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November 28, 2014

Seinfeld: The Truth

by Joel Keller, posted Jun 7th 2006 8:38PM
Seinfeld: The Note

Do not adjust your web browser. You are now entering the Retro Squad, where we are reviewing past episodes of your favorite shows, in order, every week.

(S03E02) Like I said last week, the reason why I picked this season of Seinfeld to review was because Season Three is the first one that's, well, Seinfeld-ian. But it still took a while, especially early on, for the show to find a groove. This episode, "The Truth", is an example of that: really funny, but a little slow in parts.

There's two plots here, one that overwhelms the other: George breaks up with Patrice, an accountant who's going to help Jerry with an audit, and tells her the truth, calling her pretentious. Patrice runs away to a mental hospital, where George and Jerry visit her in an attempt to get his tax papers back. Meanwhile, Elaine's not co-existing very well with her roommate Tina's new boyfriend, who just happens to be Kramer.

Observations and awards:

Best line: When Jerry says that an audit is like "the financial equivalent of a complete rectal examination." I like how Elaine briefly looks up from filing her nails when he says that, then goes back to the filing.
Best facial expression: Not really an expression but a dance: when Elaine reveals to Jerry that Kramer saw her naked the last time he was over to visit Tina, she's so skeeved out she does this little Flashdance-esque step and says, "Jerry, how can I go on?"
Best Kramerism: The dance Kramer does to the tribal music. When Elaine comes home from work, she encounters Kramer doing that dance wearing nothing but a little towel. It has to be seen to be appreciated.

More observations and DVD-extra tidbits:
  • Too bad they didn't show more examples of Patrice's pretension. One little sign that I never noticed before: she brought her own salt and pepper to the coffeeshop. You can see her put a little pepper grinder and a salt shaker in her purse as she gets up to leave after George unloads on her.
  • This is the first time we hear George's middle name: Louis. According to the "Notes on Nothing", the name is a tribute to Lou Costello.
  • From a purely guy-ish perspective, I really, really love how Elaine/Julia dressed in those days, with the denim jackets and the cowboy boots. It was the perfect "early-'90s bohemian New Yorker" look that appealed to me quite a bit back then. Elaine's conversion to business clothes and less-poofy hair in Season Seven really helped make Elaine more caustic and less appealing.
  • This is one of the few times they tried to insert smoke in Jerry's stand-up segements, to make it look more like a real nightclub. But the smoke couldn't be regulated well so they dropped it.
  • The windshield coffee table Kramer creates for Tina is the first dalliance Kramer has with coffee tables, which will culmiate with his coffee table book about coffee tables two seasons later.
  • Patrice threw out the only copy of Jerry's tax forms, not his receipts. In fact, Jerry and Kramer are seen in the first segment going through Jerry's receipts. But after his and George's visit with Patrice in the rest home, we see Jerry calling and looking for another receipt. I never realized this was a plot hole until the DVD's "Notes on Nothing" pointed it out. It's interesting that they'd call themselves out like that.
  • The first episode not directed by Tom Cherones. This one was directed by sitcom veteran David Steinberg. Also the first episode written by a woman, Elaine Pope.
So, overall, "The Truth" was funny -- loved the chopsticks in Patrice's hair -- but you could tell Larry David and company's plotting and pacing were still a little off. It wouldn't be too long, though, before they started hitting the comedy bullseye, something they would continue to do for the next two-and-a-half years.




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ahmed

thank you for this

April 12 2008 at 8:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michael

I'd not noticed Patrice's taking the salt and pepper shaker...looks like I've got a good excuse to go to the DVD and look for it. (Like it takes much of an excuse to enjoy Seinfeld on DVD....)

June 08 2006 at 8:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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