Today is Jerry Seinfeld’s birthday. Among other things (umm, Bee Movie), he is known for starring in THE GREATEST SITCOM EVER MADE. It’s a testament to its greatness that I don’t have a favorite episode — I have 13 favorite episodes. Here they are, in no particular order. Except alphabetical.
The Betrayal, Season 9, Episode 8
The gang goes to India for a wedding, told in reverse chronology. We get George’s refusal to take off his Timberlands, Jerry and George “schnapping” Elaine, and the genesis of Kramer’s mooching.
Favorite quote: “You can stuff your sorries in a sack, mister!” — George
The Boyfriend, Season 3, Episodes 17 and 18
Former New York Met Keith Hernandez is “dating” Jerry and Elaine. It has the first appearance of Vandelay Industries, the Second Spitter Theory, and “You gotta see the baby.”
Favorite quote: “And you want to be my latex salesman.” — Jerry
The Chicken Roaster, Season 8, Episode 8
Kramer wages a war against Kenny Rogers Roasters, only to later become addicted to their chicken. Jerry gets his old college friend Seth fired when he tells Seth to skip a meeting, then Seth goes to work for Roasters. Elaine runs up a huge tab on the company account, then has to fly to Burma and sort it out with J Peterman, who has pulled a Colonel Kurtz and become a “white poet-warlord.”
Favorite quote: “Stay away from the chicken! Bad chicken! Mess you up!” — Kramer
The Chinese Restaurant, Season 2, Episode 11
I struggled to pick between this and The Parking Garage, because they’re kind of similar. Fourteen favorite episodes would have been too decadent! Anyway, this classic episode takes place within the confines of a Chinese restaurant as George, Jerry, and Elaine wait for a table. It really sums up what the show was about. Nothing.
Favorite quote: “For 50 bucks? I’d put my face in the soup and blow.” — George
The Contest, Season 4, Episode 11
The most infamous episode of Seinfeld, which added “master of my domain” to the pop culture lexicon. Kramer’s “I’m out!” is the funniest moment of the episode.
Favorite quote: “She’s driving me crazy: I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, I’m here, I’m climbing the walls. Meanwhile I’m in this contest, I’m dating a virgin, SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE!” — Jerry
The Hamptons, Season 5, Episode 21
So much goodness packed into this ep: shrinkage, the ugly baby, George wanting reparations, and Elaine being breathtaking. The best part is George’s lobster revenge.
Elaine: “Some night, huh?”
Ben: “Yeah, I wish I had my telescope.”
Elaine: “Some dinner, huh?”
Ben: “Nothing like fresh caught lobster.”
Elaine: “Some house, huh?”
Ben: “It was built by Mark Farman.”
Elaine: “Some ugly baby, huh?”
Ben: “What did you say?”
Elaine: “I said, uh, some snuggly baby.”
Ben: “He is something.”
The Maid, Season 9, Episode 19
Jerry is sleeping with his maid, Elaine is mistaken for somebody’s grandmother on the phone, and George tries to get the nickname “T-Bone” to stick at the office, but winds up being called Koko. The scene at the end where Kramer is lost is one of my favorite Seinfeld moments. I also love the counter scene in the diner.
Jerry: “What’s around you?”
Kramer: “I’m looking at Ray’s Pizza. You know where that is?”
Jerry: “Is it Famous Ray’s?”
Kramer: “No. It’s Original Ray’s.”
Jerry: “Famous Original Ray’s?”
Kramer: “It’s just Original, Jerry!”
Jerry: “Well, what street are you on?”
Kramer: “Hey, I’m on first and first. How can the same street intersect with itself? I must be at the nexus of the universe.”
Jerry: “Just wait there. I’ll pick you up, and, Kramer, stay alive. No matter what occurs, I will find you!”
The Puerto Rican Day, Season 9, Episode 20
The gang gets stuck in the Puerto Rican Day Parade while coming back from a Mets game. The whole episode has an awesome farcical quality. I love how the guys use their aliases — H.E. Pennypacker, Kel Varnsen, and Art Vandelay — in the apartment.
Favorite quote: “I’m, uh, H.E. Pennypacker. I’m a wealthy industrialist and philanthropist and, uh, a bicyclist. And, um, yes, I’m looking for a place where I can settle down with my, uh, peculiar habits, and, uh, the women that I frequent with.” — Kramer
The Puffy Shirt, Season 5, Episode 2
The puffy shirt that Jerry has to wear on The Today Show because of Kramer’s girlfriend is so iconic that it now hangs in the National Museum of American History. In this episode, we also get the low-talker and George’s short career as a hand model.
Favorite quote: “But, I don’t wanna to be a pirate!” — Jerry
The Reverse Peephole, Season 9, Episode 12
Not only do you have Kramer and Newman reversing their peepholes (which my roommates and I did in college, too), but it includes George’s massive wallet, Jerry’s purse (European carryall!), and Puddy’s amazing 8-ball jacket.
Favorite quote: “Our policy is: we’re comfortable with our bodies. You know, if someone wants to help themselves to an eyeful, well, we say, ‘Enjoy the show.’” — Kramer
The Soup Nazi, Season 7, Episode 6
The Soup Nazi is another gift from Seinfeld to pop culture. The real-life guy who he is based on now sells his soups nationwide. In addition to the soup plotline, there’s Jerry’s “Schmoopie” phase, and the first appearance of the “street toughs.”
Favorite quote: “No soup for you!” — Soup Nazi
The Summer of George, Season 8, Episode 22
George’s severance package from the Yankees will last him about three months, so he decides to take the summer off. Kramer wins a Tony, Jerry struggles in dating Linette (Amanda Peet!), and Elaine gets in a “catfight” with a woman who doesn’t move her arms when she walks.
Favorite quote: “I hereby declare this summer the summer of George!” — George
The Wig Master, Season 7, Episode 19
Remember when I said I didn’t have just one favorite Seinfeld episode? Well, if I absolutely had to pick one on penalty of death, this would be it. All the plot points lead up to the final sequence (video above), where Kramer gets mistaken for a pimp.
Jerry: “I’d like to return this jacket.”
Clerk: “Certainly. May I ask why?”
Jerry: “For spite.”