Season 8 Episode 9

The Abstinence

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Nov 21, 1996 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
257 votes

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Episode Summary

George's girlfriend has mononucleosis and he can't have sex with her for six weeks. Elaine's met a doctor who's almost gotten his license to practice. Jerry agrees to appear at career day at his former junior high school, first he is bumped and then there is a fire drill. Kramer lights up a cigar in Monk's and is asked to leave. He meets others on the street who face his dilemma so he opens up his apartment as a smoking lounge. Jerry's agent gets him an assembly at the school. George's lack of sex makes his mind sharper. Elaine learns how much her doctor boyfriend doesn't know about medicine. She uses George's technique to help him study to get his license, but in the process she becomes an idiot. Jerry struggles to figure out how to fill two hours in front of a junior high crowd. George uses his new found intellect to give batting advice, speaks Portuguese and prepares a presentation for Jerry's assembly. Kramer sees his lawyer about a case against the tobacco company, smoking has destroyed his looks. He gets a settlement without Jackie's input. George calculates the odds of scoring with a Portuguese waitress. Elaine's boyfriend gets his license and leaves her sexless.moreless

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  • Great episode

    Very funny one of the best ever.
  • Wonderful Episode! George and Elaine stop having sex, Kramer opens a smoking lounge, and Jerry has career problems.

    This episode was full of great laughs. George has to stop having sex because the girl he is currently dating found out that she had mono. The next day while in Jerry’s apartment talking, he somehow knows all the answers to every question on Jeopardy. It ends up that he turns into sort of a genius. Elaine also has to quit but the no sex has a different result. Elaine turns into an idiot. It was really funny how smart that George ended up being and how stupid and easily entertained Elaine was.

    Meanwhile, Jerry gets bumped from career day for a guy with a lizard. When he is to come back the next day he doesn’t get to go on again because of a fire drill. This part was great. His agent (guest star Debra Jo Rupp) is appalled and gets him an assembly at the Jr. High. Jerry figures out that he will not have that much to talk about for two hours and since George is now a genius he could fill some time. He should have known better not to count on George because he had sex and returned to his regular dumb self. World of his sorry performance even got to Letterman who cancelled his performance.

    Also, after Kramer is kicked out to the café for smoking he discovers that he is not alone. He opens a smoker’s lounge in his apartment. The constant contact with smoke disfigures his face and teeth. He takes his case to Jackie Chiles. Kramer makes a fool out of Jackie as a lawyer once again when he settles to have his ‘rugged’ face on a billboard. What a fantastic disappointment that Kramer has turned into for Jackie, yet again. He always settles for something stupid.moreless
  • I loved this episode!

    No seriously, this episode was awesome. Kramer's story was my least favorite, but it was funny. His face is so horrid when he smokes, wow. I was like looking away from the TV when that happened. Jerry's story was funny when he gets bumped from a Junior High and then a fire drill and then the kids end up not liking him at all. George and Elaine's storys was the funniest. George doesn't get any s*x and gets really smart, that is so funny. It is also funnier when his girlfriend said that some screwed intern made the mistake of telling her she had mono, which is Elaine's boyfriend. Elaine becomes stupid when she doesn't get s*x. Ha! So, very nice episode.moreless
Debra Jo Rupp

Debra Jo Rupp


Guest Star

Brenda Strong

Brenda Strong

Sue Ellen

Guest Star

Bob Odenkirk

Bob Odenkirk


Guest Star

Lawrence Mandley

Lawrence Mandley

Larry the Cook

Recurring Role

Phil Morris

Phil Morris

Jackie Chiles

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (7)

    • While George is watching Jeopardy and arranging a Rubik's cube, you clearly see the cube being fully jumbled. A minute later, without moving his arms during the conversation, George tosses Jerry a completed Rubik's Cube, an obvious editing hole.

    • We learn in this episode that smoking isn't allowed at Monk's even though we see a full ashtray there in "The Boyfriend" and George smokes a cigar there in "The Stock Tip".

      Further Info: The New York City Anti-Smoking ordinance was submitted in 1995 and this episode aired the following year therefore you couldn't smoke at the coffee shop anymore. The owner states to Kramer that it's illegal.

    • When Jerry asks George if he never plans to have sex again, George answers "There was a pretty good chance I was never going to have sex again anyway." But the whole conversation started because in the previous scene, Louise implied that she was more than willing.

    • One of the Yankee players that George talks to asks if George was "the guy that put us in that Ramada in Milwaukee." The Milwaukee Brewers -- the only professional Milwaukee baseball team -- is a National League team. The Yankees are in the American League. Since interleague play began in June of 1997 (after this episode aired), the Brewers and the Yankees could only have met in the World Series. The last time a Milwaukee team faced the Yankees in the World Series was in 1958.

      The Milwaukee Brewers are indeed a National League team, but they were an American League team until November 1997. So if this episode aired in 1996, it would be perfectly feasible for the Yankees to play the Brewers.

    • When Kramer walks into Jerry's apartment after his and George's conversation about his intellect, the Rubik's cube is on the counter. When the scene cuts away, the cube has the colors orange and yellow facing the camera. When it cuts back, the white side is showing.

    • When George is explaining how Bernie Williams and Derek Jeter should bat for the Yankees, you can see a microphone come into the top of the frame.

    • When George orders lunch from the Portuguese waitress in Portuguese he orders Elaine an "Ensalade Grande". Which in any language is a "Big Salad", a reference back to that 6th season episode "The Big Salad".

      Actually, "A Big Salad" in Portuguese is "uma salada grande", but he does say ensalade.

  • QUOTES (13)

    • Jerry: (to George) So you're enjoying the not enjoying.

    • Ben: (to Elaine) I always knew that after I became a doctor, I would dump whoever I was with and find someone better. That's the dream of becoming a doctor.

    • Jerry: (at his old junior high) I'm getting bumped? You're bumping me from career day?

    • George: (who will have to abstain from sex) I can do six weeks standing on my head. I'm a sexual camel.

    • George: Who are you gonna eat to survive?
      Jerry: Kramer.
      George: So fast? What about me?
      Jerry: No.
      George: Kramer's so stringy. I'm plump, juicy.
      Jerry: Kramer's got more muscle, higher protein content. It's better for you.
      George: Well, I would eat you.
      Jerry: That's very nice, I guess.
      George: I still don't see why you wouldn't eat me. I'm your best friend.
      Jerry: Look, if other people are having some, I'll try you.
      George: Thank you.

    • Jerry: (to Elaine) To a woman, sex is like the garbage man. You just take for granted the fact that any time you put some trash out on the street, a guy in a jumpsuit's gonna come along and pick it up. But now, it's like a garbage strike. The bags are piling up in your head. The sidewalk is blocked. Nothing's getting through. You're stupid.

    • George: (Derek Jeter and Bernie Williams) Guys, hitting is not about muscle. It's simple physics. Calculate the velocity, v, in relation to the trajectory, t, in which g, gravity, of course remains a constant. It's not complicated.

    • Elaine: What is with all these books?
      George: I stopped having sex.

    • Kramer: My face is all craggly, it's crinkly!
      Jerry: It's from all that smoke. You've experienced a lifetime of smoking in seventy-two hours. What did you expect?
      Kramer: Emphysema, birth defects, cancer. But not this. Jerry, you know, my face is my livelihood. Everything I have I owe to this face. It's my allure, my twinkle.
      Jerry: And your teeth, your teeth are all brown.
      Kramer: Look away, I'm hideous.

    • Kramer: (about the tobacco company's lawyer) We had a little pow wow.
      Jackie: Pow wow? Who told you to have a pow wow? Did I tell you to have a pow wow? I didn't tell you to have a pow wow!

    • Jackie Chiles: This is the most public yet of my many humiliations.

    • Tobacco Executive: I think Mr. Kramer projects a rugged masculinity.
      Jackie Chiles: Rugged? The man's a goblin. And he's only been exposed to smoke for four days; by the time this case gets to trial he'll be nothing more than a shrunken head.

    • Jackie Chiles: Jackie's cashing in on your wretched disfigurement!

  • NOTES (3)


    • In one of this episode's subplots, Jerry makes repeated attempts to speak at his alma mater, Edward R. Murrow Junior High School. This is a fictionalized reference to the renowned Murrow High School of Brooklyn, New York...there is no such place as Murrow Junior High.

    • Katie: It is already in the school paper. They canceled Rick James.
      Jerry: Super Freak?

      Rick James was an R&B musician who was popular in the 1970s and 80s. "Super Freak" is one of his most well known songs, though it was not one of James' four #1 hits during his career.

    • Jackie Chiles: Oh, my vacation was restful, resplendent, magnificent. In fact, next time I'm planning on going to Corfu.

      Corfu is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea. The island is steeped in history and it is perennially connected to the history of Greece starting from Greek mythology.

    • George's sudden burst of intelligence is a nod to the 1996 film "Phenomenon," which had been released the summer prior to this episode.