Trisha Shetty (Editor)

The Abstinence

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Episode no.
Season 8 Episode 9

Written by
Steve Koren

Original air date
21 November 1996

Directed by
Andy Ackerman

Production code

"The Abstinence" is the 143rd episode of the American sitcom Seinfeld. This was the ninth episode for the eighth season. It was originally broadcast on the NBC network on 21 November 1996.



George's girlfriend has mononucleosis, so he can't have sex with her for six weeks. Elaine has met a doctor (Bob Odenkirk) who has almost gotten his license to practice. Jerry agrees to appear at career day at his former junior high school, but he is bumped back because the children love the zoo worker, then when he is about to go on, there is a fire drill. Kramer lights up a cigar in Monk's and is asked to leave by Larry. He meets others on the street who face his dilemma so he opens up his apartment as a smoking lounge.

Jerry's agent gets him a whole assembly at the school. George's lack of sex makes his mind sharper; he finds he is learning new things quickly and is now "smart". Elaine learns how much her doctor boyfriend doesn't know about medicine when he is unable to help a diner customer experiencing a medical emergency. She uses George's technique of abstinence to help him study to get his license, but in the process she becomes stupid. Later in the episode, she begs Jerry to have sex with her again, because she wants to clear her mind. When Jerry turns her down because the situation is "too weird", she then asks him if Kramer is home.

Because Kramer has been smoking heavily, his face becomes leathery and "hideous". Jerry struggles to figure out how to fill two hours in front of a junior high crowd. George however creates a presentation for Jerry's assembly. He uses his new-found intellect to give batting advice to New York Yankees players Derek Jeter and Bernie Williams, and to learn Portuguese. Kramer sees his lawyer Jackie Chiles about a case against the tobacco company for ruining his good looks, as his looks are his livelihood. He gets a settlement without Jackie's input; it turns out he gets a billboard with his face on it in Times Square, much to Chiles' displeasure.

George calculates the odds of having sex with a Portuguese waitress, and concludes that statistically, he has to do it. He arrives at the school to meet Jerry, but starts behaving stupidly. Jerry realizes that George has had sex, so he can no longer do his presentation; Jerry goes in, tells a joke and is greeted by boos. Elaine's boyfriend gets his license and dumps her, leaving her sexually frustrated. Later, talk show host David Letterman informs Jerry his appearance has been canceled because he bombed at the middle school assembly.


This episode was filmed in front of a live audience on 6 November 1996. Wade Boggs was originally included in the script but didn't make it into the filming. David Letterman's cameo was filmed at his office at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York.

The baseball scene in this episode, where George gives batting advice to Yankees players Derek Jeter and Bernie Williams, has become the subject of an internet meme. Beginning in 2011, Internet users have highlighted and parodied a still image of George with a contemptuous expression. In particular, the phrase "I seriously hope you guys don't do this" has been associated with the image.


The Abstinence Wikipedia