Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Episode 27 - The Stranded

The Plot:  I won’t tarnish my wife by saying she has the same Seinfeld obsession that I do, but she is no stranger to multiple viewings of particular episodes.  So it is no surprise that on multiple occasions she has broken into a dead on impression of Elaine shouting, “maybe the dingo at your baby.”  Between that and our co-opting of the signals Jerry & Elaine use at the party, this may be the most relevant episode to my personal daily life.

The episode begins with Jerry and George at a drug store to purchase medicine where George becomes involved in an altercation with the cashier, accusing her of short-changing him ten dollars. He is removed by the security guard.

The scene then shifts to the primary plot line.  George gets invited to a party on Long Island and brings Elaine and Jerry with him. Jerry and Elaine have a bad time stuck in boring conversations.  Agreeing to look out for one another, they invent a series of physical signals that are intended to let the other know that they need help getting out of the conversation.  Jerry initially proposes the chicken wing flap, but thinks it is too obvious, finally settling on a gentle head pat.  Despite their agreement to help one another, the scene shifts from one to the other stuck in miserable discussions, patting their heads like a mental patient.  Neither moving to aid the other.  At one point during the party, an obnoxious woman who keeps asking about her fiancé (with an exaggeration on the first and second syllable) finally annoys Elaine to the point that she adopts a mock Australian accent and quoting from the film A Cry in the Dark, exclaims "Maybe the dingo ate your baby?"

When a female co-worker starts coming on to George, he strands Jerry and Elaine at the party, leaving them to wait for a very tardy Kramer. As a sign of gratitude for allowing him and Elaine to wait at his home, Jerry suggests the hosts stop by his apartment if they are ever in New York.

Weeks later, to Jerry's surprise, the male host takes him up on his offer just as Jerry's heading out the door. Jerry allows him to wait in the apartment until his return. However, Kramer stops by and he and the host have some drinks and laughs. Eventually the host hires a prostitute over to Jerry's apartment. Jerry and George meet at the drug store where they speak about George's coworker whom he slept with after the party. Then after Jerry picks a medicine George puts it in his shirt under his jacket as retribution for the short-changing incident before. The security guard catches him and takes him away, presumably to jail.

Just as Jerry returns, the host leaves the apartment without paying the prostitute, who refuses to leave until paid. As Jerry is paying the girl off, cops arrive and he's "busted" for fomenting prostitution. Elaine prepares to squabble with the prostitute over her fur coat. In the final scene Jerry and George reminisce about their time in jail.

Fun Facts:

This episode was originally filmed during Season 2, but Larry David was not happy with it, so he kept editing until it aired in Season 3.  This out of sequence shooting/airing results in this being the only episode in Season 3 in which George has a job which he did for most of Season 2.
This is the first and only episode to reference a character’s age directly.  Jerry declares that he is 36.  All other references are that the characters are in their 30’s.
This is the first episode to reference Elaine’s distaste with fur.

Favorite Quote:   

Guy:   So what do you do?
Jerry  I'm a comedian.
Guy:  Are you?  Lemme ask you something.  Where do you get your material?
Jerry:  I hear a voice.
Guy:  What kind of voice?
Jerry:  A man's voice, but he speaks in German so I have to get a translator.

Favorite Scene:   The back-to-back scenes of Jerry and Elaine engaged in their inane conversations, each beating themselves in the head to get the other’s attention is priceless, but the best scene from this episode is George expressing his paranoia over his pending relationship with his co-worker Ava.

George:  I think something's happening here.
Jerry:  What?
George:  I think she wants me to take her home.
Jerry:  Wow.
George:  What should I do?
Jerry:  Go!  What could you do?...We'll be fine, what did she say?
George:  She told me she wants--  She told me she wants me to make love to her.
Jerry:  What?  She said that?
George:  Yeah.
Jerry:  What did you say?
George:  I... I... I long for you.
Jerry:  I long for you?
George:  I was so shocked I was lucky I said anything.
Jerry:  It's okay, that's not bad.
George:  I don't like when a woman says, 'Make love to me', it's intimidating. The last time a woman said that to me, I wound up apologizing to her.
Jerry:  Really?
George:  That's a lot of pressure.  Make love to me.  What am I, in the circus? What if I can't deliver?
Jerry:  Oh, come on.
George:  I can't perform under pressure.  That's why I never play anything for money, I choke.  I could choke tonight.  And she works in my office, can you imagine?  She goes around telling everyone what happened?  Maybe I should cancel, I have a very bad feeling about this.

The Lesson:  This is a tough one.  No clear lessons jump out at you from this episode.  That being said, it still offers some advice for startups.  Often entrepreneurs will find themselves in situations where they do not feel comfortable.  A partner, a vendor, a customer or an investor has asked them to do something with their company that is not consistent with their normal course of action.  To be successful, you cannot over think the situation.  Entrepreneurship is all about uncomfortable situations.  It requires the individual to confront their fears and their expectations.  It requires you to have the mental capacity to assess the situation and make an intelligent decision.  It’s hard.  Failure can come from many directions.  One of the most consistent points of failure is over thinking.  It can lead to paralysis, second guessing, and/or inconsistent management.  All of which cause significant problems for entrepreneurs who need to move quickly and decisively.  George is honing in on his goal of sleeping with Ava.  All of a sudden he is panic stricken by over thinking what he’s getting himself into.  He’s setting himself up for failure and all but ensuring that it will happen.

Entrepreneurs need to do their homework, analyze the situation the best they can, make a decision based on that analysis and then move forward with the decision.  Continuing to think about the downside of any action will ensure that such a result occurs.

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