Though the entire cast of Seinfeld made for iconic television characters, Jerry was at the center of the show. He helped establish the unique style of the sitcom that made it stand out among other shows of its kind at the time with his hilariously self-centered and mean-spirited ways.
But while Seinfeld‘s bold new sensibilities helped change television, there are some aspects of Jerry’s behavior that haven’t aged particularly well. While audiences at the time may have laughed these moments off as Jerry’s typical behavior, they are more uncomfortable to look back on now.
10. Posing As A Nazi
In one of the many wild schemes the gang gets up to in the show, Jerry and George decide to pose as someone named “O’Brien” in order to get a free limo ride. However, it turns out the man that they are posing as is actually a prominent figure in the neo-Nazi organization.
The gag is a great example of how Seinfeld could take a typical wacky sitcom misunderstanding and add their own twisted take on it. However, making light of such a hateful organization might not sit well with modern audiences.
9. His Insensitive Reaction To The Bubble Boy
It was not just that Jerry was a less friendly sitcom character than most others at the time, the show seemed to actively make him unlikable. One perfect instance of this is the famous “Bubble Boy” episode.
Jerry and Elaine meet a man whose son is a fan of Jerry’s comedy. The man explains that his son has a rare medical condition which means he must live in a protective bubble. Though the man and Elaine begin crying at the touching story, Jerry remains totally unmoved. It is a hilariously dark moment but also comes off as quite heartless
8. Insulting An Mugging Victim
The last episode of Seinfeld is one of the most controversial television finales of all time and it also features one of the most meanspirited moments from Jerry and the others. While stuck in a small town, Jerry and the gang see a man getting mugged. Instead of helping, they proceed to mock the man for being overweight.
While they are punished for this, it is perhaps a moment the show goes too far. The flawed nature of these characters has been entertaining in the past, but this crossed the line of being too unnecessarily cruel without being funny.
7. Trying To Switch Girlfriends
Jerry has had a number of girlfriends over the course of the series and a lot of his behavior in these relationships has aged poorly. In one instance, Jerry is frustrated when dating a woman who never laughs. To make matters worse, her roommate has a very nice laugh.
Being the selfish man that he is, Jerry tries to concoct a plan so that he can break up with his current girlfriend and start dating the roommate. It comes off as a fairly creepy and sleazy thing to do, especially since his intention is to purposely offend his girlfriend.
6. Making Stereotypical Jokes
As awful as a person Jerry can be, the joke is usually on him rather than on other people which makes it easier to laugh at. However, in one instance, Jerry’s offensive jokes seem out-of-character even for him.
After meeting Elaine’s friend and getting a crush on her, Jerry makes a series of offensive Native American jokes, not aware that the woman is Native American. Seeing Jerry go for such lazy and stereotypical humor is fairly tough to watch.
5. Dumping A Girl For Her Figure
One of the funniest recurring gags on Seinfeld is how the characters will break up with their partners over the most trivial of things. From failing to use an exclamation point to refusing a bite of pie, there are endless silly reasons. But Jerry goes too far in dumping a girl because she has implants.
While it could have been another moment of showing how immature Jerry is to do such a thing, the show seems to suggest it is perfectly understandable for him to end the relationship for that reason. It makes him into a petty person without having fun with it.
4. Using His Deaf Girlfriend
It is hard not to find humor in the elaborate and childish schemes Jerry and George get up to in the show. But when someone else gets roped into the situation, it is sometimes uncomfortable to see how they are used by these immature men.
When Jerry is dating a deaf woman, George convinces him to use her ability to read lips as a way of spying on his ex-girlfriend. While the woman is a willing participant, it comes off as quite insensitive, especially when Jerry and George continuously hide their mouths so they can talk about her when she’s right in front of them.
3. Objectifying A Teenager
This is an instance in which Jerry’s behavior didn’t necessarily age poorly as it was creepy back in the 90s as well. The moment comes when Jerry and George are visiting the home of a television executive when his teenage daughter returns home.
Jerry makes a gesture about the girl’s looks in a completely inappropriate moment. Jerry has rarely objectified women on the show, so it is another moment that seems out of character for him. But it is made worse because of how the show explicitly mentioned the girl’s young age.
2. Drugging A Woman
The show has a lot of fun by showing how Jerry is a manchild who still plays with toys and has an immature mind. While it is fun to laugh at those moments, it was taken into darker territory with one of his girlfriends.
When Jerry finds himself dating a woman with an incredible collection of vintage toys, he is frustrated when she doesn’t let him play with them. His solution is to drug the woman so she falls asleep and he is able to play. It is an uncomfortable joke that plays on some very disturbing subject matter.
1. Spying On A Neighbor
One of the funniest and most infamous episodes of the series is “The Contest” which helped cement Seinfeld as something truly special on television. However, fans might not remember a subplot in the episode that is quite unsettling.
It turns out that one of Jerry’s neighbors across the street is walking around naked. It results in the hilarious moment when Kramer gets out of the contest, but the image of the men watching this woman through binoculars is extremely creepy.