5 Seinfeld Episodes That Are Eternally Funny
When phrases, ideas, or dialogue becomes so ingrained in the psyche of pop culture that terms such as “airing of grievances” and “no soup for you” are as normal to hear as “good morning” and “thank you,” you can be sure they come from the kind of “Seinfeld” episodes that are eternally funny. You would be hard-pressed to find another sitcom phenomenon like “Seinfeld,” aside from maybe “Saturday Night Live,” that has unquestioningly shaped the face of mainstream America. How else would you know how to identify a “sidler,” a “close talker,” or the “pop in” if not for “Seinfeld”?
“The Contest” After George’s mother catches him masturbating to a “Glamour” magazine, a contest is devised by the four friends to see who can go the longest without giving in to their physical urges. This hysterical episode finds each character struggling with the contest. Jerry is dating a virgin and has a nudist living across the street who leaves her blinds open. Elaine gets the chance to meet JFK, Jr. at her aerobics class while George deals with a nurse sponge bathing another female patient at the hospital his mother is staying at. Kramer is the only one who doesn’t struggle, giving in the very next day after spying the nudist across the street.
“The Hamptons” This is one of the more famous “Seinfeld” episodes, as it spawned the use of the word “shrinkage” in popular culture when referring to the size, or lack thereof, of a man’s penis after swimming. The famous scene finds George changing in a bedroom after having been in the pool, when suddenly, Jerry’s girlfriend walks in on him. After the initial shock, she giggles, apologizes and rushes out, leaving George in a panic over whether she will tell his girlfriend. The episode also includes Kramer unknowingly stealing from commercial lobster traps, Elaine confused by a compliment from a pediatrician and all three witnessing George’s girlfriend sunbathing topless while he was out buying tomatoes.
“The Package” After Elaine gets caught reading her medical records during a visit to her doctor for a rash she’s suffering from, she begins to notice she gets the cold shoulder from every doctor in town. She resorts to asking Kramer to pose as her physician to obtain a copy of her records. Meanwhile, Kramer tries to get around an expired warranty on Jerry’s stereo by destroying it and mailing it back to Jerry insured, hoping to collect on the postal service's insurance and purchase a new stereo. Throughout the episode, George, in just his boxers, poses for a provocative photograph to give to a photo clerk that he mistakenly thinks has been flirting with him. “The Package” also features the debut of one of Kramer’s many alter egos, Dr. Martin Van Nostrand.
“The Soup Nazi” Perhaps one of the most famous episodes and characters in television history, the 116th episode of “Seinfeld” introduced America to the Soup Nazi, a man who has a very strict process when it comes to ordering soup from his kitchen. If not followed, patrons are abruptly given their money back and are sternly admonished, “No soup for you!” After Kramer talks up the taste of the soup, the gang decides to try it for themselves. Leave it to George and Elaine to be the ones to mess up the process. After complaining about not receiving free bread, George leaves empty handed, while Elaine goes so far as to get banned from the soup stand for a year.
“The Strike” "Out of that, a new holiday was born: a Festivus for the rest of us!” The tenth episode of the final season of “Seinfeld” is loaded with many of the “Seinfeld-isms” that permeate pop culture today. Kramer is captivated with the fact that Frank Costanza once invented 'Festivus', a holiday for those who detest the commercialism of Christmas. Meanwhile, George decides to give cards to his co-workers that explain a donation was made in their names to “The Human Fund,” a fictitious non-profit he made up to avoid spending money for Christmas. Jerry’s love of comic books influences the coining of the term “two-face” when he realizes the girl he is dating only looks attractive in certain lighting.