Thursday, January 31, 2013

SEINFELD - Season 9, Episode 16 - The Burning

“The Burning”

First Script Read: February 5, 1998
Filmed: February 10, 1998
Aired: March 19, 1998
Nielsen rating: 20.8
Audience share: 31
Directed: Andy Ackerman
Writer: Jennifer Crittenden

Whenever religion came up, Seinfeld always treated it with a nod and a wink, inherently doubting the existence of God and viewing anyone who did believe in God as a relic for a past age (See also: "The Conversion," "The Strike," and "The Pick." The characters' view of religion feels much like their view of the lifestyles of their parents' generation. They are incredulous, baffled, and dismissive of the perspective and behavior of both the elderly and the religious. Religiosity, however, is harder to spot than old age, hence Elaine's shock at discovering her on again-off again boyfrien, David Puddy, might be religious:

ELAINE: Here's one. I borrowed Puddy's car and all the presets on his radio were Christian rock stations. GEORGE: I like Christian rock. It's very positive. It's not like those real musicians who think they're so cool and hip. ELAINE: So, you think that Puddy actually believes in something? JERRY: It's a used car. He probably never changed the presets. ELAINE: Yes, he is lazy. JERRY: Plus he probably doesn't even know how to program the buttons. ELAINE: Yes, he is dumb. JERRY: So you prefer dumb and lazy to religious? ELAINE: Dumb and lazy, I understand.

Later, George tries to put a positive spin on Puddy's beliefs:

GEORGE: I think it's neat. You don't hear that much about god anymore.
JERRY [DEADPAN]: I hear things...

Confronted about his beliefs, Puddy admits that he thinks Elaine is going to hell. Elaine gets angry at him for not trying to save her from hell, even though she doesn't believe in hell. Eventually they take their case to a minister, Father Curtis. He soon discovers they are having sex without being married and tells them they are both going to hell. Elaine is very satisfied with that development. Puddy is not, and his angst is further magnified as both Elaine and Father Curtis mock him, making devil faces. Even the religious leaders in Seinfeld find God to be silly.

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