Wednesday, August 8, 2012

SEINFELD - Season 6, Episode 10 - The Race

“The Race”

First Script Read: Friday, November 2, 1994
Filmed: Tuesday, November 6, 1994
Aired: December 15, 1994
Nielsen rating: 18.1
Audience share: 21
Directed: Andy Ackerman
Writers: Teleplay and story- Tom Gammill, Max Pross and Larry David. Story credit only- Sam Henry Kass (An executive consultant from 1994-95, Kass also wrote “The Switch” in this season.)

Jerry Seinfeld gets to indulge his love of Superman, facing off in a footrace against an old high school nemesis for the aid and love of his girlfriend, Lois. Seinfeld is clearly enjoying himself as he makes comic book-like speeches about how his nemesis, Duncan Meyer, is back and reassures Lois that he'll "think of something" to foil Duncan's schemes. The climactic race is fun, but the most hilarious scene is when George comes to the restaurant and pretends not to know Jerry:
GEORGE: So what have you been doing with yourself?
JERRY: I'm a comedian.
GEORGE: Aha, well, I really wouldn't know about that. I don't watch much TV. I like to read. So what do you do, a lot of that "did you ever notice this?" kind of stuff?
JERRY: Yeah, yeah.
GEORGE: It strikes me a lot of guys are doing that kind of humor now.
JERRY: Yeah, yeah. Well, you really went bald there, didn't you?
GEORGE: Yeah, yeah.
JERRY: You really used to have a think full head of hair.
GEORGE: Yeah, yeah. Well, I guess I started losing it when I was about twenty-eight, right around the time I made my first million. You know what they say. The first million is the hardest one.
JERRY: yeah, yeah.
LOIS: What do you do? 
GEORGE: I'm an architect.
The scene goes on with further hilarious lying. George gets so wrapped up in the charade that he almost forgets his entire purpose, which is to back up Jerry's account of his high school race with Duncan.

Ironically, Jerry's stint as a wannabe Superman doesn't overlap with the communist Elaine is dating. Half a decade after the Cold War ended, communism remains a potentially dangerous, unwanted ideology though only to an extent. Elaine isn't afraid of her boyfriend's ideas about the world, just irked that he won't let her buy him a nicer shirt. It's Kramer who falls under the influence of communist ideas as he and Mickey work long hours as Santa and elf, respectively. Kramer lets some of his new thinking slip to a child sitting on his lap. The kid starts screaming, "THIS GUY'S A COMMIE!" and Kramer and Mickey are fired. Afterwards, Mikey wonders what Kramer was thinking:
MICKEY: I knew that Commie stuff was going to get us in trouble.
KRAMER: Yeah, well I didn't realize that was such a sensitive issue.
MICKEY: Communism. You didn't realize Communism was a sensitive issue? What do you think has been going on in the world for the past 60 years? Wake up and smell the coffee. 

The threat of communism remained fresh in the mind of Kramer's ex-employer, but the entire episode is soaked in an irony that could only exist in post-Cold War America. Communism, the ideology, can never be erased. The Soviet threat is gone, but communists remain, a quirky reminder of a recent age. George offers some criteria for how to spot them:
GEORGE: Your boyfriend reads the Daily Worker? What is he? A communist?
ELAINE: He reads everything, you know. Ned's very well read.
GEORGE: Maybe he's just "very well RED"?
ELAINE: Communist? Don't you think he probably would have told me?
GEORGE: Well, does he wear bland, drab, olive colored clothing?
ELAINE: Yes, yes he does dress a little drab.
GEORGE: Huh, he's a communist. Look at this. "Exciting uninhibited woman seeks forward thinking comrade and appearance not important." Appearance Not Important! This is unbelievable! Finally, an ideology I can embrace!

George does try responding to a Daily Worker personal ad, but this just gets him into trouble at work. Fortunately, Steinbrenner recognizes an opportunity to use his communist employee to reach out to Castro in the hopes of signing Cuban baseball players, and George gets a trip to Cuba. So American interactions with communism seem to be headed in the right direction in the post-Cold War world.

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