Wednesday, May 23, 2012

SEINFELD - Season 4, Episode 16 - The Shoes

“The Shoes”

First Script Read: Wednesday, January 6, 1993
Filmed: Tuesday, January 12, 1993
Aired: Thursday, 9:30 pm, February 4, 1993 (Follows Cheers for the first time)
Nielsen rating: 18
Audience share: 27
Directed: Tom Cherones
Writer: Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld

As Jerry and George finally begin to make progress with the script for their NBC pilot, they run into a new snag - they don't know how to write for a woman. This must at least on some level have been a nod to both the criticism and the reality of the real Seinfeld. Outside of a few episodes by Elaine Pope ("The Truth," "The Fix Up," and "The Cheever Letters") Seinfeld through season four had been created almost entirely by men. Even Elaine is, in many ways, one of the guys. She often talks like one of the guys. She participates in manly contests of self-denial. In this episode Jerry acknowledges how hard it is for a man to write for a female character:

JERRY: Okay. Elaine enters. ... What does she say?
GEORGE: I don't know. What do women say?
JERRY: I don't know.
GEORGE: I don't even know what they think. That's why I'm in therapy.

Later, Elaine gets angry at Jerry when she finds out she has not yet been written into the pilot:

JERRY: Well, we tried. We couldn't. We didn't know how to, uh...we couldn't write for a woman. We didn't know what you would say. Even right now, I'm sitting here, I know you're going to say something, I have no idea what it is.
ELAINE: You have no idea?
JERRY: Something derogatory?

Meanwhile, if you think Babu, after getting deported to Pakistan, is vengeful towards Jerry, you better not go out on three dates with Jerry and not kiss him goodnight! Kramer reports that he ran into Gail Cunningham, a woman who did just that to Jerry. Out of loyalty to his friend, Kramer snubbed her, walking right by as if he didn't know her. Jerry is delighted, patting Kramer happily on the back and thanking him for being a great friend. Jerry, Kramer, and George can understand each other, but when Jerry witnesses two women interact - Gail and Elaine - he is baffled.

Gail complements Elaine's shoes. (Typical women, always talking about shoes and clothes and flowers! That's good writing, Larry and Jerry!) When Elaine reports that she bought the shoes at the apparently upscale Botticelli's, Gail feigns amazement in a rather obnoxious way. Elaine is miffed, but Jerry can't grasp why:

ELAINE (IMITATING GAIL): "Oh, look at you! Botticelli's!"
JERRY: That bothered you?
ELAINE: Yes, it bothered me. So I bought a pair of shoes at Botticelli's! I'm not allowed to shop there? That really embarrassed me!
JERRY: It did?
ELAINE: Yes! Couldn't you see that?
JERRY: No. This is why you're not in the pilot.

Seinfeld says a lot about how men think about themselves, and how men think about women. But, for the reasons admitted in this episode, it struggles to reveal how women think.

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