July 5th marks the 25th anniversary of one of the few television comedies I have found consistently funny and entertaining. I remember watching the first season and trying to tell everyone I knew about it — no one else was watching. I felt like the only person in the world who knew about Seinfeld, or thought the premise was funny. And granted, looking back on that first season now, it’s a little shaky, but the little show about nothing finally caught on, and to this day remains infinitely re-watchable — as evidenced by our collective Festivus and Manssiere (or Bro) knowledge. In celebration of the series, let’s have a look back at the ten best episodes:
10. “The Hamptons,” Season 5, Episode 21
The gang ventures out of the city for a lovely beach weekend where Kramer steals lobster, they’re horrified by an ugly baby, and poor George misses his girlfriend’s toplessness and suffers public shrinkage.
9. “The Fusilli Jerry,” Season 6, Episode 21
Kramer stops short while driving George’s mother, which causes Frank’s jealous outrage and an unfortunate fall that lands him on a sharp noodle — and in the real Assman’s office. And who knew sex moves were intellectual property?
8. “The Sponge,” Season 7, Episode 9
Elaine freaks out when Kramer tells her the contraceptive sponge she uses is being taken off the market. She buys up all the nearby stock, and rations her encounters, rating men’s sponge-worthiness. Jerry gets a girl’s number from an AIDS walk list, and George blabs all his friends’ secrets to Susan.
7. “The Pick,” Season 4, Episode 13
Kramer over-exposes Elaine in her Christmas card photo, and Jerry loses his girl over a nose rub. But, Kramer modeling underwear, socks and black shoes for Calvin Klein? Sublime.
6. “The Outing,” Season 4, Episode 17
George and Jerry play a prank that backfires, and everyone thinks they’re a gay couple…not that there’s anything wrong with that.
5. “The Pothole,” Season 8, Episode 16
Elaine wants to try, and gets hooked on a Chinese restaurant’s flounder, but she has to pretend she’s living in a janitor closet to have it delivered. Jerry’s girlfriend has toilet-water mouth and he can’t get past it, and Kramer’s attempt to better part of a highway ends in disaster. Oh, the humanity!
4. “The Yada Yada,” Season 8, Episode 19
Featuring Bryan Cranston as a converted dentist who unnerves Jerry with Jewish jokes, and accuses Seinfeld of being an “anti-dentite,” Kramer and Mickey fight over a girl, and George’s girlfriend coins a Seinfeld term for the ages…yada yada yada.
3. “The Boyfriend, Part 1,” Season 3, Episode 17
Newman: “Something changed us in a very deep and profound way, from that day forward.” I don’t know if there’s a better scene in Seinfeld history, than when Jerry explains his Zapruder-ish second spitter theory. Brilliant.
2. “The Contest,” Season 4, Episode 11
George gets caught by his mother masturbating to Glamour magazine, she ends up in traction, and a four-way contest is spurred. Are you the master of your domain?
1. “The Soup Nazi,” Season 7, Episode 6
While many would put “The Contest” at number one, I have to give that honor to “The Soup Nazi, simply for being quintessential Seinfeld. One hears the title; one thinks “Seinfeld.” George and Jerry are at their neurotic best, and Kramer is intimidated by a couple of thugs who steal Elaine’s armoire — but later makes up for it by passing her the Soup Nazi’s armoire, which happens to contain all the chef’s secret recipes.