Seinfeld: The PTBN Series Rewatch – “The Gum” (S7, E10)

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: George and Kramer were really strong here but I enjoyed Jerry the whole way through. He had some really well timed one liners and all the stuff with the glasses was top notch, especially when he was staring out of the car window at George. The Chesty LaRoux dig was really good too. Enjoy that gum, Jerome, it was well earned!

Aaron: THE MAN IS IN A QUANDRY BECAUSE HE’S MISPLACED HIS SPECTACLES. And yet Mr. Haarwood still maintains the dignity of a young Marcus Licinius Crassus. Sadly without his spectacles.

Andrew: I’ll go with George. His increasingly desperate attempts to explain that he’s not crazy were the biggest laughs of the episode for me (“Don’t you see? He was doing it to fool Lloyd Braun!”). I also enjoyed how excited he was to spread the news about Lloyd’s breakdown back in the old neighborhood.

Jordan: George ad Kramer battle it out here, but I go with George for his increasing frustration with Ruthie that makes him look more and more insane. For some reason, every time he says Lloyd Braun, it gets funnier and funnier. The $20 being with him all along is a nice topper.

Jason: Lots of choices here, but I’ll go with Jerry. Another great performance from him with some big time one- liners. In addition, he knocked it out of the park with the glasses. I laugh it up every time I watch him sitting in the chair reading the paper with the glasses on.

Best Storyline

JT: Deena thinking George had dementia was fantastic, especially with how it tied everything together so beautifully. It wove in the car fire, Ruthie Cohen, the florist with the hose, Elaine’s cleavage, the gum, the glasses, Henry VIII and of course Lloyd Braun. It was vintage Seinfeld storytelling at its best from start to finish.

Aaron: Will Mr. Haarwood get his spectacles back? He does and it’s a reunion not seen since Spartacus looked down on Virinia and his son from the cross he would die on.

Andrew: I liked Deena’s concern for George’s mental health the most. I tend to enjoy jokes about how a real person would react to a TV character’s behavior, so the idea of George’s basic personality (“Nervousness, irritability, paranoia … taking pleasure in the misfortunes of others”) being taken for mental illness worked for me.

Jordan: I will give love to Kramer here and say his insistence on not making Lloyd feel crazy. Deena thinking George is crazy is really good too, but Kramer getting all flustered anytime someone suggests anything Lloyd says or does is weird is a lot of fun.

Jason: I enjoyed everything with Deena thinking George is nuts, however the whole situation with Lloyd Braun gets the duke. Jerry, Elaine and George having to walk on egg shells around him and Kramer’s sucking up was full of laughs.

Ethical Dilemma of the Week

JT: Should you wear fake glasses to help convince a guy he isn’t nuts? No, just say you wear contacts. They existed in 1998. Easy out. And screw that whack job Braun anyway. Smarmy prick.

Aaron: Can a button truly be “spanking?” When we start treating the curator from the Institute For The Preservation of Motion Picture Costumes no better than a Sicilian pirate we’ve totally lost our way as a society.

Andrew: Is it OK to treat a Lost and Found as a free for all? You have to give people at least a week to reclaim their stuff before just taking it for yourself, right?

Jordan: At what point should a movie theater remove a hot dog from the hot dog carousel? If it makes you sick within seconds of swallowing the first bite, I feel like this is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Jason: Should the gang have to be extra sensitive around Lloyd? Screw him. He was a creep his first go around in the series. Take a pill and get back with the program, Braun.

Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)

JT: No Susan = All the buys. Ruthie and that horse is a match made in heaven. She rode her steed with such conviction and pride. Relationship Grade: 10/10

Aaron: I would imagine that Mr. Haarwood and Elaine would probably have a torrid love affair if Haarwood’s tastes didn’t include both snails and oysters. Relationship Grade: 10/10

Andrew: Granted, Elaine’s unbuttoned blouse was impressive, but Lloyd’s reaction to it crosses over into skeevy pretty quickly. Show some class, buddy. Relationship Grade: Lady, you sold me/10

Jordan: I like to think that Elaine asked for the button missing scene to be written in for me, 20 years later. And while I am flattered, and a little surprised by her ample bosom, I have to reiterate that I am married. Relationship Grade: Like staring into the sun/10

Jason: I loved Lloyd thinking that Elaine was flirting with him. Deena seems to be a good person who is helping Pop get back on track. Having George in her life isn’t quite what she needs right now. Relationship Grade: Chinatown/10

What Worked:

JT: It is kind of cool to have a Christmas episode as I feel we don’t always get one; Kramer saying “Jeffrey Har-Harwood” with the pipe in his mouth is a favorite of mine; Lloyd Braun returns and he brings some awesome Chinese gum; George telling everyone about Lloyd’s breakdown; Kramer’s theater tour was fantastic; I love Jerry’s “Nah you don’t wanna be uncomfortable” line as he and Elaine slink down in their seats; Pop fucking up George’s car as Deena breaks the news about the dementia; Elaine’s cleavage is pure HACHE MACHE status; The cop’s “lady you sold me” line is delivered so well; Jerry wearing the glasses is great; Lloyd walking in as George was buying the gum and saying he thought he didn’t chew it; The whole gum chewing scene in Jerry’s apartment, especially Jerry cleaning the glasses; Deena and George in the park; Jerry has two killer lines back to back with the “high flying cashier” and “Chest LaRoux”; Ruthie just showing up everywhere to torment George is so good and I love the payoff of the florist not having his hose; RIP Jon Voight Car; That hot dog; Jerry not recognizing George because of the glasses and then capping with the “He’s trying to fool Lloyd Braun” is legit laugh out loud good; Deena catching George in the Henry VIII outfit and Elaine flirting with Haarwood are nice cappers

Aaron: Haarwood. The tremendous battle scenes and a cleft in a chin that would shame Gaston.

Andrew: Kramer being so overprotective of Lloyd Braun was funny. I thought all the audible gum chewing worked, especially Kramer’s “this is what the holidays are all about” line. George’s behavior appearing increasingly crazy to Deena was the best part of the episode for me. I enjoyed the shot of the melted car, as well as Pop banging away at it with a wrench. Jerry with the super-thick glasses was pretty great.

Jordan: Is it lazy of me to say everything? Each scene on it’s own was fun, but they also all tied together. I’ll list my five favorites: My favorite part may be Ruthie trotting around on a horse, infuriating George. Anytime Kramer speaks with a pipe in his mouth is funny. Jerry and the goofy glasses. Elaine parading around with her boobs out and the cop forcing the hose to be disconnected as a result. The guys just sitting at the diner chewing gum.

Jason: Kramer’s suit and pipe. Kramer putting Llyod under his wing. Jerry describing the gum as a little lo-main-y. George’s, “speaking of crazy” to transition into telling Deena about Lloyd. George trying to get Pop to stop working on the LeBaron after Deena tells him he had a nervous breakdown; “Put down the wrench, Pop.” George yelling POP!!! after the car starts rattling. Elaine’s shirt busting open after the button falls off. The cop making florist guy shut down the hose after Elaine rats him out. Jerry wiping down his glasses. “Three buddies sitting around chewing gum.” George’s $20 with big lips. Jerry’s Chesty LaRue line is killer; “I was chewing gum with Lloyd Braun…” Jeffery Haarwood is awesome. I wish he popped up some more in the series. George’s rant to Ruthie followed by the LeBaron cacthing on fire. Kramer eating then getting sick from the Silent Era hot dog; Swing joints. Jerry slipping Lloyd a $100 bill; “It’s a lot of gum!” IPMPCW. Kramer making George where the King Henry costume. Deena spotting George in the costume and yelling that he got it from the institute. Elaine and her wet shirt!!! Larry David working the store window. Elaine getting the button back from Haarwood while he giggles.

What Didn’t Work

JT: Deena is kind of presumptuous and should be a bit more accepting that her demented father destroyed George’s car since she saw him banging around under the hood

Aaron: The fact that while Elaine was fumbling with his button I thought he probably got Hardwood. Also the injustice of slavery.

Andrew: Elaine’s “I got news for ya” response to Jerry’s joke about babbling incoherently after their breakup didn’t land at all with the studio audience, to the point that I wonder why they left it in. Also, the episode seems to have a problem with character motivation; Kramer declares that he’s taken Lloyd under his wing, then goes to increasingly desperate lengths to make him feel sane, with no explanation as to why he’d be going to all this trouble.

Jordan: The old man taking a button from lost and found because it was “spanking” was a bit of a stretch.

Jason: Why is Ruthie letting customers roam through her cash register. There’s some serious loss prevention violations going on there.

Key Character Debuts

– Jeffrey Haarwood

– Deena

Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes

– “With Spartacus?” – George “Well, it’s a rare archival print.” – Kramer

– “Why would I spend seven dollars to see a movie that I could watch on TV?” – George “Well, why go to a fine restaurant, when you can just stick something in the microwave? Why go to the park and fly a kite, when you can just pop a pill?” – Kramer

– “I think I finally figured out what the flavor is in this gum. It’s a little lo-mein-y.” – Jerry

– “Nah, I gotta deliver some Christmas presents to my parents.” – George “I thought your parents were outta town?” – Jerry “Why d’you think I’m going now?” – George

– “Aw, c’mon Kramer, this is ridiculous. I’m not gonna put these on.” – Jerry “Oh. Okay. So he’ll just think that the two of you didn’t sit with him on purpose. Ooh yeah, that’s very nice. Very nice.” – Kramer

– “Now see, this is what the holidays are all about. Three buddies, sitting around, chewing gum, huh?” – Kramer

– “You see that woman on the horse? She stole twenty dollars from me. Yeah, I might’ve gotten it back, but Lloyd Braun interfered!” – George “So again it all comes back to Lloyd.” – Deena

– “So you say she was on a horse?” – Jerry “I’m telling you, that cashier is riding horses on my money.” – George “Well, here’s what I propose. Go down to the stables, snoop around. See if any high-flying cashier’s been throwing twenty dollar bills around with big lips.” – Jerry

– “Well, if it isn’t Chesty La Rue.” – Jerry “What?” – Elaine “I was chewing gum with Lloyd Braun, and he was bragging about the peepshow you gave him at the Alex.” – Jerry

– “Ah, well if they’re not in the box, I’m sure they’ll turn up soon. Listen, could you keep an eye on the place? I wanna go out and get some paraffin wax, and bring out the lustre of this vintage countertop.” – Kramer

– “The Jon Voight car is no more.” – George

– “This hotdog’s been here since the silent era. You’d have to be insane to eat it.” – Attendant

– “Look, honey, I know you’re trying to get Lloyd to notice you, but this is too much. Parading around in a wet t-shirt.” – Kramer “Uhh, I got sprayed with a hose.” – Elaine “Yeah, well, I’m sorry, but the Alex is a family theatre, not one of your swing joints.” – Kramer

– “And I suppose Lloyd Braun had something to do with it too.” – Deena “No, not Lloyd Braun. But the cashier.” – George “What cashier?” – Deena “You remember the woman on the horse? She wanted my spot.” – George “To park her horse?” – Deena “No, she wasn’t on the horse.” – George “So, your car caught fire because of my father and the woman on the horse?” – Deena “That’s right. And him!” – George “The man with the flowers?” – Deena “Yeah, yeah, the flower guy.” – George

– “Well, I… I’d love to lend it to you, but I doubt if it would fit a man of your impressive, Raymond Massey-like, physique. The only person who could really fit into this costume, would have to be a short, stocky, man of somewhat generous proportions.” – Jeffrey

Oddities & Fun Facts

– Lloyd Braun is now played by Matt McCoy instead of Peter Keleghan (S5, E7)

– The Jon Voight Car is officially dead; George had purchased it in The Mom & Pop Store (S6, E8)

– Larry David plays the cashier on the street

Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)

JT: I love this episode. The storytelling is so awesome and every single weaves together and pays off at the end. We also got a monumental moment when the Jon Voight Car bites the dust. Braun’s return was well done too, paying off his meltdown with Dinkins and sets up Deena’s psychological breakdown of George so well. Kramer is great when he is being a condescending dick and that was on full display here. The hot dog gag, the pipe, Elaine’s chest, Haarwood… just lots of goodness littered all through this one. Plus a Larry David appearance! Can’t go the full monty here because it definitely is missing a little something from kicking it to that tier but it is really damn close. Final Grade: 9/10

Aaron: I’M HAARWOOD. Final Grade: 6/10

Andrew: This feels like a placeholder episode to me; there are some solid laughs and quotes, but nothing especially groundbreaking or memorable is going on in the story. I enjoyed rewatching this one, but I can’t say I came away impressed. Final Grade: 7/10

Jordan: This is one of my favorite episodes ever. George’s increasing frustration can be felt through how he says Lloyd Braun in an increasingly annoyed fashion. The glasses, the gum, the cleavage, Ruthie…it’s all just great. Final Grade: 10/10

Jason: Now we’re back on track. The entire episode tied together very well, especially the stuff with George and Deena. The return of Lloyd Braun delivered big time. Him having a nervous breakdown after the Dinkins campaign was perfect. Lots of fun physical comedy from Kramer and sharp one-liners from Jerry topped off an enjoyable episode.  Final Grade: 8/10