Wednesday, November 28, 2012

SEINFELD - Season 8, Episode 19 - The Yada Yada



“The Yada Yada”

First Script Read: Thursday, February 27, 1997
Filmed: Wednesday, March 5, 1997
Aired: April 24, 1997
Nielsen rating: 21.1
Audience share: 33
Directed: Andy Ackerman
Writers: Peter Mehlman and Jill Franklyn (Franklyn is a friend of Mehlman’s who he invited to try writing a script with him.)

"Yada yada yada" wasn't invented in this episode, but Seinfeld certainly gave it a bump in usage. George's girlfriend breezes through stories by inserting the phrase throughout her conversation. George appreciates her concise style, until he discovers the dark secrets she is yada yada'ing - from sex to petty thievery. 

Ironically, writer Peter Mehlman thought "anti-dentite" would be the phrase the viewers seized on. Jerry is accused of being an anti-dentite when he starts suggesting Dr. Whatley converted to Judaism for the jokes. Whatley brushes off the accusation, but further infuriates Jerry when he keeps making Catholic jokes because he used to be Catholic. Jerry eventually goes to visit a priest in a confessional just to tattle on Whatley.

But it's Beth (last seen in season seven's "The Wait Out") to whom Jerry confesses he really does hate dentists. Beth has remarried a guy, Arnie, who Elaine has hated since he shushed her at the movies. Elaine disrupts Beth and Arnie's adoption plans when she tells the adoption agency the shushing story, and the conflict ultimately ends their marriage. Jerry swoops in and brings Beth to a wedding where he tells her his feelings on dentists. "Yeah, who needs 'em?" she agrees, then adds, "not to mention the Blacks and the Jews!"

"The Yada Yada" deals as much with Jerry's Jewish identity as any episode. Jerry, as he tells the priest, is not by Whatley's behavior because he is Jewish but because he is a comedian. And, Jerry doesn't add, because he is petty. The fact that Beth never knew Jerry was Jewish isn't a surprise. He almost never references it and only engages with his faith (i.e. wears a yarmulke) when family or acquaintances have a religious event. Religion exists in the world of Seinfeld and comes up every once in a while, but it is not something the main characters are at all interested in engaging with.

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