Thursday, January 31, 2013

SEINFELD - Season 9, Episode 18 - The Frogger

“The Frogger”

First Script Read: February 27, 1998
Filmed: Mach 4, 1998
Aired: April 23, 1998
Nielsen rating: 20.8
Audience share: 32
Directed: Andy Ackerman
Writers: Gregg Kavet and Andy Robin (teleplay and story), Steve Koren and Dan O’Keefe (Story only)

While Seinfeld broke new ground for a prime-time sitcom in its telling of multi-episode, even season-long story arcs, and while it was filled with recurring characters and recurring jokes, it was still just like most traditional sitcoms in that its characters remained in the same place every week - physically, mentally, and emotionally. Of course, unlike stereotypical sitcoms, there were no lessons learned on Seinfeld, so of course the characters weren't going to grow in anyway. Furthermore, as much serialization as Seinfeld had, it was surprisingly uninterested in its own history. The characters lived in the moment, and whenever the past did crop up, it tended to be ridiculed and dismissed.

In "The Frogger," three objects from the past are destroyed. The first is a piece of wedding cake preserved from the wedding of Edward VIII to Wallis Simpson in 1937. Elaine finds it in Peterman's office and, not knowing its past, eats a bite. Peterman finds her in his office and excitedly tells her about the cake he has purchased. Later Elaine returns to his office seeking to even up the slice and cover her tracks. She now knows where the cake is from, and though it is old, she is captivated by the romance of Edward and Mrs. Simpson. Moreover, she's hungry. She ends up eating the whole slice. She tries to replace it with a slice of Entenmann's, but Peterman eventually catches her and warns her of the punishment her digestive system is about to take as the historic cake moves through.

The second object destroyed is Mario's, the old pizza place where Jerry and George hung out in high school. They return seeking a dose of nostalgia, but instead Mario's rude service reminds them of why they stopped coming to the restaurant. He is going out of business, and its easy to see why. This isn't the first time nostalgia fooled Jerry into misremembering the past. Way back in season three's "The Library" Jerry thinks he remembers all the details of the day he misplaced his library book, The Tropic of Cancer, back in high school. When he meets up with the girl he remembers from that day (who, by the way, time has NOT treated well), she reveals that he has the facts all wrong. In both that episode and "The Frogger" nostalgia is demonstrated to be very deceptive.

In Mario's Jerry and George come across the third object from the past - The Frogger machine they used to play, which still has George's high score recorded on it. George decides to preserve this piece of his past. "I'm never gonna have a child," he explains. "If I lose this Frogger high score, that's it for me." He arranges to buy the machine and keep it powered up so it doesn't lose the score. His plan goes awry and, in a memorable, Frogger-like sequence, the Frogger machine is smashed by a truck as George pushes it across the street. George's desire to preserve the past was foolish, but judging by Seinfeld's treatment of the past, so are all such efforts.

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