Tuesday, January 22, 2013

SEINFELD - Season 9, Episode 13 - The Cartoon

“The Cartoon”

First Script Read: January 8, 1998
Filmed: January 15, 1998
 Aired: January 29, 1998
Nielsen rating: 21.9
Audience share: 33
Directed: Andy Ackerman
Writer: Bruce Eric Kaplan (Kaplan, who also wrote The Merv Griffith Show and co-wrote The Puerto Rican Parade, is a cartoonist for The New Yorker.)

Elaine gets a cartoon published in The New Yorker only to realize she accidentally took the idea from Ziggy; Puddy has Ziggy bedsheets. Jerry gets into a feud with Susan's old friend, Sally Weaver (Kathy Griffin), leading Weaver to launch a hit one-woman comedy show about how Jerry Seinfeld is the devil. But the real fun in this episode comes from George's relationship with Janet, a woman who looks just like Jerry.

Before Janet shows up at the coffee shop to meet Jerry and Elaine for the first time, George starts raving about his particular attraction to her. "Aah! the minute I saw this girl, we just clicked," he says. "She's got such a nice face...her eyes...her mouth...nose." Elaine quips, "George, we know what a face consists of." Janet arrives and Elaine bites her tongue until George and Janet leave. Then she tells Jerry Janet looks exactly like him. Jerry brushes it off until Janet meets Kramer for the first time. Typical of his character, Kramer can't keep his mouth shut about awkward things:

KRAMER: And you must....look exactly like Jerry! You don't see this? You're like twins! Wowwww!
This is eerie.
GEORGE: Kramer, what are you talking about? Janet doesn't look anything like Jerry!
JANET: Well, maybe we do look a little like each other.
GEORGE: No! What do you know about what you look like?
KRAMER: C'mon George relax. Just because they look alike doesn't mean you're secretly in love with Jerry.
GEORGE: All right now we're going bye bye!

George's insecurities have been piqued, and Jerry is uncomfortable too. Later, Elaine provokes them, telling George, "Janet looks very nice. She's quite a HANDSOME woman!" Having dropped the grenade, Elaine leaves Jerry and George alone to deal with the explosion. The two have an increasingly awkward situation, culminating in both of them assuring the other of their heterosexuality. Ultimately, the tension boils down to Jerry's and George's latent homophobia, explored several times throughout the run of the series ("The Outing," "The Note," "The Jimmy," and "The Pool Guy" to name a few examples).

Of course, George is particularly vulnerable to allowing his fears to get the better of him. Kramer blabs about George's Jerry-like girlfriend to George's parents, and tells George he is dating "a new fem-Jerry friend... a perverse sexual amalgam of some girl and his best friend." The idea now introduced into his head, George is desperate to focus on anything else besides Janet's looks:
GEORGE: You know, you know what's great about our relationship? It's not about looks.
JANET: It's not?
GEORGE: No , Can't be. For instance, I remember when we first met we had a great conversation.
JANET: I remember you said I was the prettiest girl at the party.
GEORGE: But after that we really talked didn't we?
JANET: Well, you told me how familiar I looked and that you must have seen me somewhere before.
GEORGE: Na...no... This relationship has got to be about something else and fast or I'm in very serious and weird trouble!

After Janet gets gum in her hair, she cuts it and looks more like Jerry than ever. George freaks out and runs away. He tells Jerry what happened and, after another awkward conversation, they agree to never speak of it again. George announces he'll be taking a few days off and Jerry agrees that's for the best. Never before in the history of the show, after all his disastrous foibles, has George been so shook up. He is so insecure that his new girlfriend's resemblance to Jerry drives him crazy.

Then again, she really did look like Jerry.

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