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: I am going to go with Jerry this time around. George was funny but pretty limited in his parts and same for Kramer. I liked Newman quite a bit and a weak Jerry performance could have netter him his first award. But, Jerry was great. The Uncle Leo scenes and fallout were so good, as were the scenes with the police officer at the diner. Mix in his dodging of Davola, and he was really on point throughout.
Aaron: While Kramer gave me my two biggest laughs (more on that later) I’ve got to go with Jerry here. For me this is far and away his best episode to date as his writing and acting are right on target throughout. I love that he has to settle the business with his remote before he can get to the obvious problem with Kramer’s pants with an “All right, what is this?” Settle one problem, on to the next. Everything with dealing with his family is great but the scene with George at the diner after the meeting where George is arguing for Ted Danson money is superb. “He’s good, you’re not,” and “You’re worse, you’re much, much worse,” are fantastically venomous and painfully truthful. Awesome outing here for our titular character.
Andrew: It’s close, but I’ll give this one to Jerry. His inexplicable haranguing of the cop in the diner was my favorite part of the episode. It was out of character in a way that I really enjoyed; I guess having Crazy Joe Davola after you will make a man do strange things. He’s also good playing the straight man to his demanding family members, and to a Ted Danson-obsessed George.
Jordan: I will be the contrarian here. Jerry was great and I have no issue with him being named best character, but for me, this was Newman’s breakout episode. With Elaine still gone, Newman filled in as the 4th rather easily. His court scene was the funniest thing in the episode for me, and his pairing with Kramer is almost at Jerry and George levels despite only being on the show a handful of times so far.
Justin: I have really enjoyed all the NBC scenes, but we only got one here so I will agree with Andrew and go with Jerry’s family issues. Uncle Leo is always so delightful to watch and Jerry’s mother calling him while at NBC just wrapped everything so perfectly. They had set the stage so beautifully that her calling made all the sense in the world even though it is an insane thing to do. FREE PAJAMAS!
Aaron: I love Jerry “snubbing” Uncle Leo and it coming back to bite him in the ass. Leo thinks he’s being “big timed” and while “he may know lots of people in Hollywood too,” he lets Jerry’s “rudeness” eat away at him. Len Lesser is his usual fantastic self and I adore that we get to imagine the phone call that happens between Leo and Helen Seinfeld before Jerry’s mother calls him at NBC. Jerry’s voice is void of compassion and energy when he’s speaking about dealing with his family and it’s great.
Andrew: Jerry and the cop may have been my favorite bit, but Jerry and his family was my favorite storyline. It’s always a pleasure to see Uncle Leo, and family guilt trips make for a funny and relatable storyline. Having Jerry’s mother call him at the NBC offices to yell at him made for a really nice capper.
Jordan: Newman’s quest to get out of a traffic ticket takes it for me. It’s certainly not a runaway though, as I liked Jerry and the cop, and Jerry and Uncle Leo as well. But Newman’s prepping with Kramer, his profuse sweating while lawyering and Kramer getting angry with him rather than going along with it was enough for me.
Ethical Dilemma of the Week
Justin: Should Kramer have footed the bill for the speeding ticket? It was only $75 and he did sell Newman a known faulty radar detector. Newman should have pressed him more ahead of time to save the effort of arguing his way through traffic court. But we all know there was zero chance Kramer was forking over that cash.
Aaron: What’s a more valid reason to end one’s life? Not achieving your dream job (in this case a banker) or never being able to get a good night’s sleep due to the lack of an air conditioner. I get having to live your life doing something you might not necessarily love being a hard pill to swallow, but the rage and frustration that comes with sweating yourself to “sleep” every night is much, much worse and one couldn’t be blamed if they decided to put on “White Christmas” and blow their brains out all over their tree. There’s the tossing and the turning but an overlooked aspect of the sweltering room is the inability to find a god damned dry spot on the pillow. It’s just as awful life. Kill yourself.
Andrew: Should Susan have protested more about taking the money for the dry cleaning? I know it’s considered polite to refuse, but shouldn’t one “I insist” be enough? I hate seeing those conversations go back and forth. George is in the wrong on this one.
Jordan: The entire settling of the dry cleaning bill here is up for debate: Should Susan have refused the money? Should George have insisted that the bill be split three ways? My personal opinion: Kramer should have paid the entire bill, and George shouldn’t have been angry that Susan took the money. In the end, he only gave up six bucks! Come on, Costanza!
Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)
Justin: Not much going on here at all. Leo does love those pajamas though. Relationship Grade: Pajamas/10
Aaron: Sometimes you see a fork in the road and are able to swerve your way left and avert the inevitable disaster. Sometimes you still decide to date a man after his weirdo friend puked on you. You had the chance Susan. Relationship Grade: 3/10
Andrew: Still not much heat in the George and Susan romance, and Elaine looks to be getting tired of her psychiatrist boyfriend. These are lean times for the Seinfeld crew. Relationship Grade: 2/10
Jordan: George and Susan seem to be starting off, while Elaine and the Doc seem to be coming to an end. It is truly the circle of love life. Relationship Grade: SIMBA/10
Justin: Kramer talking in Italian randomly always makes laugh; The running Ted Danson comparisons that kick off here are some of my favorite bits of the show history; Uncle Leo is phenomenal, as are his free pajamas; I also liked Jerry ranting about how angry Uncle Leo was that they had to bail; Watching Newman trying to weave his way through lies to the judge while concussed Kramer was in another world was really funny; The scenes at NBC continue to kill especially George having to lie about losing the La Cocina script; Jerry getting a call from his mother while at NBC to get bitched out about being rude to Uncle Leo was so awesome; The issues between Jerry and the cop always crack me up, especially since the cop is played by Officer Tackleberry; Newman going through all this hassle for $75 is pretty funny, as is the big pratfall by both at the end of the court scene.
Aaron: Kramer killed me in this one. He’s just so good when he’s suffering from some sort of ailment. The Yo Yo Ma yelling cuts me to the core and his fall to close the courtroom scene is magnificent. He brought the flag down on the head of the judge. In fact all the courtroom stuff is brilliant. The whole scheme is so ridiculous to get out of paying 75 dollars, but Newman, thinking he was starring in “In The Heat Of The Night, ” was certainly game, dressed only in gusto and suspenders. George was also subtly good here, as he was way more subdued here but still nailed it with his weird shaving routines and his complete 180 in the second pitch meeting. I can’t wait until he finally gets a hold of that moving company. Jerry busting the cop’s balls is great stuff too, magnified by the fact that the cop is Tackleberry from Police Academy. Jerry’s lucky he wasn’t shot or at best beaten to a bloody pulp. He killed a cat in the first one for fuck’s sake.
Andrew: As I said, I really enjoyed Jerry and the cop, and the fact that he was played by Tackleberry didn’t hurt. Uncle Leo was awesome as always (“Nobody got a gun to ya head!”). George’s obsession with “Ted Danson money” is a favorite of mine, and I liked the throwaway bit about his shaving schedule being thrown off. Concussed Kramer is pretty funny, and he and Newman are always good together.
Jordan: Yo Yo Ma. I like George wondering how much they’ll get paid, then being bitter that it’s not Ted Danson money. Jerry’s talking down to George in that situation is great, reminding him he’s not as good as Danson. I liked the NBC exec’s asking to see George’s play, and his on the spot lie. Uncle Leo always delivers, and his discovery of a garbage watch is funny. Jerry’s mom then calling him to discuss being rude to Uncle Leo was a nice touch, but the fact that she called the NBC offices was even better. I also liked Jerry growing even more angry with the cop, muttering that a muffin is suitable. Of course, Kramer and Newman are incredible – the debate on why Kramer would kill himself was good: No AC or not being a banker? What will it take for the K-man to off himself? George was a little tame here, but he still managed to get some cheapskate responses in there with the dry cleaning bill.
What Didn’t Work
Justin: Susan sending a bill for $18 is pretty cheap considering her family money and job and George agreeing with my take pleased me; The psychiatrist annoys me for some reason; Newman examining witnesses as the defendant seems a little off; I don’t get why the officer couldn’t just escort Jerry and George out and then come back in to eat.
Aaron: I hate the psychiatrist. Why can’t he just sleep with Elaine. Believe me if I was in paradise with Elaine I would not be thinking for one minute about getting these stupid Seinfeld pieces done every Tuesday and Friday. Even the day after Christmas. I mean come on… Ummm… All that to say I’d be waist deep in sponges. Ewwww. Also I didn’t like that after all the whining and complaining to the cop about needing to be walked to his car, Jerry just walks out of the coffee shop without even bothering to check if Joe Davola was there. You were scared a minute ago. A small hole in what was otherwise a tightly written show.
Andrew: I don’t want to harp on it too much, but I’m still missing Elaine. There was a joke about Jerry having ordered the same stuff he was complaining about the cop having, but it didn’t land with the studio audience and maybe should have been cut. The stuff with the dry cleaning bill is a bit off; if George has the bill in the first scene, wouldn’t he and Susan have already discussed who’s paying for it? Why are they still talking about it after the meeting? And I’m not sure why Jerry wants Kramer to get an x-ray for a concussion; was that the best early 90s medical science could do?
Jordan: At this point, I think I’d rather Elaine be TOTALLY gone instead of the short scene with her boyfriend. It’s stupid, and it just reminds us, “Hey, Elaine isn’t here to do anything interesting.” The cop scene gave me some laughs, however there was a logic gap for me. Jerry was afraid to look out the window in case Davola saw him, so he asked the cop to escort him out, right? But if the cop was already in the diner, who cares if Davola saw Jerry peeking out? If he came inside to confront Jerry, the cop is right there. Jerry was covered, he had nothing to worry about!
Key Character Debuts
Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes
– “Can you get vomit out of suede?” – George
– “Yo Yo Ma!” – Kramer
– “All right, we’ll be a little late, I,m not taking a cab.” – George “I’ll pay for it.” – Jerry “It’s not the money!” – George “Well, what is it you object to? The comfort? The Speed? The convenience?” – Jerry
– “He used to be in the pajama business. I used to be able to get pajamas for free. I used to come over and get pajamas all the time!” – Uncle Leo “Oh yeah, yeah I remember…” – Jerry “The funny thing is: I can’t wear ’em. I get too hot. I sleep in my underwear and a t-shirt. If it gets too hot, I just get the t-shirt off! Anyway, Danny says to me: ‘You need any pajamas?'” – Uncle Leo
– “You know, I know plenty of people in Hollywood too!” – Uncle Leo
– “I was never able to become a banker.” – Kramer “Banker! So you’re killing yourself because your dreams of becoming a banker have gone unfulfilled. You-you-you-you can’t live without being a banker.” – Newman “Yeah, yeah. If I can’t be banker, I don’t wanna live.” – Kramer “You must be banker.” – Newman “MUST be banker.” – Kramer “Okay, we’ll go with the banker story.” – Newman
– “The story is the foundation of all entertainment. You must have a good story otherwise it’s just masturbation.” – George
– “That’s a pile of judgment there.” – George
– “I had gone up to Westchester. I go there every Tuesday. I do charity for the blind in my spare time for the Lighthouse. I was in the middle of a game of Parcheesi with an old blind man and I excused myself to call my friend as he was very depressed lately because he never became a banker.” – Newman “I don’t understand.” – Judge “You see, it’d been his lifelong dream to be a banker and he uh, just the day before he was turned down by another bank. I believe it was the Manufacturer’s Hanover on Lexington and 40th Street. That was the third bank to turn him down so I was-I was a little concerned. I wanted to see how he was doing. Well, Your Honor, he was barely audible. But I distinctly recall him say…” – Newman “Yo-Yo Ma!” – Kramer “So I sped home to save my friend’s life and I was stopped for speeding. Yes, I admit I was speeding but it was to save a man’s life. A close friend. An innocent person who wanted nothing more out of life than to love, to be loved and to be a banker.” – Newman “So then he didn’t kill himself.” – Judge “No sir. He did not. But only by the grace of God. He’s in the courtroom today” – Newman
– “That’s insulting! Ted Danson makes eight hundred thousand dollars an episode.” – George “Oh, would you stop with the Ted Danson?” – Jerry “Well, he does.” – George “You’re nuts!” – Jerry “I’m sorry. I can’t live knowing Ted Danson makes that much more than me. Who is he?” – George “He’s somebody.” – Jerry “What about me?” – George “You’re nobody.” – Jerry “Why him? Why not me?” – George “He’s good, you’re not.” – Jerry “I’m better than him.” – George “You’re worse, much much worse.” – Jerry
– “Pilot? So what do you make for something like that? Fifty? Sixty thousand?” – Newman ‘What’s the difference? The money is not important.” – George
Oddities & Fun Facts
– David Graf of Police Academy fame portrays the police officer
Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)
Justin: There were some good scenes in this one, but it was definitely a set back from the gold mine that was the previous installment. Jerry was great here and I loved the Danson, Leo and cop bits, but as an overall package it was a bit of wheel spinning. Now that the pilot is officially a go, the real fun should begin. Final Grade: 5/10
Aaron: Great stuff all around here. Some wonderful physical stuff from Kramer, a stellar performance by Jerry and while we may still be missing Elaine, we are treated to an crazy courtroom scene, and unshaven George and the incredible tension that comes from a potential Joe Davola kick to the head. Well Joe you don’t have to kick me. Final Grade: 8/10
Andrew: I thought this episode was just OK. There was some memorable stuff (“Ted Danson money” will be burned into my brain forever), but the episode overall doesn’t really land for me. Sure was nice to see Tackleberry though. Final Grade: 5/10
Jordan: I liked this. It moved the pilot storyline forward, and Susan and George groundwork is being laid for the future. While they are setting stuff up for down the road, Kramer and Newman carried the current stuff. Kramer’s Italian jibberish on the phone, his Yoyo Man yelping, and the exaggerated fall at the end was a great accompaniment to Newman’s overreacting about a $75 ticket. Still miss Elaine though. Final Grade: 7/10