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!
JT: Jerry was on fire throughout this whole episode. His timing and one liners were on point and his lonely housewife bits with Kramer were tremendous. Everyone was real good here, especially Kramer, but Jerry nailed every scene he was in.
Aaron: Because I can’t in good conscience give him the best storyline it’s Kramer. His new career is beautifully absurd and his firing is a painful portrait of corporate America.
Andrew: I’ll go with Jerry in this one. He plays a pivotal part in all the storylines, explaining the Bizarro concept to Elaine, listening to George’s tales of The Forbidden City, and playing the aggrieved spouse to Kramer’s overworked businessman. But what I love the most is watching him react to the Man Hands. The faces he makes are perfect.
Jordan: This is why the rewatch is good – in my mind, Elaine stood out in this episode, but in the rewatch, Jerry takes it and it’s not even that close. Elaine wouldn’t even be my second choice honestly, that would be Businessman Kramer.
Jason: I could easily take the easy road and chose the entire cast. However, I’ll go with Jerry. His one-liners were some of his best. His handling (pun intended) of Gillian and guilt trip to Kramer are what sealed the deal. An all-timer here from Jerome.
JT: It is unfair and criminal that Kramer’s tremendous going to work storyline existed in the same episode as the Bizarro World but life isn’t fair. The Bizarro stuff was genius and so well executed on every level, it is easily one of the greatest stories the show ever unleashed. “I’m sorry, we’ve already got a George.”
Aaron: The Bizarro world is marvelously constructed right down to the statue of Bizarro adorning Kevin’s room.
Andrew: I love them all and wouldn’t fault you for picking any of them, but I think The Bizarro Jerry is the best. Seeing what the writers consider the “opposite” of the main characters is a joy. The bits with Kevin and friends are really funny, and the two groups meeting up on the street is a fantastic scene.
Jordan: All of them were excellent. Man Hands became an instant classic phrase, George using her photo was a lot of fun, and Kramer joining the workforce made for some great stuff – but it’s the Bizarro Jerry. So many little touches made this one perfect. They could have been lazy about it, but they really went all out with Elaine’s new trio.
Jason: Again, I could go a few different ways here, but I’ll go with the title plot. Kevin and his loser crew were excellent as the opposite of Jerry, George, Kramer and Newman. The stare down between the two crews on the street was the icing on top.
Ethical Dilemma of the Week
JT: Is it ethical to wash your shoes in the water cooler? Who gives a shit, this is awesome.
Aaron: Are you a traitor if you abandon your awful friends for much nicer, identical friends? You’re god damn right you are. There is no way that Kevin and company would put up with Elaine’s Peterman stories and callous conversations about a man’s value as compared to a box of sponges. You’ve got to stick with who you are. Elaine is Jerry, George and Kramer. She may think that she’s above them but in the end she still authorized the kidnapping of a dog.
Andrew: Should George have invited Jerry to The Forbidden City? I give him a pass on this one; if you get an opportunity like that, you can’t do anything to jeopardize it. That said, he didn’t need to act so superior about it, and deserves no sympathy for getting himself kicked out.
Jordan: The most obvious choice here is “Should George use his dead fiance story and a photo of a beautiful woman to try and have sex?” On second thought, I don’t see how this is a dilemma.
Jason: Can you get an ulcer after three days of working at a job? After 10 years of not working, this is quite possible.
Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)
JT: Like Icarus, George flew too close to the sun and got burned. Hard. Also, Kramer and Jerry have the most realistic relationship in the show’s history in this episode. Relationship Grade: Crackers/Cold Chicken
Aaron:Ya know for a woman whose picture literally changed a meat market into a meat market Gillian really didn’t seem all that special. Relationship Grade: 5/10
Andrew: “Man Hands” was such a great idea. A reasonable person should be able to overlook one glaring flaw, and yet that would be a real tough one to get past. Relationship Grade: George “The Animal” Steele/10
Jordan: I know that the recurring theme has become that Jerry will find the smallest little reason to end a relationship – but I don’t feel having man hands is that small of a thing. SHE OPENED A BEER THAT WASN’T EVEN A TWIST OFF. That’s off putting and Jerome was right to flee. Relationship Grade: Make a wish/10
Jason: Kevin and his crew are a bunch of pussies and Elaine should be glad they gave her the boot. Amanda is way above George’s leauge, but thank God for his “attractive dead fiance”. Take away Gillain’s hands and she’s a good catch for Jerry. Relationship Grade: Beach Towel/10
JT: The alien discussion to open the show was funny; George knowing the public toilet scene is great character work; Nice continuity with Jerry nudging George to use his widower story to hit on the receptionist; Reggie’s!; James Polk!; George’s Forbidden City theory; Art Vandelay!; The first time we see the man hands followed by Jerry telling Elaine about it; Jerry’s hooks and extra set of hands comments get me every time; Jerry asking what year it is when he wakes up to Kramer getting ready for work; Kramer’s TCB and crackers lines are all timers, especially his quick hit delivery as he walks out the door; The Sheena Easton video montage is a classic; Jerry explaining the Bizarro World; Man Hands tearing up the bread and lobster and Jerry’s wish not coming true; The Bizarro Friends and the way they behave is a genius concept; Jerry and Kramer arguing at breakfast; George’s poster of Dennis Franz; The friends showdown on the street; Leland shitcanning Kramer; VARGAS!;
Aaron: I loved all of Kramer’s business at the office and we get our first use of the iconic “My Baby Takes the Morning Train.” “Ya know I don’t even really work here,” followed by “That’s what makes this so difficult,” is one of the best exchanges in the series. The strain on Kramer and Jerry’s marriage was tastefully done. It was disturbingly fitting that Elaine was tossed from the Bizarro crew for shoving Kevin.
Andrew: The Man Hands scene is my favorite. Those meathooks pawing at Jerry’s face before manhandling a lobster is just so good, and his facial reactions are great. The bizarro stuff is really good: the counterparts are all well cast, and I get a kick out their “opposite” behaviors, particularly “reading”. Kramer’s nine-to-five storyline is perfect for him, with him inexplicably deciding he needs the structure of a job, and even more inexplicably getting away with it. The marriage stuff with him and Jerry is funny, and the “Morning Train” montage is great. George’s storyline is also perfect for his character, as he gets a golden opportunity, immediately gets over-confident, and ruins it by his own hand.
Jordan: Let’s break this down by each storyline: George is at his sleazy best, cooking up schemes and lies and even dropping a vintage Vandelay reference, all for sex. It’s good to have single Costanza back on the scene. I like that his plan ACTUALLY worked, too! I even love his attempt at recreating the magic once he burned the picture with a clearly cut out ad from a magazine. Kramer getting a job was a lot of fun too, watching him try to get on the subway and being fired – “I don’t even work here!” “That’s what makes this so difficult!” I even thought the subplot of Jerry being a lonely housewife was OK, but glad it didn’t get too much time. Speaking of Jerry, Man Hands may be his best name for a date ever, and what a great scene. Watching her rip apart the lobster and wipe an eyelash from Jerry’s cheek was awesome, and Jerry’s acting was pretty good throughout. And of course, the Bizarro gang. I think my favorite part is that Kevin has a unicycle where Jerry’s bike hangs. Kevin and Gene just reading in silence cracks me up for some reason, as does them always nervously wondering who is at the door. “Feldman – -from across the hall!” Elaine ruining everything with her trademark shove was a nice end to it and taught us that while she may think she’s right for the GOOD version of Jerry, she’s just as much of a wretch as any of them.
Jason: Jerry and George’s alien zoo/circus bit; George knowing the best bathrooms in the city is a nice Costanza throwback topic; Kevin and Elaine eating at Reggies; the tuna tasting like an old sponge; Kramer’s, “Woooooo!” after flushing; Kramer fixing the copy machine then hopping into the meeting; Gillian working at LL Bean; Elaine putting Gillain’s stats on the back of her picture; James Polk; Jerry asking if Elaine steel toed Kevin’s ass back to Kentucky; George dropping an Art Vandelay as the ice breaker with Amanda; “You don’t sell the steak, you sell the sizzle.”; Jerry and Gillian’s handshake; “Would she have hooks?”; Jerry’s extra set of hands line; Kramer cooking breakfast and Jerry being confused; TCB; Kramer’s video montage of hopping on the subway, cleaning his shoes on the water cooler; doing a presentation, downing crackers and having drinks with co-workers; smart casual; Jerry forgetting to pick up Elaine; Jerry explaining Bizarro Jerry to Elaine; bad by; Kramer wiped out from work; George name dropping Susan at the club; Gillian breaking the bread, popping Jerry’s beer, cracking the lobster and wiping Jerry’s face; Jerry’s wish not coming true; Gene picking up the bill at Reggies; Kevin and Feldman going to the library; George “The Animal” Steele; chaining Gillian to the refrigerator and selling tickets; Jerry’s guilt trip to Kramer; the whole system breaking down; George’s Dennis Franz picture in the bathroom; the hair dryer burning Gillian’s picture; “There’s a beach towel on the rack.”; Gillian splashing water while washing her hands; Gillian grabbing Jerry’s hand from her purse; Kramer’s ulcer; the awkard stare down on the street between the two crews; “We’ve already got a George.”; Kevin’s crew giving money to the homeless man; Leland canning Kramer; George showing off the magazine picture to the chick in the magazine; Kevin’s door locked and chained; Kevin and Feldman reading; Kevin snapping at Elaine for taking the olives; Fledman ringing the doorbell; “Feldman, from across the hall.”; “Hello, Kevin. Hello, Vargus.”; Vargus working for Fed-Ex; “Vargus!”; Elaine knocking Kevin down with her “Get out!”; the club being a meat packing plant; magazine model’s picture on the floor; the show theme playing backwards; Feldman buying groceries; Kevin, Gene and Feldman hugging it out.
What Didn’t Work
JT: Eatin’ olives
Aaron: I hate Kevin. He has the spine of an amoebae. I also didn’t really care for the George storyline or the man hands. Just didn’t hit with me.
Andrew: The Bizarro stuff loses some of its shock value from the first viewing, but it still holds up.
Jordan: You know, if George is going to go to such great lengths to find someone to sleep with him, maybe he could try not wearing that hat he had on at the start of the episode. What a dork.
Jason: Do we really need this category for this episode?
Key Character Debuts
– Gillian Man Hands
Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes
– “Kramer, trust me, this is the best bathroom in midtown!” – George
– “Pretty impressive — Serious boyfriend ’92 to ’95. Owns her own car… Favorite president: James Polk!” – Jerry
– “He’s fine with it. He really wants to be friends.” – Elaine “Why would anybody want a friend.” – Jerry
– “Well you cracked it! I warned the Queen you were gettin’ close an’, now it looks like we’re gonna have to move the whole damn forbidden city.” – Elaine
– “Well, you know what they say, you don’t sell the steak, you sell the sizzle.” – Kramer
– “She had man hands.” – Jerry “Man… Hands?” – Elaine “The hands of a man. It’s like a creature out of Greek Mythology, I mean, she was like part woman, part horrible beast.” – Jerry “Would you, prefer it, if she had, no hands at all?” – Elaine “Would she have hooks?” – Jerry “Do uh, do hooks make it more attractive, Jerry?” – Elaine “Kinda cool lookin’… ” – Jerry
– “How long have I been asleep? What, what year is this?” – Jerry
– “Really. So uh, what do you do down there all day?” – Jerry “T.C.B. You know, takin’ care o’ business.” – Kramer
– “Hey, she wants me to dress uh “smart casual.” What uh, what is that?” – George “I don’t know, but you don’t have it.” – Jerry
– “Shouldn’t he say “Bad bye”? Isn’t that the, opposite of “Good bye”?” – Elaine
– “Yeah. Well, count me out. I’m swimmin’. Old man Leland is bustin’ my hump over these reports. If I don’t get ’em done by nine, I’m toast…” – Kramer
– “Those meaty paws, I feel like I’m dating George “The Animal” Steele.” – Jerry
– “Kevin and his friends are nice people! They do good things. They read…” – Elaine “I read.” – Jerry “Books, Jerry.” – Elaine “Oh. Big deal…” – Jerry
– “Oh! Sure! Sure! You and your work! Elaine’s off in the Bizarro World, George only calls when he wants something, an’ I’m left sitting here like this plate of cold chicken, which, by the way, was, for two.” – Jerry
– “I’m, I’m sorry… We’ve already got a George…” – Elaine
– “Well, I’m sorry. There’s just no way that we could keep you on.’ – Leland “I don’t even really work here!” – Kramer “That’s what makes this so difficult.” – Leland
Oddities & Fun Facts
– George references Art Vandelay, his go to fake name
Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)
JT: This is still an epic. All of it. They saved all these amazing storylines and just shot them all over us here in episode three. Kramer working. George and the Forbidden City. Jerry the Lonely MILF. Man Hands. Elaine and her Bizarro Friends. Genius. You can’t even stop for a breath things move so quickly here. FELDMAN! VARGAS! OLIVES! MAN HANDS! CRACKERS! You can’t even contain all the legendary lines and quips… and Sheena Easton. We’re back baby! “It’s Feldman, from across the hall.” Final Grade: 10/10
Aaron: Hmmm. Well the Bizarro stuff was great as was Kramer’s tour of corporate America. That outweighs my disdain for the George and Jerry romps. Only to a point though. Final Grade: 7/10
Andrew: Now this is the good stuff. The main storyline is a fun idea and well executed, and every side story makes a memorable impression. There are funny lines all over the place, and some truly classic scenes. I can’t ask for much more than that. Final Grade: 10/10
Jordan: It’s basically perfect. This is an episode I would tell people to watch if they had never seen Seinfeld before. Still makes me laugh out loud. Final Grade: 10/10
Jason: Yup, this holds up marvelous 20 years later. It’s debatable that this is the best episode in the series. Every plot was an A+. Kramer landing the job at Brandt/Leland, man hands, the title plot and George getting into clubs thanks to Gillian’s picture. The Superman references were a work of art. Man hands becomes an iconic pop culture reference. Elaine at Kevin’s apartment is some of the best stuff in the history of sit-com television. Throw this one on and savor perfection. Final Grade: 10/10