The Four Most High-Brow Moments on ‘Seinfeld’

All the best times ‘Seinfeld’ classed up the joint with little more than a fork and a knife
The Four Most High-Brow Moments on ‘Seinfeld’

Every now and then, the “show about nothing” saved a little something for the people too civilized to eat their Snickers bars with anything less than a fork and knife.

It doesn’t take a graduate degree or a working knowledge of nuclear physics to enjoy Seinfeld TV’s greatest sitcom is for everyone, not just that strata of society that might not watch Channel 11. However, every now and then, Seinfeld catered to a class of citizen who enjoys the finer things in life and wouldn’t dare soil their fingers with the chocolate residue of a convenience store dessert. Sometimes, the main Seinfeld event went to the opera sometimes, their lives were the opera.

Over Seinfeld’s nine-season run, a handful of moments stuck out as more classy, more refined and more fancy than the rabble’s usual exploits. Here are those moments in ascending order of dignity…

The Gang Goes to the Opera in ‘The Opera’

What’s swankier than dressing up in your finest clothes to watch a bunch of underpaid artists sing in a language you don’t speak? In the middle of Elaine’s ill-fated affair with “Crazy” Joe Devola, Kramer assembles his closest friends for a night with Pagliacci, the poor tortured clown. In a cascade of thematic symmetry, Devola devolves into a madman when he suspects Elaine is unfaithful, mirroring the events of Pagliacci near-perfectly. Kramer was right to be scared of clowns.

Noel, the Classical Pianist, Was Too Good for George Costanza

To be fair, just about every one of the 62 women who get involved with George Costanza throughout the show’s run are too good for him, but “The Pez Dispenser” marked a rare occurrence wherein George was as acutely aware of the imbalance as the viewers. After Jerry and Elaine spoil the recital of Noel, George’s latest lover whom he has no leverage over due to her refinement, self-possession and general high-worth compared to himself, George begins a power struggle to maintain the upper hand in his new romance. Of course, Noel quickly sniffs out George’s true nature and insists that he use that hand to keep himself company.

George Learns How High Society Eats Their Candy Bars in ‘The Pledge Drive’

There has never been a richer moment of pure, gleeful snobbery in contemporary television than when George pulled a power move in the middle of a work meeting by slicing up a Snickers bar with a fork and knife, uttering the iconic line, “I am eating my dessert. How do you eat it? With your hands?” Some of us have never looked at chocolate the same way since.

Everything About Library Officer Lieutenant Joe Bookman

Having class is about more than just listening to music you don’t actually enjoy and eating food in a way that feels patrician — it’s about the appreciation and protection of truly valuable culture. No Seinfeld character represented that devotion to high-minded ideals and artistic greatness than the library system’s most ruthless servent, Lt. Bookman, who busts Jerry for a way overdue copy of the salacious and controversial Henry Miller novel Tropic of Cancer. Played by the prolific Philip Baker Hall as a parody of a similar character from the police procedural Dragnet, Bookman embodied class in every respect as he relentlessly chases justice while being as well read as he is well dressed — his trenchcoat flips are positively exemplary.

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