Friends is leaving the streaming service next year, and Seinfeld stands alongside it as the other defining sitcom of the era. For those of you already initiated in the hilarious, kinda horrible lives of Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer, you’ll know just how exciting this is – and if you’re in the camp who have been wasting your lives up until now, oh boy are you in for a treat.
Seinfeld has been dubbed ‘the show about nothing’, owing to its loose plot points and freeform style, and its philosophy has created ripples throughout TV comedy since, influencing everything from Curb Your Enthusiasm (Larry David is a co-creator of the show) to It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia and beyond. Simply put, it’s probably the favorite show of the creators of your favorite show.
A firm favorite among dry, self-deprecating millenials, Seinfeld is a meme minefield (it was given the ‘Bad Guy’ treatment, of course), teeming with in-jokes that continue to define friendship groups. Fancy some soup, anyone?
Like all the best TV shows, there’s a cult-like fandom around Seinfeld; people live and die by this show. And if you think that Peep Show’s Jez and Mark are relatable, there’s a whole universe of the haplessness of George just waiting for you, making you feel that little bit better about your own life.
If you’re yet to dive into the best sitcom going (we’re only judging you a little), we’ve collated ten classic episodes of Seinfeld that are guaranteed to initiate you into the cult. Happy Festivus!
10. The Subway Season 3, Episode 13
What happens: Each of the four main characters take suitably bizarre subway rides. George ends up being courted by a woman before being taken to her hotel bedroom, handcuffed and then robbed, while Jerry befriends a nudist, and Elaine misses a lesbian wedding due to the subway being delayed. All in a day’s work.
Why it’s great: Sending these four madcap folks off on their own around the notoriously characterful NYC subway was only going to bring ridiculous, brilliant endings.
Best line: George: “I get the feeling when lesbians are looking at me, they’re thinking: ‘That’s why I’m not heterosexual’.”
9. The Chicken Roaster Season 8, Episode 8
What happens: As surreal as they get, The Chicken Roaster sees Kramer switch apartments with Jerry due to a new chicken restaurant opening next door leaving him unable to sleep due to the red neon sign. In a throwback to the events of The Opposite, Kramer and Jerry then switch personalities.
Why it’s great: One of the most absurd Seinfeld episodes there is, it interlinks wonderfully between characters, accentuating their weird quirks to levels not seen before in the show.
Best line: Jerry: “It’s Kramer isn’t it? The greasy door knob, the constant licking of the fingers – he’s hooked to the chicken isn’t he?”
8. The Summer of George Season 8, Episode 22
What happens: After being laid off from his job as Assistant to the Traveling Secretary for the New York Yankees, George decides to use his severance package to have a summer off. Typical unemployment behavior follows, before the episode sees him ending up in physical therapy, because of course…
Why it’s great: With no job, George is allowed to indulge in his weirdness. Seeing the real him, somehow, makes us love him even more.
Best line: George: “Frolf, frisbee golf Jerry. Golf with a frisbee. This is gonna be my time. Time to taste the fruits and let the juices drip down my chin. I proclaim this: The Summer of George!”
7. The Limo Season 3, Episode 19
What happens: In The Limo, a bona fide Seinfeld classic, George lies about his identity at an airport to get a free ride in the limo to Madison Square Garden. What he doesn’t realise, though, is that the man whose identity he stole is a neo-Nazi, and the group end up at a protest across the street from the venue.
Why it’s great: Seinfeld comes to life when its characters truly, truly fuck up, and George goes above and beyond here.
Best line: Elaine: “Listen, you idiot! Just calm down! I know Jerry, he’s not a nazi. He’s just neat.”
6. The Marine Biologist Season 5, Episode 14
What happens: In a classic sitcom plot, Jerry tells a woman that George is a marine biologist on a whim, and George proceeds to dive deep into the lie. What follows is a host of brilliant, absurd fabrications of his life.
Why it’s great: As with The Limo, George is at his best when he’s trapping himself in a ridiculous web of his own lies (or in this case, Jerry’s lies about him). Sorry George!
Best line: George: “Well it’s not up my alley! It’s one thing if I make it up. I know what I’m doin, I know my alleys! You got me in the Galapagos Islands livin’ with the turtles!”