RobCesternino and Akiva Wienerkur continue to bring you sponge-worthy Seinfeld recap episodes week after week. This time they breakdown “The Sponge”, which first aired December 7, 1995 as part of season seven. The episode was written by friend of the show Peter Mehlman.
News – Due to his annual vacation to Del Boca Vista, Akiva didn’t have any new Seinfeld news this week. He added that he’s been so busy, the show could be rebooted with all women and he wouldn’t have heard about it.
Jerry’s Story - Jerry is interested in a woman Lena who has an unlisted number. He is able to find it out by peeking at a sponsor sheet for Kramer’s AIDS Walk, and even comes up with a plan to avoid sharing the unscrupulous way he found the number by lying about buying a speed boat. As the episode goes along, Jerry becomes uncomfortable with how good of a person Lena is, thinking the relationship won’t work. When he sees a lifetime supply of sponges in her hall closet, he realizes she isn’t as innocent as he feared. He had already started the breakup conversation with her though, and his alternative story to share was how he changes the waist size on his jeans tag, which ultimately turns Lena off.
Elaine’s Story – Elaine has a new boyfriend, and after some uncomfortable discussion about birth control, she learns from Kramer that her method, the sponge, is being discontinued. This leads her to go on a search for all the remaining sponges in her neighborhood, ultimately purchasing a case of 60. Despite having 60, she really feels the need to hoard them, going as far as not sharing any with Susan, and ultimately deciding her new boyfriend is not “sponge-worthy”.
George’s Story – George doesn’t have a story of his own, but adds significantly to Elaine and Jerry’s story. Susan shares with him how great Jerry looks in his jeans, so George discloses to her how Jerry actually changes the waist size on the tag from 32 to 31. This ends up turning into an argument when he says he can’t share everything with her. Susan is further upset with him when she learns he doesn’t even know what kind of contraception she uses. He ends up smoothing things over by sharing with her how Jerry got Lena’s number from the AIDS walk donation list. Things go south again when George doesn’t want to use a condom when Elaine won’t share any of her sponges with Susan.
Kramer’s Story – Kramer has signed up for an AIDS walk and is getting sponsors. However, Jerry is concerned about how serious Kramer is taking it, since he is out of shape and decided to have an all-night poker game the night before. Despite this, Kramer does make it to the walk, however, he is jumped by a group of walkers, including Bob and Cedric of armoire stealing fame, for not wearing the ribbon during the walk.
Rob and Akiva’s Tangents- Right away, the guys veered off topic by debating whether they would eat a can of tuna from nearly ten years ago, then discussed how far the podcast has come since Akiva’s first vacation in Florida during the early days of the podcast. They talked about how changing the Facebook profile picture is today’s version of wearing a ribbon. Rob shared how he feels baggy jeans will ultimately make a comeback, as all fashion is cyclical. They discussed how beloved the sponge actually was in the 90s, with Rob adding the caveat that they know nothing about women, let alone female products such as the sponge.
Akiva said it’s more important to share everything with your fiancé as opposed to your wife. The guys debated how long 60 sponges would last for Elaine. Akiva admonished Jerry for referring to the homeless as “bums”, but Rob thought you could get away with it. Akiva talked about a homeless man who has a Netflix subscription. Rob shared how his hatred for the Kardashians does make him a Taylor Swift supporter. He also noted how 11 of the people he follows on Twitter also follow Tide detergent.
Grades and Rankings – Akiva and Rob were complimentary of the episode and the core four’s performances. They both agreed Elaine deserved an A, with Robcalling it the most iconic of all the Elaine storylines. George also got an A for his supporting story. They disagreed on Jerry, with Akiva giving him an A-, while Robthought it was more of a B. Kramer and the AIDS walk was not the funniest part, but Akiva thought he deserved a B. Rob was also critical of Kramer, thinking it was a C+ performance. Overall, the episode was one of the better ones, with Akiva slotting it at 32, noting it could have been ranked even higher.
Emails - Johnny De Silveira wondered what was the strangest way the guys were able to get a woman’s phone number. They laughed at how little Johnny knows them after so many episodes, since neither were big ladies men when they were younger. Ariel shared how mouth to mouth resuscitation needs to be started right away in order to save a life. Max the millennial commented how the failure of the Susan character really shows itself over the last few episodes she’s been in. Roband Akiva disagreed, thinking she actually was solid in this one. He also asked Rob if he would share one of Stephen Fishbach’s secrets with Nicole. He said he probably would share with her.
Caleb thought it was sloppy writing for Susan to be brought in to independent George’s world only one week after him admonishing the idea. He also added that a waiter today wouldn’t pack the doggie bag, but just bring the box for the diner to handle. Akiva thought this could be the worst take emailed in, since he has never had a waiter not pack the to go box, but later noted that Caleb may be from Australia where they do things differently. Lindsay noted how much she hates people wearing glasses for fashion, to which Akiva as a glasses wearer agrees.
Craig from Vancouver said he was delighted to see Scott Patterson in the episode, as he’s a big fan of Gilmore Girls. He also noted that a real life actress actually experienced bullying from not wearing an AIDS ribbon at an event herself. Chester weighs in asking why Susan isn’t more bothered by George not knowing what birth control she uses, but does know that the sponge is off the market. He also said that Susan is a pretty awful person, and he stands by his earlier point that her death was her own fault for being with such a bad person like George.
Tune in next week as the guys will recap “The Gum”, with the return of Lloyd Bruan. Send in your questions by emailing [email protected]. Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast by going to postshowrecaps.com/seinfeldITunes where you can rate and review the podcast. You can get a discussion going about the podcast by leaving a comment on the show page, and as always, you can follow them on Twitter @robcesternino and @keev26.
Special thanks to Mike Moore for writing this week’s podcast summary.
Akiva Wienerkur is a former high school English teacher and NBC Sports researcher who now works for a tech start-up. He loves the Jets, the Mets, his wife, his son and 2 daughters- not necessarily in that order.