There’s no question that Seinfeld is the greatest and most influential sitcom to ever appear on television. With a plethora of funny moments, quotable catchphrases, and quirky characters, Seinfeld‘s watchability and timelessness have hardly died down since the show ended almost 30 years ago.
Thus, these 10 episodes continue to be some of the best television that audiences need to experience at least once in their lives.
In what is considered the first classic Seinfeld episode, Jerry, George, and Elaine try to get a table at a Chinese restaurant. Though the maître d’ (played by the legendary James Hong) says it will only take “five, ten minutes,” the group ends up waiting much, much longer.
The night grows more baffling and irritating for the three friends as other people get tables ahead of them and take up the pay phone. Even though Kramer isn’t in this episode, it still excels at displaying its potential by taking an everyday problem and turning it into comedy gold.
When the gang goes to a New Jersey mall to buy a new air conditioner, they end up getting lost in a parking garage while trying to find their car. Just about everyone they encounter refuses to help them, and the four friends (and a fish) suffer from full bladders, heavy appliances, and strict deadlines.
Just like The Chinese Restaurant, this episode takes a relatable situation and turns it into a confusing but hilarious prison that Jerry and his pals must endure. Even when they find the car and everyone gets in, they get the short end of the stick.
In this two-part episode, Jerry becomes friends with Mets infielder Keith Hernandez, and Kramer and Newman recount their encounter with the ballplayer, who allegedly shot a “magic loogie” in a perfect spoof of Oliver Stone’s JFK.
At the same time, George tries to get an extension on his unemployment benefits by claiming he was interviewed for a job at “Vandelay Industries,” but he is literally caught with his pants down in one of the most spectacular sitcom endings ever seen.
“My name is George. I’m unemployed, and I live with my parents.” This line perfectly sums up George’s life at the end of season 5, when he realizes every decision he’s made has been wrong. However, he decides to do the opposite of what he would normally do, and this has surprisingly positive results, as he gets a new girlfriend, a job at the New York Yankees, and his own apartment.
But as George’s life changes for the better, things worsen for Elaine because of a box of Jujyfruits, and she takes Costanza’s place as a miserable failure. Meanwhile, Kramer finally publishes his coffee table book about coffee tables, and his press tour ends just as it begins due to an unrehearsed spit take on live TV. And Jerry …things even out for him.
In this episode, Jerry clashes with his mechanic, David Puddy, over using his “move” with Elaine, and many sexual innuendos abound. Meanwhile, Kramer gets someone else’s license plates that say “ASSMAN,” which opens many hilarious new avenues for him, including picking up women and parking in a proctologist’s reserved space.
It all comes to a head when Frank gets a Fusilli Jerry stuck in his nether regions, leading to a fateful encounter with the Assman himself. A million to one shot, indeed.
When the gang stays at their friends’ house in the Hamptons, George gets miffed that they see his girlfriend topless before him. To get even, he tries to do the same with Jerry’s girlfriend, who walks in on him as he suffers a case of “shrinkage” that, unfortunately, leads to some misleading and hilarious gossip.
The term itself has since been added to the popular lexicon, and just like Jaws (one of Steven Spielberg’s best movies), the episode made sure no man can ever go swimming without fear of sharing George’s fate.
When Jerry reunites with George’s high school crush, the former lies and says his pal is a marine biologist. This puts Costanza in a tough situation, especially when he and his date come across a beached whale in need of someone with his nonexistent expertise.
In what is probably one of the best twists in sitcom history, George ends up saving the whale’s life from a golf ball that Kramer had hit into the ocean earlier in the story.
When Kramer starts dating a “low-talking” fashion designer, Jerry unknowingly volunteers to wear her new puffy shirt on The Today Show. As this goes down, George moves back in with his parents and gets a job as a hand model.
There are so many silly and memorable moments in this episode, from Jerry wearing the titular shirt to George hearing the tragic tale of his self-loving predecessor to Jerry Stiller’s debut as Frank Costanza. And the studio audience losing it in the background only makes the experience even better.
As a prank on an eavesdropping woman, Elaine makes it sound like Jerry and George are homosexuals. Unfortunately for them, this woman turns out to be a journalist who “outs” Jerry and George to the public after an interview gone hilariously wrong.
The way the duo struggle to assert their heterosexuality without sounding homophobic is spectacularly funny, with the phrase, “not that there’s anything wrong with that,” becoming one of the show’s most iconic lines.
This landmark episode pushed the boundaries of what was considered too taboo for prime-time television. After George’s mother Estelle catches him “enjoying himself,” he and the gang start a bet to see who can go the longest without doing the dirty deed.
But with Jerry dating a virgin, a nudist moving in across the street, Elaine meeting JFK Jr., and George seeing a hospital sponge bath between an attractive female nurse and patient, this contest pushes the group to their limits, and the results couldn’t be better or funnier.
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