Seinfeld: The PTBN Series Rewatch – “The Switch” (S6, E11)

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: George is my choice this time around. He had lots of irons in the fire, with his bursting into the women’s room and helping Jerry plot the switch and discovering Kramer’s name, it all clicked. And his absolute peak was freaking out when he found out the results of Jerry’s experiment. IT’S LIKE DISCOVERING PLUTONIUM… BY ACCIDENT!

Aaron: While I may not be on my knees thanking god that I have access to his dementia, I’m going with George here. His conspiracy laced face as he attempts to conquer the switch is as inspired as his absolute freak out when Jerry turns down the orgy. Also no one sells an ‘AH HA!” quite like Mr. Costanza.

Andrew: I thought George would be the obvious winner here, but I wasn’t crazy about his bulimia subplot, so I’ll go with Jerry. He’s on par with George during the planning scenes, and I’ve always liked his “orgy guy” speech. I may not agree with his decision, but he makes a compelling case.

Jordan: George. Once again, he has a woman way out of his league that he finds issue with. But that’s not why he gets this one – George is the mind behind the near foolproof switch plan. It was all his idea. You could say…he’s the architect.

Jason: Lots of choices here. Jerry delivered big time, especially with his orgy rant, but I have to go with George. His dedication in helping Jerry pull off the roommate switch and obsession with finding out if Nina was bulimic were terrific. He’s paying for those meals, damn it!

Best Storyline

JT: The roommate switch. The plotting scenes were so good and the music was the cherry on top. I also love how it all played out. If only Jerry wasn’t so soft and just banged the two chicks and called it a day.

Aaron: The actual switch gave us no less than two montages which admittedly is about three short of Rocky 4, but keep in mind that this isn’t being written by the laziest writer in the world.

Andrew: The Switch is such a great storyline. I love the way it parallels an art heist movie: the objective so audacious that George can’t resist, the plotting scenes set to dramatic music, the unforeseen complication that threatens the entire plan. It’s brilliant. The fact that the storyline pivots into a “could you participate in a threesome” referendum only makes me like it more.

Jordan: It’s the switch. Jerry has a true dilemma, and he foolishly goes to George. The planning stage was fun, the portrayal of it was good and the final twist where both girls were into it was awesome.

Jason: Ladies and gentleman, we have a tie! The revealing of Kramer’s first name and the roommate switch. Both are iconic plots and both hold up just as good 20 years later.

Ethical Dilemma of the Week

JT: Does having one threesome make you an orgy guy? Jerome’s insight on this one is weird. He isn’t filming a gang bang. It is a romantic evening with two lovely ladies that both happen to want to screw him. How do you turn that down Jerry? You are single, live a little!

Aaron: How do we feel about people who say “that’s funny” rather than laugh? Is this acceptable human behavior or are they the scum of the earth? I’ve got to believe there’s some sort of middle ground I’m missing here but let’s say at worst they’re humorless bores and a best they are functioning robots. Question for you the reader: if they were robots would you sleep with them? Spoiler: I would.

Andrew: If presented with the opportunity for a threesome, are you obligated to go through with it, if only because it’s the default male fantasy? Nah. Honestly, I kind of admire Jerry for having the courage of his convictions. But are your friends allowed to be mad at you? Absolutely. You can’t deprive us of a vicarious thrill like that and expect to get off easy.

Jordan: Jerry’s girl being into the threeway is one thing, but the roommate being game is odd. She has met Jerry, what, one time? This is the 90s and we are still in the HIV/AIDS scare, only a couple years removed from Magic Johnson. If it can happen to Earvin, it can happen to you. Don’t sleep with relative strangers.

Jason: Should you dump someone because they don’t laugh? YOU DAMN BET YOU DO!

Relationship Scale (Scale 1-10)

JT: HE TURNED DOWN A THREESOME. Relationship Grade: Lame/10

Aaron: Sandy sucks, the roommate is hot and the bulimic model is somewhat disturbing. Let’s get back to sex with robots. Relationship Grade: C3PO, R2D2, BB8 = Threesome

Andrew: I can totally see why dating a girl who never laughs would be unsatisfying. But Sandy seems open to some pretty adventurous stuff; it’s probably worth riding that relationship out a little longer. The Babs/Newman pairing, on the other hand, is an abomination. Relationship Grade: You’ll never get into trouble that way/10

Jordan: Babs and Newman are getting hot and heavy. I wonder if Newman wrote about it for Penthouse Forum, only to be read later by Kramer. “I ran into my friends mom on the street. I offered her a smoke…” What would their couple name be? Relationship Grade: Newbs/10

Jason: Jerry and Sandy were doomed from the get go. He makes people laugh for a living and she no sells all over his jokes. Laura is everything that Sandy isn’t. Nina is way above George’s league. Relationship Grade: Glitteratti/10

What Worked:

JT: I love Elaine’s dig about not getting the job when talking to Landis; Jerry mentioning Newman’s tennis skills are a great random throwaway line; Kramer plants the seeds to destroy yet another George relationship; Having Jerry date a non-laugher is a funny angle; I love that George is more concerned about his meals being wasted than his girlfriend being bulimic; Kramer’s reaction when revealing Babs’ occupation is fantastic; Just take the racket Laney!; The Cosmo reveal is so awesome and random and George’s reaction is amazing; The follow up scene in the apartment where George spills the beans and Kramer walks in followed by the gang exploding and George doing a spit take is top notch; Laura is way hotter than Sandy, I can’t blame Jerry for trying the switch; All of the switch planning scenes are some of my all time favorites, including the long explanation of the plan and especially the caper saxophone music in the background; I love when they come back from commercial and they have ordered a pizza and Jerry just starts into the “menage-a-tois” line; The twist with Sandy being into the threesome was great; Kramer & Babs strutting down the street; Newman seducing Babs with the sax music blaring over it; George flipping out about the threesome was tremendous; The throwaway line about Newman vacationing in Baltimore made me chuckle; The final scene was a great close

Aaron: I always love when Kramer just casually breaks someone’s spirit. He flippantly drops that George’s girlfriend may be bulimic which sends George down a deep, deep rabbit hole. I LOVE that George finally sits opposite from someone who eats just like him. I mean she’s just shoveling food into her mouth. It’s disgusting. Just like him.

Andrew: The “Cosmo” reveal can’t have the same impact it did when it first aired, but a lot of it holds up really well, especially the rest of the crew being unable to control their laughter in front of Kramer. And Babs is pretty great, especially when angrily declaring she’s “been clean for two years!” Elaine gets a really solid plot; I can’t really find fault in any of her choices, which makes the injustice of it all that much funnier. And as I said, I love everything about The Switch.

Jordan: As mentioned, the switch is done really well with it being plotted out like a bank heist. It’s important that Laura is a much better choice than Sandy, and she is. Learning Kramer’s name is an iconic moment even though it’s not that funny. I enjoyed George spilling the beans and the reaction, followed by his spit take when it is said in front of Kramer. Elaine’s racket story isn’t the best, but its a perfectly fine subplot that keeps the episode moving along.

Jason: Newman being ‘fantastic’ at tennis. Ms. Landis telling Elaine she has grace on the tennis court. Jerry’s jokes bouncing off Sandy like Superman. George hearing a BLAAAH in the bathroom. George being pissed because he’s paying for those meals. Jerry asking why Mr. Pitt needs a $300 Bruline to beat Ethyl Kennedy. Babs’, “COSMO!”, followed by Kramer’s blank stare back at her. George’s, I got the first name…” Jerry and Elaine’s uncontrollable laughter after George drops Kramer’s first name on them. Kramer being proud of his first name; “What do you say, Cosmo?” “Hey, everything my man!” The discussion of if there were roommates in the middle ages. The montage of Jerry and George drinking coffee and wondering the streets coming up with the switch strategy with 1940’s movie music in the background; “I GOT IT!!!” George dipping his finger in peanut butter; “This is what I do.” The switch backfiring on Jerry; “That’s a wild idea.” Babs bumping into Newman on the street with the same 1940’s music in the background. SHE’S INTO IT! and “Oh, it’s a scene man.” Jerry’s rant about not being an orgy guy. George saying it’s like discovering Plutonium by accident. Newman and Babs making out, followed by Newman’s, “COSMO?” was the perfect payoff at the end.

What Didn’t Work

JT: Ms. Landis sucks; I hate the way Nina says “George”; Why would a model date George?; Ms. Landis’ assistant is a jackass as well, that whole office sucks; It was kind of shitty for Babs to quit her job the day of the big sting; Jerry has no reason to pass on the threesome except for just being an overthinking pussy

Aaron: I’m not a fan of George bursting into a room with Jerry and Elaine in it screaming “Well! I heard a noise!” as though he had spoken to them about it before when he had not. It’s also preposterous that Jerry not only refuses the threesome but is openly upset about the offer. Come on Jerry. Grow the mustache and get out there champ.

Andrew: Why does George care that his girlfriend might have bulimia? I get that it would be out of character for him to be concerned for her welfare, but I’m not crazy about it just being about his cheapness.

Jordan: Landis sucks. I wasn’t a big fan of the bulimia storyline, and the payoff was weak.

Jason: Ms. Landis is still a raging bitch. I’m glad she might not be able to play tennis again. Shouldn’t Cosmo have beat the shit out of Newman for making out with Babs?

Key Character Debuts

Babs Kramer

Iconic Moments, Running Themes & Memorable Quotes

– “Oh, Bruline. Newman’s got the same one.” – Jerry “Newman plays tennis?” – Elaine “He’s fantastic.” – Jerry

– “George, you’re becoming one of the gliterratti.” – Kramer “What’s that.” – George “Ya’ know, people who glitter. She’s a slim gal.” – Kramer

– “Yes, full. I love to be full … love to sit back, loosen the old belt and digest away for hours. Let those enzymes do their work.” – George

– “Elaine, of course I’m concerned. I’m payin’ for those meals. It’s like throwing money down the toilet.” – George “In a manner of speaking.” – Jerry “Let me digest it. Let me get my money’s worth. Y’know what would be good is if there was someone else in the bathroom that could tell me.” – George

– “Let me go. let me go. Because I haven’t talked to my mother in five years. We just don’t see eye to eye. I don’t even want to get into my childhood. I’m still carrying a lot of pain. A LOT of pain.” – Kramer

– We finally discover Kramer’s first name: Cosmo

– “He’s got a big match tomorrow with Ethyl Kennedy.” – Elaine “He needs a three hundred-dollar Bruline to beat Ethyl Kennedy?” – Jerry

– “Well you know all my life I’ve been running away from that name. That’s why I wouldn’t tell anybody. But I’ve been thinking about it. All this time I’m trying not to be me. I’m afraid to face who I was. But I’m Cosmo Jerry. I’m Cosmo Kramer. And that’s who I’m going to be. From now on that’s who I’m going to be. I’m Cosmo!” – Kramer

– “Well, if I hear you correctly–and I think that I do–my advice to you is to finish your meal, pay your check, leave here, and never mention this to anyone again.” – George

– “Do you realize in the entire history of western civilization no one has successfully accomplished the Roommate Switch? In the Middle Ages you could get locked up for even suggesting it!” – George “They didn’t have roommates in the Middle Ages.” – Jerry “Well, I’m sure at some point between the years 800 and 1200 –somewhere — there were two women living together.” – George

– “It’s a perfect plan. So inspired. So devious. Yet so simple.” – George

– “Oh, it’s a scene man.” – Jerry “Do you ever just get down on your knees and thank god that you know me and have access to my dementia?” – George “What are you talking about? I’m not goin’ to do it.” – Jerry “You’re not goin to do it? What do you mean, You’re not going to do it?” – George “I can’t. I’m not an orgy guy.” – Jerry “Are you crazy? This is like discovering Plutonium … by accident.” – George “Don’t you know what it means to become an orgy guy? It changes everything. I’d have to dress different. I’d have to act different. I’d have to grow a mustache and get all kinds of robes and lotions and I’d need a new bedspread and new curtains I’d have to get thick carpeting and weirdo lighting. I’d have to get new friends. I’d have to get orgy friends… Naw, I’m not ready for it.” – Jerry “If only something like that could happen to me.” – George “Oh, shut up you couldn’t do it either.” – Jerry “I know.” – George

Oddities & Fun Facts

– Newman is great at tennis

– Jerry makes another Superman reference

– Larry David provides one of the voices that says hello to Cosmo & Babs

Overall Grade (Scale 1-10)

JT: Our hot streak continues with another really fun episode. The big Cosmo reveal was earth shattering at the time and the scene still holds up today. All of the switch stuff was very good too. Elaine’s story was a bit soft, but we do get the visual of Mr. Pitt playing tennis with Ethyl Kennedy out of it. George was a force of nature here and despite the big time storyline with Cosmo, he just about carried this one on his back. I think it is a couple of steps back from the race but still holds up very well. Final Grade: 8/10

Aaron: The episode relied way too much on the reveal of Kramer’s name to my liking. Sure a few things were funny here and there but it felt very gimmicky as a whole. Like the writers settled on Cosmo then got lazy about the rest of the script this week. Maybe they COULD write a Rocky? I need to stop watching these so late. Final Grade: 5/10

Andrew: I didn’t like this one quite as much as I thought I would. I’ve never been a fan of the bulimia subplot, and revealing Kramer’s first name feels less impactful with the passing years. But The Switch storyline is an all-timer, and that makes up for a lot. Final Grade: 8/10

Jordan: This one almost feels like two episodes. The switch and the Cosmo name reveal are fun and iconic, but the bulimia and tennis racket stories range from average to bad. I’ll go 10 for the first two and 4 for the other two, then even it out for my grade.  Final Grade: 7/10

Jason: This episode included two of my favorite plots in the entire series. The roommate switch and finding out Kramer’s first name. Babs being a matron was a great way to tie in everything with the suspicion of Nina being bulimic. Although the subplot with Elaine, Landis and the tennis racket wasn’t really anything special, Cosmo and threesomes made this episode shine…BIG TIME! Final Grade: 10/10