Seinfeld: Season 7, Episode 20

The Bottle Deposit (2 May 1996)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Comedy
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A garage mechanic steals Jerry's car. Elaine tries to win J. Peterman JFK's presidential golf clubs at an auction. George is asked to work on a mysterious assignment. Kramer and Newman run a recycling scam.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
La Forge - Clerk
Mary Jo Keenen ...
Susie, the Farmer's Daughter
Sandy Ward ...


In this two-part episode, Kramer and Newman scheme to make money on recycling by taking a mail truck to Michigan full of bottles and cans. But their road trip takes a turn for the worst (literally) when Jerry's car is stolen by a psychotic auto mechanic and they track Jerry's car out in the Midwest. Elaine outbids Sue Ellen Mischkie by double her budget for JFK's golf clubs and leaves them in Jerry's car. George gets a project from his boss Wilhelm but doesn't hear the other end of what he's supposed to do. Steinbrenner sees the results of George's project and has him committed to a mental hospital. Written by halo1k

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Release Date:

2 May 1996 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


In syndication, this is the only episode of Season 7 to feature Jerry's stand-up comedy routine. See more »


The USPS eagle symbol on the mail truck is facing to the left. the postal services eagle faces to the right. See more »


Susie, the Farmer's Daughter: [Waving] Goodbye,Norman! I love you!
See more »


References Three of Hearts (1993) See more »


99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall
Performed by Wayne Knight and Michael Richards (as "9,999 Bottles and Cans in the Truck")
See more »

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User Reviews

Four zany plots and a road trip for Kramer and Newman
11 December 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Bottle Return ranks as one of this series' zaniest, funniest episodes. This two-parter provides some of Newman's best scenes, as well as a couple of Elaine's stupidest actions.

George waits outside the men's room at work while Mr. Wilhelm, his boss, uses the facility. Tired of waiting, he enters to hear Wilhelm concluding directions for a big project that he has, apparently, detailed while in a stall, thinking George was in the room listening. Because he has just been chewed out by Wilhelm for not paying attention, George goes to great lengths to not let Wilhelm know he never heard what the project was. This leads to George getting in trouble with Mr. Steinbrenner when a completed report that inexplicably appears is believed to have been done by George but is full of nonsense.

Meanwhile, Elaine is asked to go to an auction and bid up to $10,000 by Mr. Peterman on a set of golf clubs used by President Kennedy. She stupidly tells her rival, who happened to be there, that she plans to bid on those clubs, causing See Ellen to try to outbid her. Elaine winds up spending twice what Peterman authorized, but gets the clubs. Her second dumb action was, when Jerry dropped her off at her apartment that evening, she left the clubs in his back seat, telling him she will get them later. I wanted to scream at her, "Get them now. That'll be the easiest way!" Jerry has mechanical troubles with his car. He takes it to his longtime mechanic, Tony, played by Brad Garrett (Robert on Everybody Loves Raymond), who treats the car like a loved member of his family. Peeved that Jerry mistreats the car, he takes off in it, rather than give it back to Jerry.

All of the above are side plots to the main plot—from the title—where Kramer and Newman scheme to defraud beverage manufacturers by taking New York bottles where people paid a 5¢ deposit, and return them to Michigan, where the deposit, and thus the return fee is 10¢ per bottle or can. The pair even stoop to stealing bottles from people all around town to collect enough to fill a mail truck that Newman will drive to a regional center in Saginaw, Michigan in connection with heavy mail about Mothers' Day. They have computed that they will make a ton of money because they don't have to pay anything for the truck or gas to make the trip.

On Seinfeld, most plots intertwine. Here, Kramer spots Jerry's car while driving through Ohio. He phones Jerry who instructs him to abandon his route to Michigan and follow the car. Elaine is there and, of course, is only worried about the golf clubs inside it. Kramer foolishly figures he can catch Jerry's sports car in his big mail truck and follows the car. This leads to a crazy scene involving a beautiful farmer's daughter and Newman being tempted by her.

We finish with Mr. Peterman delivering one of his greatest lines ever, concerning Ethel Kennedy's "proclivity to procreate." I've tried to describe the setups of the various plots without ruining the finishes of them for anyone who hasn't seen this. This wild episode had crazy things throughout and all of them were great. It is a 10 in my book.

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