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Seinfeld – Season 4 – Episode 21
The Smelly Car
About this Seinfeld episode:
Seinfeld – “The Smelly Car” is the 21st episode of season 4 and number 61 overall the series.
After dinner, Jerry and Elaine discover a strong smell of body odor in Jerry’s BMW 3 Series, assumed to have been left by a valet who was tasked with parking it. After they endured an unpleasant drive to the home of Elaine’s boyfriend Carl (Nick Bakay), Carl is offended by the smell of Elaine’s hair when they embrace. He tells her he has to get up early, so she does not spend the night.
George and Kramer return a video; at the video store, he admires two women who are holding hands.
George is astounded when they turn around and one is his ex-girlfriend, Susan, now a lesbian.
Meanwhile, in the background of this conversation, Kramer is practicing his golf swing with a broom in front of Susan’s girlfriend, Mona, a golf instructor. She is clearly amused by him.
At Jerry’s apartment, Elaine asks, “When you’re with a guy, and he tells you he has to get up early, what does that mean?” Jerry replies, “It means he’s lying.” When she is appalled, he temporizes, “Well, sometimes we do actually have to get up early, but a man will always trade sleep for sex.”
When Kramer enters, he comments on their body odor. Jerry blames the car’s stink on the valet at the restaurant and is determined to demand that the restaurant share the cost of cleaning. He anthropomorphizes the smell: “Don’t you see what’s happening here? It’s attached itself to me! It’s alive! … And it’s destroying the lives of everyone in its path.” Again, later: “This is not just an odor – you need a priest to get rid of this thing! … It’s a presence! It’s The Beast!”
The restaurant maître d’ (Michael Des Barres) initially refuses to pay for car cleaning, but eventually agrees after Jerry locks him inside the car, refusing to let him out unless he pays half of the $250 price.
Mona is swayed to heterosexuality by Kramer, which Jerry, Elaine and George cannot understand; she has never been with a man. This angers Susan, due to her dislike of Kramer, as well as George, who worries that he drove Susan to lesbianism. Feeling even more attracted to her after finding this out, George attempts to woo Susan, and appears to be making progress. However, despite his best efforts, the two are approached in Monk’s Café by George’s ex, Allison (from the episode The Outing) – and after introducing them to one another, he can only sigh as the two women exchange amorous glances.
After a complete “de-ionizing” of the car, Jerry discovers the stink is still there. Meanwhile, Elaine decides to go to a hair salon to wash the smell out of her hair, despite having already taken a thorough shower, and (believing that the smell has gone away) tries to restart her relationship with Carl. He, however, tells her that she still smells.
Jerry tries to sell the car, but the dealer claims he cannot sell it. Kramer’s relationship with Mona ends when she smells the odor on him, even though he was never in the car – but he had borrowed Jerry’s jacket, which was the same one he was wearing in the car. When it cannot be sold, Jerry ends up abandoning the car and its keys out on the street just to get rid of it. A young man sees this, seizes the keys, and hops into the car, but is also disgusted by the smell.
The episode ends with a monologue by Jerry: “Why do we need B.O.? What is the function of it? Everything in nature has a reason, has a purpose, except B.O. Doesn’t make any sense – do something good, hard work, exercise, smell very bad. This is the way the human being is designed. You move, you stink. Why can’t our bodies help us? Why can’t sweat smell good?”