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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:


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