Seinfeld: The PTBN Series Rewatch – “The Mango” (S5, E1)

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: Man, we start off the season strong. Jerry was good overall but his stupid nonsense at Joe’s store ruined it for me. George and Elaine were strong too, but I will give this one to Kramer. I loved him in every scene, from his cigar chomping tip giving to his exotic fruit list, he made use of every second of screen time he received.

Aaron: When a man swaggers and tells his neighbor that he could have helped him out with female orgasms by giving him pointers, you hand him the episode and call it a day. Not only does the K-Man know how to press all those buttons but he’s also has the Meryl Steep of penises. Hey, enough already, the man just wants to go to bed. After the awful peach and subsequent banning I don’t blame him.

Andrew: Elaine is still my favorite. You just can’t beat the glee with which she jumps into the orgasm faking conversation, or how comfortable she is discussing it, whether with close friends or random co-workers. She has some classic lines in this episode, and seeing her casually flip through a magazine at the end always kills me.

Jordan: Season 5 starts with strong performances from everyone, but I think I liked Kramer the most here. I’m tempted to go with Elaine since she played a bigger role, but Kramer reacting to the bad peach and casually mentioning he fakes orgasms is better than anything else. It’s a battle of quality vs. quantity, and this time, quality wins.

Jason: I gotta go with Jerry here. For a guy who usually has things go his way, finding out Elaine “faked” really got to him. The temper tantrum he throws in the restaurant when Elaine won’t give him another chance is wonderful. His reaction is like a child being told no.

Best Storyline

JT: The orgasm stuff dominated the episode, but I got more laughs from the fruit story. Kramer and Jerry reviewing the list and Joe sniffing out the jig right away was great. Plus it played into the great payoff at the end with the mango fueled sexual dominance of Costanza. What the hell is a plantain?

Aaron: All the faking/orgasm/impotence stuff was just great. The juxtaposition of Jerry/Elaine and George/Karen harkens back to some of their greater episodes in season four. Particularly the risotto reaction cut back to back with Elaine making love to her chocolate sundae. Again just a great example of Seinfeld taking a subject that could easily be crass and handling it with class. Class. That’s how I’d like to define my orgasms from here on out.

Andrew: In a bit of an upset, I’ll go with the fruit storyline. Jerry and George come across as childish in their stories, and while I realize that’s the point, it still makes things less fun. Joe’s feud with Kramer and Jerry, on the other hand, has just the right amount of absurdity to keep things light and entertaining. Plus, Joe is tremendous in his scenes.

Jordan: I like Jerry’s desperation after Elaine crushed his psyche. His episode long quest to prove he could bring a woman to orgasm brought him down to Costanza levels, calling ex girlfriends and begging Elaine for another shot. The fact that he failed miserably and was essentially George by the end of the episode was great.

Jason: The orgasms for sure. Wait, can we say orgasms at Place to Be Nation? George’s typical paranoia and obsession about anything is in full force here. Jerry’s obsession over the situation is just as good. His self esteem is really shot when Elaine tells him she faked. Patty Lawrence had’em!

Ethical Dilemma of the Week

JT: Are you entitled to return shitty fruit? I think if it is clearly poor quality immediately after purchase you can at least have a conversation about it. If you wait a few days and it goes bad, well that is on you. It seems Kramer is a loyal customer, so Joe could have bent a bit and tossed him a replacement plum to keep things copacetic.

Aaron: Should Elaine have told Jerry about her faking with him. Ordinarily I’d say no, but I think following Jerry’s indictment of Elaine’s lovers as drunks, I’d have no problem forgiving Elaine’s sudden need to lash out at the asshole she used to date. Elaine is a catch Jerry, stop being a dick to her. That being said if she really wanted to preserve a friendship so strong that he kept flippers and goggles at her house, she probably should have just shut up and continued living her life of lies.

Andrew: What are the ethics of faking an orgasm? I get the crisis of confidence Jerry and George go through, and I’ve often thought we could all stand to be more honest when it comes to sex. But the older I get, the more I understand “it’s enough already, and I just want to get some sleep.” Maybe we can just acknowledge that sex is far more fraught and complicated for women than men, and move on.

Jordan: Should you just take a friend’s entire mango because it gives you a boner? I say no, and gross.

Jason: We’ve all got “the tap”, right fellas? George comparing the tap to a manager coming out and asking for the ball is brilliant. Are people who “fake” bad people? Maybe Kramer and Elaine’s co-worker Rene are right, sometimes it’s enough already and you just wanna get some sleep.

Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)

JT: Karin is a real mysterious firecracker and is like ten leagues above George. George is an idiot for doubting her orgasms because just the fact that she was willing to lay naked in a bed next to him should be enough to keep his mouth shut. Who gives a shit if she faked it? Enjoy the ride, Georgie Boy. Relationship Grade: Risotto/10

Aaron: Did Kramer fuck the mango? Relationship Grade:10/10

Andrew: I always forget Cuddy from House was on Seinfeld. She’s not tough to look at, and certainly doesn’t deserve the treatment she gets from George. As for the other relationship, I admire Elaine’s willingness to propose sex to save a friendship.  Relationship Grade: 3/10

Jordan: George and Karin provides some entertainment, but I’m really struggling to believe a loser like George who has no financial stability or good looks to speak of keeps landing girls that look like this. Meanwhile, Elaine uses this episode to prove that she is not just master of her own domain, but also Jerry’s as well. I always like episodes where they toy with each other over their past. Elaine casually reading a magazine while Jerry frets at the end is great. Relationship Grade: 7/10

Jason: We really get to see how much Jerry and Elaine care about each other in their own little way. George seems to really dig Karin, but it’s hard for him to read what she’s thinking. Kramer enjoys a good piece of fruit and it bothers him when Joe bans him from the store. No worries though, the king of manipulation can always turn to his neighbor in apartment 5A to help him out. Relationship Grade: OHH, JUST RIGHT/10

What Worked

JT: The “Tap” conversation opened the episode on a strong note, it was really funny; Poor Jerry, Elaine just wrecked his world with the admission of the faking; Jerry fretting about the whole faking thing was great too as you knew it would was torturing him and I enjoyed Kramer offering his tips; Kramer admitting to faking is awful and so perfectly Kramer; Joe v Kramer was lots of fun and honestly very relatable; Jerry’s request at another crack was so stupid yet so smart all at one; Jerry’s war against Meryl Streep was a fun thread throughout, as was him calling his ex conquests to check in on their orgasm validity; Kramer’s fruit list was a sight to behold; George can’t get out of his own way worrying about the orgasm stuff, poor bastard; Jerry’s impotence at this crucial time was a great payoff to everything

Aaron: The opening sequence where Jerry and George equate the level in which you clean your apartment to the level of feelings you have for a woman is a perfect example of a great Seinfeld discussion. They’re breaking down life, brick by absurd brick. The whole discussion about how no one knows what to do down there is also painfully honest. Also fuck the alphabet. Elaine is great throughout, especially when she’s overly pleased with her past performances. Joe is great, and I love the idea of Uatu the fruit vendor, all seeing, all knowing, and doesn’t take a lick of shit from anyone. (Is that an expression? Lick of shit? It is now.) The subplot of the bad fruit is a perfect contrast to the others struggling with sex. The mango being an aphrodisiac is a perfect tie in, and it’s always great to see Kramer snooping around a fruit store. This one felt tight again with the writing. Everything was economical and had the feel of some of their great episodes where every single bit of dialogue either made you laugh or tied the plots together. Karin’s answer to George asking if she would tell him if she wasn’t satisfied it brilliant. “I probably would…but then again I’m an enigma.” Great, great line.

Andrew: I love George’s response to Jerry asking whether he likes Karin: “I can’t tell anymore.” I know that feel, bro. (Oh god, am I turning into George? Maybe this rewatch was a bad idea). The discussion on oral sex is fantastic, especially the “close your eyes and hope for the best” line, and “the tap”. It still strikes me as impressively frank today, and I can’t imagine how they got away with it in 1993. Just groundbreaking stuff. As I mentioned earlier, Joe the fruit guy is fantastic in a limited role. George’s girlfriend Karin doesn’t get to do much, but her “Then again, I’m an enigma” line always makes me laugh. I enjoy Jerry calling up ex-girlfriends to do an informal “faking” poll, and his “But I’m so good” line is great. The “I think it moved” callback was fun, too.

Jordan: I feel like everyone nailed their character here: George is overly neurotic, and Karin isn’t helping matters. Her response of “But then again, I’m an enigma.” is so weird and perfect to ruin George’s brain. By the end of the episode, he actually does the job, but is so broken that he wrecks everything. Kramer starts an unwanted feud with a fruit vendor because he didn’t like a peach. Seriously, what other TV character could you type that sentence about and not think it’s ridiculous? Sending in Jerry and George to secretly buy his exotic fruits was fun. Elaine was awesome, because she drops the orgasm line early, but doesn’t lord it over Jerry. Instead, Jerry can’t shake it, and she is oblivious to it, chowing on ice cream and giving us her best Meryl Streep impression. I already mentioned that I love Jerry essentially turning into George by the end of the episode. The tap talk was funny, as was the comparison to it being like a visit from the manager.

Jason: Joe fits the perfect mold of a guy who would own a produce store. Him being on to Jerry when he’s getting fruit for Kramer is a fun moment to watch. I love that Kramer admits that he’s faked orgasms. As mentioned earlier I really enjoyed Jerry’s temper tantrum when Elaine won’t give him another chance. Kramer’s specific list of what kind of fruit is wants Jerry to get him is something I can relate to. There’s nothing worse than a bad piece of fruit. Also, the way Kramer drops the half eaten peach on the counter at Joe’s is awesome. The K-Man has his own set of rules in life. One of them, being entitlement to return used fruit.

What Didn’t Work

JT: Karin is really frustrating but I guess that was the point; Elaine’s enjoyment of the pudding felt forced and over the top; Karin’s comforter set is ugly as hell; Honestly though, why would Elaine admit to faking to Jerry, it is kind of a dick move and clearly was going to affect their friendship; Jerry’s navy blue Queens College t-shirt is really jarring to see on him; Jerry’s performance in the produce store is brutally bad;

Aaron: I really didn’t care for Jerry becoming a whiny child, especially when he was begging Elaine for sex in the restaurant. Have some dignity man. Who cares if she faked? If it was a race you would have won. The bit with him calling the exes was funny, but really stretched the believability of Elaine wanting to be friends with him moving forward.

Andrew: I mentioned this before, but I found George’s and Jerry’s behavior unpleasant after a while. It’s one thing to laugh at their wounded pride, but it’s another to try and find humor in them taking it out on the women in their lives.

Jordan: I said this earlier, but George’s women are becoming more and more unbelievable. Steve Wille may be the authority on what makes a “Wisconsin 8”, but I feel like at best, George is a “New York 4”. How he keeps dating and sleeping with attractive, seemingly normal women is confusing and bewildering.

Jason: What’s with the constant clutter on Elaine’s work desk? Wherever she works throughout the series, her desk is always a mess. This woman needs a better filing system.

Key Character Debuts


Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes

– “The tap is tough.” – Jerry “It’s like the manager coming out and asking you for the ball.” – George

– “You can go crazy trying to figure that place out.” – George “It’s a hazy mystery.” – Jerry

– “I guess after that many beers he’s probably a little groggy anyway.” – Jerry “You didn’t know.” – Elaine

– “The woman had an orgasm under false pretences. That’s sexual perjury.” – Jerry “You know I heard her screaming from my apartment? She woke me up a few times.” – Kramer ” How did she do it? She’s like Meryl Streep this woman. And I had to work the equipment. I’m not unskilled, I’m in the union.” – Jerry

– “Like if we went to a Broadway show, if we had really good seats.” – Renee “Yeah, well…” – Elaine “Well you know, if it’s enough all ready and I just wanna get some sleep.” – Renee

– “I stand behind my fruit.” – Joe “So…” – Kramer “Hey, you got a bad peach? That’s an act of God. He makes the peaches. I don’t make the peaches, I sell the peaches. You have a problem? You talk to him.” – Joe

– “You seem like you really enjoyed your Risotto. You have a very contented air over there. You look very contented, very satisfied. Are you satisfied?” – George

– “Meryl Streep?” – Jerry “You don’t like her?” – Elaine “Ah, she’s okay.” – Jerry “I love her Jerry, she’s so authentic. I really believe everything is actually happening to her. There’s no acting there.” – Elaine

– “So you feel okay?” – George “Well, it’s not like after the Risotto.” – Karin

– “They’re mysterious little fellows aren’t they?” – Jerry “I hate ’em!” – George “You know it happens to everybody. It happened to Houdini. And he could get out of a trunk under water with his hands in chains! But he had a problem with that. The miracle is that it ever happens.” – Jerry

– “The supermarket? That’s impossible! They don’t have a decent piece of fruit at the supermarket. The apples are mealy, the oranges are dry. I don’t know what’s going on with the Papayas! Jerry you gotta go to Joe’s, you gotta get me some fruit!” – Kramer

– “Oh! And get some plantains.” – Kramer “Plantains?” – Jerry “Yeah.” – Kramer “What the hell is a plantain.” – Jerry “It’s part of the banana family. It’s a delicacy.” – Kramer “You’re not getting any plantains.” – Jerry

– “That reminds me, I’m not getting you guys any more fruit. That guy was eyeballing me the whole time. He gave me the creeps. All right, you owe me twenty-eight sixty.” – George “Sorry, I don’t have any cash.” – Jerry “I only got hundreds.” – Kramer “All right I knew it.” – George “Come on, come on, we’re gonna pay you! Here have some mango.” – Kramer

– “I feel like I got a B12 shot. This is like a taste explosion!” – George “I told you.” – Kramer “What is it?” – Jerry “I think it moved. Oh my god, I think it moved.” – George

– “I’m back baby!” – George

– “Well well, if it isn’t the first lady of the American Theatre. What brings you here?” – Jerry

– “Sex… to save the friendship. Well, if we have to…” – Jerry

Oddities & Fun Facts


Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)

JT: We kick off season five with a fairly strong episode that delivered some classic lines and reminded us why this show is so damn good. There were some down spots and I still don’t get just why Elaine thought it was OK to tell Jerry she had faked with him. George’s paranoia is always fun and Kramer was on point here. The fruit stuff was fun too. In a vacuum, this could be graded higher but on the accelerated Seinfeld Scale, it checks in at just very, very good. Final Grade: 7/10

Aaron: Really strong start to the season. They took a topic they could have taken some heat for and wove a tight hilarious episode out of it. Kramer, George and Elaine were all excellent and though I didn’t love Jerry that was more on the writing than on his performance. Add to that and angry old Italian fruit vendor and I’m a happy camper. Final Grade: 8/10

Andrew: I thought this episode started out really strong, but lost steam as it went along. I wish we could have spent more time on the candid discussions of sex, and less on Jerry and George being dicks. And while I really enjoyed Joe, that storyline didn’t give Kramer a ton to do, and he ends up being underutilized in the episode. This one was pretty funny throughout, but we’ve seen them do much better. Final Grade: 5/10

Jordan: This is an excellent episode to show someone if you want them to understand Seinfeld’s main characters. Well, maybe not Jerry as much, as he’s usually the one mocking George’s misfortunes, but this is a solid start to a season. Funny dialogue about everyday things, weird subplots with Kramer, and a nice ending make for an easy watch. Final Grade: 7/10

Jason: A great way to start Season 5 with more topics that have been unheard of at this time on prime time TV. Karin is one of my favorite George girlfriends. We get a taste of how George incorporates food with sex when he gets aroused from the piece of mango. All four main characters are well established by this point in the series, so it’s a lot of fun to see all of their traits at work. Final Grade: 8/10