First Script Read: February 18, 1994
Filmed: Tuesday, March 1, 1994
Aired: 9:00pm, March 17, 1994
Nielsen rating: 20.9
Audience share: 33
Directed: Tom Cherones
Writer: Peter Mehlman
Jerry pretends to be married to Meryl (played by Courtney Cox weeks before landing a role on Friends) so she can take advantage of his dry cleaning discount. This gives Seinfeld a chance to poke fun at marriage. At first, the pretend marriage goes well:
JERRY: And I'll tell you, I'm really enjoying this marriage thing. You think about each other. You care about each other. It's wonderful! Plus I love saying "my wife." Once I started saying it, I couldn't stop. "My wife" this, "My wife" that. It's an amazing way to begin a sentence.
KRAMER: "My wife has an inner ear infection."
The shine on the pretend marriage quickly starts to wear. Soon, Meryl is on the couch gorging on chocolates and the two start bickering over small things, like the location of a missing can opener. When Jerry runs into a beautiful woman, Paula, who can't afford her dry cleaning bill, he pushes her to allow him to use his discount on her clothes. She is persuaded and the two begin an affair. Meryl finds out about it when she collects Paula's clothes from the dry cleaners. Meryl confronts Jerry, who asks for a divorce.
JERRY: I'll tell you what happened. We got married.
MERYL: I'm sorry, this is my fault. I pushed it on you.
JERRY: No. I guess I just wasn't ready for the responsibilities of a pretend marriage.
Typical for Seinfeld, marriage is portrayed as a mistake. In this episode it's much worse than, say, cheating a dry cleaner or cheating on your girlfriend.