Seinfeld: The PTBN Series Rewatch – “The Hamptons” (S5, E21)

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 am torn a bit on this one. Jerry was really good, again killing his quick hit liners with perfect timing. Kramer was great too, enjoying Jane’s goods and then romping on the beach before pilfering the lobsters. However, one man had the iconic line and memorable moment and that is poor Georgie Boy. He did nothing wrong in this one, was just a victim or poor timing and circumstance. And he ends up looking like a lesser man, short changed by his best friend’s gal.

Aaron: Whether he’s participating in great beach montage or having an ugly baby blow his fucking mind the K-Man is fantastic in this one. His joy over seeing Jane topless is finely tempered by his stern resolve to keep Rachel kosher. Yo yo ma!

Andrew: This is one of my favorite Elaine episodes. She’s solid throughout, from avoiding the sun, to her reaction to the baby, to flirting with the pediatrician. But the shrinking conversation is the best. She bounds into the room so carefree, and has such a great, bemused reaction to it all. “I don’t know how you guys walk around with those things.” Just perfect.

Jordan: This is one of those episodes where you go back and forth. For a while, it was Kramer, then I went Jerry, moved to Elaine, but I finally settled on George. I know most would assume it’s the shrinkage deal, and that definitely adds to his credentials here, but I loved his sinister plan to feed Rachel lobster.

Jason: I really like Jerry here. He was on his A game with one-liners and quick wit. But, this episode belongs to George. He had such bad luck between everyone seeing Jane topless, Rachel catching him post-pool and Jane taking a hike after Rachel rats him out. Revenge was served sweet or in this case with lobster.

Best Storyline

JT: The shrinkage. Nothing else comes close here, it is an all timer.

Aaron: The shrinkage and all that pertains to it (with one tiny exception we’ll talk about later). George is on a mission to seal the deal with a beautiful woman until his whole world is shattered beyond repair. Is it fair? No. Was he bang on about women being much, much worse than men? Possibly. He even went so far as to wear a ridiculous tight shirt to prove a point at a dinner. That shirt was brutal.

Andrew: As much as I enjoy everyone’s reactions to the baby, I can’t pass up the nudity storyline. Jane’s topless romp is a good shock moment, and the conversation about it is great. George’s discomfort with the situation is totally understandable, and even if I can’t support his plan to make things even, we do get the classic shrinkage moment out of it.

Jordan: The shrinkage as well as George’s quest to catch Rachel naked as a result. All time classic stuff.

Jason: The first thing that will always come to mind with this episode is the shrinkage. Such an iconic moment. End of story.

Ethical Dilemma of the Week

JT: There are actually quite a few jammed into this episode. Should Kramer have taken the lobsters? Should Michael have ratted him out? Should Rachel have told Jane about what she saw? Should Jane have dumped George without at least checking for herself? Should George have exacted revenge by spitting in the face of Rachel’s religion? A big mess in this one. I will rank them this way from worst human to least worst: Jane, Michael, Rachel, Kramer, George.

Aaron: Would you rather look at exposed breasts or see a baby for the first time? I’m not even going to pretend to be objective on this one. A Jane walking around topless happens about as often as Haley’s Comet so stare away.

Andrew: Pertussin and club soda: did George invent purple drank?

Jordan: Should Kramer have blabbed to George that they saw Jane topless? I think the answer is clear. No, he shouldn’t have. Instead, he should have concocted several plans to get George to leave the house while Jane continued swimming.

Jason: Is there such thing as an ugly baby? I guess with Carol’s genes in that kid, it is possible.

Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)

JT: I really liked Rachel. A lot. I am not sure what changed between the last episode and this one though. It was really not cool of her to dime out Georgie Boy like that. And screw Jane and her nice tits. At least see for yourself instead of taking a stranger’s word for it. What a shitty girlfriend. Relationship Grade: Boutros Boutros/10

Aaron: Jane is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out of George’s league. Rachel is great. Elaine can do better than the douchebag doctor who counts stars. Kramer and the lobsters are a match made in heaven. Relationship Grade: 10,9,2,10/10

Andrew: I admire and endorse Jane’s comfort with topless sunbathing, but there’s no way George was ever going to be able to handle that. They were doomed from the start. Rachel and Jerry, on the other hand, managed to survive the Schindler’s List incident, and I assume their love has only grown stronger. I’m rooting for those two. Relationship Grade: It shrinks?/10

Jordan: Jane is a great example of the most confusing part of the entire shows history to me: How can a loser like George continue landing women like this? Marisa Tomei is interested in him! It’s always so unbelievable to me when George has a hot girlfriend, and even moreso when she’s marching around with her jugs on display. Was good to see Rachel back, but she killed things for ol’ Georgie boy. Relationship Grade: FRIGHTENED TURTLE/10

Jason: So Rachel has greeting problems and ratted out George. Big deal. She’s still one of Jerry’s best catches. Jane on the other hand is a pile of shit. She should have taken George for a spin herself instead of taking Rachel’s word. I still haven’t figured out Ben Feffa. Who does he actually find unattractive, the baby or Laney?  Relationship Grade: Breathtaking/10

What Worked:

JT: Jerry’s “Mrs. Robinson” line cracked me up, as did the Maude dig at Elaine; The topless stuff was really well done, and I loved Kramer’s comment about Jane trying to get a buzz going; The ugly baby stuff is fantastic and so real; Kramer’s beach montage was great; I love the breathtaking mixed signals from Feffa; It was nice having Rachel back, and we hit our second girlfriend that dislikes George; Vintage Kramer tossing out that he saw Jane topless to George; Elaine was looking good in this episode; Rachel laughing at George’s shrunken member was great, as was his reaction; Everything shrinkage was top of the line, including George’s awesome t-shirt example; Kramer’s reaction to the baby was great; Feffa’s confusing comment about just being nice was well done; Kramer and Rachel’s late night lobster dalliance was fun; George’s revenge was well done, but I still feel like he got the shit end of the deal on the trade-off, but his punchline was tremendous

Aaron: I love the whole contained nature of the episode. Everyone has been on an awkward vacation like this; perhaps it didn’t end with the same level of humiliation but we can all somewhat relate. I dig Kramer trying to convince the others that Jane’s trying to create a buzz with the topless display. He just has the weirdest takes on things. George’s screaming about being in the pool is still priceless as is Rachel’s giggle after being flashed. Elaine also rocked a sweet beekeeper hat.

Andrew: Elaine may have been my favorite character in this one, but Kramer was incredible as well. The Beach Boys segment, his reaction to the baby, telling George about seeing Jane topless, protecting Rachel from herself, waving to the cop, putting silk underwear on the top of the list: all top-notch. George is pretty good, too, especially when he’s suspicious of Jane and Rachel whispering (and rightfully so, unfortunately). Speaking of Rachel, her “I’m really sorry” is just devastating. The episode is full of great lines and expressions: the “letter of intent”, “trying to create a buzz”, “they’re much worse than us!”

Jordan: Practically everything – the main storyline of shrinkage was a home run, but all the subplots were terrific too. Elaine and the doctor was fun while it lasted, and I like that he called breakfast breathtaking. I also liked Elaine casually mentioning how ugly the baby was to see what his reaction would be. Rachel’s reaction to walking in on George is perfect and one of the most iconic scenes in the shows run. Jerry was great throughout this one, with his Mrs. Robinson line to Kramer and repeated jabs throughout. His definition of shrinkage being like a frightened turtle still makes me laugh. The ugly baby story is fun just for the reactions.

Jason: Kramer’s silk underwear conversation in the car is so random but so K-Man. Kramer wanting Jerry to rub lotion on his back. Jerry’s Maude line to Elaine cracks me up every time. Everyone’s reaction when Jane comes back topless. George’s Neil Armstrong/Tang line is brilliant. Kramer’s beach adventure montage. Kramer opening his mouth that he saw Jane topless. Kramer’s reaction to seeing the baby is so good. George’s gum line after opening the door on Rachel is perfect Constanza bullshitting. George and Jerry explaining shrinkage to Elaine. Kramer’s wave to the cop. George’s tight shirt rant. George showing Rachel the lobster bib after she eats a bite of the eggs.

What Didn’t Work

JT: Jane seems strung out; The camerawork was shaky as you can see Jane’s boob was covered when she turned and walked away; Since when do pediatricians make house calls and chill with the family? Is it a Hamptons thing?; Chill out Michael; Jane is kind of a bitch to leave like that; Michael is a straight up narc; The ending annoyed me for some reason, how would Rachel notice George that quickly and drill him squarely in the face with the tomato?

Aaron: I hate that George attempted to walk in on Rachel before she saw him. It crossed a lechery line that I didn’t feel was necessary. Especially given the fact that he walks in on her by accident later. I know it’s kind of dumb but it was off putting enough to put damper on his character for me in this one. Jerry’s “snapping out of it” face can go in the box with all his other overacting. His homophobia crept back in too as he refused to put lotion on Kramer’s back.The parting shot with the tomato hitting George in the face was strange and way too sitcomy for me.

Andrew: The opening scene was a little heavy on the exposition, but I guess you have to advance the plot somehow. As much as I enjoyed the episode, I did feel like it was lacking in payoff; the ending just felt kind of flat to me.

Jordan: I thought the beach scene with Kramer was just odd, especially with the Beach Boys song playing. You could have easily just shown him tugging the rope and been done with it. Elaine’s outfit for “shade” worked for some jokes, but then…why is she laying outside in the first place? Jerry too, who was laying out with a shirt on. Do these people not know how this works?

Jason: Jane’s voice is really annoying. Michael is a complete asshole.

Key Character Debuts

Jane the Topless Swimmer

Dr. Ben Feffa

Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes

– “Didn’t they just have a baby?” – Jerry “That was two years ago, remember? ‘Jeh-Ree, you gotta see the Bay-Bee! You gotta see the Bay-Bee!'” – Elaine

– “Hey Jerry, you eve wear silk underwear?” – Kramer “No.” – Jerry “Put that on the top of your list.” – Kramer “No, not for me. A little too delightful.” – Jerry

– Jerry is still dating Rachel, as her father forgave them for making out at Schindler’s List

– “I never tasted a cough medicine I didn’t love.” – George “Me too. I love cough medicine.” – Jane

– “Hey Jerry. Rub some lotion on my back.” – Kramer “Who are you, Mrs. Robinson?” – Jerry

– “Yo Yo Ma” – Kramer “Boutros Boutros-Ghali.” – Jerry

– “Is it me or was that the ugliest baby you have ever seen?” – Jerry “Uh, I couldn’t look. It was like the Pekinese.” – Elaine “Boy, a little too much chlorine in that gene pool.” – Jerry

– “Yeah. I love Hampton tomatoes. You know, you can eat ’em like apples. You know it’s funny, the tomato never took on as a hand fruit.” – George “Well, the tomato’s an anomaly. So successful with the ketchup and the sauce, but you can’t find a good one.” – Jerry

– “Well, how good a look did you get?” – George “Well what’d you mean?” – Jerry “Well, if she was a criminal and you had to describe her to a police sketch artist…” – George “They’d pick her up in about ten minutes.” – Jerry

– “It’s like I’m Neil Armstrong. I turn around for a sip of Tang and you jump out first.” – George

– “Yes, because the water was cold… and the chewing warms me up.” – George

– “I was in the pool! I was in the pool!” – George

– Shrinkage becomes a pop culture catchphrase

– “Well I just got back from swimming in the pool. And the water was cold…” – George “Oh… You mean… shrinkage.” – Jerry “Yes. Significant shrinkage!” – George

– “Like when a man goes swimming… afterwards…” – Jerry “It shrinks?” – Elaine “Like a frightened turtle!” – Jerry “Why does it shrink?” – Elaine “It just does.” – George “I don’t know how you guys walk around with those things.” – Elaine

– “My father was a lobsterman. He got up every morning at four and came home every night stinking of brine. He sent me through law school with the lobsters he caught!” – Michael

– “Not that much. You know, they tend to shrink in the water.” – George

Oddities & Fun Facts

– Jerry & Elaine having to see the baby is a callback to “The Boyfriend” (S3, E17/18)

– This is the second of Jerry’s girlfriends that disliked George, the first was Jodi in “The Masseuse” (S5, E9)

Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)

JT: This was a nice offering for our penultimate episode. We had a super iconic sequence with all the shrinkage stuff and lots of other laughs blended in as well, with the lobster stuff as well as the ugly baby. I also like how Rachel stuck around across multiple episodes as we now got to know her a bit. There was some annoying stuff mixed in but overall this had lots of good, sharp lines and a classic moment to carry it. To me, that carries a lot of weight. Even if George’s hangdang doesn’t. Final Grade: 8/10

Aaron: The more I wrote about this one the further the grade sank. I wanted it to be a classic, and the shrinkage bit is legendary, but as a whole it fell a bit short for me. This one was good. Just plain old good. Final Grade: 7/10

Andrew: I’ve always enjoyed this episode. The “shrinkage” scene is a classic, and Kramer and Elaine are at the top of their game. There are some great lines and dialogue, and the plot has some great ideas in it. I just wish there was a better payoff to it all. It’s not quite perfect, but still one of my sentimental favorites. Final Grade: 8/10

Jordan: A few things keep this one from a perfect score for me: I hated Michael turning in Kramer, and I didn’t like the ending with George getting pelted with a tomato. Other than that, this was awesome. Final Grade: 9/10

Jason: It was nice to get an entire episode away from 129 West 81st Street. George’s iconic moment tops off an episode that I’ve watched countless times and gets better every time. Rachel might be Jerry’s longest girlfriend to date. Lots of good writing with the shrinkage, lobster and baby stuff. Between Jerry’s great lines and George coming up a little short, there’s very little to complain about here. Final Grade: 9/10