Seinfeld: The PTBN Series Rewatch – “The Friars Club” (S7, E18)

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: There was no real standouts here, but I thought Jerry was really sharp throughout, hitting lots of good one liners and some real good deadpan comments to Kramer and George. Pat Cooper deserved more run too, he was great flipping out on both doofuses.

Aaron: Gary Oldman was fantastic as the most obnoxious of the Sandos Brothers. His pantomime in the Friars club combined storytelling and fanciful romping not seen since C-3PO wowed those scumbag primitives on the forest moon of Endor. He’s one of the greatest actors of this generation and we should all be grateful we live in the same reality as Anthony Daniels. What a time to be alive!

Andrew: I think I’ll go with Jerry. I enjoyed his performance in the jacket-throwing scene: the initial reluctance turning into excitement when he relents, followed by the unease when it gets thrown into the crowd. And the petty pouting when he thinks he won’t be getting the jacket back was a nice touch.

Jordan: Sometimes I have trouble picking this one because everyone is excellent, and sometimes it’s hard to pick because nobody jumps out. This is one of the episodes where nobody jumps out. Not that it is outright bad, but there’s no noteworthy lines, moments, stories. This is prime time for a guest spot – so I’ll go with one. Bob had a really good thing going here, being able to feign ignorance due to lack of hearing for any situation he wanted. Rob Schneider is a treasure of cinema.

Jason: No one had a breakthrough performance here, but I’ll go with the K-Man. Him picking up the Da Vinci sleep pattern was another fun antic to add to everything he’s brought to the table already. Plus, surviving getting dumped in the Hudson River by the mob is pretty incredible. An honorable mention goes to Pat Cooper.  His 30 second rant to Jerry and George at the Friars Club was great.

Best Storyline

JT: By default, it is the jacket. Kramer’s sleep issues didn’t do much for me beyond his initial explanation and Elaine’s story was not very inspired. Jerry and George trying to be the Gatsbys while chasing down the jacket brought the most consistent laughs.

Aaron: I really dug Hallie courageously fucking her way through the Sandos brothers to recoup the lost jacked that Gary Oldman stole. Grace and composure under the harshest of circumstances.

Andrew: I enjoyed Kramer’s the most. Watching him fall asleep everywhere is funny, and I especially liked his sudden realization that being awake at 4AM isn’t all that great. I also enjoy the reveal that the reason Connie never wants to leave his apartment is that she’s dating someone else, and that she’d rather dump his body than be found out. It’s a strange and under explained twist, but the absurdity of the whole thing appeals to me. And even a brief Jackie Chiles appearance is welcome.

Jordan: I liked the “Is Bob actually deaf?” storyline, because it’s actually plausible but also kind of douchey to investigate. Only truly awful people would challenge him on it, which is a great setup for Jerry, the worst person to ever live, to step in and figure things out.

Jason: Again, no iconic storylines here, but I’ll go with the jacket stuff. It was fun watching Jerry fly on cloud nine to being a total pussy when he misplaced the Friars Club  jacket.

Ethical Dilemma of the Week

JT: Fuck the Sandos Brothers. A lot of trouble could have been saved if they didn’t play dumb the night of the show. Jerry was really good in this one except when he was pouting over the jacket.

Aaron: Is Jackie Chiles the Joker? The purple suit would see to point to yes. Sure there’d be a ton of whiteface involved but as long as it’s for art’s sake I think even the most ardent Facebook commenting activist would be swayed by the most litigious interpretation of the clown prince of crime. What a great cover too! A lawyer!

Andrew: Elaine’s dilemma is one of my favorite recurring Seinfeld motifs: the fear that someone is using their disability to get over on you. But she clearly needs to let Bob’s work dodging go; it may not be fair, and he is definitely a creep, but there’s no way accusing him could go well.

Jordan: Look, I understand some places are more high class than others, and dress codes are still a thing in our world. But to require a dinner jacket to be worn just to gain entry into the FRIARS CLUB? Who do these people think they are? Jerry should have dug up his old suede jacket and sauntered around in it just to spite them.

Jason: Is polyphasic sleep healthy? Besides Kramer and Da Vinci I’d like to meet the people who do this.

Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)

JT: George and Susan need to throw in the towel. He is celebrating a delay in the wedding, neither have anything to say to each other, it is a dead, loveless affair that is going nowhere fast. Relationship Grade: 0/10

Aaron: George would probably be jailed/accused of rape if he were to dance with a strange woman as he does off the top of this one. Consent was not given. Consent was not taken. Relationship Grade: Ring ring ring ring ring ring ring BANANAPHONE!

Andrew: Kramer and Connie seem to have a good thing going, and the added element of danger only makes it better. But even taking into account Jerry’s seemingly endless supply of dating opportunities, I thought he was way too quick to sour on Hallie. Relationship Grade: You have to sweeten/10

Jordan: I think Hallie seems like a great person, and the couple of couples IS a wonderful formula for relationships. Many a dinner date has been spent with my wife and friends, where we barely talk to each other, instead talking to one half of the other couple. But she is slumming it with those glorified circus performers, so something is up. Who am I kidding, I’m just trying to ignore the fact that Rob freaking Schneider got to go on a date with Elaine. His success makes me believe in the Illuminati. Relationship Grade: ALL SEEING EYE/10

Jason: Jerry and Hallie had a good thing going until Jerome went all five year old on her when he couldn’t find the jacket. If Elaine really wanted to test Bob’s hearing, they should have banged. Let’s see Laney test that dirty talk in the sack. I wanted to see Kramer and Connie’s relationship progress if he didn’t pass out on her. The K-Man could have joined the mob and that would have been something. George and Susan sitting alone in the coffee shop pretty much summed up their relationship. Relationship Grade: Shoe Laces/ 10

What Worked:

JT: George’s prancing through NYC was a strong way to open the show; Kramer explaining what Da Vinci means gets me every time, as does Jerry’s “that must be some book”; Peterman giving up on Bob and giving Elaine his work was funny; Kramer saying he would come back for the milk and then stalking Jerry in his sleep because he is bored; Jerry was really sharp here with his deadpan one liners; Elaine dismissing Jerry after the failed attempt to talk to Bob; George’s Gatsbys analogy was fantastic; Kramer’s “Watch out, boy” when Jerry wakes him up; Jerry’s line when George says they are like Lincoln; George and Susan sitting in the coffee shop in silence and then George yelling for the check; Jerry just watching Kramer get carried out in a sack and shrugging it off; Peterman buying into Elaine’s bawdy talk to Bob; De-souring and sweetening; Kramer yelling “IN A SACK!”; Pat Cooper’s rant is tremendous; Jackie Chiles as Connie’s lawyer was a nice touch

Aaron: The disdain for the gypsies felt excruciatingly real. I used to work with this Romanian guy and he HATES gypsies. He says they’re everywhere. I had always thought of them as colorful and playful but according to a guy named Alexandru they’re a literal plague on Romania. This from the country that produced vampires. VAMPIRES! Much like how Kangaroos are looked on as pests by the Australians he LOATHES them. At least down under you can go on a Roo Shoot. You go on a Gypsy shoot in Romania or anywhere and you’re painted as a Nazi before you can scream Oscar Schindler. I once called him a gypsy as a joke, a joke, and he kicked a cupboard until it fell right off the hinges. That’s a lie actually. I smashed the counter once after a customer had been rude to me. I did call him a gypsy though once and he DID get offended. Actually that’s a lie too. I called him a gypsy all the time. He hated it. We’re not friends. Also if you haven’t seen David Brent sing Lady Gypsy you need to stop what you’re doing and have sex with a gypsy.

Andrew: George jump-kicking the cab door during his Singin’ in the Rain routine was a nice touch. Kramer explaining the origins of the name da Vinci made me laugh, and his “I’m mossy, Jerry” line gets me, too. Bob’s attempt to make a move on Elaine is appropriately creepy, and I enjoy the way he robotically goes in for a second attempt. Kramer falling asleep mid-makeout might be my favorite part of the episode, along with the unexpected consequences. I don’t know who Pat Cooper is, but I enjoy his cameo in this episode. Jackie Chiles is always a good way to end an episode.

Jordan: A great start to the episode with George prancing, yes PRANCING merrily through the streets of New York. I’ve already covered the Bob stuff a lot, but Elaine confessing her love to him within earshot of Peterman (AND BOB!) was a fun scene. I enjoyed Kramer’s new sleeping methods, waking up Jerry in the middle of the night from boredom and finally crashing on top of his girl. I thought the payoff with him being thrown into the river was lame, but it got some laughs throughout the episode. Jackie Chiles appearing is always fun, too. One of my favorite scenes was Elaine trying on the hearing aid and flailing wildly as a result of the over-amplified sound.

Jason: George kicking the cab door shut and swinging on the pole because the wedding got postponed was an excellent opener. George’s 1/20,000 lucky days. The wheels being in motion. Jerry and George’s conversations on the double date about George coaching in the NFL and Steven Croft being in Seals & Croft. Kramer’s PB&J restaurant idea. Kramer crashing Jerry’s room at 4am because he was bored. Jerry trying to get Bob’s attention in the bathroom. Hallie could be an “it”. Elaine dirty talking Bob and Peterman catching wind of it. Kramer falling asleep at Jerry’s counter; “Watch out boy!” The Lincoln seats at the theater. Kramer’s bold adventure line. Kramer getting carried out in a body bag. As I mentioned earlier, Pat Cooper was fantastic giving Jerry and George shit about the jacket. Bob putting the moves on Elaine in the balcony. The moose crest. The Sandos Brothers chasing Jerry and George, followed by the fire fire alarm going off as Elaine puts Bob’s hearing aide in. Connie’s lawyer being Jackie Chiles was brilliant. Jackie’s reaction when he hears Kramer’s name.

What Didn’t Work

JT: How does George know to wear a jacket to the Friar’s Club and not Jerry?; I also thought the dinner conversation between George and Jerry seemed very forced and abnormal for how they usual chat; Jerry also failed at talking to Bob at the urinal, why are you whispering? Just say hi!; George already reserving apartments for Jerry and Hallie, slow down bogambo; Sandos Brothers are assholes; Bob is real fucking weird; The episode kind of sputtered to a soft ending

Aaron: I’m devastated that Rob Schneider wasn’t brutally murdered by Gary Oldman backstage. An actor of Gary’s caliber would no doubt take offence at Schneider’s shucking and jiving. Unless they could bond over someone not being able to use the three seashells. Oh that would be rich!

Andrew: The audience seems to enjoy the Sandos Brothers’ “make a jacket disappear” bit more than it deserves. Does Bob make a move on Elaine because he heard her testing him in the office, or is he just a run-of-the-mill creep? I guess it doesn’t matter, but I always find myself wondering.

Jordan: I feel like we had a huge missed opportunity here. Jerry going to the Friars Club just made me picture his dad wearing one of those little friar hats. I don’t know how we would have gotten there, but we should have. Morty in a friars hat and one of those tiny cars would have been incredible. Perhaps it could be a flashback to explain why Jerry didn’t know that jackets were required – his father was the SHAME of the friars, so they were never accepted into the club? I dunno, JUST GIVE ME MORTY IN A FRIARS HAT.

Jason: How did Jerry not know that jackets were required at the Friars Club? This isn’t Applebee’s, Jerome. Jerry trying to test Bob’s hearing was fine, but creeping up behind him at the urinal was very creepy. When Bob saw him standing there, he should have drilled him in the mouth.

Key Character Debuts

– Pat Cooper

Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes

– “This is my lucky day.” – George “Well, one outta twenty thousand. That’s not bad.” – Jerry

– “If this works out, forget about it. Vacations together, movies together, dinner together. It…it’s almost as good
as if I didn’t get married.” – George

– “This is evolutionary. I been reading this book, on Leonardo de Vinci. See, that means ‘from Vinci’, d’you know that?” – Kramer “That must be some book.” – Jerry

– “No, the stupidest thing you ever said was when you said Steve Kroft from Sixty Minutes is the same guy from *Seals and Croft*.” – Jerry “You watch the old videos. I’m telling you, look at him.” – Jerry

– “Oh, I’m percolating, Jerry. I’m telling you, I have never felt so fertile. I’m mossy, Jerry. My brain is mossy. Listen to this idea. A restaurant that serves only peanut butter and jelly.” – Kramer “What d’you call it?” – Jerry “P B and J’s. What d’you think?” – Kramer “I think you need more sleep.” – Jerry

– “She’s got everything, right? (counts on his fingers) She’s intelligent, she’s smart, she’s got a great sense of humor.” – George “Well, I dunno. I didn’t really talk to her.” – Jerry “Well, she’s smart. You take my word for it.” – George “Whatever.” – Jerry “Hehee. W..we could be like the Gatsbys. Didn’t they always like, you know, a bunch of people around, and they were all best friends?” – George “That doesn’t sound right.” – Jerry

– “How about these seats? Are these fantastic, huh? Huh? I feel like Lincoln.” – George “Yeah. Well, let’s hope this evening turns out a little better.” – Jerry

– “Tell ’em I’ll come down and talk to ’em. Okay, bye. Well, that was the Friars Club. D’you think they’re gonna let a jacket-stealer join? I don’t think so! They’re gonna charge me eight hundred dollars for the jacket, and I gotta deal with Pat Cooper! What kinda show is that Sandos Brothers? They take your jacket, then they just throw it? I never heard of that!” – Jerry

– “Because if she gets it back, then you’ll have no reason to be sour. You’ll de-sour, right?” – George “I’ll try and de-sour.” – Jerry “Oh, that’s not good enough! You don’t try and de-sour. You have to sweeten too!” – George “I’ll try! I’ll try and de-sour and sweeten.” – Jerry “I wanna get it back when we were the Gatsbys.” – George “I still don’t know what that means.” – Jerry

– “Well, one of the gypsies took it.” – Jerry “Aww, the gypsies took it! Of course, New York has a lot of gypsies! Oh, on every block there’s a gypsy!” – Pat “Well, it’s true. I saw it.” – George “Excuse me, are you an entertainer? Are you in show business?” – Pat “No, I uh…” – George “Then what am I talking to you for?” – Pat

Oddities & Fun Facts

– Pat Cooper is a longtime comedian that played himself in this episode

Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)

JT: We have seen some episodes like this before, where if it were on the standard sitcom scale, it would net a pretty solid grade, however with it being graded on the Seinfeld curve, it falls short in many areas. There were definitely laughs nuzzled in this one, and I thought Jerry mixing in even more deadpan comments was a good touch that I hope stays, but the stories just never connected or really hooked you in. Pat Cooper was tremendous and I wish he in it more because he could have definitely buoyed the grade, but as is this was as middling of an episode as we have seen in a while. Final Grade: 5/10

Aaron: This one was fine. Final Grade: 5/10

Andrew: This feels like a filler episode. There’s a big drop off in laughs from last week, and nothing feels especially noteworthy or memorable. Competent, but nothing special. Final Grade: 5/10

Jordan: I thought I was going to be a downer when I figured I would go low on this one, but I see I’m not alone. It’s definitely not great, and I don’t even know if I’d call it good. We’re at the point in the show where no episodes are outright bad, but this one was very forgetable. Final Grade: 5/10

Jason: The episode was like watching a Greg Valentine match. It took about twenty minutes for things to get going. But here, by the time things got going, it was too late. I thought Rob Schneider was great as Bob and again, how about that Pat Cooper! Everything tied together well at the end, but the majority of the episode came up flat. A nice effort, but there was something missing for sure. Final Grade: 5/10