“The Baby Shower”
First Script Read: Wed, Nov 14, 1990
Filmed: Tue, Nov 20
Aired: May 16, 1991
Nielsen rating: 12.4
Audience share: 21
Directed: Tom Cherones
Writer: Larry Charles (1st episode he wrote)
This is it: the grand debut of Larry Charles on Seinfeld. He'd been writing for the Arsenio Hall Show before joining the Seinfeld writing staff at the beginning of season two. Before that, he had written for the ABC show, Fridays (1980-82), a sketch comedy show deliberately in the style of Saturday Night Live. That's where he met Larry David, who was writing for the show, and Michael Richards, who was performing.
Charles, with help from David, worked to bring each characters' distinct stories together at the end of the episode. Indeed, the climactic scene revolves around the extended consequences of the characters and stories literally coming together in Jerry's apartment. It's a big step forward from The Busboy, which concluded with the busboy running into Elaine's boyfriend off camera in the hall outside the apartment. Compared to the delightful madness of colliding storylines in future seasons, as well as in David's Curb Your Enthusiasm, this episode appears benign. But it is a milestone nonetheless.
Thanks to the zany mind of Charles, the man who would go on to join forces with Sacha Baron Cohen to direct Borat, Bruno, and The Dictator, this episode witnesses the death of the title character and star of the show; Jerry is gunned down in his apartment in a dream sequence, guilt-ridden because of his decision to steal cable. As this blog moves through the series, pay attention to the episodes written by Charles. They tend to be a bit quirkier and darker.