Having broken new sitcom ground with their masturbation episode earlier this season, “Seinfeld” this week retreats to more traditional prime time subjects: body odor and lesbianism.
The two story lines are, fortunately, unrelated. After claiming his car from a restaurant parking attendant, Jerry (Seinfeld) notices a gross and lingering odor. Not only can’t it be removed from the auto’s interior, the smell sticks to him, to passenger Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), and to anyone else who sits inside.
Meanwhile, George (Jason Alexander) runs into old girlfriend Susan (Heidi Swedberg) and her new romance, Mona (Viveka Davis). Surprised to find himself turned on by her sexual orientation, George confesses, “If I’d known that she was a lesbian when we went out, I never would have broken up with her.”
It’s this second storyline that takes the most turns in Larry David and Peter Mehlman’s witty script, filled with amusing detail.
Seinfeld, George, Elaine and oddball Kramer (Michael Richards) are one of the smoothest-running families on contemporary television, with the relationship between Jerry and Elaine far more sophisticated than the bulk of what’s going on elsewhere.
The answer to the question “Can a man and woman be friends without sex?” posed in another Castle Rock property, “When Harry Met Sally …” is, in this case, yes.
In fact, Jerry’s so accommodating in this episode that he takes Elaine to dinner before driving her to her date’s house.
Episode is strongly cast, including brief appearances by Nick Bakay (announcer on Dennis Miller’s talk series) as Elaine’s date, Michael Des Barres as a snooty maitre d’ who gets his comeuppance, Taylor Negron as a hairdresser, and Courtney Gains as the clerk in a video rental shop where George and Susan renew their acquaintance.