Episode 9 - The Phone Message
pc: 207, season 2, episode 4
Broadcast date: February 13, 1991
Written By Larry David & Jerry Seinfeld
Directed By Tom Cherones
Jerry Seinfeld ....................... Jerry Seinfeld
Jason Alexander .................. George Costanza
Julia Louis-Dreyfus ............. Elaine Benes
Michael Richards ................. Kramer
Tory Polone ......................... Carol
Gretchen German ................Donn
INT. COMEDY CLUB NIGHT
(Jerry is on stage, performing.)
JERRY: The bad thing about television is that everybody you see on television is doing something better than what youre doing. You ever see anybody on TV like just sliding off the front of the sofa with potato chip crumbs on their face? Some people have a little too much fun on television. The soda commercial people. Where do they summon this enthusiasm? Have you seen them? We have soda, we have soda, we have soda, jumping, laughing, flying through the air. Its a can of soda! Have you ever been standing there and youre watching TV and youre drinking the exact same product that theyre advertising right there on TV, and its like, you know, theyre spiking volleyballs, jet-skiing, girls in bikinis and Im standing there, Maybe Im putting too much ice in mine.
INT. MONKS DINER DAY
(George and Jerry enter.)
GEORGE: (excited) So then, as we were leaving, we were just kind of standing there, and she was sort of smiling at me, and I wasnt sure if she wanted me to ask her out, because when women smile at me I dont know what it means. Sometimes I interpret it like theyre psychotic or something and I dont know if Im supposed to smile back, I dont know what to do. So I just stood there like remember how Quayle looked when Benson gave him that Kennedy line? Thats what I looked like.
JERRY: So you didnt ask?
GEORGE: No, I froze.
(Jerry points to the coffee shops counter.)
(Jerry and George sit down at the counter.)
GEORGE: Oh yeah. So wait, wait. A half-hour later Im back in the office, I tell Lloyd the whole story. He says, So why dont you call her? I says, I cant. I couldnt, I couldnt do it right then. For me to ask a woman out I gotta get into a mental state like the karate guys before they break the bricks. So Lloyd calls me a wuss.
JERRY: He said wuss?
GEORGE: Yeah. Anyway, he shamed me into it.
JERRY: So you called.
GEORGE: Right. And, and to cover my nervousness I started eating an apple, because I think if they hear you chewing on the other end of the phone, it makes you sound casual.
JERRY: Yeah. Like a farm boy.
GEORGE: Right. So I call her up, I tell her its me, she gives me an enthusiastic Hi!
JERRY: Wow. The enthusiastic hi. Thats beautiful.
GEORGE: Oh, I dont get the enthusiastic hi, Im outta there.
JERRY: All right, so youre chewing your apple, you got your enthusiastic hi... Go ahead.
GEORGE: So, were talking, and I dont like to go too long before I ask them out, I wanna get it over with right away, so I just blurt out, What are you doing Saturday night?
GEORGE: She bought.
JERRY: Great day in the morning.
GEORGE: Then I got off the phone right away.
JERRY: Sure, its like robbing a bank. You dont loiter around in front of the teller holding that big bag of money. You come in, you hit and get out.
GEORGE: Its amazing. We, we both have dates on the same night. I cant remember the last time that happened.
INT. GEORGES CAR SATURDAY NIGHT
(George and his date, Carol, are parked outside Carols building.)
GEORGE: I cant stand doing laundry. Thats why I have forty pairs of underwear.
CAROL: You do not.
GEORGE: Absolutely. Because instead of doing a wash, I just keep buying underwear. My goal is to have over three hundred and sixty pair. That way, I only have to do wash once a year.
(They both laugh.)
INT. JERRYS CAR SATURDAY NIGHT
(Jerry and his date, DONNA are parked outside Donnas building.)
JERRY: (in an attempted Scottish accent) Come on, try it. Let me hear you try a Scottish accent.
DONNA: Thats Irish.
JERRY: Irish, Scottish, whats the difference, lassie?
INT. GEORGES CAR CONTINUED
CAROL: So, uh, thanks for dinner. It was great.
GEORGE: Yeah. (clears his throat) We should do this again.
CAROL: Would you like to come upstairs for some coffee?
GEORGE: Oh, no, thanks. I cant drink coffee late at night, it keeps me up.
CAROL: (confused by his response) So, um, okay.
GEORGE: Yeah, take it easy.
(Carol exits the car. George realizes what he has done and slaps his forehead in disgust.)
INT. JERRYS CAR CONTINUED
DONNA: Thanks again for the movie.
JERRY: Youre welcome.
DONNA: Id invite you up, but the place is being painted.
JERRY: Oh, thats okay.
DONNA: Unless you want to go to your place.
JERRY: Okay... but theres no cake or anything, if thats what youre looking for.
INT. GEORGES CAR (MOVING) CONTINUED
GEORGE: (frustrated) Take it easy! Huh! Take it easy!
INT. JERRYS APARTMENT
(Jerry and Donna sit on the sofa.)
JERRY: I think if ones going to kill oneself, the least you could do is leave a note. Its common courtesy. I dont know. Thats just the way I was brought up.
DONNA: Values are very important.
JERRY: Oh, so important. So what are you doing uh Thursday night? You wanna have dinner?
DONNA: Thursdays great.
(Pause. Jerry looks down at his pants.)
JERRY: Tan pants. Why do I buy tan pants, Donna? I dont feel comfortable in them.
DONNA: Are those Cotton Dockers?
JERRY: Oh, I cant begin to tell you how much I hate that commercial.
DONNA: Really? I like that commercial.
(Donna gets closer and more comfortable leaning on Jerry. Jerry Pauses thinking about what she said)
JERRY: You like that commercial?
DONNA: Yeah, its clever.
JERRY: Now wait a second, you mean the one where the guys are all standing around, supposedly being very casual and witty?
DONNA: Yeah, thats the one.
JERRY: What could you possibly like about that?
DONNA: I dont know. I like the, guys.
JERRY: Yeah, theyre so funny and so comfortable with each other, and I could be comfortable too, if I had pants like that. I could sit on a porch and wrestle around, and maybe even be part of a real bull session.
DONNA : Hey, I know guys like that. To me the dialogue rings true.
(After Jerry sits back again, Donna continues get more comfortable in Jerry's arms. Jerry pauses.)
JERRY: Even if the dialogue did ring true. (Donna starts to get annoyed that Jerry won't let the conversation go) Even if somehow somewhere men actually talk like that, what does that have to do with the pants? Doesnt that bother you?
DONNA: (annoyed) Thats the idea. Thats whats clever about it, that theyre not talking about the pants.
JERRY: But theyre talking about nothing.
DONNA: Thats the point.
JERRY: I know the point.
DONNA: No one is telling you to like it.
JERRY: I mean, all those quick shots of the pants. Just pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants. What is that supposed to be?
(Donna sighs, leans away from Jerry and looks at her watch.)
INT. COMEDY CLUB NIGHT
(Jerry is on stage, performing.)
JERRY: Whats brutal about the date is the scrutiny that you put each other through. Because whenever you think about this person in terms of the future, you have to magnify everything about them. You know, like the guyll be like, I dont think her eyebrows are even. Could I look at uneven eyebrows for the rest of my life? And of course the womans looking at the guy, thinking, What is he looking at? Do I want somebody looking at me like this for the rest of my life?
INT. JERRYS APARTMENT DAY
(Jerry and Elaine are talking.)
JERRY: Im supposed to see her again on Thursday, but can I go out with someone who actually likes this commercial?
ELAINE: I once broke up with a guy because he didnt keep his bathroom clean enough.
JERRY: No kidding. Did you tell him that was the reason?
ELAINE: Oh yeah, I told him all the time. You would not have believed his tub. Germs were building a town in there they were constructing offices. Houses near the drain were going for a hundred and fifty thousand dollars.
(George enters, looking miserable, holding a brown paper bag.)
(George produces a bottle of Pepto-Bismol and box of bicarb (sic) from bag, placing them on counter.)
JERRY: Youre still thinking about this?
GEORGE: She invites me up at twelve oclock at night, for coffee, and I dont go up. No thank you. I dont want coffee. It keeps me up. Too late for me to drink coffee. I said this to her. People this stupid shouldnt be allowed to live. I cant imagine what she must think of me.
JERRY: She thinks youre a guy that doesnt like coffee.
GEORGE: She invited me up. Coffees not coffee, coffee is sex.
ELAINE: Maybe coffee was coffee.
GEORGE: Coffees coffee in the morning. Its not coffee at twelve oclock at night.
ELAINE: Well some people drink coffee that late.
GEORGE: Yeah, people who work at NORAD, whore on twenty-four hour missile watch. Everything was going along so great. She was laughing, I was funny... I kept saying to myself, Keep it up, dont blow it, youre doing great.
ELAINE: Its all in your head. All she knows is she had a good time. I think you should call her.
GEORGE: I cant call her now. Its too soon. Im planning a Wednesday call.
ELAINE: Oh, why? I love it when guys call me the next day.
GEORGE: Of course you do, but youre imagining a guy you like, not a guy who goes, Oh no, I dont drink coffee late at night. If I call her now, shes gonna think Im too needy. Women dont wanna see need. They want a take-charge guy a colonel, a Kaiser, a tsar.
ELAINE: All shell think is that you like her.
GEORGE: That's exactly what I'm trying to avoid!
ELAINE: Well, she wants you to like her.
GEORGE: Yes, she wants me to like her, if she likes me. But she doesnt like me!
ELAINE: I dont know what your parents did to you.
(Kramer enters and addresses Jerry.)
KRAMER: Hey, I just thought of a really funny thing for your act. All right, youre up there, youre on the stage and you go, Hey, you ever notice how cars here in New York, they never get out of the way of ambulances anymore. Someones in a life-and-death situation, and were thinking, Well, sorry buddy, you shouldve thought of that when you were eating cheese omelettes and sauages for breakfast every morning for the last thirty years.
(Elaine laughs. Jerry humors Kramer with a smile.)
KRAMER: So you gonna use it?
JERRY : I dont think so.
KRAMER: Its funny.
ELAINE: It is funny.
JERRY: I like to use my own material.
KRAMER: Thats as good as anything you do.
GEORGE: All right, I gotta make a call. Everybody out, come on.
JERRY: Why do we have to leave?
GEORGE: Because I cant call a woman with other people in the room. Come on, lets go.
ELAINE: Oh, see, this is the problem.
JERRY: Youre kicking me out of my house?
(Jerry exits. Elaine is in the doorway.)
ELAINE: (encouraging) Dont forget.
GEORGE: (to Elaine) Right, alright. (to Jerry) Oh Jerry, do you have any apples?
JERRY: Dont do the apples. Its enough already with the apples.
(Elaine, Kramer and Jerry exit. George removes his jacket and dials the phone.)
CAROL: (from the phone; a recorded message) Hi, its Carol, Ill get back to you.
(A beep follows.)
GEORGE: Um, hi, its George, George Costanza, remember me? The guy that didnt come up for coffee. You see, I didnt realise that coffee didnt really mean... well, whatever. Anyway, it was fun. It was... it was fun, so... oh boy, um, so... You call me back. If you want. Its up to you, you know, whatever you wanna do. Either way. The balls in your court. So uh, take it easy.
(George hangs up. Jerry enters.)
JERRY: Im just gonna get my jacket, Ill meet you downstairs. Whats the matter, did you call?
GEORGE: Got her machine. Im dead, Im a dead man. Thats it. Im dead, Im a dead man. Dead man.
JERRY: What did you say?
GEORGE: I dont know what the hell I said. I gave her an ultimatum and theres nothing I can do. Its a machine. The little light is blinking right now, Come and listen to the idiot. Hey everybody, the idiots on!
JERRY: After one date you try and improvise on her machine?
GEORGE: Now Im in the worst position of all.
ELAINE: Yknow, my brother-in-law once left a message on this guys machine, and he blurted out some business information he wasnt supposed to, and it would have cost him fifteen thousand dollars, so he waited outside the guys house and when the guy came home he went upstairs with him and he switched the tape.
GEORGE: He did that?
GEORGE: Somebody did that?
JERRY: Shell call you back. Youre overreacting.
INT. JERRYS APARTMENT NIGHT
(Jerry is in the kitchen. Donna is on the other side of the counter.)
JERRY: Not once.
JERRY: I have never seen one episode of I Love Lucy in my life, ever.
DONNA: Thats amazing.
JERRY: Thank you.
DONNA: Is there anything else about you I should know?
JERRY: Yes, Im lactose intolerant.
JERRY: I have no patience for lactose. And I wont stand for it. Um, Ill be right back.
(Jerry goes to the bathroom. George bursts into the apartment.)
GEORGE: Wait till you hear this! (George sees Donna and no Jerry.) Whoa, ah, Im sorry, I didnt, I had no idea.
(He goes to leave.)
DONNA: Wait, wait. Hes in the bathroom.
GEORGE: I just wanted to talk to him for a minute, but Ill come back.
DONNA: You dont have to leave.
GEORGE: You sure?
DONNA: Im Donna.
GEORGE: Donna. Oh, youre the one that likes that commercial!
DONNA: He told you about that?
GEORGE: (back-pedalling) No, he, he didnt actually tell me that, uh, we were talking about that commercial in fact I think I brought it up because I like that commercial. No, he, he would never tell me anything. He never discusses anything. Hes, hes like a clam. Youre not gonna mention this, to him...
DONNA: (to Jerry) So you go around telling your friends Im not hip because I like that commercial.
JERRY: What? (to George) What did, what did you say?
GEORGE: Say? What? Nothing, I...
DONNA: You told him how I like the commercial.
JERRY: Well, so what if I said that?
DONNA: Well, so, you didnt have to tell your friends.
JERRY: No, I had to tell my friends my friends didnt have to tell you.
GEORGE: (to Donna) Why did you have to get me in trouble?
DONNA: I dont like you talking about me with your friends behind my back.
GEORGE: Boy oh boy.
JERRY: I said I couldnt believe you liked that commercial. So what?
DONNA: I asked some friends of mine this week, and all of them liked the commercial.
JERRY: Boy, I bet you got a regular Algonquin round table there.
JERRY: Oh uh, Kramer, this is Donna.
KRAMER: Oh. Cotton Dockers!
GEORGE: Hello! All right, we should be going. Come on...
(George grabs Kramer.)
KRAMER: What? Where are we going?
GEORGE: Come on!
DONNA: Dont bother, Im leaving.
JERRY: Donna, really, youre making too much of this.
KRAMER: One hundred percent Cotton Dockers. If theyre not Dockers, theyre just pants
JERRY: Please, Donna...
DONNA: I dont wanna hear it.
GEORGE: I cant believe I said that. You know me, Im a vault.
JERRY: Dont worry about it, it wasnt working anyway.
KRAMER: What happened there?
JERRY: Ill tell you later.
GEORGE: You are not gonna believe whats going on with this woman.
INT. MONKS DINER DAY
(George and Jerry sat at a booth.)
GEORGE: Okay, so you remember I made the initial call Sunday, she doesnt call back. I call again Monday, I leave another message. I call Tuesday, I get the machine again, I know youre there, I dont know what your story is. Yesterday, Im a volcano I try one more call, the machine comes on, and I let fly like Mussolini from the balcony, Where the hell do you get the nerve? You invite me up for coffee and then you dont call me back for four days? I dont like coffee, I dont have to come up. Id like to get one more shot at the coffee just so I could spit it in your face.
JERRY: You said that?
GEORGE: I lost it.
JERRY: I cant blame you. I cant believe she never called you back.
GEORGE: She did. Today.
GEORGE: She called my office. She said shes been in the Hamptons since Sunday. She didnt know if I was trying to get in touch with her. Her machine broke, and shes been using her old machine and she doesnt have the beeper for it.
JERRY: So she didnt get the messages.
GEORGE: Exactly, but theyre on there waiting. She said she cant wait to see me, were having dinner tonight. Shes supposed to call me as soon as she gets home.
JERRY: But what about the messages?
(George produces cassette tape from pocket.)
JERRY: Elaines thing? How you gonna get in?
GEORGE: Ill meet her outside the building.
JERRY: But you know as soon as she gets in the apartment shes going right for that machine.
GEORGE: Unless she goes for the bathroom. Thats my only chance. (George crumbles. He drops the cassette on the table.) Who am I kidding? I cant do this, I cant do this. I dont even know how to work those stupid machines.
JERRY: Theres nothing to it. You lift the lid, it comes right out.
GEORGE: You do it for me.
GEORGE: Come on, itll be so much easier.
JERRY: How you gonna get me up there?
GEORGE: Ill tell her I bumped into you, Im giving you a ride uptown.
JERRY: And who makes the switch?
GEORGE: You do.
JERRY: I do.
GEORGE : I cant do it. Ill, Ill keep her busy.
JERRY: I cant get involved in this.
GEORGE: I think I may be in love with this woman.
JERRY: What if she sees me?
GEORGE: Oh, you are such a wuss.
JERRY: A wuss?
JERRY: Did you call me a wuss?
EXT. CAROLS BUILDING NIGHT
(George and Jerry are sitting on a low wall beside the door to the building.)
GEORGE: Well there is traffic. It might take her till eight-fifteen.
JERRY: I got one problem. Youre keeping her busy in the other room. Now, what if she somehow gets away from you and is coming in? You have to signal me that shes coming.
GEORGE: A signal, right, um, okay, uh, okay, the signal is, Ill call out tippy-toe!
JERRY: Tippy Toe? I dont think so.
GEORGE: You dont like tippy toe?
JERRY: No tippy toe.
GEORGE: All right, uh, okay, I got it, um, Ill sing.
JERRY: What song?
GEORGE: How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?
JERRY: What is that?
GEORGE: Oh, its a lovely song. (singing) How do you solve a problem like Maria?...
JERRY: Anything else?
GEORGE: You pick it.
JERRY: Lemon Tree.
GEORGE: Peter, Paul and Mary.
JERRY: No, Trini Lopez.
JERRY & GEORGE: (singing) Lemon tree, very pretty and a lemon flower...
GEORGE: Alright ok. You got the tape?
(Jerry takes out two different sizes of cassettes.)
JERRY: Standard. Micro.
GEORGE: How do you feel? Confident?
JERRY: Feel good.
GEORGE: You nervous?
JERRY: Not at all.
GEORGE: Get up, get up, its her! Oh, the hell with this, Im scared to death, just walk away, its off, cancel everything, go!
CAROL: Hey! What are you doing here? I thought I was supposed to call you when I got home.
GEORGE: I, I couldnt wait. I was too anxious to see you.
CAROL: Oh, thats so sweet.
GEORGE: Oh, this is my friend, Jerry Seinfeld. I just bumped into him around the corner. Isnt that a coincidence? The funny thing is, I see him all the time.
JERRY: All the time.
CAROL: Its nice to meet you.
CAROL: So, Im starving. Where are we gonna eat?
GEORGE: You know, we could go uptown, and that way we could give Jerry a ride home.
CAROL: Okay. Lets go, Im ready, whered you park?
GEORGE: Dont you wanna go upstairs first?
CAROL: No, what for? Ill just give my bag to the doorman.
JERRY: You know, I really need to use the bathroom.
CAROL: Oh well theres a bathroom in the coffee shop just next door.
GEORGE: Yes, yes, but uh, I have to make a call, so...
CAROL: Well they have a phone.
(George takes Carol aside.)
GEORGE: I know Jerry. He has this phobia about public toilets. I think we really should go upstairs.
CAROL: (aloud) You know, I think I will go upstairs. I can check my machine.
GEORGE: Right, right.
(They enter her building.)
INT. CAROLS APARTMENT CONTINUING
(Carol, Jerry and George enter.)
CAROL: The bathrooms on the hall to the right.
JERRY: Uh, you know, why dont you go first, you just had a long trip.
CAROL: No, Im fine.
JERRY: Um, you know, its the damnedest thing. It went away.
CAROL: Oh, thats weird.
GEORGE: No, no that can happen. Ive, uh, Ive read about that in medical journals. Its a freak thing, but...
CAROL: Well, let me just check my messages, and well go.
GEORGE: Uh, Carol, can I talk to you for a second? Right now?
GEORGE: Please, this is very, very important.
(George leads her to another room. Jerry goes over and lifts the lid of the machine.)
GEORGE: (from other room) Uh, tippy toe! Tippy toe! Lemon tree!
(Carol reappears, followed by George.)
CAROL: (to Jerry) Now I know who you are! Youre a comedian. Ive seen you, its driving me crazy.
JERRY: Right. I am.
GEORGE: Carol, thats so rude. Please, Im serious, just for a moment, if you wouldnt mind. And then well talk to Jerry.
(George leads Carol back out. Jerry switches the tapes.)
JERRY: (calls) Hey you two. Im ready to go.
(George and Carol return.)
CAROL: Thats what you had to tell me? Your father wears sneakers in the pool?
GEORGE: (to Jerry) Dont you find that strange?
CAROL: Well, Ill just check my machine and well go.
(She lifts the lid of the machine, and drops it.)
CAROL: No, nothing here, lets go. (Carol, George and Jerry head for the door. Carol opens it.) Oh, I forgot to tell you. After I talked to you today my neighbour called me and played my messages to me over the phone.
GEORGE: Oh, uh...
CAROL: Yours were hilarious, we were both cracking up. I just love jokes like that.
(Carol exits. Jerry laughs acidly while looking at George. They exit as well.)
INT. COMEDY CLUB NIGHT
(Jerry in on stage, performing.)
JERRY: I love my phone machine. I wish I was a phone machine. I wish if I saw somebody on the street I didnt want to talk to, I could go, Excuse me, Im not in right now. If you would just leave a message, I could walk away. I also have a cordless phone, but I dont like that as much, because you cant slam down a cordless phone. You get mad at somebody on a real phone You cant talk to me like that! Bang! You know. You get mad at somebody on a cordless phone You cant talk to me like that!
(Jerry searches for the off button on his mimed phone, and presses it feebly.) I told him!