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!
JT: I think Steinbrenner actually stood out the most this week. He was on point in every scene and blended reality and absurdity so beautifully. Like, it is completely understandable that this man would sit in someone else’s office for hours just hoping for help to figure out the name of a song. Him leading the grandkids under the desk during the bomb threat was really funny and the “empty calories and male curiosity” is a great line.
Aaron: It has to be George. The man has his literal dream job and yet he has to fill his day with naps and lunch breaks. It takes a special kind of asshole to ask your friend to call in a bomb threat to tour job but then chastise him for his choice of demands.
Andrew: I think it’s Steinbrenner. I don’t think anyone else put in a particularly dominant performance, and Steinbrenner just made me laugh the most. The way he keeps coming up with new lyrics to the tune of “Heartbreaker” is truly impressive.
Jordan: I’m giving this one to Kramer. His swimming in the East River was funny enough, and I liked him flipping out over everyone else in the river with him at the end there. Also, his casual conversation with Hal, whose name he could never remember, where he basically admits to sleeping with Elaine was good stuff.
Jason: George, Jerry and Kramer all had solid performances, but I’ll go with Big Stein. Botching the lyrics to “Heartbreaker”, losing his shit when he thinks George’s clock is a bomb, plus his empty calorie & male curiosity line was tremendous.
JT: I will go with the nap storyline as it consistently brought the most laughs, mainly thanks to Steinbrenner. It is also peak George.
Aaron: The nap walks away with this one. It’s has such a perfect climax with Steinbrenner demanding that his family get under the desk to save themselves from the bomb.
Andrew: It’s The Nap for me. It has plot holes galore (why is Steinbrenner so cool with finding out George has been hiding under his desk for three and a half hours?), but I’ll overlook those for such a tantalizing idea. Finding a way to sleep at work is the Holy Grail.
Jordan: George’s nap brought some good laughs. The nap itself didn’t do much for me, but I like Steinbrenner’s involvement. Him wasting several hours in George’s office because he can’t get a song out of his head is funny, and his consulting George in dealing with the terrorist as well.
Jason: The Nap was fun, but I’m picking the cabinet saga. Conrad constantly asking questions to Jerry and George, plus the outcome of Jerry’s cabinets gets a laugh every time. Plus, Conrad becoming a pissy prick was great.
Ethical Dilemma of the Week
JT: If you were the owner of the New York Yankees and somebody called in multiple bomb threats, wouldn’t you ask the police to help determine who exactly was making the calls? Yes, yes you would.
Aaron: Febuary or FeBRUary? These are the same dipshits who insist on saying WedNESday. They are literal monsters and you should follow them to their homes and break their fucking legs.
Andrew: Is it OK to buy a mattress for someone you just started dating? Even setting aside the sexual implications, that’s a pretty personal decision to be making for a near stranger.
Jordan: Should you buy someone a mattress after one date? Even if it’s not trying to to imply sex, that’s an EXPENSIVE gift to get someone after a single date. Coming on a little strong there, Hal.
Jason: Is it possible to figure out the hat size of 59,000 people? What Big Stein wants, Big Stein gets.
Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)
JT: Kitzmiller is a stupid name. Relationship Grade: 0/10
Aaron: It takes balls to send a woman a mattress after one date. On one hand Hal has those balls… on the other he doesn’t see the painfully obvious pun in the LUMBAR YARD. I guess it’s a wash. Actually no. He refuses to sit on a park bench. He’s weird. Fuck him. Relationship Grade: 1/10
Andrew: Hal might be the nicest guy Elaine has dated. He buys her an expensive gift after their first date, is on board with her clamming/scalloping hobby, and is totally cool with her being friends with her former flame, Kramer. On the other hand, I look at him and think “slack-jawed yokel”, so it’s probably for the best it didn’t work out. Relationship Grade: It’s the next best thing to being alone/10
Jordan: Even Smelly Elaine is out of Hal’s league. He’s a mattress buying, broken backed chump who doesn’t deserve to sniff her East River corpse infested BO. Relationship Grade: Loser/10
Jason: Elaine, Kramer, Hal and a smelly mattress. There’s some male curiosity. If presented by George the right way, he and Big Stein could have had nap time together. Relationship Grade: 7 5/8/10
JT: The manslaughter conversation was funny, I like when the cold open is a non sequitur chat; Kramer’s thoughts on Damien were awesome; I enjoyed George’s sudden realization that he could sleep under his desk; “The Lumbar Yard”; “Wednesday’s Walk in the Park with Hal”; “A roll in the supportive hay”; Kramer not being able to remember Hal’s last name is great; Kramer having a sand bed is tremendous; Steinbrenner needing George to help him remember a song name is so absurdly wonderful; The conversation between the father and son looking into the East River was fantastic; Kramer’s “Norfolk has more gross tonnage” line is one of my all time favorites; The first glimpse of Jerry’s new cabinets was well done; I will always pop for a “Who is this?” and then Steinbrenner directing his family under the desk for the bomb threat was a well executed payoff; Steinbrenner then crediting George for having ESP was a good twist; Kramer thinking he was on the wrong floor (again) when he saw the cabinets; Steinbrenner’s “February” comments were good; “Yeah this is terrorist bomber”; Conrad becoming a douchebag thanks to his relationship with Jerry was good stuff; “He just sunk like a stone”; Elaine’s “I’ll meet you at the coffee shop” was a fun meta comment
Aaron: I love the father casually explaining to his young son that the mob dumps dead bodies in the East River. The cabinet stuff was relatable if not hilarious. Conrad, Connie or Con was solid in the wishyest washiest of ways. The digression about the OBTRUSIVE new kitchen sets a world record for the use of the word obtrusive in a thirty second period. Kramer having a sand bed makes perfect sense. Finally, Steinbrenner has a great outing. Poor Georgie Boy getting called on his empty calories and male curiosity was wonderful.
Andrew: There’s definitely some good dialogue here. The “flabby armed spanking machine” will always be burned into my memory, and the dad talking to his son is my favorite part of the episode (“That’s where Spike Lee lives … see, when the Mob kills someone, …”). Everyone being weirded out by Jerry’s new kitchen setup is a really good scene. George’s nap-desk is a beautiful dream, and Steinbrenner is great.
Jordan: I always like random conversations that have nothing to do with the plot, like the discussion about The Omen. Kramer thinking Damien was just a mischievous little kid was funny. Kramer’s tale about trying to swim in the pool was excellent as well. I liked Conrad’s final job taking up half of Jerry’s apartment and the gang all hating it. Steinbrenner’s grandkids randomly showing up while George was hiding was absurd in a good way, and the dog going after George was even better. I liked the bomb squad zooming in on Godzilla and Steinbrenner thinking it was Mothra.
Jason: The opening bit about manslaughter; George’s line about a good nap being the only reason he gets up in the morning; Kramer’s theory that Damien from The Omen was just a mischievous, rambunctious kid; the Lumbar Yard; George’s eye’s being less beady; Conrad, Connie or Con; Wednesday in the park with Hal; THAT’S WHAT I WANT!; flabby arm spanking machine; KITZMILLER; Kramer having a sand bed; JUST DO IT!; the most beautiful people People; Big Stein’s boner for Ally Selica; Norfolk’s gross tonnage; Elaine’s mattress reeking like the East RIver; the Stein pony express; Jerry’s, “Who is this?” when George calls about Stein and the grandkids being in the office; Big Stein thinking George has ESP; Elaine’s movie ticket line about Jerry’s cabinets; Kramer thinking he was on the wrong floor after seeing Jerry’s new setup; obtrusive; Hal thinking that Elaine and Kramer are banging because Kramer smells like the mattress; Elaine going clamming; Febuary/February; Jerry’s request as the terrorist to have the Stadium call ticket holders if a game is rained out; Hal and is stupid chiropractor crew invading the East River; empty calories and male curiosity; Conrad’s heel turn at the end; George crashing in Jerry’s cabinets
What Didn’t Work
JT: Make a fucking decision Conrad! How did you survive as a contractor this long?; Why is Hal buying Elaine a mattress so quickly? The balls on this guy; If Conrad was any good, should it have taken him the entire night to add these compartments to the desk?; Wouldn’t the police trace Jerry’s phone number for the bomb threat? That is a big leap; Also, there is no way Jerry’s head is only 7 5/8; George sleeping in the cabinets always seemed a bit too much for me
Aaron: Kramer was completely wasted in this episode. I dug his interactions with Elaine but it felt like they were just throwing his bits together here. I also HATED the end tag with Jerry lamenting the low fat option while ignoring a sleeping George in his cupboard. Just so forced.
Andrew: Conrad’s obsequiousness bugged me. His “Conrad, Connie, or Con, whatever you prefer” line was clearly supposed to get a bigger laugh than it did, which pretty much killed his character for me. The sting at the end, with Jerry no-selling George napping in the cabinet, fell painfully flat, too. And the plot holes really got to me in this episode. What was Elaine’s plan after she got rid of the mattress, tell Hal it was stolen? Steinbrenner thought ESP was a reasonable explanation for George hiding under his desk for three and a half hours? A lot of the episode felt like it hadn’t been thought through all the way.
Jordan: I guess it’s a nitpick, but when Elaine’s back goes out and the mattress falls, you can clearly see it NOT go all the way down. Then she calls Jerry and she’s pinned beneath it. Bad editing job here. I also thought Conrad was annoying, but I guess he’s supposed to be maybe?
Jason: Hal sucks. Screw him and his back problems. He was a moron from the second he opened his mouth about dumb Twinkie facts. Elaine should have trashed him when he refused to sit on the park bench. Conrad is the worst contractor ever. He’s like a two year old who you can’t turn your back to for five seconds.
Key Character Debuts
Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes
– “Can you grab a nap at work.” – Jerry “Not with that big glass window looking out into the hall. I’d love a good nap. That’s the only thing getting me out of bed in the morning.” – George
– “Hey, Kramer, listen, you’ve seen the Omen right? What exactly was that kid?” – Elaine “Who, Damien? Nothing, just a mischievous, rambunctious kid.” – Kramer
– “Oh those places have the stupidest names. Like, uh, “Back in “, or “Good Vertibrations”.” – Elaine “Not this one. It’s called the “Lumbar Yard”.” – Hal
– “Jerry, do you want a flat edge on this molding or do you want me to bevel it?” – Conrad “I’ll tell you what I would like you to do with it.” – Jerry “Conrad, is it?” – George “Conrad, Connie, or Con, whatever you prefer.” – Conrad
– “Well I had been swimming for three hours and I was in a real grove so I decided to keep going. But at ten they start the aquasonics Thirty-five geriatrics throwing elbows. It was like I was swimming through a flabby armed spanking machine.” – Kramer “How long did that last?” – Jerry “A half hour then diving class started. Well… that got a little messy. I gotta find a new place to swim ’cause that pool can’t hold me, Jerry.” – Kramer
– “My old one sprung a leak.” – Kramer “You have a water bed?” – Elaine “Sand! It’s like sleeping on the beach.” – Kramer
– “Um, I’m stuck on this song yesterday. I can’t seem to get it out of my head. I don’t know the name of that. “She’s a heart breaker, love taker… Oh. Oh” …very catchy. You know what? I can’t stay awake for that guy. What is this? People? Um, the most beautiful people people. Ally Selica, Nothing wrong with that uh?” – Steinbrenner
– “Over there, that’s Brooklyn . That’s where Spike Lee lives.” – Father “Hey, there’s a man swimming in the water.” – Son “Naw, that’s probably just a dead body son. You see when the mob kills someone they through the body in the river.” – Father
– “You’re swimming in the East River? The most heavily trafficked overly contaminated waterway on the eastern seaboard?” – Jerry “Technically Norfolk has more gross tonnage.” – Kramer
– “Guess who he put in charge of Fitted Hat Day? Me.” – George “Hey look at you.” – Jerry Yeah, look at me. Now I GOTTA FIGURE OUT THE HAT SIZES OF 59,000 DIFFERENT PEOPLE!! WHAT IF A PINHEAD SHOWS UP. I GOTTA BE ON TOP OF THAT.” – George “No knock offs. I want the ones like the real players wear.” – Jerry “KNOCK OFFS. I NOT GOING TO DO IT! AND YOU’RE GOING TO CALL STEINBRENNER BACK AND CANCEL THE WHOLE THING.” – George “Could you at least get a hat for me?” – Jerry “FINE? WHAT SIZE?” – George “Seven and five eighths” – Jerry “SEVEN AND FIVE EIGHTHS!!” – George “Why are you shouting?” – Jerry “I DON’T KNOW. It’s this place. I’m very uncomfortable here.” – George
– “Four hours in this chop and I’m a full inch taller… Giddy up.” – Kramer
– “What’s that figure ahead? Is that anything? Okay, let’s check the desk. That’s where I heard the ticking. Search each one of those drawers starting with the top one. So, empty calories and male curiosity, eh, Georgie?” – Steinbrenner
Oddities & Fun Facts
– According to commentary by one of the writers, this idea came from the fact that a few of his friends would in fact take naps underneath their desks.
Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)
JT: This one definitely held up better than I expected it too but still was a notch below the recent stretch we have watched. There were some more glaring plot holes than normal and not everything clicked. Getting a large dose of Steinbrenner carried the load but Hal and Conrad were soft guest stars and while the swimming stuff was funny it felt like a waste of Kramer. I did think there were lots of fun random conversations sprinkled throughout here, and that is when Seinfeld is at its best: deep discussions exploring the mundane. For most sitcoms this is a winner but on the Seinfeld curve, it ends up being a bit lacking in the end. Final Grade: 6/10
Aaron: I think this one has an amazing idea surrounded with some pretty bland ideas. The NAP should have been an all-timer. I mean George Steinbrenner waits for three and a half hours while George panics under a desk. The ideas were competently executed but lacked the pizzazz of the greater episodes. Final Grade: 6/10
Andrew: I expected to give this episode a higher grade. The funnier parts held up really well, but the weaker aspects felt a lot more galling once I started paying closer attention to them. I wouldn’t write this one off completely, but it definitely felt half-baked, and below the show’s standards. Final Grade: 6/10
Jordan: This was a step down from the previous episode. Steinbrenner is always fun, and I liked Kramer, but everything else was just kind of there for me. After Jerry being so on fire with the Mandelbaums, pairing him up with Conrad left a lot to be desired. I want nasty, mean-spirited Jerry, not frustrated, annoyed Jerry! At least we got a “WHO IS THIS?” from him when George called from under the desk. Final Grade: 6/10
Jason: This one was fun. Big Stein was a force of nature as usual. The idea that Big Stein and a guy named Hal were in the same episode intrigued me. Jerry should have feared for his life that Conrad was going to kill him one day. That was quite the heel turn by Connie. There was some solid writing for everyone. Grab a candy bar, Playboy and enjoy some good laughs. Final Grade: 7/10