Seinfeld: The PTBN Series Rewatch – “The Scofflaw” (S6, E13)

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: I didn’t think this was the best outing for our big four but if I had to pick one there, I would go with Kramer just for the absurd eye patch/leather jacket combo. However, I am going way off the radar here and going with the Hair Team salesman. His rant while snapping at Jerry was so well done and you could feel his anger. I feel he gave the best performance out there.

Aaron: He wants to be a pirate and you want him to be a pirate. His stagnating proved to be entirely self-conscious as he cycloptically sauntered and tumbled into our hearts. Sure there’s a bizarre scene where he headlocks George and bullies him, but if you pack that away in the back of the mind, like every other bullying experience, you’ll find yet another strong Kramer episode.

Andrew: I think I’ll go with Kramer. In an episode short on big laughs, all his character work stands out more. Plus, he helps a scofflaw come to terms with his delinquent past, and that’s got to count for something.

Jordan: I am giving this to Cosmo, pirate king of New York. I feel like this outfit was some kind of homage to a character I don’t know, and that actually makes it funnier to me. His falling in the diner is the best part of the episode.

Jason: Gary F’N Fogel all day here! I’m a huge Jon Lovitz fan and this is a role that he was meant to play. Lying about having cancer, the toupee, picking up the chick at Monk’s. So great! GOOD FOR YOU, JACK!

Best Storyline

JT: I will go with the scofflaw. Newman as the white whale and Kramer standing there taking him into custody as the judge looks on disgusted was great.

Aaron: Elaine’s burning revenge on Jake Jarmell. It starts strong with her freaking out over an unauthorized hi and ends with her bringing down the “peculiar” author as well as poor, poor Mr. Lippmann. Her glee as she pranced into Walden Books wearing his glasses is amazing, as is her rubbing of all the salt into his wounded eyes.

Andrew: I think it’s the scofflaw. It’s got some of the classic Seinfeld traits: the repeated use of a funny word, the overwrought speeches, the way it ties into other storylines in unexpected ways. It’s not an all-time classic, but it’s solid.

Jordan: George’s inability to keep a secret. I enjoyed him getting upset with Jerry, then immediately proving that Jerry was right not to tell him.

Jason: While the title plot had it’s moments, everything with Gary Fogel stole the show.

Ethical Dilemma of the Week

JT: Should lie about cancer to get free shit? Probably not. Gary seems like a bright guy, I am sure he could have come up with something less vile to earn that free rug.

Aaron: Is smugness a good quality? No. Is revenge very good? Yes. What’s the lesson? Cabbies are the exact same thing as psychiatrists. Psychiatrists who drive you around and give you carbon monoxide poisoning.

Andrew: Is it OK for Jake to refuse to tell anyone where he got his glasses? On the one hand, I have to give him credit for at least being honest about his motives. On the other hand, Jake sucks.

Jordan: Does Jerry have any right to mock anyone for their sense of style? George could have gotten the Joe Dirt hair and he still wouldn’t look as ridiculous as Jerry on any given episode. Keep tucking in those turtlenecks, Jerome. Maybe Paula Poundstone can lend you another blazer.

Jason: Is there a difference between saying, “Hi” and sending your regards? NOPE! Should you trust a friend with a secret who has a bad poker face? Again, NOPE!

Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)

JT: Jerry and George need to figure out their relationship. They are clearly fighting through the pull to share their deepest secrets and George’s actions screamed that he wanted nothing more that to spill his guts to his true beloved but didn’t want to be the weak one. Jerry, knowing just how to bait George along, masterfully worked the secret out of him. Progress. Love. Relationship Grade: Full House/10

Aaron: Did anyone even bother to write an actual number this week? Nope? Moving on… Relationship Grade: 1000000000000000/10

Andrew: Considering the complicated politics of “saying hi”, “regards”, and the post-relationship upper hand, I’m wondering how these people find the courage to break up with someone every week. Relationship Grade: Good for you, Jack!/10

Jordan: On one hand, Jerry and George can’t trust each other. On the other hand, Gary comes along with all the same qualities of George, and Jerry isn’t tempted at all. Perhaps these two will last after all. Relationship Grade: LOVITZ/10

Jason: Elaine thinking that she lost her upper hand with Jake after their break up was enjoyable. Poor Georgie Boy being mislead by Debbie from her Hi vs. Regards. Relationship Grade: SMUGNESS/10

What Worked:

JT: Kramer’s “Hey Pig” line always makes me laugh; Kramer’s headlock on George and slow exit were great; I like that Elaine knew the secret about Gary; The cop’s obsession with the white whale is a fun side plot; George’s “twenty lies” comment was a good one and Gary lying about having cancer may be the worst of the worst when it comes to deception on this show; Jerry immediately sniffing out George’s poker face and George immediately cracking is really good; YOU BE NICE!; Gary in the wig and Jerry angrily showing his fillings; Kramer walking in with the eye patch, falling down and then switching eyes; The cab driver egging Elaine on; The whip conversation is the essence of Seinfeld; Newman as the white whale is great casting and his breakdown and confession to Kramer was great; Elaine’s revenge; Newman’s absurd courtroom breakdown as well as the closing that scene with Kramer taking custody; The Hair Team rep snapping at Jerry as he rips George’s wig; Nice payoff with George’s spot going to Newman; George with the wig at the end is amazing

Aaron: I really dug Kramer gaining an eye patch and turning away from police work for fear of being shot. Elaine’s whole arc is pretty solid as well. George yelling at Jerry to “Be Nice!” always gets a rise out of me. George trying to keep his secret from Jerry is also a tremendous little piece of business. I’d certainly be remiss if I left out Newman’s insta-cry.

Andrew: George’s unfounded pride in his poker face. Jake blatantly admitting he doesn’t want anyone else to have his glasses. The cop’s white whale story about the scofflaw, and the word scofflaw itself. Kramer’s obsession with facial accessories (“I wanna be a pirate”), and depth perception problems. Gary laughing off lying about cancer. Elaine signing a book to get rid of someone. Gary exhibiting his toupee always cracks me up, as does Jerry begrudgingly showing him his fillings. The cabbie agreeing with Elaine that “Revenge is very good”. Kramer and Newman’s “looking over your shoulder” conversation is great.

Jordan: Honestly, not a ton. I thought Kramer was exceptionally odd this time around, and it worked. I do like that Gary casually tells George he never had cancer. In fact, I like Gary altogether. Jon Lovitz is one of those actors incapable of playing a role – he is always just Jon Lovitz. So his role here and your enjoyment depends entirely on your view of Lovitz, and I am a fan.

Jason: Kramer’s friendly headlock he puts on George. Jerry not telling George about Gary’s cancer because of his weak poker face. Kramer considering buying a wheelchair to cruise around in. A nice throwback with Elaine and Jake’s break up over the Jujy Fruits. Elaine’s obsession over finding out where Jake found his glasses. Kramer smoothing things over with Officer Morgan and Kramer not becoming a cop because he’s afraid of being shot. Newman the Scofflaw being referred to as the ‘white whale’. George admitting he’s living like 20 lies. Gary getting George the parking spot. Gary confessing to George that he never had cancer. The return of Cosmo’s trendy trench coat. THAT FREAKIN’ EYE PATCH!!! The eye patch being itchy. Elaine telling Jake that Kramer’s ‘Hi’ was unauthorized. Elaine signing the book for the impatient prick on line. Jerry buing the hair club membership for Gary. Jerry’s struggle to be nice to Gary after George caves and tells him Gary didn’t have cancer. Gary looking at Jerry’s fillings; “Hey, lookee here, you’re loaded!” George name dropping Jon Voight while in his car with Debbie. Those Malaysian glasses! Excellent writing with George almost hitting the guy crossing the street while Officer Morgan had the ‘white whale’ pulled over. Kramer flying out of Monk’s after the crash. Kramer laying into Newman about being the scofflaw. Newman weeping like a little bitch. The return of Lippman. Elaine giving him the glasses. The judge making Newman keep his car in the garage; “Don’t you worry, your honor. He’s in my custody.” Gary not being able to give George the parking spot was a nice tie-in. George trying on the toupee. Jerry’s, “Why don’t you get a pair of white shoes, move down to Miami Beach and get the whole thing over with?” is an all timer for Jerome. Jerry calling out Gary about not having cancer. Lippman and Jake getting into a scuffle over the glasses was the perfect payoff at the end.

What Didn’t Work

JT: Debbie Bibelo is an awful name; For someone that is so obsessed with cleanliness, how does Jerry have so many fillings?; Debbie sucks with everything she says; I know it’s just Jon Lovitz’s style but I thought his overacting was distracting at times

Aaron: I felt the scenes seemed very, very quick in some instances. Like they were trying to cram too much into the episode. Like the first scene with Jarmell and Kramer where we learn about his obsession with the glasses was seriously like two lines long. That feels painfully short for introducing such an important plot point. Brevity is the soul of wit but there’s a limit. I LOATHE Jon Lovitz. He’s awful and his fuchsia shirt can go fuck itself. Please, please PLEASE stop saying “Jack.” Please.

Andrew: Why does Jerry stare at the cashier in the diner? I’ve never understood what that was about.

Jordan: I didn’t care for any of the Jake and Elaine stuff, and felt like she was wasted this episode. George puts his glasses on like a weirdo. Debbie and George felt forced, as did the social commentary on saying hi versus sending regards.

Jason: Debbie should never have gone out with George to begin with. Hi and sending regards are the same thing, sister! The toupee salesman is quote the asshole.

Key Character Debuts

– Gary Fogle

Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes

– “I was yelling at the litterbug. I mean this is my town. You don’t throw trash on the streets of my town.” – Kramer

– “Huh, really? How bad? Was he on his death bed?” – George “No, he was on his regular bed.” – Jerry

– “I was so nice to him I almost made myself sick.” – Jerry

– “I have to say, as a glasses wearer I take exception to that. That’s like me buying a wheelchair to cruise around in.” – George “Yeah, I’ve considered that.” – Kramer

– Mr Kramer, let me tell you a story. In nineteen-seventy-nine I ticketed a brown Dodge Diplomat for parking in a Church zone. That fine was never paid, and since then that scofflaw has piled up more parking tickets than anyone in New York City. For sixteen years I pursued him, only to see him give me the slip time and time again. I never got a clean look at his face, but he’s become my ‘white whale’. Mr Kramer, that day was yesterday! But thanks to you, I don’t know if I’ll ever get that chance again!” – Kramer

– “Well, the thing is, I’ve been living a lie.” – Gary “Just one? I’m living like twenty.” – George

– “Kramer, you don’t understand. He made the last contact between us. I had the upper hand in the post-breakup relationship. If he thinks that I said hi, then I lose the upper hand.” – Elaine “It’s like a game of tag.” – Jerry

– “Did you know he was so worried about losing more hair if he had to get chemo treatment, I bought him an unlimited gift certificate at the Hair Team For Men, just to put his mind at ease?” – Jerry

– “You look like a pirate.” – Jerry “I wanna be a pirate.” – Kramer

– “Well, you know in the old days, when the senators didn’t vote the way that the party leaders wanted ’em to… they whipped them. You better vote the way we want you to, or there’s gonna be big trouble.” – Kramer

– “Ah, don’t play dumb. It’s me, Cosmo.” – Kramer “All right, so it’s me. So what?” – Newman “You don’t think I know how you’re feeling, every second of the day? Looking over your shoulder to see if someone’s coming up from behind. Sitting alone at night, knowing they could be closing in.” – Kramer “I can’t sleep, I tell you! I can’t sleep!” – Newman

– “No, I don’t think you’re being helpful! I think you’re being disruptive, and you make it very difficult for your friend here to improve his life!” – Salesman “Hey! I’m trying to prevent my friend from becoming one of those guys people snicker at behind their back, because they look ridiculous! No offense to you personally!” – Jerry All you people with hair think you’re so damn superior! You have no idea what it’s like. You ever look down in the bottom of your tub and see a fist fulla hair? How’d you like to start your day with that?!” – Salesman

Oddities & Fun Facts

– Gary Fogle is portrayed by Jon Lovitz

– Elaine references her bad breakup with Jake Jarmel from The Opposite (S5, E22)

– Kramer’s “I want to be a pirate” is a call back to The Puffy Shirt (S5, E3)

Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)

JT: I just wasn’t feeling this one and it felt like a step back from their recent efforts. Nothing seemed to really kick into the next gear and there was lots of potential that they never quite cashed in on. As I mentioned above, Lovitz’s overacting took me out of his scenes and only George in the wig and the crazed salesman really made up for it. Kramer’s patch was great but it seemed like they had this fun idea for Newman to be a scofflaw and then sputtered through the storyline until the payoff. The returns of Jarmel and Lippman were good and Elaine had a nice solid episode. Nothing really popped here though and it was one of the first real disappoints for me here in season six. Final Grade: 6/10

Aaron: This is a hard one to rank, I really enjoyed Elaine and Kramer but everything else felt flat or downright enraging. Ranking and writing are hard. Final Grade: 5/10

Andrew: There’s some stuff I really enjoy here, primarily Jon Lovitz and the word scofflaw. But the stories are pretty average overall, and the ending doesn’t do much for me. But most importantly, I just didn’t find this episode as funny as the rest of the season. Final Grade: 6/10

Jordan: This one isn’t bad, but it suffers from being totally forgettable. I have probably seen this one ten times and forgot Newman was the scofflaw, which speaks to my point. I laughed a few times at Kramer and Gary, but nothing was quotable or worth going out of your way for. Really can’t get past Elaine being given a dud story either. Final Grade: 5/10

Jason: This episode held up A LOT better than I remembered. Twenty three minutes of pure enjoyment from Jon Lovitz with every plot tying in beautifully. George sitting in the chair getting fit for a toupee is such an iconic moment. Newman being the scofflaw was tremendous as well. Lots of laughs all throughout gives it a thumbs up from me. Final Grade: 8/10