Ranking the best Seinfeld episodes is a nearly impossible task for any fan of the series. Over the course of nine seasons, the show never lagged, consistently delivering hilarious story lines, memorable characters and unforgettable dialogue. Comparing episodes often feels like what I’d imagine pitting one child against another would be like—you love them in different ways, and it’d be impossible to definitively rate one as better than the other.
Nevertheless, we did the best we could at narrowing down hundreds of episodes worth of gold down to what we feel are the 25 best.
One of the great Puddy episodes, “The Dealership” centers around Jerry’s trip to a car dealership, where Puddy is a salesman, and George’s mission is to make sure Jerry doesn’t get screwed over. The episode ends up as one of George’s most rage-filled, as he gets into a mess of his own when he accuses one of the dealership’s employees of stealing his Twix bar that was dangling from it’s “perch” in the vending machine.
And Don’t Forget… Kramer running errands and guzzling gas as he test drives Jerry’s prospective new car; Puddy’s insistence on giving everyone high fives.
Quote: “I think I’ve reached a point in my life where I can tell the difference between nougat and cookie.”
Many people don’t realize that the character of Kramer was based on one of Larry David’s real-life neighbors of the same name. Once Seinfeld became popular, the real Kramer started a bus tour giving fans a look at the actual life of the person Michael Richards’ character was based on. In “The Muffin Tops,” Kramer stars in a similar Peterman reality bus tour, as Elaine’s boss, J. Peterman, uses all of Kramer’s stories as his own in his autobiography. Meanwhile, Elaine goes into business selling muffin tops with her former boss, Mr. Lippman. The only problem is, they have a surplus of unused stumps and can’t seem to get rid of them.
And Don’t Forget… Jerry shaves his chest because his girlfriend “goes wild” over a hairless dog, and eventually howls at the moon in a Wolfman parody.
Quote: “Coming up on the right, if you glance up you can just make out my bedroom window. It’s the one that’s covered in chicken wire.”
Crazy Joe Davola is not only out to kill Jerry for “putting the kibosh” on his deal at NBC, he’s also dating Elaine, unbeknownst to Jerry. Elaine eventually realizes she’s dealing with a psycho, and sprays him in the face with Binaca when he tries to trap her in his apartment. It isn’t until they’re waiting in line at the opera when she realizes that her “Joey” is the same “Joe Davola” that’s been tormenting Jerry. The episode ends with the group realizing that Kramer scalped his ticket to Davola, who had dressed up as Pagliaci for the opera, the plot of which ends up paralleling the episode.
And Don’t Forget… Joe Davola roundhouse kicks some hoodlums who harass him when he’s dressed as a clown.
Quote: “I like to encourage intruders.”
In “The Jimmy,” Kramer is mistaken for an able mentally challenged adult because of the vertical leap training shoes he is wearing and Novocain that has numbed his mouth. He’s invited to sit at the head table of an AMCA benefit featuring Mel Torme, who dedicates a song to him. “The Jimmy” is a new member of the characters’ health club who refers to himself in the third person. After he slips on Kramer’s Novacain-induced drool and breaks his leg, he vows revenge and ends up punching Kramer right before the AMCA benefit starts, giving him a swollen lip that leads him to continue to speak like a mentally challenged person.
And Don’t Forget…
Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston as an adults-only dentist who keeps Penthouse magazines in the waiting room; the Yankees think George is stealing equipment when he sweats (from eating spicy chicken) as they ask him about it.
Quote: “So you were violated by two people while you were under the gas. So what? You’re single.”
The Department of Motor Vehicles mistakenly gives Kramer vanity plates that read “ASSMAN.” He is convinced that they belong to a proctologist, as they have to have good sense of humor because of all the stuff they find “up there.” The title is in reference to a sculpture of Jerry that Kramer builds out of pasta. After Frank Constanza confronts Kramer because he thinks he made a move on his wife, he slips and falls on the pasta sculpture. Needless to say, a trip to the proctologist is in order, where Kramer finds the rightful owner of the “ASSMAN” plates.
And Don’t Forget… This is the first episode that features Puddy, who begins dating Elaine and uses Jerry’s “move.”
Quote: “Million to one shot, doc, million to one.”
“Low-flow” shower heads are installed in Jerry, Kramer and Newman’s building, leaving their hair noticeably de-poofed. Fortunately, Newman knows a guy who can get them some powerful black market replacements. Before they can get their hands on them, however, Kramer pays Elaine at visit at her office, trying to convince her to let him use her shower in the interim. She’s been having a problem of her own, though, as she’s been testing positive for opium, preventing her from taking an all-expenses paid business trip to Africa. In a hilarious scene, Peterman comes in and mistakes Kramer for a junkie as he’s pleading with Elaine.
And Don’t Forget… Elaine gets Jerry’s mother to give her a clean urine sample, but still can’t travel to Africa because the test shows that she’s menopausal and might have osteoporosis.
Quote: “Jerry’s got nothing. Newman’s got nothing. You’re the only one I know who’s got the good stuff, and I need it bad, baby, cause I feel like I got bugs crawling up my skin.”
This sixth season episode was director Andy Ackerman’s first, and saw Jerry picking up a Miss America pageant contestant at a baseball game. Kramer, who has been a longtime- fan of the contest, swoops in to chaperone their date and, ultimately, becomes her pageant coach. George comes along with Jerry to the contest and convinces the Yankees to switch from polyester to cotton uniforms. This, as well as the pageant, don’t quite end up going according to plan.
And Don’t Forget… Elaine gets hired by Mr. Pitt because he thinks she has the grace of Jackie O.
Quote: “Poise counts!”
Irritated with his shaving cream, Kramer decides to start shaving with butter and likes it so much that he uses it all over his body. He accidentally cooks himself, however, after falling asleep while sunbathing on the roof, and spends the rest of the episode trying to keep himself from drying out, as per advice he read in an article in Bon Appetite. Meanwhile, Jerry is frustrated because his comedic nemesis Kenny Bania is reaping the benefits of following Jerry on stage, and George pretends to be disabled in order to use a private bathroom and receive special treatment at his new job.
And Don’t Forget… Elaine’s hellish airplane ride back from a trip to the Netherlands with Puddy; Newman trying to eat Kramer after he spills oregano and Parmesan all over himself.
Quote: Well, let’s see, I’ve got a ten kroner, a five kroner, a twenty kroner. No wait…that’s another ten kroner.”
Jerry, Elaine, George and Susan set out to stay at Susan’s family’s cabin in upstate New York, planning to stop along the way at the house of a “bubble boy” who is a big fan of Jerry. Jerry gets lost, so George and Susan are forced to play Trivial Pursuit with the bubble boy, who turns out to be vulgar and ill-tempered. He loses his cool completely when George won’t award him points for answering “Moors” when the card mistakenly said “Moops.” Meanwhile Kramer, who has decided to meet them at the cabin with his girlfriend, sets it on fire after leaving a cigar on a stack of old newspapers.
And Don’t Forget… Jerry signs a picture “There’s nothing finer than being in your diner” for a diner he and Elaine stop at, and then unsuccessfully tries to get it back after he realizes how lame what he wrote was.
Quote: “What kind of plastic do you think it is? Like that dry cleaning plastic?”
“The Subway” is a great example of how Seinfeld can turn something as everyday and mundane as riding the subway into not one, but four hilarious stories. The episode revolves around a subway ride taken by the four characters and they separate adventures they get themselves into when the split up. Jerry makes friends with a nude Mets fan, George is scammed by a criminal seductress who thinks he is going to have more money on him, Elaine gets stuck on the way to a lesbian wedding and Kramer picks up a horse betting tip and cashes in.
And Don’t Forget… Kramer evades a thief that is trying to steal all his gambling winnings, who is eventually nabbed by the police.
Quote: “The big brokerage houses killed my father.”
A Kenny Rogers Roasters chicken restaurant opens across the street from Kramer’s apartment and he tries to put them out of business because the restaurant’s neon sign is turning Kramer’s apartment into the “red menace.” Jerry wants the chicken roaster to stay open because his college friend started to work there after Jerry inadvertently got him fired from his other job. Jerry then volunteers to live in Kramer’s apartment until his friend can find a new job, and ends up acting very Kramer-like. Meanwhile, George is convinced that a girl he dated is lying about having his Russian hat in her apartment to avoid seeing him, so he steals her clock.
And Don’t Forget… Elaine tracking down Peterman in Burma to sign off on the Russian hat George lost, a scene which turns into an Apocalypse Now parody, with Peterman playing the role of Marlon Brando.
Quote: “Is someone there? Mr. Marbles?”
“The Hamptons” features George at his most frantic after Jerry’s girlfriend accidentally walks in on his, er, “shrinkage” after he’d been in a cold pool. He worries that she’ll tell his girlfriend, who is also along for the trip. When his girlfriend ends up leaving in the middle of the night, George is convinced, and to get back at Jerry’s girlfriend, who is kosher, he cooks lobster into the scrambled eggs in the morning.
And Don’t Forget… The doctor of Elaine’s desire calls both her and the ugly baby “breathtaking”; Kramer sets illegal lobster traps
Quote: “I don’t know how you guys walk around with those things.”
This two-part episode features Kramer and Newman trying to pull off one of their most inspired schemes: hauling a mailtruck full of bottles and cans to Michigan to get the hallowed 10-cent refund. Their plan gets derailed when Kramer spots Jerry’s car, which was stolen by his over-protective mechanic (played by Brad Garrett), and decides to give chase. As the mail truck begins to slow he begins chucking the bags of cans into the street to shed weight, eventually giving the hefty Newman the boot as well.
And Don’t Forget… Elaine bidding on J.F.K.’s gold clubs for Peterman.
Quote: “See this gasket? I have no confidence in that gasket!”
Kramer goes undercover as a mohair-wearing substance abuser. That’s really all you need to know. When Jerry’s accountant starts sniffing uncontrollably, he suspects he might be a drug addict and, naturally, you don’t want a drug addict handling your money. Jerry gathers Kramer and Newman to tail the accountant and, in one of Kramer’s most memorable scenes, he follows the accountant into a bar to try to get some proof that he’s a coke head. Interesting fact: Wayne Knight, who plays Newman, actually worked as a private detective for five years before joining the cast of Seinfeld resurrected his acting career.
And Don’t Forget… Frank Constanza, played by Jerry Stiller, awkwardly explains what a bra is to George over dinner, in preparation for his interview to be a bra salesman.
Quote: “Here’s to feeling good all the time.”
“The Pothole” was a notoriously difficult episode to shoot (the crew even had t-shirts made that read “I Survived the ‘The Pothole’”), but all the hard work and tricky camera work paid off in a big way. The episode sees Kramer adopting a stretch of highway, but instead of paying for costly maintenance workers, deciding to take care of the upkeep himself. He takes his duties a bit to far when he paints over the lane dividing lines, offering motorists a “two-lane comfort cruise.” The episode ends with Newman and his mailtruck going up in flames after Kramer spills flammable paint thinner all over the highway.
And Don’t Forget… Elaine pretends to live in a neighboring apartment building’s janitor’s closet so she can have flounder delivered from a particular Chinese restaurant. George’s keys get buried in a pothole.
Quote: “Elaine, do you have any paint thinner? I need like…40 gallons.”