Seinfeld: The PTBN Series Rewatch – “The Barber” (S5, E8)

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: Man, lots to love here but I will go with Uncle Enzo. His passion and fire was unmatched and his detective skills are amazing. I still use “IT’S ENZO MANGANARO” to this day when I knock on a door. It is a relatable story too, poor bastard. Jerry and Gino were top notch here as well.

Aaron: Enzo is everything you could want in a Seinfeld character: passionate, outlandish and angry beyond measure. The man seeps emotion out of every pore. What a roller coaster it must be to be attached to this man. One minute he’s apologizing for not fully appreciating Johnny Depp ability to “A making a him cry,” in Edward Scissorhands, the next he’s pursuing a vendetta that will only be quenched when he bathes in Jerry’s blood. I really hope this isn’t Larry David’s view of Italians.

Andrew: Call me crazy, but I think Uncle Enzo was the best character. He really adds a lot to the storyline, with all the flattery, jealousy, and anger. And he just makes me laugh, especially when he’s crying watching Edward Scissorhands. Who is it? “It’s Enzo Manganaro!”

Jordan: I could follow suit and go with Enzo since everyone else did….but I feel like I liked Newman more here. From haggling free haircuts and a comb with Enzo, to being ultra stealth in Jerry’s apartment, and the sheer terror at the end, I felt like this was the best Newman episode yet.

Jason: I’m stepping outside of the box here and not going with one of the core four characters. Uncle Enzo for the win! He edges Jerry by a hair (pun intended). A shitty barber, but a stand up guy.

Best Storyline

JT: Easily the haircut stuff. Between Jerry’s absurd hack job, the torrid affair between Gino and Jerome, Enzo’s sleuthing and discovery of the betrayal and Newman getting shaved clean, what is not to love? One of my favorite storylines of the season by far.

Aaron: George and the confounding Penske file has been a favourite of mine for almost twenty years. He has no clue if he’s even hired for the job, yet he shows up, ensconces himself, attends company functions and drums up a storm that would make Neil Peart vomit into his newly worn shoes. George’s bravado to attempt to bullshit the system is admirable. The fact that it always ends with him unemployed/unemployable is why we keep coming back.

Andrew: As much as I enjoy George’s adventures with the Penske file, I have to pick the barber storyline. I really enjoy the parallels between changing barbers and having an affair, and the “Barber of Seville” music adds a lot to it. Adding in Newman is a nice bonus, especially the after credits payoff.

Jordan: This is a real tossup between all the barber stuff and George’s new job. I wouldn’t fault anyone for going with George, but I feel like the barber stuff was really well done and unique for the show, which I’ll get to later. Plus, Enzo was a good character and it gave us all the Newman stuff.

Jason: Everything with George is excellent, but the love triangle with Jerry, Enzo and Gino is a ton of laughs every time.

Ethical Dilemma of the Week

JT: Who is Mr. Tuttle to determine if someone is Penske material? Only Arthur Penske should make that sort of determination, and he clearly did. Unless your last name is Penske, mind your business when it comes to hiring talent for Penske Enterprises.

Aaron: If sodomy is a pre requisite for a job should you take said job? I’m a firm believer in “Everybody’s got a price.” If I’m paid enough to do a job I’ll gladly take the sodomy. We’d have to set down some guidelines such as frequency, force and the ability to swap slash take turns, but make no mistake about it, there is a cash figure that would happily get me to drop my pants and head into work everyday with a smile on my face and a tear in my heart. And don’t for a second get sanctimonious on me and say you wouldn’t do it. Bullshit. You would. Everybody would. Prices may differ but the result is the same: we’d all be gainfully employed.

Andrew: How much loyalty do you owe to a barber? It’s basically just a business relationship, and isn’t the consumer’s freedom to move from one service provider to another a key principle of capitalism? That said, I think I’d rather fake my own death than tell my barber I’m going to see someone else.

Jordan: How WOULD Edward Scissorhands go to the bathroom? I know he is supposedly created by a loving father, but that seems unnecessarily cruel and hateful.

Jason: Should George have called Mr. Tuttle to see if he got the job, even though George told him he understood everything? Of course…

Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)

JT: Gino and Jerry…relationship name…Gerry. Kramer made the match and it was instant sparks and love at first sight. From the first time Gino’s scissor brushed a wisp of Jerry’s hair to their first official date watching Edward Scissorhands, it was forever meant to be. Relationship Grade: 10/10

Aaron: Jerry and Gino were made for each other. Jerry knew the minute Gino laid hands on his gorgeous head of hair. Enzo shouldn’t have taken Jerry for granted. Cinderella was right “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” Relationship Grade: 10/10

Andrew: It can be exciting to see someone new, someone slow, gentle, attentive; but is it worth the fallout when you’re found out? Relationship Grade: Figaro/10

Jordan: Gino is the stuff dreams are made of. Attentive, considerate, young and ambitious. He is so out of Jerry’s league. His scissors were real, and they were spectacular! Relationship Grade: 10/10

Jason: Newman doing whatever it takes to fuck Jerry over is a bit that gets better as the series rolls along. Jerry is in a tough spot with trying to switch over from Uncle Enzo to Gino. Enzo is a good guy, so I don’t blame Jerry for not wanting to let him down. Kramer is always there for his buddy Jerry, including an arrangement for Gino to fix his hair. Relationship Grade: How you doin?/10

What Worked:

JT: The sodomy line is a little edgy by Jerome; George’s interview situation is perfect Costanza, that could only happen to him; Jerry’s haircut is pretty amazing; George’s pan is really enjoyable, including taking the smaller office; The Penske File is the only file; Elaine’s burst of laughter at Jerry’s hair was perfectly executed and felt very real, which it probably was; I love the ongoing, never-ending Edward Scissorhands debate; I enjoyed the Barber of Seville music used between and during scenes in this episode, it fit and was a nice break; The haircut at Gino’s apartment paralleling an affair was tremendous; I love that Enzo recognizes Jerry’s hair; Newman’s “A little crooked” line always makes me chuckle; Newman feigning having to piss and then trying to snag Jerry’s hair was great too; Kramer on the runway with Elaine desperately selling him is phenomenal; IT’S AH ENZO MANGANARO!; Great payoff with Jerry scalping Newman

Aaron: I love Elaine’s bachelor auction and everything that went along with it; including Kramer’s claim that he’d “Raise enough money to cure polio.” His strut was magnificent and his fall off the runway sublime. Not bad for someone with a high school equivalency. His reaction to Jerry’s haircut and the enraged concern in his voice as he screamed, “You’re destroying yourself,” paint the picture of the best friend you could ever dream of. I already sort of touched on Enzo but the fury in his eyes as he examines Jerry’s hair always kills me. His enlisting of Newman is genius, who, in turn, holds out doing the job until he’s offered a comb of all things. These are all great micro details but on the macro level the writing is once again seamlessly intertwined between the three story lines, and using duelling barbers as an allegory for infidelity is pure brilliance.

Andrew: As I said earlier, the “cheating on your barber” storyline is a good one, especially with the opera music thrown in. George’s story is good too; the interrupted conversations are funny, and the “I’ll just show up” idea is brilliant. The bachelor auction may just be an excuse to give Kramer and Elaine something to do, but it works really well, especially when the K-Man is doing his little turn on the catwalk. And Elaine laughing at Jerry’s haircut is fantastic. I think it was a good move to drop the closing stand up for the final scene with George and Mr. Penske. I don’t have a sense of how often that happens, but it worked well here, and I enjoyed the post-credits shot of bald Newman even more.

Jordan: I mean this in a good way, but this one felt very sitcom-y, with the wacky hiding of barbers and hair. I wouldn’t want it to happen every episode, but I feel like it was a nice switch up here. Everything about the barber storyline works – the way it’s presented as a love triangle, the repeated Edward Scissorhands references, Jerry’s awful haircut, Newman’s evil plan paying off. I especially liked that Newman couldn’t find a hair in Jerry’s bathroom, great character touch. This alone makes for a good episode, but you’ve also got all the stuff with George at his new job. Trying to figure out what his boss was going to say with everyone was fun, and when it happens again with Penske and we get a payoff, it’s satisfying. I like that he simply puts the Penske file in another folder, and it impresses Penske a lot.

Jason: Oh my God, Elaine’s reaction to Jerry’s haircut is unbelievable. Her laughing so hard that George breaks was so good. A great call back to “The Mango” by Elaine at the auction saying that Kramer enjoys fruit. Opera music being played in every scene with Uncle Enzo and Gino was a nice touch. Good call by Enzo for calling out how Edward Scissorhands goes to the bathroom and even wipes his ass. George’s line after being handed the Penske file is a laugh every time. “… we’ll straighten him out.”

What Didn’t Work

JT: George having to kill a full work day with no distractions makes me nauseous

Aaron: That haircut was brutal, the hat more brutal. Mr. Penske’s judgement: most brutal.

Andrew: I can’t put my finger on the reason, but the dialogue felt a bit lacking. Maybe it’s just that I enjoyed last week’s so much.

Jordan: I thought the Kramer in an auction story went nowhere. Show him on a date, or better yet, have the kavorka overwhelm the women into a massive bidding war, stunning Elaine.

Jason: Major wardrobe fails by Jerry. The purple sweater followed by the flannel shirt with the Queens College hat was awful. Also, what was up with the hideous rug in Gino’s appartment. He might be a great barber, but needs to interior decorating tips.

Key Character Debuts

Mr. Tuttle

Arthur Penske

Uncle Enzo Manganaro

Gino Manginero

Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes

– “Well George we here at Sanalac like to think of ourselves as a fairly progressive company. We have a small but prestigious group of clients.” – Mr. Tuttle “Well a lot of people consider me small and prestigious.” – George

– “I want you to have this job, of course sodomy is a prerequisite.” – Jerry

– “And you didn’t ask me to do it? I could raise enough money to cure polio.” – Kramer “I believe they’ve had a cure for polio for quite some time.” – Jerry “Polio?” – Kramer

– “You tell the joke, I cut the hair.” – Uncle Enzo

– “No way my Gino did that. It’s an Enzo.” – Kramer

– “”Oh, ah, let’s see, we’ve got two. There’s a big one down the hall there and a small one over here. You know I should ask Jack.” – Mike “Oh leave Jack alone. Jack’s got enough problems. I’ll just take the small office.” – George

– “So I love the Edward Scissorhands. That’s the best movie I’ve ever seen.” – Gino “Oh ah, again with the Edward Scissorhands. How can you have hand like scissors, huh? Show me one person who’s got hand like scissors.” – Enzo “Hey, it’s a beautiful dream. I’d love to be this man.” – Gino “Did you ever think about what you’re going to do on the toilet? What are you going to do on the toilet?” – Enzo “I’d like to have shoehorn hands.” – Kramer

– “Boy, you’ve got a beautiful head of hair.” – Gino “Thank you.” – Jerry “I bet uncle Enzo, he tell you that all the time.” – Gino “Well actually Enzo hasn’t said that to me in a while.” – Jerry

– “You do haircut in the apartment?” – Enzo “No. Pizza man was here. Maybe some fall off. He’s going bald.” – Gino

– “Jerry, the auction is in a few hours.” – Elaine “Take the K-Man.” – Jerry “You can still go.” – Elaine “What are you kidding? Look at him. He’s grotesque.” – Kramer “You think?” – Elaine “Do I think? He’s repugnant.” – Kramer

– “You happy with the haircut?” – Enzo “It’s okay. A little crooked.” – Newman

– “Okay next bachelor is number, um 124 on your program. He’s uh, he’s a high school graduate.” – Elaine “Equivalent.” – Kramer “Oh, uh equivalency. A high school equivalency program graduate. He’s uh, self-employed. He’s…I don’t know, six foot three, 190 pounds, he likes, uh… fruit, and he just got uh, a haircut…Okay uh, why don’t we start the bidding. Do I hear, uh, five bucks?” – Elaine

– “You’re not Penske material.” – Tuttle “Well, we’ll just see about that. Ta-ta, Tut-tle.” – George

Oddities & Fun Facts

– The soundtrack from this episode is from the “Barber of Seville”

Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)

JT: Hot damn, I love this episode. It has some great quotes, memorable moments and a hilarious main storyline buttressed by two really funny subplots. George’s employment snafu was really well developed and executed and Kramer’s strut down the catwalk is great too. Enzo and Gino were fantastic and Jerry played the confused, stuck in the middle lover to perfection. Newman as the henchman was a great choice too. “IT’S ENZO MANGANARO! This episode is easily Penske material. Final Grade: 8/10

Aaron: Fantastic episode top to bottom, where everyone was clicking on all cylinders. The main cast and guest stars all come together to bring a wonderful script to life. It’s episodes like this that make this project fun to do. Final Grade: 9/10

Andrew: This is a really solid episode, with creative stories and good performances from everyone. But where it really shines is in memorability. I’ll never forget the shout of “Enzo Manganaro!” coming from the other side of Jerry’s door, or the Penske file, or even Kramer falling off the catwalk. And that should count for something. Final Grade: 8/10

Jordan: Really fun episode with great supporting characters in Enzo, Gino, and of course Newman. Every episode should have George at work, finding ways to not actually do any work. I feel like Elaine was kind of wasted here as a background character, but there was so much going on, I’m not sure where you’d fit her in anyway. Final Grade: 8/10

Jason: I wish Unlce Enzo and Gino appeared in more episodes. Enzo on the witness stand in “The Finale” would have been fun. Nevertheless, another solid episode with tons of laughs. Bullshitting George and evil Newman killed it. Jerry’s little kid haircut was tremendous. I feel like this episode gets lost in the shuffle of this season and is worth a watch. Final Grade: 8/10