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"The Money":

ELAINE: Tell her after sex, you just want her outta there?

KRAMER: Well, I'd say it nicely.

ELAINE: I don't think so.

KRAMER: Well, you know, I really like this girl and I, you know, I think if I could just work out this one thing...

ELAINE: (interrupting) Yeah. I gotta be honest with you Kramer. You might be more than just a coupla tweaks away from a healthy relationship.

KRAMER: Well you're not exactly zeroing in yourself, lady.

ELAINE: (pointing to the door, angry) Alright, get out.

What did Kramer mean? He meant that Elaine did not pay enough attention to his problem, or that what she said was not accurate enough (she needs to zero her articulation)?

And whatever he meant by this, which particular moment of the conversation caused him to conclude it?

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I'm guessing. I think "a coupla tweaks" is probably "a couple of weeks" (if Kramer's a little patient, he could have a healthy relationship). If what I guessed is right, then "zeroing in" is purposefully used as a pun for both "your relationship hasn't started yet" and/or "you're not exactly taking care of your own relationship". But then again, I'm guessing. –  Damkerng T. Apr 5 at 11:41
    
Come to think of it (I just reviewed the script), "couple tweaks" also works, to pun the "tweak" with both "the Jimmy legs problem" and "problems in Kramer's relationship". Tweak can mean either "twist a part of someone's body" or something similar to "making minor changes or improvement". I still think that "zeroing in" could also be another pun. –  Damkerng T. Apr 5 at 11:57

3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

This is actually quite a witty comeback/pun involving misuse of the phrasal verb 'zero in' in relation to the previously mentioned 'coupla tweaks away' (coupla = couple of = two) and 'work out this one thing'.

zero in (v) - (1) to aim directly at (a target) (2) to direct one's attention to; focus on; concentrate on (3) to converge on; close in on.

Zero in as mentioned in other answers is a phrasal verb most commonly used (in my opinion) as business language when trying to focus on finding some answer. Its literal root is to do with closing in on a physical target. Both of these points are important when considering the script.

The first important line is:

KRAMER: Well, you know, I really like this girl and I, you know, I think if I could just work out this one thing...

Here, Kramer mentions that he is trying to work something out although it isn't clear what that is from the given text. The next important line is:

ELAINE: (interrupting) Yeah. I gotta be honest with you Kramer. You might be more than just a coupla tweaks away from a healthy relationship.

So, in response he says:

KRAMER: Well you're not exactly zeroing in yourself, lady.

It's perhaps important to know that "you're not exactly 'blah' yourself, lady" is a common format of an insult.

So, now do you see the pun? Essentially, Kramer is trying to work out how to make his relationship work, Elaine responds by saying that he is a distance away from a healthy relationship. In his response he says that Elaine is not 'zeroing in' herself by which he means both that she is a distance away from a healthy relationship and he is referencing the ability to work out relationships.

Simple answer: When Kramer says Elaine is not 'zeroing in' he means to say that she doesn't have a perfect relationship either.

Complicated answer: On further inspection I believe there is much more going on in the script than other answers give credit. In addition to the simple answer, Kramer's response also references himself trying to work out his relationship and it continues the use of numbers throughout this exchange. I doubt this is an accident and reflects clever writing skills.

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ELAINE: You might be more than just a coupla tweaks away from a healthy relationship.

This essentially means: You are not far from a healthy relationship.

KRAMER: Well you're not exactly zeroing in yourself, lady.

Here, Kramer twists the intent of Elaine's comment, perceiving it as the criticism you have not achieved a healthy relationship yet.

Her responds to this criticism with a "you neither" retort: you are not exactly zeroing in (on a healthy relationship) yourself, lady.

The understood indirect object of "zero in" is "healthy relationship": to zero in on something means to select something as a target, with progressive accuracy. There is no "zero in yourself" here, where "yourself" serves as a direct object!

I don't see you getting closer to a healthy relationship yourself, either, in spite of trying.

Someone who is trying to hit a target, but is "not zeroing in" is failing to improve the accuracy of his or her aim, continuously missing the target, perhaps due to lack of skill or other conditions. In comedies like Seinfeld, characters often make sarcastic remarks to each other, based on personality flaws (such as various failures) that are well-established for the characters and known to the audience. The character of Elaine is known to be terribly inept in relationships (as are pretty much all of the Seinfeld characters), so Kramer's sarcastic jab is a humorous understatement for something like:

You're an utter failure in relationships, yet you're advising me.

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3  
The first comment from Elaine you quote means "you are far from a healthy relationship". Not that Kramer is "not far" from a healthy relationship. If Kramer was actually close to a healthy relationship, this wouldn't be funny. It's funny, because claiming that he's only one tweak away is a massive understatement, and Elaine recognizes this. –  Nate Apr 5 at 21:23
    
Remove 'not' in your second line ("You are not far from a healthy relationship.") and I will accept the answer. I think it is your misprint. –  Graduate Apr 6 at 6:08

Kramer is stating the the advice Elaine gives of "Tell her after sex, you just want her outta there?" is not something he believes as accurate.

Kramer is discussing with Elaine a specific issue in his relationship. She is giving him what he believes to be poor advice. She doesn't see his relationship as healthy ("more than a coupla tweaks"), and therefore, does not feel that giving him good advice worthwhile.

Kramer meant that Elaine's advice is inaccurate and not helpful. He's essentially saying "thanks for nothing," if you're familiar with that phrase.

Maybe annotating the conversation with suspected thoughts would help:

ELAINE: Tell her after sex, you just want her outta there? (Kramer's thoughts: That doesn't sound like good advice. Is she just not being clear?)

KRAMER: Well, I'd say it nicely. (Elaine's thoughts: I don't think that's something he would say nicely. His relationship isn't healthy.)

ELAINE: I don't think so. (Kramer's thoughts: I'm trying to make the relationship better by solving this problem. I need Elaine's good advice.)

KRAMER: Well, you know, I really like this girl and I, you know, I think if I could just work out this one thing... (Elaine's thoughts: Kramer's relationship isn't healthy. Solving this problem will not make the relationship as a whole better. I need to make him understand this.)

ELAINE: (interrupting) Yeah. I gotta be honest with you Kramer. You might be more than just a coupla tweaks away from a healthy relationship. (Translation: Your relationship isn't healthy) (Kramer's thoughts: I didn't ask you about whether or not my relationship is healthy. I asked for your advice on this single problem. You aren't being helpful.)

KRAMER: Well you're not exactly zeroing in yourself, lady. (Elaine's thoughts: He's asking me for help with his relationship and then doesn't want my opinions on his relationship? This makes me mad.)

ELAINE: (pointing to the door, angry) Alright, get out.

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