Seinfeld: The PTBN Series Rewatch – “The Kiss Hello” (S6, E17)

  1. 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: This was pretty good around and little bit parts like Morty and Julio were sharp as well but I thought Jerry had the best overall showing. He had great lines and a lot of ups and downs as he dodged kisses left and right before finally ending up as an outcast in his own home.

Aaron: By hook or by crook George Costanza managed to get “delicate genius” over as a saying in a mere 22 minutes. Sure he’s lying about his desire to participate in the flamenco but don’t mention it too loud, he’ll hear you. That being said if he does come over to confront you, simply kiss your neighbor until he sidles right out of the room.

Andrew: Jerry is my favorite in this one. Seeing him grow weary of social norms regarding greetings and small talk is very relatable, and I think he does a good job portraying the frustration, whether he’s getting too much interaction or not enough.

Jordan: Feels like I haven’t picked Kramer in a while. His plan for photos of all the tenants was absurd, yet it worked, which sums up the Kramer character in a nutshell. I also liked that Elaine’s plan backfired completely and Kramer liked Wendy’s hair. Taking a photo of himself by mistake was the cherry on top.

Jason: It’s episodes like this where everyone is on point and I can’t choose just one person. As I have a few times in prior episodes, the entire cast wins this week. The core four were all on their A game, The building tenants all turning their back on Jerry was excellent. Nana losing her mind and ratting out Leo. Wendy nailed it as the intolerable delicate genius and Morty was a force of nature figuring out the interest rate on the money that Leo owes Helen.

Best Storyline

JT: I will go with Jerry’s anti-kissing campaign since it includes both the Wendy stuff and the issues with his fellow tenants. I did come close to going with the race track debt just because Morty was so awesome as he calculated all of the interest and potential losses.

Aaron: I’m a big sucker whenever Seinfeld plays the “Pettiness of the elderly” card. Uncle Leo’s reaction as he denies he owes Helen any money is pretty perfectly priceless. And while you may be annoyed and outraged by that alliteration understand your outrage pales in comparison to Morty Seinfeld’s. “He’s not getting away with this.” Indeed you petty old curmudgeon.

Andrew: I love the apartment building greeting storyline. Kramer’s attempt to bring some civility to people’s lives is so well intentioned, but has the unintended consequence of irritating Jerry’s growing discomfort with social greetings, until Jerry feels compelled to make a doomed attempt at making society conform to him. I think it’s kind of brilliant, dramatically speaking, and quite funny too.

Jordan: I enjoyed Kramer’s stupid photo idea a lot. Everyone seemed thrilled to have polaroids of them on a wall, and a true utopia was being formed in that hallway. Jerome tried his best to ruin it, but PhotoWallOpolis would not be moved.

Jason: Again, a tough chose here, but I’m gonna go with Kramer’s building tenant picture program. There’s no limit to what ideas Cosmo comes up with and this one ranks towards the very top.

Ethical Dilemma of the Week

JT: If your friend has a really embarrassing haircut, should you tell them so? Yes. Always. They need to know how bafflingly stupid they look. I get this is easier for guys, but Wendy looked terrible and Elaine or that stupid receptionist should have said something sooner.

Aaron: When dealing with an injury, is simply applying dry heat and ice a lot of trouble? While these may seem like simple and reasonable directions, the effort you have to put in is way more than any injured person has any interest in. How the hell do you create dry heat in your home? They’re assuming you have one of those damn magic bean sacks, they’re also assuming you haven’t planted the beans in the ground in hopes of treasure. Then you have to freeze water. It’s too much. Anyone who has the gall to suggest this absurd course of action should have their wrists broken.

Andrew: Is it OK to drop someone off a few blocks from her apartment? I think this is one of those “only if they offer” situations. It’s one thing to prompt someone with a “is it ok if …”, but demanding your friend carry stuff for three blocks for the sake of your own convenience? That’s messed up.

Jordan: What lengths should one go to in order to cover up that they owe someone 50 dollars? is having an old woman sent to a nursing home too far? i say it’s not far enough. Leo should have silenced Nana… FOREVER.

Jason: If one of the elderly relatives is losing their mind, is throwing them in a home to keep them quiet the right move? Bad move, Leo! Pay up! Kissing people hello is fine if you know them well. But, if you hardly know the person, a hand shake or head nod works just fine.

Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)

JT: Kramer finally shows his affection for Jerry with some hot PDA action. George catches them in the act and not surprisingly bottles up his feelings. Those feelings will spill over someday, Georgie Boy. Best to express them now. Hello, indeed. Relationship Grade: PDA/10

Aaron: There was merely a hint of it here but in no uncertain terms should Elaine and Kramer ever date. The fabric of our society is already riddled with tears and Cosmo perhaps slipping it past Benes’ goalkeeper would not only shatter us but plunge us into another dark age. I’m bringing back the numbers! Relationship Grade:0/10

Andrew: An uncharacteristically relationship-free episode. Relationship Grade: You should be thanking me for liberating you from your world of loneliness and isolation/10

Jordan: Finally, after nearly six full seasons, the sexual tension between Jerry and Kramer reaches its tipping point. The kiss between two men is abruptly shaken up by the appearance of a third, clearly heartbroken man. Relationship Grade: GAY TRIANGLE/10

Jason: Kramer should plow Wendy until she shakes like a piggy bank and George’s $75 falls out of her. Relationship Grade: Cash or Check/10

What Worked:

JT: Poor Nana waiting on Jerry to have a pointless lunch with George before she can eat her ketchup; I love the first kiss hello from Wendy after Jerry tees it all up for George; Jerry comparing Wendy’s haircut to a picture in an old high school yearbook was great, as is the Kramer plan; I love how Nana called up Uncle Leo after Jerry no showed and him demanding Jerry kiss her hello was a funny touch; Leo’s nervous laugh tipping off Jerry about the $50; Kramer’s awful cover with the will, Jerry’s “you’re robbing me” and Elaine flirting with Kramer to get him back over in a row; Morty immediately compounding the interest on the $50; Jerry dodging Wendy’s kiss hello with the refrigerator door and his proposal for a fondle hello; Kramer taking Jerry’s awful picture; Kramer loving Wendy’s hair and then botching the picture; George is so damn on point about the bullshit cancellation policy and I love when he shoves it back in the receptionist’s face, including the click noise; The photo wall being Jerry’s nightmare; Leo locking Nana in a home to shut her up over $50; Jerry’s rant on family and Kramer kissing him is epic; Morty kills it all during this one; Julio nails his big line as well; I love the payoff at the end with George’s great hearing after Jerry mentioned it earlier and then Elaine burying the dagger with the hair; Jeff hamming it up with his “great idea” line, looking right at Jerry

Aaron: The kiss hello as an entire concept is pretty brilliant in it’s truthfulness. I loathe these little social contracts we make with one another and will always delight at the show destroying them. George claiming to be down to only one kiss hello actually felt like a small victory in my heart. Jerry painfully having to kiss every single one of his neighbors was great but comparing himself to Richard Dawson put the whole sequence over the top for me. Jerry’s neighbors tuning on him in the most unreasonable of fashions is a sweet topper to a strong story. Elaine suggesting that perhaps we move to an intercourse hello system, while ridiculous, could one day be the utopia in which we live. Everything with Kramer worked in this one. Even when they sit down and try to plan a meeting between Kramer and Wendy, the K-Man’s hilarious shadow looms large. I love when he outright admits he’s searching for a picture with a cool “You’ve got that straight,” and I adore his inability to use a camera. While we may never attain our intercourse utopia, Kramer’s friendlier society really is something we should strive for. There’s one more little thing I’d like to point out: When Uncle Leo is over at Nana’s and there’s a knock at the door there’s a brief look that Leo gives the door that I can only sum up as suspicious contempt. It’s fantastic.

Andrew: Jerry’s standup bit about our reactions to hair on/off the head is my favorite in a while. George’s unprompted Flamenco obsession is very character appropriate, and I think he just invented squeeze ketchup. I love the idea of using Kramer as weaponized criticism delivery system. It’s always good to see Uncle Leo, and his nervous laugh about the $50 is great. Kramer’s half-assed cover lie when rifling through Jerry’s apartment is fantastic, as is his reaction to Elaine’s “I just want to see you again”. I really enjoyed Elaine’s stunned silence to the “Is there anything wrong with him” question about Kramer. George’s reaction to Kramer kissing Jerry is classic, and I’m surprised to find myself on board with his attempt to turn the tables on the 24-hour-cancellation policy.

Jordan: I enjoy Nana and Leo. Jerry fighting his uncle over who gets to open a ketchup bottle was silly in a good way. I also love Leo covering up a $50 payment for decades, and Morty’s repeated calculations of how much that is worth now is a great touch. I like Jerry’s efforts to escape the lips of Wendy by shoving his head in the fridge and freezer. Kramer’s photo quest was such a stupid idea, and the fact that everyone loved it but Jerry was awesome, as was everyone turning on Jerry for refusing kisses. George and his cancellation battle was a nice way to keep George involved, and I like George smugly stating he has a 24 hour notice to the secretary. Elaine hating Wendy’s hair was well deserved, and her plotting to introduce Kramer to her nearly worked. Kramer’s reaction at meeting Wendy was excellent. Jerry’s wall photo was terrific.

Jason: Nana calling Jerry to open a bottle of ketchup is such a great grandmother thing to do. Elaine and Jerry’s plan to set up Kramer to say something to Wendy about her hair and it backfiring on them. Kramer roaming through Jerry’s apartment for a picture of him. Jerry hiding behind the fridge to dodge a kiss from Wendy; “Oh, look at that, I’m all out of Klondike bars.” Kramer bursting into Jerry’s apartment to snap a picture of him. the camera flash going off in Kramer’s face. Morty’s obsession over figuring out the interest rate on the money Leo owes Helen; “No proof? We’ll get him. He’s a crook, sooner or later, he’ll slip up.” George’s rant at Wendy’s receptionist; “The delicate genius has a policy.” Elaine dragging her skis down the street. Kramer greeting tenants in the building; “HEY…STEVE!” Mary’s rant to Jerry. “Nobody wants you here, NOBODY!” Buddy ending up being in the same home as Nana. Jerry calling out Leo about the money; “YOU’RE BUSTED!

What Didn’t Work

JT: The debate over squeeze ketchup always bothered me, as the squeeze bottle was released in 1983 by Heinz, have they never seen one?; Wendy’s hair…woof; Why is Wendy so obsessed with kissing Jerry hello to the point that she would stalk him at the door; What the hell is a chiropodist; I hate that damn receptionist; Joan sucks too; Wendy is a bitch with dumb hair

Aaron: Elaine is shunted into the background a bit too much in this one. She shined brightly as she struggled with her skis but I could have dealt with more of her. What kind of a piece of work is Wendy? From charging your friends full price to her archaic 24 hour cancellation policy (which not being two ways could elicit another rant from me) to the capper of not bothering to drive three measly blocks for a friend she deserves to be right in that cell with our foursome at the end of the series.

Andrew: I have no complaints, for once.

Jordan: Not enough Elaine here for me. Also, Wendy is a pretty rotten friend, dropping Elaine off three blocks away and making her drag her equipment home, then charging her a visit fee.

Jason: Shouldn’t Jerry have gone to open the bottle of ketchup for Nana before he went to grab a bite to eat? C’mon, Jerome! Wendy has some balls dropping Elaine off three blocks away from her building.

Key Character Debuts

Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes

– “Boy, I wish the flamenco was popular here.” – George “Yeah? Would you do it?” – Jerry “Yes, I think I would.” – George Well, I knew you’d have an affinity for it, because it’s the dance of a very proud people.” – Jerry

– “I love these people, you can’t ask ’em questions. They’re so mentally gifted that we mustn’t disturb the delicate genius. Unless it’s in the confines of an office. When huge sums of money are involved, then the delicate genius can be disturbed!” – George

– “She looks like something out of an old high school yearbook.” – Jerry

– “Well, I’m making out my will. Oh, I got a big slice of dough for you, buddy. And you too, Elaine, I haven’t forgotten you.” – Kramer

– “Oh, come on, Jerry. If everybody knew everybody, we wouldn’t have the problems we have in the world today. Well, you don’t rob somebody, if you know their name!” – Kramer “You’re robbing me.” – Jerry

– “Six hundred and sixty-three dollars and forty-five cents. And that’s figuring conservatively at five percent interest, over fifty-three years, compounded quarterly. Or, if you put it into a ten-year T-bill.” – Morty

– “It’s the obligation, you know? As soon as this person comes in, you know you have to do this. I mean, if you could, say, touch a breast as part of the kiss hello, then I think I could see the value in it a little better.” – Jerry “How ’bout an intercourse hello? How would that be?” – Elaine “Elaine, now you’re being ridiculous.” – Jerry

– “For putting my picture up on that wall! I’m like Richard Dawson down there now. And every person I see engages me in this long, boring, tedious, conversation. I can’t even get out of the building!” – Jerry “You should be thanking me for liberating you from your world of loneliness and isolation. Now, you’re part of a family.” – Kramer “Family?” – Jerry “Yeah.” – Kramer You think I want another family? My father’s demanding my uncle pay interest on fifty dollars he was supposed to give my mother in nineteen-forty-one, and my uncle put my nana in a home to try and shut her up! And I tell you another thing, Cosmo Kramer, whatever you wanna be called. The kissing thing is over. There’s no more kissing, and I don’t care what the consequences are.” – Jerry

– “I tell you. If you were hitch-hiking, you’d never get into a car with someone with a hairdo like that.” – Jerry

– “Well, I think it is! It’s a big building, Seinfeld, maybe I’ll get to it someday. After I take care of the people who’re civil to each other.” – Julio

Oddities & Fun Facts

– Wendy is portrayed by actress Wendie Malick, who would star on Just Shoot Me soon after

Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)

JT: This one has aged quite well. It sped along and hit no resistance along the way. Even the little bit parts and scenes connected and the main storylines were a perfect blend of inanity and realism. I could relate to each of these scenarios but they unfolded in the usual madness of the Seinfeld universe. And I like to think Morty is still sitting at that table banging away at that calculator, marking down every last cent that Leo’s cheapness has cost him. That crook! Also, George’s issues with the cancellation policy were a home run for me. That shit wasn’t even posted! I wouldn’t pay her shit. Hello, again, hello! Final Grade: 8/10

Aaron: I laughed quite a bit during this one. We have some strong performances from basically everyone and tight storylines to boot. My only complaint is that the Uncle Leo larceny ( no idea if that’s correct) isn’t in any way connected to the rest. That and a lack of iconic moments leave this one firmly in the very good/almost great episodes. Final Grade: 8/10

Andrew: I really enjoyed this episode. I don’t think of it as one of the more famous ones, but I find myself really appreciating it this time around. It’s really well plotted out, I find the storylines interesting, and the dialogue is really solid. I think it’s just missing one of those big, classic, clip-show moments; Kramer kissing Jerry comes closest, but we’ve seen much better. This episode doesn’t quite reach the heights the series is capable of, but I really enjoy it. Final Grade: 8/10

Jordan: I really dug this one, as it snuck up on me. It’s certainly not one you hear mentioned when talking about great Seinfeld episodes, but this one was seamless with it’s stories and lots of laughs. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed it. If there are any complaints, it’s simply that it isn’t an all-timer and didn’t produce any legendary lines or moments. Final Grade: 9/10

Jason: This was a smooth and silky twenty three minutes with more laughs than I remembered. Wendy played her role perfectly and it was great to see Nana back. Morty crunching numbers is always a treat. Going into this episode I was thinking a final grade of an 8 was going to be expected, but I really enjoyed it from start to finish and think we can bump it up a notch. Final Grade: 9/10