Season 8 Episode 16

The Pothole

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Feb 20, 1997 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
227 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Elaine wants to have some Chinese food delivered, but lives just outside the delivery zone. In order to fool the delivery man, she pretends that the janitor closet in the building across the street is her apartment. The trouble is the landlady mistakes her for the janitor. Kramer joins the "adopt a highway" program, but his methods are a little unorthodox. Jerry's new girlfriend uses a toothbrush that had fallen into the toilet, which causes him more trouble than he could have imagined. George loses his keys, and by the time he finds them, they're buried at the bottom of recently filled pothole.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Watchable but weak

    As with many of worst episodes of Seinfeld, this is perfectly watchable and even quite funny, but sadly at least two of the storylines here jump the shark in quite a massive way. Because of the way all the plot threads in Seinfeld interconnect at the end, this has the effect of making the other two, funnier storylines also seem weak.

    The two shark jumping plotlines belong to Elaine and Kramer. Elaine starts pretending to live in a janitor’s closet when a food delivery service refuses to send orders to her side of the street. This refusal, or at least the takeaway's refusal to meet her half way, seems pretty unrealistic and makes it hard to get involved in this plotline.

    Kramer meanwhile adopts part of a highway. This in itself is pretty funny, as is the fatherly pride Kramer adopts immediately after doing so. However, the turns this story takes as Kramer's paternal love for his road manifests itself become pretty over the top.

    On the other hand, Jerry's storyline works a lot better because it is believable. In it, germ phobic Jerry develops a reluctance to kiss his girlfriend (played by beautiful future Sex & the City star Kristen Davis) after he drops her toothbrush in the toilet and doesn't tell her about it before she brushes her teeth. I'm sure most people, whether they're obsessive about cleanliness or not, would react to this situation in a similar way.

    This episode is worth watching as it is funny despite some of its ridiculous plot aspects.moreless
  • One of the best episodes of Seinfeld plot ever!

    This was the most complex & cleverly plotted episode I have seen by Seinfeld by far. It all starts when George runs over a pothole & drops his keys, by the time he finds out it is in the pothole, it's been covered already. Meanwhile Elaine wants some Chinese food but they don't deliver in her zone so while she sneaks in to another apartment, pretending she lives there to get the food. Meanwhile again, Jerry drops his girlfriend's tooth brush in the toilet & Jenna unaware uses it to brush her teeth, when he doesn't tell her & she finds out she puts on of Jerry's thing s in the toilet. Another plot merges, Kramer adopts a highway & makes some major changes. While Jerry is freaking out, George has to drill in the pothole by himself, as he does it he hits the pipe while Elaine confused as the janitor has to go on Kramer's highway to get rid of the apartment junk. As Jerry & his girlfriend start to reconcile, the toilet explodes because George hit the pipe, which explodes on Jenna so as shallow & disgusted Jerry is, he breaks up with her. While Elaine is enjoying the wider lanes cause Kramer changed them, she drops a trophy that is trash & Newman behind her, the trophy gets stuck under his car while driving, sparks fly everywhere & Newman continues driving unaware, as Kramer gets a tub of flammable oil confuses with paint, he pills it all over the lane by accident, Newman runs over it & his car bursts in to flames. While Kramer makes a run for it from the cops by changing the lanes. That is big! An outstanding episode which is flawless that has great funny moments that will be remembered for ages.moreless
  • Seindfeld Epiosde Reveiw

    This is a great funny episode of Seinfeld one of the best of the 8th season of the show with all of the stories in the episode Elaine and her takeout problem if very clever and funny Jerry and his toothbrush problem is even funnier and George losing his keys Kramer who adopts a freeway is the best story in the episode as it is the funniest this is a good half hour episode the stories mix well with each other and never boring at all my over rating for this episode of the TV show Seinfeld is 9.9 the endmoreless
  • Toothbrush in toilet bowl!

    Here we see Jerry going out with this woman. However, Jerry knocks her toothbrush in the toilet on accident and oops, she's uses the toothbrush! Meanwhile, George looses his keys with a squeezable Phil Rizuto ("talking nixon") key chain and somehow end up in a pothole which gets buried in concrete. Elaine on the other hand is trying to get some flounder but the delivery guy can't cross to her side of town so she pretends to be a janitor and somehow ends up getting a job as a janitor. Kramer is taking care of a mile marker of an expressway and gets the idea to change a four-lane highway to a two-lane which causes chaos!

    The climax on this episode happens when George hires some construction workers to dig up his keys so instead of them doing the work, he does the work with no charge. He ends up breaking a pipeline which blows the toilet at Jerry's girlfriend's apartment. Meanwhile, Elaine does the job to throw trash out and drives to the dump in "Kramer's highway". However, she drops a sewing machine. Kramer on another side, spills some flammable paint thinner on the highway. The result?! Newman drives his mailtruck and runs over the sewing machine and into the paint thinner on the highway. Newman is buring with the fishes.moreless
  • I for one, liked this episode.

    This episode may have been a little unrealistic at some of the plots, but to be honest I loved it all! At first when I heard this episode was kinda bad my guard was up but as the episode played my guard fell and I started laughing like heck. Elaine lives in a janitor's closet to get food from a Chinese resturaunt. Unrealistic, but made me laugh. I liked Jerry's story, where his girlfriend's toothbrush falls into the toilet. He gets germa phobic. I loved the end when he started to like her again but she got covered with toilet water, and so did George. Ha, classic! My favorite, I think, was Kramer's story. It was hilarious and took Adopt A Highway to a whole new level. So, very nice episode.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (16)

    • There are many problems with the storyline of Jenna putting "something" in the toilet without telling Jerry:
      1) When Jerry helps Kramer take the road signs back to his apartment, Jenna shuts the door so doesn't know what she put in the toilet. However, there is only about a 5 second difference from when she shuts the door and opens it again. Therefore, it doesn't seem likely she would have the time to put something in the toilet and then quickly open the door again as if everything was normal.
      2) If she did do it that quickly, its definitely impossible that she would of had the time to take something so big and so far away such as the SOFA CUSHION, put it in the toilet, put back and open the door within 5 seconds!
      3) Wouldn't Jerry notice that something was notably wet when put back to its normal place?
      4) There are many certain things in Jerry's apartment that Jerry threw out that would either not fit in the toilet, or were too far away and things that Jenna wouldn't have had time to put in the toilet, such as the couch cushions or the dishes. Jerry should have known better.

    • A bunch of the road signs that Kramer had at Jerry's apartment, such as 'yield' and 'one way' aren't really appropriate for a highway.

    • When Elaine calls from Jerry's apartment to order the food, she gives the fake apartment number, but never gives the building address.

    • If, as Elaine claims, the lock is broken, and all that needs to be done to get into the building across the street to to jiggle the knob, why did she have so much trouble when she originally tried to meet the delivery guy outside?

    • Kramer's car is right next to the spilled paint thinner and would most likely be engulfed as Newman went by.

    • When the street construction guys show up to help George get his key chain out of the pavement, there is a construction worker standing behind the crew leader to the right. As the scene changes and the crew leader is talking to George about what it's going to take to get his keys dug up, the worker changes from behind him to the right to behind him to the left.

    • When Elaine wants to borrow Jerry's car to haul away the trash, he hands her his keys. Her hand changes position from accepting the keys to facing more downward when the next shot is shown.

    • Notice when Kramer walks in on Jerry and his girlfriend to get the yield sign. While Jerry is making Kramer leave, and gathers the signs, the position of the open trench sign Kramer is carrying and the one way sign Jerry is carrying change positions as the scene goes from inside Jerry's apartment to the hall.

    • When Kramer brings home the highway signs, he shows Jerry how the kids changed the Speed sign from 65 to 165. The actual speed limit on the Henry Hudson is 50. That parkway also has 3 lanes instead of 4 (which Kramer reduces to 2). As an agressive driving New Yorker, I can assure you that NY drivers would never sit in traffic in 2 wide lanes!

      The highway that Kramer adopts is actually the Henry Burkhardt - not the Henry Hudson.

    • George states he doesn't have a spare set because it says "Do not Duplicate". Did the writers forget "The Keys"?

    • The MSDS symbol (red, blue, yellow, and white squares) on the paint thinner drum has a rating of 8 on the Flammability section (red square), however the maximum rating on an MSDS symbol is 4

    • Scott Clark notes: Kramer, beeming with pride, announces that he has adopted Mile 113 of the highway. Later, after he has 'widened the lanes,' the radio traffic reporter claims the problem occurs at Mile marker 114.

    • Well in this episode, when kramer widens the lanes on his highway, it shows elaine driving and she's driving normally. But in a previous episode when it shows her borrowing a car from her friend for the weekend while her friend was away(or something like that) she is shown to be a horrific driver. how all of a sudden did she get so good?

    • I really don't think the time or continuity is messed up in this episode. Instead I think Elaine is ordering the Chinese over and over again. She likes it so much she tells Jerry about it and then he comes over to the closet too.

    • I just saw this episode and the chronology of this episode is all out of whack. It seems like Elaine is trying to get the Chinese over, at least, a two day period. Then, in one scene, the delivery boy delivers the food to the apartment she has made out of the janitor's closet, yet in a few scenes later, Jerry visits her in the "closet" and asks "is the food here, yet?" and she says "No!" They obviously didn't check this episode for "continuity"!

    • I also think the "address" situation, where the Chinese food delivery is or isn't permitted is all off. They won't deliver to HER house, so she tries across the street. Yet, she orders the Chinese food from Jerry's apartment and then says she has to go "across the street" because her food is being delivered at 10!

  • QUOTES (20)

    • George: I just have to do all the jack-hammering myself.
      Jerry: Oh that's nice, kind of a hard-labor fantasy camp.

    • Jerry: You're pretending to live in a janitor's closet just to get this flounder?
      Elaine: It's better than eating it alone in the restaurant, like some loser.
      Kramer: That stuff is unbelievable. I'd eat it out of a dumpster.

    • Kramer: You could've introduced me.
      Jerry: I wouldn't know where to start.

    • George: So the plan is to secretly sterilize her mouth?
      Jerry: By the time I'm through with her mouth, she'll be able to eat off it.

    • Kramer: This parenting isn't about delegating responsibility, it's about being there.
      Jerry: At the side of the road, with a pile of garbage.
      Kramer: Quality time.

    • Jerry: Jenna's like me. She's very...
      George: Finicky? Prissy? Fastidious?
      Jerry: I'll take fastidious.

    • (Trying to dig up his Phil Rizzuto keychain with a jackhammer, George accidentally hits a water pipe, causing it to be violently launched into the air by a geyser of water)
      Keychain: Holy Cow!

    • Elaine: Hi. Jerry, can I borrow your car?
      Jerry: For what?
      Elaine: I have to haul some dirty garbage to the dump.
      Jerry: Dirt? That's alright, because there's nothing wrong with dirt.
      Elaine: Well, actually it's pretty grimy.
      Jerry: Grime, grease, filth, funk, ooze. Whatever it is, you take that stuff and put it right on my leather upholstery.
      Elaine: Well, I don't know who you are, but thanks for the car.

    • Elaine: Jerry, you have tendencies. They're always annoying, but they were just tendencies. But now, if you can't kiss this girl, I'm afraid we're talking disorder.
      Jerry: Disorder?
      Elaine: And from disorder, you're a quirk or two away from full-on dementia.

    • Elaine: (to Jerry) So now you're finding fault on a sub-atomic level.

    • Elaine:(to the delivery boy) This isn't fair. This is address discrimination!

    • Jerry: (to George) You lost Phil Rizzuto's head?!

    • Kramer: As of today I am a proud parent of a one-mile stretch of the Arthur Berkhardt Expressway.

    • Jerry: (After George squeezes the Phil Rizzuto keychain head to get it to say 'Holy Cow!') Do they have to squeeze the real Phil Rizzuto to get him to say that?
      George: Just in the last few innings of a double header.

    • Jerry: I'm never going to let a 'hygienic mishap' ruin what could be a long and meaningful relationship.

    • Newman: Cause you're once, twice, three times a lady.

    • Jerry: (in the car) She has a taint. I can't see it, but I know it's there.

    • Jerry: (referring to George's keychain stuck in the pothole) Poor son of a bitch.

    • Newman: (crying hysterically as the paint thinner ignites) Oh the humanity!

    • Elaine: I'm plum out.
      (in reference to Kramer asking for a gallon of paint thinner)

  • NOTES (3)

    • This episode was nominated for two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series and for Outstanding Editing for a Series - Multi-Camera Production.

    • Newman's screams replace the music during the Castle Rock logo at the end of the episode.

    • According to an appearance by Jerry on the The Tonight Show, this is the 150th episode of Seinfeld. To make this appear as the 150th episode, I've now split "Highlights of a Hundred" into two parts, no longer call it a special and have integrated it into the guide.


    • The scene where the gang all crowds into Elaine's janitor's closet is an homage to the 1935 Marx Brothers movie, A Night at the Opera, in which fifteen people crowd into a passenger ship's tiny stateroom.

    • Newman is singing "Three Times A Lady" in the mailtruck which was a hit single by The Commodores in 1978.

    • Newman: "Oh, the humanity!"
      This was exclaimed by Herb Morrison, WLS radio reporter, upon witnessing the Hindenburg disaster.