Seinfeld: The PTBN Series Rewatch – “The Comeback” (S8, E13)

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!


Best Character

JT: This was a really strong ensemble episode with everyone staying in their lane and nailing base hits all over the park. George had the most memorable moments but I really liked Kramer fretting over his future and Elaine was so good in her forbidden romance with Vincent. Jerry was on point as well, oscillating between tennis star playboy and sucker. Credit to Milos and Riley too for getting the job done in their cameos.

Aaron: By all sense of logic it should be George but here’s the thing: There’s the restaurant near my buddy’s house names Milos. Once a week for nearly two years I would walk by, in heat or cold, and ask the valet guys “MILOSH?” They would reply “Milos,” in an attempt to correct me. When they would get upset with my incessant repeating of the word “Milosh?” I would ask them if they had chicken. They did. They would invite us in but the restaurant was absurdly expensive. It got to a point where they would come out to meet us on the street before I got to the valet booth. Preemptively answering my questions of “Milosh.” Some nights they were having none of it. Especially the night where I drove by and had them come out to my car. The look of disappointment and anger was glorious. This went on for two years. I was 34 to 36 years old. It’s Milosh.

Andrew: I loved Elaine in this one. She’s great in so many scenes: flirting with Vincent over the phone, blushing at Kramer calling her “a calculating, cold-hearted businesswoman”, swinging the vodka bottle as she walks away. And the way she taps on her Sprite while pondering Kramer’s hypothetical quality of life is one of my favorite acting choices.

Jordan: At first glance, this is a slam dunk for George, but let’s take a look at some things that are going on here. Jerry and Milos is a really fun story, Elaine and Vincent makes me laugh still and I just love the way Elaine swings the liquor bottle in defeat as she walks away at the end, and of course we have Kramer getting pelted with tennis balls. Sometimes the struggle is finding who stood out because everything is so pedestrian, this is the opposite. Everyone is so great – but I’m still going with George. I feel like George at his best is better than anyone else at theirs, and this was A+ Costanza. He flew to Ohio and shoveled shrimp into his mouth just to hit a comeback!

Jason: There’s really no bad choice here as everyone brought the goods. The core four each had key roles, plus Milos and Reilly were both on fire. However, this episode belongs to George. His obsession to come up with a comeback to Reilly was played out excellent. Slow-witted George was a beast the entire episode.

Best Storyline

JT: I enjoyed everything but the Jerk Store called and told me that was definitely the best storyline. It had a lot of memorable lines and moments and George’s frantic defense of the terrible comeback was great.

Aaron: The Comeback is one of my favorite all time Seinfeld stories. The lines are perfect, the way George stands up to deliver the death blow is just spectacular. It’s also so much build up for him to ultimately go down in flames.

Andrew: The “jerk store” stuff is great, but I like Kramer’s coma storyline. Suddenly developing an urgent need for a living will is perfect for the character, and the scene with Ben Stein listing off quality of life situations is fantastic. And most of all, I love his accident at the tennis court: the soaring tennis racket is a great set up, the ball machine is an amazing swerve, and Kramer’s face when he’s getting hit cracks me up even now.

Jordan: Not only is it The Comeback, this may be my favorite storyline of any single episode in the shows run. For the second time, HE PURPOSELY CRAMS SHRIMP INTO HIS MOUTH in the hopes of being insulted. What makes it so fantastic is the lengths he goes to just to deliver the line – and the line sucks. Reilly IMMEDIATELY one upping him is the cherry on top.

Jason: Much like the characters, you can’t go wrong with any of the plots here. The Jerry and Milos saga was a lot of fun. Elaine and Vincent’s Phantom of the Opera spoof was well written and executed perfectly. Kramer’s living will stuff had some strong moments. But, I’ll go with George and his comeback fiasco with Reilly. Shrimp, jerk store and banging Reilly’s wife. What else can you ask for?

Ethical Dilemma of the Week

JT: Should you bang the wife of a man that sent her over to have sex with you just so you would forgive him? Yep. Milos is the idiot that sent his smokeshow wife over to Jerome’s apartment as a carnal apology. Bang away, Jerry!

Aaron: Does it bother anyone else that Vincent’s voice is the same voice as the narrarator from King’s Quest 6? If he had dropped the names Allaria or Cassima I would have absolute proof but as it stands I have the strongest of suspicions that the man went from voicing one of the more peculiar DOS games of all time to bringing a fifteen year old art house goon to life.

Andrew: Even for a show about selfish, compassionless people, Milos was awful. Lying about his tennis skill, pressuring his wife to sleep with a stranger to protect his job, guilting Jerry into helping him win her back and then humiliating him in return; what an exceptionally reprehensible character.

Jordan: Should your wife be used as a sexual gift in order to maintain your public facade as a tennis expert? I mean, this isn’t really much of a dilemma. Clearly she shouldn’t.

Jason: Would a snow tire promotional day at a baseball game work? It’s a fun thought to imagine fans lugging tire around. Is it right to throw your wife at someone in order to avoid a secret from being exposed? If Patti is the bait, yes!

Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)

JT: Jerry should have stolen Patti from Milos as the ultimate revenge. Show him how wrong he was to sell you that racket on sale pretenses! Also, Riley is kind of an asshole for someone who is dealing with a wife in a coma. Karma! Relationship Grade: Flesh Trade/10

Aaron: MILOSH!!!!!!! Relationship Grade: MILOSH?

Andrew: I have to say, I admire Elaine’s ability to stay optimistic and develop an attraction to a man she’s never seen. Relationship Grade: Now, let’s have a look at you/10

Jordan: Elaine got swept up in the snooty arrogance of Vincent, when she didn’t even realize what was right under here nose in Gene. Based off his picks, he is clearly a fun loving guy who is unencumbered by the need to feel superior and isn’t bothered by the labels of society. Also, Elaine wouldn’t go to jail if she had sex with him. Relationship Grade: MY ACNE!/10

Jason: Whoa Patti! Nice going, Milos. Jerry, Milos, Patti and a tennis racket. There’s a Jason pick for you. Good thing Vincent’s mom was there to crash Elaine’s visit or else Elaine would have had to call Jackie Chiles for her statutory rape charges. Relationship Grade: Pain and Yearning/10

What Worked:

JT: George really was going to town on that shrimp; Riley’s delivery was perfect; I always enjoy Kramer bagging on Vincent and going with the Gene picks; Jackie Chiles having a restraining order on Kramer; Kramer using the “Z” page of the address book and having transferred them to Weights & Measures is a fantastic random line; Milos being terrible at tennis was a funny twist and his awful looking hat just adds to it; George demanding that jerk store is the killer line is such a fantastic scene, especially the way he flails his hands out to be adamant; Shellbach running through all the coma scenarios is so great and I love that Kramer’s main concern is being able to go to the coffee shop still; Milos continuously disappointing and failing is really well done; Vincent’s angry late night call and Elaine saying she won’t rewind the tape since it sucks so much; The “we only wake you up for the important meetings” line is still one I use until the day; Jerry’s reaction to finding out Patti and Milos are married and then George’s disappointment that they didn’t fuck; Eric Roberts being unforgettable;  I love Elaine ripping Gene to his face; Milos being a super dick to Jerry on the court even though he is helping him out; The payoff with Vincent being a kid was a good one and Elaine was great when she takes the VCR button necklace off and then sulks away with the vodka; I liked the swerve with the tennis racket flying through the air but not hitting Kramer; The jerk store payoff was a good one, and I loved Riley nailing the shrimp line again and then George hitting the sex with the wife line and her being in a coma

Aaron: Every word that George speaks in this one kills. There’s no time wasted they’re right into it with the jerk store stuff. The debate about dumbing stuff down for a mass audience is wonderful and the payoff with Riley destroying him is flawless. Cold hearted business woman Elaine is almost as good as wearing a play button around your neck out of love Elaine. Her desperation to meet ANYONE is so well played out as she’s caught by Vincent’s mother with a bag full of booze and a play button on a chain. I can’t believe she made that thing into a chain. “ANOTHER GAME FOR MILOSH!!!!!” The dance and all the taunting he does really make for a memorable one off guy. He sends his wife to bang Jerry so he’ll look a LITTLE better at tennis. I’m out of positive adjectives so the last thing I’ll say is that what stood out to me was how excellent (that’s the last one) the payoffs to all the storylines were. George getting burned, Elaine sheepishly being caught by a kid’s mom, Kramer getting nailed in the head with balls, they’re just all… great…

Andrew: Everyone is at the top of their game in this one. The “jerk store” storyline is among the most memorable of the series, and I really enjoy the meta joke-writing references (“This is why I hate writing with a large group!”). I like Kramer’s coma storyline even more, and the tennis ball incident made me laugh out loud. The Milos story is very funny and takes some creative turns; I especially enjoy the way Jerry flirting with Patti takes on a dark quality when you know what comes next.

Jordan: This is George’s magnum opus. Everything he says and does here is flawless. I have seen this episode probably 20 times and I still laugh every time I hear, “Let’s see how many I can fit in my mouth!” The look of joy when Riley bites and insults George is perfection – George knows he has him right where he wants him, he proudly hits his big line, and then is IMMEDIATELY rebutted. It’s so classic. It could have ended there and I would still sing it’s praises. But it doesn’t. Instead, George recalls Kramer’s sound advice and proudly brags about banging Riley’s wife. The coma line is awesome, the jerk store line is awesome, everything about it works. And what’s even better? Every other story is great too! I love Elaine and Kramer going over scenarios with the doctor and Elaine casually giving thumbs down while popping open a can of pop. The big twist of the The Other Side of Darkness being that the coma left the woman refreshed is funny as well. Milos is really funny, and I love his muttering when Jerry fires a hard shot at him – Ehh… what you doin? Elaine and Vincent is probably the weakest story of the four, but even that is funny enough and it’s only weak by comparison. Just awesome stuff all around.

Jason: George thinking of his comebacks in the car; Milos’ boss track suits; Milos crapping on Jerry’s old racket; The Other Side of Darkness going straight to video; lung blower; Kramer putting Jerry’s Z’s under Weights & Measurements; Jerry’s dig about Elaine’s guy screening process; Milos stinking it up on the court; Milos’s McGinn sweater vest; Kramer wanting to die with dignity; Jerry’s Canadian quarter gag at George; Jerry, Kramer and Elaine shitting on jerk store and pitching their comebacks to George; George’s jerk store rant; Shellbach running of the scenarios to Kramer; Elaine cracking open the Sprite can with her “Yank it like you’re starting a mower” line; central nervous system; “Game, set, match, huh Milos?” The Pain and the Yearning; Elaine shitting on Weekend at Bernie’s 2; Kramer downing spaghetti as the woman comes out of a coma; Patti blowing off seducing Jerry and coming clean that she’s Milos’s wife; mediaeval sexual payola; George getting pissed that Kramer spoiled The Other Side of Darkness; Elaine shitting on Gene picks in front of Gene; George flying to Ohio to zing Reilly; Kramer missing his appointment do to driving slow; Jerry taking the dive while playing Milos; Milos showboating during his game with Jerry; “ANOTHER GAME FOR MILOS!”; Elaine wearing the VCR Play button around her neck and hauling the bottle of vodka off; Jerry hitting the aces at Milos; Milos’ racket and the balls smacking Kramer; the Firestone crew no-selling jerk store; George firing off the sex with Reilly’s wife line and her ending up being in a coma; Elaine pulling Kramer’s life support plug, George’s life support line in the car after he gets back to New York.

What Didn’t Work

JT: Since when do Jerry and George play tennis?; Milos is one fucked up son of a bitch; How did Kramer find Elaine at the video store?; When did Jerry become such a sucker? He got screwed by Klompus last week and now keeps getting dragged into nonsense with Milos; How dumb is Patti that she can’t tell Jerry is faking the bad tennis play; What was with Shellbach’s awkward wave to Kramer on the court?; Did Riley move his coma wife from New York to Akron or was she already there?

Aaron: How in the hell does Elaine not view Vincent as a psychopath?

Andrew: I kind of wish we knew what George’s second comeback was.

Jordan: I guess it’s nitpicking, but it was VERY clear Jerry was letting Milos win. Seems anyone who was watching that game would know something was fishy there.

Jason: Why is Milos playing tennis indoors with sunglasses on? Man, Jerry’s old tennis racket really sucked. Where did all of the Yankee executives come from? Big Stein must have cleaned house with the old ones.

Key Character Debuts

– Riley

– Milos

Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes

– “Hey George, the ocean called. They’re running outta shrimp.” – Riley

– “Oh, Vincent is an art-house goon. I stick to the Gene rack.” – Kramer “Gene? Oh, it’s so stupid and mainstream.” – Elaine

– “‘I, Cosmo Kramer, having just seen the movie The Other SideOf Darkness, and not wanting to be in a coma like that lady in the movie, hereby want Jerry Seinfeld to remove my life support, feeding machine, lung-blower, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.'” – Jerry “Can you do that for me, buddy?” – Kramer “Well, I don’t if what you have here constitutes a legally binding document.” – Jerry “Well, I’m gonna type it up.” – Kramer “Yes, well, of course, but, even so, you may wanna talk to a lawyer.” – Jerry “Yeah, but, Jackie Chiles, he put a restraining order on me. I’m not allowed within two hundred feet of his office. I couldn’t even give him his Christmas present.” – Kramer

– “Elaine, I paid two hundred dollars for this racquet, because he said it’s the only one he plays with. He could’ve played just as well with a log.” – Jerry

– “Sometimes in life, the gods smile upon you, my friends.” – George “Did you get someone to take that Canadian quarter?” – Jerry

– “Alright, alright. You see? This is why I hate writing with a large group. Everybody has their own little opinions, and it all gets homogenised, and you lose the whole edge of it. I’m going with jerk store! Jerk store is the line! Jerk store! Yes!” – George

– “Trust me, Kramer. Given the legal opportunity, I will kill you.” – Jerry

– “Alright, you can eat. But machines do everything else.” – Shellbach “Uhm…” – Kramer “I’d stick.” – Elaine “Yeah, yeah. Stick. ‘Cos I could still go to the coffee shop.” – Kramer

– “Yeah, well, what you need is some summertime adolescent high jinx.” – Kramer “Really?” – Elaine “See what doctor Gene prescribes, huh? Oh, here, look at that. Weekend At Bernies Two. Now, that’s an hilarious premise.” – Kramer

– “I didn’t hear about that.” – George “Oh, we only wake you up for the important meetings.” – Fred

– “How was Eric Roberts as the husband?” – George “Oh, unforgettable.” – Kramer

– “Thank you, but, unfortunately, I have much larger problems to fry. My wife, she has no respect for Milos anymore.” – Milos “I guess that’s a risk you run when you dabble in the flesh trade.” – Jerry

– “See, there are no jerk stores. It…it’s just a little confusing, is all.” – Elaine “t’s smart. It’s a smart line, and a smart crowd will appreciate it. And, I’m not gonna dumb it down for some bonehead mass audience!” – George

– “Yeah? Well, I had sex with your wife!” – George “His wife is in a coma.” – McAdam

Oddities & Fun Facts

– The legendary Ben Stein plays the attorney Shellbach

– The tennis court scenes in this episode were set in an indoor court, but the crew could not find an available indoor court in all of Los Angeles to use as a filming location. To compensate, they used a massive crane to drape a large tent over an outdoor tennis court, making it look like an indoor court. Unfortunately, this episode was filmed during the period when El Niño was beginning to affect the weather patterns in the United States, resulting in heavy rain in Los Angeles on the week the crew needed to shoot their tennis court scenes. The rain collected on the outside of the tent, and several large puddles can be seen on the court in several shots in the episode. The tent finally collapsed in a heap shortly after filming of the master shots wrapped, so the remaining footage was filmed back at the studio on a makeshift half-court set.

Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)

JT: This episode really hummed along and it was great to see all four stories be engaging and then tie together in the end. Having Riley’s wife be in the coma was a great payoff to both George and Kramer’s stories. There were some weird story holes in there, but I thought everything was funny enough to overcome those and allow you to hand wave them away. The jerk store stuff is iconic and George’s delivery throughout was so good. There were lots of good throwaway lines in there as well, such as Kramer’s “Z page” comment and George asking how Eric Roberts was in the movie. Stuff like that help tighten the show up and fill the dead zones. This is a great episode that checks in just short of the all time classics but is a huge step forward from last week and was just really damn great. Final Grade: 9/10

Aaron: Fuck it I loved this one. The writing built everything to a perfect climax and Milosh made my day. Final Grade: 10/10

Andrew: I really love this episode. Every storyline is excellent, and they all weave together well (even George’s mostly-solo arc has some memorable group interactions). All the actors are at the top of their game, and I was laughing throughout. This is a great way to bounce back after last week. Final Grade: 9/10

Jordan: Simply put, one of the best episodes ever. I love it all. Final Grade: 10/10

Jason: What a nice bounce back from last weeks episode. Every plot worked, the core four along with Milos, Patti, Reilly and Shellbach all killed it. The stuff with Jerry and Milos tied in nicely at the end with Kramer’s life support issues. Elaine and Vincent’s referencing to the Phantom of the Opera deserves some strong praise. Jerk store becomes a pop culture hit from this episode. There’s a lot going on and very little to complain about. Final Grade: 8/10