On July 5th, 1989, NBC premiered a show that followed the day-to-day life of a Jewish comedian living in New York city. The bulk of its very first episode featured the titular comedian worrying with his nebbish friend if a woman’s visit is supposed to be romantic or simply platonic. To put it lightly, critics absolutely hated it. The main character was described as dense, the stories were considered wholly uninteresting, and no one particularly cared about any of the supporting characters. Even though NBC passed on the show following this premiere, an executive by the name of Rick Ludwin had faith in the material. He allowed the show to continue for four more episodes, which netted enough ratings for a second season, subsequently giving longevity to one of television’s most legendary sitcoms: Seinfeld.
To say the past 25 years have been kind to both Seinfeld and its main star is a terrible understatement. Despite the early critical jabs and general lack of faith, Seinfeld grew to become one of television’s greatest icons. It was literally a show about nothing and ended up becoming the biggest thing imaginable. The series may have officially ended 16 years ago, but unbelievable amounts of syndication still keep the show immensely popular. You literally cannot go a day without seeing some network air the misadventures of Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld), George (Jason Alexander), Kramer (Michael Richards), and Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus). Even in an era where shows like The Big Bang Theory reign supreme, Seinfeld is far from forgotten.
Its nine year run with 180 episodes boasts some of the finest moments in televised comedy. In honor of this momentous 25th Anniversary, Pop-Break is presenting two posts about this outstanding program. The first is simple: What is your favorite Seinfeld moment? The second is much harder: Is Seinfeld the greatest sitcom in history? Read on for the former and check back tomorrow for the latter!
Luke Kalamar: Seinfeld is easily one of my favorite shows of all-time. Even though I don’t watch the show as religiously as I used to, I’m reasonably confident that I have seen every episode available. So when I say that Kramer getting the ASSMAN license plates is definitely my favorite moment, I mean it. Could this joke have fallen into the category of childish sight gag? Absolutely. Only people with a weak grasp of comedy can find the word “ass” hilarious. What makes this work though is how Kramer just runs with it. He parks into doctors spaces, grabs a date with a large-bottomed woman, and proudly proclaims that Proctologists are the funniest people you can ever meet. If you find a Proctologist at a party, Kramer states that you better park your butt there all night because they will tell the funniest jokes you’ve ever heard.
ASSMAN is really the icing on the cake though. All things considered, it was only one of many hilarious moments from the Season 6 episode, “The Fusilli Jerry.” The main cast practicing their signature “moves” is comedic gold and to this day I can’t think of the term “stopping short” without laughing. “The Fusilli Jerry” also featured the introduction of recurring guest David Puddy, played wonderfully by Patrick Warburton. There’s even the titular figure that Kramer makes for Jerry out of fusilli pasta. When I see a box in the grocery store, I still proudly proclaim “FUSILLI JERRY!!” Even the pasta figure plays a big role in the ASSMAN story as it leads to Kramer discovering who the real ASSMAN is, a memorable end to a gut busting episode.
Dan Cohen: There is no way in hell I can break down my single favorite Seinfeld moment. That’s something I would have to reflect on for five to ten years. I’ll simply list a few that happen to hit me on this particular day. George shouting “I was in a pool! I was in a pool!” after Jerry’s girlfriend sees him with shrinkage kills me every time. Everything David Puddy says is a one-liner. “I’ll be back later, we’ll make out.” Classic.
I always loved it when Jerry’s insane car mechanic threw golf clubs at Newman’s mail truck in one of my favorite episodes, “The Bottle Deposit.” In fact, this scene tells you everything you need to know about Seinfeld. Newman (Wayne Knight) and Kramer illegally use a mail truck so they can drive to Michigan to get an extra five cents on the bottle deposits. At the same time, a crazy mechanic steals Jerry’s car because he wasn’t taking care of it properly. They meet on the road where golf clubs that were owned by John F. Kennedy, in which Elaine was supposed to deliver to her boss Mr. Peterman, instead end up being hurled at Newman’s front windshield. Only on Seinfeld, my friends. Only on Seinfeld.
Matt Haviland: When Jerry decided to pee in the parking garage, it freed my mind. There was nothing Cosmo Kramer could do that Jerry Seinfeld couldn’t! But Jerry’s decision was incomplete. He had spent the last ten minutes calling public urination a scourge to society, announcing his pride to hold it in. When Kramer finally convinced him to go, Jerry looked around before peeing, obviously unsure about the action. Kramer would have been a yellow wind through the parking garage, smelled but not seen. When Jerry unzipped his pants, he was going against his instincts. He had not fully allowed himself public urination. When he zipped his pants back up, his sense of limitation was standing behind him, Kramer nowhere to be found.
Bill Bodkin:If there’s an episode that perfectly captures what Seinfeld is all about, it is the November 6, 1997 episode, “The Merv Griffith Show.”
In the episode, Kramer garbage dives, finds the entire set of The Merv Griffith Show, and reconstructs it in his apartment. Meanwhile, Jerry dates a girl with an amazing toy collection but she won’t let him play with it…so he devises ways to cause her to fall asleep. George also hits a squirrel with his car and has to spend a ton of money to help it recoup. Elaine has to deal with the famed “sidler” who creeps around.