Saturday, August 06, 2011

‘Seinfeld’ on alternative medicine

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I never cared for Seinfeld, but this just saw my opinion of it rise a few notches. Here’s a clip where George Costanza is in the hospital for tonsil removal surgery and, rather than face the steep medical costs of the procedure, instead chooses to go “holistic” with a parody of an alternative medicine guru that, in the end, isn’t all that caricaturized:

Transcript (via Seinfeld Scripts): (click the [+/-] to expand/collapse →) []

[minor grammatical/spelling edits]

KRAMER: See, the medical establishment, see, they tried to frame him. It's all politics. But he's a rebel.

JERRY: A rebel? No. Johnny Yuma was a rebel. Eckman is a nut. George, you want to take care of your tonsils, you do it in a hospital. With a doctor.

KRAMER: He's holistic, George. He's holistic.

GEORGE: Holistic … that sounds right.

JERRY: George, you need a medical doctor.

GEORGE: (To Jerry) Let me ask you something … How much do you think it would cost to have tonsils and adenoids removed in the hospital?

JERRY: Well, an overnight stay in a hospital? Minor surgery? I dunno, four grand.

GEORGE: Uh-huh. And how much does the healer charge?

KRAMER: First visit? Thirty-eight bucks.

GEORGE: Oh, yeah? Holistic … that's what I need. That's the answer.

(Scene ends)

[Setting: Healer's apartment]

(Jerry and George are sitting on huge pillows on the apartment floor. Kramer’s fiddling with an acupuncture model)

GEORGE: So, how do you like the way I talked you into comin' down here?

JERRY: Don't flatter yourself, my friend. I'm here strictly for material, and I have a feeling this is a potential gold mine … I still think you're nuts, though.

GEORGE: All I know is I've been going to doctors all my life. What has it gotten me? I'm thirty-three years old. I haven't outgrown the problems of puberty, I'm already facing the problems of old age. I completely skipped healthy adulthood. I went from having orgasms immediately to taking forever. You could do your taxes in the time it takes me to have an orgasm. I've never had a normal, medium orgasm.

JERRY: (Jokingly making fun of George) I've never had a really good pickle.

GEORGE: Besides, what's it gonna cost me? Thirty-eight bucks?

(Tor enters. He hugs Kramer for a long time, then walks over to Jerry and George)

TOR: (To Jerry) Would you not put your foot on that please?

JERRY: Sorry.

(Tor sits down, and turns toward George)

TOR: What month were you born?

GEORGE: April.

TOR: You should have been born in August. Your parents would have been well-advised to wait.

GEORGE: Really?

TOR: Do you use hot water in the shower?


TOR: Stop using it.

GEORGE: … Okay.

KRAMER: I'm off hot water.

TOR: Kramer tells me that you are interested in an alternative to surgery.

GEORGE: Yes, yes I am.

TOR: (Blows into George's face) I think we can help you. See, unfortunately, the medical establishment is a business like any other business. And business needs customers. And, they want to sell you their most expensive item which is unnecessary surgery.

GEORGE: (Still on the showers) Can I use hot water on my face?

TOR: No. You know, I am not a business man. I'm a holistic healer. It's a calling, it's a gift. You see, it's in the best interest of the medical profession that you remain sick. You see, that insures good business. You're not a patient. You're a customer.

JERRY: (He thinks this, the audience can hear his thoughts) And you're not a doctor, but you play one in real life.

GEORGE: (Still on the hot water) What about shaving?

TOR: (To Jerry) You're eating too much dairy. (To George) May I? (Reaches over, and touches George's face)

GEORGE: I guess so.

TOR: (Feeling George's face) You see, you are in disharmony. The throat is the gateway to the lung. Tonsillitis, adenoiditis, is, in Chinese medical terms, and invasion of heat and wind.

JERRY: (Again, we hear his thoughts) There's some hot air blowing in here …

TOR: You know, I lived with the Eskimos many years ago, and they used to plunge their faces into the snow.

GEORGE: (Once again, still on the shower) Could it be lukewarm?

JERRY: Too much dairy? You really think I'm eating too much dairy?

(Scene ends)

[Setting: Healer's apartment]

TOR: (Pouring tea) Your tea is ready now. This will solve your so-called tonsil problem. It's a special concoction. It contains cramp bark.

JERRY: I love cramp bark.

TOR: Cleavers.

JERRY: Cleaver, I once had cleaver as a kid. I was able to lift a car.

TOR: And some couch grass.

JERRY: Couch grass and cramp bark? You know, I think that's what killed Curly.

(Tor hands George the tea. George isn't willing to drink it right away. Jerry looks skeptical, Kramer, on the other hand, is enthusiastic)

KRAMER: Go ahead, drink it, George.

JERRY: Excuse me, Tor. May I ask you a question? You have intuitive abilities. You're in touch with a lot of this cosmic kind of things.. I have this note I can't read. I was wondering if-

TOR: (Takes the note, then laughs when he reads it) Oh, yes … yes … "Cleveland 117, San Antonio 109.. (Hands note back to Jerry)

KRAMER: Go ahead, drink it, George.

GEORGE: (Takes a sip) Hey, it's not too bad …

(Scene ends)

[Setting: Ambulance]

(George's strapped down on a gurney. His face is purple, and he's screaming. Jerry and Kramer are trying to calm him down. The driver and the assistant in the back are having a huge fight)

GEORGE: (In a state of hysteria) I'm an eggplant! I'm an eggplant! I'm a minstrel man!

DRIVER: (To Assistant) I didn't take your Chuckle, man!

ASSISTANT: I had five Chuckles. I ate a green one, and the yellow one, and the red one is missing!

DRIVER: I don't even like Chuckles!

JERRY: (To Assistant) Maybe he doesn't like them. That's possible.

GEORGE: My face! My face! Get me to the hospital!

ASSISTANT: I want that Chuckle! You hear me?!

JERRY: (To Assistant) I'll get you a Chuckle. You want me to get you a Chuckle?

ASSISTANT: (Angry, to Driver) Pull over!

DRIVER: Pull over? Did you say pull over?! You want a piece of me?!


JERRY: You're gonna fight?

GEORGE: Now?! I'm a mutant!

KRAMER: (To Driver) Hey, let me drive.

ASSISTANT: Come on, man. Pull over!

DRIVER: Alright! I'm gonna mess you up, man!

(Ambulance comes to a screeching halt. Driver gets out, and the assistant heads for the back door)

JERRY: (Pleading) Really, gentlemen, please.

GEORGE: My heart! My heart! (To Assistant) Where you going? Are you crazy?!

ASSISTANT: I'm gonna kick his ass.

KRAMER: (To Assistant) Hey, you have keys?

GEORGE: You can't leave! This is an ambulance! This is an emergency!

(The Assistant leaves. Jerry, Kramer, and George watch the two fight)

JERRY: All this for a Chuckle.

KRAMER: What's a Chuckle?

JERRY: It's a jelly candy. it comes in five flavors.

(Scene ends)

[Setting: Ambulance]

(It's now moving. The driver's behind the wheel, but the assistant is nowhere in sight)

JERRY: You just can't leave him out there.

DRIVER: I told him I was gonna mess him up.

KRAMER: Well, can you call him an ambulance?

DRIVER: I told him I didn't take his Chuckle. I don't eat that gooey crap!

KRAMER: hey, watch the road! Watch the road, man!

DRIVER: (Turns back, facing Kramer) Hey, man, you want some of what he got?!


(The Ambulance crashes into something)

(Scene ends)

[Setting: Hospital room]

(George is in the bed, watching TV, wearing a neck brace. Jerry enters limping and wearing a neck brace, also. He talks to George, but George can't respond verbally)

JERRY: How ya doing? (George nods) Can't talk? (George shakes his head. Jerry gestures to his brace) Hey, how'd you get the plastic one? (George raises his eyebrows) I like that. (George sticks his tongue out) So how's life without tonsils? (George quickly indicates with his arm that he wants ice cream) What? What's that? … So, how much is this thing gonna cost you now? Like, five, six thousand? … (George signals that it's more) Well, live and learn … at least we lived. Kramer went to Eckman … He feels better already … (George motions for ice cream again) What are you doing?

(Elaine enters)

ELAINE: Oh, poor George. Oh, I'm sorry, but I can't stay long. I don't want to run into Doctor Tongue … Here, I brought you something. (Takes out a pint of ice cream. George gets excited) Oh, please, come on … it was nothing.

(Nurse enters)

JERRY: Hey, check the TV.

(The TV is showing the same exact movie Jerry was watching at the start of the show)

TV VOICE: (Germanic) It's just as you prophesied. The planets of our solar system, incinerating. Like flaming globes, Sigmond. Like flaming globes. Ah, ha, ha, ha …

JERRY: (Pulls the note out of his pocket) That's it! That's it! Flaming globes of Sigmond! Flaming Globes of Sigmond! That's my note! that's what I thought was so funny?! … That's not funny … There's nothing funny about that.


(George throws the whole carton of ice cream over the separating curtain)

MAN: Aaahhhgggg!

(Scene ends)

You sure they didn’t just bring in a real nutball to tape the episode? I’ll be honest with ya, I’m not seeing much of a difference.

(via Respectful Insolence)