Seinfeld: The PTBN Series Rewatch – “The Face Painter” (S6, E23)

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 have to go with David Puddy here. He was fantastic with his cool demeanor and simple explanations of the absurd. The scene with him sending the priest into a state of shock was super memorable and the last scene with him and his boys shirtless in the Ueker seats was a nice wrap on everything. Puddy for life!

Aaron: Kramer is an absolute beast in this one. His rants about society are epic and his final denouncement of Jerry as a “STUBBORN STUPID SILLY MAN,” still crack me up to this day. Imagine, I’m siding with this guy over a monkey. A monkey! As if his railing were not enough he lays down a monologue whose quality has not been seen since he took over a bus and became Batman. Whether he’s declaring himself to be “made in the shade,” or simply accusing a monkey of “laughing it up,” Kramer spits out an all timer here.

Andrew: I’ll go with Jerry. I’m always on board when he takes a principled stand against the rote performance of common courtesy, and I admire the way he stubbornly persists even as he’s going down in flames. He also has a ton of great dialogue in this episode. The Alec Berg/John Houseman thing is one of my all-time favorite throwaway bits. His description of the busboy’s state of mind is amazing (“it’s all this guy can do to keep from killing himself”). His response to “You’re a smart guy, right?” is perfect: “No question about it”. And I really enjoy his spiel for getting off the phone quickly. This is Jerry pretty close to the top of his game.

Jordan: I’ll go Puddy. I’ve learned from doing this write up for six seasons that anytime a recurring character has a strong showing, I’m tempted to pick them here. Other times I have avoided it, but this time, I can’t resist the temptation. It is too strong, it is too enticing…El Diablo’s powers of persuasion have won me over.

Jason: As a life long New York Rangers fan, I despise the New Jersey Devils with a passion, especially their classless fans. That is… except one fan, David FREAKING Puddy! Big Dave was a force of nature here from the second he came out with the face paint and Devils jersey on. He got hyped and stayed hype the entire episode. Even making a priest from El Salvador think that he saw Satan. GOTTA SUPPORT THE TEAM!

Best Storyline

JT: I will go with the hockey tickets since it ties in Jerry’s thank you bullshit with Alec Berg, David Puddy’s face painting and the capper at the end. Puddy’s initial emergence with the makeup on is glorious as was his assault of the priest.

Aaron: Kramer vs. Barry. With a close second being Kramer trumpeting that good manners are the glue to society.

Andrew: Kramer’s feud with Barry the chimpanzee. This is one of those storylines that only works because of Kramer’s well-established wackiness, and he plays it perfectly. His energetic recounting of the inciting encounter is great, and the payoff when we actually see him interacting with a monkey is very well done.

Jordan: Kramer and his feud with a chimp is pretty enjoyable and if it was done on a standard sitcom, it would probably be really cheesy, but Kramer pulls it off. I love the wackiness of it and Kramer’s stubborn refusal to apologize.

Jason: Where to begin… The Kramer and Barry the chimp feud held up better than I remembered. George not getting the “I love you” back from Siena the crayon had it’s moments. But, I’ll go with everything that had to do with the hockey tickets.  From Puddy the face painter, to Jerry not calling Alec Berg to thank him for the tickets and Berg’s FU to Jerry by hooking him up with the chest painter tickets at the end.

Ethical Dilemma of the Week

JT: Alec Berg gave Jerry free front row playoff hockey tickets. Call and say thanks again you dick! What a dumb time to take a stand. An incorrect stand at that! He absolutely should be giving a call that next day. Just say thanks, Jerome!

Aaron: How do you decide what toilet paper to buy? I’m sure everyone has a different system but I always stick with the tested and true, “look at what they use as a mascot and imagine wiping your ass with it.” This is why I’ll never buy toilet paper with leaves on the packaging. What am I a Barbarian? Touch a kitten. Touch it. Now imagine that soft fur cleaning your anus. Feels good doesn’t it? So go with the damn cat or at worst the baby bear. Do not under any circumstances take the one with the woman’s face.

Andrew: Is it OK to offer tickets to random strangers, but on the condition that they join you in a group chest-painting demonstration? The closing bit basically implies that’s what Puddy did, right? Seems like a terrible idea, but far be it from me to question a great American like David Puddy.

Jordan: Should you apologize to chimpanzees? I say no, screw them and their sensitive feelings. ESPECIALLY THE ARROGANT ONES.

Jason: If a significant other asks you to stop being a face painter, should you stop doing it? HELL NO! Maybe during the regular season, but this is the playoffs, baby, you gotta let them know you’re out there. Should you make a “thank you” phone call the day after to someone who gives you sports tickets? EVERY SINGLE TIME!

Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)

JT: Why did Siena have to be such a cold bitch to George? Give some detail to poor George. Don’t just ignore him twice and giggle him off like he was a 10 year old. Grow up! Relationship Grade: Left Ear/10

Aaron: Elaine proved that her and Puddy belong together when she fired back at him with a ” That’s right,” following the unfortunate discovery that he had, in fact, painted his chest. If they can get by the painting incident of ’95 they can make it through anything. Relationship Grade:10/10

Andrew: I’ve always had a thing for Siena. Part of it is that she was on The Drew Carey Show. But a lot of it is the total lack of compassion; I think George’s “You want to be with somebody that doesn’t like you” theory applies to me more than I’d like to admit. Then again, the love affair between David Puddy and myself continues unabated, so maybe there is hope for me after all. Relationship Grade: I’ll be back, we’ll make out/10

Jordan: Siena hearing George and just ignoring him flat out makes me like her more. George deserves no love and no satisfaction in life, and Siena may be the person to not give that to him. Relationship Grade: I heard you/10

Jason: Elaine and Puddy continue to be a match made in Seinfeld heaven. What’s Siena’s deal? No selling George’s “I love you” was wrong. She was cleary fascinated by George’s toilet paper discussion, which gave Georgie Boy a massive boner.  Relationship Grade: Matzah Ball Soup/ 10

What Worked:

JT: George’s toilet paper monologue and Jerry criticizing Elaine complimenting the soup to the bus boy was a great back to back start; ALEC BERG; Jerry’s “he’s dating a crayon” line and him and Elaine proving the toilet paper theory wrong made for a top notch scene; The initial reveal of Puddy with his face painted is absurdly awesome, as is his behavior during the game; George getting hung out to dry with his “I Love You”; Puddy scaring the priest was brilliant; George ordering the matzah ball soup was a nice touch; The demise of Gary Fogel was really well done; I love Jerry’s Puddy face and the way he and Elaine just carry on banally as everyone weeps in the background; Kramer defending himself about the monkey altercation was good, especially the “so am I” line; You stubborn, stupid, silly man!; The quick transition of Puddy from capable, normal mechanic to bizarre face painting weirdo was beautifully effective; “Yeah, that’s right”; Jerry rushing his mom off the phone and Kramer apologizing to Barry; Kramer berating Jerry into calling Alec and Jerry desperately playing the Houseman card; Jerry and Kramer with the Devils fans and the priest thinking Elaine was an angel closed things out nicely

Aaron: George vying for the “I love you return,” is classic stuff. The poor guy just wants to say I love you to someone who CAN ACTUALLY HEAR IT! Jerry is just a rant machine throughout, as though he were trying to fit in as much of his material before the season ends. He’s right, people who talk to you on airplanes are dicks. It’s also pretty sensational that by giving a liar a membership to a toupee store Jerry is now directly responsible for a man’s death. Puddy is on fire. In any other episode he would have taken best character in a walk, unfortunately he’s eclipsed by Kramer’s mammoth performance. He’s just so wonderfully deadpan even in the face of certain breakup. What kind of a man says, “I’ll be back, we’ll make out”? A man who knows what he wants. That’s who. I’m unsure if I’ve ever seen a more Seinfeldian moment than Elaine complaining about the state of her wardrobe while surrounded by hysterical mourners.

Andrew: What I admire the most here is the main cast’s chemistry: George and Elaine’s impromptu bit with the flowers, Jerry and Elaine crapping on George’s “toilet paper hasn’t changed” riff, the “I hate my clothes” chit-chat at the funeral. When all the throwaway dialogue is making me laugh is when I love this show the most. Aside from that, I enjoyed George’s “I love you” attempt. The execution was appropriately pathetic, and the response was perfectly devastating. Elaine and Puddy are so great together; the look of exhaustion she gives him after his “how come people don’t have dip for dinner?” comment is perfect. And that scene makes a great counterpoint to the rapt attention Siena gives to George’s toilet paper bit. I enjoy the gang breaking down Alec Berg’s hello in terms of funeral etiquette. And I’m appreciating for the first time how much sense it makes for Kramer to keep checking up on Jerry’s thank you call; Jerry’s already demonstrated a tendency to resist common courtesy, and Cosmo wants to make sure he doesn’t ruin things again.

Jordan: I love Jerry and Elaine shooting George down. He was so proud of his toilet paper talk, and they immediately point out multiple ways in which it has advanced over the years. Kramer and the monkey is a fun little side romp. Puddy is great here, and I love Elaine’s abject horror at him painting his face. Elaine constantly being disgusted by Puddy, but bringing him back for purely sexual reasons is a fun running theme throughout their relationship and it kind of kick starts here. I also really like Elaine talking about how she hates her clothes during the funeral. Splitting it up between agonizing groans and weeping was a really nice touch-it shows how callous Jerry and Elaine actually are. George going for the “I love you” and failing, only to find out Siena couldn’t hear out of her left ear, then still failing was a nice George moment.

Jason: Jerry’s bit about the bus boy; “It’s all this guy can do to keep from killing himself.” Jerry’s John Houseman gag gets better and better every time; “Did you hand in your assignment, Mr. Berg?” Gary Fogle dying from are car accident while adjusting his toupee. “I will never understand people.” “They’re the worst.” George’s line about telling a dog he loved him; “He licked himself and left the room.” Kramer’s take back when he sees Puddy in the face paint. Puddy talking shit to Mark Messier and banging against the glass. George ordering Matzah Ball soup at Monk’s. Jerry and Elaine chatting it up at Gary’s funeral while other people are in sorrow is one of the most Seinfeld moments so far in the series. The principal from The Wonder Years explaining to Kramer how Barry has been depressed, lost his appetite and has lost the urge to jerk off. Kramer’s rant in the zoo office; “Everything has to be done for the monkey.” Kramer’s attack on Jerry about not being a part of society is one of the best Kramer moments in this season; “You stubborn, stupid, silly man!” Puddy’s, “I’ll be back, we’ll make out” line was perfectly executed. Jerry’s anxiety attack waiting for the Berg phone call. Berg no selling Jerry’s Houseman joke. Puddy finding a loop hole in his agreement with Elaine and becoming a chest painter.  hat giant D on Puddy’s chest when Elaine rips his shirt open.

What Didn’t Work

JT: When the crew become such big hockey fans? Damn frontrunners; I hate the way Kramer says “monkey” and “hockey”; Jerry is a real douchebag about saying thank you to poor Alec Berg; Why are George and Siena always in the damn car?; And Siena is mad harsh at the end; How does Berg know Puddy? I must know!

Aaron: How old is David Puddy? The Devils came into the league in 1982 so if he liked them since he was a kid that would place him at what 20-21 years old? That’s preposterous even for Elaine. Also I’m just pissed the Devils won the cup that year. I hated that team.

Andrew: How and why did Elaine track down the priest that Puddy terrified? Did she know the guy would be that affected? The whole thing feels kind of underexplained (although that’s probably preferable to a bunch of exposition). For whatever reason, George’s story about saying “I love you” to a dog fell flat for me this time around. And since this is traditionally where we complain about clothes, I’d like to say I really liked Kramer’s overcoat, for some reason.

Jordan: I thought the stuff with the priest was silly. The scene itself was fine, but Elaine knowing the details of it was far-fetched. I also think that if a bunch of guys were going to paint DEVILS on themselves, they wouldn’t pick dudes with super hairy chests.

Jason: I don’t like Siena. Take your non hearing ass back in the crayon box. Despite a few funny one-liners, Jerry was a real asshole here.

Key Character Debuts


Alec Berg

Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes

– “Take toilet paper for example. Do you realize that toilet paper has not changed in my lifetime? It’s just paper on a cardboard roll, that’s it. And in ten thousand years, it will still be exactly the same because really, what else can they do?” – George “That’s true. There really has been no development in toilet paper.” – Siena “And everything else has changed. But toilet paper is exactly the same, and will be so until we’re dead.” – George “Yeah, you’re right George. What else can they do?” – Siena “It’s just paper on a roll, that’s it. And that’s all it will ever be.” – George

– “Elaine, it’s all this guy can do to keep from killing himself. You think he’s back there, talking to the chef, going, “Hey, they like the soup! Keep it up!”?” – Jerry

– “Well what about these nitwits that get on a plane with nothing to read? You know who these people are?” – Jerry “Who?” – Elaine “These are the people that want to talk to you. They got nothing else to do, why not disturb you?” – Jerry “I will never understand people.” – Elaine “They’re the worst.” – Jerry

– “I saw Siena again.” – George “Siena?” – Elaine “Yeah, he’s dating a crayon.” – Jerry

– “Cause if you don’t get that return, that’s a pretty big matzah ball hanging out there.” – Jerry “Aw, I’ve just got to say it once, everybody else gets to say it, why can’t I say it?” – George “What, you never said it?” – Elaine “Once, to a dog. He licked himself and left the room.” – George “Well, so it wasn’t a total loss.” – Jerry

– “Yeah, like Diane Fosse. You know she’s the only person that’s ever been accepted into gorilla society. And you know, once those gorillas accept you, you got it made in the shade.” – Kramer

– “You painted your face?” – Elaine “Yeah.” – Puddy “Why?” – Elaine “You know, support the team.” – Puddy “Well, you can’t walk around like that.” – Elaine “Why not?” – Puddy “Because it’s insane?” – Elaine “Hey, you gotta let them know you’re out there, this is the playoffs.” – Puddy

– “Because I… I love you.” – George “You know, I’m hungry. Let’s get something to eat.” – Siena

– “Hey, what are you doing?! Watch where you’re driving, man! Don’t mess with the Devils, buddy. We’re number one, we beat anybody! We’re the Devils! The Devils!! Haaaa!!!” – Puddy

– “You have any idea how fast these things deteriorate when there’s an ‘I love you’ out of the bag? You can’t have a relationship where one person says, “I love you”, and the other says, “I’m hungry. Let’s get something to eat.”” – George “Unless you’re married.” – Jerry

– “Hey, Jerry? You’re a smart guy, right?” – Kramer “No question about it.” – Jerry

– “Remember the guy who pretended he had cancer so O would buy him the toupee?” – Jerry “So he actually had it?” – Kramer “No, car accident. He was trying to adjust his toupee while he was driving and he lost control of the car.” – Jerry

– “Well, he’s not functioning the way he normally does. He seems depressed. He’s lost his appetite. He’s even curtailed his autoerotic activities. And we think this is directly related to the altercation he had with you the other day.” – Mr. Pless “So, so what do you want me to do?” – Kramer “Well, frankly we’d like you to apologize.” – Mr. Pless “Yeah, well he started it.” – Kramer “Mr. Kramer, he is an innocent primate.” – Mr. Pless “So am I.” – Kramer

– ” She probably never heard it. Don’t you see what this means? It’s like the whole thing never happened. It’s like when Superman reversed the rotation of the earth to save Lois Lane!” – George “Are you gonna say it again?” – Jerry “That’s the question, Jimmy.” – George

– “Jerry, this is the way society functions. Aren’t you a part of society? Because if you don’t want to be a part of society, Jerry, why don’t you just get in your car and move to the East Side!” – Kramer “Look, we got five hours before the game. I am betting it was a funeral ‘hello’. He knows we’re here, he knows the number, he knows we want to go. There’s plenty of time for him to call and give us the tickets.” – Jerry “You stubborn, stupid, silly man!” – Kramer

– “Hey, great dip. You made this?” – Puddy “No, it’s from the store.” – Elaine “Oh. Hey, how come people don’t have dip for dinner? Why is it only a snack, why can’t it be a meal, you know? I don’t understand stuff like that.” – Puddy

– “Yeah, that’s right.” – Puddy

– “Alright, I gotta go home and get changed before the game. I’ll be back, we’ll make out.” – Puddy

Oddities & Fun Facts

– The real Alec Berg was a writer for Seinfeld

– Gary Fogle was last seen in The Scofflaw (S6, E13)

– The Rangers and Devils did not play in the 1994-95 playoffs. The Rangers had defeated the Devils the year prior en route to winning the Stanley Cup.

Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)

JT: This is one of my guilty pleasure favorite episodes. Puddy and that damn face paint gets me every time, especially when he screams at the poor priest. All of the thank you stuff was really fun too and I love the Gary Fogel payoff. Season six has been great about tying random loose ends all together. Kramer was on point too with all the monkey stuff and his constant prodding of Jerry to get his shit together. I have seen this one thousands of times and could watch it thousands more. Give me more Puddy. NOW! Final Grade: 9/10

Aaron: This is one of my all-time favorite episodes and this viewing did nothing to hamper my excitement for it. Kramer fights a monkey, George loves a zookeeper and Puddy paints his face. There’s so many more little moments and classic lines but I’d rather you just go watch it for yourself. It’s once again a great example of something I’ve been harping on since we first started watching these again: every single storyline intersects in the most seamless of ways and not a single line is wasted. That coupled with five killer performances makes this an easy contender for best of all time for me. Had Frank Costanza appeared my head may have exploded. Easy ten. Final Grade: 10/10

Andrew: This is a 10 for me, personally; for whatever reason, I’ve always enjoyed this episode more than it probably deserves. But giving a grade that high would be unfair to other episodes I’ve been tougher on, so let’s just split the difference. Final Grade: 9/10

Jordan: This one was a real breeze. I really liked everything about it and David Puddy is fantastic. I would have liked to see more of Kramer and the monkey, but Elaine was exceptional in her funeral scene with Jerry and with Puddy. At this point, I’m looking for reasons to NOT give episodes a 10, and the best I can come up with here is I really thought Siena’s refusal to love George back called for a Costanza scheme that never happened. Final Grade: 9/10

Jason: This episode is always a lot of fun to watch with everything tying in well. Kramer feuding with a chimp was a Cosmo specialty and Puddy being a face painter was meant to be. Not quite an all time classic from the series, but it surely does keep up with the season six strong finish. Final Grade: 8/10