J Peterman, whose real name is Jacopo, is Elaine’s boss, a world traveler, and owner of the J. Peterman Catalog. He is known for his lavish lifestyle, unique tastes, and interesting investments such as Kennedy’s golf clubs and a slice of cake from King Henry VIII’s wedding.
Peterman fires or threatens to fire Elaine on numerous occasions, including…
- for pretending to be in love with Bob Groesbeck, a partially deaf employee
- for not liking The English Patient
- for carrying Tic-Tacs with her all over the office
- if she didn’t help Zach get back off the horse, smack, white palace, the Chinaman’s nightcap.
Mr. Peterman is played by John O’Hurley, first appearing in Season 6 through the end of the series.
J. Peterman Appears in:
Elaine first meets J. Peterman while walking the dirty, dingy NYC streets on a rainy night. She and Peterman hit it off when discussing their love of fine clothing.
“That’s the best way to get someplace you’ve never been.”
The Secret Code
Elaine schedules a dinner for Jerry, George, Peterman, and herself, but has to back out because she decides to go on a date.
Jerry quickly comes up with an excuse to miss the dinner as well, leaving George with Peterman for the rest of the evening.
“Fong? It will just be two this evening. George, we dine.”
Peterman gets a phone call where he learns that his mother is very sick, and brings George to visit her at her home. Peterman’s mother dies the next morning.
When they come across a man stuck inside a burning building Peterman forces George to give up his ATM code to help free the man. George’s code is ‘Bosco’, the last words Peterman’s mother spoke.
“George, you’re obviously lying, anyone can see that!”
Peterman sees a woman in the hallway wearing a bra as a top and decides he wants to market it as a new direction in women’s fashion.
He tasks Elaine with putting together the marketing copy by the end of the week.
“Have it on my desk by the end of the week.”
The Shower Head
Peterman learns that Elaine has failed a urine test, where she tested positive for opium.
That’s right, Elaine. White lotus. Yam-yam. Shanghai Sally.
Later, Peterman overhears Kramer asking Elaine if he can shower at her place (due to the low flow shower heads recently installed at his apartment complex), but Peterman mistakes this conversation thinking Kramer is a drug addict looking to score some opium from Elaine.
He fires Elaine, but later reinstates her when he learns that she has passed the drug test.
The Friar’s Club
Peterman hires a partially deaf man, Bob Grossberg.
When Peterman observes what he believes to be Elaine confessing her love for Bob, he gives her two tickets to The Flying Sandos Brothers.
“Bob, we have a little baptism by fire for you, so to speak.”
The Bottle Deposit
Peterman is going out of town and asks Elaine to bid on a set of golf clubs owned by John F. Kennedy.
He authorizes Elaine to spend up to $10,000 on the clubs. Elaine ends up spending $20,000 on the clubs when she gets in a bidding war with Sue Ellen Mischke.
Jerry’s car gets stolen by his auto mechanic with JFK’s clubs in the back, which he then throws at Kramer who is chasing him in Newman’s mail truck(that is quite the sentence).
Peterman finally gets the bent clubs from Elaine, which he thinks got bent by JFK himself for being an angry golfer.
“It was the Peace Corps that gave me my start in this business. Clothing the naked natives of Bantu Besh.”
Peterman has a nervous breakdown and runs off to Burma leaving Elaine in charge of the catalog.
She draws inspiration from Kramer who dominates his karate class and convinces Elaine that she can run the company.
Unfortunately, she puts her idea for an “urban sombrero” on the cover.
“Oh, my neck is one gargantuan monkey fist.”
The Chicken Roaster
Elaine charges lavish expenses to her work account now that she is running the J Peterman Catalog.
To avoid being fired, Elaine heads to the Burmese jungle to find Peterman and get his approval for her purchase of a Sable hat.
Elaine locates Peterman, as he was the only white poet warlord in the neighborhood, but he refuses to approve her purchases without seeing the hat.
“You’re an errand girl, sent by grocery clerks, to collect a bill.”
Elaine agrees to get Jerry’s father, Morty, a job at the J Peterman Catalog. J. Peterman returns from the jungles of Burma.
Effective immediately Elaine returns to her old position, at her original salary and Peterman, of course, will return to his.
Peterman fires Morty when he complains that they are working to late into the night – it was only 5:30 pm.
“Kudos, Elaine, on a job… done.”
The Van Buren Boys
Peterman buys stories from Kramer for $50 to use in his J Peterman autobiography.
Elaine is tasked with collecting the crazy stories from Kramer which often make no sense.
When Elaine embellishes the stories to make them more interesting Peterman decides to sell his stories back to Kramer.
“Kramer, my friend, that is one ripping good yarn…”
Elaine’s co-worker Peggy calls her Susie by mistake. Elaine never corrects her and she begins to disparage Elaine, mistaking her for Susie.
When Peterman learns of the dispute, he demands that all parties get together to resolve the issue.
Finally, Elaine is forced to tell Peterman that Susie committed suicide. Peterman speaks at her funeral, claiming he slept with Susie.
“I will never, forget that one night. Working late on the catalog. Just the two of us. And we surrendered to temptation. And it was pretty good.”
The English Patient
Peterman is surprised to learn that Elaine has never seen The English Patient and drops everything to take her to see the film.
Elaine finally comes clean, telling him that she hates the film. Peterman fires Elaine due to her hatred of the movie but rehires her if she takes a trip to the desert.
“Elaine, I hope you’re watching the clothes, because I can’t take my eyes off the passion.”
The Muffin Tops
Kramer sells his stories to J Peterman for his autobiography and claims he is “the real Peterman” when the book finally comes out.
Kramer then starts conducting “The Peterman Reality Tour” to give people the real experience of knowing him.
“You’re that gangly fellow we bought the stories from.”
The Summer of George
Elaine is having trouble with a co-worker named Sam and appeals to Mr. Peterman for help.
Hearing about the trouble brewing between two women at the office, Peterman gets excited at the prospect of a cat-fight.
“Well, I see what’s going on in here. I am smack dab in the middle of a good old-fashioned cat fight.”
The Merv Griffin Show
Elaine gives Tic Tacs to the Sidler, who she works with so he can no longer sidle.
Unfortunately, the sound of the Tic Tacs annoys Peterman, saying it reminds him of old Haitian torture
“One moment. I’m reading the most fascinating article on the most fascinating people of the year. Annnnnd done.”
Peterman announces that Elaine’s co-worker Peggy is homesick. Peggy is a germaphobe and Elaine is annoyed with her fear of being exposed to any germs.
“She’s stuffed up, achy, and suffering from intense malaise.”
Elaine writes a comic that appears in The New Yorker where J. Peterman realizes it is a Ziggy.
“Flash of lightning Elaine I just realized why I like this cartoon so much…It’s a Ziggy!”
Elaine meets a new guy at a work party named Zach who she starts to make out with in front of all her co-workers. So she decides to pretend they are dating so she doesn’t look like a slut
“Elaine, who among us hasn’t snuck into the break room to nibble on a love newton?”
Taking a stand against office celebrations, Elaine develops a sugar addiction and raids Peterman’s refrigerator for a piece of cake.
Peterman later reveals that the slice is his latest acquisition, which in fact is a slice of cake from the wedding of King Edward VIII to Wallis Simpson, circa 1937, price–$29,000.
Elaine tries to fool him by replacing it with an Entenmann’s.
“Get well, get well soon we wish you to get well.”
Peterman attends the trial of Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer.
“For the love of God!”
J. Peterman Quotes:
J Peterman: Then, in the distance, I heard the bulls. I began running as fast as I could. Fortunately, I was wearing my Italian cap toe oxfords. Sophisticated yet different; nothing to make a huge fuss about. Rich dark brown calfskin leather. Matching leather vent. Men’s whole and half size 7 through 13. Price: $135.00.
Elaine Benes: Mr. Peterman, you can’t leave
J Peterman: I’ve already left, Elaine. I’m in Burma.
Elaine Benes: Burma?
J Peterman: You most likely know it as Myanmar, but it will always be Burma to me.
JPeterman: I’m afraid I have some bad news, Elaine. It appears you will not be accompanying me to Africa.
Elaine Benes: What? Why not?
J Peterman: I’m afraid it’s your urine, Elaine. You tested positive for opium.
Elaine Benes: Opium?
J Peterman: That’s right, Elaine. White lotus. Yam-yam. Shanghai Sally.
J Peterman: I know what you’re going through. I too once fell under the spell of opium. It was 1979. I was traveling the Yangtze in search of a Mongolian horsehair vest. I had got to the market after sundown, all of the clothing traders had gone, but a different sort of trader still lurked about. “Just a taste,” he said. That was all it took.
J Peterman: Oh, Elaine. The toll road of denial is a long and dangerous one. The price, your soul. Oh and by the way you have til’ five to clear out your desk. You’re fired.
Elaine Benes: “Mr. Peterman, here are these pages that you wanted
J Peterman: One moment. I’m reading the most fascinating article on the most fascinating people of the year… And, done.