Vulture counts down 169 episodes.. They considered two-parters and hour long episodes as one, and they omitted the retrospective – claiming, that since every episode is now on the streaming service, why watch the highlights?
We’ve given you the top five below:
5. “The Hamptons” (Season 5). A brilliantly constructed episode in which George is the victim of a series of misfortunes, then seems to get the satisfying revenge he seeks — before getting a tomato slammed in his face. At least it’s a Hampton tomato! You can eat them like an apple!
4. “The Fire” (Season 5). Annnnnnd, this might be the worst thing George does in the entire nine seasons of the show. The police officer asking him how, exactly, he lives with himself is a proxy for all of us. Props to the writers for plotting a complicated but totally sound “No bad deed goes unpunished” story involving Jerry and Elaine, where the former’s fulfillment of every comedian’s revenge fantasy results in the latter losing a promotion.
3. “The Opposite” (Season 5). What if doing the exact opposite of what you would typically do in a given situation could improve your life? The season-five finale mines this question in what is possibly Seinfeld’s most effective attempt at magical realism. “The Opposite” takes a hard look at the show’s power dynamic and treats George and Elaine like elevators: One goes up and the other goes down, while Jerry remains neutral (or, as Kramer refers to him, “Even Steven”). Elaine’s realization at the end of the episode that she’s “become George” is one of the show’s funniest moments. (Also, the Kramer-meets–Regis and Kathie Lee scene is truly inspired.)
2. “The Subway” (Season 3). What keeps this from being No. 1? We’re down to the end, so it’s a matter of pedanticism: When the cop busts the mugger who’s trying to steal Kramer’s OTB winnings, there’s an applause track that doesn’t match the show’s established antipathy toward sentimentality. That’s enough to drop it a spot. Everything else about “The Subway” is as pitch-perfect and refreshing as an empty, air-conditioned 4 train in the summertime.
1. “The Contest” (Season 4). Even today it’s easy to marvel at how much comedy is packed into these 22 minutes without feeling like overkill: George’s odd choices for masturbation material [“Glamour?!”], Estelle Costanza yelling at him in the hospital room, the sponge bath, “I’m out!” Elaine’s JFK Jr. obsession, and the episode ending with the gang ostensibly watching Kramer have sex with the naked woman in the apartment across the street.
To view the full list, Go Here.
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