In 1998, I wrote this Seinfeld script one night out of the blue. Since today is Story Tuesday, enjoy!
TITLE: Mr. Subliminal
ELAINE interviews a prospective job candidate and JERRY buys a silk undershirt.
JERRY at comedy club.
JERRY (on stage): You wanna know why I became a stand-up comedian?
All the other jobs had applications! – I couldn’t handle the applications. “Applying for a job? Please fill this short form out â€¦ High school athletics … past salaries … references.”
I didn’t have any of those. I would hand in a half-filled out application. The secretary would never even let me in to see the interviewer.
In ELAINEâ€™s office at work.
ALFRED GRUBERG (A medium-height, going bald, 30-45-year-old man. Dressed in a business suit for an interview. Smiling and charming. He has one quirk: he is a psychologist by training and often inserts subliminal phrases into his speech. Subliminal phrases are in all capital letters. Alfred says these phrases quickly as if skimming over the words with no change in demeanor, in how he speaks, how he acts.)
ELAINE and ALFRED walking in.
ELAINE: Mr. Gruberg, please sit down. (ELAINE points to seat on other side of her desk) Now, letâ€™s take a look at your resume. … Secretary at Blomingdaleâ€™s . . . Vogue . . . Russian Tea Room. Psychology? It says here that you received a degree in psychology before starting your secretarial positions. Why would you do that (very puzzled look, taking her glasses off) – gain proficiency in one field and then leave it for secretarial positions?
ALFRED: Well let me tell you the two differences between secretaries and psychologists – Secretaries get fewer looney-tunes (signaling crazy with his finger to his head) if you know what I mean (smiles at ELAINE) GORGEOUS BRUNETTE WOMEN and more money to boot. (laughs, trying to get ELAINE to laugh with him)
ELAINE: (laughs uncomfortablly, looking at resume) Uh-huh.
ELAINEâ€™s VOICEOVER: (Double-take) Did he just say â€œgorgeous brunette womenâ€? Is he trying to come on to me during an interview?
ALFRED: (reaching over her desk) And if you notice there at the bottom, I have listed my specifications: typing speed LOOK CLOSELY PENILE ENLARGEMENT and standardized test scores.
ELAINEâ€™s VOICEOVER: (ELAINE looks very skeptical) Standardized test scores?
JERRY’s apartment. JERRY and GEORGE.
JERRY: My mom recommended I buy a silk undershirt for the winter. But I just donâ€™t know . . . . She recommends it every year.
GEORGE: Oh, no, JERRY, silk undershirts have been underrated. My mom got me a bunch when I was in junior high school.
JERRY: And you still have them?
JERRY: You have silk undershirts from when you were in junior high?!?! How could they have lasted that long?
GEORGE: (Looking at himself apologetically) Well, I havenâ€™t changed much. (Explanatory tone) And – and I only wear them in the winter.
KRAMER walks in.
JERRY: Hey, Kramer, you have any silk undershirts?
KRAMER: Oh, yeah, (smiling big) how else do you think I stay warm in the winter? And let me tell you, women love that! Silk shirts, silk boxers, silk bedsheets, oh yeah! Ok, guys, I need your advice.
JERRY: Who is it?
ELAINEâ€™s VOICEOVER: Elaine.
JERRY: Come on up.
JERRY: Yeah, but I donâ€™t know. It seems like a big step. Silk undershirts. And people already think Iâ€™m gay because Iâ€™m thin and clean. Wonâ€™t this be just another log for the fire?
GEORGE: You mean â€œMore fuel on the fireâ€?
JERRY: No, â€œanother log for the fire.â€
GEORGE: (Confidently but subtly) I think the expression is â€œMore fuel on the fire.â€
JERRY: (In a â€œprove me rightâ€ tone) Kramer!
KRAMER: Whoa, youâ€™d better count me out. I just say, â€œBaby, light my fire.â€
ELAINE comes in.
JERRY: Elaine, what do you say when you mean â€œput another log on the fire.â€
GEORGE: Ah-ah-ah! Thatâ€™s a biased question, Jerry! You already told her what you want her to say.
ELAINE: (Putting her bag and coat down) I say â€œput more fuel on the fire.â€ Why?
GEORGE: Thank you very much!
ELAINE: (Smiling) I interviewed someone today for the new secretary position.
JERRY: Oh, yea, how was she?
ELAINE: Ah-ah-ah! He.
JERRY: Oh, really, male secretary?
KRAMER: (Chewing on something from Jerryâ€™s fridge) Elaine, how does that pay – a male secretary position?
GEORGE: Oh, Kramer, not you, give me a break. Kramer the male secretary.
KRAMER: Well, well . . . Elaine, what are the benefits?
ELAINE: Typical benefits I guess. Healthcare, bonus, life insurance.
KRAMER: Life insurance. Whoa! Iâ€™ll think about it.
ELAINE: Kramer, please donâ€™t apply for the job. Please, please donâ€™t.
KRAMER: Weâ€™ll see.
ELAINE: You would not believe this guy. He seemed like such a creep.
JERRY: Did you tell him you werenâ€™t interested?
ELAINE: Not exactly. He did this weird thing at one point. When I asked him a question, he answered with something that sounded like â€œgorgeous brunette women,â€ but he wouldnâ€™t say that during an interview, right? I must have misheard him, right?
KRAMER: You never know.
GEORGE: So what did it sound like? He just looked you straight in the face and said â€œgorgeous brunette womenâ€? Iâ€™ve tried that. I get knocked on the head every time I say something like that.
JERRY: I think you mean â€œget knocked upside the head.â€
JERRY: I think the expression is â€œget knocked upside the head.â€
GEORGE: Hmm. I think you got me there. At least I admit it!
ELAINE: So that was the more bizarre thing about it. I donâ€™t know how or when he said it. Itâ€™s almost like it was an EPS kind of thing or like I just thought that he said it.
GEORGE: Elaine, (getting excited) what youâ€™re talking about is subliminal! Itâ€™s like an episode I saw on X-Files where this man could get into any secret restricted area by controlling the thoughts of the people he had to pass. He made them all think that he was wearing a badge even though his label simply said the word â€œPassâ€ on it. It was incredible.
ELAINE: You think thatâ€™s what it was? But did the people know his label only said â€œPassâ€ on it?
GEORGE: No! Thatâ€™s the thing – they all thought it was an official ID. Elaine, (moving closer) do you mean to tell me that it works, that some people really can implant subliminal thoughts?
ELAINE: No George, it does not work. If it worked, I wouldnâ€™t have noticed him saying â€œgorgeous brunette womenâ€, right?
GEORGE: (Scheming, sits on couch, looks at ceiling) But maybe youâ€™re the exception, Elaine. Maybe it works on everybody else except you! Maybe thatâ€™s how he got all his other jobs . . . Letâ€™s see it, do you have his resume with you.
ELAINE: Well, yes (reluctant to give it to George).
GEORGE: Well, letâ€™s see it (signaling â€œbring it to meâ€ with both hands from the couch).
ELAINE: No, George, I donâ€™t think so. He applied for a job with Peterman Publishing in confidentiality. I can not go around showing his resume around. I think it may be illegal to distribute the resume of a prospective applicant before the hiring decision has been made.
JERRY: Oh, Elaine, what are we going to do? Call this guy and tell him we saw his resume?
GEORGE: Câ€™mon, Elaine.
KRAMER: I may call him. If it says something offensive, you can bet I may call him.
JERRY: Ok, just donâ€™t show it to Kramer then. Come on, Elaine.
ELAINE: Oh, all right. (She takes the resume out of her bag, and gives it to George).
(JERRY, KRAMER, and GEORGE gather around the sofa, looking over GEORGEâ€™s shoulder at the resume.)
JERRY: It says here heâ€™s worked at Vogue, Bloomingdaleâ€™s, and a secretary for the Russian Tea Room?
ELAINE shrugs her shoulders.
KRAMER: Oh, but thatâ€™s not whatâ€™s so interesting. Whatâ€™s great is that his phone number has no ones or zeros in it. That means it must spell out some word.
JERRY: Oh, come on, Kramer.
KRAMER: 623-7242. Iâ€™m sure it must spell something. (Goes over to the phone)
GEORGE: Heâ€™s a psychologist whoâ€™s become a secretary? That proves my point. He already knows how to control your mind.
KRAMER: (muttering to himself) 623-72â€¦ Mâ€¦ Aâ€¦
JERRY: These are unusual test scores.
ELAINE: What do you mean? He also said something strange that sounded like â€œpenile enlargement,â€ can you believe that?
JERRY: George, these are not test scores.
GEORGE: Oh my gosh, youâ€™re right. Theyâ€™re . . . dimensions.
JERRY: Yes, they are.
GEORGE: Elaine, these are dimensions.
ELAINE: What dimensions?
GEORGE: You know. (looking down at his crotch)
ELAINE: Get out of here. (She pushes George so he falls to lying down on the couch and takes the resume)
Thatâ€™s why he mentioned his standardized test scores.
JERRY: Well, what are you going to do about it?
ELAINE: Iâ€™m going to call him in again, and watch him put his foot in his mouth.
GEORGE: Maybe youâ€™d better check out his old jobs as well. A secretary at the Russian Tea Room?
KRAMER: (Yelling it out) MAD SAGA! His phone number spells MAD SAGA!
In ELAINEâ€™s office. ELAINE is on the phone.
We see the RUSSIAN TEA ROOM OPERATOR on another line in a cut-screen two-phone visual.
ELAINE: Hello, is this the Russian Tea Room?
OPER.: (With a Russian accent) Yes, velcome.
ELAINE: You are a restaurant, correct?
ELAINE: Did you have an Alfred Gruberg working for you as a secretary?
OPER.: Yes, ve just let him go.
ELAINE: You fired him?
OPER.: At zis moment ve have unfinished business with him. Zat is all I can say.
ELAINE: What did he do that you fired him?
OPER.: He worked here. Zat is all I can say. Zank you very much. Good bye.
ALFRED comes in.
ALFRED: Hello, Ms. Benice. Iâ€™m glad you wanted to see me again.
ELAINE: Hello, Mr. Gruberg. Please have a seat. (She gestures)
We try to find the best applicants for the jobs, and so I have some further questions for you. Could you tell me what do you think are your strongest qualifications for the position?
ALFRED: Typing letters, FULL FRONTAL MASSAGES, and putting together presentation documents.
ELAINE: Did you just say â€œfull frontal massagesâ€?
ALFRED: (looking shocked that she heard him) No, I said no such thing.
ELAINE: I think you did. (Standing up from her chair) I think you just said â€œfull frontal massages,â€ and last time I think you said â€œgorgeous brunettesâ€ and â€œpenile enlargement.â€ I think you said all those things.
ALFRED: (cringing in his chair) But why – how?
ELAINE: (proudly) I am immune to your hypnotic suggestion! I know what you are saying!
ALFRED: But how could you be immune? Why didnâ€™t it work on you? (Worriedly) I must get out of here. (He takes his resume from ELAINEâ€™s desk). Donâ€™t worry, I wonâ€™t come back.
ELAINE: Oh, no, Iâ€™m not worried. You can take your resume. I know your phone number. (She picks up her phone and looks at the numbers) MAD SAGA.
It is 643-7242.
ALFRED: You know my phone number?
ELAINE: Yes, and now everybody will know it. You know the 80â€™s song â€œ847-3209 Jennyâ€? Well, your phone number is going to be as well-known!
Iâ€™m going to make sure that you never apply for another job in this city, pervert! Get out.
JERRY and GEORGE in JERRYâ€™s apartment.
GEORGE: You bought a PINK silk undershirt?!?!
JERRY: Yes well it was the only one left, and it felt so nice and silky, I couldnâ€™t wait for the black and white ones to come in next week. I wanted to wear it out of the store.
JERRY: Who is it?
ELAINEâ€™s VOICEOVER: Elaine.
JERRY: Come on up.
GEORGE: Yes, but itâ€™s pink.
KRAMER (coming in with the NY Daily News): Hey, nice pink shirt.
JERRY gestures â€œyou see?â€ to GEORGE.
KRAMER sits down at the table with his newspaper.
ELAINE: (coming in) Well, I told him off. I told that pervert applying for the secretary position to get out of my office and never look for a job in this town again.
GEORGE: Hey, good job. What did he say in his second interview?
ELAINE: (proudly) â€œFull frontal massage.â€ George, you were right, I am immune.
JERRY: Nice job. You have removed him from the secretarial offices and the streets of many of New Yorkâ€™s most impressionable young women. Good job.
ELAINE: Thank you very much. And furthermore, I am going to let everyone know his number: 643-7242 (scheming smile) . . . You bought a PINK undershirt? (laughing)
JERRY: Yes, the black and white shipment wasnâ€™t coming in for another week.
And for your information, Iâ€™m going to go put it on right now.
ELAINE: (Sitting back on the couch, arms spread out on the sofa rest and back, smiling) You canâ€™t do that.
JERRY: Why not?
ELAINE: You havenâ€™t washed it yet.
JERRY: I donâ€™t have to wash it.
ELAINE: You do have to wash it.
GEORGE: No he doesnâ€™t, he just bought it. Itâ€™s clean.
ELAINE: (Incredulous) No itâ€™s not.
GEORGE: Yes it is.
JERRY: Iâ€™m putting it on.
ELAINE: Jerry, you canâ€™t put that on. Do you have any idea how many people tried that shirt on in the store? How many germs it has on it?
JERRY: Oh, come on, Elaine, the PINK one? Who would try on a pink shirk?
ELAINE: Exactly! It could have been a woman. It could have been hundreds of women who tried that shirt but then decided to wait for the black and white shipment to come in.
KRAMER: (Leafing through the NY Post or Daily News) Hey, Elaine, whatâ€™s the name of that guy who interviewed with you?
ELAINE: Alfred umâ€¦ (remembering) Gruberg, why?
GEORGE: (Very quietly) You mean to say that hundreds of women could have tried that shirt on over their naked bodies? Or over bras?
ELAINE: (annoyed) Yes, maybe in bras, maybe not.
KRAMER: Elaine, you better come look at this.
ELAINE: At what? (Going over to Kramer at the table).
GEORGE: (Quietly) Jerry, can I see that shirt?
JERRY: (Handing it over) Why?
GEORGE: (Smelling the shirt, pondering) Hundreds of women?
Jerry, I want to buy the shirt from you.
JERRY: No, I want it.
GEORGE: Jerry, you donâ€™t want your first silk shirt to be pink. I have a lot of silk underwear. I can afford to have a pink one as well. (bringing his wallet out) How much do you want?
JERRY: No, I am not selling it.
GEORGE: No, Jerry, you have to have a price for it. How much do you want? Iâ€™ll give you 50 bucks.
JERRY: George, itâ€™s not even your size, and you have a lot of silk undershirts.
GEORGE: (Still smelling it) Yes, but I donâ€™t have any pink ones. Here you go, 50 bucks.
JERRY: George, thatâ€™s twice what I paid for it.
GEORGE: (Smiling) I know. Hereâ€™s the ticket. Itâ€™s straight from the store you know.
JERRY: Oh, fine, you can have it (taking the $50).
GEORGE: Thank you! (runs off with the shirt to the bathroom).
ELAINE: Jerry, Kramerâ€™s right, take a look at this . . . .
KRAMER: See, I told you, itâ€™s her guy, Alfred.
JERRY: What about him?
ELAINE: He is being sued by The Russian Tea Room for sexual harrassment. Thatâ€™s why that lady on the phone was so abruptâ€¦.this is the unfinished business they have with him.
GEORGE: (coming out of the bathroom in the silk undershirt too small for him) Well, how do I look?
They all restrain their laughter.
ELAINE: (through restrained laughter) Is it comfortable?
JERRY: Hey, Iâ€™m hungry. Letâ€™s get out of here and get a bite.
KRAMER: Iâ€™m in.
ELAINE: Iâ€™m in.
GEORGE: (Smelling the shirt) Iâ€™ll just put my shirt on over this. (Goes to the bathroom)
KRAMER puts the paper down. Goes over to the radio.
KRAMER: (turning on the radio) How cold is it outside anyway? Iâ€™m not wearing my silk undershirt today.
JERRY: What are you turning the radio on for?
KRAMER: To get the weather report.
GEORGE: (comes out dressed) Iâ€™m ready.
JERRY: (mocking) Kramerâ€™s getting the weather report. Kramer, would you turn the radio off and letâ€™s go? Iâ€™m hungry.
KRAMER: (At the radio) Oh, Ok. Wait a second, guys. Listen to this.
Music comes over the radio: 643-7242 pervert . . .
KRAMER: Hey, thatâ€™s kind of catchy. (Singing) 643-7242 pervert . . . 643-7242 pervert . . . 643-7242 pervert . . .
JERRY and GEORGE span their fingers to KRAMERâ€™s singing. KRAMER continues to sing. ELAINE smiles and then throws her hands up.