Seinfeld: The PTBN Series Rewatch – “The Good Samaritan” (S3, E19)

Welcome to Seinfeld: The PTBN Series Rewatch! On a regular basis, Justin Rozzero, Aaron George, Andrew Flanagan and Jordan Duncan 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

Justin: I will go with George here. Elaine was solid and Jerry had his moments but George was consistently funny during his affair. You could really feel Larry David bleeding in here as George is punished for innocently doing the right thing and then it all descends into madness from there. He had some good lines and his panicking over Michael causing hm instant regret for banging a married woman is classic Constanza as even when he wins, he loses.

Aaron: I think if you’ve read these by now you’ll know how much of a whore I am for Kramer’s physical comedy, but I still have to give this one to George. Only he could start by filling in for Jerry at an awkward dinner and not only get laid, but also end the episode on the run from a maniac who will sew his ass to his face. His chemistry with Jerry was the best I’ve seen so far in the show, especially when they go on about how the world needs more people like them. The after sex scene with Robin where George absolves himself because HE didn’t commit adultery, and announces “it must be Hell living in that house” are great snapshots of the most immoral man in television history. “You can lie! How hard is it to lie??!!”  Also: why does he need to shovel food into his face so fast?

Andrew: Nobody blew me away in this one, but I’ll go with George. I like that he’s always in for a free meal, and I enjoy his terrible dining etiquette. He and Jerry justifying their actions to each other is pretty good, too.

Jordan: George. I love that it is now a character trait that he eats like a fat, sloppy pig (trademark Jesse Ventura). I also like how his random insult of the husband got the ball rolling on the whole affair thing. I also thought it was a nice reversal of roles when he realized Jerry had lied to Elaine about the hit and run, and started making Jerry lie more with, “Tell her about the shoving.” It’s rare that George has HAND over Jerry, so he saw a chance and seized it. Good for him.

Best Storyline

Justin: Easily the God Bless You affair storyline as it delivered the best moments and lines of the episode. I enjoyed George’s disdain when it happened as well as when he and Jerry broke it down afterwards. George coming to grips with what he did while in bed was fun. I love George freaking out when Elaine relays Michael’s message, bitching her out for not lying and then blowing the lid off the matador story. And it all ends with George going on the road with Jerry to avoid Michael, which is perfect for his character.

Aaron: The George affair takes it for me. Hilarious and tight in execution. As much as I enjoyed Jerry and Elaine lying about their “conquests” I’ll always enjoy George lying to himself more.

Andrew: I liked the affair storyline the most. The husband’s overreaction to George’s comment rings true, as does the idea of a small thing like not saying “God bless you” becoming a big deal. I also like the idea of George’s politeness being rewarded with sex. The world would be a better place if that happened more often.

Jordan: The affair is better and maybe should have been the main theme of the episode rather than the hit and run. I like the husband being furious, the wife sneezing again and George just extending his arm, waiting. Robin explaining to George that SHE was the one committing adultery, not him, was funny, as was the follow up line that if it wasn’t with him, it would be with someone else. I also enjoy any excuse to see George’s childlike bedroom setting.

Ethical Dilemma of the Week

Justin: Should you date someone that did something really shitty like Angela did here? Probably not, manly because of the guilt that would hang over you about what you witnessed. Plus she seemed batshit right out of the gate. Jerry shouldn’t have even tailed her after the hit and run but he let Elaine get in his head. He would have been better off just grabbing her license plate and alerting the authorities. Then he could revel in sweet victory sex with Becky Gelke.

Aaron: Did George overstep his bounds by jumping in with his “God bless you?” I feel that Jerry and George covered this nicely, and while it’s possible that Michael was holding his God bless you in ABEYANCE on account of her being a multiple sneezer, the hard truth was that Michael was clearly a no good thug who should immediately be sent to Australia. I think the true tragedy was the senseless way in which George pushed his God’s blessing on poor Robin. He has no idea is she’s and Atheist, or agnostic or perhaps worships an entire pantheon of Gods (Egyptian comes to mind). At best he could have said “Horus bless you” or at worst “gods bless you”. Or he could have just gone with the far less inciting “you are so good looking.” Then again that may have angered Michael even more.

Andrew: Should you confront someone who leaves the scene of an accident? I’m not sure I’d want to go picking fights with the type of person capable of that. That seems like a lot of risk to take on for a stranger. I think getting the person’s license plate would be plenty.

Jordan: I don’t think the affair is even a dilemma, we know that’s wrong, but how about Elaine? Should you cover for a friend when you suspect they may be having an affair? She did a poor job of it, but the mere fact that she was willing to lie for Robin while she was hooking up with George is pretty low, even for Seinfeld standards.

Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)

Justin: Jerry and Angela were never going to last with that secret hanging over their relationship. Michael and Robin just seemed to be miserable, despite Elaine thinking they were a super fun couple. George and Robin could have had something as they really seemed to get each other, but alas the forbidden love and fear would have crippled Costanza from taking things even further. Kramer and Becky Gelke was doomed from the start because Becky seems like the type that would ditch the K-Man after that seizure. Elaine and Eduardo? Those kids just may make it. Relationship Grade: Fail/10

Aaron: I wouldn’t have turned Angela in either. I guess it just never occurred to me as a teen, but man Jerry has slept with a lot of hot women. Sure she’s nuts and almost certainly dangerous, but come on, we’ve all dated someone who’s crazy at least once. And if you’re reading this and you haven’t dated someone crazy, YOU’RE the crazy one in your relationships. Relationship Grade: You’re the problem/10

Andrew: I guess Angela is supposed to be the hot-but-crazy archetype, but I was underwhelmed. The element of danger in George’s affair adds a lot, but there’s no long-term potential. Relationship Grade: 3/10

Jordan: How bad of a husband do you have to be for your wife to not only cheat on you, but choose George Costanza over you? This may be the worst relationship the show has ever seen. Relationship Grade: DIVORCE/10

What Worked

Justin: Jerry following the hit and run perpetrator is outside his whiny character which was nice and his made up story to Elaine good stuff and relatable; I have always loved Elaine’s bullfighter story as well as George destroying his meal without caring about anything; Jerry being forced to choose between the two women in such an impossible spot and then trying to rationalize it; I like Jerry mimicking a bullfighter while mocking Elaine’s matador story; The name Becky Gelke always made me laugh; The whole affair storyline was fun overall; Kramer’s hair for his date was amazingly absurd.

Aaron: The. Seizures. Were. Works. Of. Art. I’m either a much bigger fan of physical comedy than I thought when I started this project or I have not grown up and have the mindset of a child. Either way these are gold and I had completely forgotten about the second one when he goes to pick up Becky, so it killed me. I loved all the lying that went on between Jerry, Elaine and George throughout. George egging Jerry on to elaborate on his “shoving” match and challenging Jerry on the fact he went to Queens were great little jabs. Michael’s irrational anger towards everything was great, but I’m also a diehard fan of irrational anger. Jerry’s sociopathic dating tendencies were on fine display as he was more than happy to sell out one woman for another he likes slightly more. It was also perfect that Kramer ends up with Becky at the end. It’s just great writing throughout with everyone woven seamlessly together.

Andrew: As I said earlier, “God bless you” leading to an extramarital affair is pretty funny. More importantly, “Becky Gelke” is a fantastic fake name. Jerry’s “What am I drinking, milk?” line got no reaction from the studio audience, but it always makes me laugh.

Jordan: Like I said earlier, I love that George got the upper hand on Jerry for once and made him squirm as he made up a story about his karate pose. Really everything George did here was fun and a lot of his character traits were on display. We were reminded that he’s cheap by jumping at the free meal, he eats like a hog, he says things he shouldn’t, and apparently he is willing to sleep with married women while the Justice League watches. Martian Manhunter would be ashamed. Kramer’s seizures were hilarious, but more on that in a second. I like Jerry’s dilemma of knowing that Angela did something awful, but being too overwhelmed by her hotness to care.

What Didn’t Work

Justin: I have always despised the Kramer/Mary Hart seizure mess as it feels so forced and heavy handed, especially how Elaine figures it out so quickly, but I guess it must be based on some real story as Elaine references; Angela is fucking scary.

Aaron: I feel like we could have had a few more seizures thrown in here for good measure. The primary story could have been a little more developed I guess but I was more than happy to have the ancillary affair storyline interspliced with some seizures instead. I’m not sure if I made it clear but if Kramer did a sitcom where we suffered from seizure for half an hour I’d probably watch it and then bitch when he didn’t win best TV character in the next PTBN TV character tournament. Seizure man over Homer any day!

Andrew: The internal logic felt off, especially in regard to Jerry. He’s paying for the damage to Becky’s car because he’s scared of Angela, but still hoping to get a date with Becky out of it? I never really bought it. For that matter, I never really found this storyline interesting or entertaining. As for the “You’re soo good lookin’” line, I’ve heard that the writers were hoping it would break through as a catchphrase, like “These pretzels are making me thirsty” had, but I’ve never cared for it. It lacks the whimsical absurdity of the pretzels line, and there’s definitely a whiff of trying too hard around it. (This is why you don’t try to make “fetch” happen). Kramer’s Mary Hart-induced seizures don’t do much for me either; I guess it’s a reference to a real-life medical case, but it’s not particularly funny here. Also, why does George call it a “remote phone”? Is that really a thing people said?

Jordan: While I thought Kramer’s seizures were funny in delivery, the actual story behind them seemed only to be there to set up the end of the episode, where he had one while picking up Becky. JORDAN IS GETTING FRUSTRATED at Kramer’s constant relegation to the background character. For a while this season, all four were important, but Kramer has taken a big step back in recent episodes. I also thought Becky Gelke was a strange casting choice. Don’t get me wrong, she is pretty – but she is supposed to be so attractive that Jerry will risk ratting out Angela for a date with her. The problem? I think Angela was prettier! Also why does Becky constantly wear sweatpants?

Key Character Debuts

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Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes

– “Boy! What a story! I’m speechless. Speechless. I have no speech.” – George

– “Because great couples always have a great story about how they met. That’s why I’ve never been in a long term relationship. I’ve never had a good meeting story.” – George

– “They should be sent to Australia.” – Kramer “Australia?” – Jerry “Yeah, yeah, that’s where England used to send their convicts.” – Kramer “But not anymore.” – Jerry “No.” – Kramer

– “Ask George to go with you.” – Jerry “George, come on! I’ll pay for you.” Elaine “You’ll pay? I’m there.” – George

– “His name? Name, um, his name was uh, uh, Eduardo Carochio.” – Elaine

– “I wasn’t going to say anything, but then I could see that he wasn’t going to open his mouth.” – George

– “You know, if you want to make a person feel better after they sneeze, you shouldn’t say ‘God bless you’, you should say, ‘You’re soo good lookin”.” – Jerry

– “Oh my God, an affair. That’s so adult. It’s like with stockings and martinis, and William Holden. On the other hand it probably wouldn’t cost me any money.” – George

– “I’m not religious, but I certainly know where to draw the line!” – Jerry “This country needs more people like you!” – George “Don’t sell yourself short saying ‘God bless you’ to every Tom, Dick and Harry in great personal risk.” – Jerry “I believe strongly in that as you know.” – George “There should be more people like us.” – Jerry “That’s why the world’s in the shape it’s in.” – George “You’re telling me.” – Jerry

– “He’s finished! I’m going to sew his ass to his face! I’m going to twist his neck so hard his lips will be his eyebrows! I’m going to break his joints, and reattach them!” – Michael

– “A matador! Well, well, well. Uno momento por favor. Pray tell, what was the young man’s name?” – Jerry

Oddities & Fun Facts

– Jerry is talking on his car phone

Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)

Justin: This was a solid outing, but nothing to write home about. It did have some memorable lines with the “You’re so good looking” stuff as well as the “I am without speech” line from both George and Elaine. I really dislike Angela and the Mary Hart stuff was really dumb, so those two pieces frag my grade down a bit. I wish the whole episode was just George’s affair because that is a big deal and there was so much more meat there to dig into. George was great with the whole thing and Michael just being insane makes me wish we got to see one confrontation between the two after the affair. As season three winds down, we run into one of the few middle of the road episodes of the campaign. Final Grade: 5/10

Aaron: I’m starting to feel like I’m always the contrarian on the gang but… I liked this one a lot. Everyone played off each other so well, great physical comedy and George running for his life all in 21 minutes. What more can you ask for? Final Grade: 7/10

Andrew: Like the “good lookin’” line itself, this whole episode feels like it’s trying too hard. It’s like they had a bunch of ideas that killed in the writer’s room, but had to do so much work to make an episode out of them that you can see the signs of effort all over the place. For example, Jerry has this really meta line early on about not over-analyzing social interactions; they may have been going for a self-deprecating inside joke, but it comes across as hacky and is too self-aware for my tastes. It’s not a terrible episode, but it’s not up to the standards of this season, and is certainly a dud for me. Final Grade: 3/10

Jordan: This was fine, but forgettable. While I think they swung for the fences with the concept of the last episode and mostly missed, I think here they played it a little too safe. Everything felt very standard and somewhat predictable outside of the weird Mary Hart induced seizures. Safe is OK once in a while as it prevents the episode from being outright bad, but it also prohibits you from hitting a home run. In baseball world, this is a line drive single. Nothing to hate, but nothing to get excited about. Final Grade: 4/10

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.