Seinfeld: The PTBN Series Rewatch – “The Stall” (S5, E12)

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 really liked George a lot in this one. Jerry was good too, with lots of top notch one liners. Elaine and Kramer? Strong as always. But…babe…step off. Tony is the only real choice this time around. Whether he is rocking his backwards cap, eating salmon sandwiches or reading Superman comics, he is the man we all wish to be. He is everything you want. He is everything you need. He is Tony. The mimbo’s mimbo.

Aaron: Kramer made me laugh the most but I’ll give it to shallow Elaine. Sure she tries to cover her inherent superficiality but at the end of the day her grilling of Tony following his horrific accident brings forth her true mean colors. Not that we should be surprised the way she belittled George for spreading his wings and trying rock climbing. Her vendetta with Jane was great but her realization that Tony’s accident meant that in a final irony she’d finally learn what love really is seals the deal for me. Her tearful delivery was sadly true and perfect.

Andrew: Man, everyone is so good that it almost seems unfair to choose just one, but I’ll go with George. He just brings so much pathos in the scene where Tony “dumps” him (“Me? Step off?”). And the rest is quality too, from denying his “crush”, to bickering with Kramer in the hallway, to the sandwiches. Good stuff.

Jordan: It’s a two person race between Kramer and Elaine. Kramer was blowing Jerry’s mind, and Elaine was shallow in her love for Tony. Both of them had nice storylines with Jerry’s girl…but I’ll give it to Elaine this time. The giddy look on her face as she left the bathroom with all the toilet paper was worth a win.

Jason: Tough choice here. George was fantastic with his man crush and Andre… I mean Kramer was great with the phone sex stuff.  But I got to go with hunky Tony. A pretty boy who lives on the edge and has great hair. He has my vote for #MCM.

Best Storyline

JT: The adventures of George and Tony take this one for me. Kramer’s sex hotline addiction and Elaine’s quest to find the stingy toilet paper hoarder were well executed, but the rock climbing scene is an all time classic. Also, George man crush on Tony was just really well done and not overacted at all.

Aaron: I really like George being Robin to Tony’s Batman. Who knew that Tony would end up being Jason Todd, only this time taken out by sandwiches.

Andrew: I’ll always be a sucker for a non-sexual male crush storyline. I think we’ve all been there, and anytime I find myself identifying with George to an uncomfortable degree, I’ve got to go with that storyline. Tony is perfect as the dumb extreme sports bro; it’s the role Dan Cortese was born to play.

Jordan: George’s deep love for Tony and his great desire to impress him. I liked him trying to get out of rock climbing because he had to get a boil lanced and volunteering to bring sandwiches. George really knows how to impress extreme sports athletes.

Jason: The spare a square stuff is fun, but George’s man crush on Tony is fantastic. Tony is everything that George isn’t and George loves being around such a cool guy.

Ethical Dilemma of the Week

JT: Did George really have any right to blame Kramer for Tony’s accident? No. George was in charge of the rope. He should have secured it all first before dipping into his pockets to show off his delicious sandwiches. Sure, Kramer glommed onto his man-date, but the K-Man did nothing wrong here, dude.

Aaron: Picture this: you’ve given in, you have to poop so badly that you’re willing to brave a public washroom, (a movie theatre no less!!) and when you finally top that bowl off (ew) a realization hits…. there are no squares. Now I know these things are usually more open ended but fuck companies that don’t keep their toilet paper rolls full. They should have an employee on staff whose sole job is to make sure that people aren’t forced to use their hands or humiliatingly slide under to the next stall to provide themselves with basic human hygiene. No wonder people shit on the walls in these places.

Andrew: Is it different for men? Is there any reason a woman can’t date a guy solely for his looks? Absolutely not. Go get you some, ladies.

Jordan: Now listen, I will fully agree with Elaine that Jane was awful. To horde all the toilet paper like it was gold is rotten…but! On the rare occasions I use a public toilet for dumping issues, the first thing I do (after holding my breath) is make sure there’s toilet paper. Ultimately, Elaine has no one to blame but herself.

Jason: Sparing a square. Who the hell does Jane think she is? This is a tough spot to be in. Asking a stranger in the stall next to you for some toilet paper is an uncomfortable situation, but Jane is a selfish rotten human being for not helping Elaine out.

Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)

JT: Jane is whatever. Erika is whatever. Tony? Tony is where it is at. He and Elaine is never going to last, but he and George? There is a real dominatrix vibe in the air there. Within weeks, Tony would forgive George, but make him do some errands and clean his apartment. Then, Kramer comes by and as he and Tony head to the bowling alley for a night out, George is left behind to wash dishes and wonder what could have been on that mountain if things had just gone according to plan. Relationship Grade: Babe/Dude

Aaron: Kramer was right, George was in love with Tony. He cared so much about feeding the man that he let him fall to his near death. THAT”S LOVE BAY BAY! Relationship Grade: 10/10

Andrew: Jerry definitely dodged a bullet with Jane. She’s not hard on the eyes, but that woman is clearly unstable. Tony, on the other hand, is great. He clearly makes Elaine happy, and makes George even happier. It’s a shame it couldn’t work out for those three. Relationship Grade: Step Off/10

Jordan: Most classic sitcom relationships start with some flirting and goes from there. The love blossoms naturally over time. But this? This was pure, filthy sex. Andre and Erika are the XXX version of Ross and Rachel. The smutty Sam and Diane. The lustful Lucy and Ricky. We needed a spinoff for it. Relationship Grade: What about the driver?/10

Jason: Tony is everything that Elaine can want in a man. She deserves someone like him after the losing streak she’s been on lately.George’s man crush on Tony is something special. Jane is worthless for Jerry with the exception of finally getting a massage. What a non-square sharing bitch. Relationship Grade: FLINTY/10

What Worked:

JT: Tony is immaculate immediately, babe; Jerry’s trolling of Tony to Elaine always makes me chuckle, as does his reaction when Elaine first tells the stall story; Andre’s sexcapade is top notch; George’s infatuation with Tony is so enjoyable, especially when he swings his hat around at the diner; Kramer being cool enough to slip right in with Tony makes all the sense in the world; Kramer and George on the mountain is an iconic visual; Tony falling is a great swerve, because you expect it but not totally; Jerry shoveling the gum in Jane’s mouth was great on the fly thinking; Jerry asking George if Tony liked the sandwiches after Elaine runs off always cracks me up; The massage callback was great; Kramer meeting Jane was amazing, really well done; The closing stretch with everything coming together was a hell of a finish, between Elaine’s revenge and Jane’s final whisper to Kramer, just great storytelling; Elaine’s shit-eating grin when she storms out of the bathroom with the rolls of toilet paper was fantastic

Aaron: George brings Tony the DEATH OF SUPERMAN comic. I was told that was worth a lot of money. I still have two in bags! I want that damn funeral poster but I’m scared to open it because my dad will yell at me. I’m 35 years old!!! Kramer was his usual great self and his revelation that George loved Tony was only topped by his revelation that Jane was the phone sex worker. “Am I? Or am I so sane that I just blew your mind?” would fall to pieces in a lesser actors’ hands. The fact that he builds and expands on it is beautiful. Jerry’s call back to the masseuse not massaging him was pretty great. I love George and Kramer arguing on the other side of Jerry’s door in voices clearly loud enough to be heard. All the toilet paper stuff is super well written with intelligent callbacks using napkins and intercoms. The physical stuff on the mountain was great too. My favorite line of the entire episode though is Tony wondering aloud, “If I jumped off that balcony would I get hurt.” I think every single one of us who has played a video game (especially Assassin’s Creed) can relate to seeing an obstacle, building or series of cars and thought, “I could climb that.”

Andrew: Dan Cortese was great. “Think if I jumped off that balcony I’d get hurt?” Elaine was excellent as well, especially when she’s just kicking back and openly laughing at George. She’s still destroying him with the one-liners, too: “You need a boost to climb into your bed!” And her revenge on Jane was well-executed, to boot. Kramer was on fire during his rant: “Is it so possible, your head is spinning like a top?” Jerry’s gum ploy to disguise Jane’s voice was surprisingly effective, and I enjoyed him blowing off Elaine’s emotional appeal in the diner. Really, everyone was great.

Jordan: Obviously the spare a square bit was great, but I like Elaine just dating a man purely for looks. It lays the groundwork that Elaine only cares about the physical, which gives us a more memorable relationship with her down the road. Kramer was awesome throughout, from telling George he loved Tony to using Jerry’s phone AND bedroom for phone sex. George turning his hat around because Tony did was awesome, and I liked the mountain climbing stuff. Kramer leaping around the mountain and climbing on George while George is terrified is a perfect summary of the two characters. I liked Elaine getting her revenge on Jane, and the line at the end telling Kramer not to call her either was a nice finish. And of course, Jerry calling back to dating a masseuse by saying he’s been waiting a while for this as he gets his shoulders rubbed.

Jason: Whoever is responsible for casting Dan Cortese as Tony is a genius! George staring at Tony at Monk’s never gets old. When he turns his hat around like Tony’s I had tears from laughing so hard. Kramer calling out George for being in love with Tony. Kramer’s rock climbing outfit is amazing. The spandex with the yellow tank top and sunscreen on his nose is a big win. Kramer asking about the driver when Jane suggests splitting a cab gets a big laugh. Kramer yodeling while rock climbing. Jerry imitating Tony is another big laugh. The term “mimbo” might be the best overall thing that came out of this episode. George being heart broken when Tony tells him to step off after the accident. Kramer trying to convince Jerry that Jane is Erika is another win. Jerry shoving gum into Jane’s mouth so that Elaine won’t recognize her voice.

What Didn’t Work

JT: I love Tony even if he is everything annoying about the adrenaline rush extreme sports junkies of the early 90s; Jane is really selfish across the board; How did Kramer and George contact help in this pre-cell phone era?

Aaron: As much as I dug the mountain scene cutting to a commercial with Kramer and George screaming for help felt a bit too sitcomy for my tastes. Also, how did they get down?

Andrew: Is the implication that Jane is Erica, and was going to meet Kramer/Andre at the diner, but saw Jerry and immediately switched gears? If so, that is frighteningly devious. But I do wish it was more clear either way.

Jordan: Elaine’s socks. Come on, lady. How did George and Kramer get off the mountain?

Jason: Elaine’s shoes with the white socks. A major warbrobe fail from Laney. I’d tell Kramer to use his own phone for phone sex.

Key Character Debuts


Tony the Mimbo

Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes

– “Three squares? you can’t spare three squares??” – Elaine “No I don’t have a square to spare, I can’t spare a square” – Jane “Oh is it two-ply? cause it it’s two-ply I’ll take one ply, one ply, one, one puny little ply, I’ll take one measly ply!” – Elaine “Look, I don’t have a square and I don’t have a ply!” – Jane

– “Elaine, you cannot judge a person on a situation like that. I mean it’s like asking for someone’s canteen in the desert!” – Jerry

– “Hey Andre, get the hell off the phone!” – Jerry

– “Elaine, he’s a… he’s a male bimbo, he’s a mimbo” – Jerry “He’s not a mimbo, he’s an exciting, charismatic man and he just happened to have a perfect face…” – Elaine

– “Bowling! what do you see bowling? Bowling’s insane! Bowling is crazy time!” – George “Bowling? I don’t think so George you get no rush from bowling!” – Tony “Rush? you want a rush? drop a bowl on your toe my friend, talk about a rush, you’d be throbbing, you’d see visions!” – George

– “Cool, so what do you say we climb a rock manana?” – Tony “Huh.. maana? huh maana might…huh mnaana might be a problem, I’m supposed to have huh a boil lanced manana. Huh you know I think they charge me if I cancel with only one manana’s notice,” – George

– “Hey, hey Kramer my man, what are you doing mañana?” – Tony  “Mañana, I’m doing nada.” – Kramer “What do you say you scale some rock with me and George?” – Tony “Huh Tony? there’s not gonna be too many sandwiches…” – George

– “Rock climbing? hehe.. where do you come off going rock climbing…rock climbing? you need a boost to climb into your bed!” – Elaine

– “You know I think you’re in love with him…” – Kramer “What?.. that’s ridiculous!” – George “No no no, I don’t think so. You love him.” – Kramer “You better be careful on those rocks tomorrow buddy. And you’re not getting any sandwiches either!” – George

– “Well that voice, it’s very familiar…throaty, almost flinty…” – Kramer

– “Yeah I got some sandwiches.. I got tuna.. and salmon salad Tony because I know you don’t like peanut butter!” – George

– “Kramer was supposed to tie a knot…” – George “Whoa ginga, you were supposed to tie the knot…” – Kramer “Did something happen?” – Elaine “Tony.. took a bit of a tumble…” – George “His face, did something happen to his face?” – Jerry “ell it all depends on what you mean by…happen…” – Kramer

– “I just wanted to talk to Tony for a minute…” – George “Step off George, I don’t wanna see you!” – Tony “Me? Step off?” – George “Yeah, Tony says you better step off George…” – Elaine “But..why, it wasn’t my fault, I .. you asked me a sandwich, I .. I make such delicious sandwiches Elaine…” – George “Just beat it dude!” – Tony “Here here, Superman please, next time it will only be the two of us…” – George “There won’t be any next time George!” – Tony “Oh Tony don’t…” – George “Ok step off George, can you just step off?” – Elaine

– “Jerry, that voice is tattooed on my brain, I’m telling you it’s her!” – Kramer “Oh you’re crazy…” – Jerry “Am I? or am I so sane that you just blew your mind?” – Kramer “It’s impossible…” – Jerry “Is it? or is it so possible your heard is spinning like a top?” – Kramer “It can’t be!” – Jerry “Can’t it? or is your entire world just crashing down all around you?” – Kramer

Oddities & Fun Facts

– Jane is portrayed by actress Jami Gertz

– Tony is portrayed by actor Dan Cortese

– Kramer wants to call a 976 number, which indicates a toll based phone sex line

– “I don’t have a square to spare” becomes a pop culture catchphrase

Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)

JT: I always remembered liking this episode, but I went in assuming it would be solid, but not overwhelmingly great. I was wrong. I laughed the whole way through. There was tons of great one liners and memorable moments, including “square to spare” catchphrase, and the big payoff at the end was brilliantly done, especially with Jane’s double back to reveal she was indeed Erika. Plus, Kramer’s whole spiel to Jerry when he pieces the puzzle together is one of my favorite K-Man rants. George’s crush was tremendous too and I just adore Tony as well. Great episode with lots of praise to spare. Final Grade: 8/10

Aaron: Really fun episode with some tight writing and solid performances all around. Mean Jerry, mean Elaine, pathetic George and Kramer are all in their best roles and that usually means a great episode. If this had had a dose of Frank and Elaine it may stand as an all-timer, as it is it’s very, very good. Final Grade: 8/10

Andrew: That was good stuff. There are a lot of bits from this episode that have stuck in my memory, particularly the “spare a square” stuff, and the “mimbo”. But I don’t think I ever fully appreciated how good an episode it was from start to finish. It never lags, and is funny throughout. I’m still grading it a notch below the best, but I have no complaints. Final Grade: 8/10

Jordan: This was pretty darn fun. Everyone had a nice story: Kramer and his phone sex, Elaine’s revenge against the mystery bathroom voice, George’s love of Tony, and Jerry trying to figure out if Jane was indeed Erika. George’s man crush was awesome, and I already mentioned it, but the look on Elaine’s face as she triumphantly runs out of the bathroom is so good. Final Grade: 8/10

Jason: Another solid episode here. Dan Cortese (Tony) was fabulous. One of the best single episode appearances from a guest star. The payoff at the end with Elaine taking all of the toilet paper out of the bathroom is great. Phone sex, mimbos, rock climbing and toilet paper. What more could you ask for in an episode?  Final Grade: 9/10