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: Jerry and Kenny. All day. Jerry was on point and I really think this may be one of his best performances to date. He was sharp, witty and alternated between being tortured and then zinging both Elaine and George whenever possible. And Bania? What a debut. The pest, while kind of right, just tortured Jerry over that damn suit. Calling to ask about cashing in on the dinner was a real baller move.
Aaron: Throughout the course of this rewatch, I think I’ve made my views on unreasonable people quite clear. The King of unreason though seems to be Kenny Bania. What starts as a wonderful gesture quickly descends into a pissing contest where gratitude and entitlement smash their smug faces into one another until their rotted husks lay smoking by a bay of inequity.
Andrew: I liked Jerry the most. He’s really nailing the exasperated-with-everyone-around-him routine. Whether he’s ignoring George to contemplate an omelet or comparing Elaine to his Aunt Sylvia, his responses to everyone else’s nonsense really add a lot. I’m enjoying his performance a lot more on the rewatch than I would have guessed.
Jordan: Kenny Bania, Jerry! He just wants his meal. He really nails the annoying character perfectly, in that you get the characters’ reason for hating him, but you also like to laugh at him. Too often, annoying characters are actually annoying to the viewers. Kenny hits a home run.
Jason: From the second he showed up until he went fleeing after Simon at the end, Kenny Bania was a force of nature. What an enjoyable debut from this obnoxious piece of work.
JT: Easily, Bania’s suit. It was a brilliantly unique storyline that was both relatable and absurd at the same time. Bania was so brazen and you could argue both were completely in the right. The main question is whether or not Bania is aware of how fucking crazy he is.
Aaron: Bania and Jerry’s war on attrition. I’m unsure if I’m using that phrase correctly but you guys know what I’m talking about.
Andrew: I love the meal storyline. Any plot that digs into frustration of social obligations is a winner for me. The story does a good job of exploring the whole idea of owing someone a meal. How much does just going out and sitting down with someone count for? Isn’t that experience the whole objective, to the point that it shouldn’t really matter what you order? All these years later, I still spend a lot of time thinking about this one.
Jordan: Kenny’s quest for a meal dominates this one. I love him springing the soup on Jerry and claiming he isn’t hungry. It’s a bold move bordering on full douche. Jerry then turning the tables by insisting his tuna sandwich is the meal is a nice response to Bania’s initial surprise attack. Everything in between just clicks with these two, and I can’t wait to see more Bania. HE’S HUGE!
Jason: Without a doubt, everything with Jerry and Kenny dominated here. Kenny weaseling his way into getting a meal from Jerry for the suit was so well done. Both characters delivered big time with excellent lines all throughout. All topped off with the payoff that had Jerry giving the suit to Simon to get Kenny off his ass about the meal.
Ethical Dilemma of the Week
JT: I feel like Hildy should have brought her own food over to Kramer’s house. I mean, she clearly visited multiple times. She knows he doesn’t have a fridge. If you are a dominant eater that needs to graze constantly, be prepared. Poor K-Man is just trying to be healthy.
Aaron: If violence was still permitted in our modern society would Bania and Simon still be alive? Simon would probably be murdered instantly. Instantly. From the moment you meet him everything about him screams Prick. He would be smashed, DDT’d and underneath a snake within minutes. Bania on the other hand walks a fine line between a welcome Santa Claus and a despised Steve Urkel-like intruder. You want what he has but are completely unwilling to pay the price to get it. Best to just take the baseball bat to his head and be done with it. Wait what’s this one about again?
Andrew: Is it OK to “save the meal for another time”? No, that’s messed up. Bania was already on thin ice by choosing the date and time himself, and now he’s decided to just have soup? Who is this guy?
Jordan: The soup as a meal debate rages on, but I’m going with this: Did Kenny have the right to demand the suit back because Jerry wasn’t grateful enough, or didn’t provide the proper food in thanks? I feel like we covered this issue in “The Cigar Store Indian” but let’s revisit it. Once you have given something away, can you demand it back? No, that makes you a…term I am unfamiliar with.
Jason: Is soup a meal? I say yes! The second you order something in a restaurant and someone else is paying for your meal, it doesn’t matter what it is, it’s a meal.
Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)
JT: Kelly was next level. George never stood a chance. She was a pro and he was a novice, a lamb led straight to slaughter. Relationship Grade: Horseshit/10
Aaron:Olivia clearly has many suitors to chose from but who really is best? Does she go with Orsino, the Duke of Illyria? Perhaps she should go with the very pretty little Cesario. My solid money though is on the head of her household Malvolio. He’s stern, loyal and looks great in a pair of yellow tights. Relationship Grade: 12th/10
Andrew: George screwed up what seemed like a great chance with Kelly; maybe he was overconfident because of the day date. Simon sucks, which is obviously the point, but it’s not helping the relationship score. Kramer and Hildy, on the other hand, have real some passion; any relationship that gets someone fired is a memorable one. Relationship Grade: One of those bounders/10
Jordan: Kelly really threw ol’ Georgie boy for a loop. Of course, the big question is did she have a boyfriend or not? I have to assume she did. She was nice looking, had a good personality, and was striving to be successful in life. People like that don’t stay available for long. TRUST ME, I AM ONE. But I have to hand it to her, she went to great lengths to make George a happy customer. Anything for those precious tip dollars. Relationship Grade: 20%/10
Jason: Kelly was playing George all along. She knew how to play the flirty waitress game in order to get good tips and returning customers. Kramer’s fear of Hildy when she’s hungry was quite enjoyable. Simon and Laney were doomed from the second he landed in the states. He ranks towards the bottom of Elaine’s boy toys. What a pile of British crap. Relationship Grade: Swordfish/10
JT: Kelly may be the best flirter we have seen so far; I enjoy George not knowing Elaine was in England; Kenny. Bania.; Those Monk’s sandwiches looked damn tasty; Jerry’s “she’s not putting them on the glass” line was fantastic; I love that Bania refers to himself as KB; Bania’s everything when he delivers the suit is top notch; Kelly is a fucking pro, working in the boyfriend line like a champ; Jerry dissecting George’s date foibles was a good scene; Mendy’s!; Kenny calling Jerry to ask about the dinner is so great, as is their first dinner date and Bania’s soup ordering; Jerry getting the salmon to avoid ever agreeing with Bania in any way; Jerry and Elaine breaking down the meal is what Seinfeld is all about; George and Jerry sliding in the booth to block Bania; Jerry’s growing frustration in his war with Bania was well executed on the phone; Hildy is a brilliantly casted hoss; The callback to the big salad is awesome; The scene in Reggie’s is so relatable, the torture you suffer outside of your favorite restaurant; George instantly picking up the phone when Kramer gives him the idea of how to get Kelly fired
Aaron: I love that Jerry immediately sees the consequence of taking the suit from Bania. Elaine has two great little moments: the first is how she over pronounces PITT when she’s reminding George where she was for the last five days. The other is her absolute conviction when she declares Simon to be “one of those bounders.” They’re both small moments but great little snapshots of how great an actress she is. Poor starving Kramer is also consistently entertaining. One last little thing: I love how we get a scene where Jerry counsels George for his problems juxtaposed with Elaine helping out Jerry with his. They both take the time to break down very mundane social situations and is a great little capsule of what the show is all about.
Andrew: Jerry’s omelet obsession … Kenny Bania is instantly perfect at being annoying … “Yeah, I’m huge” … Jerry with a Sir Mix-a-Lot reference: “She’s not gonna put them on the glass” … Calling an audible is a good dating metaphor, and Jerry shooting down George’s “manure” bit is pretty great … Jerry taking a hard line on the meal … Hilde demanding food … The Big Salad callback … Jerry and George’s wordless plan to get Kelly fired, and the plan backfiring … “One of those bounders”.
Jordan: For starters, Bania debuts with a big home run. I’ve hyped him enough, so let’s talk about the other great guest here: Kelly! Wish she became a regular that just toyed with George’s emotions, flirting with him, but never actually being interested in him. She really nailed every scene she was in. George’s manure talk while on a date is great, and him stepping in it as he finds out she has a boyfriend is a nice touch. Jerry being completely unaffected by everyone else’s plights is nothing new, but he really stepped it up a notch. I liked him completely ignoring George’s complaints as he laments not getting an omelet. The debate about what constitutes a dinner with Elaine and Jerry was a perfect Seinfeld scene, with Elaine citing several soups that would qualify, then raising the issue of cracker usage. I really enjoyed the gang going to Reggie’s and totally hating everything about it. Kramer’s decision to go without a refrigerator was an underrated storyline that didn’t go too far. I loved Elaine’s increasing hatred for Simon throughout the episode and the ending with Bania chasing him down for his suit worked well.
Jason: Kenny’s I’M HUGE line. Jerry’s line about Kelly not putting them on the glass, when he talks George into asking Kelly out. Kramer getting rid of his refrigerator after getting kidney stones. Elaine and Simon’s “What” vs “Pardon” exchange worked well as it was the beginning of their downfall. Jerry’s suggestion that Kelly called an audible after she didn’t like what George brought to the line of scrimmage. Everything at Reggie’s was fantastic; no egg white omelettes, big salads or decaf. Kenny suggesting the swordfish to Jerry and Jerry getting the salmon instead. Kenny eating a hot dog before he and Jerry got to Mendy’s. STOCK UP, BUDDY BOY! Kenny’s constant guilt trips he feeds Jerry about what an actual meal is. Jerry and Elaine’s toast to each other after they get rid of Simon and Kenny. George eating alone at Reggie’s to close the episode.
What Didn’t Work
JT: Simon is a prick, a very unlikeable limey prick
Aaron: I’m always loathed the MA NEWER bit. Loathed. As a consequence I’m not really a fan of the entire George odyssey.
Andrew: Is Elaine wearing crucifix earrings? Seems like that causes some continuity issues for the Jesus Fish episode.
Jordan: I am not a Hildy fan at all. I liked the original idea of Kramer dumping his fridge, but the payoff of getting a girlfriend who really wants food was lame. I was hoping he started growing his own food in the apartment or something.
Jason: If Kramer got Hildy fired from Reggie’s for calling up there too many times, why does she continue to date him? Funny how Hildy and Kelly know each other, although they work at different places. Do all waitresses know each other?
Key Character Debuts
Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes
– “Great. I’ve been working out. Went from a size 40, to a 42.” – Kenny “No kidding.” – Jerry “Yeah, I’m huge.” – Kenny
– “Well, go in there and talk to her. She’s not going to put them on glass.” – Jerry
– “Well after that Kidney Stone I only want fresh food. It’s gotta be fresh. I’m not eating any more stored food. Plus you know I want the space.” – Kramer “Well, what for?” – Jerry “Well I could put a, dresser in there. I could get dressed while I’m making breakfast.” – Kramer
– “Yeah, that’s a deal. That’s a horrible deal. I don’t want to go out to dinner with him. I’d rather make my own suit.” – Jerry
– “I love the day date. No wine, No shower.” – Jerry
– “Oh. It’s just horse manure. Horse manure’s not that bad. I don’t even mind the word “manure.” You know, it’s, it’s “nure,” which is good. and a “ma” in front of it. MA-NURE. When you consider the other choices, “manure” is actually pretty refreshing.” – George
– “You know there is always the possibility, that she called an audible.” – Jerry “What do you mean?” – George “Well she got up to the line of scrimmage, didn’t like the looks of the defense and changed the play.” – Jerry
– “Ahh, no, no, no. You got me all wrong buddy. I am loving this no refrigerator. You know what I discovered? I really like depriving myself of things. It’s fun. Very monastic.” – Kramer “Well what do you eat?” – George “It’s all fresh. Fresh fish, fresh foul, fresh fruit. I buy it, I omniga nominga, I eat it.” – Kramer
– “You know, I was thinking if you’re not busy, maybe I could get my meal today?” – Kenny
– “You work out with weights?” – Kenny “No I don’t.” – Jerry “You should.” – Kenny “Why?” – Bania
– “Well, that’s not really a meal Jerry. I mean if he had gotten Chicken Gumbo, or Matzah Ball, or Mushroom Barley. Then I would agree with you. Those are very hardy soups.” – Elaine
– “You worn the suit yet?” – Kenny “Actually, I did. I put it on last night and slept in it.” – Jerry
– “Hello? No, I’m sorry Bania … I’m not going over this again. Well who told you to order soup? … No! There’s no dinner. There’s not going to be any dinner. You’ve had a sandwich and 2 bowls of soup and that’s it. Good-bye.” – Jerry
– “It’s not for me. It’s for Hildy — the waitress I was telling you about. She’s hungry, she wants food. If I go back in there without any food … there’s gonna be trouble.” – Kramer
– “There’s no “Big Salad.”” – Elaine “They’ll make you a “Big Salad.” What do you think, they’re the only one’s that make a “Big Salad”?” – George
– “So what! Have a yoke. It won’t kill you.” – George
– “HEY! Yeah. I got a message for you. You tell your friend George, that the next time I see him around here, I’m going to turn him into my Own, Personal, Hand-Puppet.” – Manager
Oddities & Fun Facts
– Reggie’s diner is the same set as the diner Jerry and Elaine visited in “The Bubble Boy” (S4, E7)
Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)
JT: This episode has always held a special place in my heart. I first discovered Seinfeld late in season six and immediately began taping the episodes. This is one of the first I recorded during the summer reruns and thus was in a prominent slot on “Seinfeld 1”. So I have seen it many, many times. Objectively, it certainly is missing a little something to kick up to a top box grade. It was really good though and the dance between Kenny and Jerry was phenomenal. It was clear that Bania needed to be a recurring visitor to our fantastic world. The other stories were good enough even though nothing really popped. But they all just existed as window dressing for the deadlifting, suit gifting, meal grifting son of a bitch Kenny Bania. What a guy. Final Grade: 7/10
Aaron: This one was pretty good. Far from the best but far from the worst. It’s memorable for Banya, and he’s great, but the rest falls a little flat for me. Still a very decent way to spend a half hour. Final Grade: 7/10
Andrew: Jerry owing Bania “a meal”, and the subsequent negotiations over what that means, will always be one of my favorite storylines. It’s just a simple, unique, and brilliant idea. The rest of the episode is solid, but the soup stuff takes it to another level for me. Final Grade: 8/10
Jordan: This one moves pretty quick and is a lot of fun. I would like to have seen Mr. Pitt and Elaine in England more than Simon in the US, though. I also thought Kramer’s story was a dud with Hildy. To contrast those misses, we had the great dinner debate and George’s quest to get Kelly fired. This feels like a solid 7 for me, but…BANIA! HE’S HUGE! Final Grade: 8/10
Jason: This was pure domination for Jerry and Kenny for twenty-three minutes. I wasn’t a big fan of the subplots involving Elaine & Simon and George & Kelly, but in the end it all tied together and the result made for another above average showing in this season. Final Grade: 7/10