I’m watching the famous gay episode The Outing (not that there’s anything wrong with that), where a student reporter from NYU was scheduled to meet with Jerry in the coffee shop to do an interview. She ends up sitting in the booth behind Jerry and George, and when Elaine sees them eavesdropping, she decides to have a little fun and loudly say Jerry and George are gay and should come out.
The next thing that happens is a little weird. Sharon, the reporter, goes to the pay phone and calls Jerry at home saying she didn’t see him at the coffee shop. Jerry and George, who doesn’t know what she looks like, sees her as they brush past her to go to the bathroom.
Why did she call Jerry at home and lie that she didn’t see him? Up until now, I’ve never thought too much about it, I just took it at face value that she didn’t know what he looked like either and really called Jerry to tell him she missed the meeting. But that doesn’t make any sense. She would have known what he looked like, she didn’t express any surprise to see him and George in the apartment when they meet up later and had questions ready for the both of them.
Was it simply that she wanted to bail out of the interview and redo her questions to reflect that he was a closeted gay guy? That’s the only excuse I can think of where she lies to him to reschedule the interview for later.
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen it, but IIRC, she either didn’t want to miss the rest of the conversation, realized she was already late (because she was evesdropping instead of doing the interview) or didn’t want to embarrasses them because it would be obvious that she heard them talking about being gay (probably the latter).
Either way, it was. ultimately a plot device to set up the ‘not that there’s anything wrong with that’ joke, since she didn’t realize they were kidding. Elaine didn’t know who it was and even if Jerry know who she was, I don’t think he knew she was there. If he had, it could have been explained right then and there (in a time where joking about that wouldn’t have been a PC violation). However, when she met him later on, she already had that notion firmly implanted in her mind and it was (via confirmation bias) further confirmed based on things that Jerry and George said and did. So all they could do is deny, all the while saying ‘not that there’s anything wrong with that’.
At least that’s my take on it, based on not having seeing that episode on years.
My impression is that she did not know who Jerry was at that point in the coffee shop. She just thought she was eavesdropping on two gay guys. When she went to his apartment is when she put it together.
I saw this one last night as well, and it is a little confusing. Jerry is supposed to meet the reporter at the coffee shop. He’s there with George and Elaine, she’s in the next booth with her friend. Jerry says that she’s never seen his act, doesn’t know what he looks like, etc. Which begs the question, how were they * supposed* to recognize each other at the coffee shop? If they’ve never met before, they must have communicated in advance how to recognize each other (“I’ll be wearing…” or something like that) so why didn’t they recognize each other?