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: Everyone was about on the same level here and even though Kramer finished strong I thought Jerry was the best throughout. He had some good one line quips and his casual sarcasm and needling to both George and Elaine was on point. His “poor bastard” line makes me laugh every time.
Aaron: Look it’s not only because I’m in love with her, but I need to go with Elaine here. Yes she is beautiful beyond measure but she steals every scene as bitterness and hostility seep out of her every pore. She’s got no time for the Rabbi’s bullshit quotes about forests and trees as she shuts him down immediately and her blasé attitude towards afternoon drinking opens a window to her cracked, morbid heart. Sure she’s completely fake with George when she finally gets to congratulate him but by this point her life has become a sad Don Ramsey-less mess. Also fuck Don Ramsey.
Andrew: I like Jerry this week. It’s been said before, but no version of Jerry is better than the easygoing, carefree version, serving as the calm center of gravity for a bunch of nutcases, and alternating between playing along with their nonsense and needling their neuroses. He gets such clear pleasure out of using the rabbi’s gossip to tease Elaine, and from selling out Kramer to the usher. It’s the simple things in life you treasure.
Jordan: Elaine was great here. She’s fighting all kinds of feelings – confusion, jealousy, sadness. She responds by chugging a few beers and crushing cans, then spilling her guts to some rabbi chump! I kind of hoped things ended with her punching the guy out! Her ridiculous excitement for George when she finally sees him is awesome.
Jason: I liked Elaine here, but she doesn’t hold a candle to that damn Rabbi! What a mouth on this guy. From Jerry, Mrs. Winston and Don Ramsey to spilling Elaine’s gossip on his TV show. What a yapping Hebrew. And yes, he in no way represents our ability to to take in a nice piece of juicy gossip and keep it to ourselves.
JT: I am going to go with Kramer admitting to Jerry he would sandbag him to the police and Jerry getting revenge by selling Kramer out in the end. It was quietly woven throughout the episode and rides to victory on the back of Kramer spilling the caffe latte and the usher sniffing him right out.
Aaron: Elaine’s depression.
Andrew: I enjoyed the rabbi storyline the most. From Elaine’s seething resentment, to her assuming confidentiality from religious figures, to the rabbi spilling everyone’s secrets on local television, it was my favorite top-to-bottom. And Elaine was fantastic in it, especially when doing her carefree, casually-enjoying-a-six-pack routine, or painfully overselling her happiness for George.
Jordan: The rabbi being a gossip who tells everyone Elaine’s personal life was a lot of fun.
Jason: The postponement stuff was OK, but Elaine spilling her jealousy to the Rabbi and then him running his mouth takes it here. In an episode that didn’t feature an iconic plot, this stuff held up the best. Kramer spilling the coffee on himself was more of a tease then a storyline at this point, so I’ll save my thoughts on that for future episodes.
Ethical Dilemma of the Week
JT: Should the usher have thrown Kramer out for sneaking in a cup of coffee? Come on, kid. Make him trash it and let him watch the shitty movie. That seems like a harsh penalty for a soft crime. The guy pretty much made the stuff trendy!
Aaron: Who decided that March 21st was the first day of spring? This person clearly never spent a March in Montreal Quebec. It’s bullshit. You know why it’s bullshit? Because every year without fail, WITHOUT FAIL, we get a beautiful week around March 15th. It feels like spring. We put our boots away, we lament that selfish pricks took our baseball team away in 2004 and we get ready for a lovely summer filled with poutines and scantily clad women. Then what happens? A god damn ice storm. Every year we get a fucking blizzard immediately after spring is declared. And it doesn’t go away either. It lasts until at least April. The we get to spend the entire month worrying that it’s going to come back. Imagine spending your life not knowing if you can put away your fucking boots. Imagine the indignity. I have a tradition where I usually have a show at the end of April and we always stop near the show to get ice cream. Do you have any idea how many times I’ve had to shiver through that ice cream wearing a god damn scarf? Too many times. I like we have three seasons here. Winter, shit (where everything smells like shit) and construction where they fix every single road simultaneously. Can we just move the date back. Can we say spring starts on May 3rd? It only snows every four out of six May 3rds.
Andrew: I read an article about the McDonald’s coffee burn lawsuit a few years ago, that argued that it was actually a serious incident, and not nearly as frivolous as we’ve all come to believe. So is it OK to base a sitcom storyline on a real person’s pain and suffering? I think so. The joke is as much about our national obsession with the story, as much as anything. And considering we’ve seen storylines about the Simpson murders and a sexual predator dentist, this wouldn’t be the hill to die on, anyway.
Jordan: Is going to a prostitute while you are engaged cheating? Yes. It is the very definition of it.
Jason: If your best friend killed someone, would you turn them in? Hell yes. What are they going around killing people for? Make-up sex vs conjugal visit sex, which one is better?
Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)
JT: Mrs. Elaine Ramsey. Shortly after the wedding, the Ramseys would travel Europe for their honeymoon before settling into a brand new house in Westchester. He would move medical practice there and Elaine would quit her new gig with J. Peterman to be a stay at home mom. They grow old together and think wistfully back to their days in the elevator eating low calorie cookies with the rabbi. What could have been. Relationship Grade: Snackwells/10
Aaron: I don’t want to harp on this Don Ramsey prick but he’s not good enough for Elaine. Relationship Grade: 187/10
Andrew: Man, do sitcoms have a thing for making long-term relationships seem terrible, or what? Relationship Grade: How was your day?/10
Jordan: Susan and Elaine continue to be a thorn in George’s side, and things…you know what? Can we change the subject? I’m not interested. Relationship Grade: MOMENTUM/10
Jason: Ugh, poor George. Susan continues to be nothing but torture to this guy. Relationship Grade: Kasha Varnishkas/10
JT: Kramer’s parallel parking troubles in the opening scene always crack me up; George’s stall door system is a winner; George trying to turn his neck for Jerry is tremendous; Kramer telling Jerry he would sell him out if he committed murder; The callback to “Plan 9” is tremendous; George’s postponement plan backfiring horrendously and then not even ending in make-up sex; Jerry’s “Poor bastard” line; Rabbi immediately telling Jerry everything Elaine told him unsolicited and also telling everyone in the building about it; Susan always asking George “How was your day” is an awesome callback to last episode when Kramer predicted that would happen; George altering his plan and breaking down into tears; Kramer getting burned is a laugh out loud moment and Jerry ratting him out as payback was awesome; Also the usher’s “caffe latte” line was delivered tremendously; Kramer revealing that he is suing over the spilled coffee is a nice tease; The final scene with the rabbi on TV was a nice way to tie it all up, especially the prostitute line
Aaron: I think the reason I remember this season so fondly is that it really is starting to feel like a serialized story. Right off the bat we get an update on the dog situation from last week and we even get a nice callback to the Chinese Restaurant later in the episode. The show has so much classic mythology to mine that it’s really surprising they’ve waited this long to bring it to the forefront. Of course the episode ends with Kramer’s hilarious coffee burn (the sound he makes will never not make me laugh) which will carry us over the next couple of episodes until he puts that damn balm on. Jerry blatantly giving out ignorant advice as he reads the paper always busts me up. He’s so far out of his depths with an actual adult relationship yet it does nothing to dissuade him that he’s an authority. All of George and Susan’s interactions are wonderful and lead me to believe they would be positively miserable together. Susan’s having none of his bathroom shit as she quickly and efficiently dismantles his “genius” idea. George feeling cheated out of makeup sex is almost as endearing as his longing for conjugal visit sex. Of course nothing beats ” prostitute while engaged sex,” but that cat gets let out of the bag before he has the chance to act on it. That damn Rabbi is exactly the type of character that can only exists in Seinfeld. That. Monotonous, Voice. Is. Glorious. Also I feel for George when he doesn’t want to go hang out with the Lauers. We all have Lauers. We hate every one of them.
Andrew: I had forgotten there was ever a world where a caffè latte was a new, hip thing. That said, Kramer was the perfect character to be into this new trend, and I got a laugh out of the usher immediately guessing “one of those caffè lattes?” as the source of his discomfort. George’s postponement storyline is really solid, especially the “makeup sex” conversation, and seeing him break down in front of Susan to get his way. He and Jerry have from great back-and-forth, too, and I especially like the way they scrutinize Jerry’s “forthright” comment for no particular reason. The bit about Kramer turning in Jerry for murder is a winner, too. I enjoyed the “Plan 9” callback to “The Chinese Restaurant”, even if it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the rest of the episode. (Maybe it’s the way the joke references Kramer being unfairly left out of that one).
Jordan: That Kramer sure can park a car. Elaine chugging the beer was awesome for some reason. George having a breakdown in front of Jerry, combined with his inability to get a good neck turn was fun. I like Susan just shutting down George’s worthless topic of conversation, and George FUMING inside. Jerry just being totally carefree reading the paper while George bares his soul to him was a great picture of Jerry’s character. Kramer is absolutely a trend setter, to the point where I would believe he spilled coffee on his crotch way before that famous McDonalds lawsuit ever happened. George resorting to crying to get his way is fun. Elaine is on fire here, drinking her problems away, seeking solace from a rabbi and then bottling it all up to act happy for George.
Jason: Kramer’s piss poor parking job to open the episode. “Toilets were the subject”; Elaine leaving the apartment with beer cans over her shoulder. That damn Rabbi and his words of wisdom. REJUVENATION. REBIRTH. EVERYTHING’S BLOOMING. ALL THAT CRAP. Elaine spilling her issues to the rabbi; “No joy. No joy whatsoever.” The rabbi wanting to hook up Elaine with his nephew. I loved the Plan 9 from Outter Space call back. Those damn Lowers. George pitching the postponement to Susan; ‘Snow. Santa. All that crap.” Jerry’s one liners were tremendous; “I live and breathe, my friend. I live and breathe.” George weeping like a little bitch to get Susan to change her mind. Kramer’s awesome physical comedy when the coffee spills on him. Elaine’s fake congratulations to George. Kramer suing the coffee place. The Rabbi spilling Elaine’s issues on his TV show.
What Didn’t Work
JT: There is so little drinking on this show that Laney chugging knock off Budweisers seems really out of place; Elaine worked in publishing, she should know it’s “couldn’t care less” not “could”; I have always thought the rabbi was a bit too over the top; It feels weird that Elaine hasn’t seen George since the proposal unless these episodes happened really closely together; What the fuck does Susan wear to bed?
Aaron: There’s no way Susan has been living there for any length of time and there’s still that much baseball shit all over George’s walls. If she’s forcing him to see The Muted Heart and dragging a description of his day out of him, she’s slowly packing the posters and throw rugs away until one day George wakes up and finds nothing but cat paintings adorning his once quaint apartment. Run on sentences aside why does George have pieces of a hamster city on his computer desk?
Andrew: I think they dubbed in Kramer saying “coffee!” during the scene where he gets burned at the movie theater, which struck me as unnecessary and distracting. Also, this isn’t specific to this episode, but it’s a little strange that Susan has gone from “powerful network executive” to “chilling on the couch with a magazine” without it even being remarked upon, isn’t it?
Jordan: I suspect I will be the only one, but I don’t like the rabbi at all. His voice is ridiculous and unbelievable.
Jason: Two things I can’t stand, Susan Ross and the phrase, “Can we please change the subject.” Put them together and it’s just the worst.
Key Character Debuts
– Rabbi Kirschbaum
Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes
– “It can never be erased. It’ll follow us wherever we go for the rest of our lives. I’ll never be able to get a job. I mean, doesn’t that concern you? Everything I’ve worked for…down the drain because of one stupid mistake. I mean, aren’t we entitled to make one mistake in our lives, Jerry?” – Elaine “We’re gonna change the system!” – Jerry “Yes!” – Kramer “Well, I could care less. I hope it is on our record. I’m just sorry they didn’t lock me up.” – Elaine
– “Extend the doors on the toilet stalls at Yankee Stadium to the floor …door comes down. Hides your feet. Yes. I like it. I like it a lot.” – Jerry
– “Well, I don’t see how I’m gonna make December. I mean, I need a little more time. I mean, look at me I’m a nervous wreck. My stomach aches. My neck is killing me. I can’t turn. Look. Look.” – George “You’re turning.” – Jerry “Nah, it’s not a good turn.” – George
– “Huh? You know? Spring. Rejuvenation. Rebirth. Everything’s blooming. All that crap.” – George
– “Especially her. She does not like disappointment. Well, I have to do it. I can’t make December. There’s no way I can make December. Right? I mean, you can see that, right? I mean, look at me. Look. Look. Can I make December? I can’t make December. Right? Look. Look.” – George “Yeah, you’d better shoot for March.” – Jerry
– “You are a good friend. You know what? Even if you killed somebody I wouldn’t turn you in.” – George “Is that so? Hey, Kramer if I killed somebody would you turn me in?” – Jerry “Definitely.” – Kramer “You’re kidding?” – Jerry “No, no, I would turn you in.” – Kramer “You would turn me in?” – Jerry “Phwap, I wouldn’t even think about it.” – Kramer “I can’t believe your a friend of mine.” – Jerry “What kind of person are you going around killing people?” – Kramer “Well, I am sure I had a good reason.” – Jerry “Well…if you’ll kill this person, who’s to say I wouldn’t be next?” – Kramer “But you know me!” – Jerry “I thought I DID!” – Kramer
– “In your situation the only sex you’re going to have better than make-up sex is if you’re dent to prison and you have a conjugal visit.” – Jerry “Yeah, conjugal visit sex. That is happening!” – George
– “Well it seems the engagement of her ffriend George has left her feeling bitter and hostile.” – Rabbi “Is that so?” – Jerry “Yes, in fact she told me that she wishes she was the one getting married.” – Rabbi “Really?” – Jerry “She came off as pretty desperate.” – Rabbi “I didn’t know any of this.” – Jerry “Apparently she doesn’t think much of this George fellow either. I recall the word loser peppered throughout her conversation.” – Rabbi
– “Whatya got? One of those Cafe Lattes in your shirt?” – Usher “I don’t have anything. Ask him.” – Kramer “All right, come on Coffee Boy, bring it out.” – Usher
– “Hey, listen, if you ever get a date, maybe the four of us could go out together sometime.” – George “Yes! Yes, yes. Sure.” – Elaine
– “A young lady I know, let’s call her Elaine:, happened to find herself overwhelmed with feelings of resentment and hostility for her friend, let’s call him George:. She felt that George was somewhat of a loser and that she was the one who deserved to be married first. She also happened to mention to me that her friend had wondered if going to a prostitute while you’re engaged is considered cheating. His feeling was they’re never going to see each other again so what’s the difference. But that is a subject for another sermon. Now, I’d like to close with a psalm.”
Oddities & Fun Facts
– Jerry and Kramer head to see Plan Nine from Outer Space and Jerry references wanting to see the movie years ago, which occurred in The Chinese Restaurant (S2, E6)
– Kramer suing over the spilled hot coffee was a reference to an actual lawsuit involving McDonald’s in 1994
Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)
JT: Honestly this is one of my least favorite episodes in a long, long time. There were a couple of laugh out loud moments, mainly around Kramer’s physical comedy. The idea of the rabbi was funny but he himself was annoying. It was also kind of weird to have an episode of Seinfeld that was basically just developing plot points for later and not having much of a story itself. The end was the strongest part and sets up some fun stuff but overall this was a rare swing and miss. Final Grade: 4/10
Aaron: I love the storytelling but was a little underwhelmed by the individual moments on this one. Sure Elaine was great but Kramer was very underused. That being said I need to give it points for Kramer’s pained scream and Elaine’s…everything… Final Grade: 5/10
Andrew: I was entertained by this episode. The chemistry between the main characters was excellent, and the storylines are solid. This one falls in the “fun, but not ground-breaking” category for me. It feels weird being so out of step with everyone else’s grades, but I’ll stick to my initial impression … Final Grade: 7/10
Jordan: A big step back from the run we have been on. The rabbi doesn’t work for me, and this felt like it was just moving along storylines, which is not what Seinfeld is all about. I didn’t hate it or anything, but for Season 7 of Seinfeld, I’m expecting greatness, and this was well below that. Final Grade: 4/10
Jason: As a whole, this episode didn’t really come together well for me. The Rabbi was great and the Kramer lawsuit tease were the only strong points here. Susan continues to get on my nerves as much as she does to George. This might be the lowest point we reach during this season. I’m not a huge fan of this episode. Final Grade: 4/10