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 former gymnast who won a silver medal at the 1984 Olympics, but finds they have awkward silences and little to talk about except for deposed dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu. Kramer encourages him to continue the relationship until they have sex, since being a gymnast he says she is probably very "flexible."

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 hidden spaceship in it that he sends Elaine to an important merger meeting between the Morgan Springs and Poland Creek bottled water companies. When the companies tell her that their proposed new name is going to be "Moland Springs", she scoffs and says she would "never drink something called Moland". Her comments launch a dispute and put the merger in jeopardy.

George is still dating Lindsay (Jessica Hecht), who had appeared in the previous episode "The Couch". When he goes to Lindsay's mother Mrs. Enright's house for lunch, he impresses her with his gentlemanly demeanor and his offer to clear the dishes. 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 insists to Jerry that the pastry was clean, Jerry chides him for "eating trash". George calls Lindsey, apologizes and asks for another chance.

Kramer brings Jerry a videotape of the 1984 Olympics to convince him that sex with Katya would be "a magical world of sensual delights". But later, Jerry tells Elaine that the sexual tryst was actually disappointing and "there was nothing gymnastic about it". However, now that they've slept together she tells him he is now committed to dating Katya for at least three more weeks.

On the street, George buys a cup of coffee, but does not like it and throws it away, but it accidentally splashes onto someone's windshield. The driver gets upset and demands George clean it off, which he does with a piece of newspaper. A few moments later, he is spotted by Mrs. Enright, who runs away in horror, convinced that he is a vagrant. George has to apologize once more and gets yet another opportunity with Lindsay.

Jerry and Kramer go to the circus with Katya to watch Katya's friend Misha the tightrope walker. In the restroom, Kramer finally passes the kidney stone, but he screams so loudly that he makes Misha fall from the high wire. Katya then breaks up with Jerry by telling about the Romanian legend of "The Comedian" a man so virile he can take a women to a "world of sensual delights". She tells Jerry that although he may tell jokes, "he is no Comedian".

George, who had earlier told Jerry and Kramer that he likes to take his shirt off when he goes to the bathroom (to have "no encumbrances"), is at 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, meanwhile, has spent 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 under his nose 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 writes about Jerry's and Katya's expectations:

Expecting especially exciting maneuvers from this exotic contortionist, he is disappointed by the banality of their encounter. Although he intends to break off their relationship, she beats him to the punch line. She invokes what she calls the Romanian ideal of the comedian, a man so virile that no other can compare. "You may make people laugh, Jerry Seinfeld," she says, "but you are no comedian." 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 writes in his essay "Seinfeld as Intertextual Comedy" (his episode-numbering system appears in parentheses):

Elaine's boss, Mr. Pitt, ends the episode called "The Gymnast" (6006) looking like Adolph [sic] Hitler addressing a Nazi rally. 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..." Sims added, among other observations, "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 and Sara Lewis Dunne. Seinfeld, Master of Its Domain: Revisiting Television's Greatest Sitcom. New York: Continuum. p. 65. Retrieved September 20, 2012.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)
  2. ^ Dunne, Michael (2006). "Seinfeld as Intertextual Comedy". In David Lavery and Sara Lewis Dunne. Seinfeld, Master of Its Domain: Revisiting Television's Greatest Sitcom. New York: Continuum. p. 54.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)
  3. ^ Sims, David (May 19, 2011). "The Couch / The Gymnast". The A.V. Club. Retrieved September 20, 2012.

External links[edit]