“The Dinner Party”
First Script Read: Wednesday January 5, 1994
Filmed: January 10-11, 1994
Aired: 9:00pm, February 3, 1994
Nielsen rating: 21.6
Audience share: 31
Directed: Tom Cherones
Writer: Larry David
Ostensibly this episode is about the errands guests feel obligated to run to avoid the faux pas of showing up at a dinner party without anything to contribute. However, this social observation is covered by George's whining in the opening scene, and the episode really is about how difficult it is to get a bottle of wine and a fresh bobka in New York City.
Kramer drops off Jerry and Elaine at the bakery, while he and George continue to the liquor store. Jerry and Elaine drop to the back of the line when they forget to take a number. George and Kramer are delayed first because the liquor store attendant won't accept a $100 bill, and later when Kramer is double-parked in. Jerry gets sick when he eats a black-and-white cookie after lecturing Elaine on the symbolism of the dessert. And they have to ask for a new cinnamon bobka when they find a hair on the first one. Ultimately, their evening is so miserable that they go to the party just to hand off the wine and bobka. They don't even walk through the door. The quartet just turns around and goes home.
There is some good Larry David dialogue in this episode, like George's argument that Pepsi is better than wine and Jerry telling Elaine its effeminate for a man to show up at a party holding a cake box by the tiny criss-crossed strings. He also had the hilarious idea to put George in a big, puffy winter jacket that George likes to brag about being made of Gore-Tex. The episode also turns into a semi-bottle episode, with the characters trapped in their respective locations, dealing with the minutiae of their experiences in their particular settings. It says a lot about Larry David's genius that, in an episode called "The Dinner Party," he finds more than enough comedy to fill a half-hour before the gang even reaches the dinner party.