Times ‘Seinfeld’ Crossed Over With Other Sitcoms, Ranked
Seinfeld was an actively anti-social show: They famously opted out of participating in a blackout-themed crossover happening in other NBC shows, and the writers once “joked” about killing Ross from Friends if the network forced them to shoot a cameo with him (we all know Seinfeld had no qualms about killing characters with “Ross” in their names).
Still, links between Seinfeld and other sitcoms have crept in over the years, often in meta-fictional ways that break the universe if you think too hard about them. But which of those other, lesser shows actually lived up their connections with the greatest sitcom of all time? Let's rank them and find out…
Kramer in ‘Mad About You’
The only “official,” supposedly in-continuity Seinfeld crossover is also the lamest. Mad About You’s Season One episode “The Apartment” is about protagonist Paul Buchman (Paul Reiser) being reluctant to part with his old bachelor pad, which he’s currently subletting to some nutjob. The apartment turns out to be the one directly in front of Jerry Seinfeld’s in Seinfeld, and the nutjob is Kramer (Michael Richards) himself — or at least someone who looks like Kramer but isn’t as funny.
Mad About You’s earnest sentimentality wasn’t a good match for Seinfeld’s complete opposite of that. The supposed connection between the shows is complicated by the time Seinfeld cameoed as himself in Mad About You’s Viagra-themed episode and didn’t seem to recognize his old neighbor (maybe he was too distracted by something else to look at his face?), and the time George’s fiancée made him watch Mad About You tapes with her. His pained expression sums it up pretty well.
Kramer in ‘Murphy Brown’ (Within ‘Seinfeld’)
In Seinfeld‘s Season Three finale, “The Keys,” Jerry and George find out that Elaine is secretly writing an unsolicited script for the CBS sitcom Murphy Brown, which is treated as the 1990s equivalent of finding out your friend draws furry fan art. The episode ends with Kramer, who has moved to L.A., coincidentally landing a job playing the latest in a long succession of wacky Murphy Brown secretaries. Murphy even says she has a “very good feeling” about him.
And that’s it, that’s the whole punchline. They went through the trouble of arranging the use of a set from a rival network for that? By the next episode, Murphy Brown’s producers aren’t taking Kramer’s calls and his acting career is permanently derailed by the small matter of him being a suspect in a serial killer investigation. They could have turned that short cameo into something more substantial by having the in-universe Murphy Brown report on Kramer’s murder of, let’s say, Ross from Friends.
‘30 Rock’s ‘SeinfeldVision’
In the prescient 30 Rock episode “SeinfeldVision,” NBC realizes they can use the hundreds of hours of Seinfeld footage they own to digitally insert 1990s Jerry into their current shows. This includes Law & Order, Deal or No Deal and the also-prescient MILF Island. Yes, 30 Rock was doing deepfake jokes in 2007. “Twitch star caught cranking it to e-girl deepfakes goes viral on Twitter” does sound like some nonsense lingo this show would use in a cutaway scene from a fake sci-fi movie.
This episode is also noteworthy for revealing that Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) sounds exactly like Jerry when she’s crying, which he finds insulting. Seinfeld Jerry would have probably been aroused.
Jerry and Larry David as Themselves in ‘Love & War’
Love & War was another CBS sitcom that shared a universe (and a creator/producer) with Murphy Brown. Seinfeld and David returned the favor for that Kramer cameo by appearing as themselves in an episode of it in which the characters spot a famous author writing something in their restaurant. In the end, the author’s mysterious work is revealed to be an unsolicited Seinfeld script where Kramer sleeps with Elaine. Cut to Jerry and Larry seeing the script, throwing it in the garbage… and then fishing it out when they consider the erotic possibilities.
The pair’s deadpan performance is what really sells the scene, making it a million times more Seinfeld-esque than Kramer talking to Reiser about true love. It’s best not to dwell on the fact that Seinfeld is a fictional show in the Murphy Brown universe and Murphy Brown is a fictional show in the Seinfeld universe, though.
‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’s ‘Seinfeld’ ‘Reunion’
In Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s Season Seven, David agrees to put together a Seinfeld reunion, an idea he‘s always hated, but only as part of a ploy to get his ex-wife back. If watching a table read for a show within another show wasn‘t confusing enough, the layers of reality get even more mixed up when Jason Alexander quits the pretend reunion and Larry steps in to play George since the character was based on himself in the first place. Worlds are colliding!
This was the only way to do a Seinfeld reunion show that could possibly live up to expectations: within another show that explicitly tells us reunion shows are a bad idea. It was certainly more dignified than doing it in, say, a Super Bowl ad.
‘It‘s Always Sunny in Philadelphia‘s Spot-On ‘Seinfeld‘ Recreation
The It‘s Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode “The Gang Does a Clip Show” says some pretty deep things about the unreliable nature of our own memories — and, therefore, our very identities — when the protagonists reminisce about that time they made a bet to see who could go the longest without masturbating. What follows is a shockingly accurate recreation of the scene from Seinfeld‘s “The Contest” in which Kramer (or, in this case, Charlie) slams the money on the table and says “I‘m out.”
Seriously, watch the side-by-side comparison — they even remade most of the props on the tables and both Jerrys attempted to recreate Seinfeld‘s clearly-about-to-break-character smirk while looking at Kramer. This was the moment Always Sunny confirmed it really is “Seinfeld on crack.”
SPECIAL MENTION: The “Seinfeld goes to the prison from HBO's Oz" skit from Saturday Night Live, which probably looked like the most hilarious thing ever made if you were a 14-year-old Seinfeld fan in 1999 but, uh, hasn‘t aged that well (yes, it‘s full of prison rape jokes).