Seinfeld: The PTBN Series Rewatch – “The Junior Mint” (S4, E21)

Welcome to Seinfeld: The PTBN Series Rewatch! On a regular basis, Justin Rozzero, Aaron George, Andrew Flanagan and Jordan Duncan 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

Justin: I have to go Jerry here. Kramer and George had their moments and Elaine was good too, but Jerry was the most consistent throughout. Whether he was discussing history’s kind women, running through women’s names or making fake plans for the Poconos, he had a bunch of classic lines and memorable scenes. Add in the Junior Mint fumble and his Hall of Fame ad lib and you got it all.

Aaron: Kramer. He’s just so excited to find out what’s inside bone.

Andrew: This is a bit of a toss-up, but I’ll give it to Jerry. His dialogue is solid throughout, he has some great reaction shots, and I enjoy his pain-in-the-ass behavior when Elaine asks him to pretend to be her boyfriend. That said, my vote is based entirely on one line: “Then we can go watch ’em slice this fat bastard up.” That’s on the short list for greatest ad lib of all time.

Jordan: In a close battle, I’m giving it to Kramer. This is a case of someone losing the award rather than someone winning it. I was all set to give it to Jerry, then in the last scene where he starts guessing her name, he’s just got a big dopy grin on it the whole time. I imagine they shot it 50 times, and that’s the BEST they got. Poor showing from Jerome there, while Kramer just owns everything.

Best Storyline

Justin: This is really close for me. The Junior Mint incident is an all time classic and yet another crossover moment for the show, as Junior Mint jokes immediately flooded pop culture after this. But the quest to solve the mystery of Mulva locks it up. Watching Jerry transition from cocky to panicky was great and by the end the stakes had risen so high it felt like a brutal kick in the nuts that he figured out the name right after he blew it. Dolores was a hell of a catch. Bad looks, Jerome.

Aaron: The junior mint attempted homicide takes it for me here. It starts off so innocuously with a man trying to take a date to an operation but it quickly descends into secrets, lies and Kramer angrily threatening Jerry in his apartment to keep his mouth shut. Perhaps had he been a little more open to hearing spoilers about the operation he would have paid more attention to his snack and the fantastic slow-motion sequence that nearly cost the world triangles.

Andrew: Jerry not knowing his date’s name is hard to beat. Even without the rhyme angle, that’s a solid, relateably awkward storyline, and the attempts to surreptitiously figure it out are entertaining. But the “female body part” stuff is what really makes it, with some hilarious guesses (“Aretha? Bovary?”) and a legendary payoff (“Delores!”). I never saw it coming the first time I saw this episode, and it still amazes me that they came up with that.

Jordan: Another tight race: The Junior Mint is a classic, and Jerry’s delivery of the line, “It’s a Junior Mint.” is pretty darn solid for Jerry. On the flipside, you’ve got the unnamed woman. Is her name Gipple? Regina? Noob? When the dust settles, I’m just going to be a contrarian, and going with George thinking he may not hate Home Alone 2 as much if he knew the story of the original.

Ethical Dilemma of the Week

Justin: At what point should Jerry have asked Mulva her name? I say right out of the gate, the first date. He is a comedian, make it funny! Stop trying to be so sneaky! Also, why would Dolores really get so angry that he didn’t know her name. She obviously never told him it and then danced around revealing it to Kramer and George. This was all very avoidable.

Aaron: If you rent movies and take them to someone’s house are you, in fact, “doing something?” I think if you want to convince yourself that sitting by yourself in your friend’s apartment crying to Home Alone constitutes a healthy adult lifestyle, fine, but be prepared to do a lot of convincing. Only the most delusional of men would believe anything other than, at worst, doing such a thing is pathetic and at best it is simply fucking weird. You wouldn’t rent a hotel room to masturbate and you don’t show up at your friends with three, (3!!!) movies to watch alone. One of which is Pretty Woman. If only this was the weirdest thing George had ever done…

Andrew: You’d have to tell the doctor if you dropped something into a surgical cavity, right? I mean, I’m not one to talk when it comes to owning up to embarrassing mistakes, but…you’re putting someone’s life in danger, just to avoid getting chewed out. That’s a little too selfish and self-centered, even for me.

Jordan: Should George have blown all his savings on triangle paintings just because the guy wasn’t recovering quickly in surgery? He’s already had experience with art purchases and there was no guarantee of death. Plus, they’re triangles.

Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)

Justin: George and Susan B. Anthony seemed like oil and water on the surface, but they could have had the passion bright enough to match the light of a million stars. If he could get past his obvious issues, Soos could have been oiling up his bald head in no time. Relationship Grade: 10/10

Aaron: Mulva should have given Jerry a chance. Sure he could have handled the whole “not respecting her enough to know her name” thing better, but it’s not like he cut her into tiny pieces or anything. It’s a big loss for Jerry, as Hest seems sweet, funny and way too hot for him. Relationship Grade: 9/10

Andrew: Roy should have known better than to eat spaghetti in front of Elaine; despite what Disney’s canine romance films would have us believe, that is never sexy. As for Jerry’s friend: looks aside, she doesn’t appear to have anything going for her other than the name mystery. But a little mystery goes a long way. Relationship Grade: 5/10

Jordan: Things started out rough. They kept their distance. One was misunderstood by the other. But thanks to a string of robberies and a snow shovel, Kevin and Old Man Marley formed a bond that could never be broken. Relationship Grade: Macauly/10

What Worked

Justin: I have always loved Kramer’s desire to convert his apartment to a log cabin; I also enjoy George’s rationalization for watching the movie at George’s; I have enjoyed Jerry and Elaine’s random digs at each other about their relationship this season; Kramer’s stealth search for gloves was funny, as was his questioning of the doctor about the retractor; Superficial Elaine is pretty good, falling for Roy after the weight loss and his compliments; The yo-yo callback was awesome; So much random humor in here between Home Alone and the Clara Barton stuff; Jerry’s initial attempt at discovering the name followed up by the coffee shop sleuthing with George was good; Jerry’s fat bastard line was gold; The surgery scene is pretty iconic and instantly became yet another pop culture crossover moment; Kramer and George attempts at outing Mulva’s name; I like to think that the only thing that healed Roy was George Costanza’s terrible luck; Roy housing the spaghetti while the Doctor discusses God’s miracle was a nice dichotomy; The Joseph Puglia line has always been a favorite of mine

Aaron: I love how everyone was so callous to the fact that Roy could have died. Elaine laments that she can’t date “thin” Roy and George just flat out wants him to die so his art will go up in price. All the business with Elaine and Jerry pretending to be boyfriend and girlfriend depending on her whims was great, and I’m a little shocked (in a good way) about how mean everyone is regarding Roy’s weight. They’re just waaaaaaay to comfortable with calling this guy fat, or blubbery or a fat bastard. Elaine is also great when she takes “I couldn’t eat for weeks,” as a compliment instead of the horrific time of Roy’s life that it was. Jerry dealing with the struggle to remember Joseph Puglia’s name is wonderful and Kramer dealing with the struggle to live in a log cabin is sublime.

Andrew: Ah, the provocative produce section, filled with romance and soon-to-be-overripe bananas. George’s Home Alone storyline was so delightfully random that I didn’t even care that it had nothing to do with the rest of the plot. Flirty Elaine is always a treat, and I love how charmed she is at the thought of being the cause of Roy’s crippling depression. And I appreciated the yo-yo and “Prognosis Negative” callbacks. What works the most in this episode’s favor is the dialogue. There are so many quotable lines, even in the filler stuff unrelated to the plot. For example, George and Jerry’s impromptu discussion of female historical figures really got me this time around.

Jordan: Kramer at the hospital always works. I liked him grilling the doc about retractors, then giving a concerned look at Roy. Speaking of Roy, him wolfing down the spaghetti at the end with Elaine trying to get out of dinner was good stuff. George weeping at Home Alone was hilarious and a moment I’d totally forgotten about. Mulva was a really good character, and Jerry’s stupid for blowing it by just not asking for her name. Jerry with the yo-yo is a nice callback, and the doc’s reaction to Jerry’s trick is good. Of course, the entire Junior Mint stuff works – especially Kramer wanting to see what’s inside of bone.

What Didn’t Work

Justin: George immediately trying to blow his found money feels a little un-Costanza like; Why exactly would George and Susan B. Anthony not get along?; Jerry should have just asked Mulva her damn name, she was pretty awesome

Aaron: I have no clue how Jerry has children in real life as I’m not convinced he has any clue how to touch a woman. Please stop giving him love scenes. It’s like watching a rhinoceros rape a car. Also the clapping on the entrances is getting to be a bit much now.

Andrew: I have problems with the plot. The Home Alone stuff doesn’t tie into anything else, Elaine’s brief infatuation with Roy is unsatisfying, and Jerry gets a bit too sitcom-y in his awkward attempts to figure out Delores’ name. (“My aunt’s name is Mulva”? Yeah, great cover. She’ll never suspect a thing). George rooting for Roy to die so that the value of his painting will go up is a bit off, too. I think it’s that it’s not quite funny enough to balance out how sick and twisted that is.

Jordan: Jerry’s acting was pretty lousy here, as he was trying too hard to keep a straight face and just broke into a grin. George thinking about spending all his money on a horse race is something Kramer would do, not George.

Key Character Debuts

Roy the Artist

Dr. Siegel

Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes

– “Produce section. Very provocative area. A lot of melons and shapes. Everyone’s squeezing and smelling…It just happened.” – Jerry

–  “The whole apartment. And I’m buying that fake wood wallpaper. I’m gonna surround myself in wood. It’s gonna be like a log cabin. Cuz I need wood around me. Wood, Jerry… Wood.” – Kramer

– “Oh, come on Jerry. You gotta see the operation. They’re gonna cut him open. His guts’ll be all over the place.” – Kramer “Yeah, that’s true…” – Jerry “They’ll saw through bone. You’ll see what’s *inside* bone…” – Kramer

– “Yeah, so she and “Triangle Boy” can go out to fancy restaurants.” – Jerry

– “Y’know what it is? It’s “Clara Nightingale Syndrome”. He falls ill, she falls in love.” – George “You mean Florence Nightingale.” – Jerry “What’d I say? Clara?” – George “Yeah, you must have meant Clara Barton.” – Jerry “Clara Barton? What did she do?” – George “I’m not sure, but I think she was nice.” – Jerry “Susan B. Anthony I think I’d have a problem with.” – George “Yeah, I think you would.” – George

– “Y’know I remember when I was a kid growin up, kids would make fun of my name like you wouldn’t believe– “Jerry Jerry Dingleberry”, “Seinsmelled”.” – Jerry

– “Aretha!” – George “No…” – Jerry “Bovary!” – George “Alright, that’s enough.” – Jerry

– “Alright, alright. Just let me finish my coffee… then we’ll go watch them slice this fat bastard up.” – Jerry

– The Junior Mint incident and subsequent descriptions become another pop culture phenomenon, as does the name Mulva

– “Because it’s a little mint. It’s a Junior Mint.” – Jerry

– “Hey, this wallpaper is very good. My place looks like a ski lodge!” – Kramer

– “Who’s gonna turn down a Junior Mint? It’s chocolate, it’s peppermint — it’s delicious!” – Kramer “That’s true.” – Jerry “It’s very refreshing!” – Kramer

– “I have no medical evidence to back me up, but something happened during the operation that staved off that infection. Something beyond science. Something perhaps from above…” – Dr. Siegel

– “Oh, well, I really think I’m falling for you…Joseph Puglia…” – Jerry

– “Dolores!” – Jerry

Oddities & Fun Facts

– Jerry’s line about going to watch the fat bastard get sliced up was ad libbed

Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)

Justin: Another episode, another classic. Season four has been amazing. This is clearly the season that saw the show really break through and become iconic in pop culture. The Junior Mint and Mulva lines became very popular and were frequently quoted in the aftermath of the original airing. Jerry was top notch and even in a wicked throwaway storyline George provided some really strong laughs. Depraved Elaine was a lot of fun too as we rarely get to see her be so superficial about a relationship. The K-Man’s log cabin was a good C-storyline as well. Oh, and that fat bastard line. What a line. Final Grade: 7/10

Aaron: Come on what are you expecting by now? It’s great/ solid on every level and has a couple of all-time moments. Season four is finishing strong. This would be the highest of eights. Final Grade: 8/10

Andrew: This is another episode with a lot going for it. The dialogue is particularly good, and there are a handful of truly memorable lines and scenes. But the plot isn’t as good as I would have liked, and there are just enough flaws to keep the episode out of the upper echelon. That said, I had a really good time rewatching it, and I’m still in awe of the brilliant “Delores” payoff. Final Grade: 7/10

Jordan: And the hits just keep on coming. Classic moments, funny stuff, true moments about nothing like Jerry’s yo-yo. This is Seinfeld. Final Grade: 8/10