Seinfeld S4 Ep21: The SSL Review
This is an SSL Review, but it's a unique one because the scenes in questions are not actually technically eligible for SSL review. The rules are that there must be discussion or depiction of female orgasm or masturbation, and there is not. But there is mention of a clitoris, and since that is the part of ladies that need some lovin' in order for orgasms to happen, I felt like this was worth the ol' SSL Review.
Wait. Actually there is not even mention of the clitoris...only insinuation, but that makes it all the better to write about.
Season 4 Episode 21 of Seinfeld is called "The Junior Mint." You might remember it because Kramer drops a Junior Mint into a man being operated on while watching said operation. You also might remember it because of Dolores the Clitoris...although the word clitoris was never uttered.
In case you don't remember or have never watched this show, Jerry started dating this girl, but forgot her name at a point that was really too late to ask again. He tried some things to get her to say her name, like having a friend introduce himself to her, but she never would give her name back. He did get one clue, though.
He tried to get her to say her name by talking about how his name used to be made fun of in school. He asked her if hers ever did either. She said something like, "Are you kidding? They were merciless. What do you expect when your name rhymes with a part of the female anatomy?" But she didn't say what that name was.
Later in the diner, Jerry and George are trying to figure out what it might be. They tried different words that rhymed with breast to start. We also hear them try names like, "Bovary, Mulva, Loreola, Celeste, and Gipple."
At the end of the episode, she realizes that he doesn't know her name, and she breaks up with him. He suddenly realizes what it is and yells after her out his apartment window.
It rhymes with clitoris.
I think the characters' inability to come up with the correct female-anatomy-rhyming-name is a beautiful metaphor for the way the greater culture ignores and erases the clit.
I mean, the clit should be the FIRST piece of female anatomy that comes to mind. The glans of the clit, the outer part we see, is the part that causes orgasms. It should be as important to sexual encounters as the penis is. It, like the penis, should be forefront in the mind. But it's not. If it was forefront in people's mind this episode would not be as funny. The writers counted on that, 'oh yeah, I didn't think about that' surprise for the joke.
The deal is, men have traditionally liked to touch our boobs, put their penises in our vaginas and reproduce in us. Our orgasms (and thus our clits) were/are-pretty-much-still irrelevant to their sexual satisfaction and thus irrelevant to society (of course not you, guy reading this who wants desperately to comment that you can't even orgasm at all unless your lady gets off. You are clearly and magically untouched by the male-centric sexual culture).
The clitoris, in real life as in Seinfeld, is a kind of obscure thing that doesn't come to mind quickly when considering women's lady-parts. It's sad and it's true - in the 90's when Seinfeld was on and still today. Why, there is a contemporary artist named Sophia Wallace has a whole series about the erasing and ignoring of the clit called Cliteracy. Also, I'm still writing this blog and still have plenty of things to bitch about, AND the movie I made about how stimulation of the clitoris and not the vagina is the cause of orgasm - is still super, super edgy, even in sex positive and feminist spaces.
Clitoris, you've got a long way to go, baby!
So, I like that Seinfeld writers thought to bring up the clit as a part of female anatomy. I wonder, though, what their thought process was behind it. Did they think it'd be hilarious because they kinda saw the clit as a sidebar and were pretty sure most people agreed and thus would forget about 'clitoris' when thinking about rhyming options? OR did they think of the clit as something that needed some spotlight because it's so ignored and thought it'd be funny to people because they could play off the fact that people ignore it too much and would surely be surprised when they finally heard the name?
It's a subtle difference. One is perpetuating the side-bar reputation of the clit, and one reminds people the clit's there. However, it actually makes little difference which intention is behind it. Either way the joke still counts on the fact that our culture forgets about the clit, and that's a sad truth. In the end, the viewer will relate to it based on how they feel about the clit. Think it's too often forgotten? This scene calls attention to it. Think it's an optional sexual ]extra' on a lady? This scene affirms that other people think that too.
So, this is a middle of the road situation, and I give it a middle of the road vulva rating: 2 1/2 vulvas.