The Puffy Shirt

The Puffy Shirt

Infobox Television episode
Title = The Puffy Shirt
Series = Seinfeld

Caption = Jerry in the puffy shirt.
Season = 5
Episode = 66
Airdate = September 23, 1993
Production =
Writer = Larry David
Director = Tom Cherones
Guests = Bryant Gumbel
Episode list = List of "Seinfeld" episodes
Season list = Infobox Seinfeld season 5 episode list
Prev =
Next =

"The Puffy Shirt" is the second episode of the American NBC sitcom "Seinfeld"'s . It was the 66th episode and originally aired on September 23, 1993.


George is upset because he is moving back in with his parents. Jerry offers him money to pay his rent and Kramer tells him he can live with him for a while, but George declines. They help George move his things into his parents' house, but George is alarmed when they prepare to leave because he does not want to be left alone with his bickering parents. Jerry tells him that he is going to dinner later with Elaine, Kramer, and Kramer's new girlfriend Leslie, who is a "low-talker." George wants to come, but his mother tells him he is going to dinner with her and his father.

That night at dinner, Kramer tells Elaine and Jerry that Leslie is a clothing designer and has designed a new puffy shirt "like the pirates used to wear." When he leaves to go to the bathroom, Elaine explains to Leslie that Jerry is making an appearance on "The Today Show" to promote a benefit for Goodwill that helps clothe the poor and homeless. Leslie then says something. Not hearing what she said, Jerry and Elaine just pretend and nod their heads in agreement. Meanwhile, George is having dinner with his parents at another restaurant. When arguing with his mother about what he is going to do for a job (and listening to his father talk about silver dollars), George gets up to get some air.

Outside, he accidentally bumps into a woman and spills her bag. When helping her pick up her things, the woman notices George's hands. She remarks that he has exquisite hands and asks if he's ever done any hand modeling. George says no and she gives him her card.

The next day at Jerry's, George presents his hands to him, but Jerry fails to see what is so special about them. Kramer walks in and shakes George's hand, shocking him with a hand buzzer, which distresses George. He shows Kramer his hands and then puts on oven mitts and leaves. Kramer then tells Jerry that since he agreed to wear Leslie's puffy shirt on "The Today Show" she has been getting orders from boutiques and department stores to produce more of them. Jerry does not know what he is talking about and Kramer explains that he had told Leslie yes when she asked if he would wear the shirt on "The Today Show" at the restaurant (after Kramer left to use the bathroom). Jerry protests wearing the shirt because he could not hear a word she was saying, but Kramer tells him he has to wear it because factories are already producing them and stores are beginning to stock them.

George goes home and starts prepping his hands for his meeting with the photographers. Jerry and Kramer are backstage in a dressing room at "The Today Show" studio. The stagehand tells Jerry he has five minutes until he goes on the air. Elaine arrives and immediately laughs at Jerry's shirt and tells him he looks like The Count of Monte Cristo.

At his meeting with the hand model photographers, the photographers marvel at George's hands. One of them proclaims that George's hands reminded him of Ray McKigney's, a former model who had it all until he blew it by messing up his hands while not being the "master of his domain." George tells them not to worry because "I won a contest," a reference to the eponymous masturbation episode in .

Jerry, meanwhile, makes his appearance on "The Today Show", but Bryant Gumbel cannot help but laugh and talk about his puffy shirt. Jerry gets pushed over the edge and denounces the shirt on the air, causing Leslie to shout "You bastard!" off camera.

The photographers take pictures of George's hands and give him a check. A fellow model, an attractive woman, then asks George if they want to get together later. Overjoyed, George finally thinks he has it all as he heads to meet Jerry at the NBC studios. In the dressing room, Leslie screams at Jerry for ruining her career. George bursts in and tells Jerry of his good fortune. Elaine, who has never noticed George's hands before, asks to see them. George takes off his mittens, then proceeds to mock and laugh at Jerry's shirt, unaware that Leslie, who is still in the room, can hear him. Furious, she pushes him and he trips, burning his now exposed hands on a hot iron sitting on the dressing room table.

The episode ends with the four sitting at a coffee shop, which is surprisingly not Monks. George's hands are bandaged up and Elaine helps feed him. He mockingly tells them that his hand model career is over "because of the puffy shirt." The shirt fiasco also caused Elaine to get fired from the benefit committee at Goodwill. Jerry says that he gets constantly heckled during his stand-up performances because of the shirt ("Avast ye maties" is one heckler's comment). Kramer tells them that all the stores canceled out on Leslie and that he broke up with her because he "can't be with someone whose life is in complete disarray." The remaining shirts were given to Goodwill and when the four friends leave, two homeless men outside, one of them dressed in a puffy shirt, ask for change. When giving them some money, Jerry remarks that it's not really a bad-looking shirt after all.


* The puffy shirt used in this episode, along with an original copy of the script is currently placed in the Smithsonian. A doll-sized replica was included with the fifth season DVD set.
* Larry David introduced the Puffy Shirt on "Fridays", November 20, 1981. He was giving a list of seven ways to reduce violent crime in America on the faux newscast "Friday Edition." Point number 6 was to wear a "puffy shirt" (which he pulled off his jacket to reveal), thereby appearing non-threatening to others.
* In this episode Jerry utters the line "But I don't wanna be a pirate!" It was echoed in several subsequent episodes ("I don't wanna be a cowboy!" in "The Mom and Pop Store," "I don't wanna be Switzerland!" in "The Label Maker," "I wanna be a man too!" in "The Comeback" and "I don't wanna be a 32!" (in pants size) in "The Sponge"). In "The Scofflaw", Jerry comments that Kramer's eye patch makes him look like a pirate, to which Kramer replies, "I want to be a pirate!"
* George mentions he won the previous season's contest, though in "The Finale" he admits that he cheated.
* This episode is one of the three Emmy Award-winning episodes of season 5.
* Kramer's girlfriend, Leslie the "low-talker", appears in the series finale as a testifying witness against Jerry, George, Kramer and Elaine.
* This episode is mentioned several times on Larry David's show, "Curb Your Enthusiasm", in which he states it is his favorite episode.

* A puffy dueling shirt is available in "Sid Meier's Pirates! (2004)" and is a reference to this episode.
*The puffy shirt is actually not pirate style, but rather a common 17th-18th century style as well as a 1960s fashion. It would have been more likely seen on an aristocrat or British rock star than a typical pirate, since the added frills would have added cost to the garment. The confusion no doubt comes from the use of similar garments in pirate-themed films such as Captain Blood and illustrations of Peter Pan's nemesis, Captain Hook. Fact|date=July 2007
*When Jerry, George, Kramer and Elaine walk out of the coffee shop at the end of the episode, when we first see the people at the door wearing the puffy shirt you can hear a woman in the audience scream "Oh my God!" while laughing.

* In the show's original run, this episode featured the first appearance of Jerry Stiller as Frank Costanza. Later, for continuity sake in syndication, Jerry Stiller re-shot the scenes featuring his character in the season four episode "The Handicap Spot".

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