Thursday, August 9, 2012

SEINFELD - Season 6, Episode 13 - The Scofflaw

“The Scofflaw”

Filmed: December 13-14, 1994
Aired: January 26, 1995
Nielsen rating: 22.1
Audience share: 33
Directed: Andy Ackerman
Writer: Peter Mehlman

Jon Lovitz guest-stars as Gary Fogel, a friend of Jerry and George's who confesses that he has been living a lie. He had told everyone that he had cancer when in fact he had not. From Jerry's perspective, Gary is living a different sort of lie; he wears a toupee which he purchased using a gift certificate Jerry gave him when he thought Gary had to go through chemotherapy. George is also disgusted with Gary because a woman he is interested in admits she likes Gary because he was so brave in the face of cancer. 

Still, George is intrigued by Gary's toupee. He goes to Gary's wig store and is fitted for his own. The toupee gives George more confidence than he has displayed since the day he decided to do the opposite of every instinct ("The Opposite"). At the end of this episode he connects with a beautiful woman in the coffee shop, though by the end of the next episode Elaine will toss the wig out the window, disgusted that the wigged George refuses to date a bald woman.

Newman is also hiding something in this episode. Kramer meets an traffic cop with an eye patch who is chasing his own "White Whale," a parking offender with a long list of unpaid fines. Kramer eventually realizes the White Whale is Newman and encourages his friend to turn himself in.

The most bizarre secret of all is Elaine's ex-boyfriend Jake Jarmel's refusal to reveal where he got the frames for his eye glasses. Kramer is interested in them because, as he explains, "I need a new look. I'm stagnating." He has no luck asking Jake:
KRAMER: Listen Jake, uh, where did you get those eyeglass frames?
JAKE: I can't tell you that.
KRAMER: So you don't know where you got 'em?
JAKE: Yes I do. But I don't want anyone else to have them.
KRAMER: Well, that's peculiar.

Eventually Kramer decides to mimic the cop's the eye patch. "I wanna be a pirate," he tells Jerry, the latest of several call backs to "The Puffy Shirt." But Elaine, seeking revenge on Jake, spots a man wearing the frames on the street and buys them off of him. She gloats in front of Jake and then gives them to his would-be publisher, Mr. Lippman, who is offering Elaine a job at the publishing company he is starting. Unfortunately, when Jake spots Lippman's new frames they get into a fight, apparently squelching Elaine's job opportunity.

You cannot hide secrets and lies for long in Seinfeld. Actually, the liar getting his/her comeuppance has always been a typical plot in sitcoms. On the other hand, many television dramas are built on the tension of the audience knowing a secret held by a main character over many seasons. Look at Walter White in Breaking Bad and Don Draper in Mad Men. In either case, however, there is almost always some price to pay for lying. In television and in film, the audience expects a certain moral code to be upheld in the end. Gary, George, Newman, and Jake cannot hide their secrets for very long.

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