Sunday, June 3, 2012

SEINFELD - Season 5, Episode 5 - The Bris


“The Bris”

First Script Read: September 16, 1993
Filmed: Tuesday-Wednesday, September 21-22, 1993
Aired: 9:00pm, October 14, 1993
Nielsen rating: 19.3
Audience share: 30
Directed: Tom Cherones
Writer: Larry Charles


The frenetic, hyper, jittery mohel who circumcises Jerry's finger suffers from Buckles Syndrome. I don't exactly get his character. What's his schtick? He's all over the place. Is he nervous? Is he over-excited? Is he shaky? Is he unhappy in his work? Is he just a dick? It's not clear. Elaine, charged with finding the mohel, offers no explanation on his background other than "he came highly recommended." Along with Kramer's passionate anti-religious/anti-tradition attempt to shield the baby from being circumcised, the mohel makes a mess of the Bris. Even if Jerry did flinch, you can hardly blame him. The mohel didn't do anything to calm him down. Comedy-wise, he dominates the scene, but since the character doesn't quite click, the scene falls flat.

Meanwhile, Kramer believes the hospital is doing secret medical research that has resulted in the creation of a pigman. At the end of the episode he locates the pig man in the hospital and helps him escape, only to discover it wasn't a half-pig, half-man, just a mental patient who looks like a pig.

George gets a great parking spot that he brags about throughout the first scene. Then a patient jumps off the roof and lands on his car. He asks the hospital for compensation, but is thrown out for seeking to profit off of a man's death. The hospital administrator is a little harsh, and George's attempts to get money for repairs are more understandable than the episode allows. He's unemployed, and his car roof just got crushed. That's hard luck. The scene with the hospital administrator intends to be funny in a "Oh George, you rascal!" kind of way, but it's easy to sympathize with poor George in this case.

This might be Larry Charles' jump-the-shark episode, except in the two episodes he wrote after this before leaving the show at the end of the season his stories fell back on the path Seinfeld was traveling. Still, they contained a dash of violence and mayhem, typical of his scripts. Charles had been pushing the darker side of Seinfeld, and his early influence helped feed the natural chaos of the show, but ultimately Seinfeld had become more a show about sex and relationships, as well as the banal and the everyday. Suicides and pig men and bloody brises didn't have a place in the mature version of Seinfeld.

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