Search This Blog


favourite Posts


My Top 10 Seinfeld Episodes Part 1

Seinfeld needs no introduction as a tv show.  Safe to say it makes most people's top 5 lists, Seinfeld is a timeless classic; the jokes work just as well in 2020 as they did in 1995.  Lauren and I will often turn the bedroom television to WPIX 11 at night and let Seinfeld play in the background as we drift to sleep.

During this Corona quarantine, I've seen Top 10 lists of everything from ice cream flavors to movies, and one that piqued my interest was a Seinfeld episode list.  I've often said, "This episode is in my top 10..." but I've never actually put a physical list together before.  Since nothing else is happening in 2020, Lauren and I popped in the Blu-Ray's and we binge-watched the entire series in about a week.  It was a nice trip down memory lane and helped me review the series to finalize my list.

Before we started the 9 season run, we both commented on how we didn't care much for the later seasons.  As we went along, we realized how many of the later episodes were the ones aired frequently on WPIX or TBS, and therefore we considered a "classic" or memorable episode that we actually enjoyed immensely.

That said, most of my Top 10 come from the early seasons.

As usual, I got excited and went pretty long with all of the recap, details, and background information that I like to provide and had a hard time cutting the information down to a manageable size, so my apologies.  I broke my Top 10 into two articles for ease of reading and did my best at cutting out the clutter.

So, without further ado, here are my Top Ten Seinfeld Episodes numbers 10 thru 6!

10.  The Stranded - S3E10 - Originally Aired November 27, 1991:

George and Jerry are at the drug store, and George invites Jerry and Elaine to a house party on Long Island with his coworkers.  After paying the cashier, he realizes he was short-changed and vows vengeance.  You'll remember the house party scene where Jerry and Elaine create a signal (slapping themselves on the head) to save each other from a boring conversation, such as the guy who really liked to talk to Elaine about peanuts.  Most famously, this is where Elaine responds to the Long Island yenta, who keeps repeating, "My fiance, the poor baby" with "Maybe the dingo ate your baby!"

George winds up scoring with a female coworker, and he leaves the party with her, stranding Jerry and Elaine at a stranger's home.  Kramer agrees to drive out to get them, but when he finally arrives, Jerry and Elaine are the only two left in the house, and we're to assume its nearly 1 or 2 in the morning.  Kramer had lost the address when it blew out of the roof of his convertible (in the middle of winter), and to make up for the inconvenience, Jerry invites the homeowner Steve (Michael Chiklis) to look him up when he's in the city.  A week or so later, Steve arrives on Jerry's door just as Jerry is going out.  Steve lays on the guilt pretty thick, and Jerry lets him stay in the apartment to kill time until the next train home.  Jerry and George return to the drug store, and George steals something to make up for being short-changed earlier.  This time, he's caught and arrested, so Jerry returns home.

Meanwhile, at Jerry's, Kramer bursts in and finds Steve, who convinces him to call prostitutes and start drinking whatever alcohol Jerry has.  Steve and Kramer disappear when Jerry returns home, so Jerry is forced to pay for the prostitute... just as the police show up for a noise complaint.  As the show ends, George and Jerry trade jail war-stories.

Michael Chiklis, of course, went on to fame after Seinfeld, most famously The Sheild and The Fantastic Four.  "The Stranded" was actually filmed to air in Season 2, but Larry David was so unhappy with the script that it was pushed to Season 3.  The original showing back in 1991 had a brief recording of Jerry before the show to explain what happened timeline-wise and why there was a discontinuity with George still working in real estate after viewers had seen him unemployed.  This recording was removed for syndication.

9.  The Chinese Restaraunt - S2E11 - Originally Aired May 23, 1991

As is the Seinfeld mantra, this is truly an episode about nothing.  Nothing truly happens, yet so much occurs in the short 22 minutes of run time.  Jerry, George, and Elaine decide to eat at a Chinese restaurant without a reservation while they wait for the one night only showing of Plan 9 From Outer Space.  The host, played to perfection by James Hong, repeatedly tells them their table will be ready in "Five...Ten Minutes" as the gang grow more hungry and frustrated.

To get out of attending a family function, Jerry had lied to his Uncle Leo so he could see the movie.  He's horrified to find that a woman who had looked familiar when they first arrived is actually a woman that works in Uncle Leo's office and knows his cover is blown.

Meanwhile, George is upset that the night before he had to leave in the middle of an "intimate" moment with his girlfriend Tatiana because her bathroom was too close to the bedroom for the required level of privacy his stomach upset needed.   He wants to invite her to dinner and a movie, so he finds the payphone in the lobby, but its currently in use by a rude man who flat out ignores George.  When it finally becomes free, a woman snatches the phone just as George reaches for it.  George finally places the call, but Tatiana has already gone out, but he leaves a message to call him there at the restaurant and have the host page "Costanza."

While Jerry and Elaine argue over to whether or not to leave for Sky Burger, the host calls out "Cartwright" in the background several times.  After realizing he missed the call and the host had called out the wrong name, George decides he's no longer in the mood for a movie.  Elaine, who had been complaining of hunger pangs the whole episode, decides to leave for Sky Burger.  Jerry elects to go to Uncle Leo's instead of the movie since Leo's coworker would likely rat him out.  No sooner does the door close behind them when the host finally calls out "Seinfeld, Four!"

I love this episode for its uniqueness, and I'm not the only one.  It was considered by critics everywhere as an episode that "broke new ground" for television.  This is the first episode Kramer does not appear in (the only other being "The Pen.")  This episode almost didn't see the light of day because NBC thought audiences would be disinterested in the lack of any real storyline. Larry David had to threaten to quit if this didn't get greenlit, and eventually, he won out.  James Hong is a very recognizable character actor from the 70s and 80s with over 380 credits to his name and played the part of the aloof restaurant host to perfection.

8.  The Red Dot - S3E12 - Originally Aired December 11, 1991

The Red Dot is another very quotable episode that features the phrase my wife and I often use:  "Was that wrong?  Should I not have done that?"  This episode revolves around George's unemployment temporarily ending when Elaine gets George a job at Pendant Publishing.  To repay her, he finds her a cashmere sweater marked down considerably because of a minor flaw... a red dot on the waistline that he hopes she'll never notice.  Elaine is over the moon when given the sweater, but Kramer sees the dot immediately after sliding into Jerry's apartment.  Elaine quickly becomes furious at George and gives the sweater back.

Earlier in the episode, at the same party that Elaine found George his new job, Jerry inadvertently gave Elaine's new boyfriend Dick, a recovering alcoholic, some liquor.  Dick "falls off the wagon" and gets fired from Pendant Publishing for being an angry drunk.  Dick blames Jerry for his troubles and heckles Jerry at the comedy club.

George actually enjoys his new job and winds up working late one night when the cleaning lady comes through.  After drinking some Hennigan's Scotch, they have sex on his desk.  The next day, Evie, the cleaning woman, gets upset and threatens to report it to her boss, so George offers her the cashmere sweater.  She's overwhelmed with emotion, thinking back to being a little girl in Colombia and seeing the rich man in town wearing cashmere.  She, too, however, notices the red dot.

The next morning, Mr. Lippman calls George into the office and fires him.  George then utters the great line of  "Was that wrong?  Should I not have done that?  I tell ya, I've got to plead ignorance on this thing, because, if anyone had told me when I started here that this sort of thing was frowned upon..."  I've used this for so, so many things.  It works as well for me as it did for George.

As George clears out the desk, Jerry and Elaine arrive to take him out to dinner to cheer him up.  A drunken Dick is rampaging through the hallway looking to get revenge on Jerry for being fired.  The three hide under George's desk, and as Dick approaches, George offers the cashmere sweater... and Dick notices the red dot, too.

This episode marks the first appearance of Richard Fancy as Mr. Lippman.  In "The Library," Mr. Lippman was previously portrayed by Harris Shore.  Fancy continued the role in numerous episodes after.  This episode is also the only occurrence of a character from the episode (Dick) appearing during the stand-up routine skits that transition between scenes.

7.  The Bottle Deposit (Parts 1 and 2) - S7E21 and E22.  Originally Aired May 2, 1996
I'm including this two-parter here as one entry on my list because, in actuality, it was a one-hour long episode during the original airing that was later split into two for syndication and is an excellent episode with so much going on.  It includes typical George hijinks, Newman and Kramer take a road trip, Elaine tries to make an impression on her boss and fails spectacularly, and Jerry has his car stolen again.  What's not to love?

Elaine's boss, Mr. Peterman, will be out of town and asks Elaine to bid on a set of golf clubs once owned by JFK at an auction.  Jerry goes with Elaine, and there they bump into Elaine's rival, the bra-less O'Henry candy bar heiress Sue Ellen Mischke.  The two provoke each other into a bidding war, and Elaine winds up pays $20,000 for the golf clubs, double what Peterman authorized.  Jerry drives her home while she panics over the cost of the clubs, and she decides to leave them in Jerry's car overnight for safekeeping.

Newman realizes that bottles and cans that are refunded for 5 cents in New York are refunded for 10 cents in Michigan.  As he begins to hatch a scheme, Kramer dismissively tells him its impossible to gain a profit due to the cost of gas, tolls, and truck rental.  Jerry reveals Kramer has attempted this before, and Kramer is completely disinterested this time.  While crunching the numbers for himself, Newman remembers a surge of mail on Mother's Day at the Saginaw, Michigan sorting facility.  He signs up to drive a mail truck that will carry any spillover mail, leaving plenty of room for bottles and cans.  Kramer and Newman set off collecting and stealing cans from around the city now that the overhead has been dramatically reduced by free transport via mail truck.

Over at Yankee Stadium, Mr. Wilhelm scolds George for frequently having to have instructions repeated to him.  Wilhelm enters the bathroom while giving George more orders, but when Wilhelm exits, he's still describing the details of the project.  Afraid to ask him to repeat himself, he instead asks the best way to get started.  Wilhelm eventually tells Goerge to go downtown and "think of the song!" which leads to Jerry and George examining the lyrics to "Downtown" by Petula Clark.

Jerry's car breaks down because Kramer and Newman, who early in the episode had been shopping at a Costco bulk warehouse, had no room in the car and left some items under the hood on the engine.  He takes it to Tony, the mechanic, played by Brad Garret of Everybody Loves Raymond, who is obsessed with car care, specifically Jerry's foreign car.  Upset that Jerry doesn't even know the mileage, Tony begins a possessive guilt trip lecture, and Jerry asks to have his car back and plans to take his business elsewhere.  When Tony goes to get the car from the garage, he speeds off with it, golf clubs and all.

Mr. Wilhelm has completed George's project himself, and having found it on his desk completed, Wilhelm congratulates George on a job well done.  Confused, George slowly realizes that Wilhelm hasn't been taking his medication but doesn't question his lucky break.  Mr. Steinbrenner sees the project, and after reading it, he realizes the author of the report must be insane and has George committed to a mental institution since Wilhelm put George's name on it.

While driving the bottles to Saginaw, Kramer spots Jerry's stolen car on a highway in Ohio.  He calls Jerry from the truck, and Jerry urgers Kramer to divert from his Michigan trip to purse the stolen car.  Struggling to keep up, Kramer begins dumping bottles, cans, mail, and finally Newman himself to reduce weight.  Newman struggles through the woods and winds up at a farmhouse where he is offered dinner by a farmer and his beautiful young daughter.  Kramer continues the chase, and Tony begins throwing the golf clubs at the mail truck.  One eventually disables the vehicle, and Kramer's quest comes to an end.  He collects the bent and broken clubs and eventually reconnects with Newman at the farmhouse just as Newman is being chased away from the gun-toting farmer.  The farmer's daughter comes to the door telling "Norman" to run, insinuating that she and Newman had been intimate, and her father had found out.

The Bottle Deposit was written and filmed as a regular episode, but too much occurred throughout the episode that it could not be cut down to the 23 minutes run time of a weekly episode.  The show and network decided to film a few more scenes, such as the "Downtown" diner scene, to fill the episode for the hour run time.  As I mentioned above, the farmer's daughter yelled out "Run Norman, Run" by accident, but producers decided to leave the flubbed "Newman" line in.  This episode also gave Wayne Knight, the actor that played Newman, heart palpitations due to the physical activity required of him in this episode.  Doctors implored him to lose weight, and as a result of this episode, he would lead to a much slimmer figure in the future.

6.  The Diplomats Club - S6E21 - Originally Aired May 4, 1995

As an airline pilot myself, I love that the pilot upsets Jerry and the other shenanigans that occur in the airport's First-Class lounge, called The Diplomats Club.  I also, as a plane nerd, enjoy that they use the stock 80s movie aircraft with the old white, orange, and blue United paint scheme.

This episode starts with Elaine planning to tell Mr. Pitt that she is quitting as his assistant, but before she can, he tells her he's adding her to his will.  She is touched and changes her mind about quitting, but as she leaves for the day, she reminds Mr. Pitt to consult a pharmacist before taking his cold medicine to make sure it mixes safely with his heart medication.  Meanwhile, Jerry and Kramer are at the drug store, and Kramer knocks a bunch of items off the shelf.  Jerry bends down to pick them up, and Mr. Pitt approaches, mistaking Jerry for a pharmacist.  Jerry gives Mr. Pitt the incorrect cold medicine and leaves.

Jerry makes plans with his model girlfriend Bridgette to meet at an airport lounge, called The Diplomats Club.  They have conflicting schedules and will only have a few hours to spend time together before she flies off to her next photo shoot, but before the meeting, Jerry must fly to a quick stand up gig in Ithaca, New York.

Once in Ithaca, Jerry's smothering and fumbling assistant, Katie warns him that the pilot that flew them to Ithaca will be in the audience.  On stage, Jerry sees the pilot (in full uniform) and bombs his set.  He blames the pilot and causes a scene, and getting on his flight back to New York City, the flight attendant informs Jerry that the pilot is kicking him off the plane.  His manager rents a car to get Jerry back to the city.  Katie asks Jerry for his input multiple times, and he explodes on her demanding she just "take care of it."  He falls asleep on the car ride and awakes as she drives into a swimming pool, hopelessly lost.

Meanwhile, Kramer has been waiting in the Diplomat's Club, where he meets a big Texan named Earl with whom he starts betting on aircraft arrival times.  After a series of losses to Earl, Kramer calls in Newman to bring the Son of Sam's mailbag as collateral.  Earl and Kramer go double, or nothing on the last flight, the one due in from Ithaca, and Kramer wins big because the plane arrives late.

George, trying to flatter his new boss at the Yankees, Mr. Morgan, mentions that he looks like Sugar Ray Leanord.  Mr. Morgan questions whether George was making a comment about how all African American's look-alike or not, and George immediately begins to plot on how to produce a black friend to prove he isn't a racist.  Trying various black people from the show's past, George finally arrives on Karl, who appeared in the previous episode "The Doodle" as Jerry's exterminator.  He convinces Karl to come to dinner at a restaurant where Morgan is eating.  Morgan discovers Karl is just an exterminator and not George's friend and leaves in disgust.  The waiter arrives with the check after Morgan leaves and marvels at how he just met "Sugar Ray," proving George's point.

Jerry calls Mr. Pitt's home to ask Elaine to head to the airport to meet Bridgette at the Diplomat's Club for him and tell him he won't make it.  While there, she runs into Kramer, and she spills the beans that Jerry caused the disturbance and delay on the flight from Ithaca.  When Earl overhears, he thinks it's a rigged bet and tears up his check to Kramer.

Mr. Pitt, watching the evening news, sees the report about Jerry and his rental car submerged in a swimming pool and tells his lawyer that Jerry was the pharmacist that told him it was ok to take that medication that has made him ill.  The lawyer remembers Jerry calling for Elaine just hours ago and along with a funny scene where the attorney thought Elaine was going to suffocate Mr. Pitt with a pillow, fires Elaine.

Jerry and Bridgette finally meet in the Diplomat's Club just minutes before her plane takes off.  As they kiss, a plane pulls up alongside the window.  The cockpit lights illuminate the very same pilot from Ithaca as Jerry points and screams.

This episode was the result of Jerry having just completed a stand-up tour and mentioned to the writing staff that at one of the shows, his management team informed him that the pilot would be in the audience.  He thought that was an odd thing to tell him, and thus, this episode was created.  It was the first of the show to be filmed entirely without a studio audience, having been filmed almost entirely at the Burbank Airport.   The "pilot" was actually just a delivery man who brought water bottles to the set that got the role because he "looked more like a pilot than those auditioning." Initially, the episode was to have George demoted to selling tickets for the Yankees and have the real Sugar Ray Leanord show up to purchase tickets, but Sugar Ray was unavailable, so the scene with the waiter was a last-minute addition.

Phew, that was long.  I hope you'll stick around for my TOP FIVE coming soon!  What do you think of these episodes in the first part of my Top Ten?  Do you agree?  Leave a comment below!