- The Cheever Letters
Infobox Television episode
Title = The Cheever Letters
Series = Seinfeld
Caption = Jerry, Susan, & George reading the Cheever letters.
Season = 4
Episode = 48
October 28, 1992
Episode list = List of "Seinfeld" episodes
Season list = Infobox Seinfeld season 4 episode list
"The Cheever Letters" is the forty-eighth episode of the American sitcom "
Seinfeld". It was the 8th episode of the 4th season. The episode was written by Larry Davidand was directed by Tom Cherones. This episode first premiered on October 28, 1992.
George is to meet Susan's parents and is not looking forward to telling her father that his cabin had been burned down (by Kramer with the
Cuban cigars Susan's father had given to George as a gift). Jerry suggests that the Rosses are likely to see the irony of the situation and tries to look on the bright side, saying, "It's not even a house — it's, like, a cabin." "We could build a cabin like that!", George says. "Well," replies Jerry, "Maybe not us, but two men could."
The two of them try to settle down to get some work on their pilot script done. They struggle to get some work done, and Jerry decides to phone Elaine. He gets through to her chatty secretary Sandra, but by pretending to be in a
telephone boothgets quickly put through to Elaine who is also procrastinating. Jerry complains to her about Sandra, and after getting off the phone she asks her secretary to not talk to Jerry so much. Sandra is not happy, and quits. Meanwhile, back at the apartment Kramer enters, and asks George if he has any more Cuban cigars as he needs them to play golfin a private club. George does not, so he leaves with a mission to find some.
That night, George has an awkward dinner with Susan and her parents. Her mother is fairly drunk, and says that George looks like Susan's Aunt Sarah. Trying to put off telling her father about Kramer, he fends off questions about the cigars and the cabin. Susan's father recalls how his father had died telling him only "to cherish the cabin", and George and Susan get even more awkward. Susan eventually tells him that the cabin was burnt down, and he is devastated to discover that there was nothing recovered. Meanwhile, Jerry is asked by Elaine to apologize to Sandra in the hope that she might return to work. Jerry does so, and is persuaded to arrange a date with her that night. It goes well, and they end up back at the apartment later that night but she storms off after they had been talking dirty and Jerry had crossed the line.
Jerry meets George the next day in the cafe and explains what had happened the previous night. He tells George that she had started the dirty talk, and whispers what she had said. George is so shocked he squirts tomato ketchup from a squeezable bottle across the table, stammering, "That's very dirty, that's absolutely filthy". Jerry describes how she started talking about her panties. Justifying his remark as him just trying to keep up, Jerry explains how he said, "You mean, the panties your mother laid out for you?", and this led to Sandra storming out. George looks very confused, as neither know what's so bad about it ("That's not offensive. It's abnormal, but it's not offensive!"). George tells Jerry about dinner the night before, and they return to the apartment to work on the pilot. Kramer comes round to the delight of Jerry and George, but he leaves fairly quickly meaning they have to do some work. They doze off but are awoken by Elaine who thanks Jerry for getting Sandra back to work there. Jerry says she should relocate her quickly, and is relieved she had not mentioned the previous night.
Kramer heads to the Cuban Diplomatic Mission at the United Nations to get hold of some cigars and meets three Cuban diplomats who, although they have some, tell him that they are illegal in the United States. However, the chief diplomat, played by
Miguel Perez, likes Kramer's jacket, and they come to an agreement to swap.
Jerry and George go to Susan's house to return her sunglasses. Also there are her mother, Aunt Sarah and brother. Sarah angrily says that George looks nothing like her. While they are there a doorman comes round with a metal box from the insurance company, the only thing to survive from the fire. Susan opens it, and discovers inside some letters written to her father from the novelist
John Cheever. She reads a letter, and everybody looks more and more shocked apart from Jerry and George, who look embarrassed. The letter says, "Dear Henry, last night with you was bliss. I fear my orgasm has left me a cripple. I don't know how I shall ever get back to work. I love you madly, John. PS. Love the cabin". After a brief pause, Jerry and George attempt to leave but Susan's father enters the room. He notices the box, and the reaction of the people in the room makes him fear the worst. Upon their accusations, he admits that it was true and described Cheever as "the most wonderful person" he'd ever known. Jerry and George finally escape the shocked family.
Back home, they attempt to do some more work on the pilot. They manage one more sentence (Jerry: "I could say, 'How's it going?'!") before they get interrupted by Elaine. She is not happy. Having got Sandra transferred to another department, her ex-secretary had told everybody that Elaine had been using company funds to phone a friend in Europe. The company has charged her $429, that Jerry pays for her. Hearing some commotion outside, Jerry opens the door to his apartment to reveal Kramer and the three Cuban diplomats, who go off to play golf. One of them is wearing Kramer's jacket. Inside, George is reading "Falconer" by John Cheever, and Jerry tells Elaine that he is "familiar with some of his writings". Jerry sends Elaine away so they can get some work done. As she leaves, she reveals that Sandra had told her about her night with Jerry, saying, "Maybe I should go visit my mother. She just bought me some new panties and they’re all…laid out for me"!
* Though the events of this episode would seem to insinuate that Susan's parents are headed for a divorce, they are seen together in several episodes during the show's last three seasons, still happily married. In this episode's DVD commentary,
Jason Alexandertheorizes that the Rosses simply went through some heavy therapy between now and then.
Julia Louis-Dreyfusnotes this episode's endings as one of her all-time favorites, and she was extremely proud of the studio audience's reaction to her final line.
* Mr. Ross: "Cherish the cabin." And I have...for forty-five years. It's often been a sanctuary for me.
George: Kinda like
Superman's Fortress of Solitude?
Mr. Ross: What?
George: Uh, Superman—he, uh, built the Fortress of Solitude up at the
North Pole, to, uh, you know, sort of get away from it all.
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Cheever, John — born May 27, 1912, Quincy, Mass., U.S. died June 18, 1982, Ossining, N.Y. U.S. short story writer and novelist. Cheever lived principally in southern Connecticut. His stories appeared notably in The New Yorker, his clear and elegant prose… … Universalium