Seinfeld: The PTBN Series Rewatch – “The Doorman” (S6, E18)

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: I am not sure where to even start on this one. The Doorman was aces and one of the best one-off characters we have ever seen. Jerry and Elaine were perfect teaming up to take down the scheming Doorman before finally being caught red handed. Kramer was top notch in creating the Bro and using it to save himself from a beating. And of course, the Costanzas were so fantastic. Frank doing the cha-cha in a bra, exasperated George trying to process living with his crossdressing dad while also fretting over his own chest and then Estelle just icing them all at the end. The Costanzas take this one, but it was quite the race.

Aaron: Here on the Seinfeld rewatch we rarely talk about dignity and it’s a damn shame. The dignity that Frank Costanza demonstrates as he dances to the cha cha while trying on his support device should be the lesson on human behavior we send to aliens when we make contact. It’s Frank Costanza. It’s always Frank Costanza.

Andrew: Frank Costanza is so great in this episode. The scene where George and Estelle walk in on him trying on a bra while doing the cha-cha is an all-timer. And he’s great throughout: his scenes with Kramer are fantastic, and even his handshake makes me laugh. Frank is the best.

Jordan: All the guest stars this time came up huge – the Doorman, Frank, even Poppy! I would like to give it to the Doorman knowing this is his only shot, but he picked the wrong episode. Frank Costanza is an all time great, and this is some of his best work. He coined the phrase mansiere (much less ethnic) and did the cha-cha. J. Edgar Hoover would be proud.

Jason: Kramer and Big Frank had great showings here, but this episode belongs to George.  His reaction when Frank opens his shirt is priceless and his displeasure with having to share a bed with his father at the end is an all timer.

Best Storyline

JT: I don’t know how to choose. How can you do it? The Doorman was flawless, but THE BRO? How do you not pick that? My God!

Aaron: I enjoy theatre of the absurd so the mind fuck that the doorman perpetrates on Jerry and Elaine takes this one in a walk. You guys feel that? That’s his dick in your mind.

Andrew: The Bro/Manssiere storyline is amazing. It’s a ridiculously silly idea, but works so perfectly. And this is entirely anecdotal, but I feel like it’s the one thing I’ve most heard brought up from the series. I love the doorman stuff, but this one is a classic.

Jordan: Here’s where I can give the Doorman his proper credit. How do you talk to a doorman, and was Jerry treating him poorly? I don’t really think so, but I do believe this: The couch theft was orchestrated by him.

Jason: The title plot held up very well, but Kramer and Frank’s Bro/Mansiere idea is so iconic and delivers big time from the second Frank exposed his man boobs.

Ethical Dilemma of the Week

JT: How long was Jerry really committed to standing watch at the door? Was he supposed to stay there all night? He probably should have alerted building management before just straight up leaving, but I don’t blame him one bit for walking off. Especially since the Doorman was just going to knock back a boilermaker.

Aaron: Is the term “Bro” too ethnic? It sure is if you’ve ever spent time with the Greeks. They throw that word around as if their whole civilization was a giant sibling. Think about it my Aristotelian friends, if everyone is your bro then you’re one big incestuous society which would make Zeus swell with pride. Also the last time I had to do a business deal with a Greek man (whose daughter was named, I shit you not, Athena.) I asked if the building has a back door to which he replied, “We’re Greeks, we always find a way in the back door.” Jesus guys we’re still doing that? I guess the economy isn’t the only thing in the shitter.

Andrew: If my doorman asked a random dude to watch the door for a while, and the building got broken into … I think I would still be mad at the doorman.

Jordan: If you are a tourist in New York City and witness a mugging, should you just watch in horror or ACTUALLY ATTEMPT TO STOP IT?

Jason: If your friend is separated from his wife, is it right to want to date his wife? HELL NO! Bad move by Sleazy Sid Farkus. If you get a couch that was previously urinated on, should you allow someone to sleep on it without telling them? Again, HELL NO!

Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)

JT: Purple shirts. D cups. George and the random coffee shop women may have been a match made in Heaven, but Georgie Boy was too busy fretting to take notice. Relationship Grade: 36D/10

Aaron: Estelle and Frank are meant to be together. If they can get past the transvestite parties they can get through anything. And damn that son of a bitch Sid Farkus for trying to step in between America’s favorite couple. Relationship Grade: 10/10

Andrew: Estelle gets a lot of dates for a married woman. I gotta respect the game. Relationship Grade: How ’bout those Knicks?/10

Jordan: I know that the internet is a disgusting place full of erotic fan fiction of all kinds, but I refuse to believe someone wrote a fan fic encounter of the Estelle/Sid date. Excuse me, I have to google something unrelated. Relationship Grade: GROSS/10

Jason: Jerry was doomed from the get go by the Doorman for not watching to engage in a conversation with him. If Estelle and Frank want to spice up their relationship, enter Sid Farkus. I believe it’s pronounced menage a trois? Relationship Grade: Senior Citizen Orgy/10

What Worked:

JT: The Doorman is amazing immediately, especially when he just stares at Jerry and then gets pissed about the Knicks question; Kramer’s leather coat certainly is something and I love how he comes up with the stupid mugging idea and then forces George to go along with it; Frank not knowing who Cosmo was and then exposing his tits is a tremendous one-two punch of comedy; Jerry’s “Hi Mr. Pitt!” and Pitt thinking that means a party is going on; The Doorman is so delightfully weird; Kramer and George explaining Frank’s hooters to Jerry, then Kramer planting the seed in George’s head, then diving into the bra idea and finally the woman saying she was twins with George; George’s Crying Game line; The Doorman is always there, waiting; Jerry as the Doorman is awesome, especially when he just gives up and walks off; George becoming self aware of his lady lumps; Kramer examining Frank’s back issues and then unleashing the Bro was tremendous; George asking his Mom about his Grandmother’s breasts and then them walking in on Frank and Kramer dancing is an all time classic scene; Elaine looks great in her retro crime movie getup and I love her and Jerry trying to sort out a plan; I love how Frank thinks the “Bro” is too ethnic; Elaine’s dismissive tone when grilling the Doorman and then finally snapping and caving was so well done; Kramer, Frank and Sid talking about banging broads and unhooking their bras is so creepy; “Summer nights”; Another business deal is crushed due to Frank being a wild card, although Sid is kind of an asshole here; Kramer blowing up the pee stain on the couch to Frank; Estelle destroys her scene in the apartment, the “he only sells them” line is a killer; Kramer avoiding an attack with the Bro was funny as was the great Poppy payoff with the couch; The final scene in the bed is so good and it is clear that Jason Alexander is doing all he can not to die laughing

Aaron: Larry Miller is great right from the start. His strange confrontational demeanor surely masks a pure genius masquerading as an uneducated doorman. Jerry’s need to avoid said doorman is one thousand percent relatable as I’ve done everything short of murder trying to avoid people in my day to day life. In fact as soon as I have enough money I’m moving up North and I’m buying some guns. That’s going to be it for me. And if you dare, DARE to try and bother me, you sir will perish in a hail of bullets that would make the god damn Spartans wish for the sunshine. I love that during the sales pitch for the “bro” that the men take a minute to lament bra clasps and all their inconvenience. Their pain and laughter are both palpable. Almost as palpable as the doormen’s joy as they laughed at Jerry’s misfortune is possible the best fantasy sequence of the series so far. George is also pretty fantastic throughout. His neurosis over his growing breasts is a fear too many men have had to deal with. And I love…LOVE that he still has the baseball sheets. Imagine the magnanimity of Frank not even chastising him for them. I’m always in for Elaine suffering under the tyranny of Mr. Pitt. She knows as soon as she answers that phone she’s in for a night of going through the old man’s mail. Her quip that “He’s a comedian, they don’t know anything,” is scary accurate. Finally all the business with the German tourists is golden as is the one tourist who suggests his fat friend would be in need of chest support.

Andrew: The guest stars really make this episode. Larry Miller is so great as the doorman. I’ve already talked about how much I enjoy Frank in this one, and Estelle is right up there with him. Poppy gets a lot out of a brief appearance, and Mr. Pitt forcing Elaine to describe the mail to him is hilarious. As for the regular cast… Kramer’s got an extensive vocabulary for talking about breasts, and I enjoy them all. And seeing him defuse the German tourist situation with The Bro is pretty good. George trying to get information on his grandmother’s bosom is fantastic. Elaine’s noir routine with the doorman lie is a nice touch. And the storylines are great; I really like the couch unexpectedly serving as a tie-in (and as a callback to “The Couch”).

Jordan: Larry Miller is one of those guys that plays the same character all the time, but it always works. Kind of a jerk, but he usually has a point. Frank’s moobs stunning George is great, and George’s quest to find out if he would wind up with man jugs is funny. Poppy showing up at the end was a good capper, which the show sometimes struggles with. I like Elaine’s sad declaration that she cannot go to the movies, because Mr. Pitt wants to know what is in the mail. The bro vs. the mansiere name debate is fun. Jerry’s total fear of the Doorman is good. I LOVE that George’s bedroom is decorated as if he is nine years old.

Jason: The doorman asking Jerry if he was Elaine’s boyfriend and there for a quickie. Kramer pretending to rob George to entertain the German tourists; “Hands up, porky!” Mr. Pitt’s swank leather couch.  Jerry picking up the phone when Mr. Pitt calls. Pitt shouting out instructions to Elaine from Scotland. George’s disgust when Frank takes his shirt off; throwing up all night and being his own personal Crying Game. Kramer’s, “These were real hooters.” Jerry running into the doorman on the street after his shift was over; “You really think you’re better than me, don’t you?” George’s paranoia that he might get man boobs too.  The lady with the same shirt telling George they’re twins.  George looking down his shirt and being self conscious when the bus hits a bump. George asking Estelle if his grandmother was bosomy. Estelle walking in on Frank and Kramer trying on the bra with Cha-Cha music playing is a top ten series moment. Jerry feeling the pressures of being a doorman.  The couch getting stolen after Jerry leaves the lobby. The tie-in with Jerry and Elaine having to get a new lobby couch and George offering to give up his couch to get rid of Frank… BRILLIANT Kramer calling out George’s pee couch.Kramer, Frank and Farkus shooting the shit. Frank losing his shit when Sid wants to go out with Estelle. Franks, “You had me lying in urine?” The Marathon Man parody with Kramer bumping into the German tourists and introducing them to the Bro. The final scene with Poppie showing up was brilliant. The payoff with Poppie getting aggravated when he see’s Elaine and having to sit down on the couch.  What a finish! Frank offering George kasha, so damn good every time!

What Didn’t Work

JT: The Doorman should have said something that was a bit more of a cover than straight up saying he wants to go get a beer, is he running to a bar? A liquor store?; Does Mrs. Payton own the building? I am reaching

Aaron: I don’t know what a Banlon is and I’m not looking it up. As great as Larry Miller was I think we all live in a better world because he didn’t accept the role of George.

Andrew: I never got the reference they were making when Kramer is trying to escape the German tourists. It’s not the writers’ fault I never saw Marathon Man, but that moment never really worked for me.

Jordan: The fake robbery and payoff with the tourists finding Kramer was stupid.

Jason: No complaints from me.

Key Character Debuts

– The Doorman

Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes

– “What’re you, the boyfriend? Here for a… quickie?” – Doorman “Can I just go up?”- Jerry “Oh, I get it. Why waste time making small talk with the doorman? I should just shut up and do my job, opening the door for you.” – Doorman

– “…What makes you think I wasn’t reading the Wall Street page? Oh, I know, because I’m the uneducated doorman.” – Doorman

– “That’s it. Now, gimme your wallet. Got it in here, huh, fat boy!” – Kramer

– “Today, I went record shopping in Greenwich Village. I bought this record, but I can’t seem to find the hi-fi.” – Frank “I don’t have a hi-fi.” – George “Didn’t I give you my old record player?” – Frank “I gave it to Cosmo.” – George “Cosmo? Who’s Cosmo?” – Frank “I’m Cosmo.” – Kramer

– “Ah, sure. Poor doorman has to work two jobs to put food on the table for mother and baby. No, I live here. That’s okay, isn’t it?” – Doorman “So you work all day as a doorman at one building. Then you come home and
stand outside your own building?” – Jerry “You got a problem with that?” – Doorman

– “He had breasts.” – Kramer “What d’you mean, breasts?” – Jerry “Big breasts!” – George “So what? A lot of older men have that.” – Jerry “No, not these. These were real hooters.” – Kramer

– “I was throwing up all night. It was like my own personal Crying Game.” – George

– “Then I suppose the bosom gene comes from your grandmother.” – Jerry

– “He claims that you followed him home, and started harassing him.” – Doorman “What has this guy got a personal vendetta with me?! What’d I do to him? Cuz I asked him about the Knicks?” – Jerry

– “What is wrong with George?” – Elaine “He’s… trying to get something off his chest.” – Jerry

– “You want me to wear a bra?!” – Frank “No, no. A bra is for ladies… Meet, the bro.” – Kramer

– The Bro (Or Mansiere) immediately becomes a pop culture hit

– “I told you! Now, Frank, listen. Here’s what I’m thinking. Now, you have a friend in the bra business, right?” – Kramer “Of course. Sid Farkus. He’s the best in the business.” – Frank

– “No, bro’s no good. Too ethnic.” – Frank “Alright, you got something better?” – Kramer “How ’bout uh… the mansiere?” – Frank “Mansiere?” – Kramer “That’s right. A brassiere for a man. The mansiere, get it?” – Frank

– “The doorman. And, pray tell, what did the doorman say?” – Elaine “He said he asked a friend of yours to watch the door.” – Mrs. Payton “Oh, my. Well, the doorman certainly has a wild imagination, doesn’t he?” – Elaine

– “Diabolical. He thought of everything. He was setting me up from day one!” – Jerry “Is it possible we were victims of a sting?” – Elaine

– “And, to be perfectly frank, I’ve always felt I could use some support. I know, when I’m wearing Banlon, there appears to be some jiggling.” – Sid “I wouldn’t be caught dead in Banlon!” – Frank

– “But, the very idea. you had me lying in urine!!” – Frank

– “You’re not having any of your transvestite parties?” – Estelle “Will you stop it?” – Frank “I lived with him for forty years, I never saw him trying on my underwear. As soon as he leaves the house, he turns into J. Edgar Hoover!” – Estelle

– “Sid Farkus?! You’re not having dinner with a bra salesman.” – Frank “Hey, he only sells them. He doesn’t wear ’em.” – Estell

Oddities & Fun Facts

– The Doorman is portrayed by long time character actor and comedian Larry Miller

– Sid Farkus, bra salesman, returns after being last seen in “The Sniffing Accountant” (S5, E4)

– Multiple times in this episode, characters ask “How about them Knicks?”; This episode aired 2/23/95 and on that date the Knicks defeated the Kings to move to 34-18. That would put them 5.5 games behind the Orlando Magic in the Atlantic Division and at the second best record in the Eastern Conference. They would end up losing to the Indiana Pacers in seven games in the second round of the NBA Playoffs.

– Jerry replaces the stolen couch with his old couch that Poppy peed on, a callback to “The Couch” (S6, E5)

Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)

JT: Easily a Hall of Fame episode. The Bro is iconic and became a pop culture catchphrase. The Doorman may be the best cameo character in the history of the show. Everything tied together, they looped in some really strong callbacks to past episodes and the individual performances were all right on point. Estelle capped it all off by roasting the shit out of Frank to close things out. One of the greats ever sneaks in late in season six. Final Grade: 10/10

Aaron: Come on! It’s the one with Frank Costanza wearing a bra. The writing all ties together, and the characters are strong. Easy winner here. Bring on the rest of six! Final Grade: 9/10

Andrew: I don’t have more to say, other than that this one is a classic. Final Grade: 10/10

Jordan: The Doorman alone makes this a success, but throw in Frank and Kramer selling a bra for men? perfection. Final Grade: 10/10

Jason: If there’s one episode from this season that deserves more praise than it gets, this is it. The Jerry and Doorman feud was excellent. Bickering Constanzas at best. Plus, a couple of great cameos from Poppy and Sid Farkus. Every plot tide in well together with some iconic series moments. There’s very little to complain about here. Final Grade: 10/10