“One Mulligatawny And, Um…”

[Contains a secret stockpile of sponges and SPOILERS!!!]

Julia Louis-Dreyfus as ‘Elaine Benes’ in “Seinfeld” (S7)I’ve finally completed my Seinfeld collection, with the purchase of the seventh season boxset. Hurrah! I picked all the others up in a random order, whenever I saw them in s/hand shops, but this one I decided to buy new, rather than keep waiting and hoping to find it going cheap.

First up, there were several classic Lainey moments peppered through the 24 episodes… such as the sadistic glee she took in shutting down the eponymous “Soup Nazi” (ep #7.06), or the way she got all giggly and flirty when she learned that Jerry was pulling in enough disposable income to buy his father a shiny new Cadillac! (ep #7.14/15) On a purely prurient level, there was also the episode where she somehow failed to notice that her blouse had lost a button, and went around inadvertently flashing her cleavage at various men (#7.10, “The Gum”). Personally, I find it very hard to believe that she could overlook a wardrobe malfunction like that for so long (they didn’t have mirrors in the theatre bathroom? She didn’t feel the breeze?), but I’m willing to go along with the gag because… hotcha! There was also a nice little featurette on the final disc (rather misleadingly titled “The Elaine Benes Story”), which focussed on Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and her experience as the cast’s token lady-person. Fun fact: Fans sometimes ask her to shove them around, the way she does Jerry and the gang on the show! She didn’t say whether she’s ever complied or not though…

Heidi Swedberg as ‘Susan Ross’ in “Seinfeld” (S7)As for the supporting cast members: Cindy Cheung theoretically made her screen debut in ep #7.01 (“The Engagement”), playing an eavesdropping well-wisher in the movie theatre… but her scene was cut and only appears as a hidden easter egg on the first disc!* Harsh. Of course, this episode also saw the return of Heidi Swedberg as George’s doomed fiancée ‘Susan Ross’, for a season-long arc that ends with one of the darkest and strangest twists the show ever attempted. For the record, I don’t think George is really culpable for her demise, since she could just as easily have used a sponge to wet the envelopes after she realised how disgusting they were… or simply gone behind his back and upgraded the invitations to something less toxic. Why she ever agreed to marry the cheap, duplicitous, weaselly a-hole in the first place, I’ll never know! Frances Bay made two appearances as ‘Mabel Choate’, a forgetful old woman who Jerry “mugged” for a marble rye bread (#7.11 “The Rye”), only to return as the deciding voter during his father’s impeachment trial (ep #7.14/15). Ooops!

Marisa Tomei as ‘Herself’ in “Seinfeld” (S7)Brenda Strong made her debut as Elaine’s high-school-friend-turned-nemesis ‘Sue Ellen Mischke’ (aka “The Braless Wonder”) in ep #7.12 (“The Caddy”)… then returned to drive up the bidding on a set of JFK’s golf-clubs, that our heroine was trying to buy on behalf of her employer, J. Peterman (ep #7.21/22 “The Bottle Deposit”). I also have to give a shout-out to Marilyn Tokuda, who appears in ep #7.12 as one of Elaine’s unnamed co-workers, inspired by Sue Ellen’s example to wear nothing but a bra and jacket to the office. Apparently Tokuda’s first screen appearance was in a 1978 sitcom about an all-girl roller derby team, titled The Roller Girls… which sounds like a great premise for a show to me. Is it too late to make a Whip It! spin-off series? Marisa Tomei appeared in ep #7.14/15, playing “herself” as a gorgeous Academy Award-winning actress with an inexplicable penchant for short, stocky, bald men… purely to torment/tempt the unhappily-engaged George! In the final scene of the finale, he called her up again hoping for a date, despite the fact that Susan’s body hadn’t even been buried yet! That’s some stone-cold sociopathy right there. Shudder.

Janeane Garofalo as ‘Jeannie Steinman’ in “Seinfeld” (S7)Kathy Griffin appeared in ep #7.17 (“The Doll”), as ‘Sally Weaver’ an intensely annoying former roommate of Susan’s, who blithely sabotaged Jerry’s comedy bit for an upcoming TV appearance. Ironically, when Griffin complained in a stand-up show about the way she’d been treated while recording this episode, it inspired Seinfeld to bring her back in a later season! Gina Mastrogiacomo appeared in ep #7.18 (“The Wig Master”) as a spiky prostitute turning tricks in a discount parking lot, who may (or may not) have left a condom in George’s car. Ew. Debra Messing made her first appearance as ‘Beth’, the female half of a married couple that Jerry and Elaine had been keenly waiting to see break-up, in ep #7.23 (“The Wait Out”). And finally,  Janeane Garofalo appeared in ep #7.24 (“The Invitations”), as ‘Jeannie Steinman’, a super-cute young woman Jerry believed might be his simpatico soul-mate. Aside from a deleted scene of the two of them making out on the couch, there’s also quite a funny out-take of her joking around on set, in the “bloopers” section. I can’t say I cared for her character all that much, since she’s really just there to mirror Jerry, but time spent watching Garofalo is always time well spent!

———–

* Disc 1: Go to the ‘Episodes’ menu… Select “The “Engagement”… In the Episode Menu, highlight “Deleted Scenes”… Press your RIGHT button twice and a ring will appear… Press ENTER to select the ring!

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About deecrowseer

A comic book writer with an interest in feminism, philosophy, and affirmative action.
This entry was posted in Rants about TV and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to “One Mulligatawny And, Um…”

  1. Smash says:

    This is my all-time favourite show and reading through your review reminds me of what a great season this one is!
    I’ve never thought about the sponge/envelope thing before, but you’re totally right! George is off the hook.

    • deecrowseer says:

      Off the hook for that, but not for all of the other despicable things he’s done… or the despicable things he *will* do once he gets out of prison! He’s a one-man despicability wave! Elaine, on the other hand, is clearly a wonderful, sweet, kind-hearted woman who’s fallen in with a bad crowd… right? Ehhh, maybe not…

      • Smash says:

        Not much of a George fan at all, are you?
        I gained a newfound appreciation for George when I started watching Curb Your Enthusiasm because now I see how much his character really was modelled after Larry David.

        • deecrowseer says:

          I think George is a classic comedy character, and Jason Alexander gives a great performance in the role… so I’m a fan in that sense… but I probably criticise his behaviour so harshly because he reminds me a little of myself! Well, a part of myself… the George within… shudder!

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