"The Lip Reader" is the 70th episode of the sitcom Seinfeld. It is the sixth episode of the fifth season, and first aired on October 28, 1993. The episode brought in a 20.4 rating and 31 share. It was written by Carol Leifer and was directed by Tom Cherones.
Jerry and George are at the U.S. Open where George mentions that he had invited his girlfriend Gwen to a party. Jerry says this is a bad idea, as he cannot socialize with others when he is with his girlfriend. George buys an ice cream sundae at the match and eats it, getting the chocolate all over his face, which is caught by the cameras and broadcast on television. Jerry becomes smitten with the lineswoman, and when he tries to get her attention it appears as if she is ignoring him. Only after she turns around does Jerry realize that she is deaf.
Elaine, who is using the company car service to travel, is tired of all the chatty drivers - so to avoid talking to one she pretends to be deaf. However, her plan fails when she hears the radio message to the driver to pick up Tom Hanks. To make it up to the driver, who was disgusted with her feigned deafness, she gets him tickets to a rock concert.
Jerry tells Kramer about the deaf lineswoman, Laura (Marlee Matlin). Kramer claims to know sign language because a deaf cousin lived with him for a year. He then gets an idea to become a "ball man" at the tennis center and asks Jerry to find out from Laura how to get the job.
Gwen breaks up with George, saying "it's not you; it's me"; George is offended, as he considers this to be his signature break-up line. Kramer tells George about seeing him on TV with the ice cream on his face, which George believes to be the reason for Gwen breaking up with him. Jerry takes George as the third wheel on a date with Laura, and they find out that Laura can eavesdrop on people by lip reading. George then gets the idea to take Laura to a party to read his girlfriend's lips to see what she is saying about him. After the date Jerry asks if he can pick up Laura at six for the party ("How about six?"), which she misinterprets as 'sex' ("How about sex?") and leaves him in a huff.
Kramer goes for the ball boy tryouts and aces it, getting the job. Jerry tells George about the 'six/sex' misunderstanding and that he straightened it out with Laura. Newman enters and asks to 'borrow' Laura to spy on his supervisor, and, not surprisingly, Jerry refuses. Later, in the limo, they find out that the driver has gone slightly deaf from sitting near the speakers at a Metallica concert: the same concert for which Elaine had given him tickets. When he recognizes Elaine, the driver throws everyone out of his cab.
They arrive late to the party and meet Laura who has a brief and nonsensical sign language conversation with Kramer. When Gwen arrives, Laura watches her conversation with Todd and signs to Kramer who voices it out loud. The conversation is surprisingly mundane - about peas, pea soup, carrots and carrot soup (a subtle joke; "silent" extras often mouth the phrase "peas and carrots" to give the illusion of conversation). However, when Todd asks Gwen if she wants to sweep with him after the party, it is misinterpreted as 'sleep' with him. George becomes hysterical. He runs up to them and rants about the disloyalty. When Gwen corrects him, he starts shouting at Laura and Kramer. When Laura and Kramer start arguing and signing furiously, she accidentally hits George in the eye. He topples over a table and crashes the party.
Later, the group are seen at a tennis match where Kramer is the "ball man". Kramer rushes at the ball and accidentally knocks out Monica Seles, thus ending the great ball man experiment. After the match, Laura gets into the limo with the same chatty driver. When he starts talking to her, she explains to him, "I'm deaf." He turns back with a slightly agitated and dubious expression before the credits roll.
|Previous episode:||Next episode:|
|The Bris||The Non-Fat Yogurt|
|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|