Saturday, June 2, 2012

SEINFELD - Season 5, Episode 2 - The Puffy Shirt

“The Puffy Shirt”

First Script Read: August 25, 1993
Filmed: August 31, 1993 (Last episode filmed on stage 19 at CBS Studio City. Moved to stage 9 for the rest of its run)
Aired: 9:00pm, September 23, 1993
Nielsen rating: 19.3
Audience share: 30
Directed: Tom Cherones
Writer: Larry David

This is a wacky episode, but its fame shows that wackiness played well in this era. (The Simpsons had also hit its stride by now, bringing wackiness to a new level.) The original puffy shirt was donated to the Smithsonian, prompting Jerry Seinfeld to muse, "This might be the first joke that is inducted into the museum."

Jerry, who can't hear Kramer's low-talking girlfriend, accidentally agrees to her request that he wear a  puffy shirt on The Today Show. The woman's attempt to launch her pirate shirt design backfires when Jerry remarks on the show, "It’s a puffy shirt. I feel ridiculous in it, and I think it’s the stupidest shirt I’ve ever seen to be perfectly honest with you." George, meanwhile, has to move back in with his parents. Out of nowhere, he finds brief success as a hand model. The experts declare his hands to be the most beautiful in hand modeling until he burns them on a hot iron.

At the beginning of the episode, we see the limits of Jerry and George's relationship. Kramer enters Jerry's apartment to find George moaning about moving in with his parents. Kramer horrifies Jerry by suggesting he let George move in:

JERRY: What's that?
KRAMER: Why doesn't he just move in here?
GEORGE: Yeah, yeah. I'm gonna move in with him. He doesn't even let you use the toilet!
KRAMER: You can move in with me, if you want.
GEORGE: Thank you. I, uh, that might not work out.

In that brief exchange, it's clear Jerry would never let George live with him. And if he can't tolerate his oldest friend, it's equally apparent Jerry would never dream of having a roommate. Jerry likes to have control of his own space. He doesn't mind his friends stopping by frequently, and he grumbles about Kramer's mooching but has given up trying to prevent it. But Jerry basks in his bachelorhood. George, as much as his parents drive him crazy, would still rather live with them than with Jerry or Kramer. He does not press the issue with Jerry, perhaps sensing that living with his friend might threaten their friendship. Kramer is just too weird for George. It is characteristically noble of Kramer to offer his apartment to George. He is a mooch, but he also frequently demonstrates that he is willing to share what he has with his friends. If the glove was on the other hand, and George's hand modeling career had taken off, I doubt he would invite Kramer to live with him.

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