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In the Seinfeld's episode The Contest, George's mother caught him masturbating. Later George telling this story to his friends.

GEORGE: So, she fell, and then she started screaming, "My back! My back!" So, I picked her up and took her to the hospital.

...

GEORGE: Her back went out. She's gotta be there for a couple of days. All she said on the way over in the car was, "Why, George, why?!".. I said, "Because it's there!"

What does it mean, because it's there?

2 Answers 2

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I'd guess it's a reference to the reply given by George Mallory when asked why he climbed Mount Everest.

"Because it's there."

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  • But that still doesn't explain what it means in the context. Even if George is referencing an earlier statement, it still applies to the context, as well.
    – Joachim
    Dec 10, 2023 at 0:02
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You're talking about "The Contest" episode of Seinfeld, season 4, episode 11. I found the clip of the quote on on YouTube. The quote above starts at about 1:26 in the video.

This is probably confusing because there is quite a bit of unspoken context in the quotes you are asking about. George's mother's question "Why?" probably has the subtext: "Why were you masturbating?"

"Because it's there!" has the context of: "Because it (my penis) is there." Essentially, George is suggesting that he has no control of his penis when he sees a Glamour magazine. He just has to take care of the problem, even if he's in his Mom's house.

The censors would not allow those words spoken on television at the time, so they removed all mention of "masturbate," "penis," and other taboo words from the episode. Instead, the writer used humorous euphemisms for them, and only hinted at their off-screen actions. As it turned out, the episode is now known for the euphemism "I'm the master of my domain" meaning "I didn't masturbate."

I hope this helps!

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  • Incorrect. This too is simply a reference to Mallory talking about Everest.
    – Chenmunka
    Dec 9, 2023 at 21:48
  • Mallory said, "because it's there" referring to Everest. It's impossible to ignore it. One climbs it because someone should do it. Likewise for George's masturbatory urges. Yes, it is a Mallory quote - but here it's also a euphemism for masturbation. That's why the American audience laughed, and probably not so much because of a British mountain-climber's quote from ~70 years before the episode was written. Dec 9, 2023 at 22:06

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