Thursday, December 6, 2012

SEINFELD - Season 9, Episode 5 - The Junk Mail



“The Junk Mail”

First Script Read: September 28, 1997
Filmed: September 30, 1997
Aired: October 30, 1997
Nielsen rating: 20.3
Audience share: 31
Directed: Andy Ackerman
Writer: Spike Feresten

Kramer's humorous, over-the-top attack on the U.S. Postal Service was inspired by writer Spike Feresten's own annoyance at the amount of catalogs he was getting, as he explains in the DVD "Inside Look" featurette. It got him thinking about whether, even as early as 1997, mail had become obsolete. It was easy to imagine Kramer, who had often expressed anti-establishment leanings, going on his own personal mail strike. Apparently the post office won't tolerate people canceling their mail though because Newman goes to great lengths to stop him:

NEWMAN: What about your bills?
KRAMER: The bank can pay 'em.
NEWMAN: The bank! What about your cards and letters?KRAMER: Email, telephones, fax machines, Fedex, telex, telegrams, holograms.

Eventually, though, with the help of the Post Master General himself, the US Postal Service applies enough pressure to intimidate Kramer into accepting his mail delivery. It's an odd, silly suggestion that the Postal Service is a sinister, far-reaching organization that will stop at nothing to preserve itself. Conspiracy theories are quite common in American culture, especially post Watergate. The films Men in Black and Conspiracy Theory, both depicting secret government agencies, had come out the summer before this season. So while the post office might have been an odd target, Kramer's anti-government action was well within the realm of popular culture.

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