Seinfeld: The PTBN Series Rewatch – “The Susie” (S8, E15)

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!

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Best Character

JT: I liked Elaine a lot in this episode. The scene where she meets with Peterman and Peggy was really good and I loved her pretending to be called away. Plus, the Cheryl Miller stuff was funny too. Jerry was really good too, nailing all his one liners and then bragging about al his misdeeds to Peggy at the funeral.

Aaron: This is easily a George episode. From haggling Elaine over the price of his services to sitting joyfully as his answering machine drives people to the sweet embrace of madness, George is spectacular here. This is the George I remember when I look back: the small, conniving man avoiding a woman only so he can finally have one great entrance in life.

Andrew: I’ll go with Elaine. I thought she had more great scenes than anyone else: the fight with George about the price he could charge as a gigolo, the running gag describing “Sharon”, and the meeting to discuss “Susie”. Her pretending to hear someone calling to get out of the meeting was the biggest laugh of the episode for me.

Jordan: I’m having trouble picking between Elaine and George here. Truthfully, I don’t think anyone was super memorable. I don’t mean that as negative, as it certainly wasn’t a bad one, it just feels kind of “there”. I suppose for that reason, I’ll go with George, whose storyline was about making sure he WASN’T there at all. Plus, his answering machine message is great.

Jason: I enjoyed Jerry the most here. Another great showing from him and his sharp one-liners. Him slamming Mike’s hands in the trunk and telling Peggy that he banged both Elaine and Susie were a couple of big moments as well.

Best Storyline

JT: I don’t think any storyline really stood out here so I will go with George and Allison just because of the answering machine message and the backless entrance. Also, I really liked Kramer’s story about getting thrown out of the basketball game, acting all nonchalant about it.

Aaron: The entire Suzie business is wonderfully absurd. Right down to Peterman’s claim of a night where he a Suzie surrendered to temptation.

Andrew: Can I take Kramer’s feud with Reggie Miller? Any athlete/fan fight that is defused by a trip to a strip club is all right by me. As for the real storylines, they all have their moments, but I’ll go with The Susie. Waiting too long to correct someone calling you by the wrong name is a good idea for a plot, they do a solid job of raising the stakes, and the conference scene made me laugh.

Jordan: George doing everything he could to avoid the breakup until after the ball was nice, but the Susie stuff takes it for me. It starts off like a typical sitcom plotline that could be easily solved, but it gets SO absurd that I love it. Faking a funeral, Peterman claiming to have had sex with Susie, Jerry proudly bragging about breaking thumbs. It got so over the top that it really worked.

Jason: The was a lot going on here, but I’ll go with Kramer as the George and Allison go-between. George dodging Allison because she “needs to talk” and Kramer nailing the part of Allison brought some good laughs along the way.

Ethical Dilemma of the Week

JT: If someone was nice enough to give you their boss’s courtside seat, should you repay them by getting into an on court brawl leading to an ejection? Poor, poor etiquette K-Man.

Aaron: If you have a gambling problem is it wrong to bet someone’s else’s money without their consent? Who’s to say really? I mean Jerry doesn’t even seem the least bit upset that Kramer may have cost him a hundred bucks. You can bet that if one of my “friends” bet some of my money without telling me I’d be breaking more than his thumbs. I’d be breaking his heart.

Andrew: Is it OK to run a restaurant that primarily serves as a place for people to end relationships? I think so; couples have to break up somewhere. You could even argue that providing a safe public place to dump someone is a public service.

Jordan: Should you make up a story that you had sex with someone that you never met at their funeral? Is this actually a dilemma? Probably not, so what’s an ACTUAL ethical dilemma here? How about this? Should Mike have resorted to theft to pay off his debts? I say yes.

Jason: What should you do if someone calls you by the wrong name? Elaine should have just told that dope Peggy from the get go. Is it possible to have sex with someone who doesn’t exist? For Jerry, Peterman and Manti Te’o, YES!

Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)

JT: Peterman and Susie painting the town red would be quite the spinoff. As long as everything is OK in the House of Peterman, it is all good. Allison was quite the catch, no idea why she was slumming it with Constanza. She should have attended the ball and hooked up with Derek Jeter though. Relationship Grade: 15 Year Rental/10

Aaron: Jerry sure is proud that he banged Elaine AND Susie. He even doubles down when Peterman claims half that conquest by informing Peggy “Yeah but he didn’t sleep with both.” Is Jerry moving in on Peggy? Relationship Grade:10/10 That’s double Elaine baby!

Andrew: George had a point about Allison being “genetically engineered to go to a ball”. And I admire his attempt to keep the relationship going by avoiding the breakup conversation. It’s almost sweet, if you look at it the right way, and ignore the motives. Relationship Grade: Backless? Ya gonna back her in?/10

Jordan: The more this series goes on, the more I’m amazed that Jerry managed to land Elaine for any length of time. He’s such a dork. But he ALSO slept with Susie! Relationship Grade: Peggy’s into it/10

Jason: Allison ranks towards the top of George’s ladies. Nice catch, Georgie Boy! Who are Peterman and Pegy fooling, we all know they’re sleeping together. Relationship Grade: Sweet Action/10

What Worked:

JT: Mike returns and I liked the “phony” callback; Kramer springing ahead his watch and telling Mike the wrong time; “water near a bridge”; I always enjoy Elaine describing “Sharon”; Kramer betting Jerry’s money since he has a “gambling problem”; “Sooz”; “Cheryl Miller’s brother”; Kramer’s gambling addiction coming roaring back was good; Jerry singing George’s answering machine message; Mike failing to pay the bet and Jerry calling him a phony and then breaking his thumbs; Kramer as the Allison surrogate was funny; Elaine put on a master class in hoodwinking Peterman and Peggy; Kramer having broken Jerry’s trunk; Kramer and George being all awkward together after the break up; Mike getting locked in the trunk was a funny follow up to the thumbs; Kramer just callously slamming into Jerry’s car while pulling out of his spot is great; Kramer mixing up the time later in the episode is a great subtle callback to the opening scene; Jerry telling Peggy he nailed Susie and Elaine was great; Peterman doing the same thing as Kramer, slamming into Jerry’s car, was good; Kramer’s backless tux entrance; Elaine having to run the Susie Foundation was sharp writing, especially since her name is basically Susan too

Aaron: George avoiding Allison is perfect and his phone message became legendary during my teenage years. I LOVE when he calls her back at home despite her explicit instruction to reach her at the office. His inquiries over Elaine’s willingness to pay for his gigolo services are inspired as he makes himself the victim despite initiating the conversation. I’m also always down for Elaine laughing in George’s face as she declares him to be worth a dollar. The running gag of Kramer being on the wrong time was cute and never felt overbearing. Peterman being crushed by Susie’s suicide was as fun as it was expected. Elaine had a strong performance throughout and her strange grudge against some woman named Sharon was wonderful. Above all else there was a great symbiotic relationship between the storylines here. Perfectly illustrated as Jerry declares that Susie needs to be eliminated as Mike cowers in the trunk. It’s a tightly wound script without a word wasted. Which is when Seinfeld’s at its best. The foundation call back capper was perfect as well.

Andrew: The gigolo conversation caught me off guard; I enjoyed it so much I’m surprised I didn’t remember it before. George going out “for soda” and staying at his parents’ house was really good. Kramer’s mental gymnastics to get around his gambling problem was solid. Elaine saying “Cheryl Miller’s little brother” always gets me. George’s answering machine is a classic, and definitely the most memorable part of the episode. Elaine’s meeting with Peggy and Peterman made me laugh, particularly her desperate ploy to escape. Inverting the bookie/bettor relationship was a great idea, and the thumb casts still make me laugh. Jerry bragging about sleeping with “Susie” and Elaine was creepy, but in the funniest possible way, and Peterman doing the same in his eulogy was a nice touch.

Jordan: I like Mike as a character, he’s one that I wish we had gotten more of. The visual of his gigantic thumb casts is nice, as is his startling accusation that Jerry is a murderer. Elaine knowing Reggie Miller as “Cheryl Miller’s brother” is really funny for some reason. Peterman taking over the funeral with sex chats is fitting for his character. George’s entire plan is pretty good, as is the twist of Kramer stepping in for Allison, both as the dumper and the ball attendee WITH the backless entrance! Once again, George’s answering machine message is great.

Jason: Kramer springing ahead his watch; Jerry’s arson line to Mike; Kramer living out his gambling problem through Jerry; Elaine describing Sharon; Pinstripe Ball AKA Yankee Prom; lithe; Elaine asking George if he’s gonna back Allison in; Pomodoro’s; Jerry’s line about George’s fine exits; Peggy talking smack about Elaine to “Susie”; SUZE; George’s fucking answering machine and bobbing his head while it plays; George calling Allison at home after she leaves the message about being at the office; Kramer getting kicked out of the Knicks game and hitting up a strip club with Spike Lee and Reggie Miller; Cheryl Miller’s brother; the house of Perterman being in disorder; Jerry singing George’s machine greeting; Kramer playing the part of Allison at dinner and running off after “break-up”; Kramer and George bumping into each other after their “break-up”; Kramer telling Geirge that he looks good; Mike getting trapped in the trunk; Mike hearing the plot to “eliminate” Susie; Peterman breaking down after Elaine tells him Susie committed suicide; Elaine delivering the eulogy; Peterman’s pimp car; Kramer’s grand entrance at the ball; Mike barging into Susie’s wake and saying that she was murdered by Jerry; Jerry telling Peggy that he broke Mike’s thumbs; Peterman not buying that Elaine is Susie and wanting Elaine to devote her spare time to Susie’s foundation; SUUUUUUUUUUUZE!!!!!

What Didn’t Work

JT: What went wrong in Allison’s life that she had to date George?; George already has Allison’s phone number memorized? How long have they been dating?; Why did poor Mike have to fix the trunk in the pouring rain

Aaron: Why the hell didn’t Elaine just correct Peggy the first time? Also Peggy’s an old lady name. What a dolt!

Andrew: The Kramer/George breakup scene didn’t do much for me this time around; maybe it’s just that the novelty has worn off. Also, I refuse to believe any bumper sticker has ever made anyone laugh as much as Jerry and Elaine were.

Jordan: I liked that they had Kramer do a twirl entrance with a backless outfit. That is fine. But the fact that everyone loved it was pretty ridiculous.

Jason: Where does Allison work that she can score courtside Knicks tickets? Did Jerry ever notice that someone (Kramer) nailed his front bumper? Peggy is a complete moron. Snobby, unattractive and quite ignorant.

Key Character Debuts

– N/A

Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes

– “Look how dark it’s gettin’ already.” – Kramer “Well, it’s not Daylight Savings Time yet.” – Jerry “When does it start?” – Kramer “I don’t know, they just tell you the night before.” – Jerry

– “You kidding? It’s all water near a bridge.” – Kramer

– “No. I like the ball! This is my One Chance to make a Great Entrance! My whole life! I have never made a great entrance!” – George “You’ve made some Fine Exits.” – Jerry

– “No. I was kicked out for fightin’ with one of the players.” – Kramer “Wait. Way–way–way–way–way–way–wait! Who?!” – Jerry “Reggie Miller.” – Kramer “Cheryl Miller’s brother?” – Elaine “Yeah.” – Kramer

– “I didn’t know Cheryl Miller’s brother played basketball.” – Elaine

– “Nevertheless, Elaine. The House, of Peterman is in Disorder.” – Peterman

– “Elaine! Where’s Susie? I want her to head up our new Fingerless Glove Division.” – Peterman

– “How d’ya like the tuxedo. It’s a rental but I’ve had it for fifteen years.” – Kramer

Oddities & Fun Facts

– George’s answering machine jingle is set to the theme song of Greatest American Hero

Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)

JT: This episode actually held up a bit better than I expected when I pressed play. I do think the storylines could have used more room to breathe as much of it felt like a series of neat ideas mashed into somewhat under developed stories, but there was enough laughs here to keep this afloat. George’s answering machine message is iconic and rejuvenated the Greatest American Hero theme song in pop culture. I thought Jerry and Elaine were the best here and Peterman was aces as always. Mike as the buffoon bookie was solid too. Most of all, I liked the subtle callbacks mixed in, specially Kramer screwing up the time later in the episode due to springing ahead his watch and the Susie Foundation. Fine outing, but grading on a Seinfeld curve it was a fairly middling episode. Final Grade: 6/10

Aaron: This was a blast from start to finish. If you’ve followed thus series at all you know that when tight writing meet great performances it always scores high with me. Final Grade: 9/10

Andrew: I enjoyed this episode. The most memorable moments hold up, and there were some that I didn’t remember as well that made me laugh out loud. But I didn’t totally love the storylines, and the finale with Mike left me a little underwhelmed. This isn’t one of the show’s best, but still fun to watch. Final Grade: 7/10

Jordan: I think my issue with this one is the whole Susie thing is such a lazy sitcom premise. In real life, if someone calls you the wrong name, you don’t create an alter ego and tiptoe around everything. You say, “Susie? I’m Elaine. Where did you get Susie from?” The George and Allison stuff was really fun and it’s actually a believable story in some ways. Having said that, I like that they took an absurd story and went FULLY absurd with it to the point where it worked – but it almost came off like handicapping themselves right from the start with such a lame idea. Final Grade: 6/10

Jason: This episode was fine. I remember it being a little better watching it in syndication over the years. It was good to see Mike pop up five season’s after his debut in The Parking Space. George’s answering machine greeting is a pretty big pop culture moment from the series. Each plot could have been given a little more, but I understand that with a lot going on, that could be difficult to do. Final Grade:  6/10

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.