Thursday, January 31, 2013

SEINFELD - Season 9, Episode 17 - The Bookstore

“The Bookstore”

First Script Read: February 14, 1998
Filmed: February 18, 1998
Aired: April 9, 1998
Nielsen rating: 19.9
Audience share: 31
Directed: Andy Ackerman
Writers: Spike Feresten (teleplay and story), Darin Henry (story only) and Marc Jaffe (story only)

After David Mandel, Spike Feresten is my second favorite writer of Seinfeld's Late Period. Check out his episode resume:
Season 7
"The Soup Nazi" (perhaps the most popular episode ever)
Season 8
"The Little Kicks" (perhaps Elaine's greatest scene ever)
Season 9
"The Puerto Rican Day" (co-written)

Plus, he also came up with the central idea for "The Voice."

Feresten honed his talents working on David Letterman's writing staff. He brought some absurd, loony ideas to the show, but they usually worked because, like Larry David et al before him, so many of his stories were based on reality. There really was an intense soup chef in New York. Feresten really did have his girlfriend's wig master stay in his apartment for an extended time. He really did imagine a silly voice coming from his girlfriend while she slept and got the other writers in on the voice.

By season nine, like most of the writing staff, Kramer became Feresten's main muse. This episode features one of Kramer's zaniest, non-giant-ball-of-oil schemes. He and Newman try to get a rickshaw service going on the streets of New York, leading to a memorable scene of Newman flying backwards down a hill in a runaway rickshaw.

Feresten also alludes back to Elaine's fateful dancing. There's another office party, but this time J. Peterman proves himself to have all the dancing talent Elaine lacks. Depressed, Elaine starts drinking and ends up drunkenly making out with a co-worker. Attempting to paint her behavior in a different light, Elaine starts telling everyone she is dating the guy. When she discovers the guy is addicted to drugs, Peterman makes her nurse him through his rehab.

The action at the bookstore revolves around George's attempts to return a book he was forced to buy after being caught taking it into the store's restroom, and Jerry's fight with Uncle Leo after Jerry rats out his uncle's shoplifting. The George storyline is silly, but Jerry is deeply remorseful when he sees how upset Uncle Leo is. In the end, Jerry turns in George for shoplifting in order to get Leo off the hook. Presumably, Jerry knows George won't hold a grudge as long as Leo. Still, Jerry's willingness to let his best friend get arrested to help the uncle he doesn't like very much shows how deep his own social neuroses go. He cannot accept the mental anguish of knowing a relative is holding a grudge against him.

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