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!
Justin: George and Jerry share this one as both were just fantastic throughout. Their back and forth dialogue was top notch with George wavering from confident to scared to cocky to embarrassed to happy and Jerry having to deal with him the whole time. They really advanced to the next level in this one as the whole episode was nearly perfect and it was mainly due to the dialogue between these two. All of the discussion around show possibilities right through George blowing the pitch and Jerry ripping him apart were classic through and through. A genuinely great two man display of awesome.
Aaron: George is flying in this one. We get to hear his awesome thoughts on toilet paper, his anger at the lack of salsa on tables and his opinion on Chamberlain. On top of which we get him building the idea for their pilot which is fantastic. Where would a George success story be though without the proverbial fall from the cliff of inevitability? His panic before the meeting is only matched in its greatness by his sudden artistic integrity, which is immediately followed by him being speechless and devastated in the coffee shop. Yet from this he finds the balls to ask a woman out (all the while refusing to see the inappropriateness of the situation) and the date goes WELL!!! Until she gets thrown up on. Just superb writing for George that plays to his strengths perfectly.
Andrew: I love Kramer in this episode, and my first instinct is to pick him, but I can’t screw George like that again; he’s been so good all along that I’ve started to take it for granted, but George is the main reason this episode is so good. His “show about nothing” pitch in the diner is so energetic and happy that you can’t but believe in him. And then his pitch to the executives is so aggressive and angry that you can’t blame them for not getting it. Our Georgie boy has quite the range. This episode also has some of his patented made-up-on-the-spot lies (“La Cocina”, a comedy about a Mexican chef) and picking up women in inappropriate situations. A truly excellent performance.
Jordan: George gets this one, and it’s quite the accomplishment, as this episode had several worthy candidates. Jerry was delivering, Kramer was excellent, I think you could even make a case for Newman in his small appearance, but George was just that much better than the rest. It’s like being named MVP in an All-Star game. His chemistry with Jerry is off the charts, and he’s the one who comes up with the show idea. Then in typical George fashion, he gets nervous about it, turns it around, only to screw it up again.
Justin: The pitch, naturally. It was a brilliant storyline and cribbed right from real life, which makes it even better. With the way the material was written and delivered, it was clear that it was based on their real life experiences on the topic. The delivery was so quick and on point from start to finish here and there were zero wasted scenes.
Aaron: It’s all about the pitch here. The scene in the coffee shop where they come up with the “show about nothing” is pretty legendary. It’s self-referential without sounding hokey in any way. George is right, the Chinese restaurant would make a great episode, not as much as say a library, but that’s beside the point. They do a tremendous job of deconstructing the entire medium while at the same time not only make you laugh, but make you believe that yes, they have a great idea for a show. A show I already love.
Andrew: As much as I love Crazy Joe Davola, I’ll go with the sitcom pitch. As mentioned above, George is great in it, and I love the self-referential aspect of it. It’s just a lot of fun to see them doing a recreation of the genesis of Seinfeld, on the show itself. It’s pretty unique as far as I can remember, and they set a good tone for it, capturing the initial excitement without being overly self-congratulatory.
Jordan: The pitch was great. They did a terrific job of doing a wink wink to the audience as we know it’s close to reality, but didn’t go overboard with it. It also took some nice turns, with George being the one to come up with the idea, the fun pitch meeting and George having a thing for Susan. The only other real storyline here is Crazy Joe Davola, but he’s much crazier down the road.
Ethical Dilemma of the Week
Justin: Who is more at fault for Kramer puking on Susan? Those in the show seem to blame the K-Man, because obviously he did the puking but why is Jerry letting milk that is THAT sour just chill in his refrigerator? Especially since he is a known clean freak. Poor form, Jerry, and it may cost you a TV show and your buddy a chance at love.
Aaron: If you mess up your friend’s chance at a sitcom should you A) be more apologetic and concerned about your friend’s feelings? Or B) try to hook up with one of the women in the meeting? I can’t believe Jerry wasn’t more upset with George for going into business for himself. I CAN believe that George has no clue as to why it may be wrong for him to try and date Susan. He only meets three women a year after all… Also the answer is A.
Andrew: How do you apologize for throwing up on someone? That has to be such a traumatic event that the victim wouldn’t want to be reminded of it, but human decency requires you do something, right? Paying for their dry-cleaning doesn’t seem like enough. Doing some unpleasant tasks for that person should probably be involved; being her butler for a week might do it.
Jordan: Listen, there’s a reason people talk about sports and weather when making small talk. Jerry got Kramer kicked in the head by opening his big fat mouth to Joe Davola about the party. If you’re forced to talk to someone you don’t like, keep it short and simple, and don’t give away any personal information. Good thing Kramer was wearing a helmet!
Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)
Justin: George and Susan. So much more to come. Relationship Grade: Sour Milk/10
Aaron: Susan right now has no idea that the man fighting for artistic integrity will directly lead to her death/murder. Relationship Grade: 187/10
Andrew: Ah, the ill-fated Susan Ross. As big a part of the show as she’d be later, there wasn’t much initial chemistry between her and George (“good eye contact” aside). And vomiting may not be a deal breaker for Jerry, but it would be for me. Relationship Grade: 3/10
Jordan: Well, Elaine seems to be having fun I guess. Relationship Grade: Medication/10
Justin: I always loved the toilet paper discussion; All of the inane TV show pitches to each other throughout the episode were really good for a laugh; Jerry blowing up Newman’s spot with the crappy deal after saying he wouldn’t was awesome; That is only topped by Kramer willingly trading a busted radar detector and Newman eventually getting a ticket because it was broken; The coffee shop scene where Jerry and George decide on the premise of the pitch is iconic; Joe Davola is out of his mind in a real scary, yet great way and Jerry screwing up and telling him about Kramer’s party was a whiff for him; George going from scared to super cocky and blowing the pitch and spelling of Russell’s last name was out classic George moment of the show; Russell is a dick too, again in a fun way; The whole pitch scene is tremendous; Jerry’s exasperated psychiatrist speech to George is A-plus material; Jerry’s handling of the telemarketer was inspirationally great; Kramer throwing up on Susan was a tremendous capper to everything.
Aaron: Obviously all the stuff with the pitch and George. He’s the star here. I also loved all the ideas George and Kramer had for Jerry’s potential sitcoms. The gymnastics coach, the antique store owner or the circus show are all ridiculous but really aren’t that far off from what TV actually is. Kramer is especially adamant that people really want to watch freaks, which is paralleled very nicely with an inappropriate gift for Ted Danson is a future Curb Your Enthusiasm episode. I guess Larry David likes freaks…I like Joe Davola, he’s just off putting enough and for the first time I prefer when something major happens off camera: it would have been weird to see Kramer kicked in the head. Hilarious I’m sure. But weird. If Susan did have any doubts about George and Jerry’s pitch they had to have been immediately erased as Kramer drank bad milk and played out an episode in front of her. If that had been his audition he would have nailed it. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention how great Jerry is in the role of the straight man here. Without him nothing else would have the punch that it does as his reactions enhance the madness surrounding him extremely well.
Andrew: I’ve always liked the self-referential humor in this one. The call-back to “The Chinese Restaurant” was great, especially since I’ve always heard that Larry David first proposed the “show about nothing” while waiting for a table at a restaurant. I like the show business material in general; I always get a kick out of the executives talking about how much they like Jerry’s material during the pitch meeting. And I loved the posters in the waiting room for fake TV shows with awful but plausible names, like Reasonable Doubts or Nightmare Café (with Blossom thrown in for good measure). I forgot how good Joe Davola was as the aggressively crazy guy; “You want to hit me?” was such a great line. The Kramer and Newman scenes were fantastic, and the “Mojambo” thing always gets me.
Jordan: I just love every Newman appearance. He’s such a good character and the Jerry feud is always funny. I enjoyed that in an episode where they pitched a show about nothing, they made sure to have that in this one – the toilet paper talk, George randomly liking the NBC woman, being proud of his ability to spell last names (then failing miserably), stuff like that. I like George suggesting that the time they were at the Chinese restaurant could be a TV episode. Maybe he DOES have some talent. George being the one to come up with the show idea was perfect, as it gave him a reason to be in the meeting. Joe Davola is such a weirdo, and I like that even Kramer thinks so. Susan immediately getting thrown up on was funny.
What Didn’t Work
Justin: No Elaine outside of one cameo; Susan’s wardrobe is brutal.
Aaron: Again Elaine is sorely missed. I bet she would have had even more horrible ideas for Jerry sitcoms. I’ve also never been a fan of the whole psychiatrist storyline, I just feel it falls flat and the inclusion here is completely unnecessary. We get it. Joe Davola is sick. Do we really need his shrink to be an X-Man and feel him from so far away? There’s also something extremely bizarre about Russell in this one. He seems more aloof and weird than I remember him. We’ll see if it goes away with future episodes. I’m not sure it’s a bad thing, it’s just this strange thing I haven’t made up my mind on yet.
Andrew: I don’t like Jerry’s bit with the telemarketer. It’s funny, but so unrelated to the rest of the scene that it stands out in a self-satisfied way I don’t enjoy. His Hinckley reference doesn’t do much for me either. And I guess she’s still on maternity leave on this point, but I wish there were more Elaine in this one.
Jordan: Same as last time, we want our Lainy. Other than that though, this one didn’t have any misses for me.
Key Character Debuts
Crazy Joe Davola
Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes
– “What did they do for toilet paper in the Civil War? Wonder what toilet paper was like in the 1860s. Did they carry it in rolls in their duffel bags?” – George
– “They should have a toilet-paper museum. Would you like that? So we could see all the toilet-paper advancements down through the ages. Toilet paper during the Crusades. The development of the perforation. The first six-pack.” – Jerry
– We see the comedy club bar for the first time
– George is very confident in his ability to spell last names
– “You want an idea? Here’s an idea. You coach a gymnastics team in high school, and you’re married. Your son is not interested in gymnastics, and you’re pushing him.” – George “Why should I care if my son’s into gymnastics?” – Jerry “You’re the teacher. It’s only natural.” – George “But gymnastics is not for everybody.” – Jerry “I know, but he’s your son.” – George
– “People, they wanna watch freaks. This is a can’t miss.” – Kramer
– “Are you reneging out of the deal? Are you reneging? – That’s a renege.” – Newman “Stop saying reneging.” – Kramer “Well, you’re reneging.” – Newman “Okay, okay. I’m not reneging.” – Kramer
– Jerry and George decide to pitch a show about nothing to NBC
– “Everybody’s doing something. We’ll do nothing.” – George “We go into NBC, tell them we got an idea for a show about nothing.” – Jerry “Exactly.”- George “‘What’s your show about?’ – I say, ‘Nothing'”. – Jerry “There you go.” – George “I think you may have something here.” – Jerry
– “You better think again, MoJumbo.” – Kramer
– “There’s no guarantees in life.” – Kramer “No, but there’s karma, Kramer.” – Newman “Karma Kramer?” – Jerry
– “They’re just TV executives” – Jerry ” They’re men with jobs, Jerry! They wear suits and ties. They’re married. They have secretaries!” – George
– Jerry continues to not think before he says something, leading to problems for others
– George claims to have written an Off Broadway show called La Cocina
– “No! No! Nothing happens!” – George “Well, something happens.” – Jerry “Well, why am I watching it?” – Russell “Because it’s on TV.” – George “Not yet.” – Russell
– “A regular psychiatrist couldn’t even help you. You need to go to, like, Vienna or something. You know what I mean? You need to get involved at the university level. Like where Freud studied, and have people looking and checking up on you. That’s the kind you need. Not the once-a-week for 80 bucks. No. You need a team. A team of psychiatrists, working round the clock thinking about you, having conferences. Observing you, like the way they did with the Elephant Man. That’s what I’m talking about. That’s the only way you’re gonna get better.” – Jerry
– “I thought the woman was kind of cute.” – George “Hold it. I really wanna be clear about this. Are you talking about the woman in the meeting? Is that the woman you’re talking about?”- Jerry “Yeah. I thought I might give her a call. I don’t meet that many women. I meet, like, three women a year. I mean, we’ve been introduced. She knows my name.” – George “It’s completely inappropriate.” – Jerry “Why? Maybe she liked me. I mean, she She was looking right at me. I think she was impressed. We had good eye contact through the whole meeting.” – George
– “If Hitler had vomited on Chamberlain he still would have given him Czechoslovakia. – Jerry “Chamberlain. You could hold his head in the toilet, he’d still give you half of Europe.” – George
Oddities & Fun Facts
Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)
Justin: I can’t say enough good things about this episode. The writing was fantastic and it tells you how good George and Jerry were that an episode could be this awesome with virtually no Elaine and basically no Kramer. There were tons of iconic moments and quotes sprinkled in and Jerry’s rant to George about therapy is one of my all time favorites. We are also starting off the growing wave of running characters getting more run and appearances starting in this season. In the past we have had good guests, but most were on and done. Here, we get four debuts of characters that will be on multiple times and one major rookie outing in Susan. Even the minor stuff delivered here, with Kramer and Newman’s failed trade and the quick scene with Elaine and her boyfriend foreshadowing the troubles to come with Davola. Great effort all around. After a middling premier, Season Four is officially off and running. Final Grade: 9/10
Aaron: This. Is. Great. I’d love to know how close their pitch is to Jerry and Larry sitting down with the NBC execs a few years prior. It’s great that the show is strong enough now to attempt a season long story arc while at the same time giving us all the one offs and hijinx we’ve come to love about the show. Get Elaine back and we’ll really be cooking. Even without her this one is excellently written and wonderfully performed. Final Grade: 8/10
Andrew: This was an great episode, with one excellent scene after another. Doing a story about the show itself was a fun idea, but also a risky one that could have turned out badly, and I’m glad they pulled it off. I just wish Elaine hadn’t missed most of it; the episode is good enough to overcome it, but it still lowers the overall grade for me. Final Grade: 8/10
Jordan: Great, great stuff that makes me wish this was the season premiere. Jerry and George have incredible chemistry – but so do Kramer and Newman! And for that matter, Newman and Jerry! Elaine missing is a personal annoyance, but they even made a point to mention where she is AND give her a short, quick scene which I think is good writing. Like Justin said, the cast of characters is really starting to grow here – I would be fine with Newman being on every episode from here on out. Susan hasn’t done much yet, but she’s gonna be around. I thought Russell was a good character too. I loved that George pitching the idea to Jerry almost seemed like “Who’s on First?” in the delivery. Just terrific. Final Grade: 9/10