Seinfeld: The PTBN Series Rewatch – “The Invitations” (S7, E24)

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 dug Jerry here, but George takes it. The whole season has been about his journey and he finally finishes the job he started back in episode one. Since he proposed he has been miserable and he escapes by inadvertent killing Susan off for good. His complete despair throughout the episode being paid off by gleefully dialing up Marisa Tomei the day before Susan’s funeral was genius.

Aaron: George. He’s livid at the prospect of starting a whole new wardrobe, he’s outright relieved that his fiancée is dead. You HAVE to reward that.

Andrew: I’m giving this one to George. His increasing panic about the wedding is solid, and I enjoy the desperate attempts at getting out of it, but he really wins this one with his reaction to Susan’s death. The obvious internal excitement, held back because he realizes how inappropriate it is, is absolutely perfect.

Jordan: George gets this one, not just for his performance but as an honorary award for putting up with Susan all this time. His reaction to her death is pretty much exactly what you’d expect from him by this point. Stressing about a wedding – calm, cool and relaxed at the prospect of a funeral.

Jason: George takes it for me. From him going into panic mode about the wedding coming up, to the hilarious vision of him smoking and his lack of emotion when he’s informed that Susan died. A big showing and sigh of relief for GLC here.

Best Storyline

JT: The invitations is the easy call. Jerry and Jeannie had its moments, but this whole season was built upon this one storyline, it has to be the choice.

Aaron: I’ll give it to George trying to weasel his way out of a marriage that he asked for. Sure it’s kind of a through line for the entire season but it’s been absent in far too may episodes lately and comes to a fantastic climax here. He’d rather be unhappy for the rest of his life than break up with Susan. If that’s not pure Costanza I don’t know what is.

Andrew: Again, I think it has to be The Invitations. I’ve always thought Susan’s death by cheap adhesive was a brilliant way to wrap up the engagement storyline. George is obsessed with getting out of his engagement, and while he didn’t plan it, the escape comes directly as a result of his own actions. I get the sense he’d be proud if it weren’t so reprehensible. And while some (justifiably) take issue with how callous the show is toward Susan, I think that was perfect too. It’s exactly the lack of humanity and empathy the show has promised us all along, taken to a stunning yet predictable extreme.

Jordan: It’s the invitations. I loved George whipping to the last page with gusto, and showing little to no remorse when it’s abundantly clear that his stinginess is why Susan is dead. Hopefully Susan wrote him into her will.

Jason: Ding dong the witch is dead! The invitations takes it for me. I’ve been very open with how much I dislike Susan. The moment when she passes out from the toxic glue is as glorious to me as watching the Yankees win the World Series.

Ethical Dilemma of the Week

JT: Should George have dialed up Marisa Tomei that quickly? No. But mainly because he was destined to fail. Of course she was going to think you were a creep! Bide your time before organically stumbling across her, Georgie Boy. Play it smart, you already know she is into you and now you are a widower? Stupid.

Aaron: Is “Hey” the same thing as “Hello?” Well keep in mind that I live in a place where stores can be fined, FINED if they don’t say “Bonjour, Hello” in THAT order, so forgive me if I’m a stickler for these kinds of things. Otherwise I’d have to face the fact that my government is carelessly wasting my tax dollars by spending millions each year of actual language police. If you’re going to sit there and tell me that that year I worked at Best Buy and the language cops came in and fined them for every phone in the break room that said “hold” instead of “retenir” (or whatever the fuck it’s supposed to be) if you’re going to tell me that was unreasonable or a horrific waste or resources… then… then…then… then… then…………………………………………………………………

Andrew: Is moving to China an acceptable way to get out of a commitment? Asking for a friend.

Jordan: Should you break the bank for wedding invites? Who are you trying to impress, people who already claim to be your friends? Let’s stop with this tomfoolery that we have to appear richer than we are for people who say they love us unconditionally. George picking the cheap invitations was not unethical, Susan wanting expensive ones was! Use the money to feed the homeless!

Jason: Is “hey”, “hi”, “how’s it going?” or any other greeting the same as saying “hello”? Yessir! Should the gang have shown more emotion when Susan died? Nope! The city should have thrown a ticker tape parade for this.

Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)

JT: Jerry and Jeannie were cute for a hot minute but I am with Kramer. That shit got old fast. She is no Schmoopie, but I don’t blame the K-Man for speaking up. Relationship Grade: JS/10

Aaron: I told you Susan. I told you you would die from the minute I met you in that NBC meeting. I don’t even know why you got engaged to him. You laugh in his face and revel in making more money than he does. You were an unrelenting shrew for the past twenty episodes. I’m glad you’re dead and I’m glad George is free. Relationship Grade: 187/10

Andrew: Again, I thought this was a great way to wrap up the Susan storyline. Depending on where your feelings about Susan fall on the scale, it’s either a neat way to cut her out of the show, or a tragic end for an innocent bystander who crossed paths with a bunch of sociopaths. I like the “dating yourself” storyline, too. The idea has a certain appeal, and they did the “getting tired of yourself” turn really well. Relationship Grade: 10/10

Jordan: Jerry and Jeannie was a fun bit for a little while, but more importantly, SUSAN IS DEAD. George is free to steal Jerry’s moves, talk casually about manure and eat a sandwich during sex again! Liberation! Relationship Grade: DING DONG THE WITCH IS DEAD/10

Jason: I’ve always had a thing for Janeane Garofalo and lived vicariously through Jerry during this episode.   Relationship Grade: Corn Flakes/10

What Worked:

JT: George saying “late June” as Susan said “June” was funny; Kramer mixing up Susan’s name; George’s schemes to break up with Susan were quite funny; Elaine demanding George to be part of the wedding party; Jerry picturing a life with just Kramer; George smoking and nearly killing himself; Jerry realizing he was in love with himself; Kramer selling George on the prenup idea and Susan laughing at him; Susan’s “Yeah give me the papers, I’ll sign them” may be her best line of the season; The Jerry & Jeannie montage was well done; I love how Kramer hates Jeannie; Nice callback with Jerry romanticizing by the pier and then proposing, mirroring what George did to open the season; The pine/oak desk time killer conversation always cracks me up; Kramer taking the $20; You can see Susan’s doom coming but it is still jarring when she collapses; Jerry referencing the pact was a nice touch; Kramer saying Frank called to tell him the news is an awesome throwaway random line; The envelopes killing Susan after George cheaped out was a sick, twisted, fantastic payoff to this whole season; George immediately calling Marisa Tomei is tremendous

Aaron: I totally appreciate Susan pegging Kramer as the guy who’s going to ruin their wedding by “tripping or something.” I like to believe also that when the stationary store clerk tells them that the glue is not adhesive it’s actually a cover for “someone died from licking them.” George really is great throughout. The smoking scene is spot on as is his utter panic that the wedding is near. It takes a special kind of asshole to make a doctor spell out that your fiancé is dead. He makes sure to ask him three times before absorbing and going to get coffee. His friends aren’t much better. They all just want to get the hell out of the hospital. They couldn’t care less that she died. Elaine gives the most forced condolences and the only one who seems to care is Kramer and he thinks Susan is a completely different person. Kramer’s scheme at the bank is fun. The interaction with the bank manager where they sit in silence before discussing whether the desk is oak or pine always gets a reaction from me. “You got a greeting that starts with an H how does twenty bucks sound,” is funny enough on its own but also plays into Kramer’s need to take any deal thrown his way. While I don’t understand why she feels the need to take part, Elaine trying to shoe horn her way into the wedding party is a solid outing as well. Last but not least, Jerry finding love, with himself no less, is a great bookend to the entire season. The callbacks are a plenty from the champagne to Jerry running from the pier. Scratch that, the best bookend is George calling Marisa Tomei. “I have the funeral tomorrow but the rest of my weekend is free.” What a piece of shit.

Andrew: I’ve always liked George’s “write a letter and move to China” plan, it’s such a tantalizing idea. Kramer’s prenup idea is a brilliant one, but the result (Susan laughing in George’s face) is even better. I enjoy Jerry’s storyline a lot; the callback to the pact and George’s big decision is good, Jerry’s dream image of future Kramer is hilarious, and the “dating yourself” angle is very well done. Having Stephen Root as a guest star is a big plus, and his scene with Kramer in the bank is one of my favorite standalone bits. Something about his casual calm kills me, and the resolution is great (“You got a greeting, started with an “H”, how’s twenty bucks sound?”). I’ve already mentioned how much I like George’s reaction to the news about Susan, but the rest of the characters do a great job too. George’s painfully un-self-aware call to Marisa Tomei is a good way to close things out.

Jordan: Kramer saying “Poor Lilly” at the news of Susan’s death was great. I really liked the whole invitations set up, and remember the first time I watched this, not knowing the payoff would end in her death. I’ve learned something on this rewatch that you don’t pick up on if you just watch random episodes and not the show chronologically – Susan was awful and I totally sympathize with George feeling trapped. She was mean, clingy, obnoxious. I don’t want to say I’m GLAD she’s dead, but I would vehemently agree with anyone who said they were. Kramer calling out the Jerry/Jeannie ridiculousness was right on. As mentioned before, George just quickly SLAMMING the invite book to the last page is great – the guy was just BEGGING for Susan to dump him. She’s an idiot. I thought the “Hi” story at the bank was a fine distraction, and the payoff of nobody saying hello, but giving Kramer $20 was fun.

Jason: Jerry’s opening bit about men being in charge of wedding invitions and leaving the on car windows; George flipping to the end of the invitation catalog; George not being able to face the break up scene; a 1,000,000/1 chance being something; Elaine’s; “You don’t ask, you tell.”; Elaine bringing up the hatred of smoking was a nice callback to her and Keith Hernandez; Jerry daydreaming about the future with just him and Kramer around; Janeane saving Jerry from being hit by the car; the same initials; George firing up a smoke was so great; “Well, I can’t stop now!”; J&J both ordering Cheerios at night; Jerry sweeping himself off his feet; Kramer telling George to ask for a pre-nup; the pre-nup blowing up in George’s face; the Drake getting a wedding invite; J&J’s montage of stepping of a homeless man, shopping for cereal and reading comic books; J&J both agreeing that “hey and “hello” are the same thing; Kramer’s, “Oh, big surprise!”; Milton from Office Space being the bank manager; Kramer settling for $20; J&J celebrating at the Improv and getting married on the first day of Autumn; George finding Susan passed out; Frank calling Kramer to tell him about J&J; Jerry not being able to be with someone like himself; the lack of emotion when Susan is pronounced dead; “Poor Lily”; “We had a pact”; George calling Marisa Tomei to tell her Susan dropped dead and ask her to Jerry’s wedding.

What Didn’t Work

JT: Susan is a millionaire, why does she allow George to skimp on the invitations?; The Susan/Lilly stuff was good for a couple laughs, but it felt a little forced; Since when does Susan work again?

Aaron: Susan’s clothes are absurd. Jeannine Garafalo was fine but the prospect of marrying a “what’s the deal with…” person made me contemplate the sweet embrace of death.

Andrew: This episode feels like it’s short on Elaine, although she is very funny in her limited screen time.

Jordan: I wish the doctor said that Susan had suffered a little bit while dying.

Jason: Susan’s dead so it all worked.

Key Character Debuts

Jeannie Steinmann

Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes

– “What about a letter?” – George “A letter.” – Jerry “I…I…write a letter and then I..I go to China. I disappear in a sea of people for like six months, a year you know just while things simmer down. Ehm.. Ehm…Dear Susan. I’m sorry. I made a terrible mistake. I’m really , really sorry.” – George “That’s it?” – Jerry “What? Too short?” – George “Seems a little short, yeah…” – Jerry & George “You can’t go to China What about your job?” – George “My Job… arghhh” – George “So write a letter.. move to another…move to Staten Island, ‘lot easier to blend in a sea of people in Staten Island than China believe me.” – Jerry “Yeah! Yeah!..Staten Island . What about my clothes, how do I get the rest of the clothes?” – George “Aagh! You come back for your clothes.” – Jerry “I’m not going back in there.” – George “So forget about your clothes.” – Jerry “Well I’m not starting up a whole new wardrobe now!!!” – George “Look, freedom with no clothes is a lot better than no freedom with clothes.” – Jerry “If she’d just take a plane somewhere.” – George “And what, hope for a crash?” – Jerry “It happens.” – George “You know what the odds are on a crash it’s a million to one.” – Jerry

– “The shirt you got on under your sweather.It sits for three weeks in your drawer, waiting to come out. and when it finally does . It sticks up only half an inch out of your collar.” – Jeannie

– “No it’s true. This woman saved my life. I was crossing the street .I was almost hit by a car…and then we talked and… the whole thing just seemed like a dream.” – Jerry “If a guy saved your life you’d be in love with him too.” – Kramer “No, no this woman is different , she’s incredible. she’s just like me. She talks like me, she acts like me. She even ordered cereal at a restaurant. We even have the same initials. Wait a minute, I just realized what’s going on. Now I know what I’ve been looking for all these years……myself! I’ve been waiting for me to come along and now I ‘ve swept myself off my feet.” – Jerry “You stop it man.. you’re freaking me out!” – Kramer

– “No, no no no no. Weddings are a great place to meet chicks. I have to be unfettered.” – Kramer

– “Hey is the same thing as hello. What do you think Jeannie.” – Jerry “Yeah I think it’s the same thing.” – Jeannie “Oh! Big surprise” – Kramer

– “Hey! what’s the deal with decaf; how do they get the caffeine out of there and then where does it go?” – Jeannie

Oddities & Fun Facts

– Elaine references hating smoking, a callback to The Boyfriend (S3, E15/E16)

– Jeannie Steinmann is portrayed by comedienne Janeane Garofalo

– Jerry sitting by the pier and then proposing to Jeannie mirrors how George proposed to Susan in The Engagement (S7, E1)

– The Bank Manager is played by NewsRadio’s Stephen Root

– The Doctor who pronounces Susan dead also played the proctologist in The Fusilli Jerry (S6, E21)

– According to George Steinbrenner, he was supposed to appear as himself in this episode but when he found out Susan was going to die, he declined the offer due to the dark turn of the show

Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)

JT: Well, we waited all season to see how this engagement would end. There seemed to be very little chance that the wedding would happen but I don’t think many people expected Susan to flat out be killed off. I would argue that the turn to true darkness and establishing that these are worthless, irredeemable people really starts in this episode, inside the hospital. We will track as we go, but it seemed to finally be the point that they showed zero remorse for anything. The rest of the show was fine, but really felt like filler to get us to Susan’s passing. Kramer’s bank stuff had a couple laughs and the Jerry/Jeannie stuff was cute, more for Jerry mirroring George and then realizing he hates, not loves, himself. I can’t say this really was a great episode but it certainly was memorable. Season seven as a whole was much better than I remembered. Two more seasons to go! Final Grade: 7/10

Aaron: Season seven is in the books and while it was a bit of a letdown for me it’s ends on the strong note of a hated character dying. Watching her suffer through those envelopes brought joy to my heart. If you had asked me at the start what the best season of Seinfeld was I would have told you this one. Now, it’s not even the best we’ve seen. It wasn’t bad by ANY means but there were a ton of episodes that probably could have been helped by more George suffering as he marries the insufferable. Still a strong episode to end and onward to season eight! Final Grade: 8/10

Andrew: Certainly among the most infamous Seinfeld episodes, I’m glad to see this one holds up. The ruthless way they end George’s engagement storyline still gets me, and I’ve always been a fan of the Jerry dating himself stuff. Even Kramer’s C story at the bank, while having nothing to do with the rest of the episode, does it for me. This episode could use more Elaine, and it doesn’t quite have that “I’m watching perfection” feel of the classics, but this one is way up there for me. Final Grade: 8/10

Jordan: By itself, it’s not the best ever, but as a capper to a season and the end of a long running story (George’s trapped in engagement hell), it’s excellent. Deep down, you knew he wouldn’t marry Susan, but he was also too much of a coward to just end things, so this was an interesting way to go. Him immediately calling Marisa Tomei is a great, great end to a pretty darn good finale. Looking forward to Season 8! Final Grade: 8/10

Jason: This was one hell of a season finale. Kramer killed it with bank stuff. In addition, Jerry and Janeane Garofalo’s chemistry came off very well. In what at the time was a very shocking moment in the series, Susan dropping dead was the best way to go with her character. This episode as a whole is just short of being a part of the elite episodes and is as close to being perfect as possible. Throw this one on and watch Susan lick the envelopes over and over again. I give the episode an 8/10, but Susan dropping dead is a 10/10, so I’ll average it out.  See everyone in Season 8! Final Grade: 9/10