Season 8 Episode 9

The Abstinence

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Nov 21, 1996 on NBC



  • Trivia

    • 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

    • 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

    • This episode won the 1997 Eddie Award for Best Edited Half-Hour Series for Television.

    • The working title for this episode was "The Portuguese Waitress."

    • This is the second time George's personality switch leads to good things for him and bad things for Elaine, Last time was in the Season 5 finale "The Opposite".

  • Allusions

    • 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.