Seinfeld: The PTBN Series Rewatch – “The Slicer” (S9, E7)

Welcome to Seinfeld: The PTBN Series Rewatch! On a regular basis, JT Rozzero, Aaron George, Andrew Flanagan and Jordan Duncan 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 thought everyone was really locked in during this episode, but Kramer was really on fire all throughout this one. His quick hit lines, physical comedy and overall presence was just next level. The stock room stuff gets me every time and that was just the tip of the iceberg. He was a true force of nature the whole way through, right down to telling Jerry that he underlined the best parts of the medical book.

Aaron: Kramer in a landslide. His physical stuff was on point and we got the long overdue return of Doctor Victor Van Nostrand. His flippant “The cat died” was wonderful as was his apprehension before electrocuting himself.

Andrew: I’ll go with Kramer, who still gets more laughs out of mannerisms and line readings than anyone. Seeing him abruptly paw through Jerry’s sandwich was the biggest laugh of the episode for me. He’s pretty delightful throughout the rest of the episode, as well, from throwing himself completely into being a butcher-coat-wearing meat slicer operator, to the quick pivot into a lab coat wearing doctor.

Jordan: I thought George was pretty good here, and I am always up for a George scheme and George laziness. HOWEVER – anytime Dr. Van Nostrand appears, I will give it to Kramer. Wanting to slice off Kruger’s mole with his meat slicer and giving Jerry hives all in the last five minutes was like a breakaway dunk to seal a win in the last minute of a game.

Best Storyline

JT: All of it? I mean, it was all so beautifully intertwined, I don’t know how to separate it. I am cheating this time around and I don’t care. All of it.

Aaron: Kramer and Elaine dealing with the absentee neighbor. They blow a circuit, they feed a cat prime cut from a slicer, they break no less than two doors; they really do a tremendous job of mucking up the whole apartment complex.

Andrew: I went back and forth, but I think George’s photo saga was the best storyline. Scheming George is always the best George, and the beach story is a winner, especially once we get Mr. Kruger’s version. And the photo shop clerk’s confidence and pride in his entirely unhelpful work cracks me up.

Jordan: My instinct says to go with the slicer because I liked Kramer so much, but I’ll side with George desperately trying to have the picture photoshopped. The reveal at the end that Kruger and his kids THREW George’s stuff into the ocean was great. What a pear shaped loser!

Ethical Dilemma of the Week

JT: I can’t decide if Jerry is right or wrong about the dermatologist stuff. So I feel the ethical pain here. But, Jerry is a dick so he is probably wrong. Sigh.

Aaron: Does Kruger deserve to die of skin cancer for throwing a man’s towel and clothing in the ocean a decade before? Probably. The sheer pride he felt despite the passage of time painted a picture of a remorseless man on the steady path to doing it again.

Andrew: I don’t know that it’s a dilemma, but I applaud George’s honesty in including the Play Now debacle on his resume. Better to get the bad news out of the way quickly, I think.

Jordan: Is it on Elaine to feed the cat? I mean, yes, she shorted the circuit to turn off the alarm, and apparently the cat feeder, but also, maybe don’t leave the country and rely on a machine to feed your pet. If we are out of town for even 24 hours, we make sure someone comes to check on our dog. I don’t think Elaine had to go to the lengths she did here. Also, cats suck and I wish it had died.

Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)

JT: Dr. Siterides needs to simmer the fuck down. Good on Jerry for trying to take her down a peg. She can save lives and not be a dick at the same time. Relationship Grade: Pimple Popper/M.D.

Aaron: Jerry was right to break up with that braggart of a Doctor. The second she said “Of course you wouldn’t know what it feels like to hold a life in her hands,” she earned herself a piledriver. Sometimes love feels like a fight. Relationship Grade: CAW CAW CAW!

Andrew: I can’t imagine dating someone who spends as much time praising herself as much as Sara clearly does. The self-involvement and lack of regard for her partner’s interest level is astonishing. Plus, when would we have time to talk about how much I’m enjoying rewatching The Mighty Boosh? Relationship Grade: Looks like hives/10

Jordan: Not much here outside of Dr. Pimple Popper, and I thought that was kind of a weak part of the episode. I do wonder though – is this where Dr. Pimple Popper on Youtube got her name? Am I the only one in this group who watches those videos? What is it about pimple popping and the likes that is so entrancing for me? Also, chiropractic videos. I’m a huge fan of hearing the crunch. But there is this one dude who gives adjustments seemingly only to hot women and they are always in revealing clothing. I know that sex sells, but we just need you to handle the subluxation of the C4 vertebrae pal, we can find boobies somewhere else. Relationship Grade: KEEP IT PG/10

What Worked:

JT: The cold open was cool, well done and felt like something they had to do at some point; Kruger!; The way George gets hired is pretty funny; Kramer destroying Jerry’s sandwich to prove his point always makes me laugh, as does him saying “our meat problems are solved”; I love Kramer’s blank stare when Jerry mentions the stock room; Kramer actually has some good ideas in this episode; “But, where does the meat go” breaks me each and every time; The photo store guy drawing “Peanuts” Kruger back in was a good chuckle; I love the callback of Jerry and George discussing career options, really well done; Elaine taunting Kramer with the thought of clowns was deliciously dirty pool; Kramer asking Jerry if he wore a fake beard stacked with him commenting he couldn’t find the stock room is an amazing 1-2 punch; Elaine dancing was a nice touch; Kramer examining Kruger was tremendous; Kramer not piecing together that he gave Jerry the rash was classic

Aaron: As much as almost everything Kramer did warrants mention here so does the entire George/Kruger fiasco. Daniel von Bargen KILLS it as the hapless boss. “Man we took it on the chin last year, ” was said with a perfect lack of shame, that only the worst company on Earth could exhibit. George scheming to replace the photo is perfect Costanza fodder, which tiptoed the believability line in a near flawless way. The pride the photo guy took in his drawing of Kruger was wonderful as was George’s tolerance of people digging on his hair loss. By the time Their story climaxes with Kramer being mistaken as a Doctor I felt for the first time in a while we were watching the tight Seinfeld scripts of old. I’ll always laugh when Kramer trumpets the fact that he air brushed Gerald Ford out of a photo.

Andrew: The recurring gag of George throwing out potential careers for Jerry to comment on gets a revisit here, and I have to say I don’t think I’ve appreciated “land guy” in the Coast Guard enough over the years. I’ve always enjoyed Mr. Kruger’s apathetic approach to business, and he gets off to a good start in this one. Elaine and Kramer debating the existence of a slice so thin it cannot be seen is a good bit.

Jordan: Big fan of Kruger. George correcting his resume to say 14 days instead of 4 days at Playtime. Kramer buying his own meat slicer and slicing it so thin he couldn’t even see it was wonderful, as was his feeding Elaine slices at the end of the episode. I didn’t care for Jerry and the dermatologist, but her role worked within the story which is something Seinfeld does so well. Of COURSE Jerry is seeing a skin doctor just at the time when George needs to get his bosses shirt off! The airbrushed photo of Kruger was absurd, and the artist was SO PROUD of his work. Jerry mentioning that he wore a beard of bees is an iconic moment in our household. Beards of bees were a long standing gag with my dad and I. Also liked Kramer quizzing Elaine on how the slicer works, “But where does the meat go?”

What Didn’t Work

JT: I hate Dr. Siterides; How does Jerry identify his rash in the book so quickly?; Who likes olive loaf?

Aaron: HATED the cold open with Elaine in bed with all the guys. Dream or not it adds tremendously to the “Elaine is now a whore” narrative that has permeated season nine. Jerry’s storyline was weak in relation to the excellence around him.

Andrew: Where is Elaine’s landlord in all this? It’s frustrating when a whole storyline could be avoided by one phone call, and there’s at least three instances in hers where the maintenance staff should have been the first stop. I’m also not sure I enjoyed the cold open dream sequence. The idea of Elaine growing tired of these three ruining her life is a good one, but it needs more time than one unconnected gag to be worthwhile.

Jordan: I thought the end with Elaine sipping a Pepsi through the keyhole was stupid. Why not call the landlord?

Key Character Debuts

– Mr. Kruger

Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes

– “It says here that you worked at Play Now for four days?” – Krueger “That should be 14, let me just…” – George

– “It is a horrible company. There’s no management what so ever. I could go hog wild in there.” – George

– “Yeah well, that’s easy. Just let me finish this mile high and I’ll be right with you. Oh, and Jerry, we are gonna need a case of Kaiser rolls.” – Kramer “I think we might have one left in the stock room.” – Jerry

– “Where did you get that butcher’s coat?” – Jerry “You buy enough meat, they’ll give you anything.” – Kramer

– “Revenge date? That sound like you more than me.” – Jerry “This good be so sweet, Jerry. Saving lives? She’s one step away working at the clinique counter!” – George

– “Oh, I’ve cut slices so thin, I couldn’t even see them.” – Kramer “How did you know you cut it?” – Elaine “Well, I guess I just assumed.” – Kramer

– “What about your sea sickness?” – Jerry “Maybe I could be a land guy.” – George “I don’t know if they have land guys.” – Jerry “Someone’s have to unhook the boat before it leaves… the place!” – Jerry

– “Boy, that looks like an allergic reaction. Have you been wearing a fake beard?” – Kramer

– “Alright, great, because I got to get down there and pick up my blade. Hey, and I couldn’t find that stock room.” – Kramer

– “Moles, yes. Freckle’s ugly cousin.” – Kramer

– “That’s my hand towel! I use that on my face, hands and chest! That’s where the hives are coming from! It’s not from Dr. Sitarides, it’s from Dr. Van Nostrand!” – Jerry

Oddities & Fun Facts

– Actress Marcia Cross played Sara Siterides

Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)

JT: I love this episode. Everything was crisp and on point and it was vintage in its ability to tie together all of the stories into one seamless overarching tale. The core four were tightened up here and sharp but Kramer went next level, slaying every scene he was in. There are so many classic quotes from him, I couldn’t even keep up. The delivery and timing sparkled all through this one. I won’t call it an elite pantheon episode, because it is missing that truly iconic scene or moment to push it over the top, but it is right on the borderline and proof that the gang could still deliver when given a cohesive, locked in script to execute. Final Grade: 9/10

Aaron: I laughed quite a bit during this one. We had three strong stories and the weak barely took away. I now want Kruger in every episode as his ineptitude rarely lets down. It’s fucking hilarious that Kruger stole George’s stuff. Final Grade: 8/10

Andrew: This feels like a “C” grade episode to me. I laughed quite a bit, spent the rest of the time trying to poke holes in the plotlines, and came away pretty entertained overall. It’s easier to find something to say about the episodes that approach one extreme or the other, and I’m surprised to find myself on the lower end of the grading here, but this one felt average to me. Final Grade: 7/10

Jordan: This episode was… PERFECTLY SLICED. See what I did there? I made a reference to the meat slicer. Kramer really was great here, but so was George. I love Kruger a lot and it’s a shame he came along in the last season, I would like to see more of him. Just an excellent episode, and hey, we had that weird Elaine dream where she was in bed with all the guys! Final Grade: 8/10