Season 2 Episode 4

The Phone Message

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Feb 13, 1991 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
303 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

George regrets not going upstairs for "coffee" after a date, and proceeds to leave his girlfriend a series of increasingly embarrassing phone messages. Meanwhile, Jerry and his girlfriend argue over the comedic value of a TV commercial.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • VERY underrated

    This episode is a forgotten gem from Season 2, but is one of my favorite early Seinfeld episodes. Jason Alexander (as usual) does a superb job as George in this episode, epitomizing the extreme awkwardness of George's situations that would be re-visited many times in Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm.

    Jerry and George's chemistry together dominate the episode as they plot to replace an embarrassing message left by George on his girlfriend's answering machine tape. Elaine and Kramer receive very little screentime, but even that doesn't detract from this great episode. Like many Seinfeld episodes, the grand plan of one of the characters (in this case, George) comes to an end in an unexpected manner, but this episode actually had things work out for George in the end, which is something that wouldn't be seen very often afterwards as the series progressed.

    All in all, this is another classic not to be missed. In my opinion, the bit about George's father "wearing sneakers in the pool" ranks among the best Seinfeld lines ever.moreless
  • Cotton Dockers!

    Well, i don´t even know how to begin reviewing this episode. I have seen good episodes and bad episodes, in the first season, but this being the fourth episode of the second, it´s just... amazing to see how the show is growing and how this episode is so much better then the first season, it´s not one of my favourites of the hole show, but sure is one of my favourites from the second season, and why, that´s because this episode had that twist in the end, it was really funny, like that part where george tells her girlfriend that her fathat wears sneakers in the pool.Hilarious. One thing i noticed thow was that Kramer is missing i want to see him more envolved in the plots! This episode is a very good one to watch, but the next episode is even better. So, i´d recommend both of them!moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • When Jerry talks about himself being lactose intolerant, he is filling up the left glass with wine and holding the bottle. In the next shot, when he says "I won't stand for it," the right glass is full and the left is empty, and the bottle is sitting on the other side of the counter.

    • Jerry's apartment number is 3A in this episode instead of the usual 5A.

    • When George, Donna and Jerry are discussing the Dockers commercial, the wine glasses on the counter are alternately empty, then one is half filled with wine, then both are again empty. The wine glasses also move around on the counter depending on the camera shot. At no time does anyone touch or pick up either of the wine glasses after Donna puts hers down when George comes into the apartment.

    • Elaine mentions a brother-in-law which means she either has a sister or a brother, but, like Jerry's mentioning of his sister in "The Chinese Restaurant," Elaine's brother-in-law (or brother and sister) is never referred to again.

    • When Jerry is tying his tie, the collar of his shirt is disheveled in the back. Without moving his hands, the collar is corrected in the next shot. The dialogue continuity prevents an appropriate editing timeline for the collar correction.

  • QUOTES (13)

    • George: Instead of doing a wash, I just keep buying underwear. My goal is to have over 360 pair. That way I only have to do wash once a year.

    • Elaine: (to George) I don't know what your parents did to you.

    • Jerry: I love my phone machine. I wish I was a phone machine. I wish if I saw somebody on the street I didn't want to talk to, I could go, "Excuse me; I'm not in right now. If you would just leave a message, I could walk away." I also have a cordless phone, but I don't like that as much, because you can't slam down a cordless phone. You get mad at somebody on a real phone – "You can't talk to me like that!" Bang! You know. You get mad at somebody on a cordless phone – "You can't talk to me like that!" (Jerry searches for the 'off' button on his mimed phone, and presses it feebly, in a comedic sort of way) "I told him!"

    • Jerry: I'm lactose intolerant. I have no tolerance for lactose… and I won't stand for it!

    • Donna: I asked some friends of mine this week, and all of them liked the commercial.
      Jerry: (sarcastic) Boy, I bet you got a regular Algonquin round table there.

    • Jerry: Kramer, this is Donna.
      Kramer: (snaps fingers) Cotton Dockers!

    • George: The light is blinking: "Come and listen to the idiot!"

    • George: "Coffee"'s not coffee, "coffee" is sex!

    • Carol: Would you like to come upstairs for coffee?
      George: No, thanks, I can't drink coffee late at night. It keeps me up.

    • Kramer: One hundred percent cotton-Dockers. If they're not Dockers, they're just pants.

    • George: (to Carol) Jerry has a fear of public toilets.

    • Carol: (to George) That's what you had to tell me? Your father wears sneakers in the pool?

    • George: Tippy Toe, Lemon Tree.

  • NOTES (1)

    • An episode that was written by Larry Charles called "The Bet" was planned but scrapped for the second season, with a plot was about Elaine buying a handgun. Since the network considered it inappropriate, "The Phone Message" was made to replace the episode. "The Bet" was the first and only episode that wasn't filmed.


    • George: Remember how Quayle looked when Bentsen gave him that Kennedy line?

      George is referring to the now famous line "Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy", spoken by american democratic vice-presidential candidate Senator Lloyd Bentsen to republican vice-presidential candidate Senator Dan Quayle during the 1988 vice-presidential debate.

    • Jerry (to Donna, about her friends who also like the Docker's commercials) Boy, I bet you got a regular Algonquin Round Table there.

      The Algonquin Round Table was a celebrated group of New York City writers, critics, actors and wits. Gathering initially as part of a practical joke, members of "The Vicious Circle," as they dubbed themselves, gathered for lunch each day at the Algonquin Hotel from 1919 until roughly 1929. At these luncheons they engaged in wisecracks, wordplay and witticisms that, through the newspaper columns of Round Table members, were disseminated across the country.

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