Seinfeld: The PTBN Series Rewatch – “The Chicken Roaster” (S8, E8)

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!

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Best Character

JT: I think Jerry and Kramer take this one. I loved all the Kenny Rogers stuff and while Jerry slayed it with the one liners, both he and the K-Man expertly swapped lives without it feeling forced or overdone. The way everything unraveled at the end was well executed too. Also, shout out to Ipswich and Peterman for both nailing  their brief runs in the episode.

Aaron: As memorable as Jerry’s Kramer impression is it pales in comparison to the might of the K-Man’s impeccable Jerry. The subdued suave that Richards exudes is pure magic right down to the pitch perfect delivery of ‘that’s a shame.” Kramer getting blasted with the red light in the doorway may have won this episode on its own but he doubles down with tremendous situational advice for Elaine (sleep with him) and an addict fit that would elicit jealously from my father. His whimpering cries of Kenny as he sobbed himself to sleep are forever etched in my conscious and subconscious memory.

Andrew: I think Jerry was the best. His straight man act is up to its usual standards (“Or I could sleep in the park!”), and his peer pressure of Seth is fun, as is his dismay when he realizes the consequences. Most importantly, his Kramer impression kills me. I love the thought of his instant bond with Bob Sacamano.

Jordan: I’m going with Cosmo. The blinding light of Kenny Roger’s chicken finally drew him in, and he became addicted, obsessed with the bird. It drove him mad, and he swapped lives with Jerry, which made him seem normal and easy going. But we know the truth. While sipping on that coffee, he was itching for some dark meat. While making snide comments to Elaine, he was thinking about sinking his teeth into a juicy thigh. He has become a man consumed and we know it, it’s those in his life who do not. Also, the tomato juice stuff made me laugh.

Jason: I’ll go with Jerry this week. Along with some hysterical one-liners, bursting into his apartment after having no sleep in Kramer’s place was one of the best Jerry moments you could ask for. The messed up hair, untucked shirt and throwing out a conversation he had with Bob Sacamano overnight was all you could ask for from him.

Best Storyline

JT: Easily the Roasters. Seth was good in his role and the “That’s not gonna be good for business” line is something Andrew and I still use to this day. So many classic moments and it did bring a lot of awareness around for the restaurant chain.

Aaron: It’s the god damn chicken and if you say it’s Cos-Tan-Za I will set fire to a school.

Andrew: The Myanmar stuff might be enough in another episode, but it’s easily The Chicken Roaster. The Jerry/Kramer switch, Mr. Marbles, “That’s not gonna be good for business” … it’s all gold.

Jordan: Did George’s dating scheme give us Kramer mumbling “KENNY?” with a mouthful of chicken? Did Elaine’s spending bring about that moment? No? The chicken roasters did? Then that is my choice. What a great end to an episode.

Jason: Jerry and Kramer switching apartments and picking up each others habits was everything! Jerry belting out a, “Giddy up!” and Kramer sipping his coffee followed by a, “That’s a shame.” were key moments that made this plot tremendous.

Ethical Dilemma of the Week

JT: Should you press a guy you consider an acquaintance to skip a business meeting for an immediate lunch? Can’t you grab a number and get dinner later? Why the urgency?!?

Aaron: Should you sleep with an accountant to keep your job at a second rate mail order catalogue. The catalogue business is clearly a once in a lifetime job. Mr. Ipswich is a once in a lifetime cock. Is that a euphemism? Amazing the simplistic difference between the words is and has.

Andrew: Is it OK to trick someone into going on a second date with you? As long as it’s as low stakes as “leaving” something at their apartment, I’m OK with it. George needs every advantage he can (ethically) get.

Jordan: If your friend is living in your apartment out of the kindness of his cold, black heart because you can’t sleep there, should you eat chicken in hiding? Yes. You should.

Jason: Should you sleep with your company’s account manager if you can’t show proof of an item that you purchased on the company account? How much is rat hair worth? I think $40 is a little steep for a rat hair hat.

Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)

JT: By Mennen. Relationship Grade: 10/10

Aaron: I think we all would have been a lot happier had Jerry just done the right thing and fucked Mr. Marbles to death. Relationship Grade: 10/10

Andrew: The jingle metaphor for dating is a classic. Relationship Grade: By Mennen/10

Jordan: I know George is a loser, but Heather is a huge jerk. She clearly stole an $8,000 hat that she’s never going to wear. Relationship Grade: GIVE BACK THE SABLE/10v

Jason: Heather, her clock, George, his Russian hat, Kramer, a bucket of hickory chicken, Jerry, Mr. Marbles, Elaine, her water pick. This will keep the adult film industry afloat.  Relationship Grade: Number 67, Family Feast/10

What Worked:

JT: Kramer and Newman picking out turtles is an awesome side plot, but sadly it never happens; Seth’s delivery on “he’s dead” when Jerry asks about Moochie is awesome; “Roger Ipswich”; Jerry jokingly asking George why he didn’t buy the big hat; Nice Marisa Tomei callback; The first time we see the red light in Kramer’s apartment is great and his “he was fired” delivery was funny too; Jerry not letting Seth take the Want Ads because he hadn’t read Tank McNamara yet; Kramer making a bowl of cereal and using tomato juice gets me every time; Kramer thinking Jerry is being serious about the apartment renovation, “load bearing walls”; Kramer opening the door and selling the red light is amazing; “Dial 9, Merlin”; Mr. Marbles; Newman sauntering out of the bathroom as Jerry warns Kramer not let him use it; Newman growling when Kramer tries his chicken; The back to back scenes with Jerry sleeping in Kramer’s apartment and he and Kramer switching roles are hall of fame level; Newman failing the broccoli test and chasing it with honey mustard; Kramer begging Jerry not to put up the sign; Peterman returns!

Aaron: Peterman’s Apocalypse Now routine was phenomenal. His gibberish scream at the Burmese youth would no doubt send people to their safe spaces today but for 1996 it was pure prejudice pleasure! George did a fantastic Nikolai Volkoff impression strutting about town. He did an even better Boris Zhukov impression trying to get into a saleslady’s pants. Elaine was her usual towering self especially when dragging a contrite Nikita Koloff back to the saleslady’s apartment. Kramer and Newman’s contraband chicken operation also busted me up on several occasions.

Andrew: Seth pointing out the obvious-in-retrospect problem with airing the Jerry pilot in a non-English speaking country made me laugh. George’s line about the hat that “bottles in the heat” was also a winner. Newman’s snarl when Kramer reaches for his chicken was great, and him failing to choke down a piece of broccoli was even better (“Vile weed!”). Peterman’s Col. Kurtz impression was a lot of fun, and the accountant had some good moments (“And a poorly made one, even by rat hat standards.”). George’s commercial-jingle-inspired dating strategy is a classic. Finally, I love pretty much everything about the Chicken Roasters storyline: Kramer taking it to the streets, arguing over the apartment swap, Jerry and Kramer swapping personalities.

Jordan: Lost in all my Kramer love is just how brilliant Peterman’s appearance was. Screaming at the kid in an unknown language would normally be the high point of the episode, but so much that Kramer did here topped it. George was really good in his role, I just thought Heather came off as ultra snobbish. I liked Elaine asking the account manager if she could fire him. And of course, the Jerry/Kramer body language switch.

Jason: Jerry and George’s negotiating cold open bit; Jerry’s line about Kenny being the gambler; Jerry convincing Seth to blow off his meeting to have lunch with him; Moochie; Elaine’s, “And some hair for my little friend here.”; Jerry’s gag about Elaine getting in the bathroom and going to bed by 2; Roger’s snippet about everyone being proud that Elaine is the catalog president; Jerry waiting on hold for Elaine; George strolling into Monk’s with the Russian hat; Jerry asking why George didn’t get the big one; “Too bad you got a little George Costanza thing going on; the chicken sign blaring through Kramer’s door and peep hole; Elaine ramming up excuses for her purchases and watering the plat with the water pick; “How’s life on the red planet?”; Kramer using tomato juice as milk; load-bearing walls; Kramer taking it to the streets; By Menan!; Co-Stanza!; Heather’s “Oy” when George calls her; “Not fast food, good food quickly”; BAD CHICKEN; Newman dropping a deuce at Jerry’s apartment; chicken supernova; Newman horsing down chicken and growling at Kramer when he wants a piece; Elaine grabbing George by the ear at Heather’s apartment; the leave-behind; George stealing the clock; Kramer woofing down chicken in Jerry’s bed; Jerry describing Kramer’s apartment as a hold of a ship; Mr. Marbles?; Kramer suggesting Elaine sleeps with Roger; Jerry sliding into his apartment like Kramer; “Oh, I’m stressed!”, Kramer and Newman hiding the food from Jerry; VIAL WEED!; Newman taking a shot of honey mustard; Kramer confessing his chicken addiction to Jerry; Elaine visiting Peterman in Burma; Peterman speaking gibberish and asking to see the Russian hat; George getting stuck in Heather’s head; the rat hair falling off the hat in the chicken joint; Kramer sobbing after the light goes out, KENNY COME BACK!; Mr. Marbles lingering around Kramer’s bedroom

What Didn’t Work

JT: I don’t like Jerry’s long coat; Poor Ipswich is tolling away, working the books late into the night? Perhaps; Why does Jerry have a random pitcher of tomato juice in his fridge? Gross; I had a hard time getting past the alarm going off on the clock at that exact time, which seemed to be at night

Aaron: As much as I loved Kramer he also disgusted me to the point of inside the mouth vomit. I cringed when he rang out that cloth full of tomato juice and I got legitimately angry when he used Jerry’s sheets as a napkin. How the fuck did Vladimir Kozlov get the girl???? Also WHAT HAPPENED TO THE HAT!!!!!!!!!!

Andrew: It bothers me a bit we never find out what really happened to the hat.

Jordan: Again, Heather sucks. Why does George keep bothering with her?

Jason: Why does Heather’s alarm go off at night while her and George are in the park? Kramer said that he’s helping Newman pick out a turtle, but that’s all we hear about it.

Key Character Debuts

– Seth

Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes

– “Absolutely. You’re telling me there’s no room to move on pasta. All starches are a scam.” – George “Yea especially ziti, with that big hole.” – Jerry

– “Rogers can’t sell chicken around here, we got chicken places on every block.” – Kramer “He is the gambler.” – Jerry “Well, I gotta meet Newman at the pet store. Helping him pick out a turtle.” – Kramer

– “Why not? And some hair for my little friend here.” – Elaine

– “What’s the difference? You know they way I work, I’m like a commercial jingle. First it’s a little irritating, then you hear it a few times, you hum it in the shower, by the third date it’s “By Mennen!”” – George

– “Hey Jerry don’t worry about it, the important thing is that we got to catch up. Mind if I grab the want ads?” – Seth “Actually I haven’t read Tank McNamara yet.” – Jerry

– “Its killing me, I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, all I can see is that giant red sun in the shape of a chicken.” – Kramer “Well, did you go down to the Kenny Rogers and complain?” – Jerry “Ah, they have me the heave ho. I don’t think that Kenny Rogers has any idea what’s going on down there.” – Kramer

– “That looked like milk to me! Jerry my Rods and Cones are all screwed up!” – Kramer

– “You could knock these walls down, make it an eight room luxury suite.” – Jerry “Jerry these are lode baring walls, they’re not gonna come down!” – Kramer

– “Ha ha. Now watch the magic.” – George “Dial 9, Merlin” – Elaine

– “That’s not going to be good for business.” – Seth “That’s not going to be good for anybody.” – Jerry

– “Hi, yea, I’m Elaine Benes, we met at Barney’s, I’m a friend of George Costanza. Whether you’re aware of it or not George had this pathetic little plan to leave something behind so he could weazel a second date.” – Elaine “Really?” – Heather “I know, he has a real confidence problem.” – Elaine

– “What is that creaking, its like I’m in the hold of a ship.” – Jerry

– “Number sixty seven, family feast.” – Seth

– “Hold it, Newman, you wouldn’t eat broccoli if it was deep fried in chocolate sauce.” – Jerry

– “No Jerry! I need that chicken, I gotta have that chicken, you leave those roasters alone, Kenny never hurt anybody.” – Kramer

Oddities & Fun Facts

– Jerry has Kramer’s Fusili Jerry on his apartment shelf after Kramer moves in with him

– Kenny Rogers personally approved the script for this episode and allowed shooting in one of his restaurants as he saw it as free publicity

– George references Marisa Tomei, a callback to The Cadillac (S7, E14/15)

– “By Mennan” was a jingle for the deodorant Speed Stick

Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)

JT: I kept trying to think of reasons to prevent going the full monty here… but I can’t. I love this episode far too much. All of the Kenny Rogers stuff is so well executed and Jerry and Kramer swapping lives was really funny stuff. I thought the guests were all strong here too as Seth, Heather and Ipswich all moved along the storylines while also nailing their delivery. All three could have been good recurring players if needed. I loved the return of Peterman too, the Burma shit was just so him, really good. And of course Newman and his Family Feast helped as well. Great episode and one of my all time favorites and also a pretty well known one in the lane of pop culture thanks to the Kenny Rogers story. Sometimes you just gotta know when to hold them. Final Grade: 10/10

Aaron: This was great. It’s super memorable and everything was strong. Kramer was right; Kenny has no idea what’s going on down there. What does that mean? IVAN DRAGO! Final Grade: 8/10

Andrew: This has always been a personal favorite. I loved it during the original run, in no small part because I got more mileage out of quoting the “not gonna be good for business” line than I had any right to. And it’s grown on me since; I definitely appreciated the Apocalypse Now references more after having seen the movie. For me, this is the best episode in a while. Final Grade: 10/10

Jordan: An all timer for me. There is so much I didn’t even mention – Newman is awesome growling at Kramer, Kramer wiping up spilled tomato juice and squeezing it back into the pitcher, Elaine using a water pick to spray her flowers. Just a really great episode with no down spots and nothing I can point to that I actively disliked. And, of course, PETERMAN. Final Grade: 10/10

Jason: This has always been one of my favorites and have been awaiting it for some time. Outstanding writing, especially with the Jerry and Kramer switch. Roger nailed it as the asshole accountant. Elaine ringing up impulse purchases on the company account was fun. Seth dodging his meeting, getting canned then getting a job at the chicken place was a nice sub-plot. There’s so many laughs and very little dead time. Throw this one on, it’s one of the best. 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.