Seinfeld: The PTBN Series Rewatch – “The Marine Biologist” (S5, E14)

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: George. Everyone was really good in the episode, but he was next level. His flawless lying to Diane and amazing story at the end takes it. One of his finest performances.

Aaron: In an episode full, and I mean FULL of great performances George stands tall above the rest. He brings tension into every room he enters and his passion for fish is only matched by his exuberance as he yells that “Diane mentioned him,” to all that could hear. When he learns of his new career, his sheepish questioning is a work of art and his chastisement of Jerry is the work of a master. He’s comfortable with his own lies damnit! You can almost see him sitting up at night and learning two or three marine facts to impress Diane with. His theories on the evolution of the octopus borders on genius, his dejected look as he enters the sea and his final monologue (that was in one take apparently) easily make this his best performance of the series for me.

Andrew: I thought about it, but I can’t imagine going with anyone but George. His recounting of the whale story is perfection. A truly classic performance.

Jordan: Not only is it George, but anyone who would ever pick anyone but George is wrong and should never watch television again. From his very first line where he gives a lame Jack Nicholson impression, this is his masterpiece.

Jason: There’s no debate here whatsoever. George Louis Costanza, Marine Biologist. His whale story telling at the end is one of his finest moments.

Best Storyline

JT: The marine bioligist for sure. From Jerry’s initial pitch to George yanking the golf ball out of the blowhole, this was masterful storytelling across the board. Everything wove together beautifully and the payoff of Kramer’s ball having led to this incredible moment was genius.

Aaron: George the Marine Biologist should be studied at every writing school across the country. The lie that comes back to bite George in the ass has never been so big or so blubbery. The tie in with Kramer’s day of FUN was sheer brilliance.

Andrew: Again, it’s hard not to choose the Marine Biologist storyline. It’s a brilliantly crafted series of events that lead to George’s inevitable march into the sea. And the tie-in with Kramer’s golfing sub-plot is magnificent.

Jordan: It’s the marine biologist. I love that everything is set up right from the start. George’s first line of the episode is “You can’t handle the truth!” and from there he goes into his love of whales. Then just a minute later, Kramer is ecstatic about the idea of hitting golf balls into the ocean. The stage was set from the start on this one, and it worked out perfectly.

Jason: Everything with the electronic organizer and Testikov are solid subplots, but this episode belongs to George’s little lie about being a marine biologist. Jerry hiked George the ball and he ran with it. All for a woman. Why? Because he can!

Ethical Dilemma of the Week

JT: What is Jerry’s obligation to assist Elaine in clearing the air over the War & Peace mess. He was a dick and lied to her and assumed she knew he was bullshitting, but he ended up making her look stupid in front of a boss and client. He owes Lainey a big one.

Aaron: What the hell is sand’s problem? It does get everywhere. Annakin Skywalker was right as he condemned sand to a young Padme, it needs to go. And that’s not racist to say that sand needs to go. I’m talking about ALL sand. Like if I told you I wanted to rid the word of ALL cats you wouldn’t call me a racist. It’s ALL cats, not just orange cats. I’M NOT RACIST.

Andrew: Who ends up paying Corinne’s hospital bills? She shouldn’t be stuck with them, but it hardly seems fair to make Elaine pay. Do they have to sue Testikov for damages? Why can’t we just have universal health care and avoid all this mess?

Jordan: Testikov should not only have to pay for Corinne’s bills, he should pay Elaine back for the electronic organizer AND he should be forced to go to anger management. He’s a true butthole.

Jason: Let’s set the scene modern times. You’re in a limo with your boss and a Russian authur. Your phone keeps going off and you’re unable to make it stop. The Russian author grabs your phone and throws it out the window. What do you do? An electronic organizer in 1994 was as reliable as a cell phone is today. Pay up, comrade!

Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)

JT: Come on Diane! Why would she take this out on George? Again, Jerry’s lie cost his friend. Sure, it led to the hero’s moment, but he set Georgie up to fail. Also, the fact that he ISN’T a marine biologist should have impressed The It Girl even more. For shame, DeConn. Relationship Grade: Blowhole/10

Aaron: George’s marriage to the sea is a match that would make that damn Sea Captain from the Simpsons weep a pirate song of joy. It takes balls to tie yourself to the sea or Jesus or adult onset diabetes. Ballsy play Costanza. Relationship Grade: 1,260,000,000,000,000,000,00 Litres/10

Andrew: I’ve never found Diane all that memorable, but I do feel bad that George couldn’t have kept the lie going just a little while longer. Relationship Grade: Took the bus home/10 

Jordan: It is weird that someone would ever ask about George, let alone what appears to be a normal human being. Clearly Diane is an alien sent here to harvest us for organs. Relationship Grade: ALIEN/10

Jason: Poor Diane. She fell right into everything. Got to hand it to Jerry for sticking up for George when Diane asked about him. Jerry could have buried him and told Diane the truth about George from the get go. It’s not every day a woman asks about George. A rough episode for Elaine as she gets punked by Jerry with his War & Peace stuff and then has to deal Testikov’s crap.  Relationship Grade: Golden Boy/10

What Worked:

JT: Golden Boy; Jerry’s War & Peace story is told with such conviction, poor Elaine; Estelle opening George’s mail is perfect booking; Kramer giving up the electronic organizer while shuffling a ton of junk through his pockets was great; Who wants to have fun?; Kramer’s excitement while pitching the golf outing to the beach was infectious; Jerry is a good friend, repping his buddy to his college crush; Jerry and George talking about Diane for the first time is a tremendous scene; Elaine telling Testikov and Lippman the War & Peace story in the limo is cringeworthy in a good way; The ongoing architect callback is well executed, as is Kramer flipping out about how he sucks at golf; Corinne is delightfully trashy; Jerry and Elaine slowly piecing together the limo incident was well done too; George’s masterful performance on the beach was amazing; The payoff with the tape recorder hitting Corinne and the boot hitting Newman; George’s story at the end is an all time classic, capped with Kramer’s killer line that closes out some beautiful storytelling; The tacked on scene about Golden Boy dying was a nice bookend to the episode

Aaron: Kramer positively killed me with his fight with the sand in his clothes. KILLED ME. I had to pause the show to finish laughing. Why does he have so much fucking sand on him? The K-Man is also tremendous entering and screaming about if anyone wants to have some fun! “Do you really want to have fun or are you just saying you want to have fun,” is still one of my favourite lines to this day. His total dejection and stomping of his golf clubs is such an amazing contrast. Unreasonable Russian writer is fantastic as is unreasonable organizer victim. The payoff of “Is anyone here a marine biologist,” is maybe the best moment in the history of the show. It truly is almost a flawlessly written episode.

Andrew: I hadn’t noticed this until today, but Jerry has a real lying problem. He’s just casually throwing out misinformation, often for no reason beyond his own idle amusement. I respect and admire that. The rest of the episode is great, too. The conversation where Jerry tells George about Diane is fantastic, as is Kramer’s tantrum over his poor golfing and sand in his clothes. Carol Kane was a great guest star, and the random Newman appearance was fun.

Jordan: One of my favorite lines of the series of all time is: THE SEA WAS ANGRY THAT DAY, MY FRIENDS! The fact that Jerry is the one who lies about the marine biology is a fun twist, and George being upset with his lie because he knows his own alleys is great. Jerry and Kramer actually put in really solid performances here, but they’re just playing for second place. I like Golden Boy even though it went nowhere. Elaine in the limo is fun in her cute ignorance, from dropping the “War, what is it good for?” line to not knowing how to turn off the organizer. Testikov reminded me of Elaine’s dad a little bit in that he’s a huge jerk, but is supposed to be. I always enjoy Elaine shoving her friends. I mean really, everything works in this one, doesn’t it?

Jason: Kramer’s golf ball into the ocean moment in Jerry’s apartment should be on every series highlight real. Jerry’s bit about Golden Boy. The tie-in with the golf balls and the whale was excellent writing. Learning that Estelle looks through George’s mail adds to the enjoyment of the relationship that George has with his parents. Corinne is a nut job, but fits the part of someone that would get hit in the head by an electronic organizer. Newman getting hit in the head by Kramer’s boot was a nice touch. Jerry’s tale about Tolstoy’s mistress disapproving the name, “War – What Is It Good For?” always gets a laugh. The final scene is about as perfect as it can get. George was fabulous.

What Didn’t Work

JT: How many bank accounts are these guys opening?; Jerry is obnoxious at the ATM; Testikov is an asshole, but I guess that is the point

Aaron: I didn’t dig all the business with “Golden Boy” nor was a thrilled with Jerry’s obnoxious ATM race. That’s it though. This one was killer.

Andrew: Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t imagine ever loving a yellow shirt that much. Also, never throw out your organizing system until you’re used to the new one! Wouldn’t you want a backup, at least for a little while? You’re killing me, Lainey.

Jordan: George’s shirt in the beginning looks like a tablecloth on Thanksgiving.

Jason: I’m not a fan of Jerry’s leather jacket with the purple sweater combination. Corinne’s stupid hat should be thrown out of a moving limo. Speaking of stupid hats, George’s little red number he wears on the beach is awful. Why didn’t Kramer just hop in the shower to get the sand off of himself?

Key Character Debuts

Diane DeConn, The It Girl

Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes

– “Elaine, see this T-shirts, six years I’ve had this T-shirts, it’s my best one, I call him…Golden Boy” – Jerry “I’m on the phone here.” – Elaine “Golden Boy is always the first shirt I wear out of the laundry, here touch Golden Boy!” – Jerry “No thanks. Yeah, Yeah I’ll hold.” – Elaine “But see look at the collar, see it’s fraying. Golden Boy is slowly dying. Each wash is brings him one step closer, that’s what makes the t-shirt such a tragic figure.” – Jerry “Why don’t you just let Golden Boy soak in the sink with some Woolite?” – Elaine “No!!! The reason he’s iron man is because he goes out there and plays every game. Wash!!! Spin!!! Rinse!!! Spin!!! You take that away from him, you break his spirit!” – Jerry

– “Hey ya know what I read the most unbelievable thing about Tolstoy the other day, did you know the original title for “War and Peace” was “War–What Is It Good For?”!” – Jerry

– “I’m such a Huge whale fan. These marine biologists were showing how they communicate with each other with these squeaks and squeals, what a fish!” – George “It’s a mammal.” – Jerry “Whatever.” – George

– “Yeah…he specializing in whales. He’s working on lowering the cholesterol level in whales…all that blubber– quite unhealthy. You know its the largest mammal on earth but as George says “they don’t have to be.”” – Jerry

– “OK, I’m tellin’ you right now if your kiddin’ around I’m not gonna be able to be friends with you anymore. I’m serious about that. You got that.” – George “I got no problem with that.” – Jerry “Good. Cause if this is a lie, if this is a joke, if this is your idea of some cute little game…we’re finished!” – George

– “Algae, obviously plankton, I don’t know what else I can tell you, Oh I just got back from a trip to the Galapagos Islands, I was living with the turtles.” – George

– “Well it’s not up my alley! It’s one thing if I make it up. I know what I’m doin, I know my alleys! You got me in the Galapagos Islands livin’ with the turtles, I don’t know where the hell I am.” – George

– “Yeah know somebody told me they thought they saw it coming out of a limousine.” – Corinne “Typical rich people, using the world for their personal garbage can.” – Jerry

– “Then of course with evolution the octopus lost the nostrils and took on the more familiar look that we know today. But if you look really closely you can still see a bump where the nose use to be.” – George “Really?” – Diane “Yeah, but enough about fish I can talk about other things like… architecture…” – George

– “Yes. That’s why I where these sneakers, in case of any trouble and zip, I’m gone.” – Jerry “Yeah, Yeah. The sneakers. The Americans and their sneakers. Always running from something.” – Testikov

– “Yeah I guess I’d better. Wouldn’t want to take any attention away from the hookers!” – Corinne

– George mentions that he always wanted to be an architect in a callback to previous episodes

– Jerry mentions Superman

– “Oh yes they did Jerry they were all over me. It was like Rocky 1. Diane came up to me, threw her arms around me, and kissed me. We both had tears streaming down our faces. I never saw anyone so beautiful. It was at that moment I decided to tell her I was not a marine biologist!” – George

– “This is Golden Boy’s son, Baby Blue.” – George

Oddities & Fun Facts

– Larry David calls for the marine biologist on the beach

Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)

JT: Tremendous, perfect, beautiful storytelling here. When Seinfeld is at its best, it has multiple parallel stories that weave together seamlessly, and we had that here. Everyone was on point and the whole episode just flowed from story to story and then BAM, the payoffs flooded in. Even the last scene was perfectly done, closing out the Golden Boy story that we only heard about once to open the episode. Even though it may have laughed some really big laughs and did have some soft scenes, storytelling like this must be rewarded. Plus, George’s final story is a pantheon moment. Like an old man trying to return soup at a deli. Final Grade: 10/10

Aaron: So one of the greatest moments in the history of the show on top of fantastic performances from all involved makes this easily one of the best episodes to date. Like you have to ask what this one gets. Final Grade: 10/10

Andrew: This episode started a little slower than I remember, and the secondary storylines are just OK. But if I’m being honest, I knew I was giving this episode a 10 before I even watched it. George’s encounter with the whale is a thing of beauty. Final Grade: 10/10

Jordan: Going into this one, I thought MAYBE I would give it a 9 in case it was just a great scene that everyone remembers, but the whole episode is just awesome. How can you not love an episode with a line like, “Is anyone here a marine biologist?” Awesome. Flawless. Seinfeld at it’s best. Final Grade: 10/10

Jason: This episode is all about the payoff in the final scene. George is absolutely fantastic all throughout the episode. The subplots aren’t as good as I remembered, but I’m not going to take that much away, because George makes up for a lot that was lacking. One man and one storyline dominated this episode and outshines anything that might have been missing. Final Grade: 10/10