Monday, September 17, 2012

SEINFELD - Season 7, Episode 4 - The Wink

"The Wink"

First Script Read: Wednesday, September 6, 1995
Filmed: Tuesday, September 12, 1995 (Paul O’Neil scene shot in August when Yankees were visiting Angels)
Aired: October 12, 1995
Nielsen rating: 22.3
Audience share: 34
Directed: Andy Ackerman
Writers: Tom Gammill and Max Pross

In the opening scene, Elaine is awoken by her wake-up call service. The man making the call begins flirting with her and they end up planning a date. In the next scene she, Jerry, and George discuss whether its better to have a deaf date (not speaking to the person ahead of time) or a blind date (not seeing the person ahead of time). A few scenes later, Jerry and Elaine are still talking about her upcoming blind date when Jerry, in a classic exchange, once again lays bare his superficial nature:

JERRY: Elaine, what percentage of people would you say are good looking?
ELAINE: 25 percent.
JERRY: 25 percent, you say? No way! It's like four to six percent. It's a 20 to one shot.
ELAINE: You're way off.
JERRY: Way off? Have you been to the Motor Vehicle Bureau? It's like a leper colony down there.
ELAINE: So what you are saying is that 90 to 95 percent of the population is undateable?
ELAINE: Then how are all these people getting together?
JERRY: Alcohol.

Inherently, Jerry and Elaine agree that physical attractiveness is a make or break element for a relationship. A physically unattractive person is undateable. Their conversation also assumes a criteria for physical attractiveness that all people share, otherwise they wouldn't be having an argument about it. Their conversation would be:
ELAINE: 25 percent of the people I encounter I consider good looking.
JERRY: That's interesting. Four to six percent of the people I encounter I consider good looking. What a remarkable world this is that two intelligent people can have two distinctly different opinions about what makes another person good looking!
But that's not how they see the world. 

Meanwhile, the world sees them talking. It sees the actresses who play Jerry's girlfriends. It sees other male characters in television and film, before and after Jerry, discussing the physical appearance of females in the same fashion. It sees all of the female actresses and celebrities who are propped up as physically attractive. And so the perspective on both the criteria and importance of physical appearance held by the millions of viewers of Seinfeld is molded and confirmed. "Looking for inner beauty" becomes a noble task as well as a nearly empty cliche.

Jerry himself might be feeling the pressure of meeting the characteristics required to fit into the "good looking" category. He is eating very healthy in this episode, beginning with a veggie sandwich and a grapefruit. A bit of pulp from the grapefruit squirts into George's eye, creating an unintentional wink that gets him and his boss, Mr. Morgan, into all sorts of trouble by the end of the episode. Their boss, Mr. Wilhelm, thinks George is covering for Morgan's laziness. Kramer also misreads George's wink as a sign George wants him to sell a birthday card for George Steinbrenner signed by the entire Yankee organization to a memorabilia dealer. Jerry also hides meat cooked by Elaine's cousin, his "deaf date," in his pockets rather than eat it. He's watching his waste-line while the audience is watching him emphasize the importance of the waste-line for physical attractiveness.

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