Seinfeld: The PTBN Series Rewatch – “The Beard” (S6, E16)

Welcome to Seinfeld: The PTBN Series Rewatch! On a regular basis, JT Rozzero, Aaron George, Andrew Flanagan, Jordan Duncan and Jason Greenhouse will watch an episode of TV’s greatest sitcom and provide notes and grades across a number of categories. The goal is to rewatch the entire series chronologically to see what truly worked, what still holds up today, what feels just a bit dated and yada, yada, yada it will be a great time. So settle into your couch with the cushions flipped over, grab a Snapple and enjoy the ride!


*** Episodes 14 & 15 of Season Six were a two part clip show special to commemorate Episode 100.***

Best Character

JT: A nice strong bounce back here by the whole crew. Everyone was on point but I thought this was Elaine’s episode from start to finish. I loved her tormenting of George the whole way through, right up until her chucking the wig out of the window to end George’s run as a narcissist. Then she had a killer performance at the opera, nearly turned Robert and then summed everything up beautifully to close it out. Nice work, Lainey.

Aaron: If for one moment it has to be Elaine. When she’s finally pushed too far and wrestles George’s hair of his head and screams “I don’t like this thing, and this is what I’m doing with it!” she enters the all time pantheon of Seinfeld memories.

Andrew: I enjoyed Kramer the most. His excitement at being in a police lineup is great, especially when he starts giving hints. He does a great job of backing George and his toupee, and the “you blew it!” at the end is great. And I admire his willingness to set up a friend with a woman he was once involved with. He truly does lift my spirit.

Jordan: It’s another case of choosing between the most consistent throughout the episode versus the best moment. Jerry was solid the entire time, mocking George for his hair hat and really just bringing the snark. But the best moment was easily Elaine snapping and flinging George’s toupee out the window. I think I will go with Jerry here as he really delivered an all star performance, and he HATES that Michael for being so smug.

Jason: Lots of choices to choose from here, but I’ll go with Jerry. He was on fire with his one-liners throughout the episode. From giving George shit about the toupee to confessing that he’s a regular watcher of Melrose Place. A very enjoyable performance from Jerome.

Best Storyline

JT: I won’t necessarily say it is the best, but Jerry’s issues with admitting his Melrose fandom is one of my favorite all time storylines. The absurdity is ripe but it is so damn relatable, especially to a lifelong wrestling and 90210 fan. I went through the same issues with both right around the time this aired, so I felt Jerome’s pain. Also, the lie detector scene is brilliance. “Did Jane’s finance kidnap Sydney and take her to Las Vegas? And if so, did she enjoy it?”

Aaron: The plight of fake hair and the misery it induces. George is flying high, perhaps too close to the sun in Icarusian fashion. His hubris seems to know no bounds as he rejects a woman for being folically challenged. Justice is swift though as he plummets back down to earth as said woman, in turn, rejects him for being as bald as a bat. Not an expression? It is now.

Andrew: I love the Melrose place stuff: Jerry’s love for the show, plus his unwillingness to admit it, is perfect for the character. And I completely identify with sticking to a lie because it’s too trivial to admit to. Jerry struggling through the lie detector test is a great payoff, and the closing line is a classic.

Jordan: I never watched Melrose Place (give me a lie detector! I’ll prove it!), but I still love that storyline. Jerry going to George to beat the system, the questions asked, Jerry finally snapping, then the entire gang watching together at the end. A really good story that touches on guilty pleasures.

Jason: Elaine being a beard and trying to convert a gay man had it’s moments, but I have to go with George being set up with Denise, who happens to be a bald woman.

Ethical Dilemma of the Week

JT: If you know an acquaintance has a preference that differs from your own, should you try to sway them to look away from their very being to acquiesce your sexual desires? Why the hell not. But only once their proclivities have been generally known. Convincing one to hide who they are for your own gratification would be quite wrong.

Aaron: If you’ve seen people on tippy toes have you seen the ballet? As someone who has been to a whopping two (2) ballets I can unequivocally say yes. Ballet is clearly high art. This was proven when I went to see production of Romeo and Juliet. Not only was I bored to dinosaurs by the entire thing but the moment when young Romeo smashed his genitals into the corner of the set to kill himself made me seriously doubt my ability to go on as a living human being. Watch a child try to steal cookies. Watch a cat stretch. Leave the ballet to the high artists like Jumanji. Not a person? Is now.

Andrew: Is it OK to suggest storing casserole in a plastic bag? No. What the hell is Jerry talking about, just dumping it in there? Even if he means wrapping the dish in a plastic bag, I’m slightly horrified.

Jordan: Should George be turned off by a bald woman even though he is bald? Yes, he has every right to be. I don’t think it’s shallow – physical attraction is usually the first thing that draws us to someone. If I had a mustache, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t find women with mustaches unattractive.

Jason: When you lend tupperware to someone, should it be returned to the owner? Absolutely! Homeless guy she be grateful enough that Kramer had the heart to even offer him food.

Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)

JT: Sex. Shopping. Opera. Melrose Place. Bald. What more do you need? Relationship Grade: 10/10

Aaron: I think the big mistake people make when they look at Romeo and Juliet is that it really isn’t about their love. Sure they happen to be the lynch pin to the whole fiasco, but really it poses a pretty deep question: Can love overcome hate? R and J proves that yes, love can, but it comes with a terrible price. Also Tybalt is not a bad person, nor is Paris and if you stage them as such you’re doing the play a disservice. Relationship Grade: 2 hours traffic/10

Andrew: I think Elaine laid it on a little thick as the beard, but her heart was in the right place. And her desperate, misguided attempt at the conversion is enjoyable. I really feel for Jerry being doomed by an offhanded lie. Relationship Grade: Thirty, forty-five minutes a week/10

Jordan: Even gay men can not resist the alluring siren known as Elaine Benes…at least not permanently. Elaine faulting her not being able to handle the equipment properly is a bad excuse in my book. Professionals don’t blame equipment for their failures. Elaine just needs to practice more. Someone call Newman! Relationship Grade: EQUIPMENT MANAGER/10

Jason: If there’s any woman out there who can convert a gay man, it’s Elaine Marie Benes. Minus being bald, Denise is quite attractive. The second she took her hat off, George should have ripped his toupee off and nailed her on the booth at Monk’s. Jerry really blew it with Cathy. She’s a hot cop and all he had to do was admitted that he’s a Melrose Place junkie. Relationship Grade: Ba-Ba-Boom-Chicka-Boom-Chicka-Boom-Boom-Boom/10

What Worked:

JT: Elaine failing at chopsticks was a solid little open; The Beard premise is a good, original sitcom story; I like Kramer’s ongoing obsession with Chinese that always pops up; George’s super wig-fueled confidence; Geogre and Elaine dueling was great; Kramer is a good egg; Kramer dictating the sketch artist is pure Kramer; Nice call back for George with the pouty lips too; Elaine’s sell job to Robert’s boss topped by the huge kiss was great; The euphemism discussion with the teams and equipment was cute; Jerry trolling poor George about not mentioning his toupee to Denise; The lineup scene always makes me laugh, with Kramer turning the wrong way and doing the smirk and dance; As a lifelong wrestling fan, I enjoyed Jerry dodging admitting his love for Melrose Place; Jerry shaking the drink was good; George’s “SHE’S BALD” is an epic line and that whole scene is an all timer, capped with Elaine chucking the rug; The homeless guy finding the wig and getting Kramer booked is a great payoff; Elaine’s Rick Rude celebration dance; The lie detector scene is so damn good; George getting dumped by the bald woman; Awesome payoff at the end with the crew all watching Melrose Place together; Kramer telling the lineup regular to “straighten up and fly right” was good

Aaron: I love Elaine’s irrational hatred of George’s toupee which is wonderfully balanced by Kramer’s love/lust. To think the K-Man never realized what an attractive man George was before. George going buck wild fussing about his hair was great as was his argument with Elaine about WHO is bald. Jerry calling George about his “little hat” has the perfect amount of smarm. His commentary about the nuisance shaking a bottle is as spot on as Kramer declaring “With a piece of TupperWear you just assume.” Kramer summing up everyone’s failures before they sit down to watch Melrose Place feels like a tight little capper. I also am really digging the fact that the coffee shop has become the place to speak about the problems facing mankind. When Elaine suggests conversion and Jerry declares it uncharted territory you really feel like they’re getting to the bottom of something besides a big salad.

Andrew: The “team” metaphor for sexuality is fantastic, and full of great lines. The “access to the equipment” angle will be stuck in my head forever, and the “Are you that desperate?” conversation is excellent. I also enjoy Jerry’s weapon-centric flirting with the cop. Elaine’s righteous anger when throwing out George’s toupee is classic. And his relief at going back to his neurotic insecure self is perfect. “I got rejected by a bald woman” closes the storyline perfectly.

Jordan: Wig George is great, and I wish he salvaged the wig so it could return from time to time. The way he saunters around so confidently is great. Elaine and Jerry talking about what team you play for was done in a fun way. I liked the twist of George being set up with a bald woman. As mentioned earlier, Jerry was terrific this time around, and I loved him suggesting George come clean about his “hat”. Elaine throwing it out the window in a rage was awesome, awesome stuff. I really get a kick out of Kramer in the lineup motioning to the guy next to him. The entire lie detector scene was well done, and the questions were awesome, made better by Jerry clearly having a response to them but trying to compose himself to beat the machine.

Jason: Elaine struggling to use chop sticks. Jerry never being to the ballet, but has seen people on their tip toes. Kramer thinking George looks fantastic in the toupee. George thinking Elaine missed the boat with him. Homeless man’s, “where am I going?’ line always cracks me up. Kramer arguing with the homeless man about the tupperware; “the patented burp, it locks in freshness.” Elaine grabbing Robert and kissing him at The Met. Elaine falling for Robert; ‘they’re only comfortable with their equipment.” Jerry telling Elaine that’s she’s venturing into uncharted waters. Jerry setting up his date Cathy; ‘first date, no weapons.” George fluffing his toupee with a hair pick. Jerry being able to spot George’s “bird’s nest” two blocks away. Kramer dumping trash into homeless guy’s coffee. All three times Kramer was in the lineup were incredible; “You again? You’re a slippery one!’ Jerry acting like he doesn’t watch Melrose Place when Cathy name drops the show. Jerry admitting he was embarrassed about watching the show to Elaine; “Sydney and Michael and Jane” “…and Billy and Jake and Allison.” George telling the gang about his date with Denise; “SHE’S BALD?” “SHEEEE’S BALD!” George’s Larry Fine line. Jerry asking George advice on how to beat the polygraph test; “It’s not a lie if you believe it.” Elaine grabbing the toupee off of George’s head, followed by her rage and the tossing it out of the window. Homeless guy finding the toupee on the street. Elaine’s Rick Rude hip thrust. Elaine trying to seduce Robert. Robert going back to being gay and Elaine not being able to compete with the equipment access. Jerry caving about watching Melrose Place during the polygraph test. The big payoff at the end with the entire gang watching Melrose Place together.

What Didn’t Work

JT: Lou needs a haircut; Uncle Rico stealing the Tupperware is a pretty dick move; Tierney has a really weird delivery and cadence; Jerry’s pants on fire line was cringeworthy; So does Jerry tape Melrose Place or is he just never hanging with his friends during that time every week in this pre-DVR world?

Aaron: I didn’t love the sub plot with the lie detector test for watching Melrose Place. Although there is something endearing about the three men who clearly get together every week to watch the show and exclude their one female friend.

Andrew: George’s anger about the bald woman is off-putting. That’s clearly the point, but he’s a bit too belittling for my taste.

Jordan: I thought the Tupperware theft was stupid and didn’t really like any of the stuff with the homeless guy.

Jason: Lou’s hideous shirt when he’s compiling the sketch of Denise. Elaine being a lazy ass for not wanting to shake her drink. Robert’s boss and his wife seem like two stuck up pricks.

Key Character Debuts


Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes

– “No, I never realized what an attractive man he is. He is a looker, that one.” – George

– “You look ridiculous in that thing.” – Elaine “Is that so? Or could it be that you’re just a *little* bit worried that you may have missed the boat?” – George

– “You know I just thought of something. I know this gorgeous woman, she called me up this morning, she’s moving into the city, and she asked me if I know of anyone she could meet. Now you can go out with her.” – Kramer “Well what about me?” – Jerry “No I think he’s got you beat buddy.” – Kramer

– “Where did the Chinese learn to cook like that?” – Homeless Man

– “Well believe me this didn’t happen overnight. Robert’s not exactly a *one* *woman* *man*, if you know what I mean. No sirree Bob. Sure, I mean in a lot of ways, he’s a typical guy, he likes his sports, but he counters that side with the side you see here tonight at the ballet, or the pleasure he gets in watching Ms. Liza Minelli belt out a few choice numbers. It’s those two halves of his personality that just come together to make him the very special guy that he is.” – Elaine

– “And we discover yet another talent. Posing as a girlfriend for homosexuals.” – Jerry

– “Because when you join that team it’s not a whim. He likes his team. He’s set with that team.” – Jerry “We’ve got a good team.” – Elaine “Yeah, we do. We do have a good team.” – Jerry “Why can’t he play for us?” – Elaine “They’re only comfortable with *their* equipment.” – Jerry “We just got along *so* great.” – Elaine “Of course you did. Everyone gets along great when there’s no possibility of sex.” – Jerry

– “I knew this was going to happen. I just made a delicious casserole, but now it won’t keep because I have no Tupperware.” – Kramer “What about a plastic bag?” – Jerry “You must be kidding.” – Kramer “What is the difference?” – Jerry “The patented burp, Jerry. It locks in freshness.” – Kramer

– “Are you kidding? I could spot that bird’s nest two blocks away.” – Jerry

– “You mean this whole time we could have been discussing Sydney and Michael and Jane…” – Elaine “And Billy and Jake and Allison, yes we could have discussed it.” – Jerry

– “Hey you know what? I have access to one of the most deceitful, duplicitous, deceptive minds of our time. Who better to advise me?” – Jerry

– “How so? I’ll tell you how so. She’s bald!” – George “What do you mean bald?” – Elaine “What do you think I mean bald? Bald. Bald bald.” – George “She’s bald?” – Jerry “She’s bald.” – George “Oh come on.” – Elaine “Oh come on? No come on. She took off her hat and there she was…hello. It was like I was looking at myself in the mirror.” – George “Well maybe she got a haircut or something.” – Elaine “Let me tell you something. No one walks into a beauty parlor and says “Give me the Larry Fine.”” – George

– “I tell you, when she threw that toupee out the window, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I feel like my old self again. Totally inadequate, completely insecure, paranoid, neurotic, it’s a pleasure.” – George “Good to have you back.” – Jerry “And you know what else I’ve decided to do? I’m going to keep seeing the bald woman.” – George “She’s as good as anybody else.” – Jerry “Her scalp was clean. She had a nice skull. There just wasn’t a lot of hair on it.” – George “Yeah you’ve had like a religious awakening. You’re like a bald-again.” – Jerry

– “Jerry, just remember. It’s not a lie… if you believe it.” – George

– “Well it’s a lesson for the kids out there. Anything’s possible. Jeromy, I have *hit* the jackpot. The perfect man. Nothing but sex and shopping.” – Elaine

– “Did Jane sleep with Michael again?” – Cop “Yes! That stupid idiot. He left her for Kimberly, he slept with her sister. He tricked her into giving him half her business, and then she goes ahead and sleeps with him again. I mean she’s crazy. How could she do something like that? Oh that Jane, she makes me so mad.” – Jerry

– “Well here’s the thing. Being a woman, I only really have access to the, uh… equipment, what, thirty, forty-five minutes a week. And that’s on a good week. How can I be expected to have the same expertise as people who *own* this equipment, and have access to it twenty-four hours a day, their entire lives.” – Elaine “You can’t. That’s why they lose very few players.” – Jerry

– “Oh that Michael, I hate him, he’s just so smug.” – Jerry

Oddities & Fun Facts

– John Gries plays the homeless man; He is better known as Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite and many other films and TV roles

Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)

JT: Ah, it is good to be back. After a blip last week, the goodness returns here with one of my favorites of the season. Things cruised along and all of the storylines were pretty unique and each had nice payoffs as well. The Melrose stuff was so good and I crack up at the lie detector scene every damn time I see it. “I hate that Michael, he is so smug” was a go to line for me for years. The delivery of it was so damn good. Also, Elaine was dominant and backed right up by the rest of the crew as well. Lots of classic stuff here, especially the scene where George reveals Denise was bald and Elaine snaps and ends the charade once and for all. She certainly earned the right to do that Rick Rude swivel dance. ‘YOU’RE BALD!”  Final Grade: 8/10

Aaron: I’m torn on this one. On one hand I really loved the wig stuff and all of Elaine’s escapades. There were more than a few laugh out loud moments, but the script just didn’t feel like a tight Seinfeld script. It was still a great way to spend a half hour but the writing keeps it from being an all timer. This one’s a bridesmaid never a suicidal cow. Final Grade: 7/10

Andrew: I’ve always liked this episode. The Melrose Place angle is a lot of fun, and the “switching teams” storyline made a big impression on me. Every character has something interesting going on, and the dialogue is excellent. The stories don’t tie together as perfectly as in other great episodes, but that’s a relatively minor complaint. This episode gets well-represented in clip shows, and I do think that should count for something. Final Grade: 8/10 

Jordan: This one snuck up on me! I have obviously seen it, and remember moments, but didn’t have a crystal clear remembrance of it. I really liked it! Beyond the toupee being thrown out the window, I liked Elaine really pushing hard to convert the beard, AND SUCCEEDING! Then failing in the long run. The Melrose Place stuff was goofy and I could see why some may not enjoy it, but it worked for me. Thankfully Jerry lives in New York, because if he took that test in Manitowoc County, he would now be in jail for eight rapes. Final Grade: 8/10

Jason: I really enjoyed this one.  A few iconic moments with the toupee and George dating a bald woman. The Melrose Place stuff was excellent and tied in well with how hot that show was when this episode originally aired. All members of the core four had strong showings here as we head to a memorable stretch of this season. Final Grade: 8/10