Monday, August 6, 2012

SEINFELD - Season 6, Episode 8 - The Mom and Pop Store

"The Mom and Pop Store"

Filmed: October 10 & 12, 1994
Aired: November 17, 1994
Nielsen rating: 21.3
Audience share: 31
Directed: Andy Ackerman
Writers: Tom Gammill and Max Pross

Kramer's anti-corporatism crops up in this episode as he fights to save a local shoe repair business:
KRAMER: Jerry, you know that shoe repair place at the end of the block? Well, if they don't get some business, they're gonna have to shut down and make way for one of those gourmet coffee or cookie stores.
ELAINE: I like coffee.
GEORGE: I like cookies.
KRAMER: Yeah, of course you do. And do you know why? Because you're a bunch of yuppies. It's your go-go corporate takeover lifestyles that are driving out these Mom and Pop stores and destroying the fabric of this neighborhood.
GEORGE: Well, what's so great about a Mom and Pop store? Let me tell you something. If my Mom and Pop ran a store, I wouldn't shop there.
KRAMER: Hey, Bogambo! They've been in the neighborhood for 48 years. Now, come on, Jerry. You've got to have a pair of shoes in need of a cobbling.

Kramer, of course, is accurate in his description of his friends as "yuppies." George Costanza may have been popular culture's only chronically unemployed yuppie. If not for Kramer, none of them would have given a second thought about Mom and Pop's shoe repair store going out of business. Jerry's efforts back in season three to save Babu's café are motivated purely by narcissism, not out of a desire to save the fabric of the neighborhood.

I respect Kramer's efforts, but in the context of the show his rant is not presented as a gallant battlecry against creeping urban corporatism but rather as Kramer being silly and random. The show's underlying ideology cares little more for Mom and Pop store's than Elaine or George. Though Kramer convinces Jerry to send his shoes in for repairs, it's Elaine and George's stance that rings truest. In an age when shoes are mass produced, why would Jerry ever need to send all his sneakers in to be cobbled? Indeed, allowing Kramer to take his sneakers leaves Jerry in cowboy boots, chasing Mom and Pop upstate after their store abruptly closes. Wouldn't you rather have all your sneakers plus a gourmet coffee and cookie?

Meanwhile, another local businessman scams George. A car salesman gets George to buy a LaBaron when he tells him it belonged to Jon Voight. And a celebration of mass corporatism brings everyone together in the end when the gang gathers at Tim Whatley's apartment to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, where Mr. Pitt fulfills his lifelong dream to hold a rope under the Woody Woodpecker balloon.

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