My Favourite Seinfeld Episodes
June 3rd 2016
‘Seinfeld’ is without question IMHO the greatest TV comedy show every made. Its storylines sing with wit and invention. The four main characters: Jerry, George, Kramer and Elaine, play brilliantly off each other as they attempt to avoid (often unsuccessfully) disaster, embrace maturity and learn from their own mistakes.
‘Seinfeld’ became huge in the US when it showed over its nine seasons until 1998. In the UK it was only ever shown on terrestrial TV late night on BBC2 in the late 1990s in double-bills with the equally brilliant ‘The Larry Sanders Show’. I am not complaining, as this is how I was introduced to the genius of both shows, but it does mean a large part of the UK has missed out on both of these works of sheer joy.
I have put my fav episodes in some kind of order, but really all of these episodes are utterly brilliant, bewildering, and hilarious. The first three really stand out as my three favourite episodes in so many respects: one of which is the wonder of George Costanza as a character. When I first started watching ‘Seinfeld’ Kramer for years was my favourite for many reasons, including his amazing physical contortions, and the way he developed sliding into Jerry’s flat over the years. But slowly, it became George, as he really perfected playing a desperate, self-hating, doubting man, but one with a huge element of playfulness in all this. So here is my list of fav ‘Seinfeld’ episodes: each one a beautiful gem!
- The Summer of George
Season Eight Episode 22 (last of that series)
George decides that he is going to do all the things he has never got round to – aided by a redundancy check after being sacked. Suffice to say everything goes wrong that he plans in what was meant to be ‘the Summer of George.’ Kramer earns a gig being a seat replacer at the Tonys, winning an award by mistake as part of the soap ‘Scarsdale Surprise’, and then to keep it has to tell Raquel Welsh that she is sacked from the series as she can’t dance; that doesn’t end well.
Great moment and lines: The opening sequence: George declares: ‘I proclaim this the Summer of George’ and then has a fly annoy him.
- The Opposite
Season Five Episode 21 (last of that series)
Utter comic genius. George realises that every decision he has made in his life has been wrong, which Jerry then convinces him must mean that ‘if every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.’ This becomes his new ‘religion’ to stunning effect, while Elaine becomes ‘George’: i.e.: the loser in the group. George gets a job with the New York Yankees, while Elaine loses her job and flat. Meanwhile, Kramer begins promoting his ‘Coffee Table Book on Coffee Tables’, which doesn’t exactly work out.
Great moment and lines: George standing up to the annoying guys in the cinema: ‘we’re gonna take it outside and I’m gonna show you what it’s like!’
- The Limo
Season Three Episode 19
Jerry is being picked up at the airport by George – who has got there, but whose car has broken down. Jerry sees a chauffeur with a sign for an ‘O’Brien’ who he knows didn’t get on the flight and they decide to pretend that George is O’Brien. Only upon getting in the car do they find out that O’Brien is an Aryan supremacist away to address a neo-Nazi rally at Madison Square Garden. Pushing all sorts of sensitivities, including George finding a Nazi woman ‘kind of a cute Nazi’, and Kramer considering that Jerry might be a Nazi because he is so ‘clean and organised.’
Great moment and lines: Kramer: ‘Jerry is the leader of the Aryan Union’; Elaine: ‘Jerry is a Nazi? Jerry is not a Nazi, he is just neat!’
- The Bottle Deposit
Season Seven Episodes 21/22
Kramer and Newman come up with a hair brain scheme which involves travelling across the state line with bottles so that they can get a higher return. Elaine has to buy JFK’s golf clubs at an auction for her boss, which leads to the clubs being stored in Jerry’s car. Tony, a car mechanic, has a dispute with Jerry about looking after his car, who then takes off with the car and the golf clubs. Kramer and Newman’s van of bottles then meets Tony in his getaway Jerry car.
Great moment and lines: George and Jerry trying to decipher a work project to the lyrics of Petula Clark’s ‘Downtown’.
- The Marine Biologist
Season Five Episode 15
Jerry tells an old school chum who he hasn’t bumped into for years when she asks after George that he is now a marine biologist. George takes on the identity in a date, but while walking along the beach comes across a stranded whale, and has to assume the role of an actual marine biologist, saving the whale’s life. Elaine meanwhile has to deal with a grumpy Russian author Yuri Testikov working on his novel and telling him that Tolstoy originally wanted to call ‘War and Peace’, ‘War, What is it Good For?’ which Jerry had told her as a joke.
Great moment and lines: George at the end explaining how he saved the whale and lost the gal: ‘Jerry, at that moment – I was a Marine Biologist!’
- The Merv Griffin Show
Season Nine Episode 6
Kramer finds in a skip the old studio set of ‘The Merv Griffin Show’ and rebuilds it in his flat deciding to re-enact the show when Jerry, George and Elaine drop by. This leads to Jerry’s deception of his girlfriend so he can play with her impressive collection of toys coming out (which has involved him drugging her), which results in them breaking up. George meanwhile has got to nurse a squirrel he has hit with his car, paying exorbitant vet bills.
Great moment and lines: George after the squirrel incident saying to the pigeons: ‘So go ahead pigeons. Laugh it up. I’m getting in my car now and the last thing I heard … we have No Deal!’
- The Bubble Boy
Season Four Episode 6
Jerry, George and Elaine go off to the country to a lakeside cabin, and along the way Jerry agrees to meet a young boy who lives in a plastic bubble, hence ‘The Bubble Boy’. Jerry gets lost and George and his girlfriend, Susan, get there first, and start a game of ‘Trivial Pursuit’ with ‘The Bubble Boy’, which descends into a heated argument over an answer, the bursting of the bubble, and George and Susan quickly vacating the scene, just as Jerry and Elaine arrive.
Great moment and lines: The ‘Trivial Pursuit’ question where George insists the answer isn’t the Moors, but the Moops.
- The Invitations
Season Seven Episode 24 (last of that series)
George and Susan make the final preparations for their wedding which George is trying by every means to get out of: taking up smoking, asking for a pre-nup, none of which work. Jerry meets Jeannie who he realises is just like him, falls in love, and thinks ‘I’ve been waiting for me to come along and now I ‘ve swept myself off my feet.’ Jerry proposes and then realises he hates himself, while George is saved from marriage at the last moment!
Great moment and line: Jerry: ‘I can’t be with someone like me. I hate myself.’
- The Shoes
Season Four Episode 16
Jerry and George are struggling to keep NBC interested in their show about ‘nothing’, but when they meet the studio executive, Russell, George is distracted by his daughter’s cleavage, which is noticed by Russell, leading to the cancellation of their series. George and Jerry try to convince him that looking at cleavage is an automatic male response, which initially doesn’t work, and then elicit Elaine in a scheme to show this is fact.
Great moment and lines: George’s defence: ‘It was cleavage. I couldn’t look away’; Jerry: ‘Looking at cleavage is like looking at the sun too long. It is too risky’.
- The Pool Guy
Season Seven Episode 8
Elaine befriends George’s fiancé Susan, leading to one of the great George proclamations: the death of ‘independent George’. This leads to George becoming even more unhappy and threatened as Susan hangs out with his friends, only for her to dump them, realising how self-obsessed they are. Kramer finds that his new phone number is near that of a film info line, and decides to become an unofficial one.
Great moment and lines: The death of ‘independent George’: ‘movie shop George, coffee shop George, liar George’, leading Jerry to reply, ‘I love that George’, before George concludes ‘a George divided against itself cannot stand.’
- The Trip
Season 4 Episode 1/2
Jerry and George go to LA as Jerry is appearing on a TV programme. While there they attempt to meet up with Kramer who is in LA trying to make the break as a wannabe actor. However, due to a series of misunderstandings, Kramer becomes the number one suspect in a murder case and is arrested and questioned by the police. While he is being held the real murderer strikes again, proving that Kramer is innocent.
Great moment and line: Kramer while in jail talking to Jerry and George and in complete denial: ‘I am a player’.