The Truth (Seinfeld)

"The Truth" is the 19th episode of the NBC sitcom Seinfeld. It is the second episode of the show's third season, first airing on September 25, 1991.[1] Directed by David Steinberg, this is the first episode of the show (other than the pilot) not directed by Tom Cherones. Steinberg would later direct three other episodes.[2] The episode is the first written by Elaine Pope. She later co-wrote a Seinfeld episode with Larry Charles, The Fix-Up, that won an Emmy Award in 1992 for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing in a Comedy Series.[3] She also is credited for the story of one other episode, The Cheever Letters.[4] Both David Steinberg as a guest star and Elaine Pope as a writer worked on Fridays, a show that included Larry David and Michael Richards as cast members.[5]

"The Truth"
Seinfeld episode
Episode no.Season 3
Episode 2
Directed byDavid Steinberg
Written byElaine Pope
Production code302
Original air dateSeptember 25, 1991
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Note"
Next →
"The Pen"
Seinfeld (season 3)
List of Seinfeld episodes


Years earlier, Kramer managed to persuade Jerry to donate to a fake relief fund for an upcoming Krakatoa eruption (which last erupted in 1883). In the present day, Jerry is now being audited by the IRS as a result of the fraudulent fund. George gives Jerry's tax papers to his girlfriend Patrice (played by Valerie Mahaffey), an accountant and former representative for the IRS, but he has trouble getting around her pretensions and showy pronunciation habits.

At Monk's, George breaks up with Patrice, telling her that “It’s not you. It’s me.” After Patrice insists on the real reasons, George tells her the truth. Patrice promptly grabs her handbag and leaves. When Jerry finds out, he gets upset, as she took the tax papers with her.

Meanwhile, Elaine gets tired of Kramer dating her roommate Tina (played by Siobhan Fallon). She complains about spaghetti sauce on the strainer, loud tribal music, and the make-out sessions. Later, after showing Jerry a windshield that he found on the side of the road, Kramer proposes to use it as a coffee table. When Elaine enters, she expresses her unhappiness that Kramer unknowingly walked into Elaine's bedroom and saw her naked.

Upon learning that Patrice checked into a depression clinic (described as a "mental institution" by George), Jerry and George go to visit her. When George introduces her to Jerry, she recognizes him as "the Jerome with the tax problems." She reveals to them that after she left George, she got upset and threw out Jerry's tax papers. Unfortunately, Jerry never made copies of the many receipts that he had collected over the years.

Elaine enters her apartment with dirty dishes piled high in the kitchen, loud tribal music playing, and Kramer dancing with only a towel wrapped around his waist. When Tina and Kramer ask Elaine if she is upset, she decides, after thinking about the problems George caused by telling the truth, to lie. She tells them they are a great couple. Kramer and Tina soon begin the African dance together but accidentally break the windshield coffee table as they move to the couch to make-out, severely injuring themselves and leading to Tina being admitted to the hospital. The episode ends with Jerry tracking down tax receipts, Kramer showing injuries from the glass coffee table, and Elaine needing to visit Tina at the hospital.


The 16.7 million viewers (19% share, rank of 51) of the episode on its first airing fell well below the 21.7 million viewers (25% share, rank of 24) of the season three premiere, The Note.[6] Web reviews generally give the episode a relatively low ranking. Matt Singer on Screen Crush ranks it at 153 out of 169, commenting that Jerry’s storyline “feels like a waste.”[7] Larry Fitzmaurice on Vulture rates it at 134 out of 169.[8] The staff at Place to Be Nation give it ratings of 4 or 5 on a 1 to 10 scale.[9] Collin Jacobson on DVD Movie Guide calls it a solid show but too reliant on Kramer’s “schtick.”[10] The hosts of Seincast find it solid but forgettable. More positively, Tina is one of their favorite Kramer girlfriends.[11]

Episode NotesEdit

George’s excuse for breaking up – “It’s not you, it’s me” – is used by his girlfriend in The Lip Reader, but George angrily says he invented the routine and insists “It’s not you, it’s me.”

Kramer mentions his friend Bob Sacamano, who was in a mental institution but did not benefit from electroshock therapy because his synapses were so large. This is the second of many mentions of the never-seen character.[12]

Kramer’s use of a free windshield for a coffee table foreshadows his later publication of a coffee-table book about coffee tables in The Opposite.

The 1883 eruption of the Krakatoa volcano in Indonesia was one of the largest and most destructive in recorded history.[13] It has not erupted since, despite Kramer’s claim that Jerry should contribute to a relief fund for the volcano victims

In Popular CultureEdit

The episode references the thrash crossover hit “Institutionalized” by Suicidal Tendencies. While waiting to see Patrice in the waiting area (at the mark 14:57), George expresses to Jerry that he is nervous to talk to a "mental patient" to which Jerry replies, "My cousin Douglas was in a place like this, one time. He came over to my house for dinner, there was no soda, and he went berserk screaming, 'Where's the Pepsi?! Where's the Pepsi?!'."


  1. ^ Fretts, Bruce (1993). The Entertainment Weekly Seinfeld Companion. Atomic Wedgies to Zipper Jobs: An Unofficial Guide to TV’s Funniest Show. New York: Hachett Book Group.
  2. ^ “David Steinberg.” IMDb TV.
  3. ^ “Elaine Pope.” Television Academy.
  4. ^ Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards (2005). Seinfeld – Season 4. DVD Boxed Set.
  5. ^ Perrin, Dennis (2012, January 31). “Fridays: The SNL Ripoff That Nearly Surpassed the Original.” Vulture.
  6. ^ "Ratings Archives - September 1991, Pt. 2." tv-aholic.
  7. ^ Singer, Matt (2018). “Worst to Firsts: Ranking Every Episode of Seinfeld.” Screen Crush.
  8. ^ Fitzmaurice, Larry (2019). “All 169 Seinfeld Episodes, Ranked From Worst to Best.” Vulture.
  9. ^ Place to Be Nation Staff (2014). “Seinfeld: The PTBN Rewatch – ‘The Truth’ (S3, E2).” Place to Be Nation.
  10. ^ Jacobson, Colin (2004). “Seinfeld: Season 3 (1992).” DVD Movie Guide.
  11. ^ Seincast (2014). “Seincast 20 – The Truth.” Seincast.
  12. ^ Rolling Stone (2014). “From Soup Nazis to Nuts: 100 Best ‘Seinfeld’ Characters.” Rolling Stone.
  13. ^ Bagley, Mary (2017). “Krakatoa Volcano: Facts About 1883 Eruption.” LIVESCIENCE.

External linksEdit