Seinfeld: The PTBN Series Rewatch – “The Stand-In” (S5, 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: Oh Mickey! The Mick was a force in his debut. His bragging about standing in for Punky Brewster, his brawl with Kramer, his angry, defensive barking at all his friends, it all was fantastic. Kramer had a strong performance here, as did George, but Mickey was easily the best of the bunch.

Aaron: Perhaps because he can never say his girlfriend’s name properly but George takes it for me here. He’s just so comfortably honest about his spite and malice towards Al. It was close with Elaine’s awesome reaction to “It,” but George busted me up the most.

Andrew: Her role is on the smaller side, but I’m going with Elaine. Her reaction to and recounting of Phil exposing himself is just that good. And her laughing-while-telling-a-story routine remains as charming as ever. Elaine is the best.

Jordan: Gotta go with Mickey. I always felt he was an underrated character on the show, as he usually knocks his appearances out of the park. His debut here is terrific, struggling with heightening to keep up with a growing young boy, fighting Kramer and putting the moves on the ladies. Good stuff.

Jason: Elaine’s reaction to Phil taking his junk out and her delivery when telling Jerry about it is Emmy worthy, but my heart belongs to Mickey here. It’s hard to top an angry and aggressive little person.

Best Storyline

JT: Mickey’s height issues had this locked down…until Phil took it out. It was a short piece of the episode, but building up Phil as this great guy only to have him toss his junk on the table in front of an unsuspecting Elaine was perfect writing. Elaine and Jerry’s conversation was top notch and I love how Kramer knew what she meant right away.

Aaron: George deciding that spending the rest of his life with a woman he genuinely dislikes is preferable to proving some random guy right. I believe he would have married her, I believe he would have slit his wrists while listening to “White Christmas.”

Andrew: “He took it out.” What a perfect summary of a baffling event. I love everyone’s reaction to it: Elaine’s bemused world-weariness, Jerry being horrified to learn this about his friend, George admiring the chutzpah, and Kramer playing devil’s advocate (“Sometimes they need air!”). It’s not the biggest storyline, but it’s one of my favorites.

Jordan: Genuinely tough choice here because I really like all of them except Jerry’s quest to make Fulton laugh. Mickey wearing lifts is good, George being committed to someone he actively dislikes just to prove someone wrong, and Phil taking it out. I think I’ll give it to George here just to mix it up a bit.

Jason: Touch choice between little person problems and a guy whipping his cock out in the car with a woman. I gotta go with Phil taking it out by a foreskin. Jerry built Phil up as a good guy, which he was until fantastic writing comes in to play and throws Elaine off guard big…small…average time.

Ethical Dilemma of the Week

JT: There were actually quite a few here. What obligation does Jerry have to help save Fulton through laughter? How far does George have to go to prove Al right? Can’t he just want to dump the awful Daphne and not have it be about commitment? And when is it OK to whip your penis out if you aren’t asked to? A…friend once told me, once you at least are in the process of making out, you are probably OK to give it a go. No?

Aaron: If you think breastfeeding in public is wrong or disgusting you probably need a lesson in human anatomy. When did we decide that breasts and female nipples would blind our children’s eyes and turn us all into deviants? I’ve been looking at breasts literally all my life and I turned out GREAT. I love breasts and I love celebrating breasts. I would host a fucking breast party right now if I could conjure up the women to participate. Imagine the cake. Also if you hate public breast feeding, but the night before pulled out your dick on a date you’re an asshole.

Andrew: If you find out your friend is exposing himself on first dates, do you have stop hanging out with him? I feel like you have to make some attempt to let him know that kind of thing is out of line.

Jordan: I feel like Mickey’s peers shunning him is a rotten thing to do. They’re actors! Mickey heightening is no different than donning makeup, he was simply doing what was necessary for the role. Perhaps he is a pioneer for little people, and could have kept heightening until he landed roles playing NBA basketball players and giants. But his own friends prevented that.

Jason: Is it right to get into a shoving match with a little person? Let’s talk dicks for a second. Is it ever OK to just unzip and pull it out? Do you wait until she asks to see it? Phil went from solid guy to complete creep pretty fast.

Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)

JT: Daphne sucks. George should have told her and Al to screw. Relationship Grade: 0/10

Aaron: The nineties were a different time Elaine. You could pull your dick out without the threat of being arrested and having a social media campaign destroy your life. I’m not longing for the good old days or saying that it’s even acceptable but he was playing  by some different rules… Relationship Grade: 6.5 (I’m guessing)/10

Andrew: I realize this was the point, but Daphne sucks. Phil really needs to work on his signal reading. And I’m not crazy about how quickly Tammy kicked Mickey aside for Johnny. I’m starting to think this show has a bit of a callous attitude toward romance. Relationship Grade: Nothing beats rock/10

Jordan: When George is the likable one in a relationship, there are issues. Daphne was awful and George should have just stopped trying to prove a point and moved on with his life. Relationship Grade: I PREFER VELMA/10

Jason: Mickey and Johnny’s little person rivalry was great. Al should have minded his own business and not told Daphne that George can’t commit and will end up hurting her. Pretty sure Daphne would have found that out on her own. Nevertheless, George was wasting his time with Daphne anyway. Poor Jerry got put in a tough spot trying to cheer up Fulton. I think Phil and Elaine could have had a good thing if he kept it in his pants a little longer. Relationship Grade: Purple-Headed Solider Man/10

What Worked:

JT: Mickey!; Great idea with the soap opera stand in stuff; Kramer’s cigarette suggestion was fantastic as was George’s “midget” slip up; Poor Jerry’s brutal stand up choke job was rough to watch in a fun way; George’s relationship gets hosed again by outside forces; The acting in the soap opera is fantastic and “Now, Porter” makes me crack up every time; Kramer’s dramatic take on the scene while in standing in, capped by poking Mickey with the pipe, was awesome; The politics of the little people on the soap opera set was really well done; Jerry’s “I have my health” line right in front of Fulton is good; “That pimple”; The fight between Kramer and Mickey made me chuckle; Father/Son Picnic ranks pretty high on the excuse list; Phil, that sly dog, taking it out; IT!; OUT!: I love how Kramer immediately knew what Elaine meant with “he took it out”; Phil’s breast feeding issues were well done; Mickey smacking Kramer’s hand in rock, paper, scissors match is one of my all time favorite moments; Poor Mickey, but his exit rant is a good piece of business; Funny bit at the end to tie all the Pachyderm stuff together;

Aaron: I dug pretty much everything with George and his attempts to prove Al wrong. I already mentioned Elaine’s reaction to Phil’s thing but here scene with Jerry in the aftermath is pretty great. I thought’s Kramer’s “It needs air” defense of the penis outing while thoughtful was perhaps a little mislead (and funny). Kramer and Mickey’s decision that nothing beats rock and their eternal game that follows is also pretty great.

Andrew: I really feel for George on the “we’re both boring” thing, and for his resolve to keep the relationship going out of spite. Jerry’s “If I were a woman, I’d be down at the dock waiting for the fleet to come in” always makes me laugh. So does George coming up with “Father-Son Picnic” as an excuse. Mickey and Kramer have great chemistry right off the bat, and their Rock-Paper-Scissors scene is especially good. The “heightening” storyline overall isn’t that great, but the “I’m Mickey Abbott!” speech is quality stuff. Similarly, I’m not a big fan of Jerry’s struggles making Fulton laugh, but ending the episode with his act literally “killing” is pretty good. All that said, the majority of the episode pales in comparison to the stuff with Elaine, which is just gold.

Jordan: Mickey and Kramer are a great dynamic. Kramer telling Mickey to offer the kid some cigarettes and Mickey hating Tony was entertaining. Elaine was awesome in her date scene and even moreso in describing it to Jerry. Jerry’s response was good and the cut to George hearing the story was well done. I liked his comment about never thinking to take his own clothes off. Phil taking it out, then being disgusted by breastfeeding. Mickey and Kramer both thinking rock beats everything.

Jason: Kramer having a little person as a friend is perfect. Speaking of which, Mickey is the (little) man! Kramer’s boss aviator sunglasses. Kramer poking Mickey with the pipe when they hug during the stand-in. George’s father-son picnic excuse he feeds to Daphne. Elaine’s deer in head lights look when she sees that Phil took it out is incredible. Elaine’s delivery when telling Jerry about Phil whipping it out is done to perfection. Kramer’s reaction to Phil taking it out is also well done. He knew right away what Elaine was talking about. Mickey and Kramer playing rock, paper, scissors. Tammy is a solid (Wisconsin) 7 on the little person hottie scale. I dig Johnny’s tough guy little person gimmick he has going on.

What Didn’t Work

JT: Al is a weirdo and an asshole; The way George says “Daphne” annoys me; I want to know the full pachyderm story!; Daphne is really annoying

Aaron: I’ve never been a fan of Mickey and his storyline here so pretty much everything to do with him (save for Kramer’s physical bits) fall into this category for me. I do like that they build a little people world and rules, but I find the acting and story they decide to tell with said world/rules just doesn’t work for me here. Why is Jerry a completely different style of comedian in the hospital room than he is during the intros to the shows? The writing felt lacking for me in this one as for the first time in a while it felt like four separate stories being forced together as opposed to one well written piece with all the characters woven together. It’s as though these were some great ideas they wanted to use but couldn’t fit them into anything else so they threw them together.

Andrew: Everyone’s trying so hard in this episode: Kramer’s overacting, George is desperately trying to get a conversation going, Jerry’s bombing in the hospital room. It’s all for the sake of the plot, but I feel like it made the first half of the episode kind of tiring. Also, Phil’s anti-breastfeeding stance is really off-putting. The joke is on his double standards, but it just amazes me that anyone would find breastfeeding inappropriate.

Jordan: Daphne was a jerk. I didn’t like the Jerry and Fulton story at all.

Jason: Laney’s brown flower dress and Jerry’s blue sweater were both hideous. Oh, and Daphne completely sucks! She’s ranks towards the bottom on George’s girlfriend list.

Key Character Debuts

Mickey Abbott


Phil Titolla

Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes

– “I’m bored. She’s boring, I’m boring, we’re both boring. We got out to eat, we both read newspapers.” – George

– “Deeply in love. If you can’t say anything bad about a relationship, you shouldn’t say anything at all.” – George

– “Na no, I’m not good in these situations. I can’t hide my pity. I…I make em feel worse.” – George “Oh, stop it.” – Jerry “Ya and also I’m afraid that people in that state are finally going to tell me what they really think of me. You know they got nothing to lose what do they care?” – George

– “But I got a big problem. The kid I stand in for, he’s growing. He was four feet last month, now he’s like four-two and a half. He shot up two and a half inches. I can do four-two, four-three is a stretch, any higher than that and I’m gonna be out on my ass doing that paralegal crap.” – Mickey

– “How do you stop a kid from growing?” – Jerry “I told you, you should offer him some cigarettes.” – Kramer “I offered him cigarettes, but his stupid mother is hanging around. She won’t let him have any.” – Mickey

– “Oh don’t worry, you’ll crack. Cracking’s inevitable, first you crack then you chuckle. That was the motto with the Russians at the Caesar Leningrad… first you crack then you chuckle. You know because Leningrad when the Nazis attacked, it wasn’t a very happy time… because of the war, famine, plus it was cold, very cold… they were eating each other. Maybe this isn’t a good time for a visit.” – Jerry

– “Ya you look different.” – Johnny “You don’t, you got the same ugly mug since the day I met ya.” – Mickey

– “I’m very good with sick people. They love me. When my friend Len Nicodemo had the gout, I moved into his hospital room for three days, the doctors were amazed at his recovery.” – Kramer

– Add Len Nicodemo to the list of Kramer’s never seen before friends

– “Oh, he’s always been jealous of me. I always get to stand in for the bigger stars; The Cosby Kids, Ricky Schroder, Macaulay Culkin.” – Mickey “What’s he like huh?” – Kramer “He’s a good kid.” – Mickey

– “You don’t understand. There’s an unwritten code about this kind of thing. I could be ostracized. I remember when I was a kid, some guy tried to heighten. He lost his job, lost his friends, Everything. Oh, I knew I was crazy to try this kind of thing, but I was so desperate. What is this kid taking anyway? Hormones? Steroids? Would you tell me!?” – Mickey

– “Well Dad’s been planning this for such a long time, he bought a new blanket, and he got tha…that game with foam paddles and the Velcro ball.” – George

– “No he’s not right. Al Netchie is not right! all right I’m canceling the father-son picnic. I don’t know what he’s gonna do with all that potato salad.” – George

– “He took it out.” – Elaine “He what?” – Jerry “He took it out.” – Elaine “He took what out?” – Jerry “It.” – Elaine “He took It, Out?” – Jerry “Yessiree Bob.”- Elaine “He couldn’t.” – Jerry “He did.” – Elaine

– “It.” – Jerry “It.” – Elaine “Out.” – Jerry “Out.” – Elaine “Well I, I can’t believe this. I know Phil, he, he’s a good friend of mine. We play softball together. How could this be?” – Jerry “Oh it be.” – Elaine

– “Maybe uh, it needed some air. You know sometimes they need air, they can’t breathe in there. It’s in human.” – Kramer

– “Wow. I spend so much time trying to get their clothes off, I never thought of taking mine off.” – George

– “Wait a second, wait a second, you got me all wrong. It was all because of the kid. The kid was growing. He shot up two and a half inches in a month. I woulda’ lost my job. Any one of you would have done the same. You got no right! I’m Mickey Abbott! I stood in for Punky Brewster when all of you was nothing. It’s all his fault. It was his idea.” – Mickey

Oddities & Fun Facts


Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)

JT: So, I was about ready to rate this one a tier lower than most this season. The Phil exposed himself and the world changed. The back end of the episode was quite strong, with Phil’s brash actions, Mickey’s rantings and Jerry killing Fulton. Even during the slower first half, the dialogue was pretty good across the board. It is still one of the weaker offerings of the season, but it doesn’t drop off too far thanks to strong delivery and some inane situations. Also, there were a lot of funny random names and people in this episode, and that always makes me laugh. Plus, that damn rock, paper, scissors hand smack from Mickey gets me every time. Final Grade: 6/10

Aaron: This one felt just there for me, which at this point in Seinfeld is unacceptable. While I did enjoy George and Elaine the rest fell flat for me and the writing disappointed. This is the worst episode I’ve seen in a while. Final Grade: 4/10

Andrew: Not the show’s best work. Frankly, I was really underwhelmed until the “took it out” scene took it up a notch. The episode overall needs work, but that scene counts for a lot in my book. Final Grade: 7/10

Jordan: This was pretty good, better than I remember actually. Phil taking it out definitely brings the episode up a few points, as we were chugging along at a decent pace before that, but nothing too memorable outside of the Mickey debut. George turned in a fine performance, but I never really love it when he’s the “good” person in a storyline, and Daphne was terrible. I didn’t like Jerry’s storyline at all, and thought the bit at the end with Fulton dying of laughter was just stupid. I’ll give this one a rating right in the middle. Had some good, had some bad, Phil took it out, a man died. Final Grade: 5/10

Jason: With the exception of a penis and little people drama, this episode was a chore to get through. I don’t say that about many episodes this far into the series, but this was a rough one. So I’ll go three points for Mickey being so awesome and three points for Phil showing Elaine who he was. Final Grade: 6/10