The Gymnast

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"The Gymnast"
Seinfeld episode
Episode no.Season 6
Episode 6
Directed byAndy Ackerman
Written byAlec Berg & Jeff Schaffer
Production code606
Original air dateNovember 3, 1994
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"The Couch"
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"The Soup"
List of Seinfeld episodes

"The Gymnast" is the 92nd episode of Seinfeld. This was the sixth episode for the sixth season. It aired on November 3, 1994, during a special "Blackout Thursday" night on NBC, in which all shows in the Must See TV line-up, except this one, featured a fictional New York City blackout (e.g., Friends episode "The One with the Blackout").

Plot[edit]

Jerry is dating Katya (Elina Löwensohn), a Romanian gymnast who won a silver medal at the 1984 Olympics, but they have little to talk about. Kramer encourages him to continue the relationship, since he is confident a gymnast would have great sexual prowess. But later, Jerry tells Elaine that the sexual tryst was completely mundane, and now that they've slept together he is committed to dating Katya for at least three more weeks.

Kramer goes to Mr. Pitt's office to retrieve his 3-D autostereogram painting that Elaine had taken to frame, but Kramer has to rush out when he suffers pain from a kidney stone. Mr. Pitt becomes so obsessed with the painting and his inability to see the 3-D image that he sends Elaine to a merger meeting between the Morgan Springs and Poland Creek bottled water companies in his stead. When the companies tell her that their proposed new name is "Moland Springs", she scoffs at the name. Her comments launch a dispute and put the merger in jeopardy.

George is still dating Lindsay (Jessica Hecht). When he goes to her mother Mrs. Enright's house for lunch, he impresses her with his gentlemanly demeanor. However, she is horrified when she walks in on him taking a partially eaten chocolate éclair out of the garbage can and eating it. Although George tells Jerry that the pastry was clean, and was even still sitting on its doily, Jerry chides him for "eating trash". George calls Lindsey and asks for another chance. Later on the street, George discards an unwanted cup of coffee onto a car windshield. The driver demands he clean it off, which he does with a piece of newspaper. He is spotted by Mrs. Enright, who runs away, convinced he is a vagrant.

Jerry and Kramer go to the circus with Katya to watch her friend Misha the tightrope walker. In the restroom, Kramer passes his kidney stone, screaming so loudly that he makes Misha fall from the high wire. Katya breaks up with Jerry, declaring that she was only dating him because she thought comedians have great sexual prowess, and was disappointed by his sexual performance.

George, who likes to take his shirt off when he goes to the bathroom, attends a party at Lindsay's house. He goes to the bathroom and is so distracted by a 3-D painting they have that he forgets to put his shirt back on. He walks out of the bathroom topless in front of all her guests, much to the shock of Lindsey and her mother.

Mr. Pitt spends days obsessed with the 3-D painting and is neglecting his work. Elaine, who has her hands covered in ink from a broken fountain pen, angrily breaks the painting and shakes Mr. Pitt out of his trance. He gets some of her ink on his face and rushes off to an important merger meeting, where he makes a fist-pounding impassioned speech, which combined with the ink under his nose makes him resemble Adolf Hitler.

Critical response[edit]

Barbara Ching wrote about Katya's expectations, "The comedian, in other words, embodies a procreative life force that Jerry negates. The laughter he provokes leads to nothing but a one-night stand."[1] Dr. Michael Dunne wrote in his essay "Seinfeld as Intertextual Comedy":

Pitt is admittedly wearing Austrian-looking clothes (because he had earlier hoped to go horseback riding in the park), and he has a thick black mustache on his upper lip (because he accidentally touched himself with ink-stained fingers), but Mr. Pitt is nothing like Hitler in any significant way. The intertextual joke is purely physical, and it requires little knowledge of history or politics. In fact, the less one knows about the Second World War, the funnier the joke is. Funny or not, however, it is apparent that the writers, Alec Berg and Jeff Schaffer, intended to communicate with their audience intertextually through this image.[2]

David Sims of The A.V. Club gave the episode an A- and wrote, "This is one of those Seinfeld episodes that disguises just how callous Jerry is being towards a woman through script innuendo ... George's plot feeds in nicely from last week, which was like a prelude to the imbecility on show this week. He inexplicably keeps getting chances with Lindsay despite ridiculous behavior like eating out of the trash and looking like a squeegee man, as if his ability to explain his way out of situations is messing with the universe's attempts to end the relationship."[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ching, Barbara (2006). "They Laughed Unhappily Ever After". In David Lavery; Sara Lewis Dunne (eds.). Seinfeld, Master of Its Domain: Revisiting Television's Greatest Sitcom. New York: Continuum. p. 65. ISBN 9780826418036. Retrieved September 20, 2012.
  2. ^ Dunne, Michael (2006). "Seinfeld as Intertextual Comedy". In David Lavery; Sara Lewis Dunne (eds.). Seinfeld, Master of Its Domain: Revisiting Television's Greatest Sitcom. New York: Continuum. p. 54.
  3. ^ Sims, David (May 19, 2011). "The Couch / The Gymnast". The A.V. Club. Retrieved September 20, 2012.

External links[edit]