Seinfeld: The PTBN Series Rewatch – “The Big Salad” (S6, E2)

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: I really enjoyed Jerry here and Newman was great in his brief scenes, but I have to go with Kramer this time around. The way he popped in and out all episode with updates on the Gendason situation was great and watching it all unfold and payoff with the police chase was well done. The final scene was great too with them bickering over which roads to take while evading a monster police brigade.

Aaron: There’s a lot to love here but Elaine slayed me in this one. From her all encompassing job description to the pure loathing she shows George while in the back of the taxi it all kills. By the time she accepts a date with the slow talking stationary guy with absolute disgust on her face she’s already wormed her way into all of our hearts.

Andrew: No one jumps out as an obvious choice, but I think George was the best. He’s pretty great at conveying the discomfort of dating someone smarter than you, right down to his attempt to break through the uncomfortable tension with some inane trivia. I also enjoy remembering Bobby Hebert. And George’s cheapness is always good for a solid storyline.

Jordan: I was set to give this to George with the whole salad ordeal, but Kramer won it with the final scene. He was solid throughout with his paranoia and fear that his golf ruling may have led to a murder, but the phone call and Bronco chase at the end puts him over the top. Sorry George!

Jason: No one had a breakthrough performance here, but I’ll go with Jerry.  His obsession with finding out why Newman dumped Margaret was quite enjoyable.

Best Storyline

JT: I will stick with Kramer and Gendason. The big salad was really good but the Kramer stuff just stood out more to me as the episode wore on. I almost lost it when they found out the guy was murdered with a golf tee. George’s eventual meltdown and rant about the salad after being so arrogant about buying everyone lunch was really great too.

Aaron: The slow eating away at George’s brain by the often mentioned Big Salad. The sad saga over something so banal manages to destroy a relationship and strain an already awkward friendship, perhaps beyond repair…

Andrew: Definitely Jerry’s obsession with Margaret’s past relationship with Newman. Dwelling on your girlfriend’s previous sexual partners is never a good idea, but I can certainly see why Jerry was having trouble letting that one go. I understand his obsessing over what made her unworthy in Newman’s eyes, but I would have been way more worried about the implications of a woman being attracted to both Newman and myself. To each their own, I guess.

Jordan: Since George did such a good job but didn’t get best character, I’ll give his story the W here. The big salad was a fun one, with George getting agitated over the tiniest detail and making it into a huge ordeal. And of course he blames Elaine for it all at the end.

Jason: The big salad stuff had it’s moments as did the Kramer & Gendason’s OJ parody stuff, which was better than I remembered. But, Jerry finding out Newman dated Margaret takes it for me.

Ethical Dilemma of the Week

JT: Should Kramer really feel guilty about the murder of poor little Pinkus? Gendason seemed like a loose cannon that could pop at any moment and he obviously had long brewing issues with Pinkus. The K-Man was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sure, he didn’t help things but Pinkus was probably destined to meet a tee-induced end either way.

Aaron: If your fat fuck of an mailman bangs your girlfriend before you should you continue your planned courtship? Nope.

Andrew: So Julie is upset that George told Elaine he bought the salad. But in noticing that, she reveals that she is perfectly aware of the fact that handing over the salad implied that she had paid for it. In effect, she really was trying to take credit all along, and is only mad because George spoke up for himself. Seems to me like she’s the monster here.

Jordan: If you are awarded a penalty stroke at the golf course, is that reason enough to murder a dry cleaner? I say yes. Yes it is.

Jason: If you pay for someone’s to-go meal and another person takes credit for it, is that worth arguing over? C’mon Georgie Boy! Julie is way above your league to begin with.

Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)

JT: Julie was…not someone I want to see more of. She was both annoying but also way above George so it didn’t fit on either level. I did like that she easily outsmarted George at the end, proving his mind tricks don’t always work. Margaret was fine, but the stank of Newman was just much for Jerry to get past. And really, can you blame him? Relationship Grade: Rat’s Nest/10

Aaron: George had no business dating Julie. Sure she’s not as breathtakingly out of his league as most women on the show, but his attempt to discuss quarterbacks with his intellectual girlfriend should have probably been a warning sign that a break up was imminent. Jerry’s right to cut and run on Margaret. I guess it’s up to Elaine to brave the stationary store guy if anyone has a hope of happiness here. Relationship Grade: Let’s stop doing this one.

Andrew: As previously discussed, Julie is a credit-stealing monster. The stationary store guy is a creep. And while I liked Margaret, I can’t blame Jerry for having an issue with the Newman thing. No one’s love life is going well here. Relationship Grade: I think he’s got ideas/10 

Jordan: You know, I don’t think anyone PLANS to sell stationary for a living, sometimes it just happens. What led him to this path? At what point did he lose his passion for life? Elaine looks down upon him, but I feel she is just the spark that Stiles needs to rekindle his high school bravado. I like to imagine their date was just like when Stiles and Scott would cruise the town before big games, with Elaine dancing on the roof of the van as Stiles rode down the street past the hardware store. Thank you, Elaine. You may have reignited this mans passion in life. Relationship Grade: TEEN WOLF/10

Jason: As I mentioned earlier, Julie was way above George’s league. On the other hand, Margaret was was below Jerry’s. Regardless if she dated Newman or not, she wasn’t Jerome material. Poor Laney. Stationary guy was a major creep from the get go. Relationship Grade: Bobby Hebert/10

What Worked:

JT: The Rollamech 1000; I love how Mr. Pitt’s eccentricities are already coming out; Gendason; Kramer’s telling of the fight was tremendous; Bobby Hebert; The whole big salad fiasco was vintage Costanza and a very Larry David type issue; Jerry’s smarmy “bye bye” to Julie made me chuckle; The guy constantly calling to update the pencil order was great; The Newman/Margaret web was tremendous; Gendason killing the dry cleaner with the tee was a nice tie-in; Jerry and Elaine talking about Newman in the coffee shop was great and the Twinkie line is one of my favorites; Newman’s digs about Margaret were so well delivered; Poor little Pinkus; Elaine breaking the heart of the clerk and his guilt trip; Jerry being unable to kiss Margaret wrapped that story up well; The OJ spoof was timely and well done and didn’t feel forced at all

Aaron: I love that they keep saying “Big Salad.” It’s funny to say and funnier when it’s repeated every time they talk about it. Stationary slow talker was pretty great especially when he threatened Elaine with “You’ll be hearing from me.” George drawing out ownership over the big salad in the back of the taxi is only outdone by Elaine being completely done with him and tearing at her face. Kramer causing the brutal golf induced murder of a dry cleaner is wildly absurd and entertaining. His obsession of the rules based on possibly being abused after 9PM as a child is wonderfully dark. Newman is glorious in his gloating, giggling and glee. Elaine’s line reading of “You want me to give you the money for the big salad?” is pretty much perfect. As is George’s BIG SALAD mini dance. I think the show as a whole can be summed up in two moments here: the first is when George asks, “Did you see what just happened here?” And Jerry replies, “Well that depends…” It perfectly sums up the sheer joy the writers find in the minutia of life. When that minutia is infused with the absurdity of “He was so mad from the penalty stroke that he murdered the dry cleaner.” You have a classic on your hand.

Andrew: I enjoyed the creepiness of the stationary store guy. Elaine’s face when George is going on about the salad is fantastic. Kramer gets to do some quality storytelling in this episode, and has some great lines as well (“Poor little Pinkus”). Jerry has some good moments as well, and I especially enjoyed his Larry David-esque peer into Margaret’s face, followed by an epic wince.

Jordan: Elaine wanting a “big salad” from the diner was funny enough – the fact it is then mentioned 50 times and leads to a George meltdown and breakup is just icing on the…salad? I did like George trying to convince Julie he knew anything she was talking about. Stiles from Teen Wolf was great as the creepy salesman, and Elaine winding up dating him anyway was a nice twist. Jerry was good throughout, unable to come to grips with the fact that he was interest in Newman’s leftovers. Newman KNOWING that Jerry was irked by it was an even better layer to it, he finally got to put the screws to old Jerome. Kramer and Gendason and the unraveling of the murder story was a lot of fun.

Jason: A smart move by Elaine by giving stationary creep Jerry’s phone number and not dropping her last name to him. Kramer’s Gendason story from the golf course and tying in everything with OJ was brilliant. Jerry’s gag about what’s in a big salad was tremendous; tomatoes like volleyballs. Jerry’s bit about not going out in public on a date was great. Kramer’s, “without rules, there’s chaos” and “poor little Pinkus”. Having Newman previously date a girl Jerry is currently dating was brilliant writing. Jerry’s rant about how Newman will see anyone willing to see him. Jerry refusing to kiss Margaret because he sees Newman’s face in hers; Newman found her face unacceptable. The OJ/Bronco parody at the end with Kramer and Gendason. No other way you could have ended the episode.

What Didn’t Work

JT: Elaine’s point to the door when Kramer bangs around annoyed me for some reason; Julie is pretty annoying but is also much too smart for George;

Aaron: I hated that they ended with the god damn OJ chase. Wasn’t Roddy Piper doing it enough?

Andrew: Jerry is dating a new woman just about every week, but suddenly he’s too self-conscious to go out on a first date? What happened to the ultra-confident “Even Steven” from last season? Also, I don’t remember this bothering me at the time, but the OJ references were a bit unpleasant. It may just be that knowing the result of the trial, and the ugly years since, makes it all a little less funny. It’s the opposite of “too soon”, I guess.

Jordan: This one really bugged me – this episode takes place in the mid-90s, and Elaine lists her number as KL5? Everyone knows 555 are the TV phone numbers, but the KL instead of 55 just seemed SO dated, even for then. It just really bothered me.

Jason: I know it’s the main plot, but I think George’s obsession with Julie taking credit for the salad was a little too much. George should have swallowed his pride with this one.

Key Character Debuts


Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes

– “You’re name is?” – Clerk “Elaine.” – Elaine “Elaine…and your last name?” – Clerk “It’s just Elaine, like Cher.” – Elaine

– “Is that what I ask for? The BIG salad?” – George “It’s okay, you don’t…” – Elaine “No, no, Hey I’ll get it. What’s in the BIG salad?” – George “Big lettuce, big carrots, tomatoes like volleyballs.” – Jerry

– “A rule is a rule. And let’s face it. Without rules there’s chaos.” – Kramer

– “Yes. Yes. You know what’s interesting. The quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons is Bobby Hebert. No “r” which I find fascinating. You know it’s Herbert h-e-r-b-e-r-t, Hebert h-e-b-e-r-t. “Hebert” it’s a fun name to pronounce. Try and say it Hebert. Take a shot. All right.” – George

– “No, you go Guggenheim. I’m not much of a Guggenheimer.” – George

– “Imagine, her taking credit for your big salad. ” – Jerry “You know you buy a big salad for somebody it would be nice if they knew it.” – George

– “Well, generally speaking you don’t need any extra incentive to murder a dry cleaner. I wouldn’t worry about that.” – Jerry

– “It’s just that I was the one who actually paid for the big salad. She just happened to hand it to you. But it’s no big deal.” – George “You want the money for the big salad, George?” – Elaine “No, no,” – George “What is the problem?” – Elaine “There is no problem. . . just a small miscommunication. Whereby you thanked her instead of the person actually responsible for purchasing the big salad.” – George

– “No. It isn’t and the most distressing part of it is, not that she went out with him but that HE stopped seeing her. Do you understand? He, Newman; Newman stopped seeing her. Newman never stopped seeing anybody. Newman will see whoever is willing to see him. Not so much why she did see him as disturbing as that is. But why, did HE, Newman, stop seeing her?” – Jerry “Perhaps there’s more to him than meets the eye.” – Elaine “No, there’s less.” – Jerry “It’s possible.” – Elaine “No it isn’t. I’ve looked into his eyes. He’s pure evil.” – Jerry “He’s an enigma, a mystery wrapped in a riddle.” – Elaine “Yeah, he’s a mystery wrapped in a Twinkie.” – Jerry

– “No, we can’t. My skin is crawling just being inside your little rat’s nest.” – Jerry

– We see Newman’s apartment for the first time

– “Because that’s the way I weas raised. You know when I was growing up I had to be in bed every night by nine o’clock. And if I wasn’t, well I don’t have to tell you what happened.” – Kramer

– “Poor Pinkus, poor little Pinkus.” – Kramer

– “You know, I think I could have played with dolls if their were dolls in the house. It seems like fun to me. It doesn’t seem like a gender thing. I think I would like to play with dolls. What’s so terrible?” – George

– “All I could think of was when I was looking at her face was; Newman found this unacceptable.” – Jerry

– “You know, if it was a regular salad I wouldn’t have said anything. But you had to have the BIG SALAD.” – George

Oddities & Fun Facts


Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)

JT: Similar to the premier, this was a really solid episode with lots of laughs and well developed, cohesive storylines that all tied up nicely at the end. Still, something is just missing to bump it into the highest tier and maybe I am just waiting for the spark from season five to reemerge. It may also be that we are still getting readjusted to a successful George and watching him suddenly become cocky about his success after having been so pathetic is a fun twist. The big salad is certainly a big pop culture catchphrase and George being George is always really good, but this one comes up just short in a few ways. Final Grade: 6/10

Aaron: I really dug this one on re-watch and was consistently laughing throughout. It was a complete blast. I never thought of this one as a classic but I laughed more here than in most I’ve seen to date. Final Grade: 9/10

Andrew: I enjoyed parts of this episode, and the Newman/Margaret relationship was a particularly good bit. But overall, it was just OK, and we’re at a point now where “OK” is a pretty big letdown. And it may be unfair to ding the episode for the OJ stuff 20-plus years later, but it bummed me out. Final Grade: 4/10

Jordan: I remember liking this a lot more in my head. I think it boils down to me expecting George to be a little more ridiculous than he actually was. Still, it was fine and a decent effort. But it’s season six of Seinfeld, a decent effort is definitely subpar for this show. I’ll throw it right in the middle Final Grade: 5/10

Jason: It doesn’t get any better than a woman getting dumped by Newman and then dating Jerry. The big salad stuff had it’s moments, but not one of my favorite main storylines in the series. Yes, it’s one of the bigger pop culture references to come from the show, but it didn’t hold up as good as I remembered. A middle of the road episode overall as we are just getting warmed up in this season. Final Grade: 5/10