I'll give the skinny for why The Phone Message exists. An unmade episode, The Bet, was cancelled quickly, and Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld wrote this very quickly. If you want more into the cancelled one, check out my blog. The Phone Message is based on stuff that happened to David and on the Inside Look, a canned skit he wrote for Saturday Night Live.
It's a Jerry and George episode, mostly George's. He explains to Jerry about going on a date with a girl after being called a wuss at work. It's an interesting concept. The date with goes actually well. Jerry has a date, too, and it goes successful as well. Both go downhill. George's date, Carol, asks him to go up for coffee and he declines. The regret he has is funny. Jerry goes back to his place with his date, Donna. A discussion of funny material leads to talk over a Dockers commercial. He hates it, she likes it.
George becomes obsessed with what happened and he leaves a phone message. He leaves a few more and fears the worst that Carol will hear what he had to say and responding a few days in a row. In Elaine's only scene in the episode, she talks about a brother in law doing something stupid on an answering machine and switched a tape at the person's apartment. It leaves George doing the idea and getting Jerry to help him out.
The only thing I'll say with the last part of the episode is that it feels like an advanced version of The Stakeout except for a few different reasons. Jerry and George's banter is funny and they feed off each other very well. Just the concept alone is good. Jerry's story is just the Dockers thing with Donna. It reminds me of some episodes when the show got big where Jerry talks certain things about his dates to his friends and the dates getting pissed. Though the last of his story is not necessarily his fault. As I said, Elaine only has one scene, but it is pivotal. Kramer only has two scenes. One is a stand up bit for Jerry and pissing off Donna in the other one for the Dockers thing.
It could be worse. Not a bad episode, but definitely comes off as a first season episode.
Score: 7 out of 10
Next week's review is another apartment searching episode.