Here's an episode I didn't remember at all, even though it's the introduction of Kramer's little person friend, Mickey, who will show up a few more times on the series, and it has a wonderfully daring bit of awkwardness about Elaine going on a date with someone who "takes it out." It's such a delightfully creepy move. It'd be one thing if he'd tried that out in the room, but somehow, him taking it out in the front seat of the car makes it feel like he's just picked up Elaine on the side of the road. "The Stand-In" is not a great episode, especially considering Larry David wrote it, but it's got some very impressive touches.
The stuff with Kramer and Mickey doesn't fly as well. Woodburn is perfectly funny, and he and Kramer have comedic chemistry along with the obvious visual humor of the two of them standing together. The show does well to steer away from really easy "little person" humor, concentrating just on the fact that he considers using lifts to keep up with the kid he stands in for on All My Children. OK, that shot of the group of little people closing in on him near the end of the episode is maybe a little too much, but mostly I liked the matter-of-fact way Jerry treated Mickey.
But the plot itself is a little too silly to have so much time devoted to it, and it's padded out with lazier humor like Kramer and Mickey constantly throwing the "unbeatable" rock in rock paper scissors. I like the idea of Kramer as a stand-in, and I like his chemistry with Mickey, but the main story just never breaks out.
Similarly, I love the horrible date Elaine goes on, but it's set up very lazily. The recurring story about a guy called "Pachyderm" is never that funny past the fact that it's repeated over and over, because who is "Pachyderm?" Jerry's attempts to get a rise out of his ill friend are alright, but the punchline is just a little too obvious and really works only on mild shock value. The only story that's good is George's, in which he's pushed to consider marrying a bore of a woman just because a friend told her George can't commit. That's the exact kind of thing he'd do, but even that concept doesn't get milked quite enough.
Don't get me wrong; it's still funny. But season five is such a run of great episodes, it's hard not to think of this one as a bit of a speed bump.