Seinfeld: The PTBN Series Rewatch – “The Foundation” (S8, E1)

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 enjoyed Jerry a lot here. He was at his acerbic best, shitting all over Elaine left and right and hitting zingers left and right. Him sandbagging George in between running tests on breakup stories was really good stuff. The whole crew showed up for this one but I thought Jerry edged out the field.

Aaron: Man am I ever torn between George and Elaine. On one hand we have George slowly devolving into a short-wearing, cheese driven bachelor on the other Lainey is EVOLVING into a nineteen twenties era boss. I guess I’m a scientist at heart. It’s Elaine.

Andrew: Everyone has their moments, but no one glaringly stands out to me, so I’ll go with my personal favorite: J. Peterman. His increasing wackiness has not worn thin for me yet, and depressed, burnt out Peterman kills me, especially when he’s rolling fruit off his desk and casually walking out in the middle of a catalog pitch. Plus, the Burma/Myanmar line is one of my all-time favorites.

Jordan: I enjoyed George a lot – from dealing with his new found freedom by taking big bites of cheese and lounging around in nothing but Knicks shorts, to have it all come crashing down as the ghost of Susan still keeps him from true joy in life. His body language at the foundation board of directors meeting was incredibly childish, and I loved every second of it.

Jason: There’s a few choses to go with here. Jerry had some terrific one liners, Elaine was solid taking over the catelog while Peterman was in Myan… I mean Burma and Kramer finding his Katra was fun. But, George gets the duke for me. The poor guy can’t cut a break from those damn Rosses even though Susan is taking a dirt nap. KHAAAAAAANNNNNN!!!!

Best Storyline

JT: The Foundation takes it here just because it is such a kick in the nuts to George after he spent all of last season trying to dump Susan. Now she is gone and he finds out he would have been a millionaire. Plus he has to spend all his free time watching his money get pissed away. The last scene mirroring the first episode of season seven with George unable to hang out with Jerry was so well done as was the doll collection callback. Perfect Costanza.

Aaron: George’s transition from having his life ruined by Susan to having his life ruined by Susan’s memory.

Andrew: I’m tempted to go with Kramer beating up on children, but I think the real winner is The Foundation. Ruining George’s newfound freedom with responsibilities forced on him by Susan’s death is a good plot development, and I enjoy seeing him tortured by the thought of all the material things he would have had had he actually gotten married. Even if he doesn’t mourn Susan’s loss for any human, sentimental reasons, it negatively affects his life anyway. I wish it had been funnier, but that’s a solid plotline.

Jordan: The Foundation is an easy one here, even if this IS the Urban Sombrero episode. But having George still not be able to escape Susan’s grip on his life even though she is dead is really a lot of fun. For everyone but George.

Jason: The Foundation for sure. From Jerry’s Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan line inspiring the Rosses to start the foundation, to Wyck telling George everything that could have been his once he and Susan were married and the Susan portrait smiling down on George were all winners.

Ethical Dilemma of the Week

JT: Is it ethical to fight children at a karate dojo? I would argue the bigger ethics issue is that the dojo permits it.

Aaron: What kind of fucked up Karate teacher allows a man in his forties (50s?) fight children? He stands idle as Kramer literally karate chops children in the head. He goes as far as to raise the man’s arm in victory. What kind of man does that? I’ll tell you what kind: the right kind. The world is a cruel, harsh place and this intrepid sensei is going above and beyond to instruct these kids in the art of KaRATEY.

Andrew: If you get fired for sleeping on the job, is that really the Urban Sombrero’s fault? No one forced you to wear it at work. Take some responsibility, people.

Jordan: Does a boss have the right to terminate a hard working employee just because of his choice in hats? The Urban Sombrero may not have set the world on fire, but unless this man worked in the fashion industry, I think his productivity and work ethic should be the basis of his job stability, not his enormous, Pharrell Williams-like hat.

Jason: Is eating a block of chesse the size of a car battery a safe thing to do? I’d think you’d be on the toilet more than eating.

Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)

JT: Mulva is the best. Too bad Jerry hadn’t fully tested out his theories before his date with her as she is quite the catch. Susan still haunts poor George from the grave. Relationship Grade: Dolores/10

Aaron: I was happy to see Mulva sniffing around Jerry but her reasoning for walking out was weak at best. Damn you Mulva. You don’t even deserve your own real name. Relationship Grade: 8/10

Andrew: The “stink of responsibility” is a really good angle. There’s something to be said for having proof that you are marriage material. Relationship Grade: You stink worse than I do / 10

Jordan: Jeannie and Jerry with the ultra rare totally mutual breakup. All it takes is total hatred for the other person. Relationship Grade: H8/10

Jason: George can’t shake those stupid Rosses for anything. The poor bastard. Jerry should have talked Jeannie and Mulva into a threesome. Elaine’s punishment for the urban sombrero should be Peterman banging her while he wears the hat. Relationship Grade: Six ideas by 4:00/ 10

What Worked:

JT: George’s hair cut caught my eye for some reason and him going through the Yankees season to Susan’s grave was funny; Wrath of Khan!; Kramer’s haircut too; I love Kramer not realizing Elaine had been away for six weeks; Jerry explaining the breakup to Elaine; The debut of the Urban Sombrero; Peterman’s calm meltdown in the meeting was wonderfully executed; Mulva is looking good; Burma!; Jerry shitting on Elaine as boss and then shaking his head as Kramer hyped her up was great; Jerry’s Sammy Davis line and then saying “No she’s not” cracked me up too; Kramer fighting kids could have come off hokey on most shows but they made it work here; Him sitting in the station wagon begging for treats was funny too; George eating the block of cheese and then squirting the mustard in Jerry’s coffee; George yelling “KHAN!”; Kramer quoting Search for Spock; The manager being part of Jerry’s roundtable was excellent; George not being able to go out and the final scene with Wyck wanting go doll by doll through the collection were great callbacks and close to the episode

Aaron: “Why did you pick me?” Asked Elaine. “Why Indeed?” Replied Peterman. One of my favorite exchanges in the entire show. This of course comes after Jerry tells Elaine that he has no respect for her work. All the Star Trek references were great but I got a particularly big laugh out of George being more deeply moved by Spock’s death than that of his fiancé. The Rossesssssssssss are always gold and them discovering a shirtless George in full celebration mode was perfect. Wyck Thayer seems positively gleeful as he crushes George under the weight of his potential inheritance. George pouring mustard in Jerry’s coffee felt completely justified as he decries the line that ruined his life. Kramer begging for ice cream and screaming in triumph was solid but…

Andrew: I mentioned this already, but Peterman is my favorite part of this episode. Kramer winning the Kumite for 9-year-olds is a close second, especially when the kids get revenge in a restaging of the AIDS Walk beatdown. George having his deceased fiancé’s parents drop in while he is in full-on disgusting bachelor mode was really good, and his attempt to class it up with a blazer (over no shirt) made me laugh. Jerry’s background gestures when Kramer is pumping up Elaine are funny, and Elaine gloating at Jerry with a celebratory cigar was a fun scene. Jerry workshopping broken engagement backstories with the waitresses at the diner was solid.

Jordan: I liked George just shooting the breeze at Susan’s grave. Kramer owning a bunch of kids at the dojo was some fun stuff, and I liked the carpool scene with him slurping down a juicebox and celebrating a stop for ice cream. Peterman questioning everything in life while casually shoving apples off his desk was so great, and I don’t even know why. His phone call to Elaine was the stuff of legend. It will always be Burma to me! George celebrating his freedom with cheese and almost total nudity is something I didn’t need to see, yet I’m glad I did. Elaine losing total confidence in herself, then whipping out the Urban Sombrero is a lot of fun. It was nice to see Jerry wearing relatively normal clothes, just a polo shirt and jeans, and the shirt wasn’t tucked in.

Jason: Susan’s middle name being Biddle; Mrs. Ross breaking out the flask at Susan’s grave; George running down the Yankees season; Jerry and George showing more emotion to Spock dying than when Susan died; big suglasses case; “George is going to the movies!”; Jerry not wanting to see Kramer here, here or here; Kramer not knowing Elaine was in Mexico; Jerry and Jeannie’s, “I hate you” mutual breakup; burnt out Peterman; “It’ll always be Burma to me”; Smoking hot Mulva!; Kramer thinking Myanmar is a discount pharmacy; Kramer’s pep talk to Elaine, Katra; Jerry telling Kramer he can just ring the kid’s necks; Kramer piled in the station wagon with the kids; Kramer tossing around the kids; George’s Knicks shorts; Jerry’s Star Trek line inspiring the Rosses to start the foundation; the Rosses botching the movie line; Wink… Wyck; the Susan portrait always smiling down on George; Mulva thinking that Jerry had matured; many, many monies; George squeezing mustard in Jerry’s coffee; ” It’s a peach”; doofus; Kramer dominating and Elaine finding out that he’s in class with kids; Jerry gathering the Monks staff for his research; Elaine rocking the urban sombrero; Wyck running down Susan’s inventory; ” Cheese, George, cheese.”; the subway guys chatting about how the urban sombrero ruined their lives.

What Didn’t Work

JT: Why did it take three months to get Susan’s tombstone set up?; Susan never mentioned how much her family was worth in any of her time with George?

Aaron: I really didn’t care for the Karate stuff. Sure it was a catalyst for Elaine taking over the catalog, but the child abuse angle was a bit much for me.

Andrew: I don’t have anything specific, but I kept wishing this episode was funnier. I like the ideas behind the stories, but the execution didn’t add much in the way of laughs.

Jordan: I didn’t really like George realizing how rich Susan was, if that’s what they were trying to suggest. It goes against everything I believe about George – that was probably the very first thing he learned about her.

Jason: When did Joey get over thinking Kramer was Frankenstein? Why does Mrs. Zanfino allow Kramer to car pool with her after finding Mickey in Joey’s bed?

Key Character Debuts

– Wyck Thayer

Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes

– “What were you saying to the Rosses over there, anyway?” – George “Oh, I don’t know. I told them her death takes place in the shadow of new life. She’s not really dead if we find a way to remember her.” – Jerry “What is that?” – George “Star Trek II.” – Jerry “Wrath of Khan!” – George “Right. Kramer and I saw it last night. Spock dies, they wrap him up in a towel, and they shoot him out the bowel of the ship in that big sunglasses case.” – Jerry “That was a hell of a thing when Spock died…” – George “Yeah…” – Jerry

– “I have mourned for three long months! Summer months, too! Anybody could grieve in January! It’s time for George to start being George again.” – George

– “She’s been in Mexico for six weeks.” – Jerry “No, I really think you’re wrong. We just went to the fireworks the other day. – Kramer “That was July 4th!” – Jerry

– “Oh, my neck is one gargantuan monkey fist.” – Peterman

– “I tell you, Jerry, I’m feeling something. Something I haven’t felt in a long time.” – George “Pride?” – Jerry “No. Autonomy, complete and total autonomy.” – George “Well, you’re your own boss now.” – Jerry “I wanna go to a tractor pull.” – George “Go ahead.” – Jerry “I am staying out all night!” – George “Who’s stopping you?” – Jerry “I wanna bite into a big hunk of cheese, just bite into it like it’s an apple.” – George “Whatever.” – Jerry

– “I’ve already left, Elaine. I’m in Burma.” – Peterman “Burma?” – Elaine “You most likely know it as Myanmar, but it will always be Burma to me. Bonne chance, Elaine.” – Peterman

– “I am not qualified to run the catalog!” – Elaine “You’re not qualified to work at the catalog.” – Jerry

– “Yeah, karate. I had no support. Not from him, not from Newman, no one. The first time I sparred with an opponent, I was terrified. My legs, they were like noodles. But then I looked inside, and I found my kata.” – Kramer “Katra?” – Elaine “Yeah, your spirit, your, uh, being. The part of you that says, “Yes, I can!”” – Kramer “Sammy Davis had it.” – Jerry

– “Kramer, you’re fighting children?” – Jerry “We’re all at the same skill level, Jerry.” – Kramer “He’s nine years old! You don’t need karate, you can just wring his neck!” – Jerry

– “And they’ve been hard on us, too. It’s a terrible tragedy when parents outlive their children.” – Mr. Ross “Yes, I agree. I hope my parents go long before I do.” – George

– “Yeah! Look at me! I was free and clear! I was living the dream! I was stripped to the waist, eating a block of cheese the size of a car battery!” – George “Before we go any further, I’d just like to point out how disturbing it is that you equate eating a block of cheese with some sort of bachelor paradise.” – Jerry

– “Hey, hey. Me. Talking. You know, between you and me, I always thought Kramer was a bit of a doofus, but he believed in me. You did not. So as I see it, he’s not the doofus. You are the doofus.” – Elaine “Oh, I’m the doofus?” – Jerry “Yeah. You, Jerry, are the doofus.” – Elaine

– Elaine creates the Urban Sombrero

– “It’s the Urban Sombrero. I put it on the cover.” – Elaine “Well, nobody sees the… cover.” – Jerry

– “Okay, next item. Susan’s doll collection. Estimated value: $2.6 million. What do you say we go through this doll by doll?” – Wyck

Oddities & Fun Facts

– N/A

Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)

JT: We get off to a very nice start here in season eight, as things have carried right over from where we left off. George is finally single but immediately miserable again thanks to Susan’s ghost still haunting him. The scenes at the Foundation were soul crushingly great, watching him sink deeper and deeper into depression. Wyck is a glorious douchebag too. I really enjoyed Jerry here and we also get classic moments like the creation of the Urban Sombrero and Peterman heading off to Burma…er, Myanmar. The Star Trek stuff was funny and I loved the callbacks at the end with George being stuck and the wretched doll collection being worth millions. Very good episode and honestly it felt like one of the better premiers that we have seen, or at least even to the last few. Final Grade: 7/10

Aaron: What I liked , I really liked. Why I didn’t I REALLY didn’t. There’s a lot of good here but it gets knocked down a few notches for a rare Kramer miss. Still, Susan’s foundation has limitless potential and Elaine killed it as the cigar chomping boss. It was almost a peach, but unfortunately I ain’t buying the kid stuff…er…kid. Final Grade: 7/10

Andrew: This episode is … OK, I guess? It does a good job of picking up where last season’s finale left off, wrapping up Jerry’s engagement and providing some consequences for George. And the Burma/Myanmar bit will always get me. But I think we’ve clearly seen better episodes than this. Final Grade: 7/10

Jordan: (Takes a big puff of cigar) THIS ONE WAS A PEACH! A peach I said! A very good season premiere as it sets up the foundation and we know which direction George is headed in. Everyone else is just kind of there, but this has never been a show about long term story arcs, so it’s not a negative that stories aren’t set up for them. Cheese eating George may not have had the legs to last a full season, so I’m glad we revert right back to miserable George. Final Grade: 8/10

Jason: Hello, Season 8! This was a pretty solid start to the season as it leads off right where the previous season ended. We get the urban sombrero which becomes a big pop culture reference over the years. The Star Trek stuff was well executed. A fun flowing 23 minutes with nothing dragging along the way. Final Grade: 7/10