Monday, December 10, 2012

SEINFELD - Season 9, Episode 7 - The Slicer

“The Slicer”

First Script Read: October 19, 1997
Filmed: October 22, 1997
Aired: November 13, 1997
Nielsen rating: 21.7
Audience share: 32
Directed: Andy Ackerman
Writers: Gregg Kavet, Andy Robin, and Darin Henry (story only)

This episode opens with the shocker of Elaine in bed with...Jerry! 

JERRY: Morning.
ELAINE: Look, this is crazy, I can't go on like this.
JERRY: But why?
ELAINE: I need some space.

Is this a flashback? Or have they gotten back together since last week's episode? From Elaine's words, it sounds like this has been going on for some time. Maybe Elaine and Jerry have been seeing each other secretly for a while, keeping their romance hidden from even the television cameras. She rolls over on her side and the camera finds...George in bed too!

GEORGE: Does that mean I have to go too?
JERRY: You don't think she's just talking to me?
GEORGE: Hey, shut up.
JERRY: You shut up.
ELAINE: I hate this. 

The metaphor begins to emerge. Seasoned television viewers have by now guessed this is a dream sequence. Elaine's subconscious disgust with the way her friends dominate her life is revealed, though not for the first time. As seen in, for example, The Bizarro Jerry from the previous season, Elaine often articulates a longing to leave the group in the series' final seasons. That mean's Kramer must be here too...

KRAMER: You'll get used to it. It's like a grubby scrub.
ELAINE: No, I don't want this anymore.
JERRY: We'll come to work with you.
GEORGE: And on your dates.
JERRY: And shopping.
KRAMER: And to the bathroom.
ELAINE: I can't breath...I'm sorry...[WAKES UP] You're killing me!

Elaine wakes up. She realizes her neighbor, on vacation in Paris, has forgotten to turn off his alarm. Her attention turns to the immediate problem and she forgets the message of her dream entirely. In fact, she turns to her friends for help, always. She arrives at Jerry's apartment later in the episode and commiserates with Jerry and Kramer. Ever the schemer, Kramer offers to help her short circuit the electricity on the floor. He even accepts the painful responsibility of jamming a paper clip into the outlet, costing himself a finger nail in the process. But it works, and the alarm goes off.

However, the power outage also shuts off the automatic cat feeder in the apartment. The cat begins to meow, annoying Elaine just as much as the alarm did. Once again, Kramer comes to the rescue. He brings his new meat slicer over and they cut deli meat to slide under the door. It works and somehow Elaine convinces Kramer to loan her his prized slicer. She goes a little overboard with it though, using it to open envelopes and trim her high heels. She gets the heel caught in the blade, though, and is still trying to get it out when Kramer arrives to get his slicer back. Frantically, she bangs the slicer against her front doorknob, freeing the shoe. She hands Kramer the slicer then slams the door before he can yell a her about the slicer's dinged up blade. Kramer tries to enter the apartment to confront her, but the doorknob falls off in his hand.

Later, Elaine takes a plate of sliced meat to feed the cat. Only then does she discover the broken doorknob and realized she is trapped in her apartment. Blasting music to drown out the sound of the cat (and tossing in a dance here and there, a la "The Little Kicks"), Elaine calls a locksmith to come fix her door. Her other neighbor, upset about the loud music, blows the electricity on the floor, cutting off her phone. Now Elaine is trapped and temporarily phone-less. 

(Plot note: There's some inconsistency with the timing of the power outages. It seems that the first power outage caused by Kramer was short lived, because the power is back on when Elaine is in her apartment. It makes sense that this would reset the clocks and the timer on the cat feeder in the apartment of her absent neighbor. If the circuit is thus so-easily fixed, why would the neighbor bother shorting it since he knew Elaine was home and would just turn the music right back on when the power returned? Perhaps he merely wanted a reprieve. Also, Elaine's dropped phone call with the locksmith isn't that big a loss for her, even if it takes a few hours for the building superintendent to come and fix the floor's circuits. George points out that it will take the locksmith time to come "at this hour." I guess the superintendent couldn't help her (or didn't know she needed help) while he was there. And I guess Elaine was incapable of taking the hinges off her doors. Finally, I guess Elaine doesn't keep a lot of food around her apartment AND went through the meat she cut for the cat pretty quickly.)

Luckily, Elaine gets in touch with her friends and the three come over to keep her company and to feed her slices of meat under the door. In the final scene, Elaine is unseen on the other side of her door. Kramer is working the slicer and George and Jerry are sitting on the hallway floor. It's about as touching as the show gets, the three friends apparently late at night selflessly taking the time to care for their trapped friend. In fact, Elaine has come full circle. She has trapped herself on her own and needs her friends' help to be free. And far from killing her, Elaine's friends are literally feeding her and keeping her alive.

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