"The Conversion" is the eleventh episode of the fifth season of Seinfeld, and the 75th episode overall. This episode first aired on December 16, 1993. It was written by Bruce Kirschbaum and was directed by Tom Cherones.
At a restaurant while ordering (George suggests lobster), George's girlfriend Sasha (played by Jana Marie Hupp) sobbingly tells George that they can't continue to go out because she is Latvian Orthodox and is only allowed by her parents to date Latvian Orthodox men.
While Jerry and Elaine discuss the difference between a podiatrist and a doctor, Jerry's girlfriend Tawni (Kimberly Campbell), a neighbor, asks Jerry out for that night. Walking in they see George moping about his loss of Sasha (Jerry and Elaine are also interested in the lobster wrapped like a swan and eating it). Jokingly, Elaine suggests converting for Sasha which George takes seriously, not caring about any responsibility to his decision ("Why not? What do I care?") and comparing it to Edward VIII.
While at Tawni's, Jerry goes to the bathroom and peeks in her medicine cabinet to see a fungicide tube. Jerry lies to her saying he is coming down with something and leaves. At Monk's he discusses the evening with Elaine and Kramer. Elaine accuses him of snooping which he comes back with saying that he was just "nudging it a little." Jerry then asks her if her doctor boyfriend ("Oh, now he's a doctor?") can look at it.
At the priest's office, George talks to the head priest (Kay E. Kuter) about his conversion. When asked what aspect of the religion he likes he announces he likes "the hats." He also says he knows the "main plot," the Flood, the lepers, the Commandments. Sister Roberta (Molly Hagan) enters and says Kramer has arrived to pick George up. She also expresses her gratitude of him joining the church. Not knowing much about the religion in the first place, he ad-libs and ends up getting many texts with which to familiarize himself. Kramer talks with Sister Roberta.
George expresses himself and says he will be Orthodox by Christmas. Jerry is wondering what he should tell "Mother Costanza" (Estelle). Kramer comes in saying that Sister Roberta likes him, that he has a "relationship power," and that she had given him a slinky. Tawni comes in and asks Jerry how he is, and he immediately starts to cough a little. After leaving, George asks for the story. Jerry says she's subletting Carol's for a month and mentions the fungicide. George suggests that the medicine might be Carol's. Jerry says he didn't see a name on the tube, not thinking to look. He goes back to her apartment to get the fungicide.
Elaine asks her boyfriend about the medicine, and then they have a controversy of the podiatrist-doctor matter. Jerry looks ruthlessly through the cabinet for the tube, saying to Tawni that there's no soap. As she comes in with a cake, he quickly slips the tube in his pocket. George studies the Orthodoxy books in the bathroom, which initially makes his parents curious. Sister Roberta comes to Kramer's and gives him another toy.
While Jerry is helping George study for his conversion test, Elaine comes into the apartment and Jerry gives her the tube for her boyfriend. Again Elaine confronts him, now because of theft. Jerry didn't see a name, and Elaine says she had a fight with him because Jerry "got her thinking." Before she leaves, Jerry slips the tube into her purse. He goes over to George, who decided he's going to cheat on the conversion test by writing the answers on his hand. Kramer comes in saying that Sister Roberta likes him and says she's questioning her faith and might leave the church for him. He leaves, saying he's dangerous.
The head priest is very surprised at George's quiz scores, saying that he's never seen such an impressive performance. The second priest comes and mumbles to the head priest that Kramer had come to see the priest, so George leaves. The priest heard that Sister Roberta was leaving the church. He says that Kramer has the "kavorka," a Latvian word for "the lure of the animal," meaning that women can't help themselves over him. He is given instructions to buy various foul-smelling foods and wear them, which inevitably stinks the apartment building.
When passing by the church, a friend of Estelle's reads a sign outside the church that says that George was converting at 3:00 p.m., which gets out to his parents. They are infuriated and even more so when they hear that he's doing it for a woman. Jerry learns that his girlfriend wasn't feeling well because she had stayed up the whole night because her cat, Bonkers, had been up because it had had the fungus, so Jerry is relieved.
At the conversion ceremony, George nervously calls the Father "faddah." Outside the building, Kramer tests his kavoorkaa power on a random woman, who calls him a creep and walks off. Kramer runs to the church to try to catch Sister Roberta in time. In a white ceremonial gown, George goes through the ceremony, accidentally spilling some wine on the gown. Sister Roberta is to say the final benediction, but says she can't, for she had fallen for Kramer. Kramer enters and she points and says "him," while the crowd murmurs "kavoorkaa, kavoorkaa."
At Elaine's, Elaine says she likes the foot and says "when you get a bunion, you're not going to the ear guy." The phone rings, and the podiatrist goes to the bathroom while Elaine talks to Jerry on the phone. Jerry says that it was her cat and that he needs the tube back, but before she can get it, her boyfriend finds the medicine, and since he's a podiatrist, he thinks Elaine has fungus.
Back at the church, Sister Roberta says she doesn't feel the same lure as before and, leaving, says he needs a bath.
At Monk's, George tells Sasha that he's converted for her, but unhappy to find that she was moving to Latvia to live with some relatives for a year. She leaves, and George gets a doggie bag for the food.
Notes About Nothing
The writer of the episode, Bruce Kirschbaum, revealed later that he was unaware that the Latvian Orthodox church actually existed while writing the episode. His original intention was to have a fictitious sect. Kirschbaum received many thank you letters from the church for bringing attention to the denomination.
|Season Five Episodes|
|The Mango | The Puffy Shirt | The Glasses | The Sniffing Accountant | The Bris | The Lip Reader | The Non-Fat Yogurt | The Barber | The Masseuse | The Cigar Store Indian | The Conversion | The Stall | The Dinner Party | The Marine Biologist | The Pie | The Stand In | The Wife | The Raincoats, Part 1 | The Raincoats, Part 2 | The Fire | The Hamptons | The Opposite|