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!
JT: They were all really damn good. George embracing the bad boy, Kramer’s casual attitude about everything going down with Brady, Elaine’s dancing and obsession about the staff’s disrespect, toss in Frank and Brody too while you are at it…but… of course… Jerry the Bootlegger. Jerry takes it for me again this week. His lines were so on point again and his growing obsession and attitude over the bootlegging was well done, I love him asking for the magic markers to storyboard the movie. That said, fantastic ensemble performance this week.
Aaron: Julia Louis Dreyfuss’ body moves in a way that contradicts every ounce of theatre craft training that’s waltzed into my head over the years. I just don’t get how she does it. You have any idea how hard it into dance that poorly? It’s fucking impossible. She’s a goddess. Couple that with her disdain for everything George and Jerry suggest and her threatening to drop an old man like a bag of dirt and we have an easy winner for me here.
Andrew: It has to be Elaine, I think. The bad dancing is so perfect, especially when combined with the unearned confidence. And the confrontation with Frank at the end is an all-timer.
Jordan: Call me crazy, but in an episode where Elaine takes center stage and George has a great scheme to get a woman, I’m going with… Jerry? His story about bootlegging was really funny, especially where he demands three cameras and a way to contact each cameraman. Just a really nice body of work from Jerome here.
Jason: This episode is most remembered for the Elaine dance, however no dance can beat out Bad Boy George. He was tremendous playing the Bad Boy to rope in Anna. The Yankee jacket, Frank’s car and bootlegging. All topped of by him being exposed and crying after the arrest. An honorable mention goes to Frank for his scene at the end picking up George from the police station and picking a fight with Elaine.
JT: The bootlegging had the most consistent laughs. Elaine and George were great but Jerry, Kramer and Brody dominated this one. From the original scene in the theatre to Brody’s visits to the apartment to Jerry’s haughty attitude over the bootlegs, they crushed it.
Aaron: George the bad boy is a little forced in terms of dialogue but the story is strong enough to win out here. The man parked his car in the middle of a playground, he deserves some props.
Andrew: It’s pretty close, but I’ll go with the bootleg tape storyline. Brody is entertainingly threatening, and Jerry turning into a temperamental artist is solid. What really puts it over for me is the “joke maker” bit in the theater. That back-and-forth just kills me.
Jordan: Man, I really like the bootlegging… but I also like BAD BOY George Costanza. I think I’ll waffle here since I gave Jerry best character and toss this one to George – him weeping like a child at the end was a great capper to his faux tough guy routine.
Jason: Again, the title plot is most remembered, but Bad Boy George wins it here as well. George and Anna were both great as was Elaine playing the middle person.
Ethical Dilemma of the Week
JT: Should you keep your phone under the couch? I see absolutely no reason why not.
Aaron: How good a bootlegger are you when you spend every minute of the film either speaking loudly next to the microphone or filling your face with an enormous feedbag? Imagine how much background noise the poor children are experiencing while they enjoy Death Blow. The crunching, the complaining…it’s insane. Also how can you possibly keep said bootlegging career going when you’re screaming about getting tapes out on the street in the lobby of the theater. Brody is just a stupid idiot. A stupid idiot with one set of clothing.
Andrew: Is it OK to pirate movies? On the one hand, it’s probably not good to support a criminal enterprise that diverts money from the people who create entertainment. On the other, what about the kid Jerry described, whose parent “won’t let him see the excessive violence and strong sexual content you and I take for granted”? I can still remember being that kid, and I’m totally on his side.
Jordan: Should you weigh how much you respect your boss on how well they dance? Call me crazy, but I can’t see Henry Ford being a dancing machine. Elaine’s subordinates were wrong to treat her as anything but the beautiful goddess that she is.
Jason: Should professional bootleggers carry guns? Trafficking illegal copies of movies isn’t quite on the same level as drug trafficking.
Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)
JT: Kramer may want to sever ties with Corky Ramirez, the group he runs with is no good. Relationship Grade: Laugh with the Sinners/Cry with the Saints
Aaron: I like Anna. She’s waaaaaaaaaay too attractive for George but if she falls for him in a child’s Yankee jacket it gives me hope that she’ll love my Philadelphia Eagles jacket from 1988. Relationship Grade: 7/10
Andrew: It may not have had any basis in fact, but George and Anna’s forbidden love really did it for me. Too bad George can’t pull off the Bad Boy act for long. Relationship Grade: Rebuffed with extreme prejudice/10
Jordan: Anna has some clear issues. She goes for the bad boys AND she likes the way Costanza looks? I picture her losing many contests with her friends after seeing Dennis Franz on TV. Relationship Grade: NYPD Blue/10
Jason: Anna is one of my favorite George ladies in the series. Too bad he wept like a little bitch after getting pinched for the bootlegs. Maybe Anna and Brody were made for each other. He just can’t handle his candy. Relationship Grade: Orthopedic Back Pillow /10
JT: The sidewalk conversation always makes me chuckle; Jerry’s Jack Ruby line is a good one as was George’s asking the waitress where she comes out with the hors d’oeuvre; That fucking dance; Jerry sarcastically saying Kramer owed him a favor and then Kramer offering to wait for George and his “he’s right in there boy”; Kramer asking Brody before Jerry even has the ticket for him; Jerry’s fake call waiting noise; Jerry listing all the stuff George is bad at; Jerry’s “feed bag” line is such a good one and I love the payoff with Brody actually getting sick; George was great as the bad boy, especially having to explain away Frank’s old man shit that is strewn in the car and his “I didn’t do nothin'” and then cowering from Elaine; All the theatre scenes; The twist with Brody loving Jerry’s work and booking him for more gigs; Kramer asking Brody if he needs a glove to go with the bat; “Limbs flailing, arms akimbo” gets me every time; Jerry wanting a whole crew to bootleg Cry, Cry Again; George crying at the police station and then Elaine and Frank throwing down
Aaron: Elaine is just masterful in the way she reacts to the rest on the gang’s inanity. Her medical vernacular while she describes George is inspired. He is a virus. He will infect the bloodstream. Her protective mother act was spot on. I loved, LOVED when she yelled and clapped “WHO DID THAT.” It’s such a wonderful complete loss of control. I really dug Kramer asking Jerry for a favor while he eats Jerry’s ice cream. That’s it. That’s the character. As stated above I did enjoy the bad boy act but the lines that accompanied it felt a bit weak. I enjoyed the callback of Elaine’s early season dresses but I adored the callback of George stuffing his face with food. Lovely consistency. Still the visuals were great though. We got a Frank Costanza appearance out of it so at the very least I ended the episode happy.
Andrew: Elaine’s dance is tremendous; those little kicks are forever seared into my brain. Her staff immediately losing respect for her is funny, and George getting to be the bad boy is a nice wish fulfillment angle. Jerry, Kramer, and Brody in the theater is fantastic, between the “feed bag” and the “joke maker” stuff. Jerry turning out to be a natural at bootlegging is a funny and creative twist. Frank’s brief appearance at the end is great, and having everyone on the street mock Elaine behind her back is a nice way to cap things off.
Jordan: Now we can finally talk about it – The Little Kicks are great. Elaine’s supreme confidence WHILE DOING the little kicks makes it better. The flashback where Jerry witnesses it is awesome, as is Jerry stopping dead in his tracks when George mentions seeing her dance. Let’s also discuss DEATH BLOW. When someone tries to blow you up, not because of who you are… but for different reasons altogether. This one ranks pretty high on my list of Seinfeld universe movies I want to see-firmly in third behind Sack Lunch and Rochelle, Rochelle. I love Brody being this intimidating thug… who also brings a giant bag of candy for everyone to share. Kramer being friends with him and thinking nothing of his bootlegging is fitting for him. Bad Boy George is a nice character that I wouldn’t mind seeing again, and Anna showing up to work in his Yankees jacket was funny. Frank and Elaine’s feud keeps on simmering.
Jason: Kramer’s sidewalk theory; toxic waste green; Party? Food? Bar? George?; George grabbing appetizers; Anna snubbing George after he says he’s friends with Elaine; ” Here’s to those who wish us well. For those who don’t can go to hell.”; Shining Star; “Sweet, Fancy Moses.”; Kramer residing the Death Blow tag line; “Elaine dance?”; Full body drive heave set to music; the throwback to Elaine dancing on the street; ’68 GTO; Elaine’s co-workers losing respect for her and mocking her behind her back; Elaine comparing George to a virus and selling him as a bad seed; “The bad employee, the bad son, the bad friend, the bad fiance, the bad dinner guest, the bad credit risk, the bad date…. the bad tipper.”; “I’m a joke maker”; Kramer’s tale on how he met Brody; “Do I scare you?” Anna calling George out about the orthopedic back pillow; “I didn’t do nothin’.”; George’s fear of Elaine; Jerry mouthing off to Brody followed by Brody showing his gun; Jerry’s line about people with guns not understanding; Brody complimenting Jerry on how well he shot the movie; Cry, Cry Again; Brody’s beeper; “Short, stocky, slow witted bald man.”; Kramer botching filming; Jerry shitting on Kramer for the bad shooting; “Bread is his soul.”; Jerry’s rant about the kids who need bootlegs; “That ain’t dancing, Sally.”; Jerry confessing how bad Elaine dances to her; “Yo, Anna.”; Elaine trying to expose George to Anna; “Im a bad man!”; Jerry enforcing what he needs from Brody for the filming; Fiber Con; George crying at the police station; Frank bursting in and smacking George in the head; Frank and Elaine bickering; “You want a piece of me?” Everyone doing the Elaine dance on the street.
What Didn’t Work
JT: George crashing Elaine’s work party feels a but out of character and felt like a forced way to get him there to see the dance
Aaron: I’ve always hated the bootlegger storyline and upon rewatch I actually hate it more. It starts off well enough with the unwanted guest breaking protocol but the second the gun is introduced it goes completely off the rails. The tone of Seinfeld does not have room for Kramer begging a gun toting criminal to “Take it easy.” It just feels out of place and puts a damper on the whole episode for me. Then Jerry is suddenly some sort of bootleg movie savant. It’s just forced. Forced. That’s the best word to describe this one. In past seasons the storylines would flow seamlessly together. Here they have to shoehorn in Elaine filming herself over the bootleg as they grasp at a way to tie these things together. Maybe this was Larry David’s real genius. Story structure is so important and I’m struggling with the cohesion so far this season. That and “Sweet Fancy Moses,” sounding like George and Jerry were both embarrassed to be saying it. The dialogues has stopped feeling realistic for me which is a huge cardinal sin for comedy.
Andrew: The “You cry … and when you see the dancing, you cry again” line fell really flat for me.
Jordan: This part really irks me – Jerry may be a master of the cinematography of camcorders, but THEY KEPT TALKING THROUGH THE MOVIE. Who would buy a bootleg of a movie where the guy who taped it wouldn’t shut up?
Jason: Take away his gun and camcorder and Brody is little pussy. Learn how to handle your sugar, you little midget.
Key Character Debuts
– Brody the Bootlegger
Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes
– “I wouldn’t walk over there.” – Kramer “Why not?” – Jerry “It’s the most dangerous part of the sidewalk. Cab hops a curb, wap! You’ve had your last egg sandwich.” – Kramer
– “Oh sure. Hey guys, I wanna make a toast. Um… Here’s to us who wish us well, and those who don’t can go to hell… All right, who’s dancin’? C’mon, who’s dancin’? You want me to get it started? I’ll get it started. Whew!” – Elaine
– Elaine debuts her iconic “little kicks” dance
– “Yeah, I know, but he’s a big fan of the genre. You know I’d consider it a personal favor to me.” – Kramer “Yeah I guess I do owe you.” – Jerry
– “Elaine danced?” – Jerry “It was more like a full bodied dry heave set to music.” – George
– “He’s like a virus. He attaches himself to a healthy host company, and the next thing you know, the entire staff’s infected.” – Elaine
– “Oh trust me. He’s a bad seed. He’s a horrible seed. He’s one of the worst seeds I’ve ever seen.” – Elaine “And you two are friends?” – Anna “Yeah, we’re good friends.” – Elaine
– “Really? I thought you were rebuffed.” – Jerry “With extreme prejudice.” – George
– “You’ve been the bad employee, the bad son, the bad friend…” – Jerry “Yes, yes…” – George “The bad fiance, the bad dinner guest, the bad credit risk…” – Jerry “Okay, the point is made.” – George “The bad date, the bad sport, the bad citizen… The bad tipper!” – Jerry
– “That’s quite a feed bag you’re workin’ on there.” – Jerry “It’s for all of us. Is there a problem?” – Brody “Brody, c’mon. He’s just kidding. He’s a joke maker. Tell him, Jerry.” – Kramer “I’m a joke maker.” – Jerry
– “Where did you meet this guy?” – Jerry “He’s a friend of a friend. You know Corky Ramarez up on 94th Street? One day he and I are playing Pinochle” – Kramer
– “Yeah well, maybe if he didn’t lick his fingers before he reached in the bag we would’ve eaten some. Serves him right.” – Jerry
– “People with guns don’t understand. That’s why they get guns. Too many misunderstandings.” – Jerry
– “I pressed through the rushes and there, the native dancers whirled before me: limbs flailing, arms akimbo, feet kicking up dust…” – Employee
– “It’s about a guy buying a loaf of bread.” – Kramer “No, bread is his soul. He’s trying to buy back a loaf of his soul.” – Jerry
– “I don’t care about Brody. I was up on 96th Street today, there was a kid couldn’t have been more than ten years old. He was asking a street vendor if he had any other bootlegs as good as Death Blow. That’s who I care about. The little kid who needs bootlegs, because his parent or guardian won’t let him see the excessive violence and strong sexual content you and I take for granted.” – Jerry
– “Yeah. He went at the Beekman, he tried to land, but they cheesed him.” – Kramer
– “It’s all right, George. You’ll just pay a fine and that’ll be it.” – Anna “Why did the policeman have to yell at me like that?” – George
Oddities & Fun Facts
Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)
JT: I love this episode. I always have. Everything to with the bootlegging slays me every time, all of the quick hot lines and the way the whole thing develops is so well done. Jerry has been on a hot streak and Brody and Kramer fed him all the way through. George and Elaine were good as well, especially in the police station at the end. Really good stuff here with many memorable laughs and moments and an iconic moment in Elaine’s dancing. It isn’t easy following Bizarro Jerry but they got it done. Final Grade: 8/10
Aaron: Man I don’t know about this one. The stuff I liked, I LOVED, but too much of it fell flat/fundamentally bothered me. It’s a couple of decent ideas crammed together with a terrible one slathered over the top. Final Grade: 5/10
Andrew: This episode definitely leaves a good impression, between the kicks, and Frank and Elaine facing off, and a bunch of good lines in between. But it still feels like a bit of a drop-off from last week; the plots aren’t the best, and nothing pays off particularly well. That said, Frank’s “You want a piece of me?” covers up for a lot of flaws. Final Grade: 8/10
Jordan: Honestly, this episode suffers the most simply from coming after Bizarro Jerry. It’s really solid throughout with fun stories, classic moments and everything you really want in a Seinfeld episode. I was hoping to see Newman express his love for Elaine’s dancing, but that’s just a wish rather than a complaint. Really good stuff all around here. Final Grade: 8/10
Jason: This was a lot of fun. Elaine’s staff losing respect for her after seeing her dance was nicely done. Bad boy George is one my favorite showings from him. The storylines all blended together well with the bootlegging being the centerpiece. Plus, Elaine dance becomes an iconic show moment. An enjoyable follow up to last week’s masterpiece. Final Grade: 8/10