Seinfeld: The PTBN Series Rewatch – “The Soul Mate” (S8, E2)

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: Everyone was pretty much on the same level here but I will go with George. I enjoyed his big scene at the end when he called everyone out and played the tape and his model diorama was pretty funny. Honorable mention to Newman and Kramer for the bookstore scene too.

Aaron: If for no other reason than his commitment to getting the words “squink” and “glonk” over as actual English language, the clear choice is George Costanza.

Andrew: I like Kramer in this one. The way he is struck mute upon first meeting Pam kills me. And who wouldn’t feel for a character torn between friendship and irresistible attraction?

Jordan: I’ll go George – the diorama that gave him literally NO extra information was pretty fun. His giant tape recorder was funny, and the mere fact that he’s convinced they hate him JUST BECAUSE he pretty much caused Susan’s death is entertaining enough. Plus, nobody else was all that special.

Jason: No one had a performance that I went gaga over here, but I’ll go with Newman. He was enjoyable playing the middleman between Jerry and Kramer, confessing his love for Elaine and during his role during the Cyrano De Bergerac stuff with Kramer. An honorable mention goes to Wyck for continuing to be grandmaster douchebag.

Best Storyline

JT: Again, none really stood out here so I will stick with George as his story gave me the most chuckles. Elaine’s stuff fell flat and outside of the scene in the bookstore I didn’t really dig too much of the Pam saga.

Aaron: I felt Kramer and Newman had some great moments in their plotline but I just couldn’t get behind it as a whole. Elaine was kind of off this week with her crusade to not have a baaaaaby. Jerry rarely does it for me so I guess the default choice is George versus the charitable organization. They may not articulate it enough but they know he killed her.

Andrew: I think it’s The Soul Mate. On the downside, having a character get the hots for his friend’s girlfriend is some real sitcom-y shit. On the upside, there’s Newman’s unrequited love for Elaine, Kramer and Newman’s Cyrano routine, and everyone rushing off to get a vasectomy. That’s enough for me to call this one the winner.

Jordan: The foundation continuing to give George problems is my pick-Susan has been dead for months and the guy is still miserable. Newman being a poet was kind of fun, but there wasn’t much to it.

Jason: A tough call between the title plot and the continuing foundation saga. I’ll go with the title plot by a hair. We got to see a side from Kramer that is rarely shown.

Ethical Dilemma of the Week

JT: If you are in love with your best friend’s current paramour, should you try to steal her away or confront him and confess? Kramer did both and seemingly pulled off the coup. I absolve him for it too because he knows Jerry will never stick with one chick anyway.

Aaron: What COULD Pam see in Jerry? I know this is more of an ethical dilemma section but it’s about time someone here asked the obvious question. He’s annoying, childish and doesn’t know how to dress himself. He’s a fucking child. And yet, he’s dated model upon model as though HE were a modern day Jerry of Troy. It has to stop. It has to end. You would not date a man who wore his jeans that high no matter how funny he was. He supports for what is for all intents and purposes (Or intensive purposes. Thanks Gorilla Monsoon.) what is basically a homeless man who happens to live next door. His best friend is a literal snake and his ex and he are clearly saving themselves for each other. Oh and the hair… That ludicrous hair would make Theodore Huxtable stylish by comparison. I don’t think I have an answer for anyone here. I just think this is something we should be talking about.

Andrew: If a female friend gets a bad haircut, should you tell her? Seems like a low upside move to me. I think it’s safe to assume she will find out on her own, and avoid putting the target on yourself.

Jordan: Should you be quick to get a vasectomy because a relationship you’ve been in for a very short time leads to a conversation where the woman reveals she doesn’t want kids? I feel like my man was pretty quick to get snipped!

Jason: Ok parents, does poop actually smell good when it comes from your child? Do men say anything to get with a woman? Sometimes…

Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)

JT: Pam is cute but not worth all the gaga. Relationship Grade: Velvet Scrunchies/Tortoise Shell Clips

Aaron: Fuck Kevin. You come near Elaine again I’ll cut your whole dick off. Relationship Grade: 0/10

Andrew: Poor Newman, watching Elaine date a parade of losers, and knowing he’ll never get his shot. Tragic. Relationship Grade: I’m doing it for you/10

Jordan: Kevin set the tone for Michael Scott to get the rare reverse vasectomy. I like to imagine he does this once a week. Snip, unsnip, snip, unsnip. Relationship Grade: It’s not vasecte-you, it’s vasecte-ME/10

Jason: Kevin and Elaine are both insane here. Jerry as George Harrison, Kramer as Eric Clapton and Pam as Pattie Boyle. Seinfeld meets classic rock. Relationship Grade: Layla/10

What Worked:

JT: Jerry telling George he was gnawing at his nails like a mental patient; George mumbling the name of the poet; Jerry asking George if he killed Susan; Funny callback with ugly baby Adam; Newman as the sage was funny, especially as he wistfully discussed his one true love; Elaine telling Kramer to come look at her new friend; George and Jerry waiting for the tape to rewind and the tape featuring a discussion on George’s fingernails; Kramer pulling George into the hallway and then him still sitting there when Kramer storms out; The scene in the bookstore is great, especially with Newman’s junk mail rant; Newman double-crossing Kramer for a shot at Elaine; Elaine referencing her old hairstyle; George’s diorama and Jerry saying that the M&M should be George; Kramer busting through the door as soon as Pam mentions her feelings for him; George calling out the board room members; The last scene with George using the Newman poem and then Wyck asking if they all agree George killed Susan was a good way to wrap things up

Aaron: Michael Richards’ performance the first time he sees Pam is borderline brilliant. We know exactly how he feels without a single word uttered. All the business with the tape recorder is wonderful. Especially George’s handling of the briefcase so that every person in the room sees it. His accusatory speech to the board is as hilarious as Wyck’s retort was destructive. Why didn’t he just ask indeed? Newman’s poetry stuff was fun as was his constant need to talk about his own obsession with Elaine. If he goes near her I’ll… well you know what I’ll do. I love the scene where George shows Jerry the destroyed briefcase only to be forced to wait while the tape rewinds before we get any resolution. It’s such a great example of setting up something huge and spectacular and then using the mundane to build tension while we wait for it. Of course it ended up being a whole lot of nothing but I think that made it even better. Finally the board flat out saying they think George murdered Susan was brilliant. They used the word murder. One guy just assumed they all knew. Brilliant.

Andrew: George’s inability to let go of the tape recorder incident works well for the character. Kevin and Elaine’s conversation about getting overexcited and taking things too far too quickly ending with her chopping her hair off was well played. Kramer and Newman are great together once again, and I enjoyed Jerry’s interest in Pam growing exponentially when Kramer tells him how great she is. The conversation about men being willing to say anything to sleep with a woman was solid.

Jordan: Kramer’s love of Pam is really fun. I loved him sliding through the door on his knees when she reveals she has a small crush on him. George’s diorama with Jerry asking why he isn’t the M&M was good because I would imagine every viewer was thinking the same thing. I like that you can just FEEL the utter contempt from Wyck and the foundation for George. I liked Kevin and Elaine spurring each other on to make terrible decisions.

Jason: George biting his nails in the back of the cab; George making up poet names; “Oh, help me, Rhonda!”; the return of Carol; “Elaine, you gotta have a baby.”; Carol wanting to show Elaine pictures of Adam was a nice callback to The Hamptons; Jerry helping George plot the Jerry Lewis briefcase method; Kramer lovestruck over Pam the minute he meets her; Kramer confessing his love for Pam to Newman; Newman’s soul mate speech; Pam sounding fetchy; the mollusk; Geroge fiddling with the tape recorder in the briefcase followed by his dramatic exit from the conference room; unfocused Kramer from being gaga; Elaine telling Kramer that Jerry isn’t gaga over Pam; the awkward pause when George is rewinding the tape; the board members taking shit about George’s fingernails; Kramer dragging George out of the apartment; Pam; PAM, PAM!; velvet scrunchie; Jerry becoming gaga over Pam after Kramer runs down her good traits; Elaine helping George evaluate the tape; Pantene; Kramer repeating Newman’s mail rant; unknown 20th century poet, Newman; Jerry and Newman’s cat & mouse chase through the building; Newman confessing his love for Elaine; joke boy; Jerry spotting Pam’s velvet scrunchie; George’s conference room model; Jerry telling George he should be the M&M; Kramer sliding into the apartment on his knees; George’s rant about the briefcase and the Jerry Lewis idea back firing on him; Elaine’s short hair;  Kramer hobbling out of the doctor’s office after being snipped; George reading the Newman poem; the foundation members all agreeing that George murdered Susan.

What Didn’t Work

JT: Elaine’s friends are the fucking worst; Kevin is a loser, he may as well have gotten an estrogen injection while he was at it; Elaine’s short hair…noooooooo!

Aaron: It’s a small thing but Jerry saying he’s never been “gaga” only two episodes removed from him being engaged felt like lazy ass writing. I also kind of hated the ending where three men were willing to get vasectomies for a woman they’ve barely known a week. I feel the characters, though awful, are smarter than that.

Andrew: This episode felt a little unpolished to me. The plots tying together at the end feels rushed, and it seems like the stories needed either more time or more work.

Jordan: I feel like so much could have been done with the idea of Kramer trying to woo someone away from Jerry and it just fell really short.

Jason: Getting a vasectomy to impress a woman is a litlle overboard. If you’re married it one thing. Throw a rubber on like the rest of us single saps. Kevin is a complete dope.

Key Character Debuts

– Pam

– Kevin

Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes

– “Jerry, a throat-clear is a non-verbal implication of doubt – he thinks I killed Susan!” – George “Oh, help me, Rhonda.” – Jerry

– “Well, she’s Jerry’s girlfriend.” – Kramer “Ah, yes. Forbidden love.” – Newman “She works in a book shop. Her name is Pam.” – Kramer “Pam. I don’t know the woman, but she sounds quite fetching.” – Newman

– “She has delicate beauty.” – Kramer “Jerry wouldn’t know delicate beauty if it bludgeoned him over the head.” – Newman

– “It’s the life force. I saw a show on the mollusk last night. Elaine, the mollusk travels from Alaska to Chile just for a shot at another mollusk. You think you’re any better?” – Jerry “Yes! I think I am better than the mollusk!” – Elaine

– “Oh, she’s uh…she’s real. She can bring home the bacon and fry it in the pan.” – Kramer

– “She’s got really nice hair.” – Jerry “Oh, it’s incredible. Although, I might replace her tortoise clip with one of those velvet scrunchies. I love those.” – Kramer “You’ve got really specific tastes.” – Jerry

– ” Don’t despair, my friend. I won’t allow your love to go unrequited. Not like mine.” – Newman “What, again with you?” – Kramer “Sorry. But love is spice with many tastes. A dizzying array of textures…and moments.” – Newman

– “Elaine, a guy’ll say anything to get a woman.” – Jerry “Oh, please. He wouldn’t say that.” – Elaine “Elaine, I once told a woman that I coined the phrase, “Pardon my French.”” – George “I once told a woman that I don’t eat cake ’cause it goes right to my thighs.” – Jerry “I once told a woman that I really enjoy spending time with my family.” – George

– “Her bouquet cleaved his hardened…” – Kramer “Shell.” – Newman “…shell. And fondled his muscled heart. He embibed her glistening spell…just before the other shoe…fell.” – Kramer “Kramer, that is so lovely.” – Pam “It’s by an unknown 20th-century poet.” – Kramer “Oh, what’s his name?” – Pam “Newman.” – Kramer

– “Oh, yeah. Like last summer. I’m watchin’ TV and I saw one of those jet-skis. $4000 later and it’s sitting in my garage.” – Kevin

– “I’m gonna keep on investigating. This thing is like an onion. The more layers you peel, the more it stinks.” – George

– “There are some people in this room who would have been very happy to never see this briefcase again. There are people in this room who think they can destroy other people’s property and get away with it. Well, let me tell you something about those people. They weren’t counting on this brain! And this tape recorder.” – George “George…” – Wyck “You’ll have your turn! The truth must be heard. That’s all there was. And yet, it speaks volumes. A low rumple. A metallic ‘squink.’ A ‘glonk.’ Someone crying out…”Dear God!” Let’s start with, uh…with you, Wyck.” – George “George, Quinn here was moving a chair…he lost his balance and dropped it…it must have fallen on your briefcase, which, for some reason, contained a running tape recorder?” – Wyck “Alright, then. We’ve gotten to the bottom of that.” – George

Oddities & Fun Facts

– Elaine and Carol discuss Ugly Baby Adam, last scene in The Hamptons (S5, E20)

Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)

JT: Another fine episode here but nothing to really get overexcited about. There were a few genuine laughs throughout but they really seemed to fully get in sync as it chugged along. The Pam stuff felt totally unresolved too. I did like all the George murdering Susan suspicion and the final scene was a nice payoff. I am ready to move into some fresh stuff with George now. Newman was great as always but I thought this was a rare Elaine misfire and Kevin is a whim douche. Hopefully things pick up soon. Final Grade: 6/10

Aaron: I’m so conflicted about this one. On one hand there are a lot of little funny moments. On the other the whole thing felt like a bit of a jumbled mess. Seinfeld works best when the absurd moments connect with tight, overlapping storytelling. I felt like I was watching a great comedian go all over the place with his set. When the only connecting plot points are people coughing you know they’re stretching to tie these things together. If this is what Seinfeld looks like after Larry David then I think there’s more disappointment in store for me. And all of Mankind. Final Grade: 5/10

Andrew: I’ve been comparing these episodes to my memory of them often recently, so it feels strange to say that I barely remember this one. Unfortunately, that didn’t lead to feeling like I was watching a brand new episode, but lead to a feeling that I was watching a very forgettable one. There were funny moments here, and I have nothing major to complain about, but this was not one of my favorites. Final Grade: 5/10

Jordan: This was a not so funny episode that had some funny parts in it. You can probably tell in my review as I have little to say in both the positve and the negative – it’s just standard with nothing to write home about. The positive is the foundation stuff with George is already paying off and providing some good moments. Everything else though? Not so great. Final Grade: 4/10

Jason: This one was fine. Again, the Cyrano De Bergerac overtone with Kramer and Newman was the show stealer for me. Nice to see Carol pop up again. Kramer having a thing for a woman who works in a bookstore/library was a nice throwback to The Library. Overall, this could have been called, The Foundation Part 2. A step down from last week, but it has its moments. Final Grade: 6/10