Wednesday, August 1, 2012

SEINFELD - Season 6, Episode 6 - The Gymnast

“The Gymnast”

First Script Read: September 28, 1994
Filmed: Tuesday, October 4, 1994
Aired: November 3, 1994
Nielsen rating: 20.5
Audience share: 31
Directed: Andy Ackerman
Writer: Alec Berg and Jeff Schaffer


This episode climaxes with two huge laughs. The first is when George emerges from the bathroom into his girlfriend's mother's party without a shirt on. He had already been caught by his girlfriend's mother doing various bum-like activities, including eating an éclair out of the garbage and cleaning a car windshield with a newspaper after accidentally spilling coffee on it. Distracted by a 3D image poster in the bathroom, George forgot to put his shirt back on. He takes it off when he "goes to the office," as he put it when Jerry discovered his friend's habit early in the episode. When he spots the mother's horror, George realizes he is wearing no shirt and tries to act casual. It doesn't seem to work.

The audience never gets a chance to see Mr. Pitt's reaction when he discovers his own embarrassing appearance. Instead the final hysterical image of the still unaware character freezes as the credits roll. Mr. Pitt has ink on his jacket and under his nose, making it look like he has an Adolph Hitler mustache. The ink is from Elaine's leaky pen, as she failed to heed Mr. Pitt's insistence that no pens be used in his office because just such a mess could occur. Mr. Pitt is also wearing horse riding clothes. He hasn't gone riding, though, because he has been distracted all episode by a 3D poster Kramer (suffering from a kidney stone) left behind in Mr. Pitt's office. Mr. Pitt doesn't realize he looks exactly like Hitler, especially as he passionately lectures a board of directors, demonstrating with his hand how high he expects the stocks to rise.

The title story, Jerry's, is much less satisfying. It starts with a funny premise; Jerry is attracted to a Romanian gymnast because he fantasizes that her physical abilities will make for better sex. Jerry, with Kramer's encouragement, talks himself into this theory. Then Elaine makes fun of Jerry when the sex is disappointing:
ELAINE: Well, what did you think she was gonna do?
JERRY: Well, you know.... I mean, I don't know...
ELAINE: No, what?
JERRY: Well, obviously I prefer not to mention any, you know...
ELAINE: What did you think, she was going to take some of that chalk and...
JERRY: You see, now I really don't want to get into this... any kind of specifics...
ELAINE: Oh, come on. One thing? One thing! What?
JERRY: Well, frankly, I thought, you know, I was gonna kinda be like the apparatus.
KRAMER: You mean like the uneven parallel bars?
JERRY: See, again, I really don't feel that...
ELAINE: The balance beam?
JERRY: Could we stop?
ELAINE: Ah! Not the pommel horse!
JERRY: All right. Let's just drop it.
But the gymnast story doesn't have anywhere to go after that. Instead, Katya, the gymnast, breaks up with Jerry because the sex wasn't as good as she expected from a comedian. She goes into a long monologue about how comedians are spoken of so highly in her country because of their sexual prowess. It doesn't make a lot of sense.

Oh, and Kramer passes his kidney stone at the circus, screaming so loudly at the pain that Katya's friend, Misha, falls off his high wire. I'd give the episode a 2 out of 4 in terms of pulling off hilarious conclusions. Interestingly, while the storylines certainly interweave throughout, none of the four stories come together at the end. Structurally, then, it lacks the tightness of classic episodes though it makes up for its less-than-perfect conclusion with several memorable scenes.

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