The 100 Greatest ‘Seinfeld’ Moments

A list sweeter than a Christmas card from Elaine, brought to you by ‘Seinfeld’ writers, superfans and some of the show’s greatest guest stars
The 100 Greatest ‘Seinfeld’ Moments

You’d think that making a list that contains 100 of anything would feel like enough, but when it comes to choosing the 100 greatest moments from Seinfeld, narrowing down the thousands of hilarious lines, scenes and little bits of magic proved to be too important a task for just one man. 

That’s why I reached out to a slew of Seinfeld writers to assist me, asking them to choose moments from their own episodes, as well as ones they admired from others. I also found a trio of dedicated Seinfeld superfans to help round out the list. And finally, I employed a bit of star power from the likes of John O’Hurley (the man who played J. Peterman), Danny Woodburn (Mickey Abbott), Phil Morris (Jackie Chiles) and Larry Thomas (The Soup Nazi) to cite some of their favorites.

But rather than try to put together something supposedly definitive, with intricately ranked moments from “Most Great” to “Second Most Great” and so on, I opted to put these moments in no particular order. I see it as just a collection of 100 great scenes, as brought to you by some Seinfeld folks who really know their stuff.

Like stand-up comedy where every single thing is funny and doesn't waste your time? Follow Cracked Comedy Club on Instagram and YouTube for exactly that. 

The Opening Scene in ‘The Contest’

“When they make the bet as to who can be the master of their domain the longest, it’s just an epic scene,” Peter Mehlman, who wrote more episodes of Seinfeld than anybody not named Jerry Seinfeld or Larry David, tells me. “As far as writing and setting the story, it’s just fantastic.”

The ‘Apocalypse Now’ Parody in ‘The Chicken Roaster’

“The one that stands out the most for me is the Apocalypse Now reenactment,” explains O’Hurley. “The whole thing was beautifully written and beautifully executed. Oddly enough, several of the guys on the production crew had shot Apocalypse Now, so a lot of that was still in their usable memory bank in terms of creating the mood and the style. It was absolutely so absurd for a scene in a sitcom. It was a wonderful example of the fringes to which the Seinfeld writers would go to create a story.” 

Newman and Jerry Refuse to Give Mouth-to-Mouth in ‘The Pool Guy’

“In ‘The Pool Guy,’ the whole thing with Newman and Jerry not wanting to give mouth-to-mouth to Ramone the pool guy, that was their creation,” says David Mandel, who was the credited writer/co-writer on nine Seinfeld episodes as well as being a producer. “That wasn’t in my draft. I remember them constructing it in front of me.”

George Can’t Get His Car from the Parking Lot in ‘The Wig Master’

Steve O’Donnell, who wrote or co-wrote two Seinfeld episodes, tells me, “I was a minor Seinfeld writer, but I’d like to praise a few moments where I was present for a moment that inspired an episode. For example, when I worked with Spike Feresten on Letterman, he was talking to me about this great, inexpensive parking lot that was way the hell over on 11th Avenue. When we went to get his car, the parking lot attendant wasn’t able to get it out — it’d been parked in. I remember Spike said to him, ‘Isn’t the point of a garage to get your car when you want it?’ And the attendant said, ‘Ideally.’ That made it almost exactly into ‘The Wig Master.’”

Jerry Mugs an Old Lady in ‘The Rye’

“Jerry stealing the rye is gold,” explains Dan O’Keefe, who was the credited writer or co-writer on six Seinfeld episodes. “The fact that Jerry is reduced to physically assaulting someone elderly is shocking given that Jerry’s character is a fairly nice guy. George and Kramer are both pretty depraved, but Jerry sort of floats above it all and him being reduced to that is shocking.”

Bania Orders Soup in ‘The Soup’

According to Fred Stoller, who wrote/co-wrote two Seinfeld episodes and played Fred Yerkes, “Kenny Bania was based on a real person — a comedian named Bruce Smirnoff. He gave me an Armani suit and wanted a meal for it, so we went to Jerry’s Famous Deli, and he had soup and soda. It was like $20, which was a lot in 1994. He said he was going to save the meal. He actually did that to me twice. Anyway, I was on staff on Seinfeld for the 1994-1995 season, and I told that to Larry. Larry said, ‘Jerry’s more assertive than you, he would say it right away.’ It was very rewarding that something that happened to me became a Seinfeld episode, especially because it was hard to come up with Jerry stories because he doesn’t have flaws like the other characters.”

’You Mean, Shrinkage?’ from ‘The Hamptons’

Adam Pacecca, co-host of The Place to Be: A Seinfeld Podcast, argues that in addition to “You mean, shrinkage?” being one of those Seinfeld lines that influenced the American lexicon, “it’s also very relatable — it happens to every guy.”

‘I’ll Go If I Don’t Have to Talk’ from ‘Male Unbonding’

In her very first scene in the series, Elaine says she’s bored and wants to do something. Finally, she agrees to go to a coffee shop as long as she doesn’t have to talk. “Julia gives an amazing performance where her character is already fully realized,” explains Eric Dobin, a co-host of The Place to Be: A Seinfeld Podcast.

‘I’m Out!’ from ‘The Contest’

Adam Crouch, the creator of @seinfeldepisodes on Instagram and co-host of the Ruining Seinfeld podcast, highlights a different moment from “The Contest.” When George, Jerry and Kramer are watching the naked woman across the street, Kramer silently backs out of Jerry’s apartment. A moment later, he returns, slaps money on Jerry’s counter and shouts, “I’m out!” giving up on the no-fap contest right then and there.

George Loses His Soup in ‘The Soup Nazi’

“The moment that stands out to me from my episode is when Marcia at the cash register pulls the bag away from George and hands him back his money,” Thomas tells me. “That was the biggest laugh we got that night. The most amazing thing about it was that she was an extra who told me she had no interest in acting. They just pulled her out of the extra pool because they found that they’d built the soup counter too long for me to go back and forth. She was just an extra with genius timing.”

‘What the Hell Did You Trade Jay Buhner For?’ from ‘The Caddy’

“When George Steinbrenner goes to George’s parents’ house to tell them George is dead, Estelle starts crying while Frank shouts at Steinbrenner, ‘What the hell did you trade Jay Buhner for?’ It distills the essence of Frank Costanza in a way that few other things do,” explains O’Keefe.

‘That’s It! It’s Go Time!’ from ‘The Yada Yada’

Kramer’s various fights with his buddy Mickey are some of the funniest moments from Seinfeld, but Woodburn’s personal favorite is when Kramer mentions Mickey’s three marriages. Mickey shouts, “That it! It’s go time!” and has to be held back by Jerry and Elaine. “What’s unusual about that episode is that Julia was pregnant at the time, and they were thinking of interesting ways to hide her pregnancy,” Woodburn tells me. “The New York Post profiled that photo of Jerry and Elaine holding me back, and they talked about how they used me to conceal her pregnancy.”

‘Is That a Titleist?’ from ‘The Marine Biologist’

On multiple occasions, Seinfeld himself has cited the end of “The Marine Biologist,” when George reveals the golf ball that Kramer hit into a whale’s blowhole, as his favorite moment of the series.

Jerry Takes a Lie Detector Test in ‘The Beard’

“The moment when Jerry is polygraphed by his cop girlfriend about whether or not he watches Melrose Place is fantastic,” O’Keefe says. “Also, in the age of the Kardashians, it’s a bit of a time capsule for a time when people were embarrassed about watching something perceived as trashy. It’s quaint now.”

Poppie Doesn’t Wash His Hands in ‘The Pie’

“I like when Poppie didn’t wash his hands,” Stoller says. “It’s a thing that’s very disturbing and had never been shown in a show before.”

Elaine Tries on a Hearing Aid in ‘The Friar’s Club’

“I love Julia’s amazing physical comedy in ‘The Friar’s Club’ — when she picks up the hearing aid and isn’t sure if it’s real or not, then she puts it on and the alarm goes off,” Mandel says. “Just watch the physicality of how she did it, the way her arms reflexively grab her ears, and the way she’s almost physically convulsing from the sound — and there’s no sound playing — it’s just drop-dead physical comedy perfection.”

‘But I Don’t Want to Be a Pirate’ from ‘The Puffy Shirt’

Dobin and Pacecca point out that this list obviously wouldn’t be complete without including something from “The Puffy Shirt,” especially since the shirt itself now resides in the Smithsonian. To narrow it down to a particular moment, they highlight Jerry’s iconic whine, “But I don’t wanna be a pirate.”

‘We’re Not Men’ from ‘The Engagement’

At the beginning of Season Seven, Jerry says to George, “What is this? What are we doing? What in God’s name are we doing? What kind of lives are these? We’re like children. We’re not men.” This speech, which motivates George to get engaged, “isn’t heavy-meta, but it’s a slight commentary on the show,” argues O’Keefe. “It acknowledged, ‘This is who the characters are, and we’re owning that.’”

‘I’m Never Gonna Have a Child’ from ‘The Frogger’

“People ask me what’s my favorite episode, and I always go back to the Frogger episode,” says O’Hurley. In particular, he points to the scene where George tells Kramer, “Kramer, listen to me, I’m never gonna have a child. If I lose this Frogger high score, that’s it for me.” “That’s one of the most impassioned moments for George’s character,” O’Hurley argues. “It was so wonderfully telling of the character and the sadness of the clown.”

Jerry at the Rental Car Agency in ‘The Alternate Side’

“It’s so satisfying the way he completely rips into this woman behind the counter,” says Mehlman. “It’s taking on the red tape of the world and shredding it.”

Jerry Is Loyal to Enzo in ‘The Barber’

“It’s just so relatable,” says Stoller. “I’ve had that happen to me. I’ve had accountants, agents, shrinks, people I’ve been loyal to, and I don’t have the guts to say, ‘I’m going to use someone else.’”

Kramer and George in the Liquor Store in ‘The Dinner Party’

“The George/Kramer pairing is an underrated combination,” says Pacecca. He argues that one of the better moments between them is the liquor stone scene in ‘The Dinner Party,’ where George, in his Gore-Tex coat, knocks over some wine bottles and Kramer slips. “That moment pays off George’s big coat and Kramer’s physicality — there is really no reason why Kramer slips in that scene, which is what makes it so funny,” Pacecca says.

Elaine’s Dancing in ‘The Little Kicks’

“Spike Feresten had worked at Saturday Night Live, and I remember him rolling his eyes about being at some sort of wrap party where Lorne Michaels started to dance and him being a very awkward dancer,” recalls O’Donnell. “Spike said, ‘Nothing undermines your leadership power like silly dancing,’ which became the premise for Elaine’s dancing.”

Elaine’s Diaphragm in ‘The Virgin’

“I really love when the virgin divulges that she’s a virgin, and then Elaine comes in and starts immediately talking about how she dropped her diaphragm on the ground in front of a bunch of people,” Mehlman says. “She’s going, ‘You never know when you’re gonna need your diaphragm.’ Every sentence ends with the word ‘diaphragm.’ That’s how I wanted it, and it played out great. Larry had his script in his hand, and he was kind of hitting me on the shoulder with it during that scene, which was very pleasurable.”

‘Was That Wrong?’ from ‘The Red Dot’

In an interview, Jason Alexander noted his favorite George scene, saying, “He gets called into the boss’ office, played by Richard Fancy, and Richard did a great job with the tee-up where he’s really not quite looking at me, and he goes, ‘George, it’s come to my attention that you’ve been having sex on the desk of your office with the cleaning woman.’ Now, of all the things that George could have said, all the potential lies — you know, you’re dealing with Larry David, so the things that he could have come up with were innumerous — but what they wrote for me was, ‘Was that wrong? Should I not have done that? Because, I gotta tell you, I’ve worked in a lot of offices, and that kind of thing goes on all the time. If anyone had said to me when I started here that that was frowned upon…’ That, to me, told me so much about who this guy is. It was so perfect. No lie was going to get you out, so you go with, ‘I didn’t know that that wasn’t fine.’ Only George Costanza would think like that.”

‘A George Divided Against Itself’ from ‘The Pool Guy’

“I take no credit for ‘A George divided against itself,’” says Mandel, who wrote “The Pool Guy.” “That was from Larry and Jerry’s pass, and I love it conceptually.”

Mickey’s Parents in ‘The Yada Yada’

“Their introduction is hilarious (they’re played by Robert Wagner and Jill St. John); it’s a great bit,” says Woodburn. “In that episode, Kramer says, ‘Mother Nature is a mad scientist,’ referring to how Mickey has two average-sized parents, while the average-sized woman Mickey is marrying has two parents who are little people. That’s typical, that can happen in the world like that.”

‘Not to Mention the Blacks and the Jews’ from ‘The Yada Yada’

Woodburn also notes the ending of “The Yada Yada,” when Jerry and Debra Messing’s character are complaining about dentists. Then, she says, “Who needs ‘em? Not to mention the Blacks and the Jews.” Not only did it make for a shockingly funny ending, but Woodburn feels it's a rare moment of social commentary from the show. “While it’s clouded in this anti-dentite thing,” Woodburn says, “the whole thing is a commentary on racism. For somebody like me, who has experienced my own prejudice in the world, I thought it said something about racism and anti-Semitism. Seinfeld always said they were not going to be a ‘message’ show, but to hide a message about racism into a storyline like that is genius writing.”

Newman’s Decision on the Bike in ‘The Seven’

“Newman’s got so many great scenes, but when Kramer and Elaine call him in to make a decision on who gets the bike and he says it should be split down the middle, it’s so funny,” Crouch says. “Newman in his chair, just pure evil and all kingly, it’s great.”

The Debut of ‘The Voice’ in ‘The Voice’

“The voice,” Mandel says, “started out as an office joke that made its way into a script, but it’s not even really a story, it’s just a joke — a joke about how like-minded idiots find something funny. I’ve always appreciated the purity of that idea.”

‘His Wife is in a Coma’ from ‘The Comeback’

“The whole ‘Jerk Store’ plot is great where George flies out just to deliver a comeback to this guy,” O’Keefe tells me. “But then, someone tells George, ‘His wife is in a coma,’ after George insults him by saying he slept with his wife. You don’t need that, it’s utterly gratuitous, which is what makes it so funny.”

‘You Bad Man’ from ‘The Cafe’

“A lot of characters don’t call out the gang on their bullshit, but Babu totally does,” says Crouch, citing the first time Babu calls Jerry a “very bad man.” 

‘Who Told You to Put the Balm On?’ from ‘The Maestro’

Morris, who played Jackie Chiles, says, “For me, the number one moment for Jackie is when he asks Kramer about the balm. That whole speech about ‘Who told you to put the balm on?’ is the thing everybody responds to and wants me to say and wants me to leave as a message on their dad’s voicemail.”

‘Here’s to Feeling Good All the Time’ from ‘The Sniffing Accountant’

“Kramer’s beer chug while smoking a cigarette is fantastic,” says Crouch. “It’s one of his most memorable moments in the entire series.”

‘And You Want to Be My Latex Salesman?’ from ‘The Boyfriend’

“Any mention of Art Vandelay was like the greatest inside joke to a fan,” says Steve Koren, a writer on six Seinfeld episodes. “My personal favorite Vandelay scene is when George is in the bathroom of Jerry’s apartment, and Kramer answers a call from the unemployment office instead of Jerry when Jerry was supposed to say ‘Vandelay Industries.’ George is screaming ‘Vandelay! Say Vandelay!’ running out of the bathroom with his pants down. Then, with George on the ground, Jerry walks in and says, ‘And you want to be my latex salesman?’ That moment put me over-the-top. I was still just a fan back then, but I went from ‘This is a good show’ to ‘This is one of the best shows ever.’”

Vandelay, Pennypacker and Varnsen from ‘The Puerto Rican Day Parade’

“The moment in the apartment when H.E. Pennypacker meets Art Vandelay meets Kel Varnsen puts a smile on my face,” says Mandel.

The Birth of Vandelay Industries in ‘The Stake Out’

Seinfeld was still finding itself during the first season,” acknowledges O’Keefe, “but ‘The Stake Out’ is a gold mine. When Jerry stakes out this woman’s place of work with George, George thinks he has to have this whole spy’s legend. Then George gets overwhelmed because he’s made it too complicated, but they’re not even there for him! It’s also the first mention of Art Vandelay which, of course, becomes a running gag throughout the series.”

‘Using Your Body Like an Amusement Park’ from ‘The Contest’

“I like anything that had George’s parents in it,” says O’Donnell. “I’ll mention ‘The Contest,’ because there were some exquisite scenes like you hadn’t seen on television before. George’s mother, Estelle Harris, chastises him for ‘using your body like an amusement park.’ I’m not sure who wrote that line, but oh my gosh, it’s so beautiful.”

‘What If the Pigman Had a Two-Seater?’ from ‘The Bris’

Citing a favorite moment that isn’t Soup Nazi related, Thomas cites the scene in “The Bris” when Kramer is asking George to make room in his car for the pigman. Kramer tells George, “If the pigman had a car, he would give you a ride.” To which George responds, “What if the pigman had a two-seater?” “Be realistic, George,” Kramer retorts. 

“The reason why that’s my favorite is because my son, when we were watching Seinfeld when he was growing up, said to me ‘Dad, I know why that’s funny,’” Thomas explains. “So I stopped the tape and asked him ‘Why?,’ and he said, ‘Because the pigman isn’t real.’ It was the moment when my son learned to dissect comedy.”

The Magic Loogie in ‘The New Friend’

“The JFK scene from ‘The New Friend’ — that’s a great scene where Kramer and Newman are recounting the Kennedy-esque takeoff on the Zapruder film,” Mehlman says. “The fact that it’s got flashbacks with Super 8 film — it’s just priceless. I also remember Jerry being triumphant when he got that whole scene out, because that was a big monologue he had.”

Uncle Leo’s Tattoos in ‘The Bookstore’

In “The Bookstore,” when Uncle Leo is stealing, Jerry rats him out. Then he has a dream where Uncle Leo is in prison, where he’s gotten tattoos on his knuckles that say “JERRY” and “HELLO.” “That was so insane that it almost didn’t make it in,” O’Keefe says. “Len Lesser was like many people in this universe — he took a small part and made it so much more.”

Frank Steals Back the Rye in ‘The Rye’

“‘The Rye,’ which is a Carol Leifer episode, has so many scenes that are great,” says O’Donnell. “When George and his parents are driving back after the dinner party and George realizes that Frank has taken the marble rye back — I could watch that twice a day forever.” Here again, O’Donnell praises the work of Jerry Stiller and Estelle Harris as the elder Costanzas, saying, “To be lovable and obnoxious and horrible and fantastic all at the same time — they were that.”

The ‘Sack Lunch’ in ‘The English Patient’

“Elaine is looking at the poster for the movie the Sack Lunch, which has a bunch of people in a paper bag, and she’s trying to figure out why they’re in there,” says O’Keefe. “It was this lacerating commentary of shitty American comedies of the 1990s."

‘That Should Cover the Experiment, the Arrest and Most of Your Trial’ from ‘The Voice’

In “The Voice,” when Jerry brings Kramer his camera to film them testing the rubber oil bladder, Kramers asks Jerry if he included a tape. “I put a six-hour tape in,” Jerry replies. “That should cover the experiment, the arrest and most of your trial.” “The way Jerry just throws it away is perfect,” Mandel argues.

‘How Can Anyone Not Like You?’ from ‘The Wallet’

“While Morty and Helen Seinfeld have a number of great moments, their best scene together is the one where Helen says to Jerry, ‘How can anyone not like you?’ and she goes on and on about how it’s impossible that someone wouldn’t like Jerry,” says Crouch. “Then she turns to Morty, and he just hits her with ‘Maybe some people don’t like him. I can see that.’ It’s this great back-and-forth with Morty being kind of oblivious.” 

George Returns to Work After Quitting in ‘The Revenge’

“Another perfect moment is when George quits, then returns to work the next day as if nothing happened,” says O’Keefe. This scene, of course, was famously inspired by Larry David doing this exact thing at Saturday Night Live.

‘I Will Do the Opposite’ from ‘The Opposite’

“George is so downtrodden, talking to Jerry and Elaine about how every instinct he’s ever had in his life is wrong; so Jerry convinces him to try the opposite,” Crouch explains. “Then, after George gives his famous ‘I will do the opposite’ speech, Elaine convinces him to approach the woman at the counter checking him out. It all pays off with him going up to her and saying, ‘My name is George. I’m unemployed, and I live with my parents.’ It’s a great George moment that also has seasons-long repercussions as that’s when he gets the job with the Yankees.”

The Bro vs The Manssiere in ‘The Doorman’

“Frank Costanza and Kramer’s argument is just insane,” says Koren. “It’s like crazy and looney are fighting for the throne. The buildup of those characters and those points-of-view and why ‘Manssiere’ is the right choice for Frank and why ‘Bro’ is the right choice for Kramer — the logic leading up to it — is what makes it so funny and crazy.”

‘Cartwright!’ from ‘The Chinese Restaurant’

“The Chinese Restaurant” is obviously another classic. As for its best singular moment, the guys from The Place to Be: A Seinfeld Podcast choose the host mispronouncing “Costanza” as “Cartwright.”

Jerry’s Jealousy in ‘The New Friend’

“Jerry being jealous about his new friend Keith Hernandez dating Elaine is so funny,” says O’Keefe. “It says something about the borderline homoeroticism of American sports, but it’s mostly just funny.”

Kramer vs the Monkey in ‘The Face Painter’

“When I was a kid, we used to go to this place in Florida called ‘Monkey Jungle,’” recalls Stoller. “There, these grown men — or, they were probably 18 — were throwing these rocks at monkeys. The woman who worked there would go, ‘What are you throwing rocks at monkeys for?’ and the guys would go, ‘They started it.’ I told that to Larry, and he said it should be a Kramer story. When they filmed it, I didn’t know the monkey was going to spit water at him or that Kramer would bang the bars and spasm. It was unexpected silliness. Plus, I just love monkeys.”

Man-Hands Touches Jerry’s Face in ‘The Bizarro Jerry’

David Mandel previously told me that Man-Hands “was loosely based on my now wife. She has entirely normal-sized hands, but she grew up on a farm and she always said her hands were ‘farmy,’ which is what this story grew out of.” As for the episode itself, Mandel says that when those beefy hands, which belonged to a crew grip, touched Jerry’s face, that was the single best Man-Hands moment thanks to Jerry’s expression. But Mandel admits, “I’m also a sucker for cracking the lobster.”

The Salsa/Seltzer Conversation in ‘The Pitch’

This conversation, which leads to George and Jerry coming up with their idea for a show about nothing, is not only funny, but important to the series overall because the pilot they end up making even comes back into play in the finale, notes Dobin.

The Double Dip in ‘The Implant’

“In ‘The Implant,’ George is there to be the boyfriend supporting his girlfriend at a funeral, but when his girlfriend’s brother criticizes him for double-dipping a chip, George just can’t let it go,” says Dobin. “It’s a pure George moment.” Moreover, “double-dipping” is yet another Seinfeld phrase that became a part of the lexicon.

‘I Don’t Like This Thing!’ from ‘The Beard’

For a great Elaine and George moment, Crouch cites the uncontained rage Elaine displays when she grabs George’s toupee and shouts “I don’t like this thing! And here’s what I’m doing with it!” before throwing it out the window. It’s angry Elaine at her finest.

The Origin of Festivus in ‘The Strike’

Crouch says that Festivus’ origin story is part of the reason why Festivus has turned into an actual holiday. Frank begins by saying, “Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reach for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way!” Then Kramer says, “What happened to the doll?” And Frank says, “It was destroyed. But out of that, a new holiday was born — ‘a Festivus for the rest of us!’”

‘Look Away, I’m Hideous’ from ‘The Abstinence’

“Since the release of the Seinfeld DVD, the bloopers have given the show a second life,” says Dobin. “A lot of these scenes you appreciate more now when you see how hard it was for them to get through it. A great example of that is ‘Look away, I’m hideous’ with Jerry and Kramer.”

Jerry Versus the Telemarketer in ‘The Pitch’

“When Jerry argues with the telemarketer, only Seinfeld could do that,” says Koren. “Jerry is crystallizing what everyone wants to say, but doesn’t. That’s why a lot of comedy works.”

Jackie Chiles in Bed with Sidra in ‘The Finale’

An undeniable highlight of the divisive finale is Morris’ command performance as Jackie Chiles. Choosing a favorite finale moment, Morris points to the scene where he’s in bed with Sidra, who is played by Teri Hatcher. “I’m living out everyone’s fantasy,” he explains.

The Lollipop Gag in ‘The Betrayal’

Mandel recently told me that his single favorite bit in “The Betrayal” is Kramer’s lollipop, which gradually grows larger as the episode travels further back in time.

Elaine on Muscle Relaxants in ‘The Pen’

“When Jerry and Elaine are in Florida visiting Jerry’s parents, she takes muscle relaxants because her back is out from sleeping on the couch,” O’Keefe explains. “Elaine’s dancing is great, but far better is the comedy of Elaine just leaning on people because she’s so full of muscle relaxants. Julia looks like she has no bones in those scenes. It looks like her spine has been removed. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is like what they say in baseball about a ‘five-tool player.’ But because she can deliver a line or an arched eyebrow and get a laugh so well, sometimes it’s forgotten that she was just as good at physical comedy as Michael was.”

Susan Dies in ‘The Invitations’

“I tend to like the scenes that are very edgy,” Mehlman says. “Like when Susan dies and they’re all in the hospital and they’re all trying to be empathetic and sad, but they all know that George is pretty much thrilled. Elaine goes, ‘Gee, George, I’m so… sorry…’ Then they just say, ‘You want to get some coffee?’ It’s the perfect depiction of what this show is about. These people are not likable. Somebody dies, and the show sticks to its guns.”

The Mohel’s Monologue in ‘The Bris’

“Charles Levin, who played the mohel, and I made friends on Facebook slightly before he passed away, and I told him he was my favorite guest star on the show,” Thomas tells me. “I asked him if he made up any of his monologue from the episode, because it looks like it’s totally ad-lib, but he said, ‘No. Every word of that was written.’”

Super Terrific Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in ‘The Checks’

“‘The Checks’ was based on my working at Letterman. They had sold the Letterman show into syndication on the E! Network, and a few months later, I got this phone book-sized package in the mail that was all checks, but they were for like 20 and 30 cents. It became kind of a purgatorial ordeal,” recalls O’Donnell, a la Jerry’s “Super Terrific Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.”

‘Look to the Cookie’ from ‘The Dinner Party’

“The black-and-white cookie speech from ‘The Dinner Party,’ about how fraught race relations are in America and that we should ‘look to the cookie,’ is genius,” argues O’Keefe. 

Jerry’s Foot Falling Asleep in ‘The Secret Code’

“In addition to writing, I got to play Fred Yerkes,” says Stoller. “There was a scene where I walked into Monk’s Diner, and Jerry was stomping around because his foot fell asleep. I said to him, ‘You’re lucky, at least you’ve got something to do.’ That was a favorite for me because it was at Monk’s Diner. That set is as famous as any sitcom set, and I was thrilled that I got to do a scene there.”

‘Serenity Now!’ from ‘The Serenity Now!

“The very first scene of ‘The Serenity Now’ is almost exactly a scene from my life,” says Koren. “My father has high blood pressure, and he has a temper and he was always trying to lower his blood pressure. One time, I came home and something happened, and he started to yell, ‘Serenity now!’ I said, ‘What are you saying?’ I’d never heard him use the word serenity before. Anyway, he explains to me, ‘I got a tape, and the man on the tape said to say this to help me lower my blood pressure.’ To which I said to him, ‘Are you supposed to yell it?’”

‘Here’s Your Christmas Card!’ from ‘The Pick’

For much of “The Pick,” Elaine is upset by the fact that she accidentally distributed a Christmas card exposing her nipple. Then, when George complains about not getting a Christmas card at all, Elaine grabs his head and shoves it into her chest shouting, “You want a Christmas card? Here’s your Christmas card!” “What I love about that scene, aside from the fact that it’s hysterical, is that Julia and Jason worked that out without Jerry knowing, so his reaction is genuine,” Dobin explains.

Puddy’s Face Paint in ‘The Face Painter’

Patrick Warburton’s David Puddy is one of the show’s funniest recurring guest stars. For his single most iconic moment, Crouch points to Puddy’s painted face.

‘Ladies and Gentlemen! It’s Our Good Friend, George Costanza!’ from ‘The Merv Griffin Show’

“The Merv Griffin Show” is one of Kramer’s most unhinged episodes, and according to Crouch, Dobin and Pacecca, its best moment is when George enters Kramer’s apartment with this perfectly confused look, just trying to figure out what on Earth is going on.

Meeting the Bizarros from ‘The Bizarro Jerry’

Mandel adores the scene where Jerry, George and Kramer meet their Bizarro counterparts on the street, saying, “A credit to the way Andy Ackerman staged that scene — the way they came into focus on one side, and Elaine looked back to the other. And, to go that wide on the street for that moment was impressive. For that scene, there are no lines of dialogue, you’re just laughing.” (He goes into the scene in much greater detail in our oral history of “The Bizarro Jerry)

George Eats an Eclair Out of the Garbage in ‘The Gymnast’

“George eating out of the trash is a classic,” says O’Keefe.

Kramer Keeping the Japanese Businessmen in Drawers in ‘The Checks’

O’Donnell, who wrote “The Checks,” says this was inspired by “something I’d seen in pop culture where these Japanese businessmen would sleep in these tiny, super efficient, coffin-like motel rooms.”

‘Punishment Enough’ from ‘The Frogger’

Another O’Hurley favorite is when Peterman finds out that Elaine ate his antique cake from a royal wedding in 1937. He asks her, “Do you know what happens to a butter-based frosting after six decades in a poorly ventilated English basement?” When Elaine says she hadn’t considered that, Peterman replies, “Well, I have a feeling what you’re about to go through is punishment enough.”

The Chinese Food Delivery Boundary in ‘The Pothole’

Back during his days working for Letterman, O’Donnell was friends with writer/producer Maria Pope, who would inspire a number of Elaine stories. One of them was Elaine’s plot line from “The Pothole,” where Elaine, who lived on the south side of 86th street, can’t get Chinese food delivered from China Panda, which only delivers as far as the north side of 86th. “That was really true,” says O’Donnell, “Maria Pope lived on the south side of West 86th Street, but Hunan Balcony, a favorite restaurant of ours, would deliver as far as the north side of 86th. I remember being on the phone with them saying, ‘I’ll meet your guy at the corner,’ but they refused. That conversation was more or less transcribed in ‘The Pothole.’ We even used Maria Pope’s address.”

‘Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That’ from ‘The Outing’

“Another edgy scene I like is in ‘The Outing’ when Jerry and George are on the phone,” Mehlman says. “George says, ‘Now she thinks we're gay — not that there’s anything wrong with it!’ And Jerry says, ‘No, no, of course not! People’s personal sexual preferences are nobody’s business but their own!’ I just love the kind of tension that that brings.”

Tim Whatley Hits the Gas in ‘The Jimmy’

The best moment from Bryan Cranston’s Tim Whatley is one that Cranston improvised himself. It’s when Whatley is about to put the gas mask on Jerry, but takes a hit for himself first, notes Pacecca.

Golfing with Ethel Kennedy in ‘The Bottle Deposit’

O’Hurley says the single favorite line he delivered on Seinfeld was when Peterman says he’s going golfing with Ethel Kennedy, “a woman whose triumph in the face of tragedy is succeeded only by her proclivity to procreate.”

‘I Like Sports, I Could Do Something in Sports’ from ‘The Revenge’

“That scene where George loses his job, then he’s in Jerry’s apartment, sitting on the floor, trying to figure out what else he can do and he’s saying, ‘I like sports, I could do something in sports,’ and he says he can be a general manager or a color man. Jerry is so accommodating to him, no matter how ridiculous it is,” says Mehlman. 

‘Fold Your Dog’s Ear Back’ from ‘The Puerto Rican Day Parade’

“My favorite contribution to the series is when Elaine shouts at a guy across the street to ‘Fold your dog’s ear back.’ It always drives me crazy when I see a dog with its ear flipped over, and I was so proud that that made it in,” says O’Keefe. He’s especially fond of its smallness. “It’s pointillistic — the creation of art by tiny little perfect moments.”

The Mustaches in ‘The Butter Shave’

“I do enjoy the mustaches cold open from ‘The Butter Shave,’” says Mandel. “I just liked how silly they all looked with mustache after mustache after mustache.”

The Bizarro Talk in ‘The Bizarro Jerry’

“I loved jamming the Bizarro talk into ‘The Bizarro Jerry’ — ‘Me so happy, me want to cry,’” Mandel tells me. “I can’t speak to how many people in the audience were 1960s, 1970s Superman comics readers, but if you remembered it and you saw ‘Me so happy, me want to cry’ in that episode, God bless you. It felt like a private joke inside a giant national broadcast on NBC.”

‘You Just Need a Nose Job’ from ‘The Nose Job’

“The best Kramer scenes are when he says something so wrong,” says Mehlman, noting the scene where Kramer tells George’s girlfriend that she’s as pretty as any other beautiful woman in New York and that she just needs “a nose job.” “It’s so inappropriate and so perfect,” Mehlman argues.

George Drops His Keys in the Pothole in ‘The Pothole’

“That happened to me,” says O’Donnell, before adding, “According to Jerry, ‘The Pothole’ was the most expensive episode of Seinfeld besides the finale because it had two very different camera shots that were expensive. There’s a shot up through the toilet when Jerry drops a toothbrush in there, then there’s the cherry-picker shot with the explosion.”

‘And What Is His Stand on Abortion?’ from ‘The Couch’

“There are little moments I just love,” says Mehlman. “Like when Elaine is dating that really handsome guy, and Jerry asks, ‘And what is his stand on abortion?’ Elaine says, ‘Well, I’m sure he’s pro-choice.’ To which Jerry responds, ‘How do you know?’ And Elaine says, ‘Because he… Well, he’s just so good looking.’ It’s taking on our own liberalism, just like, ‘Not that there’s anything wrong with that.’ To me, those two scenes are two peas in a pod because the show’s liberalism is being taken to task and being tested.”

Jerry Moves In from ‘The Betrayal’

“Everything from the backwards episode is great,” says O’Keefe. “The fact that it culminates in Jerry moving in, meeting Kramer and saying, ‘What’s mine is yours’ is so funny.”

‘These Pretzels Are Making Me Thirsty’ from ‘The Alternate Side’

“‘These pretzels are making me thirsty’ is a great scene for all four of them because they all get to try their hand at the line. There’s even a good meta joke in there where Kramer tells Jerry, ‘You don’t know how to act,’” Dobin says.

‘I’ll Think About It’ from ‘The Dealership’

“After the entire episode — where Kramer and the car salesman have gone on this test drive where the gas runs out; they’ve been through so much, and they’ve bonded in this communal way — at the end, Kramer just says, ‘I’ll think about it,’ and walks out of the car. I love that moment.”

The Auditions in ‘The Pilot’

“Being in the business, the Season Four episode ‘The Pilot’ is a favorite, especially the auditions,” says Stoller. “Jeremy Piven played George, and Larry Hankin played Kramer.”

The Library Cop Rant from ‘The Library’

O’Keefe highlights Philip Baker Hall’s performance as Bookman as one of the best things in the series overall, particularly the character’s Dragnet-like rant in Jerry’s apartment. “People say the show got sillier later on, and maybe it did, but they never gave a fuck. If something was funny, it made it in. It’s insane that this Bookman character exists, but he’s so funny,” O’Keefe says. 

‘Then We’ll Go Watch ‘Em Slice This Fat Bastard Up’ from ‘The Junior Mint’

“A key moment in the history of the series is when Elaine’s boyfriend is going to have surgery in ‘The Junior Mint,’” Mehlman explains. “He’s overweight, and Kramer is begging Jerry in the coffee shop to come to the operating theater and watch the surgery. Kramer is just bugging him and bugging him. Finally, Jerry goes, ‘Alright, alright, just let me finish my coffee. Then we’ll go watch ‘em slice this fat bastard up.’ That was a line Jerry ad-libbed during a run-through, and everybody laughed so loud that we decided to stick with it.”

George Drags the World Series Trophy in ‘The Millenium’

“I’m a Yankees fan, and seeing George dragging the World Series trophy behind his car was just gold,” O’Keefe says.

Elaine Gets Banned in ‘The Soup Nazi’

“In front of the audience, when Julia comes in and does the imitation of Al Pacino, I just flat-out yelled, ‘No soup for you!’” recalls Thomas. “But when the audience left, Larry came up to me and said, ‘Don’t get out of costume, I want to reshoot two moments.’ One of the moments he wanted to reshoot was that one — he wanted me to add the part where I say to her, ‘Very good, very good. You know something?’ Then I yell, ‘No soup for you!’ Larry wanted me to bait her in a little bit. When we did it, Julia fell on the floor laughing. It was a really good moment for me because I made her laugh.”

‘Some Ugly Baby, Huh?’ from ‘The Hamptons’

Says Mehlman, “I love the scene in ‘The Hamptons’ when Elaine is trying to figure out why the doctor would say the ugly baby is breathtaking, and she’s going, ‘Some night, huh?’ ‘Some dinner, huh?’ ‘Some house, huh?’ ‘Some ugly baby, huh?’ I love moments in the show when people are trying to get something out of somebody else.”

Jayne Mansfield’s Breasts in ‘The Implant’

“A similar scene to that ugly baby scene,” Mehlman continues, “is when Jerry is trying to get Sidra to say whether her boobs are real or not, and out of nowhere, he says, ‘You know, that Jayne Mansfield had some big breasts.’ That’s how he opens up the conversation. It’s so ham-handed.” 

Kramer on Marriage in ‘The Engagement’

In the beginning of “The Engagement,” George and Jerry resolve to grow up and maybe even start families. While George ends up proposing to Susan, Jerry is talked out of marriage by Kramer, who gives a commanding speech about how marriage is a prison. “It’s a key moment in the series because it gives you insight into Kramer and changes Jerry’s trajectory,” says Dobin.

‘Why Don’t You Just Tell Me the Name of the Movie You Selected’ from ‘The Pool Guy’

“For a pure performance moment, Michael Richards saying, ‘Why don’t you just tell me the name of the movie you selected?’ is my absolute favorite thing,” Mandel tells me. “That’s why I miss doing a show in front of a live audience. That moment where they’re understanding how all these pieces have come together, and now, it pays off. And Michael’s interpretation of the Moviefone voice, which, at the time, was very well-known, is so ‘from Mars,’ but in a really great way. He gives it this weird sound like there’s something in his mouth. It’s like ‘Hewo, and welcome to Moviefone…’ He doesn’t say the L’s in ‘hello.’ I don’t know what he’s doing. It’s not how I hear it, but that’s how he heard it. The Seinfeld cast, across the board, would always do it in a way you never would have imagined and only make it that much better.”

‘I Heard the Bulls’ from ‘The Understudy’

O’Hurley says his absolute favorite Peterman rant was one that was cut from “The Friars Club,” but when picking his favorite that actually made it into the show, he cites when Peterman tells Elaine, “Then, in the distance, I heard the bulls. I began running as fast as I could. Fortunately, I was wearing my Italian cap-toe Oxfords — sophisticated yet different without making a huge fuss about it. Rich, dark brown calfskin leather, matching leather vent. Men’s whole and half sizes seven through 13. Price: $135.”

Frank Saying ‘Del Boca Vista’ in ‘The Shower Head’

“I was also present for the endless ‘Del Boca Vista’ blooper,” says O’Donnell, referring to the scene from “The Shower Head” in which Jerry Stiller flubs the name “Del Boca Vista” repeatedly. “It was almost like, ‘This isn’t possible. He can’t keep blowing this over and over again.’ It’s like he gave himself a mental block. If he’d blown it two or three times, it would be like, ‘This is annoying,’ but it goes into a realm that transcends all human understanding.”

Jerry and Elaine Negotiate in ‘The Deal’

While this list is unranked, it only felt right to give the top spot to a moment cited over and over again by Seinfeld writers as one of their favorites. Jillian Franklyn, who co-wrote “The Yada Yada,” says, “My all-time favorite scene is Jerry and Elaine on the sofa negotiating the terms of being friends with benefits — classic.” Stoller and O’Keefe also consider this scene among the greatest.

Or as Mehlman says, “It’s the most well-written scene in the history of TV. It totally embodies the show in that it’s the perfect example of how these characters are always trying to create the perfect world, and yet, it never works.”

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