Episode Reviews (2)
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The Baby Shower is more of a collection of OK scenes rather than a consistently solid episode.
In it; Elaine is hosting a baby shower for her snooty friend Leslie and George wants to get back at her for dumping chocolate sauce on his shirt several years ago. Meanwhile Kramer is getting Jerry illegal cable via two Russian immigrants but when they show up at the baby shower.....
The problem with this episode is that many of the stories just have a beginning and an end but no middle; especially Elaine and Jerry's stories which just feel rushed and under written. George's had the potential to be a spectacular plot with a nice build - up thanks to a good performance from Jason Alexander but with the writer Larry Charles simply relying on it fizzling out rather than a proper highlight; it just falls flat. As far as laughs go; at this point there's only one real joke at any given time and it's made so obvious we didn't need the laugh track to tell us when to join in. Although some of them were funny a lot stunk of desperation.
Tom Cherone's direction is fine as the show only takes place in a few different locations, not much talent was needed but the cameras cut back and forth far too much and makes for not only many continuity errors but sufficent dizziness. One never considers that a writer's passion for something would ever conflict with the show's character but Larry Charles's love for guns leads to the most futile and slightly disturbing dream sequence ever seen on Seinfeld. What was he thinking?
I found it very hard to watch this episode without the "Notes about Nothing" feature on the DVD which provides an explanation for each of their obscure cultural refrerences that are especially plentiful in this episode.
As far as performances go; the only real standout is Michael Richards as Kramer who draws the most laughs even though at this point he's yet to develop the Chaplin - esque movements which made him a legend among fans. Aside from him everyone else either relies on understating or overstating and neither work that well. There is also a noticeable wall between Kramer and the rest of the gang but mainly George and Elaine as they never get to bond like they do in later seasons.
Most of this episode's problems can be linked to the writer Larry Charles who had the right ingredients but no proper recipe; everything else that wasn't effected by the script makes for a pretty sweet dish.moreless
Sometimes the road less travelled is less travelled for a reason.
I didn't enjoy this one so much. It was entertaining sure, but it didn't make me laugh that much and certain scenes felt under-written, lacking any real punch. Charles does a good job handling characters and has a fairly good grasp on their personalities developed thus far, but there is a notable difference between this episode and the previous ones that is only explainable through David and Seinfeld's lack of involvement.
Perhaps the biggest gripe I have is the very anti-climactic resolution used to tie up George's story. It begins brilliantly and is developed well, ending up with George wearing his chocolate covered shirt and walking over to confront his problem. Unfortunately, the following scenes lack any real conviction, comedy or sufficient use of the character's personality. I also have a major gripe with the dream sequence which simply does not work and seems completely out of place in a show like Seinfeld. Taken in context of the entire episode, it just seems like a random signature of the writer included for the sake of it.
I found the way in which Charles managed to juggle three plots and eventually make them collide to be more of a hit than a miss, but it's clear that because of limited space, each separate plot doesn't get enough time to be at all memorable. The stand-up scenes too are less successful than others from the series; I really enjoyed the opening segment on switching channels, but everything else failed to strike even a smile. Elaine's plot I couldn't have cared less about, and for me it seemed to serve as a cheap way to intertwine the plots. Unlike the previous episode, she is definitely under-used here. What I loved most about the show however was the involvement of Jerry, Kramer and the cable-guys. Even though Kramer's motivation for Jerry to get cable is unclear, it still provides some of the best scenes of the episode usually thanks to Richards' brilliant performance.
Overall, probably the worst episode I've seen so far, but not without it's silver lining.moreless