Seinfeld: The PTBN Series Rewatch – “The Non-Fat Yogurt” (S5, E7)

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!

seinyougart

Best Character

JT: This was an interesting episode in that I really enjoyed the whole thing but nobody jumped off the screen and stole the show. They really spread the wealth here with all the main and ancillary characters getting some shine and great lines throughout. If I have to pick someone, I will go with George just for his annoyance with Lloyd Braun and dedication to the spasm scheme. Frank was a close second just for his inane ramblings that buttressed various scenes.

Aaron: Pretty even stuff across the board, so I’ll go with George for his commitment to live a lie for the rest of his life. The poor guy just can’t get out from under Mount Braun. His parents love him, Elaine clearly has lust in her eyes for him and George has perhaps finally found his match in a man having none of his bullshit.

Andrew: Everyone is so good in this episode that naming just one character “best” feels arbitrary and reductive. But that’s never stopped me before, so I’m picking Kramer. His ease with the ladies has always been enjoyable to watch, and was great here (“Ooh! Test tubes” is a perfect opener). And I just can’t get over how few fucks he gives in this episode: telling Elaine she’s put on weight, openly belittling Jerry by calling him “chubs” and “fatso”, and wooing a woman just to win a bet. He is a loathsome, offensive brute, and yet I can’t look away.

Jordan: I’m going with the K man. Calling out Elaine and Jerry for getting fat was great, and him keeping it up throughout the episode was fun stuff. Best of all, he was right, as they had both gained nearly 10 pounds. I’m also a fan of Kramer playing the ladies with total ease. George nearly takes it with his willingness to fake an elbow spasm for the rest of his life.

Jason: The K-Man seducing a chemist and calling Jerry every name in the book because he’s put on a few pounds is terrific, but George is on fire this season and it continues here. His lying has no limit.

Best Storyline

JT: I will go with the yogurt storyline just because it ate up much of the episode and crossed multiple characters in different ways. I also love that it affected New York’s mayoral election and totally ruined a business along the way. Maybe you shouldn’t have lied about the content of the yogurt, you fat fuck!

Aaron: Lloyd Braun: Destroyer of Worlds. He kills a campaign, gives Elaine body issues for the rest of her life and forces George into a standoff of epic proportions with Dinkins’ doctor. Everyone would have a decent motive for killing/skinning this man. Everyone should.

Andrew: George’s arm twitch deserves some honorable mention, but it can’t top the Non-Fat Yogurt storyline. Aside from the aforementioned Kramer awesomeness, we get a self-conscious Jerry, Lloyd Braun “evaluating” Elaine, and some quality appearances by Newman. And the Giuliani cameo has always been one of my favorites.

Jordan: Tough call. I do enjoy the quest for truth on the non-fat or fat-laden yogurt. But…we’ve got George in an elaborate lie and Lloyd Braun, how can I vote against it? George’s seething hatred of Lloyd is better in future episodes, but the framework is here. I love that George is so quick to come up with lies, but they’re always SO bad. He couldn’t have just said he was nudging Jerry to point out a woman in the store or something?

Jason: The yogurt stuff is great all around. Using profanity because it’s so fucking good! Jerry and Elaine gaining weight from it and the mishap at the lab add to the enjoyment.

Ethical Dilemma of the Week

JT: When will Mary take some damn responsibility for the failings of her family? She clearly has the mouth of a trucker but blames Jerry for her son’s profanity. Then, her husband clearly was pedaling a product filled with lies and misinformation but wants to blame Jerry and urges her son to cuss out his hero to prove her point. And this was after she sat there like a dope while Matthew destroyed Jerry’s cassette. No dilemma here. Mary sucks.

Aaron: How much should we hold people responsible for cursing in front of our kids? I think if you create a yogurt that is so fudging good, you should know better than to let children walk free in your establishment. You want the cursing. You want people to be a free with their reactions as though they were in their bathtubs at home smearing said yogurt all over their ample bodies. We need to be allowed expression, free from social norms or little sugars.

Andrew: If you thought you were eating non-fat yogurt, but it actually had fat in it, wouldn’t you want someone to tell you? I get Newman’s “ignorance is bliss” stance, but I can’t see swearing a vendetta over finding out the truth. Take some responsibility for your choices, man.

Jordan: Is it OK to cuss out a kid? The first time Jerry drops the F bomb at the yogurt shop, it’s excusable. He’s talking to friends, not the kid. But in the apology, he blows it in my mind. Yes, the kid is clearly a demon straight out of the gates of hell for ripping apart Jerry’s cassette tape for no reason whatsoever. But you don’t cuss out a kid, Jerome. Instead, throw him out the window before he goes on to become a serial murderer.

Jason: So, Jerry asks the lab worker what he’s working on and flat out tells him that it’s Rudy Giuliani’s blood work. HIPPA laws being broken big time here.

Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)

JT: Lloyd Braun is a tricky fig. He clearly likes Elaine quite a bit, but because of eight pounds, he is turned off? And if he thought she was too chubby to bang, then why does he offer up her stupid idea to Dinkins? That is the kind of power move you only make to seal the deal. Unless he was planning on a second date until Dinkins was humiliated from the nametag debacle? Either way, Lloyd needs to get his shit together. Relationship Grade: 3/ghyahu…sorry, my arm spasmed… 3/10

Aaron: If there’s a nerdy girl, Kramer is going to be all over her. If she works in a cool place like a lab or a library, there’s a very good chance he’s going to bang her in it. Relationship Grade: Bunsen Burner

Andrew: I don’t much care for Lloyd’s callous treatment of Elaine. Kramer and the lab tech had a pretty torrid affair, though. I hope he let her down easy. Relationship Grade: In case there’s a tie /10

Jordan: Elaine and Lloyd were doomed from the start. First off, he’s apparently not into BIG OL’ FATTIES, and Elaine was really looking like a porker here. She was probably tipping the scales at 240. But more than that, there is no way on earth that George would allow this relationship to continue. I almost wish they would stay together, just to see George desperately try to end it. This one fizzled. Relationship Grade: 3/10

Jason: Lloyd MOTHERFUCKING Braun! He’s George’s Lex Luther and quite a sleez bag when he’s hitting on Elaine. I’m like Ryback when you get the Costanzas in the same room, “Feed me more!” Relationship Grade: Tommy Tune/10

What Worked:

JT: The swearing barrage in this one was great, random, but great; Lloyd Braun is a tremendous passive aggressive douche; The fake arm spasm is so pure Costanza, nothing could ever be more Costanza; Kramer bluntly telling Jerry and Elaine they got fat was fantastic and then him continuing to call them derisive nicknames to pile on was even better; The Costanzas forever, Tommy Tune forever; George’s spasm arm smashing Estelle always makes me laugh; Newman holding court at the yogurt shop is great; I enjoyed the issues Jerry had with Kramer dating the chemist due to the testing; Jerry screaming at Matthew as he tears up the tape was great; Lloyd’s quest to disprove George’s spasm is a bit creepy but also impressive in some ways; Elaine’s name tag idea is so awfully bad and I love that it sinks Dinkins; It was interesting seeing someone actually call George out on his lying for once and him actually banging his elbow and having problems was a nice touch; I have always enjoyed how the crew influenced the mayoral race to such a high degree and it wasn’t done in an absurd way; Newman’s anger and Matthew swearing at Jerry was the perfect way to wrap the episode up

Aaron: This is the first episode in a while where I found the writing to be seamless between the stories. Everything was tied in tightly without feeling forced. Kramer’s brutal honesty always kills me as he cares nothing for feelings, calling everyone fatso. He also compares eating Oreos to sex and flat out calls Jerry old. George escalating the lie with the doctor after being called on his bullshoot is Costanza on a plate. In fact the whole bit with the doctor was great. Newman’s borderline psychotic obsession with the yogurt was extremely well punctuated with his crazed laughs. LOVE the irony of Jerry being the “cursing comedian.” I saw Seinfeld live about ten years ago and he said “asshole” and the crowd went wild with shock and adulation.

Andrew: I love the dialogue in this one; I jotted down so many “favorite” lines that it’s not even worth putting them all here. I know an episode is clicking when even the throwaway asides are making me laugh (“That’s enough…with the smells”). And I’ve barely mentioned the Costanzas so far; not only is it a perfect George storyline (can’t let something go, ends up screwing himself in the end), but Frank and Estelle as good as ever. The Matthew storyline was good too; there’s just something inherently funny about children swearing, and Jerry cursing the kid out was fantastic (and justified).

Jordan: I enjoy the non-fat yogurt craze. Everyone thinks they are eating healthy by wolfing down cup fulls of what is basically ice cream, and are shocked to find out they have gained weight! Newman loving it the most is a nice touch. Jerry and Elaine fretting over gaining weight is funny, and Kramer just mocking them as fatties is hilarious. I like that Kramer can tell they’ve put on weight when they are both wearing baggy clothes. George and his elbow lie is a great Costanza plan that fails spectacularly. I like that Elaine comes up with a “brilliant” idea, only to see it fail miserably and Jerry and Kramer insult it without knowing it was hers.

Jason: The F-bombs and other profanity from everyone. Kramer calling Jerry names because of his weight gain. Kramer getting busy in the lab with the chemist. Frank hitting George in the head with a book to get his attention. George faking the arm spasm to get away from Lloyd at the yogurt shop back firing on him. Jerry lashing out at Matthew for ripping his cassette tape right after he gave him a pep talk about not cursing. George getting pleasure out of Lloyd getting fired because of Elaine’s name tag idea that Lloyd would pitch to Mayor Dinkins. The doctor calling George a liar about his arm spasms and then George actually hurting his elbow on the doctor’s desk. 

What Didn’t Work

JT: How many scales does Jerry have in his apartment?; Jerry’s ugly button down sure doesn’t help him look slim; The way Kramer says “in-floo-ince” drives me nuts; Mary not seemingly give a shit about Matthew destroyed Jerry’s tape is annoying; So we never found out if the yogurt maker was purposely lying or just didn’t know there was fat in it; Mary basically parading Matthew up to Jerry to swear at him for his father’s deceitful business is the low of the low, Mary is pretty terrible

Aaron: Short of Kramer using chemistry terms to pick up women, I thought the whole analysis bit felt like it could have been played for more laughs. As much as I loved the writing, the lack of straight up hilarious moments hurts this one a bit. Even the Costanzas felt a bit restrained.

Andrew: I know we point out a lot of dated stuff in this section, but the “non-fat equals healthy” thing seems like so damn long ago.

Jordan: I didn’t care for the cussing storyline, which is funny because I thought the bleeps were fun. I just thought the kid was stupid, and him ripping apart the tape was a little ridiculous. Unless this kid is a pure monster, no child just shows up at a house and rips things to shreds. The kid was a lousy actor and I think the whole subplot wasn’t necessary.

Jason: Not a fan of the lab being at the end of a block with graffiti on the side of the building. Along with the chemist giving up a patients personal info to Jerry, I’d fined another place to get something tested. Mary is a shitty parent, her husband is a shitty business owner and Matthew is a little piece of shit. Fuck that whole family!

Key Character Debuts

Lloyd Braun

Mary & Matthew

Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes

– “Well, I tasted it at the one downtown. It’s got a remarkable texture. You’d never know it was non-fat.” – Kramer

– “I did this thing on the Ottoman Empire. Like, what was this? A whole empire based on putting your feet up?” – Jerry

– “Oh, I was having lunch, and I bit down on the fork.” – Elaine “Boy, it’s hard to believe – with all that biting experience – a person could still make a mistake like that.” – Jerry

– “You don’t eat Oreos? The way you break them open? You’re practically having sex with them.” – Kramer

– “Maybe your yogurt isn’t so non-fat.” – Jerry “Oh, guess again, Tubby!” – Kramer

– “Hey, I’ll tell you what, Chubs, if that yogurt has fat in it, I will put myself on an all-yogurt diet for a week.” – Kramer “Well, let’s start the insanity.” – Jerry “Giddy up!” – Kramer

– “Tommy Tune is a very good dancer. You ever see Tommy Tune dancing?” – Frank “No.” – George “I like tap dancing.” – Estelle “Tap dancing. Anyone can tap dance. It’s all in those shoes.” – Frank

– “Tommy Tune is very tall. That helps. It makes him lankier.” – Frank

– “Hey, Mayor Dinkins set this up for you. You know what kind of a doctor this must be if Dinkins knows him?” – Frank

– “Every word out of my son’s mouth now is *beep*, *beep*, *beep*. You know what he said to me five minutes ago? Where’s my *beep*ing cupcake?” – Mary

– “Well, I wouldn’t hear of it. I said, “Nice try, granny!” And I sent her to the back of the line!” – Newman

– “Cause I’m on a special diet, and the doctor said I can’t have any fat.” – Elaine

– “It changes the molecules.” – Kramer “Oh, you don’t know what you’re talking about.” – Jerry “Hey, fatso! I got a 90 in biology.” – Kramer “You call me fatso one more time; you’re going to be walking back.” – Jerry

– “All right, well, then what if we become a couple, George? Every time we see you you’re going to be walking around going like this? Even you can’t keep that up.” – Elaine “No, I believe he can.” – Elaine

– “No, but I saw the look on his face when he put his arm around me. And then we went to his apartment, and I sat on one of his chairs and it broke. And he says, “Boy, you’re a lot of woman!”” – Elaine

– “May I suggest the possibility that you’re faking?” – Doctor “Faking? What makes you think that I have time to see doctors, take X-rays, make appointments, when there’s absolutely nothing wrong with me? What kind of a person would do a thing like that?” – George “I don’t know what kind of a person would do something like
that. Obviously a very sick person. A very immature person. A person who has no regard for wasting other people’s valuable time. Good-bye.” – Doctor

Oddities & Fun Facts

– Two versions of this episode were filmed, one based around Giuliani and one based around Dinkins; When Giuliani won the election, that version was used

Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)

JT: There is a lot to like here as season five continues to deliver the goods. It wasn’t a standout, Hall of Fame effort by any means, but it was damn good. The swearing was unique and good for some real laughs and the non-fat yogurt craze was timely to the early 90s. I also loved how they affected the race but did it in a way that wasn’t too crazy or out there, like some sitcoms may have done. That is what keeps Seinfeld a notch above the field. Kramer’s fat shaming and George’s spasms were great show long bits and Lloyd Braun always brings the best out of the Costanzas. It was a great use of the community they have built up too by having Newman at the yogurt shop too. Plus, Tommy Tune! Until next time, chubs, thanks for stopping by! Final Grade: 7/10

Aaron: Great writing, solid character work but the lack of any laugh out loud hurts this one a bit. These people just don’t understand the concept of calories versus fat… Final Grade: 7/10

Andrew: I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this episode. The storylines all play off each other well, and each has a satisfying payoff. And I enjoyed the cameos and recurring characters a lot. But I think what I like most is how off the rails this episode feels. George and Elaine are sniping at each other from the jump, Kramer is straight out calling people fat, Newman is swearing revenge on Jerry; it’s a bickering-heavy episode, and all the back-and-forth leads to a high frequency of funny lines. It would appear that’s all it takes to get me to overrate an episode. Final Grade: 8/10

Jordan: This was another solid installment. I didn’t even mention the lab work or Giuliani appearing! Kramer was great and George was lying. That’s always going to be a really good 1-2 punch. But it just missed something from making it an all timer. It didn’t have an iconic line, or a notable guest star. Lloyd Braun is great, so there’s that I guess. Final Grade: 7/10

Jason: I hadn’t watched this episode in quite some time and after revisiting, it holds up better than I remembered. Appearances from the Costanzas, Newman and the debut of Lloyd Braun. Plus,you can’t go wrong with cursing kids in a sitcom. Aside from the shady lab with a hot chemist, it’s an underrated gem and another winner here in season five. Final Grade: 7/10

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.