Seinfeld: The PTBN Series Rewatch – “The Boyfriend, Part One & Two” (S3, E15/E16)

Welcome to Seinfeld: The PTBN Series Rewatch! On a regular basis, Justin Rozzero, Aaron George, Andrew Flanagan and Jordan Duncan 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!

9-seinfeld-the-boyfriend

Best Character

Justin: We have three legit contenders: Jerry, George and Keith. I liked Keith a lot and thought he slid right into the universe without missing a beat. I loved his arrogance about his stature and his dry delivery was perfect. Jerry met him step for step, providing one of his best performances since the show started, alternating between jealousy, anger, love, fretting and ambivalence at ease. George…was George. Fantastic throughout, exuding desperation and lying at every turn. I don’t think he had as much as one bad line, let alone a down scene. Some of the scenes are all time classics, Hall of Fame level stuff. Kramer was really good too and in any other episode he would have contended. In the end, I will go with George.

Aaron: George’s desperation and continuous weaving of lies edges this one out over a very strong Jerry. It’s as though he gets stronger with the lies as the story unfolds. He struggles to find Vandelay industries, but telling Carrie he’s fighting not to come up to her place slides off the tongue with the greatest of ease. His fighting and clawing so hard to not have to work is hilarious on every level and the image of him face down in Jerry’s apartment with his pants around his ankles should be on his family crest. Just get a job already.

Andrew: Keith Hernandez is more memorable, but I’ll give this one to Jerry. The episode just doesn’t work without him. He’s the emotional center of the episodes, plays an excellent Jim Garrison in the “magic loogie” scene, and delivers one of the all-time great tags (“…and you want to be my latex salesman”). This performance also serves as an indicator of how far he’s come as a character. While his “whiny” act was off-putting early on, it’s actually put to good use here, helping convey how confusing and unsettling his “feelings” for Keith are.

Jordan: All the guys above me make very solid points, but…It’s Keith Hernandez! I think this is where I should point out that when given a GREAT guest spot, I am going to be inclined to give them this award simply because I won’t be able to any other time. Everyone in the show was hilarious, and if this were a Hernandez-less episode, I’d go with George, simply for his quest to NOT get a job. But there are plenty of opportunities down the road for these guys. You only get one shot at Keith Hernandez, and you gotta take it! He did an excellent job in his role here, and was willing to be portrayed in a not so perfect type way as well. LOVE the Keith!

Best Storyline

Justin: This was a real toss up as both the Hernandez and George unemployment storylines were fantastic. My only issue with the former was Elaine’s interactions with Keith, which I didn’t think really worked that well outside of the kiss debate in the car. I thought George’s story was more consistently funny and gave me more laugh out loud moments, especially when he crashed to the floor, begging Kramer to say Vandelay Industries. Very strong across the board here, but George nudges it out in the end.

Aaron: Jerry wooing Keith Hernandez as a friend easily takes this one. The whole concept is so true to life that it actually made me a little sad inside (between laughs). It is hard to make male friends and the whole process does feel a little bit like dating. Which is why it’s great when George and Elaine both tease and patronize Jerry about “dating” the ball player. Why is it so hard to tell other men how we feel about them? Wouldn’t it be a great world if I could just tell Andrew how cool I thought he was, or if I could let it slip that I’d love to hang out with Jordan? Why can’t I tell Justin we should get an apartment together. What’s wrong with the world/me????

Andrew: George’s attempts to scam the unemployment office are excellent, but they can’t top the Keith Hernandez storyline. The dating/friendship parallels are quite funny, Kramer and Newman’s beef with Hernandez is great, and the “I’m Keith Hernandez” scene is the stuff of legend. I’m also a sucker for “Kramer berates Jerry” scenes, and this is one of the best.

Jordan: Before I answer – I would gladly hang out with Aaron George. Now, this is a really difficult choice for me. Jerry’s friendship with Keith Hernandez causing him to act like a woman in love was great and I loved that they actually addressed his awful clothing for once! On the other hand, George putting in more work to not work than to actually work is a thing of beauty. It comes down to this: George’s story provided the funniest moment – him falling to the ground with his pants around his ankles, but the Jerry/Keith story provided the BEST moment in the JFK re-enactment, especially with the Zapruder film style flashback. For that reason, I’m going with Jerry and Keith!

Ethical Dilemma of the Week

Justin: Should Elaine have taken the date with Keith knowing how much it bothered Jerry, especially once she found out Keith switched plans to see her instead of him? Yes, because unless Jerry was interested on a sexual level, it isn’t on her to make these types of decisions. If anything, she should question Keith’s moral fiber for blowing off his new bro for a chick. Bad form, Hernandez. Bad form.

Aaron: So is there really any convincing argument that Oswald could have made that shot? Also has enough time passed that we have ceased to care about who killed JFK? It’s time to stop treating people like nuts for asking questions and really trying to figure out who had motive. I think it’s our duty as Americans to ask the tough questions and get to the bottom of what really happened in November 1963. Also I’m not American.

Andrew: What do you do when someone you don’t know all that well asks for an inappropriately big favor? It’s really a question of motivation; I could see helping someone out if they make it clear they know it’s an unusual request, but are really stuck. Keith doesn’t do that, however, making it seem like he’s just taking advantage of a fan. I can’t fault Jerry for shutting him down; that’s a dealbreaker, ladies.

Jordan: Perhaps if I watched this episode any other time, I would go with another situation, but as a first time basketball coach who had league evaluations last night, I was struck by this one: George is a chucker. Do you pass the ball to a chucker, or do you keep dribbling, looking for any other option? The answer is you keep the ball from the chucker! Chuckers care only about themselves and their interests and not yours and it is no surprise that George Costanza is one. The question is actually should Jerry and Kramer continue to team with George? Or should they find a non-chucker replacement?

Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)

Justin: Jerry and Keith were whimsical, magical and splendid together. You could cut the mutual respect and sexual tension with a knife. You could tell Jerry was a big fan of his in real life because it bled into his scenes here and made it all the more real. On the flip, I didn’t care for Keith and Elaine. It seemed forced and the interactions were a bit rigid. I totally was rooting for Jeith over Kelaine. Relationship Grade: Jeith 10/10; Kelaine 4/10

Aaron: Keith and Elaine may be the brother/sister couple but I’d like to see more of George and Carrie. Finally we see a woman who isn’t so far out of George’s league that it’d be quicker to travel to Mercury. While she may not be the giant he’s pining for, what she lacks in height she more that makes up for in spunk and gravelly voice. George should have banged her all the way to a lifetime of unemployment. A shame HER standards were too high. Relationship Grade: 10/10

Andrew: George can’t be feeling good about himself after getting run down by Carrie. And as much as I enjoyed their chemistry, I’m not a fan of Elaine and Keith Hernandez as a couple. Maybe it’s the fact that it makes Jerry question which of them he’s jealous of. Keith and Jerry’s “love that dare not speak its name”, on the other hand, is very enjoyable, if ill-fated. But my favorite relationship of all is Kramer and Newman; they already argue like an old married couple, and it only gets better from here. Relationship Grade: “This is all … very confusing” / 10

Jordan: There’s a lot to process here in this department. We’ve got Keith and Jerry, Keith and Elaine, George and Carrie, who I will now assume is named Carrie Bradshaw and is the inspiration for “Sex and the City”. Jerry is jealous of everybody, and things unravel for everyone. Well, almost everyone. One pair stands the test of time, forever together. They play off each other, they are there for each other in good times and bad, they fight a lot but always make up. It’s really a perfect relationship for old Kramer and Newman. Relationship Grade: 10/10

What Worked

Justin: The bickering about basketball was very funny and true; Kramer and George sneaking peaks at each other naked made me laugh; Keith Hernandez is great casting as a guest star; Jerry’s fretting over Keith calling is actually enjoyable and makes sense, as opposed to most of his fretting; Lenore the Unemployment Agent is also really great; George’s great lying skills on display again with Lenore; Newman’s initial arrival was great, like he heard Jerry mention Keith from a mile away and ran over; The Hernandez Spitting Incident story and deconstruction is iconic as is George’s initial description of Vandelay Industries to Jerry and Elaine; This is one of the few times an internal monologue worked with Jerry in the car with Keith; Kramer botching the Vandelay call and the ensuing fracas is an all time scene; George being so desperate that he takes out Lenore’s daughter, to McDonald’s of course; Jerry’s interactions with the baby were great; Kramer’s rant on Keith’s request for moving help was strong; Good continuity with Elaine bailing on a relationship over a moral stand; The explorer argument is one of my favorite show scenes; I love the symmetry with George following the same steps after rushing out of the Labor office the second time; The payoff of the Hernandez spit story was perfectly done; George gets screwed again but gets a glimpse of hope when the giant woman shows up.

Aaron: All the conversations about nothing are fantastic here. From seeing each other naked to George wanting to sleep with an Amazon. Everyone’s chemistry is really chugging along and you really get the sense that they are friends. Speaking of chemistry Kramer and Newman are fantastic whenever they’re together. I love that they seem to have this weird little alliance going and their confrontation with Hernandez with Newman spouting off the date in his accusatory tone is the stuff of legend. Kramer going off on Jerry for prostituting himself is a pretty epic rant and I am in no way surprised that he snuck a peek. Keith Hernandez was a great guest star and his inner monologues with Elaine were super effective. ” You’re a baseball player damnit!” “I won the MVP in ’79 I can do whatever I want.” Just great stuff. All the Zapruder film stuff was funny and the repetition and slowing down of the video already enhanced the wonderful physical comedy on display. (It was also a pretty brilliant parody/indictment of the whole JFK conspiracy.) And finally I’ve ragged on him for weeks but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how great Jerry was in the one too. The fakeness I’ve bitched about so often was nowhere to be found and it was funny and endearing watching him struggle to make a new friend. When he finally snaps and has to tell Keith he can’t help him move I was with him every step of the way. The dynamic of Jerry and Elaine “dating” the same man and Jerry not being sure who to be jealous of really gave us a strong through line that I’ve felt that “Jerry” episodes lacked at times. Maybe I’ve been to hard on him, but I just felt this was light years ahead of his previous outings and I really hope we only go up from here. Everything devoted to Vandelay industries is always great and always adds a point to the overall score.

Andrew: Pretty much everything? Keith Hernandez’s guest appearance is one of the greatest of all time, of any series. His and Elaine’s kiss scene is excellent, as is their flirting at the bar. The “magic loogie” is among the most memorable things they’ve done, to the point that “back, and to the left” now makes me think of Seinfeld rather than JFK. It’s hard to believe this is only Newman’s second appearance, as his bickering with Kramer is already perfect, and I love his unannounced entrance when Kramer is confronting Hernandez. George gets stuck carrying his storyline without much help, but is excellent as always and pulls it off. Just an excellent performance all around, from the writing to the leads to the guest stars.

Jordan: So much worked that I think if I mentioned everything, I’d take up far too much space. The locker room scene to open the episode was excellent. Jerry complaining about guys with Elaine in the coffee shop was terrific. The JFK “second spitter” scene is one of the best in show history. George was a force of nature throughout, with a perfect ending. Newman fits right in as a regular and I feel like he could have become an addition to the four main characters at this point. Jerry was awesome as well in this one. I love when he mocks George (“So Biff wants to be a buff?”) and his scenes with Elaine talking about wanting to be friends with Keith was a great story. Kramer yelling at Jerry for helping Keith move was a highlight. I also liked the parallel of Jerry and Keith in the car with Elaine and Keith in the car. And as far as guest spots go, Keith Hernandez hits a home run! See what I did there? The big Roger McDowell reveal was awesome. Jerry asking for Hennigans was a nice callback. Line of the night has to be: “And you want to be my latex salesman?”

What Didn’t Work

Justin: Jerry’s date shirt is atrocious; I actually didn’t care for Keith and Elaine’s chemistry, it seemed forced; The weird dubbed in scream when Kramer picked up the baby; The moving stuff was a bit heavy handed and overplayed.

Aaron: I could have lived without the “going to see the baby” story. While very true to life it just felt tacked on to what was an otherwise tight two-parter. I would have preferred to see Kramer’s time devoted to more of the magic loogie stuff (the baby Lyndon Johnson was a good piece of business though). It seemed like a lot to go through to give Kramer a one off joke at the end. Jerry’s shirt WAS too busy but it was pretty great that George seemed to be wearing a tie cut from the same material.

Andrew: I’ve never liked the baby storyline. It has little to do with the rest of the episodes, and feels very much like a stand-up bit shoehorned in to fill out time. The off-camera scream as Kramer picks up the baby is very confusing; every time I watch this episode I spend a few minutes trying to figure out the point of it. I guess it’s an indication that things are about to go badly? I might be able to overlook all that if the storyline was funny, but it doesn’t do much for me.

Jordan: Jerry’s shirt looked like wallpaper from the Chinese restaurant. The baby storyline felt tacked on, and I would have rather had some more Kramer and Newman time. Plus, the random scream is really weird – and it sounds a LOT like George. Also, wouldn’t Keith Hernandez have the money to just pay a moving company?

Key Character Debuts

– Keith Hernandez

Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes

– “I have to dribble, if I give it to you, you just shoot. You’re a chucker.” – Jerry “Oh I’m a chucker.” – George “That’s right, everytime you get the ball you shoot. – Jerry “I can’t believe you called me a chucker. No way I’m a chucker, I do not chuck, never chucked, never have chucked, never will chuck, no chuck!”- George

– “He’s a real smart guy too. He’s a Civil War buff” – Jerry “I’d love to be a Civil War buff…What do you have to do to be a buff” – George “So Biff wants to be a buff? Well sleeping less than 18 hours a day would be a start.” – Jerry

– Jerry again refers to George as Biff, as does Carrie

– “You know Keith, what I’ve always wondered, with all these ball clubs flying around all season don’t you think there would be a plane crash?” – George

– George claims to have interviewed with Vandelay Industries, a latex company

– “Newman, Kramer, if you’ll indulge me. According to your story Keith passes you and starts walking up the ramp then you say you were struck on the right temple. The spit then proceeds to ricochet off the temple striking Newman between the third and forth rib. The spit then cam off the rib turned and hit Newman in the right wrist causing him to drop his baseball cap. The spit then splashed off the wrist, Pauses In mid air mind you – makes a left turn and lands on Newman’s left thigh. That is one magic loogie.” – Jerry “Well, that’s the way it happened.” – Newman

– “Well you’re not even a fan. I was at game six – you didn’t even watch it.” – Jerry “Wait a second wait a minute, You jealous of him or you jealous of me?” – Elaine

– “So who do you think she looks like?” – Carol “Lyndon Johnson.” – Kramer

– “Hardware fascinates me. Wouldn’t you like to make a key?” – George

– “Who does this guy think he is?” – Elaine “I’m Keith Hernandez” – Keith

– “I don’t understand. Before you were jealous of me. Now you’re jealous of him?” – Elaine “Ah, I’m jealous of everybody.” – Jerry

– “You think I’m going to spend my life with somebody because he can get me a deal on a box of nails?” – Carrie

– “You know I know this sounds a little arrogant but I never thought she would find anyone she would like better than me. Ya know, I guess I had my chance and that’s that.” – Jerry “You know what I would like to do? I would really like to have sex with a tall woman. I mean really tall. Like a like a giant Like six five.” – George “Really?” – Jerry “What was the tallest woman you ever slept with?” – George “I don’t know … six three.” – Jerry “Wow…God! You see this is all I think about. Sleeping with a giant. It’s my life’s ambition.” – George “So I guess it’s fair to say you’ve set different goals for yourself than say, Thomas Edison, Magellan, these types of people.” – Jerry “Magellan? You like Magellan?” – George “Oh, yeah, My favorite explorer. Around the world. Come on. Who do you like?” – Jerry “I like DeSoto.” – George “DeSoto? What did he do?” – Jerry “Discovered the Mississippi.” – George “Oh, like they wouldn’t have found that anyway.” – Jerry

Oddities & Fun Facts

– This is the first one hour long episode

– Jerry. George and Kramer all play basketball

– George mentions that he has a friend that is a gum salesman

Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)

Justin: This was a legendary episode and the hour really flew by, to the point that it felt like a regular length installment. Around 3/4 of the way through, I was ready to go the full monty on this one, but I thought they stumbled ever so slightly down the stretch. That may just be me, though, because I enjoyed Keith and Jerry’s romance way more than I did Keith and Elaine. George’s whole quest to maintain his unemployment pay was fantastic and he was flawless through the whole episode. Kramer was really good as a background player, doing what he does best: judging and doling out advice from afar. The whole JFK parody was excellent and a Hall of Fame moment in show history, as was the Vandelay Industries kerfuffle. I am being really harsh here but I just feel it lost a touch of steam down the stretch, keeping this from being a perfect grade. Final Grade: 9/10

Aaron:  This two-parter flew by and it was waaaaay funnier than I remember it being. There’s just so much truth here. Everyone’s great including the ball player. It’s just a win all around. I would have gone seven but ya know…Vandelay… Final Grade: 8/10

Andrew: One of the greats; I would think this is a consensus top-10 Seinfeld episode. I feel like I’ve gushed enough already. Final Grade: 9/10

Jordan: An all time great that has virtually everything that makes Seinfeld great: Great guest appearance, George at his best (worst?), Jerry mocking George, mundane conversations, interesting looks at everyday things. It was nearly flawless outside of the baby scene, which was totally useless. The question is, is that scene enough to knock it down a peg? No. This is one of the best ever and was a two-parter and that felt like it was 15 minutes long. Great, great stuff. Final Grade: 10/10

Author: Place to Be Nation Staff

Place to Be Nation Staff pieces feature any number of our contributors who are multifaceted when it comes to Pop Culture expertise.