Seinfeld: The PTBN Series Rewatch – “The Wait Out” (S7, E23)

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 will go with Kramer and Mickey here. Nobody else did much of anything of substance. Mickey’s anger at everything is always entertaining and Kramer’s jeans are the most memorable part of this one.

Aaron: If this rewatch has taught me nothing else it’s that Michael Richards is perhaps the finest physical comedian I have ever seen. His business with the jeans throughout is nothing short of brilliant. Something as banal as the inability to sit ruins a little person’s audition and probably leads to the K-Man being incarcerated for some form of child abuse. And while the Frankenstein stuff toed the line of believability I accept it because it’s a child reacting to the monstrosity. A mediocre physical comedian would simply act stiff while showing the discomfort of the slim fit jeans, a genius flops around and drags a rotary telephone into the mix.

Andrew: I think I’ll go with Kramer again. I like seeing him humanized a bit, with his vanity compelling him to squeeze into some slim fit jeans. Jerry trying to help him get the pants off is the most memorable part of the episode. And his chemistry with Mickey is enough to put him over the top.

Jordan: Kramer takes this one – the jeans could have been really stupid, but his over the top selling of them was just so stinking fun to watch. I even bought into the Frankenstein babysitter story, despite the ugly kid’s terrible acting. Props to Mickey too, a character I feel doesn’t ever get enough love from Seinfeld fans.

Jason: In an episode that had very little to chose from, Kramer runs away with this one. His physical comedy with the dungarees was fantastic. From Jerry helping him with taking the jeans off, to not being able to sit down at Mickey’s audition and the same thing while in for questioning.

Best Storyline

JT: The Wait Out by default. Some of the early lines by Jerry and Elaine were funny and I liked their scheming and celebrating plus George getting all excited that Susan was going dump him was a nice touch.

Aaron: I love the idea of Elaine and Jerry waiting out the marriage. For three years. It’s completely despicable that these two pick the bones of Beth and David’s marriage, but at least it leads to a glimmer of hope for our good friend George Costanza. They treat Georgie boy like a hero for ruining a marriage. Isn’t that the whole show in a nutshell?

Andrew: I like The Wait Out itself, I think. The idea of waiting for a marriage to crash and burn so that the former spouses reenter the dating pool is admirably dark. And I love the way Elaine shamelessly takes such pleasure in the whole process: the planning, the celebrating, the gloating. Good stuff.

Jordan: I’ll go with Elaine’s driving actually. Partly to be a little different, partly because it was a fun quirk to see such a beautiful, perfect woman have such a terrible flaw. It makes her attainable to good driving schmucks like me!

Jason: I guess I’ll go with the wait out stuff. There was a lot missing, but I enjoyed Elaine’s “I’m there for you” plan and George being the middle person with the whole ordeal.

Ethical Dilemma of the Week

JT: If you broke up a marriage with a joke should you feel bad and attempt to fix it? No, if a marriage can be broken up by a joke it is a shit marriage anyway and bound to fail. Flame on, Georgie Boy.

Aaron: Should a person who is simply joyful at the fact that she hit a dog with a car be given a driver’s license? There are literally moments where Elaine swerves the car so hard that her body goes horizontal in the seat. Did I enjoy her pure glee as she butchered a parking spot? Yes. Have I been in a car with someone who has made me want to throw up? Absolutely. Should Elaine be driving a car? Nope. Keep in mind I say this coming from Montreal where the roads are a literal war zone.

Andrew: Should you tell someone they are a terrible driver? My guess is that ninety percent of drivers think they are above average, and would just take it as a personal attack without addressing the issue at all. Some things you just need to let go of, I guess.

Jordan: Should Susan have demanded to be alone while making the decision about the chicken? It’s George’s wedding too, and I feel this was a really selfish move on her part, and the envelopes that are soon to come are well deserved. Shame on you, Susan.

Jason: If your friend is a shitty driver, should you tell them that they are? Hell yes! Elaine was horrible behind the wheel. The New York State DMV should review this footage and revoke her license.

Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)

JT: Is David Lookner an idiot for breaking up with prime Debra Messing? Yes, yes he is. Relationship Grade: 0/10

Aaron: You know what? I’m fine with Westley banging Elaine. Relationship Grade: 10/10

Andrew: If you have a chance to date The Dread Pirate Roberts, you gotta go for it, even if it means breaking up a marriage. Relationship Grade: Breathing new life into him /10 

Jordan: The Mysteries of Laura and the Dread Pirate Roberts were a match made in heaven. THEN SHALLOW HAL’S FRIEND HAD TO RUIN IT! Relationship Grade: He had a vestigial tail/10

Jason: The Jerry, Elaine, David and Beth orgy… coming to an adult site near you soon. Relationship Grade: Seinturbate/10

What Worked:

JT: Elaine’s hair, hache mache; Debra Messing, hache mache; George telling Beth she could have done better; Mickey!; Taut pre-teen Swedish boy; Kramer strutting in wearing the slim jeans and then Jerry trying to get them off; Jerry saying three years is a long time to be married; “Flesh Wounds in Ithaca”; Kramer falling on the stage; Jerry and Elaine celebrating their dinners and Elaine using the rhetorical questions; The tree way dance blocking the door and George showing up to Beth’s all disheveled; George trolling Jerry with his own style of bit on the phone; David getting payback on George but bagging on him to Susan; Joey thinking Kramer was a monster; George celebrating Susan contemplating breaking him; Mickey saying goodnight

Aaron: All the jeans stuff is legendary. All of it. Even when it destroys a scene from the play “Flesh Wounds in Ithica.” I should write the theatrical company and inquire about the rights to Ithica. Jerry and Elaine are at their malevolent best here. “That there for you crap was a stroke of genius,” is delivered with the perfect amount of ecstasy and villainy. The alliteration gods were proud of Elaine as she declare them to be in perfect pouncing position. George also has a stellar outing here. One might be led to believe that the popular Curbed career of “social assassin” was born out of the Wait Out. He so causally tells Beth that she could do better, and while he suffers a rare case of remorse manages to use the situation to almost get out of his marriage. His recounting of Cary Elwes doing stuff just to get back at him (JUST TO GET BACK AT HIM!!!) is the most elated he’s been since he scared those seagulls off the dock all those months ago. I also love that he stops to ask if Jerry’s sickness is hurting his enjoyment of the story. He just NEEDS that validation, even in a moment of absolute triumph. Man if it wasn’t for those jeans he would walk away with this episode. He’s ALREADY packing Susan’s stuff when she comes home only to be crushed by Susan’s hours of thinking only resulting in a change in the menu. The show even ends strong with a scream in the night which “must have something to do with Kramer.”

Andrew: It’s always good to see Mickey in an episode, especially when he’s feuding with Kramer. Cosmo’s physical comedy with the jeans is good, too. I enjoyed seeing the darker, uncaring sides of Jerry and Elaine again, and I thought her performance was especially good. George once again getting his hopes up about getting out of his engagement is solid.

Jordan: Elaine’s hair. The wait out premise is fun and has some good conversations. Kramer trying to take off jeans with Jerry’s help was great, and it feels like there was an unscripted moment in there where Kramer says, “You better grab me!” I loved Mickey thinking Kramer could be counted on for anything, and also him blowing the babysitting ruse by saying goodnight. Franken-Kramer was awesome. Elaine’s driving and Elaine’s hair are both fabulous. Feel like I’m being brief, but overall there was a lot to like here.

Jason: Elaine’s new hair style, what a smoke show! David being spongeworthy; Elaine driving like a maniac; Jerry getting car sick; Elaine slamming on the brakes after hearing Beth and David broke up; Jerry and Elaine “moving in” on Beth and David; “I’m there for you” to just “there”; Kramer’s jeans being slim fit; Jerry’s jaws of life line about taking Kramer’s jeans off; David asking questions to himself out loud and then answering them; Kramer showing up to Mickey’s audition in the jeans; Mickey losing his shit when Kramer can’t sit down; “Sit down, you big stupid ape!” Elaine asking herself questions like David does; Elaine and Jerry congratulating George for his line to David; Elaine and Jerry’s finger snap and hip thrust; the tussle with Elaine, Jerry and George; 1996 Debra Messing!!!!! George’s “Hello?” to Jerry on the phone; George and Susan back at the coffee shop talking show laces was a nice touch; George thinking that David telling Susan that she could have done better than him will have her call off the marriage; Joey thinking that Kramer is Frankenstein; Mickey laying in Joey’s bed when Mrs. Zambeno gets home and his ‘Goodnight.” Elaine pounding a drink while Beth and David are making out; Susan deciding to go with the chicken; Kramer not being able to sit down during questioning.

What Didn’t Work

JT: How did Kramer get the jeans on?; Susan’s ponderous facial expression was rough; The punchline of Susan saying she wanted the chicken was a funny laugh but confusing and they didn’t really flesh out why she was fucking with George

Aaron: David asking himself questions would surely get annoying but Elaine is clearly only in it for the night bang. What’s a night bang? What’s night? What are stars? BANG! I CAN FLY! I’m A DRAGON!

Andrew: It’s weird when George is the only character showing any remorse.

Jordan: I didn’t like that George felt bad about breaking up David and Beth, it was out of character and I felt like he should have been the one to set up David planting seeds of doubt in Susan’s mind.

Jason: There’s A LOT that didn’t work here.  The entire episode felt rushed with plenty missing.

Key Character Debuts

– Beth Lookner

– David Lookner

Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes

– “A physician married to a salesman. Well, I gotta tell you, Beth, you coulda done a lot better than him.” – George

– “Hey, I got the body of a.. taught, pre-teen, Swedish boy.” – Kramer

– “It’s like when someone dies in a rent controlled building – you gotta take immediate action.” – Jerry “Yeeah, but David and Beth are going to need their grieving time.” – Elaine “Their grieving time is a luxury I can’t afford. I’m calling Beth tonight, and if you want a clean shot at David, I suggest you do likewise.” – Jerry

– “Yeah, they’re streamlined.” – Kramer “You’re walkin’ like Frankenstein!” – Jerry

– “Well three years is a long time to be married.” – Jerry

– “Well, David the thing about George is that he’s an idiot.” – Elaine

– “George what the hell are you doing over there? I told you to mind your own business now stay out of my affairs!” – Jerry “Oh Jerry, that is so sweet of you but actually i already ate.” – George “Ate? What? What the hell are you talking about? Now you listen to me, you get out of that apartment this instant. If you screw this up for me I swear…” – Jerry “Chocolate chip mint? Oh well, actually Jerry I prefer chocolate chip. What is it about the chocolate and the mint that makes it go so well together?” – George “What are you talking about?” – Jerry “Oh of course you can use it, sure.” – George

Oddities & Fun Facts

– Elaine claims David is “sponge worthy”, a callback to The Sponge (S7, E9)

– George mentions Susan buying him shoelaces, which is a callback to The Friars Club (S7, E18)

Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)

JT: We are starting to limp towards the finish here. While I don’t think this was bad by any means, it just was sort of… there… for us? It never felt to get out of first gear and a lot of the jokes didn’t feel fleshed out. It was like they took a handful of ideas they had left for the season and jumbled them in this episode to get them to the finale. I did enjoy the teases about George and Susan, a nice call back to how the season started. And speaking of call backs, one of the best parts of season seven has been all the random comments and references to previous episodes. This had potential but they never really figured it out. Final Grade: 5/10

Aaron: I LOVED this one on rewatch. I thought everyone excelled and the writing was nearly perfect. Everything was neatly wrapped up and not a word was spoken which didn’t drive the plot forward while busting my gut. It’s the complete opposite of some of the lazier episodes we’ve seen in season seven. I even liked Mickey. I usually loathe that guy. I can’t stress enough how brilliant Kramer was throughout. An all time performance in an ultra strong episode. Final Grade: 9/10

Andrew: This is another episode that seemed better in my memory; the jeans stuff in particular has always stayed with me. But nothing in this episode seems that special on rewatch, so maybe it’s just that I’ve seen this episode so many times. It’s a solid effort, and I like the ambitiously dark plot, but this episode doesn’t quite get there. Final Grade: 5/10

Jordan: I mean, I didn’t love it like Aaron, but I didn’t hate it like Jason. I felt this one was perfectly fine, but not outstanding. Kramer’s pants fiasco was really well done and led to a good story with the babysitter, and the wait out had some fun moments, but it definitely doesn’t hold up as an all time classic. Forgettable more than terrible for me. Final Grade: 6/10

Jason: Oy vey, this was not good at all. With the exception of Kramer, this was not a good episode. As I said above, this episode felt rushed and had very lazy writing. Not a good showing at all this far in the series. I haven’t watched this episode much when it’s shown in syndication because it’s a hard one to get through. It was even harder to get through for this column. Final Grade: 3/10