By: Stefania Mellace
Last week, we began our countdown of the top 40 of Elaine’s boyfriends on Seinfeld. There were ups, downs, and, of course, questions – who will be number 1 on the list? Where will David Puddy fall? Without further ado, here is the list of the top 20 sponge-worthy men that Elaine dates on Seinfeld.
Check out Part 1 of this very important and scientific ranking over HERE.
20) Bob Cobb (“The Maestro”): Bob wants Elaine (and everyone) to call him “Maestro”, his self-appointed nickname. If George can’t give himself the nickname “T-Bone”, why does Bob get to give himself his own nickname? It’s not right. Bob and Elaine seem to have common interests (i.e. classical music, vacation destinations), but common interests don’t automatically signify compatibility. It also really bugs me that Bob doesn’t want Jerry to rent a house in Tuscany. People who don’t want anyone to share in their happiness and people who “one-up” others are the worst. Bob loses a ton of points in the personality category. Other than that, he is nice to Elaine, which is a lot more than the most of the previous men, so Bob makes it into the top 20.
Sponge-Worthy Score: 6.77
19) David Lukner (“The Wait Out”): Do I find David Lukner attractive? Of course I do. Do I think he’s sponge-worthy? Absolutely. Elaine is “there for” David after Beth dumps him, with the hope that she will eventually just be “there.” There is always risk involved when you deal with the loser (or winner) of a relationship that just ended, and in the end David’s baggage is too heavy. David scores well in the looks category (Cary Elwes is a good-looking man), but loses points in the personality and fidelity categories. I guess Elaine could do a lot better than him.
Sponge-Worthy Score: 6.86
18) Ben (“Abstinence”): Elaine supports Ben when he’s studying for his exam by being a selfless, patient girlfriend (“No! Hypokalemia, not metabolic acidosis. Duh!”) In a similar fashion as Veronica Vaughan in Billy Madison, Elaine stops having sex with Ben so that he can concentrate and pass. This appears to be a self-sacrificing act, but Elaine is actually doing it to fulfill her dream of marrying a doctor. She’s gone after this dream many times – there is the tonsil doctor in “The Heart Attack” episode and the “breathtaking” guy in “The Hamptons.” Of course, when Ben passes his exam he dumps Elaine to chase the true dream of becoming a doctor – dumping whomever you’re with and finding someone better. In dating and in life, when you get to the top, you shouldn’t forget the people who helped you get there. As such, Ben scores low points in the compassion and fidelity categories. I wanted to give Ben a better score just because of my love of Breaking Bad, but I couldn’t cheat the scientific process.
Sponge-Worthy Score: 7.07
17) Kevin (“The Soul Mate”): Bizarro Jerry and Elaine originally connect because they both desire a barren, sterile existence that ends when they die. Kevin is the male equivalent of Lena Smalls – he is reliable, considerate, and he and his friends do good things and read. Elaine tries to fit in with his group, but she is only able to pretend to be someone that she isn’t for so long. Relationships can only work when both parties are free to be themselves. The only category in which Kevin loses points is in the “gaga” category because Elaine openly admits that she isn’t gaga for him. That, and his lack of depravity, land Kevin in spot 17.
Sponge-Worthy Score: 7.18
16) Aaron (“The Raincoats”): Aaron is a tad askew. Not only is he a close-talker, but he’s also certifiably nice. He is a thirty-five year old man who takes a complete stranger’s parents out to make sure they are enjoying themselves in New York City. It’s sad because all he is really doing is being nice, but there’s something to be said about someone who is this nice. Since we don’t know (or understand) Aaron’s motivations, he scores poorly in some of the categories. He also gets a low score for cleanliness because it can’t be hygienic to speak directly into another person’s mouth. Still, Aaron is a nice guy and falls just shy of the top 15.
Sponge-Worthy Score: 7.36
15) Carl (“The Couch”): Elaine is excited about Carl – she’s in love and believes that this is “it.” He’s good-looking (David James Elliott has a bit of a Jon Hamm thing going on), real, honest, unpretentious, and he doesn’t play games. People say that they hate playing games, but a little push-and-pull is an important part of keeping things interesting, especially in the early stages of a relationship. A married friend of mine told me that the secret to his successful marriage is that he and his wife take turns chasing and flirting with and each other. Games or no games, Carl’s values aren’t aligned with Elaine’s, and having similar values is a key component of a strong foundation. Poor Carl doesn’t get a high enough score and Elaine doesn’t get any of those Paccino’s pizzas.
Sponge-Worthy Score: 7.47
14) Tony (“The Stall”): Hunky, pretty-boy Tony is a “mimbo.” Tony is exciting, charismatic, and probably a lot of fun, but he scores low in the intelligence category. Elaine tries to convince Jerry that she’d be going out with him no matter what he looks like, but it’s clearly not true. Jerry points out that men are expected to be superficial and women aren’t, which doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. I know of plenty of superficial women – there are tons of them taking “selfies” in their underwear and sending them to popular websites (for some reason). George ends up having more of a non-sexual crush on Tony than Elaine does. After Tony is injured rock-climbing, Elaine has an epiphany: even if he is a hideous freak, maybe she can learn to love him and in some final irony, learn what love really is. She doesn’t.
Sponge-Worthy Score: 7.58
13) Kurt (“The Little Jerry”): Elaine can’t understand why Kurt shaves his head when he has a beautiful head of hair (“That’s like using a wheelchair for the fun of it!”) I disagree with her assessment of the importance of a man’s hair to women – some men look good bald. Kurt proposes to Elaine when he starts going bald because George advises him to, “Live, dammit. Live! Every precious moment as if this was the last year of your life.” Kurt scores highly in all of the categories, except personality because of his lack of confidence. That – and the fact that he ends up in jail – keep Kurt out of the top 10.
Sponge-Worthy Score: 7.63
12) Joel Rifkin (“The Masseuse”): Joel is a gentleman. He’s good looking, he’s a good shaver and he hasn’t thrown up in eight years. The problem with Joel is that he has the same name as a serial killer who strangled his female victims to death. Elaine and Joel take turns coming up with a new, suitable replacement name for Joel, but they can’t agree on one. It’s ironic that one of the names that Elaine suggests is O.J. (she is reading a football magazine at the time) because this episode took place just a few weeks before O.J.’s ex-wife was murdered. While it doesn’t work out with Joel Rifkin, it’s possible that things could have worked out better with Remy or Ellis Rifkin. Joel scores well in most categories, except the “gaga” category, as “gaga” is too close to the sound someone makes when they’re being strangled.
Sponge-Worthy Score: 7.68
11) Russell Dalrymple (“The Pilot”): Russell becomes fixated on Elaine the moment she crosses his “field of vision.” He goes on one date with her and two months later, still can’t get over her (she’s just too charming). When Russell begs Elaine for another shot, she tells him that she doesn’t like that he works in network television because he’s “part of the problem.” Russell leaves his job as the President of NBC to work for Greenpeace so that Elaine will respect him and ends up lost at sea. I agree that you have to respect what your significant other does for a living (“You’re a cashier!”), but more importantly, you can’t force something if it’s just not there. Poor Russell has decent scores in all of the categories but doesn’t quite make the top 10.
Sponge-Worthy Score: 7.77
10) Billy (“The Sponge”): Billy is the original “sponge-worthy” guy. He and Elaine go out several times and they have a good rapport. He owns a very profitable electronics distributing firm, he eats well, he exercises, has immaculate blood tests and he claims that he is good in the bedroom (A+ for his morning stamina). He is even willing to trim his sideburns and clean his tub for Elaine, which is a great sign (tub is love). There is nothing wrong with Billy and the only reason it doesn’t work is because of bad timing. He comes into Elaine’s life right when the sponges go off the market, which forces Elaine to re-evaluate her whole screening process in an effort to conserve them. As ridiculous as this situation seems, timing really is important. Sometimes timing is the only thing that keeps two compatible people apart (poor timing is the root of 90% of every “the one that got away” story). Billy scores well in all categories and starts off the top 10.
Sponge-Worthy Score: 8.03
9) Dr. Reston (“The Watch”): Elaine doesn’t like being with Dr.Reston. She tries to break up with him, but he has a mental hold on her because he knows too much about her. Too many people in unhappy relationships stay together for reasons like this – they know each other too well or for too long or they are in too deep with each other’s family. Ultimately, you have to pay attention to whether or not you’re actually happy and try to silence any outside noise. Dr.Reston scores well in the compassion and intelligence categories, as he cares about his patients and is Elaine’s “svengali.” It’s a shame Elaine doesn’t make this one work – her dream of marrying a doctor could have been fulfilled.
Sponge-Worthy Score: 8.08
8) Robert (“The Beard”): Robert needs a “beard” in order to appease his conservative boss, and Elaine plays the part well. Robert is incredible – gorgeous, successful, dresses well, likes shopping – but he’s also gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Robert is a “starting shortstop” on his “team” and although Elaine is able to convert him for short period of time, he switches back because he is most comfortable with his own “equipment.” While I applaud Elaine’s efforts, in the end, you have to accept your significant other for who they are and not try to change them. Robert scores well in all the categories and lands at number 8.
Sponge-Worthy Score: 8.19
7) Ned Isakoff (“The Race”): Elaine thinks it’s so cool that Ned is a communist and even brags about it. Unlike with Robert, the only thing that she tries to change about Ned is his bland, drab, olive-coloured clothing (“Can’t you at least look like a successful Communist?”) Ultimately, she gets him blacklisted at Hop Sing’s and the relationship ends there. I think this one didn’t work out because Elaine is pretty selfish and careless (I love her anyway) and not because Ned is a “commie.” Ned scores well in the intelligence category because he is well-read (and well-red) and in the other categories, so he takes the number 7 spot.
Sponge-Worthy Score: 8.59
6) Hal Kitzmiller (“The Nap”): Hal’s got a great last name – it should have worked out based on the last name alone. Elaine is offended when Hal sends her a customized mattress because she thinks it means that he is expecting a “roll in the supportive hay.” It turns out that he just wants her to have the comfort and support that she deserves. He easily fixes things by complimenting her about her height and weight, which is a good move. I think everyone knows how much women love compliments, especially sincere ones about height and weight. He is a little jealous/worried about Elaine and Kramer and asks Kramer if he’s been in her bed, but a little jealousy can be a good thing (moderation is key here). Overall, Hal scores well in all categories but we never find out why it doesn’t work out.
Sponge-Worthy Score: 8.69
5) Tim Whatley (“The Label Maker”): The biggest problem with Tim is that he is somewhat of a ladies’ man – he re-gifts, he de-gifts, and then he uses an upstairs invite as a springboard to a Super Bowl sex romp. Also, Tim is a dirtbag – he has Penthouse magazines in his waiting area and he and his hygienist take advantage of Jerry when he is unconscious in the dentist’s chair. While it’s a good thing to have a little “man on the streets, freak in the sheets”, Tim is pushing it. He and Elaine do end up in love with each other somehow, but we don’t know why it doesn’t work out. Tim is intelligent (even though he’s just a doctor who failed out of med school) and scores high in the sense of humour category because he converts to Judaism just for the jokes. Tim is actually a pretty good match for Elaine, so he lands at number 5. For the record, Walter White probably would have been number 1.
Sponge-Worthy Score: 8.88
4) John Germaine (“The Rye”): Elaine thinks John is totally sponge-worthy and is “gaga” over him (he’s a saxophone player and she fantasizes about his writing a song about her). The problem with John is that he doesn’t like to do “everything” even though… well, she’s there. Jerry makes a big, sudden move when he tells John’s bandmate that Elaine and John are “hot and heavy.” Elaine loses control over the relationship (or “hand” as George would call it) and convinces him to add a “new number” to his repertoire. It’s John’s unbridled enthusiasm in this area that leads to his ultimate downfall with Elaine. As such, John stays at number 4 on this list.
Sponge-Worthy Score: 9.16
3) Keith Hernandez (“The Boyfriend”): Elaine and Keith have major chemistry, probably more than with any of the guys she dates on the show. Their pun-filled banter is really funny and cute – everyone wishes that they could have chemistry like this (it’s once in a lifetime, if you’re lucky). Jerry is jealous of both of them and describes them as “a perfect match, they go together like one of those brother-sister couples that look alike.” Elaine ends up dumping Keith because he smokes before they could even have “milk” and “cookies.” Elaine could have gotten over the smoking, but it didn’t work out for them (or for Jerry and Keith either), as they both broke up with him at the same time. Keith gets top points all around and is a near-perfect match for Elaine (and for Jerry). For these reasons, Keith is second-runner up on this list.
Sponge-Worthy Score: 9.59
2) David Puddy (“The Face Painter”): Puddy is Elaine’s longest-lasting relationship and definitely her funniest. He doesn’t score high in the intelligence category, but he stops painting his face for her, he keeps getting back together with her whenever she wants to, and he dates her despite his being a germaphobe. They drive each other crazy, but they care for each other and they are together right until the end… well, right until she tells him not to wait for her and he says, “Alright” in true Puddy fashion. Puddy is actually willing to put up with Elaine’s craziness, and there is nothing that a woman wants (or needs) more than that. Puddy is great overall and is a close runner-up on this list.
Sponge-Worthy Score: 9.64
1) John F. Kennedy Jr. (“The Contest”): John F. Kennedy Jun-ya! In the 90s, John John lived and worked in Tribeca and was often seen around Manhattan playing Frisbee in Central Park, working out at the gym and biking around the city. It is brilliant that Seinfeld was able to incorporate him into the show (there are many references to the Kennedys throughout the Seinfeld series). John John is described as someone who was charitable, intelligent, kind and adventurous. Despite his family name, he sought and treasured privacy and wanted to be treated as a regular New Yorker instead of as a celebrity (which is a lot more than can be said about any of those revolting Kardashians).
Although we never see him on the screen, we know that John John works out in Elaine’s aerobics class, they split a cab, and he asks about her “situation” afterwards. When he stops by Elaine’s building (which is actually Jerry’s building) to say hello, Elaine misses him and he ends up with Marla. In a later episode, we see John John and Marla watching the “Jerry” pilot together in bed. In the end, Elaine’s missed opportunity with the Prince of Camelot is a not only a microcosm of the Seinfeld series as a whole, but also of life in general – to be happy, you have to learn to enjoy the good moments in life as they happen instead of waiting for a fairy tale ending that may never come.
Sponge-Worthy Score: 10.00