Seinfeld is a show you can’t get enough of, even if you’ve seen every single episode a million times the way so many of us have.
But an unusual thing happens the more that you see it. The episodes that tend to resonate more with general audiences sort of become afterthoughts, and you find yourself gravitating more and more toward some of the lesser known episodes.
In that spirit, shows like “The Contest” and “The Soup Nazi” are nowhere to be found in this, the definitive Seinfeld top 10 for hardcore fans. Let’s get started.
10. “The Heart Attack”
Season 2, episode 8. George thinks he has a heart attack, but really his tonsils have grown back and are now inflamed. Rather than getting the surgery, he allows Kramer to convince him to visit Tor Ackman (Stephen Tobolowsky), an herbal healer and ex-con.
Tobolowsky is the first great supporting character for which the series would become known, and the episode perfectly captures George’s hypochondriac nature in hilarious ways.
9. “The Library”
Season 3, episode 5. Library detective Bookman (Philip Baker Hall) goes after Jerry for a long overdue library book and turns in another classic supporting character performance.
The premise of the show was lifted from an earlier Married with Children episode, but the two deviate enough in the details to be uniquely funny and delights to watch. Plus, George gets a wedgie.
8. “The Cheever Letters”
Season 4, episode 8. Susan discovers her father was in a homosexual relationship with the author John Cheever. Jerry gets in trouble for some dirty talk with a receptionist at Elaine’s office and worries that his words — “the panties your mother laid out for you” — will find their way back to her. One of the best endings of any episode in the series.
7. “The Pick”
Season 4, episode 13. Jerry’s model girlfriend catches him in what appears to be a “pick” — as in picking his nose — at a stoplight. Elaine sends a picture with her nipple showing to over 100 of her friends and family members. George uses a creative means of getting out of his rekindled relationship with Susan.
6. “The Conversion”
Season 5, episode 11. George converts to Latvian Orthodox to pursue a woman. Kramer has the Kavorka, causing a nun-in-training to question her commitment to the faith.
5. “The Marine Biologist”
Season 5, episode 14. Jerry lies about George’s profession during a chance encounter with a female college pal, telling her George is a “marine biologist.” She’s so impressed that she gives George a call, and he feels compelled to keep the lie going. But as fate would have it, George will soon have to test his mettle as a marine biologist in front of her with hilarious results. (“The sea was angry that day, my friends… like an old man sending back soup at a deli.”)
4. “The Opposite”
Season 5, episode 22. George’s life changes for the better when he stops paying attention to his instincts and good judgment and resolves to do the opposite of what he would normally do. Elaine, on the other hand, starts becoming more like George. And Jerry — well, he’s “Even Steven!”
3. “The Fusilli Jerry”
Season 6, episode 21. Kramer makes a pasta sculpture of Jerry before stopping short on Estelle, George’s mother. This infuriates Frank (Jerry Stiller), who ends up falling on the Fusilli Jerry in a million-to-one shot. This is also the episode with the A**-Man.
2. “The Chicken Roaster”
Season 8, episode 8. Kenny Rogers’ Chicken Roaster opens up a new restaurant across the street from the apartment building where Jerry and Kramer live. A giant neon red chicken makes life difficult for Kramer so he and Jerry switch apartments and begin to adopt each others’ personality traits.
1. “The Strike”
Season 9, episode 10. Kramer resumes his job at H&H Bagels, but runs into trouble when his boss won’t let him celebrate Festivus. Elaine’s fake number scheme hits a roadblock with Denim Vest. George is haunted by the history of Festivus, but ends up having to celebrate it when he’s busted for the false charity, the Human Fund. (“Money for people.”)
So there you have it, hardcore Seinfeld fans. Which Seinfeld episodes would you place in the top 10? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Image via Seinfeld screen grab, linked above]