Thursday, April 26, 2012

SEINFELD - Season 3, Episode 21 - The Letter


“The Letter”

First Script Read: Wed, February 26, 1992
Filmed: Tue, March 4, 1992
Aired: 9:00 pm, Wednesday, March 25, 1992
Nielsen rating: 15
Audience share: 24
Directed: Tom Cherones
Writer: Larry David

If there is a common theme in this episode it is "self-representation." Nina (Hey! That's Catherine Keener!) misrepresents her feelings for Jerry by using lines from Neil Simons' Chapter Two. It works, at least for a while. Jerry gets back together with Nina until he discovers she stole the lines.

Elaine represents herself truthfully at a Yankee game, wearing a Baltimore Orioles hat. The tickets were a gift from Nina via her father, who works for the Yankees. He comes down to visit them in the second row, eventually asking Elaine to take her Orioles hat off. Elaine refuses angrily, and eventually they are asked to leave. Worse, their picture is taken and published the Sunday New York Times. Elaine has skipped her boss's son's bris for the game, and is worried the photo will reveal her misrepresentation; she claimed her father was sick. She does manage to get away with the lie though, until her boss invites her to another Yankee game in the exact same seats, and encourages her to wear her Orioles hat. Jerry and George watch that game as the announcers describe her getting thrown out of the game for the second time.

Finally, Kramer is represented in a painting, leading to the memorable description of his character by the Armstrongs, would-be purchasers of the painting:

MRS.ARMSTRONG: I sense great vulnerability. A man-child crying out for love. An innocent orphan in the post-modern world.
MR. ARMSTRONG: I see a parasite. A sexually-depraved miscreant who is seeking to gratify only his most basest and most immediate urges.
[...]
MRS.ARMSTRONG: His struggle is man's struggle. He lifts my spirit!
MR. ARMSTRONG: He is a loathsome, offensive brute, yet I can't look away.
[...]
MRS.ARMSTRONG: He transcends time and space.
MR. ARMSTRONG: He sickens me.
MRS.ARMSTRONG: I love it.
MR. ARMSTRONG: Me too.

That is not an unfair representation of Kramer, and it leads to an invitation to dinner at the Armstrongs. There Kramer dutifully entrances them with stories about his own life. They are enthralled.

Kramer is one character willing to honestly represent himself to the world all the time. Often this leads him into awkward situations, but frequently it pays off for him.

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