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 was hoping for a Morty repeat victory but I have to go with George here as he was strong throughout. He was basically paying for his sins the whole time between tossing Jerry under the bus, pathetically begging Russell for an offer and sheepishly sharing the news with the Seinfelds. I will give an honorable mention to Dr. Reston, who is really good in his role.
Aaron: Kramer the actor is almost always guaranteed to get a pop out of me. It’s a small dose performance but his phone call from the 70’s sex harem continues my unfettered courtship with Michael Richards’ performance.
Andrew: I’ll go with George. As much as I loved cocky, strutting George in the previous episode, panicky, overcompensating George is even better. The desperate bargaining he does at Russell’s apartment is great, especially the overly deferential small talk (“Well, it’s a good looking piece of meat”). And I really enjoy the way he has to sheepishly come clean to Jerry in front of his parents.
Jordan: Thought about giving it to Leo here, but I couldn’t really justify it. Instead I’ll give it to George. Groveling George always provides the goods, and his attempts to make Russell lighten up were awkward and enjoyable. Then having to admit that he got $8,000 combined to Jerry was a fitting end to George “Not Ted Danson” Costanza.
Justin: I am going to go with Kramer and the good doctor. I loved the scene with the K-Man and Elaine prepping and also watching Dr. Reston mind-meld Kramer was a thing of beauty. By the end, Elaine is still stuck with her Svengali.
Aaron: Elaine trying to get out of her relationship with her doctor is what I kept coming back to here. It’s solid on its own with the inclusion of her boyfriend Kramer. Throw Flirtn’ Joe Davola in the mix and it starts to click on all cylinders.
Andrew: I liked Kramer pretending to be Elaine’s boyfriend the best. The one-sided phone telephone call is an excellent start, and it gets even better when he meets Dr. Reston face-to-face (the decaf cappuccino conversation always gets me). And I enjoy the coincidental aspect, with Elaine flirting with Davola on his way into the building, and he and Kramer just missing one another.
Jordan: Elaine’s desperate attempt to get out of a relationship. It gave us Kramer on the phone, meeting the doc and then Crazy Joe Davola pops in at the end. Fun stuff.
Ethical Dilemma of the Week
Justin: Should George have stolen Russell’s address from Susan? I guess. He was pretty desperate. He has some balls though, working his way all the way into the apartment. I am shocked Russell didn’t push harder and just accepted George’s rambling explanation about how he got there.
Aaron: Can you date someone who is an embarrassing idiot in a field that YOU work in? I can’t see any possible way that Susan continues to date George after the way he’s behaved in two meetings she’s been a part of. When he starts negotiating like an fool and demanding to have her boss’ address that should have been a deal breaker. And she dated him AFTER he’d acted like an idiot. I thought we went through this with Marlene? How do you date someone if you don’t respect what they do? I distinctly remember dating actresses who were fine people but then I saw them act and everything changed. I can’t do it. I can’t sit through any more Greek Tragedy that seems to be coming out of Treebeard’s mouth. I won’t!
Andrew: Was it OK for Uncle Leo to extort cash from Jerry for the watch? Money and family usually don’t mix, but in this case I can’t blame Leo: Jerry deserves to suffer a bit for throwing a watch in the trash. Who does that? As always, I blame the parents.
Jordan: So Jerry wanted to slip his dad some money and buys him a wallet then stuffs it with cash. What a great son…except he skimps on the actual wallet! Morty is right. VELCRO? What is he, seven years old? If Jerry is going to splurge on his dad, he should have went all the way and got him a nice leather wallet with his initials monogrammed into it. No way Morty throws that out.
Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)
Justin: Dr. Reston and Kramer’s bromance was fantastic. They started as enemies, but by the end Kramer had given him his girlfriend and a Cuban cigar while also locking down a top notch psychiatrist at no cost. Take that Steve Wille! Relationship Grade: 10/10
Aaron: It’s wonderful that Queen Elsa was able to find love for herself after the terrible events that rocked her home kingdom of Arendelle. Trauma can always be difficult to conquer but the fact that she could Let It Go and triumph over a Frozen Heart is an inspiration to everyone everywhere. With Russell she discovered that Love Is An Open Door and while she may look pissed and furious to be alive, For The First Time In Forever she has a man who loves her for her and will put up with her shit. Relationship Grade: Brrrr/10
Andrew: I’m a bit surprised Jerry and Naomi even got to the point of a phone number exchange; having your mother push you to ask someone out is usually enough to kill all hope of romance. Elaine and Joe Davola, on the other hand, have immediate chemistry and a great “meet cute” story. The crazy guys get all the chicks. Relationship Grade: 5/10
Jordan: The waitress scores some points by calling Leo “Uncle Leo”, then she laughs. Jerry’s career and most of his social life involves joking, he’s right to be put off by the laugh. This will never work. Relationship Grade: 2/10
Justin: I love Helen trying to fix up Jerry at the restaurant and it was a nice dichotomy with Morty ranting about Jimmy Sherman’s shady practices; George selling out Jerry to Susan to make himself look good was great; Kramer and Elaine prepping for the phone call was really funny; Dr. Reston is a fantastic Svengali; Morty trying to pay the bill with no wallet is vintage Morty; George’s pathetic visit to Russell’s apartment is entertaining, with Russell being a sheathed and his wife being a bitch and it is all capped by George wanting to use the bathroom; Kramer sitting in the squeaky leather chair always makes me laugh loud, followed by the decaf cappuccino debate; Jerry hearing Naomi’s terrible laugh right after he gets her number is great, as is the close call for Kramer and Davola; George having take a beating by Jerry in front of the Seinfelds after already groveling to Russell was nice payback for his stupidity; Great callback from Helen with the “How can anybody not like you?” as was Jerry referencing the parking spot; Morty chucking the wallet full of cash in the trash can and Leo finding it was a perfect bookend.
Aaron: There was some pretty sweet editing going on with the juxtaposition of Jerry and Morty negotiating, Kramer and Elaine laughing and Jerry and Elaine giving phone numbers. I thought it was a clever device that didn’t overstay its welcome. Kramer’s confidence and bravado crumbling into a friendship with the psychiatrist is a great little arc. George Bonanza will never not be funny to me.
Andrew: I like the increasing emphasis on continuity; besides the obvious “to be continued…” threads, there’s the call-back with Leo getting the infamous “Parking Spot”, and some foreshadowing with Kramer’s trouble with matches and Naomi’s laugh. That stuff adds another layer of enjoyment now that I’m rewatching the series. The stuff with Jerry and his parents remains excellent (“I should drop dead if she’s not beautiful”), as is the haggling with Uncle Leo (“They give you some portion here, huh?”). Kramer’s critique of Reston’s building (“ it’s architecturally incorrect”) is a great throw-away line, and I love the doorman telling Russell a “George Bonanza” wants to see him.
Jordan: Helen was on fire here as the doting mother. I love how she is always questioning how anyone could not like Jerry. George starts things off with Susan and looks like a fool in her car, and then tops it with his Russell visit. Kramer’s phone call and subsequent visit to Elaine’s doctor friend were scenes only he could pull off, as they were rather dull on paper. Asking for decaf cappuccino was funny, as was the conversation ending by Kramer giving Doc his blessing on the Elaine front. Crazy Joe Davola still around is fun. Morty hating the wallet, and Leo finding it at the end was nice. I also liked Leo turning the screws on Jerry and getting $350 from him, way to go Leo! George having to give the details of his “victory” in front of the Seinfelds was a nice touch.
What Didn’t Work
Justin: The way Russell says “Costanza” bothers me.
Aaron: George is just a little too unlikable in this one. His best friend gets an offer to do a show on NBC, George interjects himself, turns down NBC’s offer, is forced to take a lesser offer and STILL doesn’t even offer to take less money than Jerry??? I know it’s in character but it’s just a bit too much for me. The intro (last week on Seinfeld) felt like I was about to watch an episode of Twin Peaks, with the absurd amount of storylines and the laughter removed. I’m sure if I looked hard enough someone has made a trailer of Seinfeld as a horror movie. I’m not going to do that. Nor am I going to look up Trust Buster. That’s quite some old school flirting from Elaine there. The kind of dated wordy flirting my stupid terrible acting ex would appreciate. So of course it doesn’t work for me!
Andrew: Jerry’s stand-up bits were a noticeable step down from the last episode. That’s about all I got.
Jordan: Elaine is a funny, smart, gorgeous woman who is somewhat successful in the big city…and she’s got a thing for Joe Davola? Why would she settle for him? I think we got a peek as to why her flirting is atrocious. STEP IT UP, BENES.
Key Character Debuts
Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes
– “I don’t understand this jeweller, Jimmy Sherman. He brings in a watch, it takes over a week to fix. He fixed
yours in one day.” – Morty “Oh, you know these jewellers, they’re enigmas. They’re mysteries, wrapped in a riddle.” – Jerry
– “No, no. I don’t wanna say it out loud. Kills the spontaneity. You know, Gleason, he never rehearsed.” – Kramer
– “Alright, fine. You figure something out. I’d be very curious to know how you pick up a check with no money. ‘Cause if this works, the whole monetary system’s obsolete, we’re back to wampum. I’m going to the bathroom.” – Jerry
– “They give you some portion here, huh?” – Uncle Leo
– “There’s a George Bonanza to see you.” – Doorman “Costanza. Costanza.” – George “George Costanza.” – Doorman “The guy who pitched him the show with the stories about nothing. Jerry Seinfeld. Jerry Seinfeld’s friend.” – George “Seinfeld friend.” – Doorman
– “Look at this building. What is this?” – Kramer “I don’t know. It’s a building.” – Elaine “The door’s on a diagonal.” – Kramer “So what?” – Elaine “It’s architecturally incorrect.” – Kramer
– “Oh, what time is it? Eight thirty? I’ll tell you what’s on. You got Major Dad, Blossom, very funny program…” – George “Blossom’s on Monday.” – Russell “Are you sure? Oh, look who I’m talking to. The president of NBC.” – George
– “Okay uh, yeah. I’ll have a uh, you have a decaf cappuccino?” – Kramer “I don’t think we have that.” – Dr. Reston “Well, that’s a little strange.” – Kramer “Uh, why does that surprise you?” – Dr. Reston “Well, it’s uh, it’s a very popular drink.” – Kramer “This is an office.” – Dr. Reston “That’s true. But, you know, I can’t help but think that uh…” – Kramer “So tell me Mister Kramer…” – Dr. Reston “…Okay, yes, shoot.” – Kramer
– “Oh yeah. Actually, I’m a little disappointed. I kind of had my eye on uncle Leo.” – Naomi
– “What ever happened with NBC and the deal?” – Helen “Ah, George turned it down.” – Jerry “He turned it down?” – Helen “Yeah.” – Jerry “Why did he do that?” – Helen “Because of Ted Danson.” – Jerry
Oddities & Fun Facts
– We see inside Kramer’s apartment for the first time
Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)
Justin: I may just have to start a new category for episodes like this as we start to reach pinnacle level Seinfeld. There aren’t going to be many bad episodes, if any. So, episodes like this may be our new baseline. It is still really good. There were pretty much no flaws. It advances storylines, provided lots of laughs and was excellently executed. But it was missing that special spark to elevate it to elite level. And that is where we now live with this rewatch. The range is Very Good to Elite. That is all. I really liked a lot of his episode and am continuing to dig the running story of the sitcom development. And Dr. Reston rules. Final Grade: 7/10
Aaron: This one was ok. Nothing stand out, but nothing bad either. I’d say slightly above average but definitely the worst of the season so far. That’s not so much of an indictment of The Watch, but more a celebration of the excellence we’ve been getting so far. Final Grade: 5/10
Andrew: I have no complaints about this episode, I enjoyed all the dialogue, and the storylines are improving in terms of season-long arcs. But at the same time, nothing about it blew me away, and I know there are some classic episodes soon to come. This is a cut above average, with some memorable lines, but not quite on the greatness level. Final Grade: 7/10
Jordan: This definitely felt like the second half of a two parter. If it was on it’s own, I may not like it as much, but since it is tied in with “The Wallet”, it benefits. Payoffs to stories, great supporting cast, callbacks to past moments (the parking spot)…this is Seinfeld in a bubble. Or is that the next episode? Final Grade: 6/10