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100 best Seinfeld episodes of all time

  • 100 best Seinfeld episodes of all time

    NBC’s “Seinfeld” hasn’t lost an ounce of its comedic luster since it first aired on July 5, 1989. The timeless show, created by Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, upended every conceivable norm that society could throw its way throughout nine seasons. In turn, a sitcom landscape once dominated by family-oriented fare was taken over by four perennially single friends—Jerry (played by himself), George (Jason Alexander), Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and Kramer (Michael Richards)—whose Manhattan-based misadventures made for some of television’s most memorable moments. It’s no wonder the show still endures by way of reruns or streaming services like Hulu, which paid $160 million for the rights to all 180 episodes in 2015.

    Frequently depicted as a show about nothing, “Seinfeld” was, in fact, the opposite. Specifically, the series knit together multiple seemingly unrelated storylines to masterful effect within any given episode, ultimately leaving no subject unexplored. One might even say that “Seinfeld” was so adept at layering plots within plots—and jokes within jokes—that it can be hard to remember which joke came from which episode.

    In honor of "Seinfeld," here is Stacker’s list of the 100 best “Seinfeld” episodes of all time. The gallery was curated using IMDb user ratings; if two episodes have the same rating, the number of user votes is used to break the tie. Counting down from #100 to #1, here are the best episodes from one of the most celebrated television comedies of all time.

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  • #100. Season 2, Episode 9 - The Deal

    - IMDb rating: 8.4
    - Air date: May 2, 1991

    The romantic relationship between Jerry Seinfeld and Elaine Benes was purely the stuff of backstory over the course of nine seasons, with one notable exception: 1991’s “The Deal.” In this episode, the two formulate a plan that would allow them to enjoy each other’s company as both friends and lovers. Needless to say, the plan doesn’t work out as intended. Written by Larry David, the Emmy-nominated episode poked sly jabs at NBC’s request that there be more romantic friction between Jerry and Elaine.

  • #99. Season 3, Episode 1 - The Note

    - IMDb rating: 8.4
    - Air date: Sept. 18, 1991

    The third season of “Seinfeld” opened with “The Note,” one of the few episodes that gave Jerry Seinfeld a writing credit. In the episode, Jerry, Elaine, and George have Jerry’s dentist forge a doctor’s note so that they can all get free massages. Jerry’s massage goes off the rails when he makes some inappropriate comments regarding child abduction, while George suffers a sexual identity crisis after becoming slightly aroused by the expert touch of his male masseuse.

  • #98. Season 3, Episode 3 - The Pen

    - IMDb rating: 8.4
    - Air date: Oct. 2, 1991

    In this season three episode, Jerry visits his parents at their senior community in Florida, where he meets an ill-tempered resident named Jack Klompus (played by Sandy Baron). When Klompus insists that Jerry take a beloved space pen as a gift, Jerry begrudgingly accepts, putting all sorts of problems in motion—some of which would play out over the course of future episodes. This was one of the only episodes not to feature all four of the show’s main characters.

  • #97. Season 7, Episode 21 - The Wait Out

    - IMDb rating: 8.5
    - Air date: May 9, 1996

    By the seventh season, any given episode of “Seinfeld” was straddling multiple storylines at once—“The Wait Out” being no exception. The episode begins with George’s off-hand comment—“You can do a lot better than him!”—to a recurring character who’s about to get married, prompting her to reconsider the engagement. Meanwhile, Kramer struggles to fit into a pair of jeans, which invariably leads to at least two different situational mishaps.

  • #96. Season 9, Episode 17 - The Bookstore

    - IMDb rating: 8.5
    - Air date: April 9, 1998

    As popular as “Seinfeld” was for its four famous leads, the show’s numerous recurring characters had just as much to do with its massive success. Among those recurring characters: Jerry’s Uncle Leo, who demonstrates a habit for stealing books in the ninth season's episode, “The Bookstore.” Exhibiting additional poor bookstore etiquette is George, who tries desperately to return a book after reading it in the restroom.

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  • #95. Season 8, Episode 10 - The Andrea Doria

    - IMDb rating: 8.5
    - Air date: Dec. 19, 1996

    In the eighth season's episode, “The Andrea Doria,” George is set to move in to a new apartment until the building’s tenant association decides to lease it to a boat wreck survivor instead. Meanwhile, Elaine finds herself dating a man who’s notoriously bad at break-ups, with multiple injuries to show for it. The episode also features Jerry’s neighbor and arch nemesis, Newman (played by Wayne Knight), who must deliver a massive volume of delinquent mail in order to secure a transfer to Hawaii. Seizing the opportunity to get Newman out of his life, Jerry delivers the mail instead, but the plan backfires after Jerry does the job a little too well.

  • #94. Season 9, Episode 9 - The Apology

    - IMDb rating: 8.5
    - Air date: Dec. 11, 1997

    Jerry’s rotating door of girlfriends was a running gag on “Seinfeld,” with a new love interest appearing on a near-weekly basis. In this episode, Jerry’s girlfriend distinguishes herself in the most unexpected of ways: by never wearing clothes around the apartment. At first, Jerry delights at the prospect, until he discovers that some bodily gestures are best left to the imagination. As usual, that’s just one of numerous plot lines running through the episode, which also has George aggressively seeking an apology from an ex-alcoholic, Kramer cooking dinner in the shower, and Elaine causing her germaphobe co-worker significant distress.

  • #93. Season 6, Episode 19 - The Doodle

    - IMDb rating: 8.5
    - Air date: April 6, 1995

    In this episode, the girl of George’s dreams draws an unflattering doodle of him, telling Elaine that “looks aren’t important” to her. While initially put off by the insult, George eventually comes around, especially after realizing he can drape himself in velvet without losing her interest. Having a less-productive week is Jerry, who finds himself handling a flea infestation. Who could have brought fleas into the apartment? He wonders. The answer, of course, is Newman.

  • #92. Season 7, Episode 8 - The Pool Guy

    - IMDb rating: 8.5
    - Air date: Nov. 16, 1995

    Worlds collide in “The Pool Guy,” which sees Elaine forging a friendship with George’s fiancée, Susan (played by Heidi Swedberg). As George explains, Susan can never be part of their gang, if only because it ruins his ability to compartmentalize between “independent George" and “relationship George." Meanwhile, Jerry has his own problems. Specifically, he can’t rid himself of the pool guy from his gym, who seems to be under the impression that the two are great friends.

  • #91. Season 9, Episode 12 - The Reverse Peephole

    - IMDb rating: 8.5
    - Air date: Jan. 15, 1998

    While “Seinfeld” delivered big laughs all the way until the end—the ninth season played host to some of its sillier storylines. For proof, look no further than “The Reverse Peephole,” in which Kramer installs a peephole that allows visitors to look inside the apartment, as opposed to other way around. As one might expect, the idea quickly backfires. Meanwhile, Elaine lands herself in hot water after throwing what she thinks is her boyfriend’s fur coat out the window at a party.

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