George uses Susan's death to pick up women. Elaine's new friend is Jerry's exact opposite. Jerry's new girlfriend has manly hands. Kramer pretends to work for an upscale firm.

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(created by), (created by) | 3 more credits »
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Airs Wed. Jun. 01, 6:30 PM on TBS

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Gillian (as Kristin Bauer)
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Bizarro Kramer
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Bizarro George (as Kyle T. Heener)
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Amanda
J. Patrick McCormack ...
Leland
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Office Manager (as Harry Murphy)
Dana Patrick ...
Model #1
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Model #2
Robin Nance ...
Model #3
Mark Larson ...
Bizarro Newman (as Mark S. Larson)
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Storyline

Elaine meets Kevin's friends and feels likes she's entered the world of Bizarro Jerry where her world is in reverse. Jerry has a date with Gillian, a woman with man hands. George hits on a new sob story to try and get in with a beautiful receptionist. Kramer gets an unpaid job at a upscale firm. Written by garykmcd

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Comedy

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3 October 1996 (USA)  »

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4:3
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jerry has a bicycle hanging next to his bathroom door. Bizzaro Jerry has a unicycle hanging on the opposite side of his bathroom door. See more »

Goofs

In this episode, Kramer is making breakfast in Jerry's apartment and as Jerry comes out of his bedroom, a boom mic is visible high above his head. See more »

Connections

Featured in Seinfeld: The Chronicle (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Morning Train (9 to 5)
(uncredited)
Written by Florrie Palmer
Performed by Sheena Easton
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User Reviews

A Postmodern Reading
10 January 2016 | by (new york) – See all my reviews

An allegory is a symbolic representation with a one-to-one correspondence to reality, illustrating an idea. The bizarro world with Jerry, George, Kramer, Newman, Jerry's apartment and even the coffee shop having a counterpart is an especially great example of postmodernism, because the allegory in effect references itself. It establishes that the only reference point is popular culture, and the only statements it makes is about the television reality of the characters: they are cheap, they don't read, they're selfish, irresponsible, unreliable, and inconsiderate. In the opening clip, George defends his preference of being in the circus rather than the zoo, saying "at least it's show business." This self-reference, along with the canned laughter, reminds the viewer that Seinfeld is just another media product. Elaine self-references the show when she says, "I cannot spend the rest of my life coming into this stinking apartment every ten minutes to pour over the excruciating minutia of every single event," which is all they do in every episode. And when she walks out on him, Jerry yells, "the whole system is breaking down!" referring perhaps in a broader sense to the system of metanarratives that make sense of the world. This is the system of repeatable, predictable occurrences by which we organize our lives. Every Seinfeld episode centers on the discussion of minutia, but this episode favors an even more postmodern experience...

Kramer says "you don't sell the steak. You sell the sizzler." In our consumerist society, people are sold on appearances, and he serves to emphasize the point by having a job with no substance behind the surface gloss of convention. The men in the elevator tell Kramer he did "good work today" though he did nothing. He has crackers in his briefcase, and his day consists of the morning rush, time at the water cooler and after-work drinks. The show makes fun of the conventional language he uses; he has a "tough day at the office, the phone wouldn't stop" and was "busting his hump over those reports."

Consistent with this stress on style over substance, Seinfeld breaks down distinctions between high and popular culture. George mixes allusions of antiquity with that of a modern day concert referencing in one sentence both a secret, forbidden city, and how having the picture of "man hands" would prove that he'd been inside, and "his hand had been stamped." Later, Jerry comments that "man hands" was part woman and part horrible beast, alluding to creatures of Greek mythology; the next moment he comments how he'd prefer if she had hooks for hands, a popular reference to Peter Pan.

Seinfeld embodies the postmodern trope of pastiche more than the standard television narrative (told between commercials) because it's a sitcom without a progressive narrative, so time becomes irrelevant. Seinfeld constructs a series of comedic situations derived from the lives of four characters that meet at a coffee shop or Jerry's apartment to tie their stories together. Real time is distorted in the telling of these stories. The practice of cutting from one scene to another typically denotes activities occurring simultaneously in different places, but Seinfeld shifts times, places, and characters so rapidly that the viewer cannot keep track of any distinct time span. The meatpacking plant is a happening club for a few nights, then completely reverts back to its former self. Just as postmodernism is about loss of time and space, it's also about the loss of metanarratives.

Seinfeld parodies the move away from the metanarrative of marriage toward a series of discrete, if still monogamous, relationships. The picture of "man hands" that Elaine gives Jerry has her "stats" on the back just like a baseball card would: last serious relationship, car ownership, and favorite president, to poke fun at the process of collecting irrelevant, arbitrary data on a person. This parody is a statement on dating today, where people trade each other in for better models, and the process of harshly critiquing dates... the hands could stand in for any flaw. The nature of relationships is casual, as none of the characters is married. When Elaine says that Kevin was fine with being just friends, Jerry asks, "why would anyone want a friend?" an ironic question since they are friends. No one needs friends anymore, which was once an important part of self-identity. Another declining metanarrative is that of work ethic. Kramer says meaningless things, like "TCB- taking care of business," when he actually does nothing but eat crackers. Seinfeld mocks self-inflated business types by making the most anti-establishment character fit into their routine. The show proves that the work community is no longer a place from which one can draw his identity. Neither can he draw comfort from typical gender roles. "Man hands" not only has abnormally large hands, but she breaks lobsters with them, unscrews beer caps and wounds Jerry when he looks through her pocketbook. These are powerful hands that take on a male or even animal role, not feminine. At the same time, Jerry plays the scorned housewife, sitting at home while Kramer goes to work. He complains, "You never listen to me anymore. We never do anything" and "Call if you're going to be late." He is sulky and wears a robe like a stereotypical housewife, commenting "I'm left sitting here like a plate of cold chicken- which was by the way for two." With characters taking on the gender role of the opposite sex, they prove that there is no clear gender distinction anymore. With women in the work force, this metanarrative is quickly on the decline.

Since postmodernism rejects any claim to absolute knowledge, it valorizes subjectivity. It claims that there is no pure point of reference according to which a text needs to be read, because there is no authentic meaning. In this way, a postmodern critique of Seinfeld is as effective as any other reading, and equally ineffective in making sense of the program for a larger public.


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