Seinfeld: The PTBN Series Rewatch – “The Pool Guy” (S7, E8)

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: A lot of good choices yet again. Elaine had some really funny one liners sprinkled throughout and George slowly melting down while his worlds collide was fantastic but I will go with Kramer. I love how cooly he told Jerry he fucked up with the world’s theory and then his descent into becoming MovieFone was really well done. Honestly, it was well ahead of its time, like he was catfishing people and honing his fake character to insane levels, honestly believing he had become MovieFone.

Aaron: Once again I’ll give it to the smartest guy in the room in any situation that doesn’t involve himself. Kramer immediately sees that Elaine and Susan is going to be a problem but yet cannot comprehend that he will not be able to decipher various beeps and bloops from the other end of a telephone line. The poor guy is just being hounded by chicks and manages to stumble his way into full time job. I’m unsure what he hoped to accomplish with his automated phone questioning but it certainly worked for me.

Andrew: I like George the most. The scene where he walks into the diner and sees his friends sitting with his fiancé just kills me. The angry, fiery George from the rest of the episode is funny, but I much prefer this scene’s version of the character: beaten, defeated, going through his day with the thousand-yard stare.

Jordan: Tough call between George and Kramer here. George was solidly consistent from start to finish but without any big peaks, whereas Kramer had a nice slow build going with the movie phone bit. Think I’m going with Kramer simply for him trying to figure out what buttons George was pressing on the phone.

Jason: As great as George was with the worlds colliding stuff, Kramer stole the show with his new phone number. Him sitting in his apartment looking up movie times in the newspaper was tremendous. This is Kramer 101 and still holds up as one of his finest moments. “Why don’t you just tell me the name of the movie you’ve selected?”

Best Storyline

JT: Kramer’s MovieFone catfish gimmick gave me a lot of laughs but George’s worlds colliding rang very true on many levels and had some great lines and jokes from everyone involved.

Aaron: Susan’s invasion of George’s “safe space” is as poignant as it was twenty years ago. The guy has already surrendered his bank code to her you’d think she’d have a shred of mercy in her despicable body.

Andrew: I like the Moviefone storyline the most, mainly because I enjoy the absurdity of Kramer deciding to lean in to his new misdial-prone phone number and start giving out movie times to strangers. His lines and delivery are top notch, too, especially when he’s disarmed by Elaine recognizing his voice. It’s not easy to top Independent George, but I’ve always found this to be the most memorable part of the episode.

Jordan: WORLDS. COLLIDE. Relationship George vs. Independent George is an all time feud, like Undertaker vs. Undertaker. They should have copied Superman 2 (or was it 3?) and had George literally fight himself.

Jason: Worlds colliding for the win here. Everyone was at their best. From Elaine opening her vault to Susan to George’s rant about Independent George vs. Relationship George and George spotting the gang sitting with Susan at Monk’s.

Ethical Dilemma of the Week

JT: Jerry and Newman were real pieces of shit when they were willing to let Ramon perish due to latent homophobia. Not even a dilemma this time around, save the guy’s life!

Aaron: Is it ok to keep secrets/places from your wife? YES! Absolutely it is. All the best relationships are built on a solid foundation of lies and deceit. If your partner gets to know the real you the relationship is deader than the Village People. And while I’m unsure if any of those men are dead you have to imagine that jumping up and down on stage and screaming about joining a gym/navy takes some considerable years off your life. George needs his space otherwise George is getting upset! Once George is upset you can’t stop the music.

Andrew: Did Jerry and Newman handle things at the pool correctly? Obviously not, but I’m not even talking about their unwillingness to put their respective mouths on another dude. If you’re in a health club, a place you could reasonably hope to find employees with CPR certification, why would you think performing untrained mouth-to-mouth is better than going for help? I don’t trust either of these guys in a crisis.

Jordan: I immediately thought of the mouth to mouth, but that’s too obvious and I’m sure others will go with it. Instead I am going with Ramon showing up at Jerry’s apartment after he basically followed him home. Is that weird? I feel like it’s really weird.

Jason: If an employee gets fired for putting too much chlorine in the pool, why would you rehire him? As a man, if another man needs mouth to mouth, should you save him from dying. YES! Ramon is pain in the ass, but don’t let the poor guy die right in front of you.

Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)

JT: Independent George and Relationship George need to find a happy medium. He can’t keep his two halves apart forever. They combined make one superior George and he needs to embrace the divide instead of driving a wedge further into it. Bring Bawdy George and Baby Bluey together for the good of your sanity! Relationship Grade: Chunnel/10

Aaron: I’m starting to think Susan deserves to die. Relationship Grade: 2/10

Andrew: Ramon was way too pushy. You’re never getting in Jerry’s pants that way, buddy. Points for audacity on trying to get him to give you mouth-to-mouth, though. Relationship Grade: Yeah, it was a gamble/10

Jordan: Susan and George are a great couple that appear happy with each other but if it wasn’t for some poisoned envelopes, would wind up as a couple of blood spatters on a wall after one of them killed the other, then themselves. JUST LIKE IN REAL LIFE. Relationship Grade: Give him his independence/10

Jason: Man, I really sympathize for George while Elaine and Susan become BFFs. Ramon has some serious psychological issues and Jerry should have none of that in his life. Relationship Grade: HOT 97/ 10

What Worked:

JT: “Gorgeous George” and “Mano a Baldo”; Kramer stuffing Jerry’s sandwich down his throat and saying his full; Kramer illustrating the world’s theory with the exploding sandwich; Kramer’s “deep end” line; Ramon offering the napkins to Jerry as in icebreaker; “I’m FILK?”; The pool boy excitedly asking Jerry if he was going to visit Ramon; Jerry’s description of girl stuff; Elaine’s “I don’t really give a shit”; Kramer becoming the movie guy is a great storyline; Kramer’s “What’s the matter with you” when Jerry refuses to talk to the caller; Elaine immediately leaving after she told Jerry she would stick around; The Independent George speech to Jerry is a killer; Kramer’s full on MovieFone spiel; Newman’s towel bounty; Great Reggie’s callback; Newman’s bathing suit; Elaine asking Susan if she should sign the note with “love” always gets me; Her ordering “two adults, one child” for the movie tickets was great too; George calling FILK is an all timer; “What is he doing in the Chunnel?”

Aaron: All the worlds collide stuff works as George gets more and more hyperbolic each time we see him. I especially enjoy him including “liar George” in his description of who Independent George is. Elaine’s disgust when Jerry describes a girl day to her is as perfect as her satisfaction upon leaving Jerry alone with Ramon. Ramon’s rejection because Jerry already has three friends hit home for me too, I mean there’s only so many hours in a week. The MovieFone stuff was wonderful but my favorite part was seeing the pasta sculptures in the back of Kramer’s apartment. I legit paused the show to see if I could figure out who they were. Finally, Larry David screaming “EVERYBODY OUT OF THE CHUNNEL!” was sublime. Every time that man screams like a maniac you’ll see him lauded in this section.

Andrew: I like Jerry and George debating who would win in a fight; I remain convinced that every guy in the world privately thinks he could beat up all his friends by fighting dirtier than they can. Kramer telling Elaine “You hate other women, and they hate you” is hilarious as well. I love the Independent George storyline. The whole idea of his “worlds colliding” is a great example of one of the shows strengths: putting words to a relatable fear we don’t talk about much. And Kramer’s Moviefone adventure is an example of another strength: brazen absurdity. Newman’s old-timey bathing suit is killer.

Jordan: One of my favorite parts was just so dumb – I love Newman gleefully yelling OLLIE OLLIE OXENFREE! Who says that? Why say that? He was so caught up with joy and shouting ollie ollie oxen free that he didn’t even notice the man he nearly killed. Great stuff. Kramer’s MovieFone storyline was really fun as it built up more and more as the episode went on. The ending with the actual MovieFone guy showing up at Kramer’s house was good stuff. Jerry and George debating on who would win a fight and Elaine not even hesitating to pick George. George being upset at the idea of Susan and Elaine forming a bond is classic George, but Kramer calling it a bad idea right away AND BEING RIGHT was awesome. I love the movie name -who doesn’t want to go see Chunnel? Ramon showing up and Elaine leaving was good too.

Jason: Jerry referring to George as, “Gorgeous George”. Kramer raiding Jerry’s fridge. Kramer’s “that’s gonna be trouble” after Jerry suggests that Elaine ask Susan to hang out. Kramer getting a new phone number because too many chicks have his old one. George thinking that Elaine is joking when she calls to ask Susan to hang out. George’s paranoia and disbelief after Susan and Elaine begin talking. Jerry’s buffer zone bit. Kramer having to tell Jerry about the worlds. Kramer answering his phone “Cosmo, GO!” 555-FILK. The health club guys trying to get gossip from Jerry about Ramon. Jerry’s theory about what Elaine and Susan were doing. Kramer trying to put Jerry on the phone to give his review of Firestorm. Jerry ditching Ramon on the subway. Susan telling George that Elaine opened up her vault. Movie George, Coffee shop George, Liar George, Bawdy George. Kramer having the New York Times & Hot 97 as sponsors and acting out the trailer for Mountain High. Elaine throwing Kramer’s game off when he discovers it’s her calling. Newman and that stack of towels! George’s look and roll call when he see’s the gang with Susan at Monk’s. George eating alone at Reggie’s. Newman cannon balling into the pool. OLLY OLLY OXEN-FREE! Elaine ordering the movie tickets; “Two adults, one child.” Jerry and Elaine’s silent expression when Susan asks them to be quiet during Chunnel. George theater hopping trying to find the gang; “I had to go to Reggie’s, Jerry. Reggie’s!” The real MovieFone guy hunting down Kramer was the perfect payoff at the end.

What Didn’t Work

JT: What is with Elaine’s pajamas, are they from the historical exhibit?; How did Ramon get up to the apartment so quickly after buzzing?; Ramon is a real weird dude and his Lloyd Christmas haircut doesn’t help; I can’t stand the way Susan says “Hey Georgie Boy”; It’s delivered in a funny way but Newman and Jerry refusing to do mouth-to-mouth on a potentially dying man is real next level dickhead stuff; Chill out Susan

Aaron: Man as much as I loved Kramer doing his movie phone shtick that part is dated as hell. MovieFone didn’t exist here so even at the time it was a little confusing for me. On one hand I admire Susan’s honestly regarding Jerry and Elaine’s lives on the other shut the hell up you ungrateful monster. Susan is presented as having no human contact outside of George so she should be thrilled when ANYONE wants to do anything with her.

Andrew: I don’t think the ending worked. Having Susan realize she actually hates George’s friends was the perfect way for that storyline to end, but there was nothing especially funny about the way it came about. And I feel the same way about Kramer’s storyline: the MovieFone guy cameo was a great idea, but the execution wasn’t very funny.

Jordan: I got a great kick out of Elaine and Susan mocking other peoples clothes. Ramon was awful and a huge douche. I like to view the mouth to mouth scene as Jerry just wanting Ramon to actually die rather than being a homophobe. Susan came off really bad in this one, whiny and seemingly a huge loser. George’s bright red phone is ridiculous.

Jason: Why did Jerry and Newman get their memberships revoked? Ramon antagonized Jerry while he was swimming. What a dirtbag. Speaking of Ramon, pool guy or not, this guy sucks. Bad move by Jerome for suggesting that Elaine asks Susan to go with her to the Met. Elaine should have consulted George before she does ask her. Why can’t Susan write a note for George that her and Elaine are going to the movies.  And how did George not know that it wasn’t Susan’s handwriting? Susan’s snobbish way of telling Jerry and Elaine that they were talking too much during Chunnel really bothered me. This woman gets worse and worse every episode. Words can’t describe how much I dislike her. JUST LICK THE FUCKING STAMPS AND DROP DEAD ALREADY!

Key Character Debuts

– Ramon

Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes

– “So. Listen … You’re not doing anything tomorrow, are you? Because I have an extra ticket to the historical clothing exhibit at the Met.” – Elaine “I’m sorry.” – Jerry “George?” “Would I want to see what Mary Todd wore to Lincoln’s funeral?” – George

– “Oh, no, of course you don’t. You’re a Man’s Woman. You hate other women, and they hate you.” – Kramer

– “There’s nothing more pathetic, than a grown man, who’s afraid of a woman.” – Kramer

– “Hey well, ah, stay out of the deep end, eh.” – Ramon “OK, see you later.” – Jerry “What’s in the deep end?” – Kramer

– “She was looking for someone to go to the show with.” – Jerry “Well that was a really stupid thing!” – George

– “Oh, I don’t know, you know, girlie stuff.” – Elaine “Ah, so, ah, flower shows and, shopping for pretty bows, and then back to her place, strip down to bra and panties for a tickle fight?” – Jerry “That’s really what you think girls do, isn’t it?” – Elaine “Yes, I do.” – Jerry

– “This is not good. World’s are colliding! George is getting upset!” – George

– “Ah you have no idea of the magnitude of this thing. If she is allowed to infiltrate this world, then George Costanza as you know him, Ceases to Exist! You see, right now, I have Relationship George, but there is also Independent George. That’s the George you know, the George you grew up with — Movie George, Coffee shop George, Liar George, Bawdy George.” – George “I, I love that George.” – Jerry “Me Too! And he’s Dying Jerry! If Relationship George walks through this door, he will Kill Independent George! A George, divided against itself, Cannot Stand! You’re Killing Independent George! You know that, don’t you?” – George

– “Hewwo and welcome to Movie phone. Brought to you by the New York Times and Hot 97. Coming to theaters this Friday … Kevin Bacon, Susan Sarandon — “You’ve got to get me over that mountain!” “Now” [bang, bang] “AHHHHHHHHHH” There is no place higher than … Mountain High. Rated R. If you know the name of the movie you’d like to see, press 1.” – Kramer “Kramer, is that you?” – Elaine “Elaine?” – Kramer “Uh, what time does Chow Fun start?” – Elaine “I don’t know.” – Kramer

– “Why don’t you just tell me where you want to see the movie?” – Kramer

Oddities & Fun Facts

– George referring to himself in the third person is a callback to “The Jimmy” (S6, E19)

Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)

JT: I thought this one started a little slow but really picked up when Kramer got into the MovieFone stuff. Susan was really annoying again here but I guess that is the idea. The world’s colliding stuff is classic and the interaction between George and Kramer over the phone delivers every time. Ramon was a weirdo and that storyline got dark fast but the one liners came fast and furious throughout and buoyed this one up a bit. Not my favorite of the season but a pretty solid effort that was saved by two classic bits. Final Grade: 7/10

Aaron: This was…fine? I guess. Funny in spots but nothing really earth shattering. The MovieFone stuff was solid as was the worlds collide business but I really felt the pool boy story, while inoffensive, fell flat for me. I could have used more Elaine as she befriended Susan and a little more cohesion between the stories. Certainly not a bad way to spend a half hour but far from a classic. Final Grade: 6/10

Andrew: I think this episode comes out as average overall. There are some real high points, especially Kramer on the phone and George in the diner, but the plotting throughout, and the ending in particular, are not the show’s best work. Final Grade: 7/10

Jordan: I dunno. This one was here and it passed 22 minutes pretty easily, but it’s the definition of a forgettable episode. There are a few chuckles mixed in, but ultimately the Ramon stuff doesn’t work that well for me and Susan really comes off looking bad here. Kramer’s story was the best part to me, but it’s also the most dated storyline they have done in seasons, from calling movie phone to Kramer reading the newspaper to find showtimes. It’s certainly not a bad episode, but it’s definitely not one of the better ones. Final Grade: 5/10

Jason: This is another episode that I’ve watched many times and it is still one of my favorites. Worlds colliding and FILK are two of the best storylines thrown into one episode. Everything with Jerry and Ramon drags at times, but that doesn’t take away from my liking of this. Final Grade: 7/10