Saturday, November 8, 2008

"Fruit's a gamble. I know that going in": Seinfeld Series 2: Episode 1

The Ex-Girlfriend begins once again with Jerry's stand-up, persisting it seems with the sports jacket and abominably colourful, wide tie. Topic - driving in traffic. Nice observations but not laugh out loud funny.

We move to Jerry and George chatting in the car, while waiting to pick up Elaine. The topic here is breaking up, how to do it, in person or over the phone with Jerry's helpful advice being "You should just do it like a motion... RIGHT OFF". George, it seems, is sick of his girlfriend Marlene. Elaine arrives with a tale to tell of the degeneration of her once-friendly relationship with a guy in her building. First it was "stop and chat" (this is a great Larry David concept that also crops up in Curb your Enthusiasm), then verbal hellos, then polite nodding, and then: "he went from nods to nothing". The scene then is set for the Elaine storyline.

In Jerry's apartment, a little introductory scene on dialling a wrong number. It has nothing to do with the rest of the episode, but it's cute nonetheless. Following this we also enjoy Kramer's obsession with fruit and his insistence that everyone who enters "taste this cantaloupe", (foreshadowing the later episode of the macana (?) peaches) proffering a piece of cantaloupe on a fork. Jerry and he disagree over whether to get fruit at Joe's or the supermarket. Kramer kindly offers Jerry the use of his shopping cart to go to Joe's, and we learn of Kramer's endearing habit of returning fruit if it's not up to his high standard. As Jerry astutely observes: "I don't return fruit. Fruit's a gamble, I know that going in". (I would dearly love to see someone try and return fruit and vegetables to Woolworths. Some of those lettuces have clearly been in cold storage for way too long. And don't get me started on the tomatoes that taste like nothing.)

George arrives excited that he has managed to break up with Marlene. Kramer, as always inappropriate, reacts with 'I like that Marlene...what's her number?". George is concerned though. He has left some of his books over at Marlene's and can't possibly go back and get them. The following exchange exemplifies Jerry's simple and stressless view of the world:

Jerry: Did you read 'em?
George: Well..yeah
Jerry: What do you need 'em for?

There's no comeback to that. So Jerry meets Marlene in the diner and she entices him into a relationship with her southern drawl.

Then, the chiropractor's waiting room, still on the subject of the books. Jerry pokes fun at George's anxiety over getting his books back, "When you read Moby Dick the second time, Ahab and the whale become good friends". And then George's cheapness is emphasised once more after he sees the chiropractor and gets the bill. Seventy five dollars for two minutes, "I'm only paying half". And he does.

Back at the apartment, Kramer is demonstrating his new golf swing to Jerry while Jerry cuts up a supermarket cantaloupe. We witness Kramer's disapproval when upon tasting he spits it straight out. Nice. Elaine arrives describing her confrontation with the hello guy. She's the "queen of confrontation". Later in the diner, Elaine's bravery inspires Jerry to tell George he is dating Marlene, who doesn't actually care. Then in some nice physical comedy George swallows a fly. The ensuing panic is a comedy treat. Jerry as usual, is unflustered.

And then one of my final favourite scenes. Jerry and Marlene are in the car when she refuses his advances. When he questions why, she tells him it's because she saw his comedy act: "It's just so much fluff. I can't be with someone if I don't respect what they do". Jerry is a little stunned: "You're a cashier".

Stand up. Then end.

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