Thursday, November 29, 2012

SEINFELD - Season 9, Episode 1 - The Butter Shave

“The Butter Shave”

First Script Read: August 20, 1997
Filmed: Wednesday, August 27, 1997
Aired: September 25, 1997
Nielsen rating: 24.6
Audience share: 37
Directed: Andy Ackerman
Writers: Alec Berg, Jeff Schaffer, and David Mandel

Have you ever noticed how often the Seinfeld gang fakes a physical disability or ailment? The technical term for this is malingering, and various characters have done it a handful of times:

  • In "The Lip Reader" Elaine pretends to be deaf in order to avoid the nuisance of having a conversation with her driver. The driver catches her and yells at her.
  • In "The Non-Fat Yogurt" George keeps up a fake arm spasm after Lloyd Braun catches him elbowing Jerry. George is confronted by Lloyd Braun's recommended doctor as a factor, but on his way out of the office he bangs his arm and his arm actually does start to spasm.
  • In "The Jimmy" Kramer is mistaken to be mentally challenged, and gets to be the guest of honor at a charity benefit featuring Mel Torme. He is never caught.
  • In "The Friars Club" Elaine suspects her new co-worker is pretending to be deaf to get out of work. Ultimately, it seems that her co-worker really is deaf - his hearing aid is functioning - but he also only pretends to be unable to hear sometimes.
  • In "The Fatigues" George successfully pretends to be blind, flunking an eye test to qualify for Reading for the Blind audiobooks.
  • This is a stretch, but in "The Little Jerry" George compares Elaine's boyfriend's habit of shaving his head bald for no reason to "using a wheelchair for the fun of it!"
Now in "The Butter Shave" comes George's biggest act of malingering in the series. At his new job, George's boss assumes he is disabled because he is carrying a cane. In fact, George is at the end of his recovery from the invitation accident that happened to him at the end of season eight. He doesn't correct his boss. He gets his own handicap bathroom and a handicap parking space. He even gets carried to meetings by a strong female coworker. Later, after he injures his opposite leg, his boss thinks his condition is deteriorating and gets George a motorized scooter. Finally, his boss catches him carrying his scooter. That sets up the following episode, in which George, enjoying the handicapped bathroom he still has the keys to as well as the paycheck, refuses to quit the job despite the harassment he receives by his duped coworkers.
All in all, it's about as despicable as George gets.

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