Seinfeld (1989–1998): Season 4, Episode 8 - The Cheever Letters - full transcript

Susan Ross invites George to dinner to meet her parents and he's worried about what to say when the subject of the now destroyed cabin comes up. Susan's father doesn't take it very well. When a metal box containing letters from author John Cheever is retrieved, a Ross family secret is revealed. After Jerry makes a remark to Elaine about her chatty assistant, the woman quits forcing Jerry to apologize and take her out for a drink. It doesn't go well. In need of more Cuban cigars, Kramer visits their offices at the UN.

I don't think people think of their office
as a workplace. I think they think of it...

as a stationery
store with Danish.

You know what I mean?
You wanna get your pastry...

your envelopes, your supplies...

your toilet paper, six cups of coffee,
and you go home.

Why do people that work in offices...

have pictures of their family
on their desk facing them?

Do they forget that they're married?

Do they go, "5:00. Time to hit the bars
and pick up hookers.

Hold it a second.

I got a wife and three kids.
I better get home.

I completely forgot."

- She hasn't told her father yet?
- No. We're supposed to tell him tonight.

- "We're"? What do you mean, "we're"?
- Susan wants me to be there.

You're meeting the father
for the first time?

- Yeah.
- You'll make quite an impression on him...

when you tell him how
you burned his cabin down.

I didn't burn it down. Kramer did.

I mean, the whole thing is ironic.
Think of it.

The guy's nice enough to give you
a box of very fine Cuban cigars...

- I know what happened.
- No, wait.

- Then you dump them off onto Kramer.
- I know.

Who proceeds to burn
the man's cabin down...

with one of those
very same cigars.

It's very comical.

Maybe we shouldn't
start writing today.

I got a lot on my mind.

We've put this off long enough.
Today's the day.

I wonder how Susan's
father's gonna react.

What's the worst he can do?
So you burn a house down.

Come on.

Not even a house. It's like a cabin.

We could build a cabin like that.

Well, maybe not us,
but two men could.

BICs? What, did you get BICs?

What, you got a problem
with the pen, now?

I like a Rolling Writer.
They're smooth.

All right, let's just get to work.

NBC pilot. Seinfeld Project.

Act 1, Scene A.

So you're gonna sit there?

Let me explain to you...

one of the key elements involved
in the writing process.

Because it may seem outwardly...

that the pen and the paper
and the chair play a large role.

But they're all somewhat incidental
to the actual using of the brain.

Okay, so just... Just park yourself.

All right. Act 1, Scene A.

- Drink?
- No. No drink.

- All right. Here we go.
- Act 1, Scene A.

- Weren't you supposed to call Elaine?
- Yes.

Hi, is Elaine there?

Oh, hi, Sandra.

Yeah, I can hold.

Every time I call, I gotta chitchat
with her assistant for, like, 20 minutes.

Oh, hi, Sandra. Listen,
I'm at a pay phone.

There's a lot of people
waiting to use it.

I'll be off in a minute!

Yeah, could you put me through
to Elaine?

Okay, thanks.

Are you thinking of ideas?

Is there any way I can
get you directly?

Every time I call, Sandra bends
my ear for, like, 20 minutes.

So we're on for later?

Yeah, I'll come by after work.

Hey, I got a rubber-pencil thing
happening here.

I gotta go. I gotta go.

Sandra? Sandra?

Can you come here for a second?

- Okay. Let's go.
- Here we go.

- You got it? Here we go.
- Yeah.

Okay, how about this:

I'm in my apartment.
You come in.

It's beautiful.

And what do I say?

Could you do me a favor?

When my friends call...

could you not talk to them
for too long?

Why, did Jerry say something?

No. No.

He must've said something.

Oh, no, he didn't say anything.

- I can't work for you.
- Oh, God.

- I can't. I'm leaving.
- No, Sandra...

I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I really am.

Listen, Jerry's under a lot
of pressure right now.

It's very hard being
a stand-up comedian.

Sometimes they don't laugh.

- All right, let's get going.
- All right, let's go to work.

- Let's go.
- Okay.

- Hey.
- We're in the middle of something.

- We're trying to do a little work here.
- Yeah, come on.

What's with you?

- No more golf.
- Why?

Remember I told you about the pro
at the Westchester Country Club...

who's letting me play every time
I gave him those Cuban cigars?

- Yeah.
- Yeah, well, I lost them all in the fire!

Hey, George, maybe you can
ask Susan's father for some more.

What are you, crazy?

I can't ask the guy for more cigars
after you burned down his cabin.

What's one thing got to do
with another?

Kramer, please.

Well, I can't go back
to the public courses now.

I can't. I won't.

I mean, you know what that's like?
It's crowded.

The grass has
big brown patches in it.

They don't rake the sand traps.

Not to mention the caliber of people
you have to play with.

I can't help you. You're gonna have to
get them someplace else.

Where? They're Cubans.

- You know what? I should take off.
- What?

I gotta go to Susan's parents' house
for dinner.

I wanna shower first,
and I wanna leave plenty of time.

You got four hours.
What about the script?

I think we got a bite on it.

Doesn't George look like
your sister Sara?

A slight resemblance.

Her son's a podiatrist, you know.

Oh, I have tremendous respect
for people who work with feet.

I mean, to dedicate yourself
to the foot...

You're toiling in virtual anonymity.
I mean...

How are you enjoying those cigars
I gave you?

Oh, the cigars.

I'm sucking them down.

I'm puffing my brains out, yeah.

You know, those cigars
are made special for Castro.

I did not know that.

Weird. Wild.

- What?
- He's doing Johnny Carson, Daddy.

I didn't care much for his jokes.

- Daddy never laughs.
- Oh, well, so what?

Laughter. What is that?

I mean, what is the point
of opening your mouth and going:

What is that?

You know, you can't get
those cigars anywhere.

You and your cigars.

Wear some more lipstick.

Daddy, there's... There's something
that we have to talk to you about.

Oh, I forgot to ask you:
how'd you like the cabin?

Oh, the... The cabin.


After we get off the phone
you tell her?

Of course she knows it was me
who complained.

Now I'm responsible
for this woman quitting.

- Oh, this is unbelievable.
- I know.

I screwed up. It's all my fault.

- Would you call her?
- Oh, dial the number.

How could you do this?

I was just trying to help you.

Trying to help me.

Hello. Sandra.

Hi, this is Jerry Seinfeld.

Listen, I wanted to tell you there's
been a terrible misunderstanding.

See, I told Elaine...

that it was a real treat
talking to you on the phone.

And she thought I was being sarcastic
because I'm a comedian, and all.

She thought, I think, "Yeah, it's a
real treat talking to her on the phone."

But I was really being sincere.

No, of course I like you.


Hold on a second.

- She wants to have a drink with me.
- Just go. Go.

- Oh, I don't...
- Go.

Yeah, I think I can.

Yeah, I know where that is.

Okay. I'll see you there.
Okay, bye.

Now I gotta have a drink with her.

The cabin.



- About the cabin...
- I love that place.

My father built that cabin in 1947.

My mother was recuperating
from impetigo at the time...

and Dad thought it would be a good
idea to get her out into the fresh air.

She died there the following winter.

And Dad passed away
10 years later to the day.

His last words to me were:

"Cherish the cabin."

Not, "Take care of your sister."
She's a paraplegic.

But, "Cherish the cabin."

And I have, for 45 years.

It's often been a sanctuary for me.

Kind of like Superman's
Fortress of Solitude.



He built a Fortress of Solitude
up at the North Pole...

to, you know, sort of
get away from it all.

When I go, I'm passing it on to her.

Well, I'll take a hotel any day.

- Daddy?
- Yes.

Daddy, about the cabin.

Look, Henry, I spilled wine on me.

- What about it?
- Well, the thing is...

- What, what is it?
- Well, the cabin is kind of...

- George?
- Burned.

- Burned?
- There was a fire, and it...


- The cabin burned?
- Yeah, burned.


Was anything found?

Was it all burned to the ground?
Did they find anything?

- No. Nothing.
- Nothing?

But, you know, Mr. Ross,
if you look at the whole situation...

what with it being your cigars
and everything...

it's really rather ironic.

One might even say,
in a sense, comical.

Really. Think about it.

- I can't believe you said that.
- What?

How could you say
something like that to me?

What? You were the one
who was talking dirty.

I was just trying to keep up.

- That was a weird thing to say.
- Why? It didn't mean anything.

I was trying to join in
so you wouldn't feel embarrassed.

- Oh, I think you're really sick.
- I'm not sick.

You said much sicker things
than me.

- I'm leaving.
- You're making too much of this.

Excuse me.

- Let me walk you to a cab.
- That's okay.

The main thing is that this is
just between us.

- And that'll be the end of it.
- Oh, really?

I mean, people, they're not interested
in things like this.

They don't wanna hear about it.
They really don't.

So we're drinking and talking.

And so she starts rubbing my leg.

Wow, what did you do?

Have you ever told a woman
to stop touching your leg?

- Yeah. Right.
- I know it's the wrong thing to do.

She works in Elaine's office.
But I can't get that hand off my leg.

I'm looking at the hand thinking,
"That hand should not be on my leg."

But I can't make my brain to get
my mouth to say the words:

"Would you mind?"

Yet women have no problem getting
the hand off. How do they do that?

I don't know. They're working
on a whole other level.

- All right, so go ahead.
- So then we go back to my apartment.

So we're fooling around there.

You know, it's getting
a little passionate.

And she starts with the dirty talking.

All right, all right. Hold on.

Time out.

- What did she say?
- You know. The usual.

No, I don't know.
How do I know the usual?

- Typical things.
- What's typical? Give me typical.

She says...

That's very dirty.

That's absolutely filthy.

And then she starts talking
about her panties.

I'm gonna need some water here.

So I said something.

Okay, what did you say?

Now, bear in mind,
I am just trying to keep up.

- Of course.
- Okay.

So she's talking about her panties.


So I said:

"You mean, the panties your mother
laid out for you."

"The panties your mother
laid out for you"?

- What does that mean?
- I don't know.

It just popped out.

- Well, how did she react?
- She flipped out. Just left.

Well, that's not offensive.

It's abnormal, but it's not offensive.

Look, the main thing is I don't want
Elaine to know about any of this.

I mean, especially the pantie remark.

I mean, it's embarrassing.
She'd never let me hear the end of it.

What if this girl says something?

She will. She's going back to work.

I talked her into it.
How stupid was that.

So Susan's father took that news
pretty hard, huh?

Yeah. He went into the bedroom
and started sobbing.

- Guess he didn't see the humor in it.
- Yeah.

- Let's go. We got a lot of work to do.
- All right.

- Big workday.
- That's right.

- Okay.
- Let's go.

- Right now.
- Let's do it.

- Okay.
- All right.

- What do you got?
- I got, you enter, you go, "Hi."

And I go, "Hello."

Now, we need something here.

- Oh, hey.
- Kramer! Hey!

- Buddy!
- You guys are working. I'll come back.

- No, no! Come on.
- No, no!

No, you guys should
get back to work.

- Don't leave. We're taking a break.
- Oh, yeah?

George, did you talk to that guy
about getting more cigars?

I told you. I'm not gonna do that.

Okay. Well...

I guess I'm just gonna have to
take matters into my own hands, huh?

All right. I'll see you guys.

Where are you going?
Don't run off like that.


- I need to talk to someone.
- Well, what is this about?

Well, it's a very private matter,
but extremely urgent.

- Are you an American?
- Oh, yeah.

I see.

- Excuse me.
- Okay.

- Okay, let's get going.
- Let's get focused here.

Come on, now.
Come on, let's get it together.

- Yeah?
- It's Elaine.

Come on up.

All right, you know what
we should do?

We should go to the movies.

- Get away from the script for a while.
- We should.

I just have to go over to the Rosses'
and drop off Susan's sunglasses.

- Come with me?
- Yeah. Does she live with them?

No, no.

- Hey, nice going, Jerome Seinfeld.
- What?

I just got a message from Sandra.
She's coming back to work.

Well, then you've just gotta fire her.

Don't even think about it.
There's no two ways about it.

- Why, what happened? Did you talk?
- Talk? Did I talk? I...

You're darn right I talked to her.
We talked up a storm.

I've concluded,
from the basis the those talks...

that this isn't anybody
you should be talking to.

- You really think I should fire her?
- Oh, yeah.

In fact, if George and I weren't
so busy working, I'd do it myself.

What is your name, se?or?


So Se?or Kramer,
what is this about?

- Cigars.
- Cigars?

- Cigars.
- What about cigars?

See, here, I...

I saved one of the cigar rings.

- You mean, one of these.
- Yeah, yeah. That's them.

Okay, so I'd like to buy
a couple of boxes of those from you.

You realize, of course,
these are illegal in your country.

Well, illegal, huh?

I like that jacket.

- Hi!
- Hi. How are you?

- Hey, Jerry.
- Hi.

I thought you guys were
working today.

- Just taking a little break.
- Yeah.

- Oh, here's your sunglasses.
- Oh, thanks. Come on in for a second.

This is my brother Ricky. He's home
from college for the weekend.

Hey, there, young fella.

- What's your major?
- I don't have one.

Well, you should always
consider podiatry.

Nothing wrong with the feet.

And this is my aunt, Sara.

He doesn't look like me.

Sara, what do you have
on your wheels?

Nothing. They're clean.

Ricky, did you wipe her wheels off?

- Yes.
- Well, they're filthy.

It's just a matter
of common courtesy.

You come in the house,
you wipe your wheels.

Excuse me.

Hello, Raymond.

The man from the insurance company
dropped this off.

Said it was the only thing left
from the remains of the fire.

Oh, thank you.

Wow, I've never seen this before.

Oh, they're letters.

- Here.
- Oh, sure.

From... From John Cheever!

"Dear Henry...

last night with you was bliss.

I fear my...

orgasm has left me a cripple.

I don't know how I shall ever
get back to work.

I love you madly, John.

P.S. Loved the cabin."

- Well, we really should be...
- Yeah, look at the time.

Heading out.
You know, it's a time...

The box!

My letters! Give me that!

Who told you to open it?

Who's John? Who's John?!

- I knew it.
- I wanna know who John is!

John Cheever? Dad!
You and John Cheever?

Yes. Yes, he was the most
wonderful person I've ever known.

And I loved him deeply.

In a way you could
never understand.

Well, we really should be
heading out.

Jerry hates to miss
the coming attractions.

- Yeah, and because of the time.
- Yeah.

Time is what he's indicating there.

Anyway, onward and upward.

- Here we go.
- Let's go.

- Come on, now.
- Right now.

- You and me. No fooling.
- You got it.

- All right, what do you got?
- I got, you come in, you say, "Hi."

And then I say, "Hello."

- All right. So we need something.
- Yeah.

How about this:
I say, "How's it going?"

"How's it going?" Beautiful.

- Come on. We were just on a roll now.
- All right.

- Did you get that line?
- "How's it going?"

- Did you write it down?
- I'm writing it. "How's it going?"

- Real good!
- What?

You know how much money
you cost me today? $429.

- What, how?
- I got Sandra transferred...

to another office upstairs, okay.

So she blabs to Lippman about
my long-distance calls to Europe!

- What calls?
- I made a friend when I was in Europe.

And we've been in touch,
and Sandra told Lippman!

Did she say anything else to you?

Anything else? What do you mean,
"anything else"?

So she just left the office...

didn't say a word to you
about anything?

- Yeah.
- Beautiful.

Why is that beautiful?

Oh, no. Not beautiful.

It's $429!

Hey, look, I'm gonna pay for that.

- No, no.
- No, I insist.

I was the one that encouraged you
to fire her.

- The whole thing was all my...
- Okay.


Do you smell smoke?

Oh, hey! Hey, Jer, I want you
to meet my new friends here.

This is Luis, Jorge and Umberto.

- Hey.
- How you doing? Nice to meet you.

Yeah, we're heading up
to Westchester. Gonna hit the links.

- Yeah.
- Hey, isn't that your..?

Oh, yeah. Okay. We're going.
All right.

Hey, what are you reading?

The Falconer, by John Cheever.
It's really excellent.

John Cheever. You ever read
any of his stuff?

Yeah, I'm familiar with
some of his writing. You know.

Look, we gotta get back to work.
We just had a big breakthrough.

- Okay. I'll leave you two alone.
- Okay.

Maybe I'll visit my mother.

She just bought me some new panties,
and they're all laid out for me.

There's this whole
talking-during-sex business.

I mean, what are we doing here?

The question is...

does the talking really
improve the sex?

Or is the sex act now...

just there to spice up
the conversation?

Eventually, I'm sure people will get
too lazy even for phone sex.

They'll start having
phone machine sex.

"Yeah, I want you really bad.
Just leave it on the tape."

Then, I guess, the phone company
will come out with sex-waiting.

That'll be the new thing.

"Yeah, hold on, honey.
I got another call.

Oh, hi, baby. One second.

Honey, I've gotta take this.

Yeah, I've got sex-waiting
on the other line...

and I've got to take this."