BQB Watches Seinfeld – The Sponge – Season 7, Episode 9

It’s funny how shows that were controversial years ago seem tame by today’s standards. Does that mean it’s good to break taboos or is it bad in that we, as a society, just keep sliding further and further into the abyss?

I don’t know.

At any rate, this episode is all about a contraceptive device called “The Today Sponge.” It’s Elaine’s favorite method for preventing an unwanted pregnancy, but it went off the market. After scouring New York, she finds a pharmacy with one case left and scoops it up.

This leads to her being very discriminating in her choice of men. Apparently before, when sponges were plentiful, she went wild, but today, she really has to be picky. She now interrogates potential boyfriends in the manner of a boss trying to weed out the riff raff in a job interview. A judgmental person might say Elaine should have been this picky all along because let’s face it, sex has consequences and before you invite a person into your bedroom, you might ask yourself is this really the kind of person you want to invite in your life. You never know what might happen that would cause an unwanted individual to stay.

Sideplots: Kramer volunteers to walk in an AIDS walk. He does so diligently, but he doesn’t want to wear the ribbon, which causes turmoil amongst his fellow walkers. The underlying message is that it’s not enough to say you support something, be it a cause or a movement or in this case, finding the cure to a deadly virus. Society literally requires you to wear your support on your sleeve. How sad we don’t trust each other to the point where we demand that people jump through hoops to prove their loyalty.

Meanwhile, George tells Susan a secret about Jerry, bringing up the old conundrum of how, when your BFF finds love, you have to be careful about what you say, because you have to realize if you tell one half of a couple, you are telling both halves.

I recall this episode being somewhat controversial at the time – a woman just flagrantly flouting society’s mores, so concerned about her ability to bang baby free that she hoards contraception and refuses to waste her sponges by banging “not spongeworthy” dudes, which if you take the sponges out of the equation, Elaine should be setting better standards for herself and not banging dudes that she doesn’t see a happy future with anyway. (Men shouldn’t be doing this with men either.) I hate to sound old fashioned, like I’m denouncing people who bang willy nilly, it’s just that I think TV tends to show us the fun side of indiscriminate banging while not showing the negative consequences.

I think my main complaint with the show (everyone’s complaint really) is you do have to suspend disbelief when it comes to the quartet’s dating numbers. They each have a new love interest every week when even the most beautiful and successful among us never rack up those numbers. Meanwhile, few ever rack up those numbers without catching an STD or having an unwanted pregnancy. Few also get out of such a robust dating life without making, well, for lack of a better word, enemies. To the show’s credit, the characters’ lack of concern for the people they are dating often comes back to bite them.

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