Saturday, April 14, 2012

SEINFELD - Season 3, Episode 6 - The Parking Garage

“The Parking Garage”

First Script Read:  Thursday September 19, 1991
Filmed: September 24-27, 1991
Aired: October 30, 1991 (Two days before, NBC announced it was ordering 9 more episodes for the third season, bringing it to a full 22)
Nielsen rating: 12.1
Audience share: 19
Directed: Tom Cherones
Writer: Larry David
Awards: Nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Writing

There is nothing like spending several hours in a parking garage to explore the depths of the human condition. As Elaine begs various people to drive the friends around the parking garage so they can look for their missing car, she ends up encountering an interesting cross section of America:
  • Polite, middle class, middle-aged white couple
  • Two younger white women around twenty, both in leather coats, who laugh at Elaine
  • White man in a scruffy beard and hair, hat pulled low, and thick-framed glasses who completely ignores Elaine. (He's played by Seinfeld writer, Larry Charles.)
  • 40-ish black man in a colorful baseball hat
  • Two huge white bodybuilders who offer token politeness
The black guy's response is the best, and ultimately the most honest:
ELAINE: And now he's gone. I'm sure he's looking for the car. Five minutes, that's all. I just want to find him.
BLACK MAN: I can't do it.
ELAINE: But why? Why can't you do it?
BLACK MAN: I can't.
ELAINE: No, see that's not a reason you can't. You just don't want to.
BLACK MAN: That's right.
ELAINE: But why? Why don't you want to?
BLACK MAN: I don't know.
ELAINE: But wouldn't you get any satisfaction out of helping someone out?
BLACK MAN: No, I wouldn't. 

The delivery is stoic and very funny. He looks Elaine in the eyes as he delivers his last couple lines, and then punctuates his last comment by slamming his car door in her face.

The man wouldn't get any satisfaction out of helping them. Apparently, no one would. No one is interested in driving four strangers around a parking garage. The mall parking garage is a selfish, self-absorbed world where everyone just wants to quietly get to their car and make their way back to their suburban homes without interacting with the people around them, much less offering assistance where it is needed.

The gang encounter other people acting thoughtlessly. Early on Elaine is nearly clipped by a jeep speeding around her. Later, Jerry and George encounter a Mercedes convertible parked across two spaces. Jerry eggs George on to spit on the hood, but just as he is about to the driver returns. George masks his intentions by asking the man about the car's mileage, but the guy just peels away.

Only an attractive woman is willing to drive them around. George approaches her and she immediately sympathizes with their plight and cheerfully agrees to drive them around. She quickly changes her mind when George says something offensive about L. Ron Hubbard. She throws them out of her car because apparently, she is a Scientologist.

A few hours later the parking garage is much more empty when the gang are finally reunited at the car. Elaine's goldfish are dead. George has missed his parents' anniversary celebration. Jerry and George have been ticketed for public urination. And almost no one has offered them any assistance. Of course, would any of them have agreed to drive around someone lost in the parking garage? I think not.

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