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July 29, 2015

Best 'Seinfeld' Episodes of All Time

by Allison Waldman, posted Oct 30th 2010 5:00PM
seinfeld_cast_nbcCounting down the top 10 greatest 'Seinfeld' episodes ...

There are some shows that truly leave their imprint on television, forever changing our perception of what's great. When Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David ('Curb Your Enthusiasm') came up with the idea for 'Seinfeld,' a sitcom for Jerry, their idea was no idea at all.

That their conceit would someday be named the greatest television program of all time by TV Guide is probably the biggest joke of all ... and we've all been in on the gag.

'Seinfeld' premiered on July 5, 1989. That's right; it was a summer TV show, which gives you clue about how little NBC thought of the project. When 'Seinfeld' ended its run on May 14, 1998, NBC was begging the principals for more.

In all, there were 180 episodes of 'Seinfeld.' The cast, in case you don't recall, was made up of four actors who played four friends who lived in New York City. Jerry Seinfeld played Jerry Seinfeld, a moderately successful, slightly neurotic stand-up comedian. Jason Alexander was George Costanza, Jerry's best friend who was a mass of neuroses. Julia Louis-Dreyfus was Elaine Benes, Jerry's ex-girlfriend and his second best friend. Michael Richards was Cosmo Kramer, Jerry's eccentric neighbor.

seinfeld_puffy_shirt_nbcEssentially, 'Seinfeld' was a show about nothing, but not really. It was primarily a show about the mundane minutiae of everyday life, but as it evolved, episodes became exaggerated and outlandish to the point of being absurd. But mostly it was funny and sharp and brilliantly creative ... yada, yada, yada.

Here's what we deem the 10 best episodes of 'Seinfeld,' which would probably be the cause of an entire episode about how they were ranked. It might be called, 'The Rankings.' Nevertheless, in order, our 10 favorites:

10. The Puffy Shirt (Season 5, Episode 2), September 23, 1993

Kramer's girlfriend, Leslie, a 'low-talker,' persuades Jerry to wear her new design -- a puffy shirt like the pirates used to wear -- when he appears on 'The Today Show.' The shirt makes Jerry look like the Count of Monte Cristo. When Bryant Gumbel laughs at him, Jerry denounces the puffy shirt, ruining Leslie's big shot at fashion fame.

9. The Rye (Season 7, Episode 11), January 24, 1996

Would you attack an old woman for a loaf of marble rye bread? That's what Jerry is reduced to in a borderline vulgar episode that finds Elaine ruining her jazz musician boyfriend by getting him to give her more variety in bed, and Kramer feeding beef-a-reeno to a hansom cab horse ... with stinky results. The sight of Jerry running off with the rye remains an unforgettable image.

8. The Hamptons (Season 5, Episode 20), May 12, 1994

One word: shrinkage. On a trip to the Hamptons in Long Island, George suffers the indignity of being seen naked by Jerry's girlfriend soon after getting out of the cold water. Poor George is forever scarred by her disdain, not believing that it was the cold water that made him look that way. Meanwhile, our fearsome foursome all agree that their friend's baby is ... ugly.

7. The Pick (Season 4, Episode 13), December 16, 1992

If there's no nostril penetration, is a pick really a pick? This is the focal point of an episode in which Jerry's reputation takes a hit because of a simple pick ("It was not a pick!"). The show also includes the hubbub caused by Elaine's nipple showing up on the Christmas card , Kramer landing a gig as a Calvin Klein underwear model.

6. The Doorman (Season 6, Episode 18), February 23, 1995

George tells Kramer about his father's man breasts, prompting Kramer to go into business with Frank (Jerry Stiller). They decide to sell the 'Bro,' a.k.a. the manssiere, a bra for men. Also, Jerry first offends, then befriends the doorman at Mr. Pitt's building and Elaine tries to get a couch.

seinfeld_the_parking_garage_nbc5. The Parking Garage (Season 3, Episode 6), October 30, 1991

Like 'The Chinese Restaurant,' this is another classic 'Seinfeld.' The premise here is one we can all relate to, the gang can't remember where they parked Kramer's car in a multi-level mall garage. You have Kramer lugging a huge box carrying an air conditioner, Jerry needing to pee, Elaine's concern about the two goldfish she's bought that have to get home to a bowl, and George worrying about making an anniversary dinner with his parents that he can't miss. After wandering around and even getting arrested (George and Jerry), the group get to the car only to find that it won't start.

4. The Pen (Season 3, Episode 3), October 2, 1991

Although both Kramer and George are not in 'The Pen,' the appearance of Jerry's parents, as well as Sandy Baron as Jack Klompus, are a plus. But it's really New Yorkers Jerry and Elaine stuck in Florida that makes the show hilarious. Elaine's discomfort from the lack of air conditioning (Jerry's parents won't put it on!), her back pain from the pull-out sofa, and Jerry's social faux pas of accepting the astronaut pen from Jack, are keys to the hilarity. The topper, of course, is the ending, where Elaine and Jerry are sentenced to five extra days in South Florida.

3. The Chinese Restaurant (Season 2, Episode 12), May 23, 1991

Even though this episode did not include Kramer, it's a quintessential 'Seinfeld.' The reason? Nothing happens. It's Elaine, Jerry and George waiting for a table at a Chinese restaurant. They wait and wait and yap and yap, but it's the everyday nothingness of the show that makes it so unique. NBC didn't want to broadcast the episode because they thought nobody would want to watch it. Larry David threatened to quit if the net forced changed on them. NBC gave in, the show aired and critics declared it an instant classic.

seinfeld_the_soup_nazi_nbc2. The Soup Nazi (Season 7, Episode 6), November 2, 1995

"No soup for you!" Have you ever heard of such a thing? Nobody outside of New York had either, but this episode captured and fictionalized a real Manhattan shop when the proprietor/chef made great soup. However, patrons had to follow his rules of order to order a bowl. Kramer becomes buddies with the chef, Jerry fears him, George is slighted by him, and Elaine gets herself banished for a year from the establishment. In the ironic twist ending, Elaine winds up with the soup man's secret recipes and gets her revenge by giving them away!

1. The Contest (Season 4, Episode 11), November 18, 1992

Probably the most edgy of all 'Seinfelds,' 'The Contest' proposed the idea that in a battle of wills, none of these four selfish New Yorkers can refrain from self-gratification ... not even when there's money on the line. It was a typical Larry David kind of story, especially as each of them succumbed to temptation ... although George claimed to have won the contest. One element that made the episode so funny was that nobody ever said the word masturbation.

We're sure that have your favorites which may or may not have made the list, so share your feelings. Which episodes were unjustly omitted or which should have missed the cut? Leave your thoughts below!

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