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Seinfeld: Tropes I to N
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     I-J 
  • I Banged Your Mom: Newman bangs Kramer's mom. He walks in on them and is suitably Squicked.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: With the exception of exactly one episode ("Male Unbonding," which was the first post-pilot episode produced - though not the first to be aired), every episode starts with "The".
  • If I Had a Nickel: In "The Rye", where George's parents, Frank and Estelle, have dinner with the parents of his fiancée, Susan Ross:
    Estelle: I couldn't help but notice that you have quite a library in there.
    Mrs. Ross: If I had a dime for every book he's actually read, I'd be broke.
  • I Have Boobs, You Must Obey!: Accidentally invoked by Elaine when she loses the top button on her shirt without realizing it.
    • George is also well aware that he must obey.
      "Every woman on the face of the Earth has complete control over my life... and yet, I want them all. Is that irony?"
  • I Have This Friend: Played with in "The Andrea Doria" when Kramer, who refuses to go to the doctor for his cough, takes a guy's dog (Smuckers) to the vet and describes his symptoms, pretending they're also the dog's.
    Vet: (examining Smuckers) What are the symptoms?
    Kramer: Well, uh.. it hurts when he swallows. Especially when he drinks orange juice. (Vet looks at him oddly) I mean, uh.. dog food.. juice. What's worse, he has a nagging cough. (Smuckers coughs) Yeah, that's it. That's it.
    Vet: Yeah, well, uh, we've been seeing a lot of this lately. Been drinking from the toilet?
    Kramer: (offended) What? No. That's disgusting.
  • I'll Be in My Bunk: Kramer's (wordless) elimination from "The Contest".
  • I Love You Man: One of Jerry's odd behaviours (ie. showing emotions) in "The Serenity Now" is telling his friends how much he loves them.
  • Imaginary Friend: Whitey Fisk was made up by George to be the "summer Jerry" (when Jerry went away to summer camp). When George finally reveals that Whitey Fisk was a fictitious person who he never snuck into R-rated movies with:
    Jerry: So you never saw Last Tango in Paris?
    George: No.
    Jerry: Too bad. It was erotic.
  • Imagine Spot: Jerry and his girlfriend both have one in "The Apology": Jerry kept trying to picture his girlfriend naked, while the girlfriend kept trying to not picture Jerry naked.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Newman craves Kramer in "The Butter Shave".
    Kramer: Look at me! I'm all covered in parmesan and oregano, and it's stickin' to me be cause of the butter! Look at me!
    (Newman hands Kramer something)
    Newman: Hold this.
    Kramer: What is that, parsley?
    (Newman smiles wide and bites him off-screen)
  • I'm Your Biggest Fan: Kramer is this for Bette Midler, and also displays some signs of Celeb Crush as well to the point that he offers to fetch her a pineapple-flavored Italian Ice, just so he can do something for her.
  • Important Haircut: In "The Soul Mate", Elaine, inspired by her impulsive boyfriend, decides to cut her hair really short on a whim. The change only lasts a couple episodes.
  • Impossibly Delicious Food: The Mackinaw peaches ("The Doodle"), "The Soup Nazi['s]" soups, and the non-fat yogurt (so good, it causes Jerry to curse!). Several other foodstuffs fall into this category, but only through Newman's, Kramer's or George's eyes.
  • Incompetence, Inc.: Many, but especially Kruger Industrial Smoothing, where George works for the final season and where no one seems to do any work.
    George: Hey, I work for Kruger Industrial Smoothing: "We don't care and it shows."
  • Indentured Servitude:
    • This is a plot device that Jerry and George use for the pilot they write for NBC, in which, Jerry gets into a car accident with another man, and since said other man didn't have car insurance, the judge ordered the man to become Jerry's butler.
    • The above inspires Frank to do the same to George when his car is ruined while in George's possession (George had parked the car in a handicap spot, and a wheelchair-bound woman ended up having a serious accident because of it).
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Jerry when Elaine asks him about the sweater in "The Red Dot".
    • Elaine pretends to need one as part of her ruse about a "gang of teenagers" who chased her.
  • Informed Flaw: The slowness of Jerry's elevator. For only taking thirty seconds for someone at the front door to reach Jerry's fifth floor apartment, it must be the fastest elevator in New York.
  • Informed Judaism: Jerry and his family.
    • Also, Kramer's friend Lomez.
      Jerry: Lomez is Jewish?
      Kramer: Yeah, Orthodox. Old-school.
    • George's mother, Estelle, is a perfect Jewish Mother except for her name.
    • Ed from "The Fatigues" claims to be Jewish, despite his arms being covered in tattoos.
      • Not all Jews don't have tattoos, just like not all Jews are Kosher (Jerry being both a real-life and in-universe example of the latter).
    • In "The Suicide", Jerry mentions he has never fasted, but once waited until 9 o'clock before eating dinner. Apparently he's never heard of Yom Kippur, either.
  • Inner Monologue: Occurs occasionally. Jerry has quite a few when he, George, and Kramer go to see Tor in "The Heart Attack":
    Tor: You see, you are in disharmony. The throat is the gateway to the lung. Tonsillitis, adenoiditis, is, in Chinese medical terms, and invasion of heat and wind.
    Jerry: (thinking) There's some hot air blowin' in here.
    • Elaine has a rather lengthy one in "The Subway" when the subway train grinds to a halt:
    Elaine: (thinking) Oh, this is great. This is what I need, just what I need. Okay, take it easy, I'm sure it's nothing. Probably rats on the track, we're stopping for rats. God, it's so crowded. How can there be so many people? This guy really smells. Doesn't anyone use deodorant in the city? What is so hard, you take the cap off, you roll it on. What's that? I feel something rubbing against me. Disgusting animals, these people should be in a cage. We are in a cage. What if I miss the wedding? I got the ring. What'll they do? You can't get married without the ring. Oh, I can't breathe, I feel faint! Take it easy, it'll start moving soon. Think about the people on the concentration camps, what they went through. And hostages, what would you do if you were a hostage? Think about that. This is nothing. No, it's not nothing, it's something. It's a nightmare! Help me! Move it! Com'on move this (bleeping) thing!! Why isn't it moving?! What can go wrong with a train?! It's on tracks, there's no traffic! How can a train get stuck. Step on the gas! What could it be? You'd think the conductor would explain it to us! "I'm sorry there's a delay we'll be moving in 5 minutes!" I wanna hear a voice. What's that on my leg?!
    • George also has an inner monologue in "The Subway" when George contemplates how much clothing he should take off when the woman he was with said to make himself comfortable. He ends up taking off just his shoes.
    • Jerry repeatedly has an inner monologue in "The Cafe", complimenting himself for helping out Babu's ailing restaurant.
    • George has an inner monologue in "The Smelly Car" when he spots two lesbians.
    George: They're so fascinating. Why is that? Because they don't want us. You gotta respect that.
    • In "The Wife", Elaine has an inner monologue when talking to Greg.
    • In "The Barber", Newman has an inner monologue when he searches Jerry's bathroom for a stray hair.
    • In "The Cartoon", George has an inner monologue about the woman he's dating:
    George: (thinking) My friends are idiots. She doesn't look like Jerry. She doesn't look like anybody. And so what if does look like Jerry, what does that mean? That I could have everything I have with Jerry, but because it's a woman, I could also have sex with her.... And that somehow that would be exactly what I always wanted...? She doesn't even look like Jerry!
    Sally: Y'know, I really do look like your friend Jerry.
    George: (aloud) I know.
    • In "The Sponge", Jerry opens his girlfriend's closet to find boxes of contraceptive sponges:
    Jerry: (thinking) Oh my God. She is depraved!
    • In "The Boyfriend", both Elaine and Keith Hernandez have inner monologues while on their date.
    Keith: (thinking) Go ahead. Kiss her. I'm a baseball player, dammit!
    Elaine: (thinking) What's he waiting for? I thought he was a cool guy.
    Keith: (thinking) Come on I won the MVP in '79. I can do whatever I want to.
    Elaine: (thinking) This is getting awkward.
    Keith: Well, goodnight.
    Elaine: Good night.
    (they kiss, and keep kissing)
    Elaine: (thinking) Who does this guy think he is??
    Keith: (thinking) I'm Keith Hernandez.
  • Inspirational Insult: Invoked in "The Cartoon," in which washed-up actress Sally Weaver takes Jerry's criticism (actually said by Kramer) of her acting abilities (or lack thereof) and applies it to her new stand-up routine she calls Jerry Seinfeld is the Devil, in which she basically just mocks everything Jerry does or say to her to make him seem like a bigger Jerkass. Her new act launches her into celebrity status overnight.
  • In with the In Crowd: George, in "The Bizarro Jerry".
  • Innocent Bigot: Jean-Paul in "The Hot Tub", who is from Trinidad and doesn't know a lot of English slang. He learns some words he doesn't fully know for Seinfeld and the gang, which backfires when he sees a mother with a baby in the hallway of Elaine's apartment and says "Aw, look at the cute little bastard!" The woman is offended, since she had the baby out of marriage, and Jean-Paul gets in further trouble when he innocently calls the building manager a son of a bitch.
  • Insignia Rip-Off Ritual: Parodied, as Newman does this to Jerry while he's wearing Newman's jacket.
  • Insistent Terminology: Becomes a Running Gag in one episode, where Jerry stops carrying a wallet, and Elaine eventually talks him into carrying European carry-all; the item is continually dismissed as a purse, prompting, "It's not a purse, it's European!"
  • Insists on Paying: Jerry's parents refuse to believe that Jerry makes any money whatsoever as a comedian, so Morty insists on paying for everything when they are together, while Jerry also insists on paying for everything just to prove them wrong.
    • Taken Up to Eleven when Jerry buys his parents a Cadillac, so they sell it to Jack Klompus and give Jerry the money. Jerry buys it back from Klompus for $14,000 (Klompus paid $6000 for it) and gives it back to his parents, who promptly sell their condo and move into a trailer park.
  • Inspector Javert: Mr. Bookman the library cop.
  • Instrumental Theme Tune
    • The in-universe pilot Jerry also uses an instrumental theme tune, and it's typical '80s sitcom cheese.
  • The Internet Is for Porn::
    • George's chief selling point for his father's computer business in "The Serenity Now".
    George: Well, I got just the thing to cheer you up. A computer! Huh? We can check porn, and stock quotes.
    • Later:
    Elaine: I am not buying a computer from you.
    George: There's porn!
    (beat)
    Elaine: Even so.
  • Invented Individual: Primarily Suzie, and occasionally the recurring Art Vandelay and Dr. van Nostrand.
  • Inventor of the Mundane: Bob Sacamano thought of attaching a rubber band to a ball so it wouldn't fly off a paddle ("The Puerto Rican Day").
  • Invisible Subtle Difference: In "The Little Jerry", after Elaine shows Jerry a picture of her boyfriend's hair:
    Jerry: ...It's brown.
    Elaine: It's chestnut with auburn highlights.
  • Ironic Echo: In "The Cafe", George is asked if he's wearing cologne by Elaine (this is after Jerry teased him about it, mind you). To which George protested: "Why is what I do so important? Why must I be always the vocal point of attention? Let me just be, let me live." A few seconds later, George wants to know what "casus belli" means (a phrase Jerry and Elaine said when George walked in); he wants to know if it's about him. To which Jerry replied: "Why must you always be the vocal point of attention? Why can't you just be? Why can't you live?"
    • Amazingly, there's another unrelated Ironic Echo a few moments later! Early in the episode, George tells Jerry, "You know, people think I'm smart, but I'm not smart." Later, when George reveals to Elaine that he's taking an IQ test, Elaine is confident he'll do well because he's smart. To which Jerry parrots George from earlier: "No see, he's not smart. People think he's smart, but he's not." Needless to say, George is quite annoyed by Jerry at this point.
    • In "The Nose Job", Elaine tells George to shut up after Audrey's nose job is botched. At the end of the episode, when Audrey fixes her nose and Elaine gushes about how good it looks, George tells Elaine to shut up.
    • In "The Parking Space", Jerry forces Kramer to beg for information. Later in the scene, Kramer does the exact same thing to Jerry.
    • In "The Susie", after Mike (now a bookie) tells Jerry that he can't pay him back for the bet he lost, Jerry calls Mike a phony, which is what Mike called Jerry back in season 3's "The Parking Space".
    • In "The Postponement", George and Jerry make a pact to both marry someone. When George gets engaged but Jerry doesn't (having just broken up with his latest girlfriend), George angrily reminds him: "We had a PACT!" Later, in the season finale, "The Invitations", Jerry gets engaged to Jeannie, so it looks like the pact is finally going to be held. But then Susan dies from licking toxic glue on the wedding invitations, and George is free. Upon hearing this, Jerry shouts, "We had a PACT!"
    • In "The Kiss Hello", George is informed that he has to pay for his physical therapy bill because he didn't cancel 24 hours before the appointment. Later in the episode, George returns to the therapist and is informed that the therapist had to cancel the appointment because she had some personal business. George gets back at her: "Oh, I'm sorry, I require 24 hours notice for a cancellation. Now, as I see it, you owe me seventy-five dollars."
    • In "The Pledge Drive", Elaine mentioned that Mr. Pitt ate a candy bar with a knife and fork. George explained: "He probably doesn't want to get chocolate on his fingers. That's the way these society types eat their candy bars." Moments later, the waitress pointed at George's check using her middle finger; when George was convinced she gave him the finger, Jerry explained: "That's how waitress types express derision; they don't want to get their mouths dirty."
    • In, "The Chicken Roaster," Kramer starts protesting the new Kenny Rogers' Chicken Roaster right across the street from his apartment window (the neon chicken sign keeps his apartment lit up all night), and we have this exchange between Jerry and his college buddy Seth (who was previously fired after missing a meeting at an investment firm):
    Seth: That's not gonna be good for business.
    • Later still, Jerry tries to help Kramer drive the place out of business by shaking off a wet hat made of nutria fur, causing rat hair to fly all over the restaurant.
    Jerry: That's not gonna be good for business.
    Seth: That's not gonna be good for anybody.
    • In "The Foundation", Kramer talks about karate, how it's "here (points to head), and here (points to chest), and here (makes circle with hands)." Later in the scene, Jerry leaves with these words: "All right, I'm outta here, and when I get back, I don't want to see you here (points to kitchen), here (points to living room), or here (makes similar circle with his hands)."
    • In "The Wizard", Kramer announces he's retiring, saying that thanks to cleaning up on his coffee table book being turned into a movie, he doesn't have to worry about working for a while... a looong while. Jerry's response:
    Jerry: That's funny, because I haven't seen you working for a while. A loooong while.
    • In "The Scofflaw", Kramer starts wearing an eye patch, and Jerry says he looks like a pirate. Kramer replies, "I wanna be a pirate." A season earlier, Jerry was forced into wearing a puffy shirt on The Today Show, and Kramer proclaimed Jerry was going to be the first pirate. Jerry nervously said, "I don't wanna be a pirate!"
  • Irony: Demonstrated by Kramer's story in "The Van Buren Boys": Kramer ruined the very pants he was returning by slipping and falling in mud.
    • This teeters on the fence of Irony and Ironic Echo, but in, "The Outing", Jerry asks George how is he going to get himself out of his current relationship, to which George, defeatedly, says, "I don't know... I guess I'm gonna have to wait until she dies." Seasons later in, "The Invitations", after George has spent the entire season trying to weasel out of impending wedding to Susan, she ends up dead after sealing a bunch of envelopes that had toxic adhesives.
    • Also in the series finale. George and Kramer make a few references to how much they like society, but as it turns out, society doesn't like them.
  • Irrevocable Message: "The Phone Message".
  • Is There a Doctor in the House?: Shouted when someone passes out in the diner. In a subversion, Elaine's latest boyfriend, Ben, isn't technically a doctor yet because he hasn't passed his medical exam. So he's reluctant to go over and help him.
    Sue Ellen: Shouldn't he elevate his legs?
    Ben: Right! Elevate your legs!
  • It Is Pronounced Tropay:
    George: Listen, Dophne...
    Daphne: Daphne.
    George: Daphne...
    • In "The Wallet", Elaine mispronounced "Svengali" as "Svenjolly". George and Jerry called her on it.
    • "Dem-me" or "Dem-I" Moore?
    • "Ah....."Witch-chay Woman"
  • It Makes Sense in Context: In-universe, this was certainly the case in "The Doodle" when a man that Elaine had a job interview with is aghast at the expensive hotel bill that Jerry's parents racked up:
    Mandel: Three hours of massage time , twelve in-room movies including several adult features, five shoe shines and four hundred dollars worth of snacks. Not to mention the damage to the room.
    Elaine: Mr Mandel, you don't understand... my-my friend had fleas. I ran into the gas, it could have killed me, and my, my other friend couldn't taste his peaches, they're only good for two weeks!
    Mandel: I think you've read one too many Billy Mumphrey stories.
  • It's Not You, It's Me: George claims to be the grand master of this:
    "You're giving me the "it's not you, it's me" routine? I invented 'It's not you, it's me!' Nobody tells me it's them not me, if it's anyone it's me!"
    "Fine, it's you."
    "You're damn right it's me."
  • I Will Show You X: Upon an irate Frank seeing Kramer's license plate: ""ASSMAN"? I'll show him Assman!!!"
    • In "The Serenity Now": "You wanna sell computers? I will show youuuuuu, how to sell computers!"
  • Japanese Tourist: Played surprisingly straight in "The Checks".
  • Jeopardy! Intelligence Test: George becomes a genius by abstaining from sex, and does great while watching Jeopardy. Jerry asks whether it's a rerun, but it's not.
  • Jerkass: Everyone, especially since there are no "good" characters with which to contrast them (unless you count the series finale).
  • Jingle: Kramer sings one for Hennigan's whiskey in "The Red Dot", before quickly being cut off by Jerry:
    Kramer: (singing) H, E, double N, I...
  • Joisey: David Putty is from Jersey.
  • Judgment of Solomon: Done with a bicycle.
  • Just Between You and Me

     K-L 
  • Kangaroo Court: "The Finale".
  • Karma Houdini: George was harboring an escaped fugitive that the police knew about, and yet it was Elaine's then-boyfriend who went to jail, just because he was starting to look like George. The second part is justified because said boyfriend told Elaine he punched the cop who accused him of being George; he was in prison for assault, not for harboring a fugitive.
  • Karmic Protection: Almost the entire series, but averted in the Finale.
  • Kavorka Man: Trope Namer. Used to describe Kramer, but applies equally to George. When asked how George kept dating gorgeous women, the best answer his actor could give was, "He's very...persistent...?"
    • Newman is also an example as he's been seen dating or having dated some very attractive women.
    • Jerry also does alright.
  • Kicked Up Stairs: Elaine did this to a mail room worker in "The Fatigues"; instead of firing him for late mail delivery, she promoted him to writer when she saw he wore combat fatigues and had a gruff voice. Once he began writing for the catalog, she promoted him again after he freaked out the other workers with his dark poetry (she made him Director of Corporate Development, which got him out of the writer room). This didn't go over well with the other writers.
  • Kissing Cousins: In "The Junk Mail", George's plan to flirt with his cousin (and thus, causing his parents to start giving him attention again) backfires when she decides to go along with it.
  • Klatchian Coffee: Kramer, after drinking too many cafe lattes in "The Maestro".
    • Jerry, after he drinks Morning Thunder. Played with, in that Jerry doesn't know it contains caffeine.
    Elaine: And you should see him, man, he gets all hyper, he doesn't even know why, he loves it! He walks around, going, "God, I feel great!"
  • The Klutz: Kramer.
  • Knuckle Tattoos: In "The Bookstore", during Jerry's nightmare, Uncle Leo has "JERRY" and "HELLO" tattooed onto his fingers.
  • Lame Rhyme Dodge: In "The Pool Guy", Jerry was coaxed by Susan, Elaine, and Kramer to join them for lunch, and having known about George's disdain about Susan mixing their engagement and friendship worlds, mumbled "This is gonna be ugly..." Susan asked what he said, and Jerry replied: "I said, "Boy, am I ugly!"
    • In "The Statue", George called Jerry a wuss from the other diner booth, and Jerry mumbled to him, "Did you call me a wuss?" Ray, sitting with Jerry, asked what he said, and Jerry replied, "I said "luss", I'm at a luss."
  • Lampshade Hanging: Done in season 7's "The Checks": Jerry and George discuss pitching their failed pilot "Jerry" to Japanese executives who would air the show in Japan. George argues that the reason it would do better in Japan than over here is because it has more novelty, whereas when you turn on the TV in America, "all you see is four morons sitting 'round an apartment, whining about their dates."
    • Also, in season 9's "The Cartoon", Newman remarks to Sally Weaver that he loves her one-woman show and that it's refreshing to see a show that's actually about something and looks snidely at Jerry in the process. Obviously, this is a play on the whole "Show About Nothing" tagline when talking about the series.
      • That, and her show consisted of nothing but insulting Jerry. Of course Newman would like it.
    • In season 4's "The Wallet", there is a standup bit from Jerry about cliffhanger episodes shortly before the episode ends in one.
  • Large Ham: Quite a few: Michael Richards as Kramer, George, Newman, Peterman, and Steinbrenner. Also the oneshot character Mr. Bookman in "The Library," an Inspector Javert...for library fines.
    • World of Ham, really.
    • Jerry Stiller as Frank Costanza lives by this trope. Contrast his appearance in the syndicated version of "The Handicap Spot" with John Randolph's in the original version of the same episode.
  • Last Episode New Character: J. Peterman made his debut in "The Understudy", the season 6 finale.
  • Last Het Romance: It's implied George is this to at least two women. Even though Susan insisted it wasn't his fault, the girl he dated after Susan shows up and starts flirting with her. Inverted in the same episode, when Susan's girlfriend, who has never been into men at all, falls in love with Kramer.
    George: Amazing. I drive 'em to lesbianism, he brings 'em back!
  • Last-Second Word Swap: When Jerry's latest girlfriend, Heidi, is making pork chops for Jerry, Elaine walks in:
    Elaine: Boy, something stinks to high... (notices Heidi's in the kitchen) Heidi.
  • Last Words: In "The Secret Code", George confided in J. Peterman's dying mother what his secret ATM code was, "bosco". After doing so, the nearly comatose mother began repeating "bosco" over and over, increasing in volume and intensity. Peterman managed to hear her squeak out her last "bosco" before she died, and sought to discover the meaning of the word. He later found out when George had to use his code to free a man trapped in an ATM machine:
    George: (reading the description for a wallet in the Peterman Catalogue) "The Rogue's Wallet. That's where he kept his card, his dirty little secret. Short, devious, balding. His name was Costanza. He killed my mother."
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall / Reality Subtext / Real Life Writes the Plot: The fourth season had an entire subplot in which Jerry and George make their own show. It basically amounts to how (real life) Jerry and Larry David created Seinfeld.
  • Least Rhymable Word: In "The Junior Mint", Jerry can't remember the name of his girlfriend. All he knows is that it rhymes with a female body part. George goes through the rounds:
    George: Now let's try "breast"... Celeste... Kest...
    Jerry: No.
    George: Rest... Sest... Hest...
    Jerry: "Hest"? That's not a name.
    George: Well you should've just asked her.
    Jerry: I know, I should've asked her.
    George: What're you gonna do now?
    Jerry: I dunno. I can't ask her now; I've already made out with her. Once you make out with a woman, you can't ask her her name.
    George: Aretha!
    Jerry: No...
    George: Bovary!
    Jerry: Alright, that's enough.
  • Lethal Chef: Frank Constanza believes himself to be this because of a traumatic episode in the Korean War (he inadvertently made his entire platoon sick by serving spoiled meat).
  • Let's See You Do Better: In "The Understudy":
    George: I watched "Beaches" on cable last night. "You are the wind beneath my wings"? Give me a break.
    Bette Middler: Get some talent, then you can mouth off.
  • Like Goes With Like: Not quite a straight example of the trope, but close. Kramer and Mickey are dating two women, but can't decide which one of them should date which woman. Kramer finds out that one of the girls' parents are little people, so he lets Mickey date her while he goes out with the other one. Later on Mickey gets married to his girl. However, the trope ends up somewhat inverted at the wedding. The bride admits that she really wanted Kramer, while Kramer's date is so in love with Mickey that she can't bear to see him marry someone else and runs out of the church in tears.
  • Limited Wardrobe: George has about three or four specific plaid shirts that he seems to wear over and over again.
    • Jerry once dated a girl who wore the same dress every time he saw her, which drove him nuts.
      Jerry: (inner monologue) What in God's name is going on here? Is she wearing the same thing over and over again? Or does she have a closet full of these like Superman?! I've got to unlock this mystery!
  • Local Hangout: Monk's Café.
  • Long List: In "The Little Kicks", George remarks that a woman is attracted to him for being the "bad boy". He says he's never been the bad boy before, to which Jerry rattles off a long list of other "bad" roles he's played.
    Jerry: You've been the bad employee, the bad son, the bad friend...
    George: Yes, yes...
    Jerry: The bad fiancé, the bad dinner guest, the bad credit risk...
    George: OK, the point is made.
    Jerry: The bad date, the bad sport, the bad citizen... (George leaves) The bad tipper!
    • In "The Seven", Jerry repeatedly teases George about his idea to name a child "Seven":
    Jerry: Seven? Yeah, I guess I could see it. Seven. Seven periods of school, seven beatings a day. Roughly seven stitches a beating, and eventually seven years to life. Yeah, you're doing that child quite a service.
    George: Yes I am. I defy you to come up with a better name than Seven.
    Jerry: All right, let's see. (picks up a mug on the counter) How about Mug? Mug Costanza, that's original. Or uh, Ketchup? Pretty name for a girl.
    George: All right, you having a good time there?
    Jerry: I got fifty right here in the cupboard. How about Bisquik? Pimento. Gherkin. Sauce. Maxwell House.
    George: ALL RIGHT ALREADY!!!
    • In "The Junk Mail", Kramer lists off what he can use instead of the U.S. Mail:
    Newman: What about your bills?
    Kramer: The bank can pay 'em.
    Newman: (laughs derisively) The bank. Wh-what about your cards and letters?
    Kramer: E-mail. Telephones, fax machines, FedEx, Tel-Ex, telegrams, holograms...
    • In "The Wink", George Steinbrenner lists off all the people he's fired over the years:
    George Steinbrenner: You know as painful as it is, I had to let a few people go over the years: Yogi Berra, Lou Pinella, Bucky Dent, Billy Martin, Dallas Green, Dick Houser, Bill Virdon, Billy Martin, Scott Marrow, Billy Martin, Bob Lemmon, Billy Martin, Gene Michael, Buck Showalter, uh, tut, George, you didn't hear that from me!
  • Longing Look
  • Loony Fan: Kramer is nicer to celebrities than he is to his own friends. His slavish devotion to Bette Middler in "The Understudy" stands out particularly.
    • Speaking of celebrities, Kramer's time working at the Alex Theater seemed to make him a little snooty.
    • Can you believe that someone, somewhere out there, likes cashmere to the point that they pester a rich man because of it?
  • Loophole Abuse: In "The Calzone", Newman refuses to deliver George's calzones to Mr. Steinbrenner on his mail route because it's raining outside.
    George: You were supposed to delivery my calzones! We had a deal!
    Newman: I believe the deal was that I would get the calzones on my route! Well today I won't be going on my route, will I?! Perhaps tomorrow.
    George: BUT I'M PAYING YOU!
    Newman: Yes, thank you. (grabs his cash and shuts the door)
    George: ...Newman!
  • Lost Him in a Card Game: Sorta. Steinbrenner traded George to Tyler Chicken in exchange for a discount towards replacing all of Yankee Stadium's menu items with chicken-based alternatives (yes, including beer).
  • Low-Speed Chase: When George gets a scooter-chair in "The Butter Shave", the show's climax features him slowly driving down the street, being chased by a group of old folks who are also on scooter-chairs.
    • There's also a low speed chase in "The Big Salad", which parodied the then-recent O.J. Simpson highway chase.

     M-N 
  • Madden Into Misanthropy: George gets so upset with how his luck has been going that he decides to go ahead and do the opposite of what he would normally does. The girl he was trying to woo became his despite him saying he still lives with his parents and was unemployed. He also finds his own place And gets a job with the New York Yankees after telling off George Steinbrenner about how he's run the team into the ground in the past two decades.
  • Madness Mantra: Lloyd Braun tells George that Frank should stop saying "serenity now", because all it does is bottle up the anger until you explode.
    George: What do you know? You were in the nut house.
    Lloyd: What do you think put me there?
    George: I heard they found a family in your freezer.
    Lloyd: (warning) "Serenity now", insanity later.
  • Make a Wish: Jerry's latest girlfriend, whom he had dubbed "Man Hands" (due to having large hands for a woman), picked an eyelash from Jerry's face. She told him to make a wish, and after Jerry blew the eyelash off her finger, he looked at Man Hands's hands and said, "Didn't come true", obviously hinting that he wished her hands would've shrunk.
    • Thoroughly explored in the backwards episode "The Betrayal" - Kramer's plotline "begins" with FDR wishing he would drop dead, and is spent with the two of them counterwishing and re-wishing that using most of the methods on the trope page. At one point, he finds a shooting star and shouts "I wish I don't drop dead!" only to have an annoyed man downstairs telling him to drop dead, continuing the chain.
  • Malaproper: Elaine could fall into this at times. In "The Checks":
    Elaine: Brett said you ran away from him, as if he were the boogityman?
    Jerry: "Boogeyman".
    Elaine: Boogey?
    Jerry: I'm quite sure.
  • Manipulative Bastard: In one episode, Elaine meets a man who makes bets with her where, if he loses, he has to buy her dinner. He then loses intentionally. By doing this, he gets to take Elaine out on dates without actually asking her out and giving her the chance to reject him. He later steals Jerry's girlfriend this way.
    Jerry: Because if he doesn't ask you out, he doesn't get rejected. He has found a dating loophole.
  • Manly Tears: In "The Junior Mint", George cries at the ending to Home Alone.
    George: The old man got to me!
    Jerry: (disgusted) All right, just get yourself together... I dunno if I can be friends with you anymore after this display.
    George: (defensively) Aw shut up!
  • Mars and Venus Gender Contrast: Occasionally in Jerry's early-season standup bits.
  • Meaningful Name: The main characters never learn anything or let anything change them or their lives. It makes sense that the main enemy of Jerry is named Newman.
  • Meat-O-Vision: Inverted when Newman starts seeing Kramer's head on a chicken breast after the latter inadvertantly cooks himself by using butter in lieu of sun screen.
  • Meddling Parents: Jerry and George's parents.
    • George and Kramer acted like this in "The Van Buren Boys" when Jerry dates a girl who they claim is a "loser":
    George: Why're you doing this, Jerry? Is it your career? Things will pick up.
    Jerry: There's nothing wrong with my career!
    Kramer: Well, I still like the Bloomingdale's executive training program for him.
    George: I though we said we weren't going to discuss that now!
    Kramer: Well, you know, I think it's something he should consider.
    George: Of course he should consider it, but now is not the time!
    Kramer: Listen, George, all these issues are interrelated!
  • Milkman Conspiracy: The U.S. Postal Service is portrayed as a powerful and sinister organisation, one which Newman feels no guilt about exploiting to his benefit.
  • Misery Builds Character: In one episode, Jerry claims that the ability to refrain from urinating builds character.
  • Missed Him by That Much: Frank's long-lost cousin, Carlo, in Tuscany.
    • Jerry and George miss Kramer as he comes out of a store in "The Trip".
  • Mistaken for Gay: "The Outing". Popularized the phrase "Not That There's Anything Wrong with That".
    • Also Elaine, when an older woman reacts with disgust to Elaine saying that she's the "best man" at a lesbian friend's wedding.
      Elaine: I'm not a lesbian! I hate men, but I'm not a lesbian!!
  • Mistaken for Murderer: In "The Susie", Mike Moffitt is convinced that Jerry and Elaine murdered a woman named Susie (who in reality doesn't exist).
  • Mistaken for Pregnant: Kramer wrongfully guesses that a woman he bumps into on the street is pregnant in "The Parking Spot". In his defense, she did look like she was expecting:
    Kramer: Congratulations.
    Maryedith: On what?
    Kramer: Well, you're pregnant.
    Maryedith: What?!
    Kramer: You're not pregnant?
    Maryedith: (offended) NO, I'm not pregnant!
    Kramer: Are you sure you're not pregnant??
  • Mistaken for Racist: George accidentally offends a black co-worker after noting his resemblance to Sugar Ray Leonard.
    • Though, at the end of the episode, a black waiter actually mistakes the man for Sugar Ray.
      • Unfortunately for George though, the man had already gotten fed up with George and left before this happened.
    • Jerry when he gives Elaine a Cigar Store Indian in front of her Native American friend. After apologizing, he goes on a date with her and messes it up again by asking a mailman for directions to a nearby Chinese restaurant. The mailman turns out to be Chinese and gets offended. Jerry later pokes fun at this trope:
    Jerry: You know, I don't get it. Not allowed to ask a Chinese person where the Chinese restaurant is! I mean, aren't we all getting a little too sensitive? I mean, someone asks me which way is Israel, I don't fly off the handle.
  • Mistaken for Servant: When Jerry wears a white polo shirt "Nah, go ahead, take it all."
    • Happens another time to Jerry in drugstore with Mr. Pitt.
  • Mobstacle Course: The Frogger part.
  • Mock Millionaire: Kramer attempted multiple times to pull this off under the pseudonym H.E. Pennypacker. Jerry also tried it once using the name Kel Varnsen ("Advantage Varnsen!"), as did George as Art Vandelay.
    • Parodied in-universe in "The Race" when George, pretending to be a multi-millionaire, enters Monk's Diner and Jerry wonders why such a rich person would be there, why he doesn't have better shoes, etc.
  • Moment Killer: Killed moments happen from time to time, and usually Kramer is the one responsible; sometimes, they're plot points.
    • Throughout the two-parter, "The Raincoats," Jerry and Rachel haven't been alone together in weeks, and when they finally get together at one point, Jerry actually stops their love-making, because he knows his parents will be returning soon. Sure enough, at that moment, they return, but fear they interrupted something.
    • During The Tag of, "The Outing," Jerry is interrupted while making out with the college reporter who was interviewing him, when George barges in to try and convince his Girl of the Week that the reports of him and Jerry being gay are true to get out of his relationship with her; instead, the reporter is convinced once more they really are gay, and walks out on Jerry.
    • In, "The Serenity Now," an emotional Jerry decides his life is incomplete, and proposes to Elaine, just as George barges in with his plan on beating Lloyd Braun in the computer selling contest; not only does George decide to hide the computers in Kramer's apartment, but Elaine decides to seize the moment, and give Jerry the slip.
    • As noted above, Kramer is often a Moment Killer, and one such moment, from, "The Implant," when Jerry is about to finally learn for himself whether or not Sidra's breasts are real, Kramer bangs on the door with an emergency: he needs to borrow Jerry's swim trunks before he leaves for vacation. The moment is further killed when Elaine shows up, causing Sidra to believe Jerry sent Elaine into the sauna on purpose to find out of her breasts are real, and she leaves.
    • Kramer kills another moment in, "The Invitations," when Jerry and Jeannie are making out, and Kramer slides in to complain about not getting $100 at the bank for not being greeted with a hello.
    • Actually played straight in, "The Burning," where Jerry tells Sophie that he doesn't care about the so-called tractor story, just as Kramer and Mickey walk in, while Mickey is outraged at Kramer for trading illness roles for medical students to diagnose; Jerry tells them he's in the middle of a moment.
    • In "The Money", George is all set to talk to his parents about how he doesn't want them to move to Florida, but is interrupted by Kramer loudly washing dishes.
  • Monochrome Casting: Boy, there sure are a lot of white people in that picture up there.
  • Montages: There have been a few:
    • "The Raincoats": Morty and Helen Seinfeld getting chummy with Elaine's latest boyfriend, Aaron. George sees one such instance from afar and is furious because it proves they were lying about having plans so they could get out of having dinner with his folks. Set to "I Could Have Danced All Night" from My Fair Lady.
    • "The Sponge": Elaine searches various shops for the "Today" birth control sponge, to no luck. Set to "Black Stompers" by Eric Swann (aka Roger Roger).
    • "The Bottle Deposit": Kramer and Newman collect cans and bottles for their money-making scheme. Set to "Scenes From the Twenties" by Sam Fonteyn.
    • "The Bizarro Jerry": Kramer pretending to work at a company. Set to Sheena Easton's "9 to 5 (Morning Train)".
    • "The Butter Shave": George faking a handicap and getting pampered around the office because of it. Also set to "9 to 5".
    • "The Wizard": Two of them: Kramer having fun in retired life (set to "My Baby's Foxtrot" by Roger-Roger), and Kramer running for condo board president (set to "Soldiers in the Park" by Lionel Monckton).
    • "The Clip Show": One highlighting various outfits the group has worn over the show, another set to the Superman theme.
    • "The Finale": Various characters from the entire series arrive in town for the trial.
  • Mood-Swinger: In "The Butter Shave":
    Jerry: (on the phone) Hello? (...) Yeah, this is Jerry Seinfeld. (...) What? No. NO NO NO NO!!!! (calmly, friendly) Thank you.
  • Motive Decay: George hits this hard in the episode "The Dealership". He's hungry, so he tries to get a Twix bar out of a vending machine. Twix bar doesn't come out, so George leaves for assistance, comes back with a manager, Twix bar is gone, and George sees that a mechanic has taken it. The mechanic insists he took a 5th Avenue bar, but George says he's lying and can tell the difference. George creates a "candy line-up", made up of candy bars that he paid for, and in the end were all Twix candies anyway! And the Twix candies get stolen by the dealership employees (including the mechanic again) before George can present the line-up! Keep in mind this all got started because George was simply hungry. He could have easily just eaten the other Twix bars he bought for the line-up! Epic. Fail.
  • Motive Rant: In "The Stand-In", when Mickey is revealed to have been wearing lifts in his shoes:
    Mickey: Wait a second, wait a second, you got me all wrong. It was all because of the kid. The kid was growing. He shot up two and a half inches in a month. I would've lost my job! Any one of you would have done the same! You got no right! I'm Mickey Abbott! I stood in for Punky Brewster when all of you was nothing!
  • Motor Mouth: Kramer's lawyer Jackie Chiles.
    • Kramer himself when he drinks one too many caffè lattes.
    • Sally Weaver. She annoyed Kramer so much that he broke his vow of silence to tell her to shut up.
  • Multi-Part Episode: "The Boyfriend", "The Raincoats", "The Cadillac", "The Bottle Deposit", and "The Finale", though they were each presented as one longer-length episode on the DVD sets.
  • Must Make Her Laugh: In "The Switch", Jerry is dating Sandy, a woman who never laughs, only says "That's funny." while barely smiling. Jerry tries multiple jokes on her before deciding he likes Sandy's roommate better and wants to attempt the switch.
    • Inverted in another episode where Jerry tries to be as mopey and depressing as possible so he won't upstage George on a date. Turns out she finds him more interesting that way.
  • My Girl Is a Slut: In "The Cartoon", after Elaine's comic (about a pig at a complaint window saying "I wish I was taller") fails to get any laughs, Kramer offers an alternative:
    Elaine: (reading his caption) The pig says, "My wife is a slut"??
    Jerry: Now that's a complaint.
  • Narm: In-universe, Elaine couldn't take the "Ponce de Leon" film seriously.
  • Negative Continuity: Although this show was generally really good at continuity, there are a few rare examples of where continuity had been broken, such as:
    • Susan hates Kramer. The main reason being he once vomitted all over her, but she also hold contempt for him because he can't even remember her name, and she finds him, "Too weird", however, in one episode, she appears pleasantly surprised to have run into him at the coffee shop, and even has milkshakes with him (of course, this could possibly be explained because this was when George's worlds were colliding).
    • Larry was always the owner of Monk's Coffee Shop and always had the same waiting staff, however, for one episode only, Monk's being under new management was a plot point, with the new owner seemingly only hiring large-breasted women as waitresses, though it turns out the reason he hired them was because they were all his daughters.
    • Kramer's take on baths is inconsistent as well. In "The Wife", when asked if Kramer pees in the shower, he says he takes baths. But later, in "The Shower Head", Kramer complains how icky he feels after taking a bath instead of a shower. And in "The Apology", Kramer is shown taking really long showers. It's possible he started taking showers somewhere along the way and found them so much better that he was unable to go back.
  • Never Heard That One Before: In "The Voice", George is told "Go to hell" by two co-workers in the hallway when it's revealed that he's not handicapped and was faking it.
    George: (to second person who said "Go to hell") Heard that one already.
    • Wayne Knight has stated in interviews that he's tired of people meeting him with the line Hello, Newman.
  • Never Trust a Hair Tonic: George Costanza's Chinese baldness cure.
  • Newscaster Cameo: Keith Morrison, who would later cover true crime stories on Dateline, reports on the LA manhunt for Kramer in season four.
  • Nobody Calls Me Chicken: In "The Phone Message", George calls Jerry a "wuss", prompting Jerry to reply, "Did you call me a wuss??" and agree to his plan.
  • Nobody Ever Complained Before: Elaine's dancing is truly horrible, but no one can ever bring themselves to tell her ... until Kramer sees her dance, that is.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Once again, Jackie Chiles, parodying Johnnie Cochran.
    • Averted with the back of the Late George Steinbrenner, the torso and donut of Joe DiMaggio, and JFK Jr.
  • No, Except Yes: In "The Burning":
    Kramer: You got any Ipecac?
    Jerry: Ipecac? Kramer, I really think you guys are going too far with this.
    Kramer: No, Mickey, he swallowed twelve aspirin.
    Jerry: Did he overdose?
    Kramer: No, it's just too much.
  • No Indoor Voice: Glenda from "The Revenge".
    • Morty Seinfeld in "The Wallet": "MY WALLET'S GONE! MY WALLET'S GONE!!!"
  • No Kill Like Overkill: When Jerry imagines himself being arrested by the FBI for stealing cable, he tries to flee in the dream and gets shot multiple times (although oddly, there is no blood).
  • No More Lies: Subverting this is a specialty of George's. Ofttimes it will be plain that continuing whatever lie he started with will harm him more than help him (most famously with Susan's parents) but he will, on principle, perpetuate the falsehood.
  • No Name Given: Kramer for several seasons.
  • Noodle Incident: Just about everything Kramer's friends Bob Sacamano or Lomez do. And we never did learn why Jerry and Newman hate each other so much, other then something happened before we started seeing their lives.
  • No, Really, It's Okay
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Elaine's boyfriend in "The Raincoats".
    • Kramer in "The Wig Master" when he wants to sleep in Jerry's bed when he's locked out of his apartment.
    • And in "The Muffin Tops", Kramer interrupts Jerry's shower to tell him something trivial.
    Kramer: Hey Jerry, I'm going to Waldenbooks.
    Jerry: GET OUT! GET OUT! I don't want to live like this!!!
  • Not a Date: Todd Gack is adamant that his evenings with Elaine weren't dates, but two single people enjoying each other's company. His case isn't helped when, on the second instance of this, he invites his parents to meet Elaine, who tell him, "She's PERFECT."
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: Jerry to his nudist girlfriend in "The Apology"; she's nude so much that he's become desensitized to it and actually is repulsed by some of the things she does while naked, such as crouching and opening pickle jars.
    • Russell Dalrymple to Elaine in "The Shoes", though she eventually gets his attention by leaning over in a low-cut dress.
  • Not Helping Your Case: In "The Outing", as George and Jerry desperately try to convince an NYU reporter that they're not gay, Kramer slides in and asks if the two are ready to hit the sauna. George and Jerry vehemently protest: "No steam." Kramer pleads, "But I don't want to sit there naked all by myself!"
  • Not Listening to Me, Are You?: Seen in "The Contest"; Jerry and George are looking at the naked woman across the street, and Elaine tests them by saying she's been selected to go to Mars. "Uh-huh" and "Have a good time." are the responses she gets.
    • Seinfeld, a Jewish man, tests this with a friend who won't listen by saying Hezbollah invited him for a gig.
  • No Theme Tune: The show doesn't really have an opening sequence to speak of, just the title superimposed over the action already in progress. However, in the early seasons, they at least played the theme underneath Jerry's stand-up act. But as the seasons progressed and the stand-up was excised, the show didn't even play the theme song, just a couple random transition notes over the superimposed title.
  • Not So Great Escape: George builds an elaborate sleeping space under his desk. Later, Steinbrenner (his boss) comes looking for him and, not seeing him sleeping under the desk, spends the afternoon waiting for George to "come back." George eventually gets out of it by calling in a bomb threat. Later in the episode (after George is out), Steinbrenner hears George's ticking alarm clock in the desk and calls the bomb squad.
  • Not Using the Z Word: "The Contest" avoids ever using the word "masturbation," which is likely the only reason the censors didn't kill it the second they caught word of it.
  • Not What It Looks Like: In "The Maid", Jerry giving his girlfriend some money he owed her, which made it look like he was hiring a prostitute to a police officer.
    • A non-sexual example: In "The Shower Head", Kramer is desperately pleading to take a shower at Elaine's apartment because his building installed low-flow shower heads. Of course, J. Peterman only hears part of the conversation and mistakes him for a drug addict. The fact that he already thought Elaine was a drug addict didn't help (the poppy seed muffins she had been eating showed up as opium on her urine test).
    Kramer: Jerry's got nothing. Newman's got nothing. You're the only one I know who's got the good stuff, and I need it bad, baby, cause I feel like I got bugs crawling up my skin! Now you gotta help me out!
    Peterman: NOT ON MY WATCH!!! (grabs Kramer) I won't have you turning my office into a den of iniquity! Get your fix somewhere else! (throws Kramer out)
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