fancy's first appearance as the character, though it is the character's second appearance), to whom the cleaning lady confesses their deed. He confronts and fires George, leading to what Jason Alexander says is his favorite George line:
GEORGE: Was that wrong? Should I not have done that? I tell you, I gotta plead ignorance on this thing...
But of course George is lying. He is worried the cleaning lady is going to kiss and tell from the moment of their encounter on. "...it is very important that you never breathe a word of this to anyone about the... you know," he tells the cleaning lady, "what, with Clarence Thomas and everything." (The Senate confirmed Thomas for the Supreme Court in October, a month before this episode was filmed, despite sexual harassment allegations from his former employee, Anita Hill.)
Larry David does build a bit of back-story into the cleaning lady's character, but it is so stereotypical, twisted only by her absurd love of cashmere over money:
THE CLEANING LADY: When I was a little girl in Panama, a rich American came to our town and he was wearing the softest most beautiful sweater. I said to him, "What do you call this most beautiful fabric?" And he said, "They call it cashmere." I repeated the word, "Cashmere! Cashmere!" and I asked him if I could have it. And he said, "No. Get away from me." Then he started walk away. But I grabbed onto his leg, screaming for him to give me the sweater. And he dragged me through the street. And then he kicked at me with the other foot, and he threw some change at me. Oh, but I didn't want the change Georgie. I wanted the cashmere!
The working class is unable to afford the luxuries of the middle class. Even when George gives her the sweater as a gift, it has a red dot on it. It is a re-gift, taken back from Elaine when she noticed the dot and discovered George had purchased the sweater at a discount, knowing there was a red dot on it.
George is "very careful with money," as Elaine delicately put it in "The Truth." But at least he has a name. He is momentarily unemployed, but he'll slip back into white collar employment soon. Anyway, the worst part about being unemployed is the social embarrassment and occasional ribbing from his friends. Desperate poverty is a long way off.