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Rob Cesternino and Akiva Wienerkur continue their journey to watch every Seinfeld episode as they discuss Season 5, Episode 11, “The Conversion.”
Rob Cesternino and Akiva Wienerkur cancelled their podiatrist appointments so the could get together for another Seinfeld recap. This week, they discussed “The Conversion”, which first aired December 16, 1993 as part of season five. The episode was written by Bruce Kirschbaum, who claimed he made up the Latvian Orthodox religion, though it does actually exist.
There was some related news that Akiva shared this week. First, Larry David appeared on Saturday Night Live to impersonate presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Also, Jerry topped the Forbes Magazine list of highest paid comedians over the past year, topping such current acts as Kevin Hart and Louis C.K.
Jerry’s opening standup is a bit about how doctors put their diplomas on the wall, and how they always make you take off your pants, regardless of the appointment. The episode opens with George having dinner with his new girlfriend Sasha, so smitten with her he’s even agreed to spring for the lobster. When she tells him she has to break it off because he isn’t from the same religion, he balks at her still ordering the lobster, but lets her get it anyway.
In the next scene, Jerry and Elaine are in the hall outside Jerry’s talking about her new podiatrist boyfriend, with Jerry downplaying his importance versus MDs. Rob remarked how the show has frequently lowers the value of those in the medical profession who forewent med school. Before going inside, Jerry says hello to a woman Tawni he’s dating that is subletting the apartment down the hall.
In Jerry’s apartment, George is somehow in there laying on the couch, bemoaning his being dumped by yet another woman. When he explains that she can’t date him because he’s not Latvian Orthodox, Elaine recommends he just convert religions to keep dating her. George likes the idea, and when he leaves, Jerry tells Elaine this will all be her fault when it doesn’t work out.
Jerry and Tawni are kissing on the couch in her apartment when Jerry needs to go wash his hands. In the bathroom, he notices the medicine cabinet partially open, so he decides to snoop. He notices a tube of fungal cream, but Tawni soon knocks at the door, so he scampers out.
At the diner, Jerry, Kramer and Elaine are trying to figure out what the cream could be for. Elaine is sure to tell Jerry she thinks it was wrong to snoop, while Kramer says he always peeks in people’s medicine cabinets. The scene cuts to George with the Latvian priests discussing his intent to join the church. He fakes his way through the interview, but they send him on his way with a bunch of giant books to study for his conversion test. Kramer is there with him, and has an intriguing run in with a budding nun, Sister Roberta.
Later on at Jerry’s, George is excited about his plan, and confirms to Jerry that he will not tell his parents of his conversion. While talking, Jerry decides he needs to get another look at this fungal tube, hoping it could not be hers. The scene cuts to Elaine at her apartment with the podiatrist, where she asks him about fungi, before referring to him as just a podiatrist, which angers him. There is another cut to George in the bathroom, and Estelle and Frank are knocking and yelling for him to get out.
Sister Roberta randomly shows up at Kramer’s to give him another toy she found, obviously intrigued by him. Jerry has made his way back into Tawni’s bathroom to check on the fungal cream, but has to pocket it when she comes in with soap for him. Back at Jerry’s, he’s helping George study for his test when Elaine comes in to tell them she got in a fight with the podiatrist. George decides to write cheat notes on his hand for help. Jerry gives Elaine the tube to bring to the podiatrist, but with the fight they had, she’s not sure he’ll talk to her.
George is with the Latvian priests, having just passed the conversion test. Kramer comes along to share with the priest how Sister Roberta is so in to him, she may leave the church. The priest tells him he must have the kavorka, the lure of the animal. He gives Kramer a remedy for this, involving garlic and vinegar. Rob and Akiva wondered why Kramer would care if this woman would leave the church for him.
In the next scene, Jerry knocks at Kramer’s door after smelling something foul, letting Kramer know he’s smelling up the whole building. Meanwhile, some women who know Estelle notice George’s name on the sign out front for his conversion. The scene cuts to Frank and Estelle yelling at George because of this, even thinking they should get a lawyer to get George out of this.
Jerry is at Tawni’s, who shares that she was up all night because her cat’s fungal cream is missing. George is at his ceremony, where Sister Roberta had been tasked to give the reading, but tells the priest she can’t because of Kramer. When Kramer shows up smelling of the kavorka remedy, the spell over her does seem to be gone, so she stays with the church, not before telling Kramer he stinks.
Elaine is back with the podiatrist, having made up from their argument. He goes into the bathroom and decides to snoop in the medicine cabinet himself, where he notices the fungal cream. Rob and Akiva questioned why Elaine would leave the tube there to be seen. The final scene is George telling Sasha he’s converted, but she has to move away and break it off anyway.
Akiva and Rob discussed how there were several clunky storylines in this episode, which caused Akiva to rank it at 116. In 2015, George would be able to convert religions online and Elaine could just look up the fungus on WebMD.
There were several emails this week. First, Thomas, the medical correspondent noted that vitamins are in fact not very useful to the average person with a well balanced diet. He also added that while a podiatrist is officially a doctor, they are more like a health professional. Lastly, he shared how he did a report on the Latvian Orthodox religion in his school days, referencing the Seinfeld episode frequently.
Dan, who Rob met in San Francisco last week, proposed he would donate money to charity to make the podcast longer. Rob wanted to give the money to the Human Fund, while Akiva wanted to give the money to the Mets. The attractive woman correspondent Elaine, wrote in to confirm she’ll be available to help with questions, but has no worries about not being the sidekick.
Johnny De Silveira wanted to know if either had done anything out of the ordinary to impress a woman. Akiva said he does the dishes everyday, while Rob didn’t have any great examples. He also consulted with his mother and confirmed that a hot or cold beverage could leave a ring on a coffee table. He lastly shared how he takes a vitamin C everyday.
Lastly, Chester wondered why George wouldn’t just study in his bedroom instead of the bathroom. He also asked why Tawni wouldn’t be mad after Jerry mentioned he was coming down with the flu after just making out with her. He also asked why George would suggest the lobster when he’s so cheap. Akiva pointed out that he did to prove how much he liked her. Lastly, Patrick emailed in to confirm 14 seconds is how long the subway doors stay open in New York.
Tune in next week as the guys will recap “The Stall”, where the guys will spare a square for us all. Send in your questions by emailing [email protected]
Special Thanks to Mike Moore for tonight’s episode recap