The role played by Seinfeld in shaping sitcoms is far-reaching and undeniable, not to mention the impact it had on the ’90s as a whole. Seinfeld’s brand of bitter comedy managed to stay fresh for an astounding nine seasons, losing neither pace nor inventiveness in the process (something that cannot be said for every sitcom).
Seinfeld‘s fab four — Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer — make up the bulk of the show’s screen time, constantly getting themselves into implausible situations and reacting with histrionic entitlement in almost every case.
10 George Abandons A Houseful Of Children During A Fire
George Costanza is happy to be a part of his new girlfriend Robin’s life, going so far as to accept an invitation to her child’s birthday party. While relaxing in the kitchen, he notices smoke emanating from the oven and instantly overreacts.
In this case, however, his attempt to save his own skin results in several people being injured, even an old lady using a walker. George’s actions aren’t exactly evil, but they’re almost always based on self-preservation (whatever the cost).
9 Kramer Is Proud Of His Karate Accomplishments
Kramer excitedly tells Elaine about his recent hobby, hoping to encourage her and give her the confidence required to take over J. Peterman’s role in the company.
She is naturally swayed by his alleged karate accomplishments, especially his talk about “katra”, which he describes as “the part of you that says, ‘Yes, I can!'” Both Jerry and Elaine are furious when they discover that Kramer’s karate opponents are grade school kids, despite his insistence that they’re “all at the same skill level.”
8 Elaine Dumps Her Boyfriends For Frustrating Reasons
Everyone on Seinfeld is a serial dater, and all of them have serious problems in maintaining stable relationships. Elaine has some rather strict rules for her boyfriends, many of which are grounded in common sense, but she also tends to be hypocritical whenever the situation doesn’t suit her.
Her romance with David Puddy is an on-again-off-again series of disasters, not to mention all the men she dumps through no fault of their own. In one case, Elaine breaks up with a man because his handsome face is disfigured in a rock-climbing accident; in another, she stops to purchase candy before visiting her boyfriend in the hospital.
7 George Creates The Human Fund To Embezzle Money
In one of his most memorable cheapskate moments, George rants about the financial expectations placed on him by Christmas. He decides not to get any presents for his colleagues, instead fabricating an ambiguous charity with a suspicious name, “The Human Fund,” to collect money from them.
George tricks innocent people who actually want to spend their hard-earned money on a noble cause, a despicable act of miserliness that doesn’t even get him in serious trouble.
6 Jerry Drugs His Date To Get Access To Her Vintage Toys
Jerry is over the moon to learn that Celia owns a rare collection of toys and games, but his enthusiasm is destroyed when she forbids him from handling the merchandise. He slips her an aspirin meant for nocturnal use, which causes Celia to fall asleep almost immediately.
Jerry spins the situation to his benefit and starts playing with her collection. It gets worse when George and Elaine get involved. Shockingly, it’s Kramer who can’t believe that Jerry “drugged a woman so [he] could take advantage of her toys.”
5 Kramer Is A Thorn In Jerry’s Side
Kramer is helpful, honest, and occasionally empathetic, but his positive traits pale in comparison with the way he abuses Jerry’s trust. Kramer flouts every neighborly covenant — stealing food, entering without warning, borrowing random household items.
However, he also shrugs off Jerry’s obvious discomfort as a mild inconvenience. Further, Kramer owes his neighbor a massive sum of money; the latter has long since given up hope of being paid back.
4 Jerry Would Rather Let People Die Than Resuscitate Them
Jerry attempts to keep Ramon at a distance, considering him to be a nuisance (a serious problem in itself). When Ramon is rehired at Jerry’s gym, Physique, he tries to badger and hassle the latter for his rude behavior earlier.
Jerry eventually forces him into the swimming pool, with Newman’s subsequent cannonball nearly drowning Ramon. Jerry bluntly refuses to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, fully aware that Ramon might die if he’s not treated in time.
3 George Pursues Marisa Tomei During His Engagement
George discovers that famous actress Marisa Tomei prefers “short, quirky bald men,” three of his defining features. Unfortunately for him, his engagement with Susan prevents him from pursuing other romantic options. Or it would have if George gave a fig about responsibility and consent.
He meets Marisa anyway, who seems to enjoy his company until he reveals his soon-to-be-married status. George earns a punch on the chin for his shamelessness. He attempts to reconnect with Marisa after Susan’s death, gallingly telling her that his “weekend is pretty wide open” after he’s done with “the funeral.”
2 Kramer Accidentally Burns Down A Cabin (And Never Apologizes)
George, Jerry, Susan, and Elaine get lost on the way to the Ross’ cabin, during which time they encounter the Bubble Boy, Donald. Meanwhile, Kramer has already reached the location with Naomi — he goes for a night swim, leaving his still-lit cigar around a pile of paper.
The entire place goes up in flames; nearly every artifact in the cabin is burned to cinders. George takes the blame for this event, while Kramer once again manages to get away scot-free.
1 The Gang Goes To Jail For Mocking A Carjacking Victim
The series finale serves to teach the fab four a lesson, punishing them for all the terrible things they have been doing for the past nine years. In the forgettable town of Latham, Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer are caught making fun of a carjacking incident live, for which they are arrested under the “Good Samaritan Law.”
Their impending court case turns into a media circus when dozens of side-characters make their final reappearance, giving a wealth of testimony against the main characters’. In the end, all four of them are thrown in jail for one year, so maybe there is some form of belated justice in the Seinfeld universe, after all.