|Episode no.||Season 9
|Directed by||Andy Ackerman|
|Written by||Bruce Eric Kaplan|
|Original air date||January 29, 1998|
The episode was inspired by comedian Kathy Griffin's ridiculing Jerry Seinfeld during a stand-up comedy performance on HBO where she stated that he was allegedly rude to her during her first appearance on the sitcom, in the episode "The Doll". Seinfeld was so amused by this that he wrote her a humorous letter congratulating her for it (reprinted in her memoir, Official Book Club Selection), added the clip of her routine as well as a clip of her being interviewed about the incident by Conan O'Brien to a video shown to audiences at Seinfeld tapings and had it written into the series. Griffin said, given that this was one of the final ten episodes of Seinfeld, "I felt like it was part of history-making television." Griffin and Seinfeld have remained friendly in the years since.
This episode was also notable for its subtle criticism towards the cartoons published in The New Yorker, which none of the characters seems to understand. The episode's writer, Bruce Eric Kaplan, had himself contributed many cartoons to The New Yorker, and he drew upon some of his own experiences for this part of the plot. Kaplan said of the cartoon subplot, "To me, the most interesting part of that story was the idea of not understanding a cartoon." Elaine tries to contribute to the magazine with a simpler and understandable cartoon, but ends up subconsciously lifting a Ziggy joke. This part of the storyline was later remembered by the media when in 2008 Jessica Seinfeld was falsely accused of plagiarizing a cookbook.
Elaine obsesses over the meaning of a cartoon that appears in The New Yorker. Elaine and later Kramer comment that George's new girlfriend (Tracy Nelson) looks a lot like Jerry. In fact Kramer tells George, "Just because they look alike, that doesn't mean you're secretly in love with Jerry." Jerry confronts Kramer's frankness. Sally claims that Jerry has ruined her life and she's quitting the business. Jerry can't have that on his conscience; he talks her back into the business. Kramer makes an important life decision: the only way to keep his mouth shut is to stop talking. Before he finally stops talking, Kramer's constant references to the looks of George's girlfriend drive George out of Jerry's apartment.
Elaine goes to The New Yorker offices to seek an explanation for the cartoon. She discovers that the editor (Paul Benedict) didn't understand the cartoon either – he simply "liked the kitty". Sally opens her new one-woman show about "Jerry Seinfeld, the Devil". Elaine's complaint gets her the opportunity to do her own cartoon for the magazine. Jerry confronts Sally about the content of her show. Newman is her biggest fan; finally, he can see a "show that is about something". Kramer discovers the disadvantages of not talking. George worries about why he really likes his girlfriend. A clip of Sally's show appears on Channel 9 news; it features Jerry's latest confrontation with her. Jerry calls Sally and the message he leaves on her answering machine appears in her show as well. Later the lawsuit he filed appears in her cable special. Jerry decides to cut off all communication with Sally. Elaine's first comic appears in The New Yorker. J. Peterman thinks it is a great cartoon until he realizes it is a Ziggy.
George and his girlfriend discuss their relationship, until she gets chewing gum in her hair. Sally starts talking to the silent Kramer, until he can't take it anymore. He tells her to shut up, and then he apologizes and says that he hasn't spoken for days. Sally tells him to lay it on her. To remove the gum from her hair, George's girlfriend cuts her hair; her new hairstyle looks exactly like Jerry's. Sally's new cable show is about to come on and Jerry is convinced she'll have nothing to talk about, and is proven wrong because Kramer talked with Sally at Monk's Coffee Shop. George decides to take a few days off from his "relationship" with Jerry.
The New Yorker tribute
On July 18, 2012, The New Yorker paid tribute to the episode. Contest #342 was a drawing of a pig at a complaint window. The winning caption was printed in the next August 27, 2012 issue of the magazine and read "Stop sending me spam!" It was submitted by Sean Lynch of Brooklyn, NY.
Vance Durgin of The Orange County Register wrote that the episode was "funny all the way, because of writing mostly true to the characters." Barbara Vancheri of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette gave the episode a "7.5" on a ten-point scale.
- "The Cartoon" - TV.com
- Seinfeld: the totally unauthorized tribute (not that there's anything wrong with that) - David Wild - Three Rivers Press - pp. 63 (1998)
- Walter, Tom (January 27, 1998). "Anti-Seinfeld routine gets comedian back on show", The Commercial Appeal, p. C4.
- Vancheri, Barbara (January 31, 1998). "'Sein'-off", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, p. B12.
- Pergament, Alan (January 29, 1998). "Bashing Jerry in her HBO special earns Kathy Griffin a 'Seinfeld' break", The Buffalo News, p. C5.
- "Bringing the A-List to Its Knees" - The New York Times
- "A proud 'D' list diva" - Toledo Blade
- Carter, Bill (January 29, 1998). "On the set with: Jerry Seinfeld: Final Days, And Laughing All the Way", The New York Times, p. E1.
- BEK to the Drawing Board: An Interview with Bruce Eric Kaplan, Hogan's Alley, 2001
- "Drawing criticism - New Yorker cartoonist lifts legend's work" - New York Post
- "Ziggy turns 35, remains optimistic" - MSNBC
- "There Are Many Ways Out of the Cloaca Maxima" - Baltimore City Paper
- "Complaint: Jessica Seinfeld's Cookbook Infringes, Jerry Defamed Author" - The Hollywood Reporter
- "The Big Scandal: Cookbook Controversy" - FoxNews.com
- "Seinfeld" and Elaine's New Yorker Pig Cartoon : The New Yorker - Robert Mankoff - The New Yorker - July 18, 2012
- Durgin, Vance (February 1, 1998). "Seinfeld Watch: The Final Season: An episode with reminders of the best", The Orange County Register, p. F4.