Thursday, June 20, 2013

Episode 12 - The Revenge

The Plot:  The episode relates three parallel plots in intertwining scenes. The first plot concerns George being banned from the executive toilet at his office. Because of this he quits his job, but immediately regrets the decision. He discusses job opportunities with Jerry, but is unable to think of an occupation that would suit him. Jerry suggests that George could try to go back to work and pretend he never quit. George takes this advice and simply walks into a staff meeting like nothing happened.  His boss, refuses to let him stay and insults him. As revenge, George decides to slip a "mickey" into his drink during an office party, and enlists Elaine to help him. At the party, Elaine distracts George’s boss by pretending to be a nudist and talking about all the things she does at home while naked.   Turned on by Elaine’s flirtations, the boss has a change of heart and upon seeing George at the party, tells him that he can have his job back. George attempts to intercept the drink with the mickey, but after the boss welcomes George back during a toast sprinkled with insults at George's expense, George tells him, "Drink up." He does just that. In the following scene we see George once again brainstorming job opportunity ideas, the subtext being that his boss discovered the spiking of his drink, connected it to George, and has fired him once again.

The second plot of the episode revolves around Jerry; when he prepares to go to the laundromat,  Kramer asks if he could take his laundry with him. Jerry agrees after some reluctance, insisting that their clothes remain segregated. After retrieving the laundry the following day and returning Kramer's portion, Jerry remembers that he had hidden a large sum of money in his laundry bag, but is unable to find it. Vic, the owner of the laundromat, tells him that he did not see the money, but also points out that he is not responsible for valuables. Kramer and Jerry both assume Vic stole the money and Kramer comes up with a plan to put cement mix in one of Vic's washing machines as revenge. Once they have acted out the plan, Kramer discovers that he had the money all along; and it turns out to be just enough to cover the damage to the washing machine.

In a subplot, Kramer tells Jerry about his suicidal friend Newman who repeatedly threatens to kill himself by jumping off the apartment building. When he does jump, he jumps from the second floor and survives, much to Kramer's amusement. At the end of the episode, Newman threatens to jump again, Kramer asks Newman if he wants to go shoot some pool with him, but Newman declines, stating that he has plans to go to the movies later that night.

Fun Facts:

  • This is the first episode to reference Newman, although you don’t see him.  You just hear his voice.
  • In the original episode, Newman’s voice was that of show co-creator Larry David.  In today’s syndicated reruns, Wayne Knight (the actor who played Newman) does the voice over.
  • In the scene at the laundromat, Kramer is wearing Jerry’s ruined suede jacket from Episode 8.

Favorite Quote:   

JERRY:   They say the best revenge is living well.
GEORGE:  Well there’s no chance of that.

Favorite Scene:   Elaine’s attempt to distract George’s boss at the party is a classic.  After trying several benign ways to gain his attention (sneezing, polite conversation, etc.) she turns to the age old topic of sex, just blurting out that she is going to a nudist colony.  All of a sudden, he is entranced by her musings.  The best is the end of the scene and Elaine’s dialogue:

ELAINE: I cook naked, I clean....I clean naked, I drive naked. Naked. Naked. Naked.
LEVITAN: Who are you?
ELAINE: Oh, you don't wanna know, mistah. I'm trouble. Big trouble.

The Lesson:  This episode presents another clear and simple message for startups.  In the early stages of any company, you often find yourself overworked and underappreciated, and the frustration that results can be all consuming.  This frustration can sometimes cause you to make snap decisions that can, in hindsight, look idiotic and be disastrous for the company.  One of the most important attributes for entrepreneurs is the ability to think clearly in times of crisis.  This is so important, because every day can feel like a crisis in a startup.  Every decision you make has both short and long term consequences.  And as a founder it’s not as easy as just quitting your job and walking away.  You are forced to live with the consequences of your snap decisions, as are those that work for you.

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