Monday, September 10, 2012

SEINFELD - Season 6, Episode 21 - The Diplomat's Club

“The Diplomats Club”

First Script Read:  March 5, 1995
Filmed: March 6-8, 1995
Aired: May 4, 1995
Nielsen rating: 20
Audience share: 31
Directed: Andy Ackerman
Writers: Tom Gammill and Max Pross

The characters of Seinfeld can be cruel, but in this episode, and not for the first time, they can also get into trouble even when they are totally innocent.

Elaine has finally had enough of the way Mr. Pitt has controlled and badgered her throughout the season. She vows to quit, but before she can she learns that Mr. Pitt has arranged to write her into his will. Rather than heartlessly count down the days until she can claim this unexpected inheritance, Elaine is so moved that she sets out to take good care of Mr. Pitt. Unfortunately, Mr. Pitt's lawyer completely misreads Elaine's actions and begins to suspect that Elaine is trying to kill her boss. Jerry runs into Mr. Pitt at a drug store. He's about to hop on a flight to do a show in Ithaca, NY before hurrying home for a romantic rendezvous at the LaGuardia diplomat's club so he is dressed for the show. Mr. Pitt mistakes him for a drug store employee and, as Elaine made him promise to do, asks Jerry to confirm the safety of his cold medicine purchase with his heart medication. Jerry is only trying to be helpful, but his advice is bad. Mr. Pitt becomes quite ill and the lawyer's suspicions of Elaine deepen. When Mr. Pitt discovers that the man who gave him bad drug advice is Elaine's friend, he fires her on the spot and removes her from his will. Elaine flashes back on their times together as she leaves in tears.

Kramer, killing time all day at the diplomat's club while he waits for Jerry to return, starts gambling on flight arrivals with a rich Texan (not unlike The Rich Texan from The Simpsons, where episode writers Tom Gammill and Max Pross would eventually end up). Kramer wins a double-or-nothing bet when the Texan bets on Jerry's flight from Ithaca. The flight is delayed when the pilot kicks Jerry off the plane because Jerry's agent yelled at him for being in the audience for the stand-up's show. When the Texan hears this and learns that Jerry is friends with Kramer, he tears up his check and storms out.

George, meanwhile, is trying to get on good terms with his boss, Mr. Morgan. Trying to be complimentary, he tells Morgan that he looks like Sugar Ray Leonard. Morgan takes offense to this and accuses George of being racist. Horrified, George begins an episode-long quest to find a black friend in order to prove to Morgan that he is not prejudiced against black people. As Pross and Gammill admit in the DVD "Inside Look" for this episode, this gave them a thinly veiled excuse to go back and show some of the black characters who had appeared on the show over the course of the season, thus answering critics would had recently taken the show to task for not having any African-Americans. George's search for a black friend subtly mirrors Seinfeld's own defensiveness about its depictions of minorities. Eventually, George calls Carl, the exterminator who fumigated Jerry's apartment in "The Doodle," into the Yankee offices. Finding Morgan has left for the day, George takes Carl out to eat in order to bump into Morgan. Morgan eventually sees through George's ploy and storms out of the restaurant. Moments later, George's black waiter tells him the bill is on the house for "Sugar Ray Leonard."

I love the George-Morgan storyline. It manages to simultaneously defend the show against its critics while still remaining hilarious. Seinfeld isn't racist any more than George and his friends are, and they interact with just as many black characters, representing a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds, as they would be expected to if they were real people.

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