Wednesday, June 6, 2012

SEINFELD - Season 5, Episode 8 - The Barber


“The Barber”

First Script Read: October 9, 1993
Filmed: Wednesday, October 13, 1993
Aired: 9:00pm, November 11, 1993
Nielsen rating: 19.3
Audience share: 29
Directed: Tom Cherones
Writer: Andy Robin

In the last episode, "The Non-Fat Yogurt," a proposal for all New Yorkers to wear name tags is dismissed as preposterous and futile in its intention of making New York City a friendlier place where everyone knows each other. In "The Barber," a more powerful force heals a rift between characters. Two barbers, Uncle Enzo and his nephew, Gino, fight over Jerry's hair as a husband might fight a man having an affair with his wife. Their fight is interrupted by their shared passion for the film Edward Scissorhands. The power of mass culture brings them together.

Jerry, needing a good haircut to participate in a charity bachelor auction that Elaine is running, tries to avoid Enzo, his usual barber, because he gives bad haircuts. He goes to the barbershop on Enzo's day off, only to run into Enzo who immediately offers to cut the hair of his favorite, most loyal customer. Jerry relents and his head is butchered. At Kramer's urging, Jerry sets up a discrete meeting at Gino's apartment so the nephew can repair the damage his uncle inflicted. Gino has only just begun to work on Jerry's hair when they are interrupted by Enzo. Uncle Enzo has finally gotten around to watching Edward Scissorhands. He once berated his nephew for raving about the film, arguing it made no sense for a man to have scissors for hands. But now he has finally seen the film, and he loved it. Johnny Depp's performance in the leading role moved him to tears, and so Enzo apologizes for ever bad mouthing Gino's favorite film.

While he is there he notices hair on the floor. He recognizes it and eventually, with Newman's help, tracks it back to Jerry's head. Furious at the betrayal, he confronts Gino in Jerry's apartment. "I'm going to kill the both of you!" he cries, but before he can lay hands on his nephew, he notices Edward Scissorhands on Jerry's television. He and Gino are suddenly captivated by the TV. Their fight is gone from their minds. Later, the episode will cut back to the apartment to find the two barbers sobbing next to each other on the sofa.

Popular culture has done its work. The two are able to bond over their shared experience of viewing the film. Though Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands is a wild fantasy, the two barbers find they can relate in a deeper way to the main character's special talents; Edward is really good with his scissor hands, as good as Enzo and Gino can only dream of being with their tools. It's not only that the two barbers escape reality through fantasy. Their emotions are genuine, and having shared an experience of being moved to the soul, how can they return to their petty dispute?
George's story is unrelated to the two barbers. He had a good job interview, but it was interrupted by a phone call. The interviewer, Mr. Tuttle, was cut off ambiguously mid sentence as he said, "I want you to have this job. Of course..." George boldly decides to assume he has the job and just show up for work on Monday. The plan initially works. Mr. Tuttle is away, and the other workers help him get settled in. However, George is out of his element. He has no idea what he is supposed to be doing, so he spends the week doing nothing more than transfer the Pensky file he has been assigned into an accordion-style folder. In a flashback he narrates to his friends, he is shown making a toast at a new co-worker's birthday party. A few other co-workers exchange glances, wondering why the new guy would be so comfortable to make a toast. George's plan to ensconce himself at the new job backfires because he doesn't embed himself in the community. He should have talked about popular culture with his co-workers! They might not have been Edward Scissorhands fans, but I'm sure he could find something in common with them to talk about around the water cooler. 

Tuttle returns and discovers George hasn't done any work all week. George saunters out, confident he can get a job with Pensky, who was impressed in his brief meeting with George. Unfortunately, Pensky was also cut-off mid-sentence in his first visit with George. His ambiguous, "You are aware..." was headed to "...our Board of Directors has been indicted, myself included, and we're prohibited from doing business until the investigation is completed. So obviously, we would have no use for you."

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