"The Abstinence"
The abstinence
Season 8
Episode 143
Air Date November 21, 1996
Writer(s) Steve Koren
Director Andy Ackerman
The Chicken Roaster · The Andrea Doria

“The Abstinence” is the ninth episode of season eight of Seinfeld, and the 143rd episode overall. This episode first aired on November 21, 1996.


George's girlfriend Louise has mononucleosis, so he can't have sex with her for six weeks. Elaine has met a doctor, played by 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 newfound intellect to give batting advice to the New York Yankees’ 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.

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 and meets Jerry, behaving stupidly. Jerry realizes that George has had sex, so he can no longer go do his presentation; Jerry goes out 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 high school assembly.

Critical Analysis

A blog dedicated to the legality of the issues that arise in Seinfeld episodes, Seinfeld Law, analyzed whether Ms. Wilkie and the Tobacco Company violated the lawyer's Model Rules of Professional Conduct by communicating directly with Kramer, instead of his lawyer Jackie Chiles.

Season Eight Episodes
The Foundation | The Soul Mate | The Bizarro Jerry | The Little Kicks | The Package | The Fatigues | The Checks | The Chicken Roaster | The Abstinence | The Andrea Doria | The Little Jerry | The Money | The Comeback | The Van Buren Boys | The Susie | The Pothole | The English Patient | The Nap | The Yada Yada | The Millennium | The Muffin Tops | The Summer of George
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