During Seinfeld’s nine-season run, the foursome often found themselves in some really humorous situations, and being that the show was never afraid to venture into darker territory, even for a sitcom, some of that humor involved death. Seinfeld’s mantra was “No hugging, no learning” which meant that none of these deaths would be met with actual sadness, as they would on any other show, and the characters never really showed remorse.
There were many instances on the show where the cast inadvertently caused a character’s demise yet it was all played for laughs. There are even some situations on the show that would have definitely led to a death in real life. This list proves that hanging around Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer may be hazardous to your health.
10 Almost Killed: Claire
In “The Voice,” Jerry’s impression of what his new girlfriend, Claire’s, belly button would sound like is hilarious to everyone but her. Meanwhile, Kramer is finally trying to get serious about his many ideas and starts Kramerica Industries, aided by his intern Darin.
Kramer conceives an idea to plug up oil tankers with a rubber blatter system, to prevent spills, and he inexplicably wants to test it out by dropping a big ball of oil out of a window. Unfortunately, Claire is directly underneath the ball but ignores Jerry’s warnings because they sound like his offensive impression. Ultimately, she gets covered in oil which, normally, would probably cause terrible health effects, and possibly death.
9 Killed: Manya
Considered one of Seinfeld’s classic episodes, “The Pony Remark” began a trend of characters dying on the sitcom. In the episode, Jerry and Elaine attend a dinner party thrown by Jerry’s relative, Manya. While at the dinner, Jerry remarks that he hates anyone who ever had a pony as a kid, to which Manya angrily responds “I had a pony!” Apparently, Jerry struck a nerve with Manya because she had a pony growing up in Poland that she loved very much.
Manya gets so upset that she leaves the dinner and the next day, Jerry discovers she has died. Now, Jerry believes that his pony remark upset Manya so much that it killed her.
8 Almost Killed: Tony
In “The Stall,” Elaine dates Tony, who George has become obsessed with because he’s such a cool guy. In order to impress him, George agrees to go rock-climbing with him and Kramer. However, while getting Tony a sandwich that George prided himself on making, he and Kramer neglect to secure Tony’s rope and he falls off the mountain.
Tony is okay but his face Elaine loves so much is now injured because he fell on a rock. In real life, mountain climbing accidents result in death and serious injury all the time and if he fell from a high point onto “kind of a rock,” most likely Tony wouldn’t have been able to walk away from that.
7 Killed: Mrs. Peterman
After Jerry leaves George alone with J. Peterman, Peterman is informed that his mother is “on death’s door” so he drags George along to see her. Peterman’s mother appears to be sleeping and unresponsive so while Peterman is out of the room, George seizes the opportunity to finally tell someone his secret bank code, Bosco. Suddenly, she awakens and begins screaming the word over and over, until, finally, she dies.
Being that Peterman’s catalog sells clothes using dramatic passages, George discovers Peterman believes he had a role in his mother’s death, thanks to a description of “The Rogue’s Wallet”: “Short, devious, balding. His name was Costanza. He killed my mother.”
6 Almost Killed: Lola
In “The Handicap Spot,” the friends decide to park in a disability spot, which leads to a person in a wheelchair injuring herself after having to park far away. After visiting the woman, Lola, in the hospital, Kramer falls in love and decides that they should buy her a new wheelchair. However, cheapskate George buys her a used wheelchair over a top-of-the-line model.
Later on, Lola is seen rolling down a hill, uncontrollably, because her “new” wheelchair had defective breaks. Given the speed of her wheelchair’s descent down the hill, it’s entirely possible that an incident like this could have killed her.
5 Killed: Fulton
In “The Stand-In,” Jerry is informed that a friend of his, Fulton, is in the hospital and “could use a laugh.” So, Jerry visits him and performs some stand-up comedy in an attempt to cheer him up. However, during his visit, Jerry bombs and Fulton doesn’t laugh at all.
Unfortunately, Fulton’s wife tells Jerry that since his visit, Fulton has taken a turn for the worse, and it’s all his fault. Now, Jerry is determined to make him laugh so he returns to the hospital with all-new material and this time he “kills.” Unfortunately, Jerry was too funny and Fulton laughs so hard he dies.
4 Almost Killed: Newman
In “The Pothole,” Kramer “adopts a highway” but turns the four-lane expressway into a two-lane “comfort cruise.” Unfortunately, disaster ensues and Kramer has to return it to a four-lane expressway. In doing so, he gets paint thinner in order to remove the black paint he used to cover up the lane markers.
In a confluence of events, Elaine finds herself hauling garbage and while enjoying Kramer’s wide lanes, a sewing machine falls out of her car and onto the road. At the same time, Kramer spills flammable paint thinner all over the road. Newman drives over the sewing machine, causing it to become lodged under his truck. Sparks fly from it being dragged across the ground, igniting the paint thinner and causing Newman’s truck to go up in flames as he’s singing “Three times a lady.” Kramer finds Newman walking in a daze, his clothes in tatters having undergone an explosive ordeal that in real life probably would have killed him.
3 Killed: Brett
In “The Checks,” Elaine dates a man obsessed with the song “Desperado.” Every time he hears it, he goes into a trance. Elaine suggests sharing a different song together, “Witchy Woman,” but he declines.
Brett has supplied Kramer with a chest of drawers he’s been using to house guests but they become trapped inside. When Jerry tries to free them, Brett gets accidentally struck in the head with an ax. At the hospital, the doctor attending to Brett becomes distracted when “Witchy Woman” comes over the radio. A nurse fails to break the doctor from his trance and Brett’s life slips away.
2 Almost Killed: Rick Levitan
In “The Revenge,” George’s plan to return to his job despite insulting his boss and quitting is foiled, so he decides to get revenge by slipping his boss a “mickey” at a party. This is perhaps the only time the Seinfeld cast actually intended to do bodily harm to someone. George even admits that his boss, Rick, might “keel over.”
After slipping the “mickey” into his drink, Rick unexpectedly gives George his job back, so he briefly tries to prevent him from drinking, however, during Rick’s toast announcing that George is re-hired, he insults George, so he recommends Rick “drink up.” In the next scene, it’s made clear George didn’t get his job back and implies that Rick’s condition is the culprit. Assuming George effectively poisoned him, this would surely have legal consequences.
1 Killed: Susan
Undoubtedly, the most famous Seinfeld death is that of George’s fiancee, Susan. With their wedding day drawing nearer, George tries desperately to figure out a way out of it. Once again, thanks to his cheapskate nature, he pushes Susan into purchasing cheap wedding invitations that end up being toxic and she ultimately dies from licking so many envelopes. Perhaps the most darkly funny moment in television history occurs when the doctor informs George that Susan has “expired.” The friends are dumbfounded with what to say because they know George wanted out of the relationship so badly. In the finale, the doctor would describe George’s reaction to Susan’s death as “restrained jubilation.”