Seinfeld: The PTBN Series Rewatch – “The Shower Head” (S7, E16)

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!


Best Character

JT: A lot of inspired performances here. Peterman and Elaine were magic together. Morty, Helen and Estelle were great as always. George, Leo and Kramer were dialed in too. Even the shower head dealer was good. But, two stood out among the rest on this one: Jerry and Frank. Jerry’s svengali act with Leo was classic, especially the second time around. I also loved his high wire act with his parents and freak out when they asked to move in with him. Tag on his flat hair and he delivered. Frank is Frank. The ominous phone call was a pantheon scene.

Aaron: There’s a lot of good choices here: Kramer with organisms having sex around him, Peterman and his quest to get Elaine clean, heck even Jerry callously ruining his uncles life for selfish reasons… there are many. However, the “THIS IS FRANK COSTANZA,” is a game changer not seen since Kennedy debated that swampy mutt many moons ago on the television. Frank Costanza is always a safe bet with me. Spite filed Frank Costanza is pretty much a lock.

Andrew: I’ll give it to Jerry. His speeches talking Uncle Leo out of his relationship (“You’re an Adonis!”) and back into it (“all kinds of sounds are emanating from your body twenty-four hours a day!”) are fantastic. Plus, I enjoy how ruthlessly conniving that plan is.

Jordan: This. Is. Frank. Costanza. You think you can keep him out of the best character pick? HE’S MOVING IN! He’s shouting. He’s furious. He’s giving George his swim trunks so they don’t go to waste. This is Frank hitting a home run with every line he has and scene he is in. So great.

Jason: Like there’s any doubt here. FRANK COSTANZA! He destroyed everyone and everything in every scene he was in. From his pronouncing of Del Boco Vista, to him and Estelle deciding to move to spite the Seinfelds. All topped off with that phone call he makes to Morty. Frank’s moving in lock, stock and barrel. He’s gonna be in the pool, in the clubhouse, all over that shuffleboard court. NO ONE TELLS FRANK COSTANZA WHAT TO DO!

Best Storyline

JT: Del Boca Vista is the choice here. It was really well done and I loved Jerry and George celebrating and the fact that the Costanzas were going to move thousands of miles away just to spite the Seinfelds. Plus, Frank’s phone call.

Aaron: Elaine not being able to go to Africa because “the dark continent is no place for an addict.” Elaine has a near perfect arc here going from simply elated to be travelling to Kenya to desperately bullying Helen Seinfeld into picking a glass for the old bag to piss in. We also get the tremendous scene where a junkie Kramer pleads for the good stuff before being thrown out by Peterman.

Andrew: I don’t think you can really go wrong here, but I think The Shower Head was the best. The shampoo hair is a great visual bit, and it ties in both Elaine’s storyline (Kramer begging her for “the good stuff”) and the Seinfelds’ (“low flow” is the last straw that sends them back to Florida).

Jordan: I’ll go with Elaine frequently failing urine tests, because it gave us more Peterman and the payoff of Elaine having osteoporosis. Peterman roughing up Kramer was a lot of fun too.

Jason: Elaine flunking urine tests, the shower heads and everything with Uncle Leo would all be good choices in any other episode. But, the Seinfelds and Costanzas feud over Del Boca Vista is one of my favorite plots from the entire series.

Ethical Dilemma of the Week

JT: What the fuck kind of drug testing place doesn’t warn about or account for poppy seed consumption? Was Elaine the first person to eat poppy seed bagels to ever get drug tested? Shit company, step up your game Peterman!

Aaron: If you don’t get a good shower are you yourself? I’ll be perfectly honest here, if I don’t get a good shower I am positively a monster. I’m grouchy as fuck, I have swamp ass, I HAVE IT ALL. If my family interrupts my shower for ANY reason I am just terrible to them for at least a week. Nothing physical. Pure psychological abuse. The kind that sticks with you forever.

Andrew: Is it OK to cheat on a drug test? The civil libertarian part of me is inclined to give Elaine a pass. After all, she’s essentially resisting a corporation’s intrusion into its employees’ personal lives; you could talk me into that being a moral imperative.

Jordan: Should being an opium user prevent you from being able to see the bushmen of Africa? I say no. Get a coked up, drug riddled Elaine on the plane and set her free in the wild of deepest Africa! Think of the write-ups she could come up with!

Jason: Can you imagine leaving in a world where dolphins jump on to the sidewalk so you could pet them? Come on, people. Let’s make this happen.

Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)

JT: Peterman needs to bang Elaine already. The sexual tension during the opium discussion was overwhelming. Do it in the steamy 150 degree jungles of Africa. Relationship Grade: 150/10

Aaron: Uncle Leo should absolutely hang on the anyone who can stand his presence for more than ten seconds. He’s everything that Jerry accuses him of being and more. Does he deserve to have his life ruined? No. Does he deserve happiness? No. Relationship Grade: 10/10

Andrew: “If there’s a woman that can take your presence for more than ten consecutive seconds, you should hang on to her like grim death. Which is not far off, by the way.” Relationship Grade: Great advice for all of us/10

Jordan: I woke from a deepened sleep. “Did you feel that?”, I ask my sleeping wife. She is unresponsive. Weary, I shuffle to the window. Outside the sky is as red as blood. I rush back and fumble for my phone. Texts, alerts, messages fill my lock screen. I turn on the news. The earth is in peril. Shockwaves have been sent across the universe. The ripple effect of this monstrous wave of energy has tilted the earths axis. What is causing the end of life as we know it? Cut to Del Boca Vista. The Costanzas are banging in Florida. Relationship Grade: DOLPHINS ON THE SIDEWALK/10

Jason: Uncle Leo having regular sex leaves hope for everyone who is currently single. The Costanzas and Seinfelds feud gets better and better every time they come in contact with each other. Relationship Grade: Commando 450/10

What Worked:

JT: George thinking Africa is 150 degrees; Elaine not bothering attending the Tonight Show because Jerry isn’t doing new material; Del Boca Vista!; Jerry explaining the Tonight Show taping to Morty; Jerry going full svengali with Leo was great and the Goebbels line always kills me; Peterman talking slang for opium is great; The Costanzas, as always; George’s petting dolphins line; The shower issues were good for a laugh, especially the first reveal of the hair by Jerry, Kramer and Newman; Peterman catching Kramer and Elaine talking about the shower and then throwing him out is so awesome, even the big K-Man bump at the end and capped with him firing Laney; Jerry’s scene explaining his life to the wrong number was really well executed; The setup of having the Seinfelds steal the chicken from catering feeding into Elaine eating another poppy seed was well done too; Jerry using his pinky instead of putting his hand with Kramer and Newman; I loved Jerry and George celebrating the Florida moves; Frank’s phone call; The Independent Jerry line was a perfect callback; Jerry’s second rant on Leo; Elaine melting down and begging for Helen’s urine while she stammers over which cup to use; Elaine’s old lady pee test; Morty’s hair and the swim trunk argument close things out perfectly along with Kramer and the elephant shower head

Aaron: Everything that Frank Costanza does from the moment he hears the Seinfelds don’t want him at Del Boca Vista is inspired. The phone call, the screaming, the moving 1200 miles away out of pure spite it’s all gold. He’s so happy to be sticking it to them. I’ve never seen the man fist pump, but the sheer delight he feels upsetting another human being drives his fist forward in a moment of sheer ecstasy. George’s ups and downs are wonderful and Elaine excels as she descends further and further into an opium-filled madness. Uncle Leo is a blast as usual. Seinfeld really nails the way the elderly try to guilt you for not spending enough time with them. J Peterman also has a stellar outing. Even his stories of hitting rock bottom are entries from his catalogue. The moment where he catches a desperate Kramer begging Elaine in the office is staged perfectly. There’s so much good here I could go on forever. Just two last things. The juxtaposition of Jerry trying to get Leo to leave his girlfriend with Jerry trying to get Leo to get back with his girlfriend is perfect Seinfeld writing. Though it’s a small thing I really like how Jerry gave a bunch of clear exposition to a “wrong number.” I’ve never seen anyone do that before and thought it was a clever take.

Andrew: The guest stars are all great here. Uncle Leo has the previously mentioned great scenes with Jerry, and having him accuse his girlfriend of anti-Semitism is a nice touch. Peterman’s opium slang is classic, and I’ve always loved the scene where he throws Kramer out of the office. The Costanzas and Seinfelds are awesome as usual, and the pettiness they show each other is great. I really enjoyed the out-of-commercial plot device of Jerry recapping the action so far over the phone, then realizing he dialed the wrong number; those little touches always get me.

Jordan: I love the name Del Boca Vista. Uncle Leo is always fun, even though he was hardly on this one. Having him dump his girl because she’s an anti-Semite was fitting. Elaine dying to visit Africa is kind of out of nowhere, but it gives us all kinds of Peterman lines, so I won’t question it, I’ll just accept it. Kramer calling Jerry too delicate for the shower head that is used to clean elephants is funny. Just like Uncle Leo, anytime the Costanzas are on is a win. “I DON’T SWIM!” is such a good line that only works with Estelle. I loved all the terrible hair from low-flow shower heads. The buffer zone talk was good. Morty asking why they have to be at The Tonight Show so early, then shouting to Helen while still on the phone is not just a Morty move, it’s an old dad move, and they nailed it. Helen struggling to find a suitable glass to pee in was nice. And of course, Frank’s phone call that rivals Liam Neeson from “Taken”.

Jason: The doctor no-selling Elaine’s story about going to Africa. Elaine not wanting to go to The Tonight Show because Jerry isn’t doing new material. Kramer not liking the sound of low-flow shower heads. Morty not knowing that they tape The Tonight Show in the afternoon. Jerry not having a buffer zone. Jerry’s scheme to try and get Leo to break up with Lydia in order to get his parents out of New York; “You should be swinging.” Leo thinking the cook is an anti-Semite. Peterman telling Elaine that she flunked her urine test; White lotus, Yam-yam, Shanghai Sally. A pop urine test. George selling Del Boca Vista to his parents. Jerry, Kramer and Newman’s flat hair from the shower heads. Kramer explaining the shower head flow to Elaine and Peterman misunderstanding  Kramer “Not on my watch.” Peterman’s tale about being addicted to opium back in ’79; “The price, your soul.” Estelle’s greeting to Helen and Morty. Jerry saying he’s drunk. Morty telling Frank there’s nothing available in Del Boco Vista was a great throwback to the Maestro telling Jerry there’s nothing available in Tuscany. The bushmen and bushwomen. Jerry’s Leo anti-Semite bit on Leno. Lydia kicking Leo to the curb because of it. Jerry calling the wrong number explaining the Leo situation. Kramer’s bath experience. Kramer downing chicken in his bathrobe with the flat hair. Jerry’s, not from the footage I’ve seen” line was amazing. WE’RE MOVING RIGHT IN TO DEL BOCA VISTA!!! George busting. Making a visit once every five years. Jerry telling George how having your parents move changes everything. The Seinfeld’s not going back to Florida because of the Costanzas. Jerry shaming Leo in order to get him back with Lydia. Killing independent Jerry! Elaine asking Helen to take her urine test. Helen going through Jerry’s cups and Elaine losing patients with her. Kramer describing Jerry as delicate. Power, man. Power. Peterman rehiring Elaine, but tells her that she’s menopausal. Kramer’s fumbling and tumbling from the Commando 450.

What Didn’t Work

JT: Not in there control but the long distance calling being a deterrent is funny in a time capsule type way; They have never accounted for poppy seeds in piss tests before?; Elaine at the coffee shop explaining her issues felt like forced exposition, it wasn’t bad but kind of rare for Seinfeld so it stuck out

Aaron: I felt bad for Jerry ruining Leo’s life. Then I remembered it’s Leo. He would have ruined it on his own.

Andrew: Why did the Costanzas change their mind about moving to Florida? Feels like a pretty big plot thread to leave dangling.

Jordan: I thought Elaine getting popped for the second time because of the chicken was dumb. First, she had like ONE bite. Second…who just offers people bites of chicken when they show up to visit? “Hey, thanks for stopping by, want some food off this half eaten plate?”

Jason: Nothing this week from me.

Key Character Debuts


Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes

– “Mr. Peterman sent me over here for a physical because as you may or may not know, he and I are going on a trip to Kenya. Africa. My first such mission for the company. The Massai bushmen wear these great sandals and we’re gonna knock them off. Not the Massai, the sandals.” – Elaine

– “Uncle Leo’s having regular sex?” – George “Yeah, I know. It devalues the whole thing.” – Jerry

– “Yeah, well they tape it in the afternoon and then they air it at 11:30.” – Jerry “How long they been doing this?” – Morty “30 years.” – Jerry

– “It’s about time you called your uncle. We’ve got to do this once a week.” – Uncle Leo

– “They don’t just overcook a hamburger, Jerry.” – Uncle Leo “All right. Anyway, the point I was making before Goebbles made your hamburger is a man like you could be dating women twenty years younger. C’mon Uncle Leo, I’ve seen the way women look at you. When’s the last time you looked in a mirror? You’re an Adonis! You’ve got beautiful features, lovely skin, you’re in the prime of your life here, you should be swinging. If I were you I’d tell this Lydia character, “It’s been real,” move back into that bachelor pad and put out a sign; Open for business.” – Jerry

– “That’s right, Elaine. White lotus. Yam-yam. Shanghai Sally.” – Peterman “That’s impossible, I’ve never done a drug in my life. Dr. Strugatz must have made a mistake.” – Elaine “Not a chance. I’m afraid I’ll just have to find someone else to accompany me on my journey. The dark continent is no place for an addict!” – Peterman

– “I was out for five minutes before, I couldn’t feel my extremities.” – Frank “What extremities?” – Estelle

– “What about the dolphins? You could swim with the dolphins down there.” – George “I don’t swim.” – Estelle “You could pet them. They come right out of the water onto the sidewalks.” – George

– “Jerry’s got nothing. Newman’s got nothing. You’re the only one I know who’s got the good stuff, and I need it bad, baby, cause I feel like I got bugs crawling up my skin. Now you gotta help me out.” – Kramer

– “I know what you’re going through. I too once fell under the spell of opium. It was 1979. I was travelling the Yangtzee in search of a Mongolian horsehair vest. I had got to the market after sundown, all of the clothing traders had gone, but a different sort of trader still lurked about. “Just a taste,” he said. That was all it took.” – Peterman “Mr. Peterman, I don’t know what’s going on here. I am not addicted to anything.” – Elaine “Oh, Elaine. The toll road of denial is a long and dangerous one. The price? Your soul. Oh, and by the way, you have til’ 5:00 to clear out your desk. You’re fired.” – Peterman

– “Are you telling me there’s not one condo available in all of Del Boca Vista?” – Frank

– “I know this doesn’t seem like work to any of you, if you could perhaps conduct your psychopath convention down the hall, I could just get a little personal space.” – Jerry

– “Hey, listen to this, Uncle Leo broke up with his girlfriend because of the bit I did. She thought it was funny, so he accused *her* of being an anti-Semite. They had a huge fight and now he’s moving back into his apartment. You know what this means, my parents are gonna go back to Florida… What? What number is this? Oh, I’m terribly sorry.” – Jerry

– “I just took a bath, Jerry. A bath.” – Kramer “No good?” – Jerry “It’s disgusting. I’m sitting there in a tepid pool of my own filth. All kinds of microscopic parasites and organisms having sex all around me.” – Kramer

– “From a certain connection, I’ve been able to locate some black market shower heads. They’re all made in the former Yugoslavia, and from what I hear the Serbs are fanatic about their showers.” – Newman “Not from the footage I’ve seen.” – Jerry

– “Has nothing to do with the weather, it’s because of the Seinfelds.” – Frank “What do you mean?” – George “They don’t want us there, so we’re going. We’re moving right into Del Boca Vista!” – Frank “So you’re moving there for spite!” – George “Absolutely. No one tells Frank Costanza what to do!” – Frank “That’s right, who the hell are they? How dare they?!” – Jerry

– “This is Frank Costanza.” – Frank “What do you want?” – Morty “You think you could keep us out of Florida? We’re moving in lock, stock and barrel. We’re gonna be in the pool. We’re gonna be in the clubhouse. We’re gonna be all over that shuffleboard court! And I dare you to keep me out!” – Frank

– “Swinging? What are you, out of your mind? Look at you, you’re disgusting. You’re bald, you’re paunchy, all kinds of sounds are emanating from your body twenty-four hours a day. If there’s a woman that can take your presence for more than ten consecutive seconds, you should hang on to her like grim death. Which is not far off, by the way.” – Jerry “But she’s an anti-Semite.” – Leo “Can you blame her?” – Jerry

– “Elaine, according to your urine analysis, you’re menopausal. you have the metabolism of a sixty-eight year old woman.” – Peterman “But I wanted to see the bushmen.” – Elaine “Oh, and one more thing. You may have osteoporosis.” – Peterman

Oddities & Fun Facts

– Jerry using “Independent Jerry” is a callback to “The Pool Guy” (S7, E8)

Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)

JT: The title of this episode completely sets you up to expect a middling one. I remembered the shower head storyline as being OK and completely didn’t realize everything else that was crammed in here, so I was blown away once it all came flooding back. Everyone was fantastic and we even had a pantheon moment with Frank’s phone call. I thought Jerry was top notch the whole way through and his scenes with Leo were killer. Lots of Costanzas and lots of Seinfelds make any episode a winner, but this kept piling cherries all over the sundae, scene by scene. I’M GONNA BE ALL OVER THAT SHUFFLEBOARD COURT! Final Grade: 10/10

Aaron: The more I think about this one the more I love it. It has the awesomeness of both sets of parents, spite, great performances from everyone, tight hilarious writing and a final scene of Kramer fighting a shower that made my son roar with laughter. Going in I didn’t remember this one at all and leaving it may be one of my favorite episodes. If I literally left out half my notes because I was just going on about how great this one was the grade is academic. Final Grade: 10/10

Andrew: This was a really fun episode to rewatch. I had forgotten how enjoyable all the plots were, and how well they tie in to each other. The main cast members are all solid, but the guest stars are what really stand out to me. But the episode still falls a little short for me. A better explanation for the Costanzas change of heart might have helped. Final Grade: 9/10

Jordan: I liked this a lot, but wasn’t a huge fan of the actual episode title plot line. The shower head stuff was kind of meh, but it was necessary to move things along I guess. But Peterman, Frank, Uncle Leo AND Morty all in one episode? It’s like The Four Horsemen! Final Grade: 9/10

Jason: Perfect plots. Perfect dialogue. Perfect episode. Final Grade: 10/10