Seinfeld: The PTBN Series Rewatch – “The Gymnast” (S6, E6)

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 takes this one for me as everything with Lindsey snowballed into a mess of fantastic misunderstandings and missteps. Eating trash, cleaning windshields, shitting bare chested… he did it all and he did it with whimsy as he wined and dined Lindsey’s family. A true star performance. I also want to shoutout Jerry here as he landed some really funny zingers throughout.

Aaron: From the moment the poor man descends down the 3D rabbit hole Mr. Pitt owns this one. What we lack in sheer number of scenes we more than make up with furious outbursts, moments of unbridled hope and Adolph Hitler impressions that would make Charlie Chaplin shit his pants with jealousy. In a way Mr. Pitt represents us children who grew up on the nineties – not only have we all felt the cruel trickery of modern art but we’ve been railing against ink in all forms for nearly two decades. Plus that jockey outfit was pretty boss.

Andrew: Kramer was my favorite. He was killing me in the opening scene: “that sex’ll melt your face … you should pay that price.” And I admire his lack of respect for social mores. Watching him act out having a kidney stone isn’t bad, either.

Jordan: I really liked both George and Kramer in this one, but if I can only choose one, I’ll say Kramer. His grilling Jerry over knowledge of the kama sutra and egging him on to sleep with the gymnast was really funny. I especially like when he brings over a copy of her routine, and knows every single move she does. Add to that the kidney stone and an opportunity for the K-Man to do some great physical comedy and I’m sold.

Jason: Mr. Pitt came very close to taking it here with his obsession over the 3D poster and the huge payoff at the end with the Hilter stuff.  However, it wasn’t enough to top George eating pastries out of the trash, wiping off car windshields with newspaper and popping out of the bathroom shirtless at a dinner party.

Best Storyline

JT: I will go with George’s foibles. The 3D poster stuff with Mr. Pitt was funny and had a good payoff with the Hitler stuff, but George was so strong throughout and I love how they cut back to him explaining things to Lindsey again the second time. Great writing for him in this one.

Aaron: Mr. Pitt and the fiasco of the 3D picture. When childlike curiosity morphs into a fascist dictator screaming at a room full of businessmen you know you have a winner.

Andrew: I think I liked the gymnast storyline the most. There’s something very funny about Jerry liking the idea of sex with a gymnast, but not really being able to explain why. I wish they had gotten more laughs out of that idea. And I enjoy the various discussions on how much time people are obligated to put in after a sexual encounter. But I like the idea of this storyline more than the execution.

Jordan: Tempted to go with Mr. Pitt’s descent into madness over the picture simply because of the final scene with the ink mustache, but how can I go against George here? He’s eating eclairs from the garbage, he’s sauntering out of the bathroom topless; Georgie Boy and his constant screw ups in front of Lindsey’s family was a nice episode long build. I loved the payoff with him forgetting to put his shirt on because he got hooked on the 3D poster.

Jason: As someone who has gone through kidney stones twice, I felt for Kramer during is stone saga. Mr. Pitt’s 3D art poster obsession comes close again here, but George the bum is so iconic and gets the duke from me.

Ethical Dilemma of the Week

JT: Is it OK to shit topless? Hell yes. Settle in and enjoy yourself. We get so few true pleasures in life, why not take full advantage whenever you can?

Aaron: How much time do you have to put in after a night of boring listless sex? Perhaps this speaks to the disposable nature in which we approach sexual partners in our current time but the answer is and has always been none.

Andrew: Is it OK to casually toss hot coffee into the street? No. I still can’t figure out why the hell George thought that was appropriate.

Jordan: Should Jerry really have forced Kramer to go to the circus and face his fear of clowns just because sex with the woman he was dating wasn’t off the charts? I thought this was pretty mean, and the poor guy had to pass a stone in a public bathroom. Don’t punish Kramer, maybe it’s you Jerry! Maybe YOU ARE NO COMEDIAN.

Jason: Is it ever OK to eat something from the trash? The short answer here is no. The long answer is HELL NO!

Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)

JT: I didn’t care much for Katya. Jerry could have just cut her loose right away and blamed it all on local customs. I certainly don’t blame him for taking things for a test drive though. When else would he have a shot at an Olympic gymnast? I like Lindsey. I don’t care for her judgmental mother though. Relationship Grade: 4.5/10

Aaron: I guess when you really look at it Mark Antony was really just feeding off Caesar’s scraps for his entire life and his dalliance with Cleopatra was no different. The poor Egyptian queen was no doubt pained by her obvious step down trading in the man who basically ruled the world for an uncompromising brute who once demanded to own a chariot pulled by lions. No wonder the God damned Empire fell… Relationship Grade: 2/10

Andrew: I do like Katya. I think it’s the accent. It’s too bad there’s no chemistry between these two. And not much with George and Lindsay, either. Relationship Grade: I wouldn’t drink anything called “Moland”/10

Jordan: Jerry and Katya have no chemistry, but I guess that’s the point. I did think it was odd Jerry had never heard of the kama sutra, and had no idea why Kramer would be turned on by the idea of a gymnast. Just makes me think more and more that the bad sex was all Jerome’s fault. I bet Katya gave it the ol’ Olympic try. Relationship Grade 8.2, 8.1, 9.3, 8.0, 8.5/10

Jason: Lindsay is too forgiving of a person to hang on to George for this long. She should have sent him packing after the Breakfast at Tiffany’s incident from last week. Jerry was over thinking the whole situation here with Katya.  Jerome blew it big time. Misha is a snotty prick, but is a better fit than Jerry for Katya’s sweet Romanian ass.  Relationship Grade: Pommel Horse/10

What Worked:

JT: George still dating Lindsey was a nice touch; Kramer’s magic eye poster is so mid-90s; Kramer yelling to George in the bathroom made me laugh; George taking his shirt off to take a dump is a perfect character trait; Mr. Pitt’s eccentricities are so on point and him getting sucked in to the picture was well done; Not many people could make eating trash work as well as George Costanza; Jerry & George’s garbage debate at the coffee shop was awesome; Jerry’s dry “oh that’s gotta hurt” after Kramer explains the kidney stone; Jerry’s dig to George about eating trash vs. talking trash is an all time favorite of mine; George getting caught cleaning the windshield was nice progression; Pitt’s polo outfit is beautifully absurd, as is the fact that is horse is named Jenny; Pitt’s Hitler stache and speech is an iconic moment; The payoff to the ink and fountain pen was tremendous; Jerry’s cape callback was nicely done; The payoff to George taking his shirt off was great too

Aaron: George Costanza: homeless man was a great through line… throughout. George and Jerry repeatedly taking to the phones together was a lovely addition which only emphasized George’s hole digging skills. Kramer’s physical stuff was great, especially when his shaking sent his popcorn cascading through the air with all the grace of a young Elaine Benes. Speaking of Elaine her immediate realization that Mr. Pitt is going to get completely derailed by the picture is wonderful as is her losing her shit and getting the old man to focus. I mentioned Mr. Pitt above but the moment where he paints the Hitler (Chaplin) moustache on himself is a perfectly executed piece of physical comedy. Finally I’m a complete sucker of the shots of the circus animals reacting to Kramer’s poor screams.

Andrew: I do think Kramer was the best part of this episode. Apart from all the gymnast and kidney stone stuff, I really enjoyed him no-selling the Ceausescu reference, and I love the line about people being “a little shy, a little reticent” the first time. His and Jerry’s reaction to George’s no-shirt bathroom policy is quality. Katya has some great lines, too, especially the one about her father ranting at elephants for causing all the ills of society. Her tale of the legend of the “comedian” is one of my favorite parts. The show ends on a high note, with George walking out of the bathroom shirtless, and Mr. Pitt as Hitler. (On a side note, I somehow never caught the “annex Poland by the Spring” joke until this viewing).

Jordan: I like that Lindsey is still with George despite his shenanigans last episode, and this episode he ratchets things up 20 notches. The eclair in the garbage scene perfectly sums up George Costanza to me -something nobody would do, but he has a rationalization for why it’s OK, and everyone else is wrong. I like Elaine inadvertently ruining Mr. Pitt’s big merger by mocking the name of Moland Springs. She’s right! It is a terrible name. Mr. Pitt was awesome in this one and he’s becoming a really excellent recurring character. That moment where he THINKS he sees a space ship for a brief second was awesome, as was Elaine breaking the poster at the end and smearing him with ink. I always like when Elaine needles Jerry about his love interest at the time, here forcing him to explain WHY the idea of sex with a gymnast was so enticing. Jerry’s sheepish confession was really well done. George not even offering an excuse to Kramer and Jerry about taking off his shirt in the bathroom is even better than if he panicked and lied about it. I really enjoy that he’s totally comfortable dumping topless. I also really liked Katya telling Jerry in her country, the comedian is a sexual animal that women dream about.

Jason: George’s idea of talking to the mothers and having sex with the daughters. George’s no shirt routine while dropping a deuce unfolding. George buttering up Lindsay’s family; Ni-ni-ni-ni-NANA! Jerry telling George he’s crossed the line that divides man and bum. Elaine shutting down the Moland Spring idea; Stock swaps. Jerry telling Kramer he can really talk some trash, which is better than eating it. Kramer’s commentary while watching Katya’s Olympic routine. Jerry and Elaine thinking Kramer passed his stone after his outburst and turning out he was trying to do a reverse hecht off his couch. Jerry’s Dr. Cyclops name drop towards Kramer. Kramer’s fear of clowns and flinch when they pass him at the circus. Kramer passing his stone while Misha was on the tight rope. Elaine’s rant over Mr. Pitt’s obsession over the 3D poster. Excellent writing at the end with the ink and Mr. Pitt, plus a 3D poster in Mrs. Enright’s bathroom brought everything together perfectly.

What Didn’t Work

JT: Why can’t anyone pronounce Nana normally on this show; How did Kramer so easily obtain a tape of the 1984 summer Olympics; Why would Jerry and Elaine bound into Kramer’s apartment as he is maybe pissing out a kidney stone

Aaron: There’s some pretty painful exposition right off the top as Jerry reminds us that George is still with the chick he lied to about Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I’m also not the biggest fan of the Jerry dating the gymnast storyline. Sure it had Kramer demanding that Jerry “pay that price,” and talk of sex that will melt one’s face but the rest fell flat to me.

Andrew: I usually enjoy the episodes that tend more towards the absurd, but in this case it detracts from my enjoyment. George’s windshield washing bit feels more forced than funny, and it seems odd that he would tell his girlfriend he’s only going in to the party to use the bathroom. And for a show that has been ingenious about getting away with some edgy sex jokes, Jerry’s description of his gymnast fantasies is pretty lame.

Jordan: I have a major gripe with Kramer’s kidney stone storyline. He seemed to be in the most agony when he was actually pissing out the stone, but having had a kidney stone – that part doesn’t even hurt. It’s when the stone is working it’s way through your body that you can barely stand and break out into sweats all day long. The actual passing is pretty nonchalant. Of course, I was also on plenty of pain meds by then, so I could be wrong. I also think the episode title was a bad choice, they should have gone with “The Eclair”, or “The Topless Crapper.”

Jason: Kramer’s reaction to kidney stones was good, but in reality the pain is much worse than he made it out to be. I feel like Lindsay shouldn’t have been brought over from last week’s episode. George should have had a new fling this week. It would have worked out just as well with everything he did this time.

Key Character Debuts


Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes

– “I cannot believe Lindsay’s still seeing you after that “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” thing.” – Jerry “I think she finds my stupidity charming.” – George “As we all do.” – Jerry

– “Well, if I could talk to the mothers and have sex with the daughters, then I’d really have something goin’.” -George

– “A gymnast, Jerry. Think of the flexibility. Mmm, that sex’ll melt your face.” – Kramer

– “Boy, I tell ya’, knowing you is like going out in the jungle. I never know what I’m going to find next, and I’m real scared.” – Jerry

– “Ya’ ever dream in 3-D? It’s like the boogeyman is comin’ right at you.” – Kramer

– “George, you are such a gentleman.” – Mrs. Enright “I’d argue if I could, Mrs. Enright.” – George

– “So lemme get this straight: you find yourself in the kitchen. You see an clair, in the receptacle. And you think to yourself, “What the hell, I’ll just eat some trash.”” – Jerry

– “Well, you, my friend, have crossed the line that divides Man and Bum. You are now a Bum.” – Jerry

– “No, Lindsay, it was not IN the garbage. It was above the garbage. Hovering. Like an angel. Of course I know your aunt bit it. I kissed her goodbye. Listen, can I tell you something else? In my family, we used to eat out of the garbage all the time.” – George

– “Yes, flowers. I will get her flowers, I will go to the florist!” – George

– “Boy, you can really talk some trash. I guess that’s better than eating it.” – Jerry

– “No, Lindsay, I had accidentally spilled coffee on the gentleman’s windshield. Why would I do that? I have a job! Well, did she see a squeegee? Well, you’re not going to make a dime without a squeegee.” – George

– “My father used to take me to the circus. When the elephants came by, he would scream curses at them, blaming them for all the ills of society.” – Katya “Well, they certainly take up a lot of space.” – Jerry

– “In my country, they speak of a man so virile, so potent, that to spend a night with such a man is to enter a world of such sensual delights most women dare not dream of. This man is known as the “Comedian”. You may tell jokes, Mr. Jerry Seinfeld, but you are no Comedian.” – Katya

Oddities & Fun Facts

– Jerry references how capes are making a comeback, which is a callback to The Chinese Woman (S6, E4)

Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)

JT: This one was solid, but not much more. There was some strong laughs in there, mainly centered around George’s adventures and Jerry’s one liners, but it was a pretty up and down offering. I did think the writing was pretty sharp, with everything paying off well at the end, but the journey there didn’t fully click. I wasn’t totally into Kramer’s story and Elaine felt like nothing more than a plot mover for Jerry and Mr. Pitt. The Hitler mustache is an iconic moment and Jerry and George were sharp but those things weren’t quite enough to bump this to the next level. Final Grade: 6/10

Aaron: This is another one of many episodes where I’m floored by how much they fit into each episode. I remembered the Gymnast storyline, but I had completely forgotten it was the same one as the 3D painting… and the kidney stone …and the George becoming a bum bit. I really dug this one on rewatch and Mr. Pitt slamming his hands on the podium while convincing Moland nation of their superiority is one of my favorite moments in the history of the show. Great, great episode which is hurt a little by the gymnast stuff. Final Grade: 9/10

Andrew: This is definitely an episode that fared better in my memory than on rewatch. I think it’s the syndication effect: I’d catch the ending on TV, see shirtless George, Mr. Pitt’s Hitler impersonation, and the “comedian” speech, and feel good about the episode. But the journey to get there isn’t that great, and at this point in the show’s run, that just feels unsatisfying. Final Grade: 6/10

Jordan: Peek behind the curtain for the readers here, as I’m the last one submitting my score and I feel like this episode is better than a 6, but not as good as a 9. I can’t go with a 9 because I think the Jerry and Katya story fell a little flat overall – it had potential but didn’t live up to expectations. On the flip side, George’s story was awesome. I liked that with the eclair, he was just gross and had to lie, but the second time, he was telling the truth and wasn’t, in fact, homeless and cleaning windows for money. Kramer was a solid background character her, and the Elaine/Mr. Pitt dynamic is always really good. I’m closer to a 9 than a 6. Final Grade: 8/10

Jason: George and Mr. Pitt stole the show, but everyone else kind fell in the middle. The payoff with Mr. Pitt at the end grabs a few extra points from me, but overall this episode as a whole was lacking. George eating trash is iconic, but the episode could have been better.  Final Grade: 6/10