At the outset of the Season 3 Seinfeld episode, "The Limo", Jerry and George are stranded at the airport. George sees a limousine driver holding a sign that says "O'Brien." He talks Jerry into posing as O'Brien and Murphy to get a free ride.

As they go to approach the limo driver, a traveler asks Jerry and George if they know the time. George tells the traveler dismissively, "There's a clock on the wall.", and pulls Jerry away.

This interaction doesn't seem to add to the scene. By now in the series, George's character is well-developed as a misanthrope. It does ring true to Larry David's aesthetic of unwarranted advances by strangers in public.

Ultimately I am wondering if I am missing something with this scene.

1 Answer 1


The scene is in reference to something else that happened shortly before that in the episode. George had asked a different stranger the time and the stranger refused to tell him; instead telling him to look at the clock on the wall. From the script.

George: Excuse me, sir, do you have the time?

Man: There's a clock over there.

George: Where?

Man (pointing): There.

George: But you have a watch on.

Man: It's right by the escalator.

George: Why don't you just look at your watch?

Man: I told you, it's right over there.

George: Let me see the watch.

George grabs the man's wrist.

Man: Hey! What are you, some kind of nut?!

George: You know we're living in a society!


[Different] Man (to George): Hey, do you have the time?

George: Clock over there. (to chauffer) O'Brien.

So the joke here is George's hypocrisy. He was upset that a stranger wouldn't give him the time; and instead dismissively told him to look at the clock. His complaint was that as members of a society, people should be polite and helpful towards one another. But then, just minutes later, he shows that he is part of the very problem he complained about; that he would rather tell a stranger to look at the clock than to tell him the time.

  • 1
    The joke's glaring flaw is that George wasn't wearing a working watch or he wouldn't have asked the original passerby for the time in the first place. He might have guessed at the current time but he didn't have a watch for confirmation.
    – user18935
    Commented Aug 27, 2019 at 21:16
  • @Jeeped I've thought that same thing when watching the scene, but I think a more polite person would have said "sorry, I don't have a watch".. which ironically is more polite but less helpful than "clock over there". So to be polite and helpful, you have to go with "sorry, I don't have a watch,but there's a clock on the wall over there".
    – GendoIkari
    Commented Aug 27, 2019 at 21:20
  • 2
    @Jeeped Since only a short while has passed since George found out the time, he basically still knows the approximate time and could easily have told the other person. Commented Aug 28, 2019 at 6:41
  • @IgbyLargeman - I did mention that 'He might have guessed at the current time'... but airport time (arrivals and departures) runs on minutes if not seconds. If the passer-by needed to find his departure gate in x number of minutes then an exact time was of essence. If locating an arrival time to find a passenger then maybe not so much. In any event, I've forgotten how long it was between the two situations.
    – user18935
    Commented Aug 28, 2019 at 6:49
  • I thought the joke was that he said 'we live in a society' in the earlier scene Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 18:34

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