Seinfeld is one of those shows that shaped my sense of humor. My parents and I would watch it every night during dinner, laughing and guffawing every thirty seconds. Sometimes I would just laugh if they did because, let’s face it, eight-year-olds have no idea what an orgasm is (or, at least, they shouldn’t).
Twenty years after I first watched Jerry and the gang destroy other peoples’ lives in their own self-interest, I still stand by the notion that it is one of the greatest television shows ever created (for me it’s number two, slightly behind Breaking Bad). But when breaking it down, what are the best episodes from each season? Let your bitter disgust at my judgment commence.
Season 1 (1989-1990)
Episode 2 (2): “The Stake Out”
The birth of Art Vandelay. George’s obsession with architects. Simon, Bennett, Robbins, Oppenheim and Taft. You really start to get a sense of each character’s quirks and flaws here, with a look into the occasionally-awkward relationship between Jerry and Elaine.
Episode 3 (3): “The Robbery”
Ah, the realization that the entire clique is a bunch of socially-inept losers.
Episode 4 (4): “Male Unbonding”
This is the birth of Kramer’s “Make Your Own Pizza” restaurant idea. That’ll return later. Plus, it’s the only episode title that doesn’t begin with “The”.
Note: I know, Season 1 is a weak season, partially because there are only five episodes.
Season 2 (1991)
Episode 6 (11): “The Statue”
Kramer’s cop impersonation is spot-on and fantastic. But the real payoff here is the ending, as we watch George’s childhood crumble in unison with the statue as he drops it.
Episode 7 (12): “The Revenge”
This is one example of an episode that probably would not fly on NBC today. Spiking someone else’s drink isn’t exactly kosher. Kramer’s attempt to sabotage the washing machine with concrete mix is among the best physical comedy the show has to offer.
Episode 11 (16): “The Chinese Restaurant”
This is the episode that screams “The Show About Nothing.” Taking place solely inside a Chinese restaurant, it is at once boring and exhilarating. We’ve all been in this situation. We’ve all wanted to eat food off someone else’s plate. We all fear that once we leave an eatery, our names will be called. I will forever be shouting “Cartwright” when handing the phone to someone else. Simply put, one of the best episodes of television. Ever. Period.
Season 3 (1991-1992)
Episode 5 (22): “The Library”
Episode 12 (29): “The Red Dot”
This is why you check marked-down cashmere. And maybe don’t sleep with your coworkers and try to buy their silence with said marked-down cashmere.
Episode 19 (36): “The Limo”
Jerry and George’s selfishness gets them into trouble? Again? Who would’ve thought? Anyway, the fear on the dynamic duo’s faces when confronted with gun-toting Neo-Nazis lends us this nugget of wisdom: maybe don’t get in strange limos.