Skip to main content

Just go back. Pretend the whole thing never happened.


Seinfeld
2.12: The Revenge

The Premise

George tenders his resignation, hurling abuse at his boss. He thinks better of his decision and decides to show up for work on Monday morning, as if nothing has happened. Jerry believes the laundrette manager has stolen $1,500 he left in his laundry bag. George and Kramer plan respective revenges.

Observational

You might expect some of the more absurd elements here to come from Larry Charles (the Kramer plotline in particular) but this one’s from the other Larry, as anyone who has heard his Saturday Night Live story will know (half of the series’ more extreme ideas are rooted in David’s cantankerous experiences). Basically, he did what George does; resigned out of frustration, thought better of it, then returned to work.

Jason Alexander has told how he modified his initial Woody Allen-esque take on George after he realised that Costanza was David’s alter-ego. It would be next to impossible to imagine someone with the demeanour of Allen launching into George’s splenetic outburst. Wonderfully, it comes not out of some noble value system or sense of honour but because George has been barred from the executive bathroom (for one so bowel movement conscious it is a blow, but still). This bit did come from Charles; he would sneak a pee (or two) in David and Seinfield’s en suite toilet.

George’s self-programming (“You’re emotional!”) might have worked if not for a boss who reveals a particularly cruel streak. But then, Levitan (Fred Applegate) has to be mean enough that you’re at least half on board with George’s revenge.

LevitanYou can’t beat me. That’s why I am here and you are there. Because I’m a winner and I’ll always be a winner and you’ll always be a loser.

Patrika Darbo (who can be found in small roles in a couple of Joe Dante movies) makes an impression as the large, loud and abrasive Glenda ,whom George eventually persuades to do a runner by threatening to pull her wig off. His plan gets a fair-minded response from Jerry (“You’ve really gone mental!”) but is welcomed by Elaine. An unlikely team up between Elaine and George will often make for great chemistry going forward (both getting along and feuding); George’s “God, I’ve never felt so alive” marks him out as a much geeky version of David than David comes across as, though. The ensuing scene is a showcase for Louise-Dreyfus, and she and Applegate are a tour de force as she steams him up with a tall story about her passion for naturism (“I cook naked, I clean naked, I drive naked”). It’s a lovely twist too that Levitan is so upbeat he offers George his job back, yet is so insulting to him in the process (“our little shrimpy friend”) that George would rather face the unemployment line (“Drink up”).

Jerry and Kramer team up in what looks at first sight like a something-or-nothing plot. Jerry understandably doesn’t want his “guys” sharing a washing machine with Kramer’s (he pays to have them washed separately). Arguably, Jerry’s sudden remembrance that he left his money in the bag is a bit crowbarred. But it’s excused by the opportunity this gives Michael Richards (ever the perfectionist, using a real bag of cement) to give his most slapstick performance so far. Just the idea of filling one of Vic’s (John Capodice) machines with cement is lunatic enough, but Kramer’s acrobatic antics and Vic’s nonplussed response pay it off perfectly. That said, I don’t think it really needs them making amends when Jerry’s money shows up; it feels like a very “Network-friendly” moral ending (although I doubt Kramer would have been up for it on his own).

The Revenge is also notable for Newman’s off-screen suicide threats (voiced by Larry David but redubbed with Wayne Knight for repeats). This is very much pre-formed Newman, who has “no job, no women” (hasn’t he been a postman forever when we actually meet him?) and Kramer’s dismissiveness of his tendencies is pure David (JerryWhat did you say?KramerI said, “jump!”)

Quotable

GeorgeI’m done! I will not work for you again! You have no brains, no ability, no nothing. I quit!

George“Just go back. Pretend the whole thing never happened.”

GeorgeDo they pay people to watch movies? Movies, I like movies.

GeorgeI’m going to slip him a Mickey.
JerryWhat, in his drink? Are you out of your mind? What are you, Peter Lorre?

JerryMaybe we should call this off?
KramerCome on, what’s the big deal? I’m just going to put a little concrete in the washing machine.

ElaineSo, I’m going to a nudist colony next week.

LevitanWho are you?
ElaineOh, you don’t wanna know mister. I’m trouble.

ElaineWould you close your eyes for a second? I want to tell you a secret about my bra.

GeorgeI like horses. Maybe I could be a stable boy.

Verdict:


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

My name is Dr. King Schultz, this is my valet, Django, and these are our horses, Fritz, and Tony.

Django Unchained (2012)
(MINOR SPOILERS) Since the painful misstep of Grindhouse/Death Proof, Quentin Tarantino has regained the higher ground like never before. Pulp Fiction, his previous commercial and critical peak, has been at very least equalled by the back-to-back hits of Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained. Having been underwhelmed by his post Pulp Fiction efforts (albeit, I admired his technical advances as a director in Kill Bill), I was pleasantly surprised by Inglourious Basterds. It was no work of genius (so not Pulp Fiction) by any means, but there was a gleeful irreverence in its treatment of history and even to the nominal heroic status of its titular protagonists. Tonally, it was a good fit for the director’s “cool” aesthetic. As a purveyor of postmodern pastiche, where the surface level is the subtext, in some ways he was operating at his zenith. Django Unchained is a retreat from that position, the director caught in the tug between his all-important aesthetic pr…

She writes Twilight fan fiction.

Vampire Academy (2014)
My willingness to give writer Daniel Waters some slack on the grounds of early glories sometimes pays off (Sex and Death 101) and sometimes, as with this messy and indistinct Young Adult adaptation, it doesn’t. If Vampire Academy plods along as a less than innovative smart-mouthed Buffy rip-off that might be because, if you added vampires to Heathers, you would probably get something not so far from the world of Joss Whedon. Unfortunately inspiration is a low ebb throughout, not helped any by tepid direction from Daniel’s sometimes-reliable brother Mark and a couple of hopelessly plankish leads who do their best to dampen down any wit that occasionally attempts to surface.

I can only presume there’s a never-ending pile of Young Adult fiction poised for big screen failure, all of it comprising multi-novel storylines just begging for a moment in the Sun. Every time an adaptation crashes and burns (and the odds are that they will) another one rises, hydra-like, hoping…

I don’t think you will see President Pierce again.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)
(SPOILERS) The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and other tall tales of the American frontier is the title of "the book" from which the Coen brothers' latest derives, and so announces itself as fiction up front as heavily as Fargo purported to be based on a true story. In the world of the portmanteau western – has there even been one before? – theme and content aren't really all that distinct from the more familiar horror collection, and as such, these six tales rely on sudden twists or reveals, most of them revolving around death. And inevitably with the anthology, some tall tales are stronger than other tall tales, the former dutifully taking up the slack.

One day you will speak and the jungle will listen.

Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle (2018)
(SPOILERS) The unloved and neglected Jungle Book movie that wasn't Disney’s, Jungle Book: Origins was originally pegged for a 2016 release, before being pushed to last year, then this, and then offloaded by Warner Bros onto Netflix. During which time the title changed to Mowgli: Tales from the Jungle Book, then Mowgli, and finally Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle. The assumption is usually that the loser out of vying projects – and going from competing with a near $1bn grossing box office titan to effectively straight-to-video is the definition of a loser – is by its nature inferior, but Andy Serkis' movie is a much more interesting, nuanced affair than the Disney flick, which tried to serve too many masters and floundered with a finale that saw Mowgli celebrated for scorching the jungle. And yes, it’s darker too. But not grimdarker.

You look like an angry lizard!

Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)
(SPOILERS) I can quite see a Queen fan begrudging this latest musical biopic for failing to adhere to the facts of their illustrious career – but then, what biopic does steer a straight and true course? – making it ironic that they're the main fuel for Bohemian Rhapsody's box office success. Most other criticisms – and they're legitimate, on the whole – fall away in the face of a hugely charismatic star turn from Rami Malek as the band's frontman. He's the difference between a standard-issue, episodic, join-the-dots narrative and one that occasionally touches greatness, and most importantly, carries emotional heft.

A steed is not praised for its might, but for its thoroughbred qualities.

The Avengers Season 3 Ranked - Worst to Best
Season Three is where The Avengers settles into its best-known form – okay, The Grandeur that was Rome aside, there’s nothing really pushing it towards the eccentric heights it would reach in the Rigg era – in no small part due to the permanent partnering of Honor Blackman with Patrick Macnee. It may not be as polished as the subsequent incarnations, but it has the appeal of actively exploring its boundaries, and probably edges out Season Five in the rankings, which rather started to believe its own hype.

There's something wrong with the sky.

Hold the Dark (2018)
(SPOILERS) Hold the Dark, an adaptation of William Giraldi's 2014 novel, is big on atmosphere, as you'd expect from director Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin, Green Room) and actor-now-director (I Don’t Want to Live in This World Anymore) pal Macon Blair (furnishing the screenplay and appearing in one scene), but contrastingly low on satisfying resolutions. Being wilfully oblique can be a winner if you’re entirely sure what you're trying to achieve, but the effect here is rather that it’s "for the sake of it" than purposeful.

I take Quaaludes 10-15 times a day for my "back pain", Adderall to stay focused, Xanax to take the edge off, part to mellow me out, cocaine to wake me back up again, and morphine... Well, because it's awesome.

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Along with Pain & Gain and The Great Gatsby, The Wolf of Wall Street might be viewed as the completion of a loose 2013 trilogy on the subject of success and excess; the American Dream gone awry. It’s the superior picture to its fellows, by turns enthralling, absurd, outrageous and hilarious. This is the fieriest, most deliriously vibrant picture from the director since the millennium turned. Nevertheless, stood in the company of Goodfellas, the Martin Scorsese film from which The Wolf of Wall Street consciously takes many of its cues, it is found wanting.

I was vaguely familiar with the title, not because I knew much about Jordan Belfort but because the script had been in development for such a long time (Ridley Scott was attached at one time). So part of the pleasure of the film is discovering how widely the story diverges from the Wall Street template. “The Wolf of Wall Street” suggests one who towers over the city like a behemoth, rather than a guy …

What about the panties?

Sliver (1993)
(SPOILERS) It must have seemed like a no-brainer. Sharon Stone, fresh from flashing her way to one of the biggest hits of 1992, starring in a movie nourished with a screenplay from the writer of one of the biggest hits of 1992. That Sliver is one Stone’s better performing movies says more about how no one took her to their bosom rather than her ability to appeal outside of working with Paul Verhoeven. Attempting to replicate the erotic lure of Basic Instinct, but without the Dutch director’s shameless revelry and unrepentant glee (and divested of Michael Douglas’ sweaters), it flounders, a stupid movie with vague pretensions to depth made even more stupid by reshoots that changed the killer’s identity and exposed the cluelessness of the studio behind it.

Philip Noyce isn’t a stupid filmmaker, of course. He’s a more-than-competent journeyman when it comes to Hollywood blockbuster fare (Clear and Present Danger, Salt) also adept at “smart” smaller pictures (Rabbit Proof Fence

Outstanding. Now, let’s bite off all the heads and pile them up in the corner.

Venom (2018)
(SPOILERS) A 29% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes can't be wrong, can it? To go by the number of one-star reviews Sony’s attempt to kick-start their own shred of the Marvel-verse has received, you’d think it was the new Battlefield Earth, or Highlander II: The Quickening. Fortunately, it's far from that level of ignominy. And while it’s also a considerable distance from showing the polish and assuredness of the official Disney movies, it nevertheless manages to establish its own crudely winning sense of identity.