Seinfeld: The PTBN Series Rewatch – “The Movie” (S4, E15)

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!


Best Character

Justin: I almost gave it to George just for the stub fiasco because his reaction the second time he got hosed on the ticket stub was so great, as was his obsession over getting his $7.50. I wanted to give it to Elaine, and her pegged as my choice throughout most of the episode, as she was stuck dealing with so much crap and nailed all the scenes. But, man…Patty Buckles won me over. I couldn’t stand him in the first scene but by the end I was wishing he would come back for more. He played the perfect annoying tag-a-long and his absurd requests and comments kept cracking me up. His last ditch plea for Jerry to take the coat followed by asking Jerry to call hm when he got in as the capper was fantastic. Congrats, Buckles.

Aaron: I’ll go with the big ball of hair with a face like a frying pan. I love seeing Lainey suffer and watching her realize her worst fears about saving seats come to life gave her ample panic room.

Andrew: All the mains are solid in this one, but I’ll go with the guest star, Pat Buckles, who is just so delightfully irritating. I think we’ve all known someone like him: friendly and eager to hang out, but just a real drag to be around. You feel bad getting mad at them, but they are simply infuriating. This character has always made me laugh, with the bad comedy routines and odd requests, and the “Call me when you get home so I know you’re OK!” line still gets me.

Jordan: George gets this one from me. Nothing against Jerry, who was good dealing with Patty Buckles and missing his show times, or Elaine who was trying to save seats for everyone to no avail, but they never really stood a chance. The stub situation and George overreacting, demanding money from everyone, the giant oversized coat. It’s all Costanza’s wheelhouse. I take great joy in George breaking down, misunderstanding and generally having bad luck. He even sat in gum!

Best Storyline

Justin: There was pretty much only storyline this time around, so the movie trip wins by default. Everyone was good in this one and the descriptions each character had for the others were pretty funny. Buckles being tossed in the mix was a good addition too, adding extra conflict to Jerry’s already shitty night.

Aaron: Elaine versus assholes is what drives the one for me. All the people in the theater who wanted her seats and the absurd counter lady trying to explain the sizes of drinks would be enough to drive someone to drink but on top of that you have your “friend” haggling with you about the distribution of change. No wonder she feels like her strength is being sapped, she just wants to get to the bottom of if it’s real butter!

Andrew: The movie storyline is yet another comedy of errors that couldn’t exist in world with cell phones, but I still enjoy it. And most of the individual elements of the story are still relatable today, like the frustration of finding out you waited in the wrong line, or the struggle to save seats in a movie theater, or the undeniable allure of a strange, erotic journey from Milan to Minsk.

Jordan: The movie mixup was funny and well done. I like that they couldn’t seem to get everyone together, and yet all wound up watching “Rochelle, Rochelle” together anyway. Well, everyone but Kramer, who was sauntering around sporting a fancy new green jacket!

Ethical Dilemma of the Week

Justin: Should Jerry have taken poor Buckles’ coat? He asked nicely and just didn’t have the room in his closet  to store it. Jerry could have at least made an excuse instead of just being a jerk about it. Take the coat next time, Jerome. Help a fellow comedian out.

Aaron: If you have a very special son named Alan who does all kinds of magical things is it uncouth to brag about him loudly in a movie theater full of strangers? I think if Alan is curing cancer or breeding some sort of super-scorpion then sure, go ahead and talk him up. Cooking and cleaning doesn’t quite qualify though. If you have to brag about your son acting like a functional human being you need to stop living vicariously through him and living all together. Also: does it matter if you’re bothering people during the coming attractions? Yes it does! Your son isn’t special!!! My wife will be disappointed in the whole night if she misses the previews, we even have to watch them on the DVDs we watch. I have to watch previews on DVDs!!! And you’re going to make this woman angry by talking about your tremendous son Alan. Don’t do this to me! Go have coffee with your idiot friends and gush over your son.

Andrew: At what point do you have to give up saving seats for people who are late? Is it once the previews start? Or is it when the theater is nearly full and seating is at a premium? And what is the proper response if someone is saving seats for people who never show up? I generally don’t approve of eye-rolling and sighing at strangers, but I might allow it in that case.

Jordan: How many seats are acceptable to save in a crowded theater? I feel like Elaine gave up too easily, three seats is not that many. She should have taken George’s coat from him and put it on a seat. BOOM, one saved. Then take off her coat, put it on another. BOOM, two saved. Then plop her purse down, BOOM three seats saved. The people asking for her seats were pretty rude, but it’s not like she was taking an entire row. Go sit somewhere else and let poor Laney sit with her friends.

Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)

Justin: Jerry and Buckles could have had a hell of a bromance if Jerry reciprocated at all. Buckles clearly enjoys spending time with him, they have stuff in common, could work on material and see movies together. Maybe Jerry could even wear the trench coat too! Buckles seemed to care. Jerry iced him out. Relationship Grade: Bromance/10

Aaron: Rochelle and the German man voiced by Larry David give us the perfect picture of our true capacity to love. When he tells her to take off her clothes he’s not only looking at her body, but looking into her soul. Marry that man Rochelle. You’ll give yourself a life of luxury and fights with Ted Danson. Relationship Grade:10/10

Andrew: I’ve never identified with a relationship on this show more than I did in this episode. Kramer’s dalliance with the Papaya King makes me yearn for better days. Relationship Grade: 10/10

Jordan: She was soaking wet when they met. Trying to warm herself by the fire and get out of those wet clothes, she fumbled for the buttons. She was from Milan, and headed to Minsk. But she didn’t know there would be a layover…in LOVE. Rochelle, Rochelle is the love story of a generation. Relationship Grade: EROTIC/10

What Worked

Justin: I love Jerry’s initial blowoff of Buckles; The absurd plot of Ponce de Leon and the role it plays in this episode is fun; The seat saving stuff is very relatable; The guy in the movie line that told George he didn’t have a ticket for the movie is a real dick and I don’t blame George for being mad; Cheap George is the best George, especially his discussion with Elaine about the $7.50 and his ongoing obsession over it; Buckles bit about famous people in traffic was pretty funny for how insipid it was but his distress over storing his coat was fantastic; Big fail by George twice, everyone holds their stub!; Good stuff with all the near misses in the theaters all throughout the episode, paid off at the end when Kramer just waltzes; I love Elaine trying to figure out the soda sizes and popcorn butter and then getting lost trying to find her seat; The cab driver was a big piece of shit; Good payoff with Buckles taking Jerry’s set and killing with the athlete’s foot bit and then everyone ending up in Rochelle, Rochelle together; I hated Buckles to start but he totally won me over by the end; The final scene with Kramer having stained Elaine’s coat and only having a $20 for George was a fun finish

Aaron: I really love how every servant, patron, cab driver or comedian that the fab four meet are either complete assholes or just painfully oblivious to how insensitive they are to others. It’s a nice little hallmark of the show that I’d never really put much stock in before. I enjoyed Jerry dealing with the neediest man on Earth and was satisfied he didn’t give in and house his trench coat. George’s fight with the usher was as funny as it was unreasonable. Everyone’s descriptions of everyone else was a cute little piece of writing. I’d be remiss if I didn’t include Elaine’s utter disgust at the majesty that is Rochelle, Rochelle.

Andrew: Probably the best and most enduring part of this episode is the main characters’ descriptions of each other; “tall, lanky doofus” and “big wall of hair, face like a frying pan” are burned into my memory. I love that each one is surprisingly accurate, but incredibly insulting. Jerry’s growing frustration with Buckles in one of my favorite parts, as well, from Jerry’s initial “Heeyy …” walk-away, to Buckles advice to not eat fish. All the men in the episode being interested in “Rochelle, Rochelle” is really good, and that’s one of the better fake titles in the show, too. There’s a lot of good frustrating social interaction material in this episode: the guy who gives an accurate but unhelpful answer to “Have you got a ticket?”, the ticket-taker who refuses to acknowledge he remembers George but waves Kramer through, and the cabbie who stops for cigarettes.

Jordan: The best part of this episode to me is the gang describing each other to the ticket taker – maybe the best one is Elaine calling Kramer a tall, lanky doofus. Buckles is a nice precursor to Kenny Banya, and it makes me wonder if any comedian in New York was funny besides Jerry. I loved Elaine desperately trying to save the seats, only to fail. Kramer sneaking food into a movie is not that uncommon, but the fact that it was a hot dog is funny to me. George bartering with Elaine about money was good, and it came back up at the end the moment he sees everyone. Elaine and the snack bar lady was fun with her explaining sizes and Elaine just wanting food. Hungry Elaine is the best Elaine. I also liked that just as Rochelle, Rochelle was about to get naked, a giant man sits in front of George. Poor guy.

What Didn’t Work

Justin: The twin theater thing always confused me but maybe that is just ignorance on my part; Alan sounds like a real winner

Aaron: This whole mess with the scheduling would have been fixed in two seconds with cell phones, that’s not so much of a miss, but something I kept clinging to as I watched. While I enjoyed Buckles for the most part, Jerry really needs to only act with the other good actors. The second cab driver always rubbed me the wrong way too. Like he doesn’t quite fit in with the feel of the rest of the episode. I would have liked a little more from Kramer here too.

Andrew: Even if it’s a good story, it still takes something away to realize that the entire plot could be solved by the introduction of cell phones.

Jordan: Jerry’s taxi driver was a jerk, stopping for gas AND going across the street to buy cigarettes. Don’t they sell them at gas stations? I don’t like when George is justified in his anger – and he was right to be mad at the guy in line who said he didn’t have a ticket. Douche move.

Key Character Debuts

Pat Buckles

Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes

– “Hey, do you think this is funny? `Why do they call it athlete’s foot? You don’t have to be an athlete to get it. I mean, my father gets it all the time, and believe me, he’s no athlete!” – Buckles

– “Lemme tell you something. When Ponce looked in that mirror and saw that he hadn’t changed, and that tear started to roll down his cheek? I lost it.” – George

– “It’s not a theater, it’s like a room where they bring in POWs to show them propaganda films.” – Elaine

– “Jerry, I want you to do me a favor. No more fish!” – Buckles “Okay, I get your point!” – Jerry “I had a point?” – Buckles

– Rochelle, Rochelle The Musical is discussed for the first time

– “Could you do me a favor? If you see a guy that’s five foot eleven, he’s got uh a big head and flared nostrils, tell him his friend’s going to be right back, okay?” – Kramer

– “Um, excuse me, have you see a guy with like a horse face, big teeth, and a, and a pointed nose?” – George

– “Jerry, could you do me a personal favor? And if I’m out of line, please, let me know. Could I keep my trench coat in your closet for a few months?” – Buckles “Your trench coat in my closet?” – Jerry “Jerry, my closet is packed to the gills, I’m afraid to open the door. Just for a few months. It’ll make all the difference in the world.” – Buckles

– “There was a short guy with glasses…Looked like Humpty-Dumpty with a melon hat. But he left.” – Ticket Clerk

– “So I got home, and he was vacuuming! I mean, he’s twelve years old! Who else but my Alan would do something like that? And then last night, he put on my high heels. Oh, he put on such a show for us! He was dancing around, lip-syncing to “A Chorus Line”, I mean you can see he’s got talent.” – Movie Goer

– “Oh, hey, listen, by the way, have you seen a tall… lanky… doofus, with a, with a bird-face and hair like the Bride of Frankenstein?” – Elaine

– “Do you think I need to lose some weight?” – Buckles “Weight? Nah. Just need some more height.” – Jerry

– “Jerry! Call me when you get home so I know you’re okay!” – Buckles

Oddities & Fun Facts

– Jerry is prepping to perform on the David Letterman Show

Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)

Justin: This is Jerry’s dream episode with lots observational humor about going to see a movie. And a lot of it really landed and was identifiable. I can’t say this was a great episode really, and it felt like it was straight out of season three as it really didn’t follow any of the season storylines and was completely standalone, but the series of jokes strung though it made it work. I have raved about Buckles enough, but he made this episode for me, cracking me up the whole time. Elaine and George was great as always too with all their frustrations boiling over in completely justifiable ways. I enjoyed this one more than I thought thanks to the relatability of it all, but due to the overall strength, it ranks towards the bottom of the season. Final Grade: 6/10

Aaron: Eh. And “don’t start up with me” for eh. It was fine. Nothing offensive, nothing particularly great. The best part of this for me is that I know we’re getting a musical adaptation of a sex movie in a few years. What does that say about the episode? Final Grade: 5/10

Andrew: This is tough to rate, simply because my memories of this episode are much better than the experience of rewatching it. Maybe it’s that I’ve seen it too many times and none of the jokes surprise me anymore, or maybe the more quotable lines made the episode seem better than it was. Either way, I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I expected to. It’s solid and entertaining, but compared to the classics we’ve seen this season, this episode was underwhelming. Final Grade: 5/10

Jordan: This is a good standalone episode, but it pales in comparison to what we’ve been getting lately. If this aired in Season 2 or even during Season 3, I’d rate it much higher. I liked the timing of everything and how people kept missing each other just by seconds in the theater, and the ticket taker was a good straight man to everyone’s descriptions and situations. Where it suffers is the show has really been hitting it’s stride by building the main characters and an awesome supporting cast. Here, nobody really did anything new, just the same old stuff. We did get Patty Buckles, who was fine, but he doesn’t hold a candle to Newman, Estelle Costanza, or any of Jerry’s relatives. I want to go five or six with this, but I think I will bump it to six because it gives us “Rochelle, Rochelle”, easily the most famous movie in the Seinfeld universe. Final Grade: 6/10