Although I watch very little TV now, like most people, for much of my life I’ve had favorite shows. During most of the 1990s, Seinfeld was the show I could least stand missing on a week-to-week basis. Its brand of humor struck a chord with me – and many millions of other people that helped it to the top of the ratings during that period.
I continued watching the show in reruns for years after it was discontinued, but eventually, after seeing every episode several times, I burned out on it and stopped watching. Yet I have all of the seasons on DVD should the urge to revisit my favorite episodes ever strike. I also don’t imagine it will be hard to find on TV for years to come.
And speaking of favorite Seinfeld episodes, that’s a topic I’ve gotten into with people and seen come up online many times over the years. So it seemed like a solid choice for my next Top Ten list.
While putting it together, I came to the conclusion that George is unquestionably my favorite character. He is central to most of the episodes that came to mind.
As is my usual custom, we’ll go through them in reverse order.
10. The Opposite from season 5 – George’s disastrous life takes a sudden and miraculous turn for the better when he begins to speak and act in a way that is the exact opposite of how he normally behaves.
9. The Bizarro Jerry from season 8 – Perennially unemployed Kramer unwittingly gets a “job” that leaves him with less time for Jerry, who is dating a woman whose only problem is that she has man-hands. Meanwhile, George uses a photo of a beautiful woman he claims is his dead fiancé to gain entry into a forbidden club frequented by gorgeous models.
8. The Chinese Restaurant from season 2 – Seinfeld was known as a show about nothing, and this one is a perfect example of why. The entire episode takes place in the lobby of a Chinese restaurant, where Jerry, Elaine and George wait not-so-patiently for a table.
7. The Pez Dispenser from season 3 – George’s attempts to change the dynamics of his relationship with a concert pianist he fears is losing interest in him by preemptively breaking up with her. Things went south between the two after Elaine disrupted one of her recitals by laughing at a Pez dispenser that Jerry placed on her lap.
6. The Library from season 3 – This episode features the legendary speech near the end by Mr. Bookman, an investigator from the New York City Public Library, who is after a book Jerry checked out over 20 years earlier.
5. The Marine Biologist from season 5 – George pretends to be a marine biologist to win the latest female object of his desire and winds up in a situation with a whale on a beach. What may be my favorite Seinfeld line comes from this episode: “The sea was angry that day, my friends; like an old man sending back soup in a deli.”
4. The Abstinence from season 8 – Jerry finds himself bumped from speaking at his former junior high school’s Career Day when the zoo-worker who went on in front of him runs long. Meanwhile, George must forego sex for an extended period when his girlfriend gets mononucleosis and finds the experience has turned him into a brilliant intellectual.
3. The Limo from season 3 – George and Jerry take a limousine from the airport that was intended for a man named O’Brien, who they happen to know missed his flight. They pretend to be Donald O’Brien (George) and his friend, Dylan Murphy (Jerry), to get the ride, only to discover that O’Brien is a Neo-Nazi leader who is being taken to Madison Square Garden to give a speech to his followers. Upon arrival, they, along with Elaine and Kramer, who they stopped to pick up, find that the Garden is surrounded by protestors who are there to confront O’Brien.
2. The Subway from season 3 – This is my fourth episode from season three. A case could be made that the show reached its peak that season, and this episode is a perfect illustration of that. Each of the four main characters has his or her own tale to tell after they separate at a subway station and get on different cars. Jerry befriends a nudist; Kramer is stalked by a scary, would-be thief; George is conned into skipping a job interview in favor of going to a hotel room with a woman who sits near him; and Elaine misses her friends’ lesbian wedding (that was a fairly new issue at this point) while having a claustrophobic episode after her car gets stuck between stops and the lights go out.
- The Secret Code from season 7 – This episode was Mr. Peterman’s debut. George getting roped into having lunch with him because he couldn’t come up with an excuse to get out of it as fast as Jerry, then being dragged along by Peterman to his dying mother’s hospital bedside is tough to top. But it may have happened in the episode’s climactic scene, when George feels a compulsion to reveal his ATM pin to the apparently unconscious Peterson matriarch while alone in the room with her, only to see her suddenly wake up and start shouting the pin repeatedly.
That was fun. I may get back to some of these episodes sooner than expected after putting this post together.
My next cheesesteak outing is scheduled for Saturday. If all goes according to plan, it should be a major one. But we all know things don’t always go as planned. The place I’m going to is extremely popular and can be difficult to get through to when trying to place an order. I’ve got my fingers crossed.