Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Stupid Summer Project: The Package

Kramer: So what do you think of that alien autopsy?
Newman: Oh, that's real.
Kramer: I think so too.

Elaine: I'm not difficult; I'm easy.
Jerry: Why? Because you dress casual and sleep with a lot of guys?

Comment: I love this episode, in which George participates in "the timeless art of seduction." Once again, comedy comes from placing the familiar situation into the unfamiliar context (which is also the basis of a lot of sketch comedy): the exploitative "photog" (Kramer) convincing the naive model (George) to pose topless, the investigator (Newman) interrogating the suspect (Jerry), but with the hot light on the investigator. On Seinfeld, it works.

There's another joy of watching these episodes on DVD. After Larry David left the show, Jerry stopped opening the show with a standup bit. The shows usually opened with some inane conversation between characters that doesn't have anything to do with the plot. These scenes usually get cut from syndication--meaning I haven't seen these scenes in years. It's a joy to experience them again--it feels like the first time.

George's role in the show continues to evolve. Earlier in the series the comedy surrounding George was character based: his neuroticism, anxiety, cheapness, selfishness, and paranoia drove the comedy. Now he's a situation character: it is the situations he finds himself in that provide the comedy. Interesting, I think, that "Curb Your Enthusiasm" provides the perfect blend of character and situation comedy in Larry David's exploits.

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