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I guess I just like liking things



This past weekend saw the 25th anniversary of the first airing of Seinfeld. I didn’t start in with the show until much later, and I don’t remember which episode was the first I saw, but I have since seen every episode several times. While I would like to some day work up a list of my top ten episodes, for this list I decided to try to pick my favorite episode from each of the nine seasons. Let’s see how that goes.

(Episode descriptions are from IMDb)

Season 1: The Stakeout – Jerry and George stake out the lobby of an office building to find a woman Jerry met at a party but whose name and phone number he didn’t get.

  • The first couple of seasons are rough, but this episode (the second one after the pilot) introduces George’s favorite fake name “Art Vandelay,” so it wins.

Season 2: The Chinese Restaurant – Jerry, George and Elaine wait for a table at a Chinese restaurant.

  • Even though Kramer isn’t in this episode at all, this is the episode that signaled the show was going to be something special, something different. A whole episode about waiting to get a table shouldn’t work, but it does. And I love that Jerry wants them all to go see Plan 9 from Outer Space so they can make fun of it.
  • The Heart Attack, another episode this season, contains one of my favorite scenes in the whole series. Jerry’s “Elaine! What are you doing here?” line delivery in the scene where Jerry smothers George with a pillow cracks me up every time.

Season 3: The Parking Garage – The four get stuck in a parking garage for hours when they forget where they parked.

  • Here’s where it starts to get difficult. Looking through the list of episodes elicits many “this one had that scene!” type comments from me, enough so that I’m thinking I should do a “Favorite Scenes from Seinfeld” list for each season. While this episode wins the season for me, there are plenty of memorable things already: anything with Babu (the Cafe); “Maybe the dingo ate your baby” (The Stranded); “These pretzels are making me thirsty!” (The Alternate Side); the Pez dispenser (The Pez Dispenser); and the Nazis (The Limo). I don’t think I should have started listing scenes for each season, because that’s going to become a major project for each season from here out.

Season 4: The Bubble Boy – George and Susan invite Jerry, his girlfriend Naomi, Elaine and Kramer to spend the weekend at her parents’ cabin upstate.

  • I’m supposed to pick “The Contest” like everyone else who has ever made a Seinfeld list, but George’s interactions with the Bubble Boy win out for me. (“The Moops!”) Season 4 kind of works as one long episode for me, though, what with the overall NBC story arc.
  • Fun fact: the waitress at the diner in this episode is played by O-Lan Jones, who played the crazy organist in Edward Scissorhands.

Season 5: The Non-Fat Yogurt – Kramer invests in a new new non-fat yogurt store, which becomes a hit in the city.

  • This is getting harder and harder to do! Many great episodes here. This episode has Jerry’s bleeped-out profanities in front of the kid, Lloyd Braun, Elaine and Jerry getting fat, and an actual appearance by Rudy Giuliani.
  • Another episode this season, The Marine Biologist, contains my favorite scene in the whole nine seasons of the show: George’s “The sea was angry that day, my friends” speech at the end.

Season 6: The Mom and Pop Store – George buys a convertible he thinks was once owned by Jon Voight. Kramer tries to save a small shoe-repair business. Elaine answers a radio quiz, enabling Mr. Pitt to participate in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Meanwhile, Jerry tries to solve the mystery of whether or not he’s invited to Tim Whatley’s annual Pre-Thanksgiving party.

  • There’s a lot going on in this episode, and that’s why I like it. Mr. Pitt and Tim Whatley are both in it, too, so that helps. And Kramer gets bitten by Jon Voight!
  • The Doodle was a very close second, what with its “draped in velvet,” Kramer hanging out in Jerry’s flea-bombed apartment, and guest star Christa Miller.
  • It’s also this season where we learn Kramer’s first name in “The Switch.”

Season 7: The Soup Nazi – A soup stand owner obsesses about his customers’ ordering procedure, but his soup is so good that people line up down the block for it anyway.

  • Come on, it was always going to be this one.
  • Spoiler alert: this one reappears on my eventual All-Time Top Ten Favorite Seinfeld Episodes list (at number one).
  • The last episode in this season, “The Invitations,” is still kind of head-shakingly amazing. Poor Lilly.

Season 8: The Pothole – Jerry accidentally knocks his girlfriends toothbrush into her toilet. He refuses to tell her and won’t kiss her. Kramer adopts a section of highway and tries to improve it. Elaine tries to get chinese food delivered by using a janitors closet in a different building. George drops his Phil Rizutto key chain in a pothole, which gets filled and he tries to dig it out.

  • This is one of the first episodes where I remember being struck by how all four of the main character’s stories came together in the end in such a beautiful fashion.
  • Jenna (Kristin Davis) is one of my favorite of Jerry’s girlfriends.

Season 9: The Strike – Kramer returns to H&H bagels after a 12 year strike. Elaine gives “denim vest” a fake number on her free sub card. Jerry meets a woman named Gwen who is “two faced.” (She doesn’t look good in some light) George creates a fake charity called “The Human Fund” to give fake Christmas presents at Kruger. He invites Kruger over to celebrate “Festivus” when he can’t cash the 20,000 dollar charity check to “The Human Fund.”

  • It came down to this one or “The Puerto Rican Day,” but this one wins because of Festivus and the presence of Kids in the Hall’s Kevin McDonald.

This was hard! I suspect that if I did this again in a year the list would look a little different, too.

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