Thursday, September 6, 2012

SEINFELD - Season 6, Episode 18 - The Jimmy


 “The Jimmy”

Filmed: February 6-8, 1995
Aired: March 16, 1995
Nielsen rating: 21.4
Audience share: 33
Directed: Andy Ackerman
Writers: Gregg Kavet (He became a story editor in season 7, a supervising producer in season 8, and a co-executive producer in season 9. This was his first writing credit.) and Andy Robin


The title character, Jimmy, is the memorable, eccentric character who talks about himself in the third person, but most of the jokes in this episode come from Shakespeare's old comedic standby: mistaken impressions and mistaken identity.

George's boss, Wilhelm, notices him sweating at work, literally sweating, first because he's come from the gym and his post-basketball shower "didn't take," and second because he was enjoying some spicy kung pao chicken. Wilhelm is investigating an equipment theft, which he suspects was done by someone who works for the Yankees. George truthfully denies any knowledge about the incident, but his boss thinks his sweat indicates he's lying and he reports him to George Steinbrenner. Fortunately, George's adoption of Jimmy's third-person style confuses his fellow George, who lets him go.

On the way home from a dentist appointment, Kramer shares a cab with an older man. He happens to be Professor Deansfry of the Able Mentally Challenged Adults organization (AMCA). He mistakes Kramer's Novocained mouth as an indication of a mental impairment. He is so impressed with Kramer's independence that he invites Kramer to attend an upcoming AMCA benefit where Mel Torme is playing, and to be his special guest at the head table. Elaine, also attending the benefit, tells Kramer Professor Deansfry will figure out that he is not mentally challenged at the benefit, but Kramer has a run-in with Jimmy who blames Kramer for a basketball accident that ruined his training sneaker business. Kramer gets punched in the mouth and his apparent impairment returns in time for Mel Torme to dedicate his performance to him.

Kramer doesn't pretend to be impaired, but neither does he correct Professor Deansfry's misconception. Elaine's search for a companion for the AMCA benefit prompts Jerry and George to deny any suggestion that either might be gay:
JERRY: Nah. I can't watch a man sing a song.
ELAINE: What are you, crazy?
JERRY: They get all emotional. They sway. It's embarrassing.
ELAINE: Well, what am I gonna do for a date? Oh! Do you know that blond guy who's always at the Exercycle at the health club?
JERRY: I don't think so.
ELAINE: Yeah, yeah! He's really handsome with those...
JERRY: Elaine, I really don't pay much attention to men`s faces.
ELAINE: You can't find beauty in a man?
JERRY: No. I find them repugnant and unappealing.
[…]
ELAINE: Hey! Hey! Listen, do one of you guys know that…that blond guy who's always on the Exercycle at the health club. You know he's just really handsome?
GEORGE: I...I wouldn't know
ELAINE: You know that just admitting a man is handsome doesn't necessarily make you a homosexual.
GEORGE: It doesn't help.

Once again, George and Jerry reveal their underlying homophobia. George continues to fear he could become gay even by considering the physical beauty of another man. George and Jerry's comments are silly, and Elaine's reaction to them marks them as inherently ridiculous. At the same time, their latent homophobia is acceptable and understandable behavior within the two men's other-directed worldview. Only Kramer, who cares much less what others think about him, doesn't mind discussing the physical characteristics of men, although his tastes are exceedingly bizarre:
JERRY: Elaine and I were just discussing whether I could admit a man is attractive.
KRAMER: Hmm. Oh! Yeah. I'll tell you who is an attractive man: George Will.
JERRY: Really!
KRAMER: Yeah! He has clean looks, scrubbed and shampooed and...
ELAINE: He's smart....
KRAMER: No, no. I don't find him all that bright.

Elaine has a mistaken identity problem of her own. At the gym she runs into Jimmy and tries to ask him the name of the attractive blond man. His use of the third person confuses her into thinking the other guy's name is Jimmy, and she ends up inadvertently inviting the real Jimmy to the AMCA benefit. Later though when she tries to break off the date with Jimmy she learns the blond man is gay. She also finds Jimmy's way of speaking rather intriguing and decides to take him to the benefit after all. This mistaken identity worked out

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