A food writer who claims that Seinfeld's wife ripped off her idea for a healthy cookbook has now decided to sue Jerry Seinfeld himself. Why? Because on TV he happened to make the innocent assumption that the writer in question was probably a murderer. Absurd, of course – we all know that people who eat healthily don't possess the physical strength to even pick up a gun, let alone fire it without the recoil dislocating their entire skeletons.
There's a lot of talk about 'the Seinfeld curse' – the near-compulsive inability of actors who appeared on Seinfeld to find other successful sitcoms to star in – but there's a chance that the real Seinfeld curse is the near compulsive inability of actors who appeared on Seinfeld to open their mouths in public without being uncomfortably offensive.
First there was Michael Richards and his unusual upsidedown pitchfork-based ethnic cleansing model, and now Jerry Seinfeld's getting in on the act, too. Only Jerry Seinfeld is being a little more specific with his targets. So specific that he's just offended one woman, really – Missy Chase Lapine, the author of The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals.
You see, the whole point of Missy Chase Lapine's book is that you can make children eat anything – fruit, vegetables, seeds, ritalin, incriminating fraudulent documents – by chopping them up really small and mashing them up with things children do like to eat, like chocolate, hamburgers, rabbit turds and whatnot.
And the month after it was released, Jerry Seinfeld's wife Jessica published her book Deceptively Delicious that preached the very same messages, even to the point where it contained almost-identical recipes for spinach brownies and avocado in chocolate pudding. And as far as Missy Chase Lapine is concerned, that's plagiarism.
Then, in October, when Missy Chase Lapine was already on Jessica Seinfeld's case, Jerry Seinfeld went on Letterman and – realising that Missy Chase Lapine has three names – came to the following conclusion:
"Now you know, having a career in show business, one of the fun facts of celebrity life is wackos will wait in the woodwork to pop out at certain moments of your life to inject a little adrenaline into your life experience…. If you read history, many of the three-name people do become assassins. Mark David Chapman. And you know, James Earl Ray. So that's my concern."
And, somewhat unsurprisingly for a woman who's prepared to sue because someone other than her puts potatoes in cheese sandwiches, this little outburst has caused Missy Chase Lapine to, yes, sue Jerry Seinfeld. According to the Associated Press:
The lawsuit said a reasonable person watching Seinfeld on Letterman's show would conclude that he had described Lapine as mentally ill with "potentially violent or, at a minimum, hostile, tendencies, proclivities and activities." It argued that Lapine was not a public figure, does not suffer mental infirmity, is not a celebrity stalker, is not violent or dangerous, and does not engage in extortion or lies.
Now, speaking from experience we know that it's an incredibly bad idea to call someone who isn't a murderer a murderer. And we also know how tiring it can be when people you've never even heard of say that you've ripped them off. So we're eminently positioned to be able to rule fairly on this messy Seinfeld case. And what do we rule?
We rule that anyone who's really that bothered about squidging up a carrot and putting it in a trifle – or whatever these books tell you to do – should probably find something better to do with their time, like sitting in a corner clawing at their face with their hands, for example.