Not sure if you caught it earlier this week but Jerry Seinfeld turned 59(!!!) and yada, yada, yada…here are the top five Seinfeld episodes of all time (according to me).Side note: for those of you who don’t know me, ‘Seinfeld’ is my all-time favorite TV show. I have had long arguments with people who I love dearly over this, including my father, who argues ‘Andy Griffith’ is the best show of all time and my wife, who claims it doesn’t hold up well and kids today feel about it the way we did about ‘MASH’. So don’t think for a second I won’t fight you. For real. I’ll schedule a time we can meet at the playground and settle this.
A few considerations:
- I eliminated some of the mainstream, popular choices just because. So you won’t see Festivus; Soup Nazi; The Contest; Yada, Yada, Yada,; Chinese Restaurant; Parking Garage; Bubble Boy…although they are all great.
- I really tried to not have any multiples from one season. I failed. But I tried.
- Just because an episode had a great line doesn’t mean it was a great episode. It might be what it’s remembered for but we have to look at the whole thing.
- I tried to go on episodes that stood out to me the most – if I close my eyes and think Seinfeld, what are the ones that come to mind first?
- This is impossible.
5. The Voice. What makes it great: This is an episode that had a little bit of everything – Jerry’s shallowness on display; George, working harder at not working than working; Kramer, giving us Kramerica Industries and his intern Darrin, and Elaine sleeping with Puddy. But my favorite part about this – and why it stands out to me – is in the title. The Voice is the name Jerry gives to his girlfriend’s stomach because it makes noises when she’s sleeping. “Helllooooo….la,la,lah”. He does it so much that George and Kramer have to tell him that it’s played. (Soooo played.)
Key line: “Hellooooo….I’m covered in a giant ball of oil….la, la, la.”
4. Serenity Now. What makes it great: George, selling computers out of his dad’s garage (“You can look at porn!”), Lloyd Braun, Kramer installing Frank’s screen door on his apartment door (“Let me give her a good home Frank”), Jerry crying (“What is this salty discharge?”), and Elaine with her ‘shiks-appeal’, getting ‘tongue’ at a kid’s Bar Mitzvah (“I’m a man!”).But it all comes down to Frank yelling ‘Serenity now!!’ every time he feels his blood pressure going up. (Of course, this switches to Hoochie Mama later in the episode.)
Key line:“The cool evening breezes of Anytown U.S.A…”
3. The Jimmy. What makes it great: Jimmy, talking about Jimmy (“Jimmy likes Elaine. Jimmy’s new in town. Jimmy holds grudges!”); Jerry going to Dr. Whatley and his sexed out dentist office (Bryan Cranston, pre Walter White!); Elaine throwing a benefit featuring the Velvet Fog! (aka Mel Torme), George and Kramer working with Jimmy to show off his strength shoes only to have to do it himself, with his 1” vertical.
But what makes this episode is Kramer’s interactions with Mel Torme when they think Kramer is special needs (running into him after being at the dentist, Kramer’s mouth is numb and he can’t talk). Mel Torme singing to Kramer at the end…classic TV.
Key line: “I let the ex-plah-tives fly!”
2. The Hamptons.What makes it great: Shrinkage. An ugly baby. Lobster poaching. This episode is one of my favorites because I was always a fan of when all four characters were together for whatever reason – a trip, an event, a dinner. This one took place over a long weekend in the Hamptons where they went up to visit mutual friends who just had a baby…but, as we all know it’s one ugly baby. Unless you’re the doctor, who thought he was “breathtaking”.Key line: “You gotta see the bay-bee!!!”
1. Marine Biologist.What makes it great: This episode, as a whole, doesn’t stand up as well as the others on my list…BUT…no matter as it has a classic, classic scene that makes it impossible to leave off this list (we’ll get to that in a minute). It does give us a great cultural reference with George doing a Jack Nicholson impersonation from A Few Good Men (“You can’t handle the truth!”) and Jerry’s love for his favorite shirt, Golden Boy (replaced at the end of the episode by his son, Baby Blue). But let’s get to it:
Key line: If I had to pick one line it would be “The sea was angry that day, my friends, like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli!” But, we all know there is so much more to this:
George: “So I started to walk into the water. I won’t lie to you, boys, I was terrified! But I pressed on – and as I made my way past the breakers, a strange calm came over me. I don’t know if it was divine intervention or the kinship of all living things, but I tell you, Jerry, at that moment – I was a Marine Biologist! …The sea was angry that day, my friends, like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli! I got about fifty feet out and suddenly, the great beast appeared before me. I tell ya, he was ten stories high if he was a foot. As if sensing my presence, he let out a great bellow. I said, “Easy big fella!” And then, as I watched him struggling, I realized that something was obstructing its breathing. From where I was standing I could see directly into the eye of the great fish!”
Jerry: Mammal.George: Whatever.
Kramer: Well, what did you do next?
George: Then from out of nowhere a huge tidal wave lifted, tossed like a cork and I found myself on top of him face to face with the blow-hole. I could barely see from all of the waves crashing down on top of me but I knew something was there so I reached my hand in and pulled out the obstruction!
Kramer: What is that a Titleist? A hole in one, huh?
So there you have it. And as you can see, it’s damn near impossible to do this! So I won’t fight you if you disagree with me on any of these episodes. But remember, I will if you disagree with me that Seinfeld’s not the best show ever.