The Outing (Seinfeld)
|Episode no.||Season 4
|Directed by||Tom Cherones|
|Written by||Larry Charles|
|Original air date||February 11, 1993|
"The Outing" is the 57th episode of the sitcom Seinfeld. It is the 17th episode of the fourth season, and first aired on February 11, 1993. The line "… not that there's anything wrong with that"—as a reference to homosexuality—has become a popular catchphrase among fans.
While at Monk's Cafe, Elaine notices a woman in a nearby booth eavesdropping, and as a prank speaks to Jerry and George as if they were a closeted gay couple. The eavesdropping woman turns out to be Sharon (Paula Marshall), a New York University reporter who is planning on interviewing Jerry. Later, Sharon visits Jerry's apartment to conduct the interview. His and George's conversation during the interview inadvertently solidifies her misconception that they are gay. Eventually, they recognize her from the coffee shop, and strenuously deny that they are gay, conditioning their denials with "Not that there's anything wrong with that."
Throughout the episode, Jerry and George, and most of the other characters, fear being seen as homosexual, yet also feel guilty and afraid they will be perceived as homophobic.
The interview with Jerry is published in the school newspaper, and subsequently gets picked up by the Associated Press. Jerry ends up dating the college reporter, largely in an attempt to convince her he is heterosexual, but all does not go well. In his typical cowardly fashion, George decides to use his (fake) orientation as an excuse to break up with his girlfriend, Allison (Kari Coleman). George tries to act gay with Jerry in front of Allison to prove that they're homosexuals, but when Jerry doesn't follow along, George's ruse doesn't convince her. However, the reporter saw George's attempt to act gay and believes that Jerry and George lied to her, that they are actually gay, and that they used her to hide the fact that they are lovers.
The episode ends with Kramer receiving a visit from an attractive young man, causing George and Jerry to briefly wonder what's going on, only to have Kramer explain "He's the phone man... Not that there's anything wrong with that."
According to the "Inside Look" interviews on the episode's DVD release, the original script was almost abandoned due to fears of offending the gay community. When writer Larry Charles casually used the phrase "not that there's anything wrong with that" in a discussion about salvaging his episode, Jerry Seinfeld immediately realized if that line was added to the script, it would be socially acceptable. The line would soon afterward become a catchphrase (Jason Alexander maintains that it is the most popular to originate from the series). Seinfeld has stated that he is particularly proud of the episode, saying that it simultaneously satirizes both homophobia and excessive political correctness. The episode later won a GLAAD Media Award.
- Tropiano, Stephen (2002). The Prime Time Closet: A History of Gays and Lesbians on TV. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 191.
- Irwin, William (2010). Seinfeld and Philosophy: A Book about Everything and Nothing. ReadHowYouWant.com, Limited. p. 245.
- Armstrong, Jennifer (7 July 2014). "About nothing?: 10 issue-tackling Seinfeld episodes". A.V. Club.