Seinfeld is a show about nothing. No hugging, no learning.Okay, seriously. One of the most popular shows of The Nineties, it mostly centered around unpleasant people doing unpleasant things to Innocent Bystanders, following Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonists Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer. It lasted for nine years (1989 to 1998) and as many seasons, only ending when Jerry Seinfeld himself refused to go on, even after being offered 5 million dollars an episode for a tenth season.Revolutionary for its time, as the idea of characters spending whole episodes doing and resolving basically nothing, with all humor based on the minutiae of everyday life, was unheard of in 1989 in America. Seinfeld was so revolutionary in America, in fact, that it was mercilessly copied. It remains very difficult to describe to the younger generation just how huge the show was in the '90s, and how memetic its plots and sayings became. To use an analogy, Seinfeld is to TV shows what The Godfather is to movies (which makes it only fitting that the show directly spoofed The Godfather in the episode about the mohel). Part of what contributed to the authenticity of the "about nothing" theme was the fact that a great deal of the plots were based on personal stories from the lives of Larry David, Jerry Seinfeld, and various members of the writing team.Jerry Seinfeld plays a fictionalized, Jerkass version of himself as the ostensible main (though in practice arguably least interesting) character, who works mostly as a foil for his eccentric neighbour Cosmo Kramer, his best friend George Costanza, a man who can make your regular Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist look like a winner, and his sassy ex-girlfriend Elaine Benes, who couldn't spell "tact" if her life depended on it. Jerry was the technical Only Sane Man between these colorful personalities, but a highly ineffective one because, like his friends, he is supremely indifferent towards others, opting instead for the role of Deadpan Snarker extraordinaire. This quality of Jerry's, flavored with co-creator Larry David's gift for irony, coupled with the characters' propensity for Snowball Lies and Fawlty Towers Plots is what fueled most of the elaborate yet utterly mundane plots of the episodes.Although none of the characters worked together, lived together, or were related by blood, and even though — or perhaps even because — no emotional or deliberately touching moments of friendship were ever shown between them, the four remained close friends throughout the show's run, spending a great deal of their waking hours in each other's company and seemingly going by an unspoken rule to always brush off their friends' minor offenses and to never inflict any gross offenses against one another in order to preserve real-life Status Quo Is God — one of the only social rules they bothered themselves to follow.And then there's Jerry's other neighbor. Hello, Newman.It was named the greatest television program of all time by TV Guide in 2002. Jerry's webseries Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, had a special mini-reunion with him, Jason Alexander and Wayne Knight acting in character. You can watch it here.Now has a character sheet and recap page that could really use help.
Kramer is absent in both "The Pen" and "The Chinese Restaurant"
George is absent from "The Pen" and Jason Alexander was apparently so upset that he threatened to leave the show if he was ever excluded again.
Absurdly Bright Light: The neon sign from Kenny Rogers Roasters chicken restaurant outside Kramer's apartment. It drives Kramer nuts.
Jerry: What's going on in there? Kramer: What? Jerry: That light. Kramer: Oh, the red. It's the chicken roaster sign. It's right across from my window. Jerry: Can't you shut the shades? Kramer: They are shut.
Elaine: It's "Benes", you jackass. My last name is Benes! (Kramer looks stunned) Yeah!
In "The Baby Shower", an FBI agent calls Jerry "Mr. Steinfeld".
Maxwell from Maid to Order in "The Maid" also did this: "You Steinfeld?"
In "The Bubble Boy", a waitress calls Jerry "Gary Seinfield". This was immediately after Elaine told her his name.
Accidental Pervert: In "The Apology", Kramer doesn't know how to take a short shower so he goes to the locker room at the gym and studies random guys taking showers. Kramer is spotted by one of the guys and continues taking notes. Smash cut to Kramer asking Jerry for some meat for his black eye.
Acrofatic: Newman is apparently this, as in "The Reverse Peephole", he's able to climb a tree to retrieve a fur coat.
Kramer: Where did you learn to climb trees like that? Newman: The pacific northwest!
Actor Allusion: In the JFK parody in "The Boyfriend," Newman replicates his position standing in front of Kramer, just as Wayne Knight did in the movie standing in for John Connally in the courtroom demonstration of the "magic bullet" theory.
A picture of a dinosaur appears in Newman's apartment, referencing Knight's role in Jurassic Park.
In the episode "The Maid", Kramer is picked up by a stranger who is looking for a maid and asks Kramer if he knows how to use a mop wringer. Kramer's answer is yes.
Jerry: He's doing great in rehab. He's hooked on Pez! He's eating them like there's no tomorrow!
Adolf Hitler: In, "The Gymnast", Elaine's pen breaks, smearing ink everywhere; Mr. Pitt ends up having ink smeared on the lapels of his suit, as well as unknowingly dabbing a smear on his upper lip, resembling Hitler's mustache. Later still, Mr. Pitt gives a speech at a merger meeting he was attending:
Mr. Pitt: I have been accused of wrong doing! We will annex Poland [Springs Water Company] by the spring! And, our stocks will rise high (Raises hand in a similar fashion to the Nazi Party salute).
Kramer: The important thing is that you learned something.
Jerry: (smirking) No I didn't.
Interestingly, the show does deliver aesops, even if incidentally. For instance, the main characters frequently lie, and in pretty much every instance, the lie comes back to bite them in the ass by the episode's end. So the aesop? Don't lie, it only makes things worse.
A great many plots that are not powered by a Snowball Lie are set off by small violations of the unwritten rules of society — laughing in a concert hall, refusing junk mail, and so on. This never, ever ends well for the protagonists.
Angrish: Jerry tells Newman that by booking the location of his New Year's party for "the millennium New Year", he actually booked it one year too late, since the new millennium doesn't officially start until the year 2001. Upon this realization, Newman can barely contain his anger, only uttering one single squeaky, wheezing noise that is later played again during the Castle Rock logo in the credits.
Affair Hair: Parodied in "The Barber"; unsatisfied by a haircut given by long-time barber Enzo, Jerry gets his haircut by Enzo's nephew, Gino, in secret so as not to hurt Enzo's feelings. But Enzo eventually puts the pieces together by matching hairs (with help from Newman) and threatens to kill Jerry and Gino for betraying him.
Air-Vent Passageway: George uses one to get into his office while being locked out by his employer in "The Voice".
The Alcoholic: In "The Nose Job," it's revealed that Kramer's mother is a "drunken stumblebum."
Ambiguously Jewish: George, though Word of God has it that he's half-Jewish. For what it's worth, George doesn't believe in God for anything except the bad stuff.
Jason Alexander said despite the Word of God, he could never quite figure out personally if George was supposed to be Jewish or Italian, mainly since "Constanza isn't really a Jewish name", and because of the fact that they celebrated Christmas before his father created Festivus.
Frank is Italian ("The Doll") and Catholic ("The Fatigues"), Estelle is Jewish (Wordof God and just... common sense)
Interestingly, Word of God has it that one of the reasons behind the Executive Meddling in the beginning was that the network execs were concerned that the show's overall humor was "too Jewish" and "too New York", and wouldn't appeal to the masses. The executive who championed the show basically responded with "I'm not Jewish, I'm not from New York. I found it funny".
Frank also invented "Festivus" while Christmas Shopping. Meanwhile the name "Costanza" is a real Italian name of Larry David's college roommate— who later tried to sue Seinfeld for the use of his name.
All Men Are Perverts: Jerry and George explain to Elaine how a man will say anything to get a woman. She doesn't believe them, so they elaborate:
George: I once told a woman I coined the phrase "Pardon my French".
Jerry: I once told a woman I don't eat ice cream because it goes straight to my thighs.
George: I once told a woman I enjoy spending time with my family.
The two men sip their coffee triumphantly while Elaine sits there looking shocked.
In The Contest, the guys make Elaine pay double to enter the eponymous contest, reasoning that women don't have to masturbate every day, whereas for men it's "part of their lifestyle".
Men in the Seinfeld universe receive a significant boost in intelligence once they stop having sex, because 99% of a man's brain (or at least George's brain, the numbers may vary depending on the man) is constantly obsessed with sex, and starts to function properly once sex is no longer a factor in the man's life. George, for example, becomes an Omnidisciplinary Scientist able to effortlessly hit several consecutive home runs in baseball using nothing but his newly acquired knowledge of physics, and also becomes fluent in Portuguese without even trying to learn it ("My cleaning lady is Portuguese. I must have picked it up."). Later on Elaine stops having sex with her boyfriend so that he can pass his licensing exam and become a doctor. However, going without sex has the opposite effect on Elaine. She becomes progressively dumber. Strangely enough, this is also because All Men Are Perverts.
Jerry: To a woman, sex is like the garbage man. You just take for granted the fact that any time you put some trash out on the street, a guy in a jumpsuit's gonna come along and pick it up. But now, it's like a garbage strike. The bags are piling up in your head! The sidewalk is blocked! Nothing's getting through! ...You're stupid!
In "The Mom and Pop Store", George is ecstatic that he bought a car previously owned by Jon Voight. However, it's revealed that the car didn't actually belong to the famous actor, but a periodontist named John Voight.
Kramer's friend who wishes him to drop dead in "The Betrayal", is F.D.R. (Franklin Delano Romanowski).
Alter Kocker: Uncle Leo. Morty Seinfeld acts like one sometimes, too, and most of the residents of Del Boca Vista probably qualify.
Aluminum Christmas Trees: The diner is a real Manhattan diner, in the Upper West Side, called Tom's. The food there is mediocre at best, although the milkshakes are actually pretty good.
The Boston Red Sox actually have an "Administrative Assistant to the Traveling Secretary and Baseball Operations".
Ambiguously Brown: Invoked with Elaine's boyfriend in "The Wizard", who everyone thinks is black (or possibly biracial). Amusingly, it turns out they're both actually white, and he thought she was Hispanic.
Jerry: He's like that fish that attaches himself to the shark. George: And you're the shark? Jerry: Yeah, I'm the shark and he's the fish eating my laughs. George: I don't know how a fish could eat laughs. Jerry: (tiredly) Well, I'm glad I brought it up.
Annoying Laugh: Naomi from "The Wallet", "The Watch", and "The Bubble Boy". Her laugh is described as "Elmer Fudd sitting on a juicer".
Anorgasmia: In the episode "Mango" it turns out Elaine never has orgasms with Jerry.
Anti-Advice: George does this to himself. Reasoning that following his instincts never got him anywhere, George decides that doing the opposite of his instincts should make him successful. It actually works... for one episode.
Anti-Humor: Attempted by Jerry in "The Butter Shave" so he'd be a bad lead-in for Kenny Bania.
Jerry: What's with people getting sick? I mean, what's the deal with cancer?
Man in audience: I have cancer!
In "The Summer of George", George fails at comedy:
George: I know a million theater jokes. "What's the deal with those guys down in the pit?" Jerry: They're musicians. That's not a joke. George: (adamant) It's a funny observation.
A plot point in "The Cartoon": Elaine is baffled by a cartoon in The New Yorker, which consists of a cat and a dog in an office, and the cat saying, "I've enjoyed reading your email." Elaine manages to get an editor at The New York to concede that the comic had no actual joke, but merely printed it because he "liked the kitty".
George: I told her what a sexist he is. How he cheats on his wife.
Jerry: She knew that.
George: But she didn't know he doesn't recycle.
Artistic License - Cars: There is a good deal wrong with Jerry's Saab in The Bottle Deposit. First, he mentions the AAA guy said "I was this close to sucking a muffin down the carburator." — the Saab 900 was fuel injected. In the warehouse, the detective refers to the turbocharger and angle of the V6, which Jerry says can't be his because his isn't a turbo. The Saab 900 and 9000 were never offered with a turbocharged V6. Jerry then says his car is a 900S, but the car Kramer chases is a 900SE, the higher up model.
Artistic License - Geography: In The Bottle Deposit, the best route from New York City to Michigan for Kramer and Newman's budget would have taken them across I-80, and through the northern part of Ohio-or something near that route. However, the second time Kramer calls Jerry he mentions that the guy they're following is "going south on 135", which Newman objects to since they're headed north to Michigan. The closest Highway 135 in that region is SR 135 near Lynchburg, Ohio, which would have already put them well out of their way.
Additionally, the highway Kramer chases Tony is the Passadena Freeway.
The series finale; Good Samaritan laws do not work that way. There is so much wrong here we made a list:
They're to ensure someone who helps an obviously ill or injured person cannot be sued later for unintentional injury or death, as is the case in Massachusetts. Even the compulsory good Samaritan laws only apply to people who are injured or ill, not being threatened by a mugger. If anything, the Seinfeld cast should have been commended for getting pictorial evidence of the crime.
The punishment for violating a compulsary good Samaritan law is a small fine ($100-$300) with no jail time, and, as already explained, stopping a mugging is not covered by any real Good Samaritan law. In fact, the arresting officer states "within reason". Random strangers stopping any crime, much less a mugging, is not reasonable, especially when a police officer is at the scene the entire time.
Regardless of how the Good Samaritan law itself is written, bringing in dozens of "character witnesses" to recount every misdeed the defendants have ever committed is still incredibly illegal under U.S. law. note Character witnesses can only called in if the defence tries to use the defendant's character as a defense, which is not the case here. The writers probably knew this and simply exaggerated the idea and played it for laughs.
The police officer that arrested them only did so by watching the entire robbery, doing nothing about it, and then arresting four bystanders/witnesses to a violent crime with video evidence, for not doing his job, even with a completely fictional representation and gross exaggeration of actual laws.
Interestingly, Massachussetts has a "Duty to Rescue" law (often incorrectly referred to as Good Samaritan Law despite being completely unrelated), but it is explicitely a duty to report, not a duty to aid. note Chapter 268, section 40 provides "Whoever knows that another person is a victim of aggravated rape, murder, manslaughter or armed robbery and is at the scene of said crime shall, to the extent that said person can do so without danger or peril to himself or others, report said crime to an appropriate law enforcement official as soon as reasonably practicable." Since a police officer was at the scene almost immediately, they are not responsible to do anything. On top of this, Duty to Rescue laws are often ignored by lawmakers, law enforcers, courts and the general public, so any conviction for violating one is extremely unlikely.
In The Bottle Deposit, Newman and Kramer try to return bottles in Michigan for the higher deposit. Michigan prohibits out of state bottle returns, and limits returns to $25 a piece, though this is probably justified since Kramer and Newman weren't thinking beyond getting the bottles there.
Also in "The Bottle Deposit", Jerry's insurance company refuses to acknowledge his car was stolen on the basis that he willingly surrendered the keys, meaning he has no financial recourse if his car is not recovered. The police investigating it certainly think it's a theft. Then again, insurance companies are infamous for making up the most ridiculous reasons to avoid paying out a claim.
In "The Bris", after a suicidal mental patient jumps off the roof and lands on George's car, the Hospital Administrator refuses to pay for repairs and even chastises him for trying to "profit from a tragedy". The hospital is entirely at fault for the accident (roof access should be restricted just like razor blades should be confiscated), and George is well within his rights to demand they pay, even filing a lawsuit. In fact, he could provide testimony in court for the patient's family should they file a lawsuit.
In "The Keys", George and Jerry are looking for Jerry's spare keys in Elaine's apartment. George asks what the keys look like, to which Jerry replies in annoyance, "They look like keys, George. They look exactly like keys."
In "The Old Man", Sid Fields mistakes Jerry's incredulous reactions to the fact that he's throwing away his valuable records as stupid questions:
Jerry: What's all this stuff? Sid: Trash. Garbage. Jerry: You're throwin' this out?? Sid: I believe that's what you do with garbage, you idiot. Jerry: You don't want any of this? Sid: Well if I wanted it, I wouldn't be throwing it away, would I, Ein-stein?!
Ass Shove: In "The Fusilli Jerry," Kramer discusses this trope... and Frank demonstrates it.
Asshole Victim: The foursome. Deconstructed in the final episode. According to Word of God, Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer had gotten away with being jerks so long it was time they paid the price.
As the Good Book Says: A subversion. In "The Slicer", Kramer is convinced that Dr. Sitarides gave Jerry hives, and quotes a verse which isn't actually in the Bible: "Jerry, as The Bible says: "Thou who cureth can maketh ill.""
Audience Surrogate: The main cast and the supporting characters are intended, to a large extent, to represent normal everyday people. To underline this, the main cast are essentially fictionalised versions of Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David, Kenny Kramer and several women dated by Seinfeld and David.
Speaking of bad dreams, Elaine had a nightmare that she had a foursome with Jerry, George, and Kramer in "The Slicer". This bit is usually cut for time in syndication.
In "The Bookstore", Jerry had a bad dream about Uncle Leo in prison, now buff from so many pull-ups and menacingly saying "Jerry... HELLO! Jerry... HELLO! Jerry... (phone rings) ANSWER THE DAMN PHONE!!!"
Bad Liar: George has a really bad poker face, which is why Gary Fogel never confided in George that he supposedly had cancer. When Gary confides in George that he never actually had cancer, Jerry can tell that George is keeping something from him later:
Jerry: Hey. How'd it go with Gary? George: (evasive) Fine, fine. Jerry: Really? George: Yeah. Jerry: You look like something's on your mind. George: No. Nothing. Fine. Jerry: So, that's your poker face. George: My regular face. Jerry: No it isn't. I've seen your regular face. That is not it. George: What are you saying? Jerry: All right George, c'mon, what d'you got? George: I got nothing. Jerry: What you got, a pair of bullets? George: What you talking about? Jerry: Two pair? Three of a kind? George: Will you stop it? Jerry: Oh my God, you got a flush! You're holding a flush! George: I don't have a flush. Jerry: A full house? You got a full house? Turn 'em over George, I wanna see 'em. Come on, I'm calling! (pounds table) Whaddya got! George: (snaps) GARY FOGEL NEVER HAD CANCER!!! (Jerry smiles in victory)
George is accused of being a bad liar in "The Jimmy", though in this instance, he's actually being truthful. It's just that he is sweating profusely from eating Kung Pao Chicken when grilled about stolen sporting equipment by Mr. Wilhelm.
Elaine could fall into this too, like in "The Betrayal" when George asked her why Jerry was acting so strangely when he mentioned Nina (explanation: Jerry had slept with Nina a day earlier, despite that she started going out with George):
Elaine: Nina? Nina? No. Psshhh.. Not weird. No. Nina. George: (suspicious) Why do you keep saying "Nina"? Elaine: (nervous) I don't know. Nina. Nina!
Banned Episode: One of the last episodes of the series, "The Puerto Rican Day", was initially pulled after its original broadcast, mainly because NBC felt the episode was too offensive with its depictions of Puerto Ricans, as well as a scene involving Kramer (accidentally) burning a Puerto Rico flag, causing an angry mob of Puerto Ricans trashing the streets, and vandalizing Jerry's car (to which, Kramer remarks, "It's like this every day in Puerto Rico."). As of 2010, certain local markets across the country had placed the episode back into their packages; but as of 2012, the episode is now back permanently in the syndication package (Kramer's line, "It's like this every day in Puerto Rico" is absent, though it could be a case of being Edited for Syndication).
Bat Deduction: Demonstrated by Kramer in "The Secret Code" when George refuses to tell anyone his secret ATM code. (for the record, it's "bosco")
Kramer: I'll bet I can guess it. George: Pfft, yeah right. Kramer: Oh, alright. Yeah. Uh, let's see. Um, well, we can throw out birthdays immediately. That's too obvious. And no numbers for you, you're a word man. Alright, let's go deeper. Uh, what kind of man are you? Well, you're weak, spineless, a man of temptations, but what tempts you? George: Huh? Kramer: You're a portly fellow, a bit long in the waistband. So what's your pleasure? Is it the salty snacks you crave? No no no no no, yours is a sweet tooth. George: (nervous) Get out of here. Kramer: Oh you may stray, but you'll always return to your dark master... the cocoa bean. George: I'm leaving. Kramer: No, and only the purest syrup nectar can satisfy you! George: I gotta go. Kramer: If you could you'd guzzle it by the gallon! Ovaltine! Hershey's! Nestle Quik! George: Shut up!
Bath Of Poverty In the episode "The Shower Head", low flow shower heads are installed to save money on water, driving Jerry and Kramer crazy.
Battle Discretion Shot: In "The Summer of George", Elaine and Raquel Welch's street fight isn't seen; we only get the reaction shots of the two cops, leering at the "cat fight".
Kramer pretending to be a detective to get into an apartment in "The Statue". He has also pretended to be a proctologist and wealthy investor, among other things.
Both Kramer and George have pretended to work at companies for which they were never actually hired.
Jerry and George impersonate two men called "O'Brien" and "Murphy" to ride in a limousine (they quickly regret it when they realize the people they were mistaken for are actually neo-Nazis, of course).
Beat: The reason Jerry never slept with Nina in "The Betrayal" is because their conversations were so engrossing that they never had any awkward pauses. However, one night they do have an awkward pause, and the two instantly have sex.
Beastly Bloodsports: One episode involves Kramer realizing that he has improbably come into custody of a fighting cock. When the fight comes, Kramer leaps in to save the cock.
Beauty Equals Goodness: In "The Couch", Elaine is convinced her new boyfriend is pro-choice (and, in her opinion, morally correct) because "he's just so good-looking". This trope is eventually subverted when a disappointed Elaine realizes he's pro-life.
Elaine: Thank you so much for dropping the lawsuit against me. Ping: Not anymore. Elaine: What? Ping: Cheryl called me last night; lawsuit back on. Elaine: Why? Ping: She called you and your friends "big liars". You think she nice girl? Wait 'till you see her in court. She's a shark! They call her "The Terminator". She never lose a case. Now you make her mad. She double the damages. Hasta la vista, baby.
Beyond the Impossible: Parodied as part of Jerry's ridicule of Kramer's claim that Keith Herandez spat on him. He traces the imaginary path of the spittle which involves changing directions and pausing in mid air. "that is one magic lugee." The point being to illustrate how impossible it was for the event to happen in real life.
Bi the Way: Apparently runs in the Ross family. Susan's father apparently once had a torrid love affair with author John Cheever and late in season 4 Susan is seen dating another woman, although in her case it's implied that it's a result of dating George, since at the end of the episode she starts dating the woman George dated after her.
Big "Shut Up!": Both Jerry and Elaine do this repeatedly to the dog in "The Dog".
Elaine (hoarsely) screams at the alley dog to shut up in "The Engagement".
In "The Cafe", after Babu re-tools the restaurant to serve Pakistani food (and still not making much profit), he shouts "QUIET!" and "YOU SHUT UP!" to Jerry when Jerry says the shrimp is a little stringy.
Elaine is twice told to shut up by Arnie in "The Yada Yada". This reaction affects Arnie and Beth's eligibility to adopt a child.
Bizarro Universe: Elaine's new friend, Kevin. His friends include the charitable and well-dressed Gene; quiet and considerate next-door neighbor, Feldman; and a FedEx employee known only as "Fargus," whom Kevin is very jovial with. His apartment is a mirror-opposite of Jerry's, complete with a unicycle hanging on the wall, and a PC in place of Jerry's Mac.
When Jerry and Kramer have to switch apartments, Kramer become more sarcastic and reserved, while Jerry becomes more spastic and eccentric, even using Kramer's Catch Phrase "Giddy up!".
Black Comedy: Zig-zagged by George in "The Comeback" when his "jerk store" retort to Reilly fails.
George: ...Oh yeah? Well, I had sex with your wife!
Blind Without 'Em: George. Although he can apparently squint down to 20/20 vision without glasses.
A subversion occurs with Jerry, who doesn't wear glasses; in "The Gum", he wears glasses to fool Lloyd Braun (long story) and stumbles around because the prescription makes things extremely blurry.
Bluff The Eavesdropper: While in the diner waiting for a reporter who's going to do a story on Jerry, he and George notice a young woman eavesdropping on their conversation, so to mess with her they pretend to be gay for each other. It turns out that she's the reporter Jerry was waiting for, who then outs them in her school newspaper as gay. They try desparately to convince her that they're not gay — Not That There's Anything Wrong with That.
Book Ends: The real tragedy of the end of the series is that they've run out of things to talk about, and have started looping back on themselves.
Scenes of George and Jerry considering settling down with the women currently in their lives bookend Season 7.
The final lines of the show are about the top button on George's shirt. That was the first Seinfeldian discussion on the show.
Boomerang Bigot: In one episode George's mother rejects the advice of Jerry's girlfriend Donna Chang because she finds out (having previously talked to the woman only on the phone) that Donna is not Chinese. "I don't want to take the advice of some girl from Long Island!" she shouts.
As they were befriending elderly people through an agency in "The Old Man":
Jerry: They really should mention that in the breakdown: height, weight, goiter.
When George gets hired by the Yankees in "The Opposite":
Jerry: Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, Costanza?
Breaking the Fourth Wall: Towards the beginning of "The Understudy," as Jerry is leaving his apartment with George, the two are talking about how hard it is to tell bad actors that they stink. Jerry then directly talks to the camera: "Just once I would like to tell someone they stink. You know what? I didn't like the show. I didn't like you. It just really stunk. The whole thing, real bad. Stinkaroo. Thanks for the tickets though."
Jerry winks at the camera at the end of "The Race," in homage to George Reeves as Superman.
George Costanza seems to have become this in the years after the series' end having nearly made the top 5 of various "Greatest Sitcom Characters" lists all by himself.
Brick Joke: The majority of episodes' subplots are arranged to have one of these in some way or another:
In "The Puffy Shirt," George mentions that he won "a contest" to see who can go the longest without A Date with Rosie Palms. In "The Finale", it's revealed that he cheated.
Halfway through season four, Jerry's father finds his wallet missing after going to a doctor, and accuses him of stealing it, which is left unresolved. In the season finale, Jerry discovers it simply fell out of his pocket and between the couch cushions.
The closing credits of Season 9 tend towards this, including some soundbite from earlier in the episode in lieu of the Castlerock fanfare. As an example, in "The Dealership," an elderly character remarks that he could buy a candy bar for a nickel back in the day - later repeating "A nickel!" out of the blue. This example is actually a Double Subversion - it ends with the usual fanfare, but it fades out, and... "A nickel!"
Towards the beginning of "The Sponge", Jerry is obsessed with whether the homeless get sick of eating soup all the time, and bugs his girlfriend Lena about it. Towards the end of the episode, Lena finally answers one of his soup questions: "Oh, by the way, I checked at the soup kitchen: They do have cream soups." But by that point, Jerry doesn't care: "Hey, that's dynamite."
In the Season Seven premiere, Jerry decides to toast George's engagement to Susan, but realizes that he has no champagne. In the Season Seven finale, Jerry gets engaged, and toasts both his and George's future wives, and points out he has champagne.
Also discussed by Jerry and Kramer with their (very bad) attempts at a Cockney accent.
Kramer: Not bloody likely!
Jerry: That's the worst Cockney accent I've ever heard in my life.
Bros Before Hoes: Inverted in "The Stranded". Jerry allows George to take a woman home from a party, leaving himself and Elaine stranded there for hours until Kramer can come pick them up. When Elaine questions him, he says "There's nothing I could do. It's part of the Code." It then cuts to Jerry doing stand-up explaining this further.
Jerry: All plans between men are tentative. If one man should suddenly have an opportunity to pursue a woman, it's like these two guys never met each other ever in life. This is the Male Code. And it doesn't matter how important the arrangements are, I mean, most of the time when they scrub a space shuttle mission it's because one of the astronauts met someone on his way to the launch pad. They hold that countdown. He's leaning against the rocket talking to her, "So listen, when I get back what do you say we get together for some Tang?"
Bullying a Dragon: George taunts a handcuffed criminal about to be taken on a plane by police over getting the last copy of Time Magazine. Later in the episode, George is waiting to use the bathroom on a plane. The door opens, and guess who is inside, and with no police around? He pulls George in and presumably beats the crap out of him.
Burning the Flag: In one controversial episode, while walking through the Puerto Rican Day Parade, Kramer accidentally sets the Puerto Rican flag on fire with a sparkler and immediately tries to stomp it out. Hilarity Ensues when several Puerto Ricans see him stomping on the still- burning flag...
But We Used a Condom: In "The Fix-Up", there's a brief concern that George got Cynthia pregnant when she misses her period:
Elaine: But he used a condom, right?
Cynthia: I know, but these things aren't always foolproof!
By-the-Book Cop: Marcelino in "The Little Jerry". When he refuses to take Jerry's bounced check down, even after Jerry pays him back:
Marcelino: Sorry, no. It's store policy. Jerry: But it's your bodega. Marcelino: Even I am not above the policy.
California Doubling: For the most part unnoticable note For example, there are people who still think the second season premiere was filmed in New York, and not NBC's LA studio, but some parts it seems as though They Just Didn't Carenote If you can't tell, that's a California license plate on a New York taxi
Jerry's apartment is actually an LA building, with very noticeable earthquake retrofitting (the diamonds on the side).
The highway Kramer chases Jerry's mechanic on in The Bottle Deposit - said to be the Ohio SR 135 - is the Passadena Freeway.
Call Back: During the season 7 premiere, "The Engagement", George goes to the beach pier to re-evaluate his life. He starts thinking of Susan and how he'd like to give her another shot. He starts running and a flock of pigeons disperses as he runs towards them. This type of scene is used two more times, only with Jerry in George's place (the season 7 finale, "The Invitations", has Jerry contemplating whether he should marry Jeannie, while season 9's "The Voice" has Jerry contemplating whether he wants to keep seeing his latest girlfriend or dump her so he can do a silly voice).
George asking Jerry what kind of professions he would be best suited for first appears in "The Revenge" after he quits his job. This same type of conversation is revisited much later in the series (using the same staging and everything) in "The Slicer" when George is concerned that he'll get fired for the photo on Kruger's desk.
In "The Finale", George gripes about how dinky the plane is, how Ted Danson gets a better plane. George's jealousy of Ted Danson was first revealed in some early season 4 episodes when Jerry and George were pitching the pilot to NBC.
Also in "The Finale", the closing moments of the series have Jerry talking about the buttons on George's shirt, which is the same conversation the two had in the first episode. Lampshaded by George asking, "Have we had this conversation before?"
George: She called. He yelled Cartwright. I missed her. Jerry: Who's "Cartwright"? George: I'm Cartwright. Jerry: You're not Cartwright. George: OF COURSE I'M NOT CARTWRIGHT!!!
In "The Secretary", Kenny Bania states the obvious and Jerry calls him out on it:
Bania: You know Jerry, I was thinking. For our next meal, do you think we should come here ... or should we go someplace else? You know it has it's pros and cons. On the one hand, here, you're guaranteed a great meal. On the other hand- Jerry: (annoyed) Yeah, yeah I know. This would be good, but it would be the same. But if we go some place else, it would be different, but it might not be as good. It's a gamble. I GET IT.
In "The Abstinence":
Katie: Oh. Jerry, great news. I got you an assembly. Jerry: An assembly? Katie: Two hours in front of the entire junior high, grades six through eight. That's six grade, seventh grade— Jerry: I understand.
The Casanova: Over the course of the show, 73 women were shown or said to be dating and/or sleeping with Jerry, though that has more to do with his tendency to drop a girl at the slightest provocation than any of his supposed seduction skills.
Him being able to get a new woman each time he dumped another one, though, can be chalked up to either this trope or his "Even Steven" powers.
Kramer is said to have an inexplicable ability to land beautiful women.
George also has a quite impressive number of girlfriends over the show's run, despite how much he bemoans his difficulty with getting one.
Additionally, Jerry breaking up with his latest girlfriend because he didn't like a Cotton Dockers jeans ad and she did.
Elaine is treated as almost subhuman because she doesn't like The English Patient. She gets dumped by her boyfriend, she loses her friends, and Peterman even fires her from her job (although reconsiders when she agrees to go to Tunisia where they filmed the movie).
Characterization Marches On: Puddy is almost a completely different character in his first two appearances - in his first episode, he's a very competent, fair, and honest mechanic, who can speak coherently; in his second appearance, he's an overzealous hockey fan who ends up scaring a Spanish priest nearly to death with his Devils face painting. After that, he becomes the dimwitted, mumbling doofus he's best known for.
Really, this happens with all of the main cast too, with the possible exception of Kramer. Jerry, George and Elaine are all far saner and empathetic in the earlier years and grow progressively sociopathic and self-centered.
Speaking of that: In the earliest episodes, Jason Alexander patterned George after Woody Allen. During season 2, however, he began to find his groove with the character.
Season 5's "The Marine Biologist". Jerry makes a high school friend believe George is a marine biologist. Kramer goes to the beach and hits golf balls into the ocean, never brought up again. Until the end, when George must rescue a whale from dying, and he finds an obstruction in its blowhole. It turns out to be one of the golf balls from earlier, and Kramer recognizes it when George regales the whale of a tale (sorry) to his friends.
In season 3's "The Keys" Jerry's girlfriend tells him "you were so fast with those keys" as they enter his apartment, pretending to be escaping a murderer. Seconds later Jerry demands Kramer hand in his spare key to Jerry's apartment.
Chekhov's Gunman: In season 3's "The Subway" Kramer meets a blind guy on the subway. Later he gets a hot tip on a horse race, bets on it, and wins a large sum of C-notes which a thug hunts him down for. It turns out the blind beggar from earlier was an undercover cop, who Kramer gave money to, and arrests the thug.
Chew Out Fake Out: Reversed. Henry Atkins, the postmaster general in "The Junk Mail" (played by Wilford Brimley) starts out very friendly to Kramer, only to tear into him mid-speech.
Kramer: Can I get out of here? Henry: (amiable) Oh, oh. Sit a bit. Sit a bit. I mean, after all, I drove all the way up here from D.C. just to talk to you. I even had to cancel a round of golf with the secretary of state. Do you like golf, Mr. Kramer? Kramer: Yeah. Henry: Kramer, I've been, uh, reading some of your material here. I gotta be honest with you: you make a pretty strong case. I mean, just imagine: An army of men in wool pants running through the neighborhood handing out pottery catalogs, door to door. (Kramer laughs; Henry gets serious) Well it's my job, and I'm pretty damn serious about it. In addition to being a postmaster, I'm a general. And we both know, it's the job of a general to, by God, get things done. So maybe you can understand why I get a little irritated when someone calls me away from my golf. Kramer: I'm very, very sorry. Henry: Sure, you're sorry. I think we got a stack of mail out at the desk that belongs to you. Now, you want that mail, don't you Mr. Kramer? Kramer: Sure do. Henry: Now, that's better.
The Chew Toy: George Costanza. A trope named after him was eventually merged with this one.
Elaine: No, no, no, no. It's not a new number. It's, it's, it's just a changed number. See? It's not different. It's the same, just... changed.
Phone guy: Look, I work for the phone company. I've had a lot of experience with semantics, so don't try to lure me into some maze of circular logic.
In "The Smelly Car":
Maître'd: What do you mean, "stunk up"? Jerry: I mean, the car stinks! George, does the car stink? George: Stinks. Jerry: Stinks! Maître'd: Well perhaps you're the one who has the odor. Jerry: Hey, I've never smelled in my life, buddy! Maître'd: (skeptical) Really. Well I smell you now. Jerry: That's from the car! Maître'd: Well maybe you're the one who stunk up the car, rather than the car stinking up you!! George: It's the chicken and the egg.
Clingy MacGuffin: George uses the bathroom at a bookstore and takes a book in with him to read, and the store makes him buy it. His attempts to return it all meet with failure because the book has been "flagged". At the end of the episode he tries to drop it off at Goodwill, only to have the lady working there recognize that the book is flagged and reveal she used to work at one of the stores in the chain. She's disgusted with George that he would try to subject the less fortunate to a book that he took into the bathroom.
Clip Show: Two of them: One in season 6, the other in season 9.
And the finale... sort of.
Closer to Earth: Subverted in the case of Elaine: she really only thinks she's closer to earth, when in reality, she is as bad as the other three. Exemplified best in "The Bizarro Jerry," where she dumps Jerry, George, and Kramer for well-adjusted, sophisticated doppelgangers, only to be dumped by the doppelgängers for being too eccentric violent.
This can also apply to Jerry, who is quite sane if he puts his mind to it, but usually doesn't care enough to clean his act up.
And Steinbrenner's Expies Fidel Castro and the President of Tyler Chicken.
Pretty much the entire cast actually, especially since there are no "FrankGrimes"-type characters with which to contrast them.
Cold Opening: One episode showed exactly what Kramer does when Jerry is out of town.
Comeback Tomorrow: The whole premise of George's subplot in "The Comeback"; he's told by co-worker Reilly, "The ocean called. They're running out of shrimp." He can't think of a comeback until later: "Oh yeah? Well the jerk store called; they're running out of you." George wants to re-enact the same scenario so he can deliver the comeback, but unfortunately for George, Reilly has transferred to a sister office in Akron, Ohio. George decides to fly there just to deliver the comeback. But when he does, Reilly retorts with "What does it matter? You're their all time best-seller!" George, unable to think of a witty comeback, blurts out: "Oh yeah? Well I had sex with your wife!" After being informed that Reilly's wife is in a coma, George feels guilty. However, on the car ride home, he thinks of a comeback for that line. And he turns the car around.
Jerry: (on the phone with Kramer) They're real Cubans?! They're human beings, from Cuba?!
Kramer: I said Cubans; what did you think I meant?
Kramer: Jerry, Cuban cigars are illegal in this country!
A subversion occurred in "The Van Buren Boys", when Kramer accuses Elaine of missing the point of his story, despite that Kramer's story made no sense in the first place:
Kramer: Well, I'm on the phone with Bob, and I realize right then and there that I need to return this pair of pants. So, I'm off to the store. (...) ...I slipped, and fell in the mud. Ruining the very pants I was about to return. Elaine: I don't understand.. you were wearing the pants you were returning? Kramer: I guess I was. Elaine: What were you gonna wear on the way back? Kramer: Elaine, are you listening?! I didn't even get there!
Comical Overreacting: A trademark of George. One example, in "The Seven" after Susan rejects George's idea to name their child "Seven":
George: (shouting out the car window) ALL RIGHT, LET'S JUST STAY CALM HERE!!! DON'T GET ALL CRAZY ON ME!!!
Compressed Vice: George takes his shirt off in the bathroom and doesn't put it on properly again only in "The Gymnast".
Confessional: Jerry visits one in "The Yada Yada", although it's not so much to repent of sins, but to complain to the priest that Tim Whatley's making Jewish jokes.
The Confidant: In "The Hot Tub", Judy, a friend of Elaine's, confided in her that her baby was born out of wedlock. Elaine doesn't tell anybody except Jerry, but later in the episode Jean-Paul says hi and calls her baby a "cute little bastard" (a word he learned from George, who was using curse words to fit in with some Texas ball team managers). An offended Judy jumped to conclusions that Elaine told Jean-Paul her secret.
Conspiracy Theorist: Kramer could fall into this at times; in one episode, he claimed the alternative media is where you hear the truth. And in "The Bris", Kramer claimed that the government has been experimenting with creating a race of pigmen since the '50s ("Jerry wake up to reality. It's a military thing. They're probably creating a whole army of pig warriors!").
In "The Limo", Kramer was convinced that Jerry was working for the CIA, and thought Jerry probably knew who killed Kennedy.
Jerry fell into this once too: In "The Non-Fat Yogurt", Jerry wondered if the non-fat yogurt thing was a conspiracy, and didn't know how deep it went.
Continuity Cavalcade: The entire finale; nine seasons worth of wronged bystanders show up as character witnesses. There's the Virgin and the Soup Nazi and Puddy and Judge whose name is 'Art Vandaly.'
Continuity Nod: Tons of them, rewarding loyal viewers with all sorts of in-jokes and references to previous events. It's yet another aspect of Seinfeld Is Unfunny, because nowadays this is common in sitcoms, but back then was relatively rare.
In "The Wizard", when Susan's parents keep calling George's bluff on going to his non-existent house in the Hamptons, George finally tells the truth when the three get to the Hamptons:
George: There's no house! It's a lie! There's no solarium. There's no Prickly Pete. There's no other solarium. Mr. Ross: We know. George: Then, why? Why did you make me drive all the way out here? Why didn't you say something? Why? Why? Why?! Mrs. Ross: We don't like you, George. Mr. Ross: And we always blamed you for what happened to Susan. George: Oh.
Counting to Three: In "The Revenge", Glenda is blocking George's seat, which he needs to slip a mickey into his former boss's drink. So he says:
George: I'm gonna count to three. If you don't give up the chair, the wig is coming off. Glenda: I don't wear a wig! George: ...One... (Glenda hustles out of the seat)
Covert Pervert: Many of the women Jerry dates, including one who had an entire closet full of contraceptive sponges. Justified they had been discontinued, and women in the Seinfeld-verse are unflinchingly loyal to their preferred methods of birth control.
Elaine: Sure, the pinky toe is cute! But, I mean, what is it? It's useless! It does nothing. It's got that little nail that is just impossible to cut. What do we need it for?
Jerry: Because Elaine, that's the one that goes 'wee-wee-wee all the way home.'
Elaine: ...Why don't you just shut the f- (Kramer interrupts)
In "The Shoes":
George: Elaine, this pilot... it doesn't matter to me, it's not me I'm concerned about... it's my mother. I've been over to the hospital to see her... Elaine: Oh yeah, because she caught you jer- George: NEVER MIND.
In "The Pool Guy":
Jerry: Y'know, George isn't too happy, uh, about your new friendship. Elaine: Yeah? Well I don't really give a sh- (shuts bathroom door)
In "The Package", Elaine addresses her medical chart, where it claims she was difficult at an earlier appointment:
Elaine: I'm not difficult; I'm easy. Jerry: Why? Because you dress casual and sleep with a lot of guys? Elaine: ...Listen to me, you little sh- Kramer: Smile! (Jerry and Elaine fake a smile for Kramer's camera)
In "The Finale":
Jerry: Well, it's only a year. That's not so bad. We'll be out in a year, and then we'll be back. Kramer: Could be fun. Don't have to worry about your meals, or what you're going to do Saturday night. And they do shows. Yeah, we could put on a show, maybe Bye Bye Birdie or My Fair Lady. Elaine, you could be Liza Doolittle. Elaine: ...Why don't you just blow it out your a- Kramer: (stammers to interrupt her)
The Danza: Jerry Seinfeld's character is named... "Jerry Seinfeld."
George's mother Estelle is named after her actress. But they couldn't name his father the same way because they already had a Jerry.
But, George's dad was originally played by John Randolph.
In "The Kiss Hello", Wendie Malick as Wendie the delicate genius.
Dark Reprise: In the second half of "The Finale", a minor-key version of the show's theme is played on the oboe while the four are waiting to be sentenced.
A Date with Rosie Palms: The whole premise of "The Contest" was to see who could go the longest without, um, doing this.
Kramer: Jerry, this relationship is killing me. The distance, the longing, the distance...
In "The Pool Guy" when George calls out to Jerry, Elaine, and Susan in the theater:
George: I know you're there, laughing at me! Laughing and lying and laughing!
In "The Susie":
Elaine: We don't have to name names, or, point fingers, or... name names!
Descended Creator: As the show went on, Larry David had more and more Creator Cameos usually seen only from behind or voicing unseen characters like George Steinbrenner, a part David continued to voice for some time after he had already left the series as a writer.
Description Cut: In "The Gum", Kramer wants to wear a jester outfit to promote a movie at the vintage theater, but is told by the preservationist that only a short, stocky man of generous girth could fit into it. Cut to George wearing the outfit.
Jerry: ...Where are your clothes?? Kramer: I told you: I sold them to Bania. Jerry: You mean, what you were wearing?! Kramer: Yeah. Jerry: How did you expect to get out of here?? Kramer: Well I didn't think ahead!
Did You Just Have Sex?: Jerry deduces that Elaine and Puddy are "backsliding" by her hair and the clothes she's wearing (the same as yesterday's). Later, she's shown with messy hair handing Jerry money, presumably because she lost their bet that she wouldn't do it again.
Discriminate and Switch: In "The Pledge Drive", a guy who looks like a street thug is actually very helpful to Jerry's nana.
Man: You lookin' for something, lady? Nana: Isn't the Chemical Bank on this block? Man: The bank? It burned. It's GONE! Nana: Oh dear. Man: Now what you wanna do is go down to 49th Street, that's the main customer service branch. Ask for Mr. Fleming. He'll help you. (walks away)
Disproportionate Retribution: The entire show is full of this. In "The Soup Nazi," the eponymous character refuses to serve Elaine because she annoys him. In the course of the episode, she ends up finding the Soup Nazi's recipes. What does she do? She uses the recipes to drive him out of business and force him to move to Argentina.
How about physically attacking someone over double dipping a chip?
In "The Dealership", George wanted the surly mechanic to be fired merely for getting a free Twix that was supposed to be George's had it not gotten stuck in the machine. This involves buying several more Twix as part of a set-up to prove that the mechanic had indeed "stolen" the original Twix. He could have just eaten one of those, but instead he is dead-set on revenge, and in the end doesn't even get a chance to pull off his scam because his other Twix were discovered and eaten by the staff, mechanic included.
Jerry: I'll tell you, the sex... I mean, I was like an animal. I mean it was just completely uninhibited.
George: It's like going to the bathroom in front of a lot of people, and not caring.
Jerry: ...It's not like that at all.
In "The Friar's Club", George keeps comparing their foursome (he and Susan; Jerry and Hallie) to the Gatsbys. Jerry is thoroughly confused both times he says it.
George: We could be like the Gatsbys. Didn't they always like, you know, a bunch of people around, and they were all best friends? Jerry: That doesn't sound right. George: (agreeing) No...
George: I want it to get back to when we were the Gatsbys! Jerry: I still don't know what that means. George: Yeah, well...
Distaff Counterpart: In one episode, Jerry falls in love with a woman (Janeane Garofalo) who is exactly like him in every way. He even proposes to her, before realizing that he can't marry someone exactly like him ... because he hates himself. They then have the perfect mutual break-up.
Distant Prologue: If you watch "The Betrayal" in sequential order, the episode begins years ago when Jerry first moved across the hall from Kramer.
Kramer: Well, I signed up for a food delivery service, Now We're Cookin'. That's a play on words.
In the same episode:
Maxwell: My name is Maxwell. I'm from Maid To Order. It's a pun.
In "The Checks", after Jerry and George show the Jerry pilot to some Japanese execs:
Executive: We're bit confused. Why was this man Jerry's butler? George: Ah. You see, the man who was the butler, uh, had gotten into a car accident with Jerry, and because he didn't have any insurance, the judge decreed that the man become Jerry's butler. Executive: Is this customary in your legal system? Jerry: (congenial) No. That's what makes it such a humorous situation.
Door Focus: Happens when Kramer yells at Jerry about him wanting to reclaim a phone number of a woman he was trying to stop seeing. Kramer storms out and slams the door and a beat later he comes back in to grab the cereal and milk he was borrowing off of Jerry's counter. Then he leaves again.
Double Standard: As proven in "The Sniffing Accountant", it's okay for women to touch men's material, but do it in reverse, and you're accused of being a pervert and are fired from a job you haven't even started yet.
Downer Ending: The series finale. Not that it actually bothered any of the protagonists.
Driving a Desk: Happens rather frequently, but in particular, "The Bris". George's car is clearly in Park during the driving scenes.
Dropped After the Pilot: Claire, the waitress at Pete's Luncheonette, was intended to be a regular but she was replaced by the character Elaine after the pilot episode. Pete's Luncheonette was also replaced with Monk's Cafe, explaining why Claire is never seen again.
Dump Them All: In the backwards episode, one woman chooses this solution.
Dying Declaration of Love: It's debatable that Elaine almost told Jerry she loved him in "The Finale Part 1" because she thought their plane would crash. But the plane straightens out before she can finish her sentence. Also debatable that Russel Dalrymple did this in "The Pilot 2" when he is seen drifting away and a fellow Greenpeace member is shouting "I'll remember her name! Elaine Benes! I'll write to her. I'll tell her all about you and what you did out here!"
Episode-specific example: In "The Susie", George and Kramer, acting like a bickering couple, are at a ball. During a scuffle, George accidentally rips the back of Kramer's tux, causing Kramer to twirl towards some spectators. Wilhelm: "Wow! What an entrance!"
Early-Installment Weirdness: The pilot features a different theme song; Jerry is living in a studio apartment with a grey leather couch and a skylight; Kramer (actually, "Kessler") knocks on the door, owns a dog, and is agoraphobic; the hangout is a place called Pete's Luncheonette rather than Monk's; and Elaine is absent (it appears that a deadpan waitress at Pete's was meant to be the major female character).
The earlier seasons also had a lot more of a lax tone, and episodes were slower-paced (especially ones that took place in one location, such as "The Chinese Restaurant" or "The Parking Garage"); most likely because of the "show about nothing" premise. For that matter, the early episodes even seemed to be shot on cheaper stock.
An early episode known as "Male Unbonding" did not conform to the "The Something" title formula, and had a sequence in which Jerry and George have a conversation on the elevator ride to Jerry's apartment. In later episodes, characters would ring the buzzer and almost immediately be at the door. Most importantly, the premise was about Jerry not wanting to spend time with a friend he'd known since he was a kid who was petty and constantly complaining: traits inherent in George.
Season 3's first episode had some vocal scatting dubbed over the theme. While not intended to be literal words, many remarked that it sounded like the singers were saying, "easy to beat."
In the first three-or-so seasons, Elaine was very much concerned with animal rights. Eventually, this aspect of the character was forgotten, until it was referenced in "The Reverse Peephole" when Puddy started wearing a fur coat:
Elaine: Eh, anti-fur. I mean, who has the energy anymore? This is more about hanging off the arm of an idiot.
Newman's first appearance off-camera appearance was a voice-over performed by Larry David, later dubbed in by Wayne Knight in syndication. That's not the weird part: the weird part is that this "Newman" (or "Nueman" in the script) threatened suicide, and was said to be unemployed. In later episodes, it's clear that Newman has been a postal worker as far back as the late '70s when he knew Sam Berkowitz.
Both Jerry Seinfeld's and George Costanza's fathers were initially played by different actors from those who would become better-known in those roles. Each had a very different look and gave a very different performance. Again: it's not just a casting change that's weird, or even how different the better-established versions of the characters were, but that in syndication, they reshot John Randolph's scenes as Frank Costanza using Jerry Stiller, but did not do the same thing with the two versions of Jerry's father.
In the commentary for the one episode with Phil Bruns as Morty Seinfeld before Barney Martin played him in subsequent appearances, Seinfeld and Larry David revealed that they had considering reshooting the scenes with Martin for syndication, but realized they couldn't because the other characters had all aged five years by then (as opposed to only a few months for the George's father episode).
George makes some rather cryptic statements in early episodes that prefigure or contradict later ones.
In Season 3's "The Truth," George remarks that he's driven women to lesbianism before, but says he hasn't in an episode the following season when he sees Susan with a woman.
George says to Jerry in the pilot to "always do the opposite of what your instincts tell you." He actually hears this advice FROM Jerry, spends the whole episode doing the opposite of what he thinks he should do, and things go well for him.
When George quits his job in real estate, he talks about how he'd like to join a ball club as an announcer or some such, years before joining the Yankees as Assistant to General Manager.
When George makes up the phoney charity he says he'd like to be in a position to give away money to worthy people. Guess he forgot he was put in charge of just such an organization after Susan's death.
In "The Busboy", George and Jerry console Elaine after she fails at getting an unwanted houseguest to the airport on time. This kind of compassion is extremely rare for the show, and was quickly phased out.
Ear Worm: Invoked. In-universe, George can't get "Master of the House" from Les Misérables out of his head. Jerry warns him that getting a song stuck in your head can drive you insane, like how Schumann kept humming an "A" over and over.
In "The Chicken Roaster", George admits that he's sort of like an advertising jingle: Annoying, but you can't get it out of your head. To which he sings: "By Mennen!" Later, Jerry is mumbling that jingle to himself.
Eating Lunch Alone: Elaine pretends to live in the janitor's closet of the apartment building across the street because her building isn't in the delivery zone for a certain Chinese restaurant known for their flounder. She says this is preferable to eating it alone in the restaurant "like some loser".
George eats alone at Reggie's twice in the series: First, in "The Soup" when he can't confront the waitress that he dated, and later in "The Pool Guy" when he eats there out of protest that Susan getting chummy with his friends is making his worlds "collide".
Edited for Syndication: Most episodes feature little dialog cuts here and there to save time for more commercials. The episode which suffers the worst in this regard is "The Yada Yada", as it originally ran 26 minutes in its NBC premiere.
Since 2010, most markets air the episodes in a cropped format (similar to a x1.2 zoom on most DVD players), and as such, all on-screen titles (opening credits, closing credits, subtitles, etc) have been changed accordingly. Some episodes also have either repositioned the show logo in the opening, or left alone, resulting in half of the 'S' in Seinfeld being cut off.
Jerry: Like a creature out of Greek Mythology! Part woman, part horrible beast!
The unriddable B.O. someone leaves in a car is much the same to him. "You don't understand what I'm up against. This is a force more powerful than anything you can imagine. Even Superman would be helpless against this kind of stench!" Later, Jerry refers to the odor as "The Beast".
Embarrassing First Name: Cosmo Kramer, but he eventually embraces it... especially when he gets his new license plates mixed up with a proctologist...
Kramer: I'm Cosmo Kramer — the Ass Man!
Embarrassing Nickname: In "The Pick", Elaine is given the nickname "Nip" after she accidentally exposes her nipple in a Christmas card.
In many season 3 episodes, George is nicknamed "Biff" by Jerry. George is always annoyed by being associated with one of the biggest losers of theatre.
Enemy Mine: In "The Andrea Doria", Newman wants a transfer to Hawaii, but is put out of commission from a bite by Kramer. Upon hearing this, Jerry agrees to take Newman's route, with the logic being that he wants Newman out of his life just as much as Newman wants to move to Hawaii.
Euphemism Buster: In "The Phone Message", after a date, George's girlfriend asked him if he wanted to come up to her apartment for coffee. George replied, "I can't drink coffee late at night, it keeps me up." The date ended, and only later did George realize she was alluding to sex.
Even Beggars Won't Choose It: In one episode, Elaine sells muffin tops, and needs to dispose of the stumps (making them without stumps just isn't the same, you see). Both a homeless shelter and a garbage dump reject them.
Jerry finally rids himself of the unkillable B.O. in his car by just abandoning the car on the street and handing the keys over to some bum. The episode ends with a freeze frame of his expression after getting in the car, which indicates he didn't bother keeping it.
Jerry finds himself suddenly repulsed by his Girl of the Week and unable to kiss her after discovering that she not only went out with Newman, but that Newman was the one who ended the relationship. The thought of dating a woman who is below the standards of a man he doesn't think should even have standards in the first place is just too much for him to bear.
Jerry: All I could think of when I was looking at her face... was that Newman found this unacceptable!
George takes a book from the shelf at a bookstore into the bathroom with him and is forced to purchase it. He can't return it at any of the locations in the chain because it's been "flagged" as having been in the bathroom. He tries to give it to Goodwill, only for the woman at the counter to immediately recognize that the book is flagged because she used to work at one of the chain locations. She calls George a sick and evil man for trying to give the flagged book to the less fortunate.
Fantastic Racism: Played for laughs in "The Yada Yada" when Jerry is annoyed that his dentist Tim Whatley (who recently converted to Judaism) is making so many Jewish jokes. However, Jerry is chided by Tim for telling a dentist joke, proclaiming Jerry has no idea what his people (that is, the dentists) have been through.
Kramer: You think that dentists are so different from me and you? They came to this country just like everybody else, in search of a dream!
Jerry: Kramer, he's just a dentist.
Kramer: Yeah, and you're an anti-dentite.
Jerry: I am not an anti-dentite!
Kramer: You're a rabid anti-dentite! Oh, it starts with a few jokes and some slurs. "Hey! Denty!" Next thing, you're saying they should have their own schools!
In one episode, Elaine thinks the guy she's going out with is black, but she's not quite sure, and spends the episode trying to find out without directly asking. It turns out he had been thinking Elaine was Hispanic.
In another episode, Jerry falls for a woman named Chang over the phone, believing that she's Chinese - but it turns out she's Jewish. The family name was originally "Changstein."
Fawlty Towers Plot: Many examples, the best being "The Wizard," where George drives to the far eastern tip of Long Island before "blinking" first.
Fee Fi Faux Pas: Perhaps the earliest instance was in "The Pony Remark" when Jerry and Elaine started making fun of ponies, and Jerry said he hated anybody who had a pony growing up.
Manya: I had a pony!
In "The Comeback", Elaine doesn't know what to rent from the video store now that Vincent stopped making picks:
Gene: Well, we have a wide variety of Gene picks. Elaine: Gene's trash. Gene: (hurt) I'm Gene. Elaine: (embarrassed, smiles nervously) Hi.
In "The Strongbox", Jerry confronts a neighbor with whom he's already on thin ice with:
Jerry: (congenial) Phil... hi. I-I know we kind of got off to a bad start. But your bird, which is lovely, by the way, made a mess on my door. Phil: And? Jerry: I thought maybe you'd clean it up, or your maid, there. Phil: That's my wife. (Beat) Jerry: All right, I think we're done here.
Flanderization: Everyone goes through some level of this, except arguably Jerry.
His neat-freak tendencies grew, somewhat.
They deliberately had to flanderize George's idiocy; because he wore glasses, people insisted on seeing him as The Smart Guy, to the point where the writers had to have him openly proclaim himself "Lord of the Idiots."
In another episode George calls out these people by mentioning that a lot of people think he is smart when he really isn't.
Then, in season 9's "The Dealership" episode in which George flips out over not getting his candy bar from the vending machine. On the commentary track on the DVD, Jason Alexander proclaims, "I am in an animated cartoon here, folks."
Flashback Cut: In "The Library", there's a brief cutaway to Jerry and George in high school during the '70s, when Jerry lends George "Tropic of Cancer" after gym class.
In "The Nose Job", Jerry tells George about a woman he met on the elevator, and clips from said scene are shown.
In "The Fire", we get a quick glimpse of old home movies of George's birthday party:
Flash Forward: Occurs in "The Invitations": Jerry realizes that if George and Elaine both get married and move to another burrough, it'll just be him and Kramer. Cue a daydream of a slightly older-looking Jerry and Kramer:
Kramer: (slides in) Hey!! Buddy. I thought of a great invention for driving. A periscope in a car, so you can see the traffic. Jerry: (aggravated) How you gonna drive when looking through a periscope?! Besides, it's not a submarine and there's no room for a periscope in a car! Kramer: Huh! You make a higher roof. Jerry: They're not making higher roofs. Kramer: Why can't you make a higher roof? Jerry: (simmering) Because it's a stupid idea. No one's gonna go for it. Don't you understand?! It's stupid, stupid...
Flipping the Bird: Implied in "The Dealership" when Kramer shouts to two women on the street: "Can I interest you in a little supplemental restraint?", and is disturbed by their off-screen reaction.
A plot point in "The Pledge Drive": George thinks a drive who cut him off gave him the finger, but it was merely a guy with a cast on his hand, with his middle finger stuck up for some reason.
Follow the Leader: You can't deny how influential the show was. To this day the majority of sitcoms, whether they're about single people or families, focus on immature, petty characters who rarely ever learn from their mistakes by the end of the episode. Also, in the '90s there were many, many sitcoms (especially those about single people) that loved to borrow two very specific concepts made famous by "Seinfeld". One was the Bottle Episode structure of episodes such as "The Chinese Restaurant" and the other was having main characters obsess over the odd quirks of their Boy or Girl of the Week.
The Food Poisoning Incident: In "The Voice", George heads to the bathroom and weakly shouts, "I think Play Now is putting something in my food!"
Foreshadowing: In the episode "The Rye", Elaine tells Jerry "You know, one of these days, something terrible is going to happen to you. It has to!" Come the series finale, and not only does something terrible happen to Jerry (not that it bothers him), it happens to Elaine too. Woops.
Similarly, in "The Soul Mate", there's an opening scene (usually cut in syndication) where George remarks how fascinating prison is, and Jerry agrees. George wistfully pines, "Maybe someday..." Oh George...
For Inconvenience, Press "1": In "The Pool Guy" Kramer enjoys playing an Interactive Voice Responder to callers who misdialed Moviefone's number. Made all the funnier when the actual responder goes to Kramer's apartment because Kramer had been taking all his business, and talks exactly like the hotline.
Fourth Date Marriage: Kramer's friend Mickey marries one of the two girls he and Kramer are double-dating after only a few dates. Made funnier in that she confesses to having wanted Kramer all along, while the girl who Kramer was dating wanted Mickey.
Fragile Flower: For two grown people, both George and Elaine will cry about something at the drop of a hat.
Freak Out: Jerry loses it in "The Diplomat's Club" after getting bugged about every little detail by his assistant.
Friends Rent Control: Despite being able to live in a decent one-bedroom Manhattan apartment, Kramer holds down nothing resembling a steady job. He gets by by mooching most of his food off of Jerry and playing with various odd jobs (department store Santa, film extra, babysitter, illness actor for medical interns, the list goes on) and money-making schemes. Some of these are actually quite successful, like when he wins $18,000 dollars at the horse track in an early episode, and later gets his coffee table book about coffee tables published and eventually optioned as a movie (allegedly making him enough money to "retire" to Florida briefly). Subverted in that it's never handwaved as being rent control, but also vaguely plausible at times. The real Kramer managed to live comfortably off royalties from a piece of electronic disco jewellery he invented in the seventies.
An early episode, back when George was in real estate, implies that the building is pretty cheap. An entire episode revolves around trying to move Jerry into a better building as he can afford much better. Another episode, in which his upstairs neighbour passes away, reveals the rent of that apartment was $400.
Averted with George moving in with his parents in season 5, and moving out when he gets a job with the Yankees.
The Friends Who Never Hang: In the "The Dog" from Season 3, for one of the first times George and Elaine have to interact without Jerry as a buffer, and they realize that they have nothing in common. They manage to overcome their awkwardness only by gossiping about Jerry, but that quickly grows old. (In later seasons George and Elaine have a number of storylines featuring just the two of them.)
Friends with Benefits: Jerry and Elaine try to do this in "The Deal". Lampshaded with George telling Jerry An Aesop about how it can't be done. Turns out George was right.
The season 5 premiere, "The Mango", features a Call Back to this premise after Jerry discovers Elaine faked orgasms with him when they were dating, which put him in a foul mood.
Elaine: We have to have sex to save the friendship!
Gayngster: Cedric and Bob, the Puerto Rican thugs who steal Elaine's armoire, harass Kramer for not wearing an AIDS ribbon and then chase him for accidentally burning a Puerto Rican flag.
George Jetson Job Security: In "The Pilot", Russell Dalrymple (who is despondent after Elaine breaks up with him) fires a stagehand merely for bumping into him.
Russell: All right. All right. What's your name? David: David. Russell: Get out! You're fired! David: But Mr. Dalrymple- Russell: Don't talk back to me. Didn't you hear what I say? Get out! You want me to call the cops? I make and break little worms like you every day. Do you know how much money I make? Do you have ANY IDEA?! Do you know where I live? I can have any woman in this city that I want. Any one. Now, GET OUT!
In "The Calzone":
George Steinberenner: (on the phone) That's right, do you want me to say it again? I'll say it again! I haven't had a pimple since I was eighteen, and I don't care if you believe me or not! And how's this: You're fired! (Beat) Okay, you're not, I'm just a little hungry.
Get Out: Mrs. Sweedler threw George out of her office in "The Bris" when he requested to be compensated for the mental patient committing suicide by falling onto his car.
In "The Mango", Karen threw George out after he accused her of faking her orgasm.
In "The Fatigues", Frank throws Kramer out after he tries to get Frank to cook again.
In "The Serenity Now", Jerry tries to fake anger and fails miserably:
Jerry: Kramer, I am so sick of you comin' in here and eatin' all my food. Now shut that door and get the hell outta here!! (Beat) Kramer: (laughs) What is that, a new bit?
Gone Horribly Right: After the building super installs crappy low-flow shower heads in all the apartments, Kramer and Newman track down a black market shower head dealer so they can have strong water pressure again. They insist on buying the Commando 450, despite the dealer's insistence that it's only for use on circus elephants, not humans. During the credits we see Kramer trying out the Commando 450 in his shower, and is nearly Blown Across the Room.
Good Counterpart: In "The Bizarro Jerry," Elaine realizes that Kevin is largely this to Jerry. He even lives in an apartment which is a mirror-reflection of Jerry's apartment, keeps a model of Bizarro, he has friends who are also all good counterparts to George, Kramer, and Newman, and he and his friends eat at Reggie's instead of Monk's.
Good Is Dumb: Kramer seems to be Larry David's Author Tract on how being unselfish and caring for people makes you an idiot.
Frank: I have good news and bad news, and they're both the same: You're fired.
Gossip Evolution: In "The Maid", Jerry, George, Kramer, and Elaine were sitting at a counter in Monk's. Elaine was on one end of the line, and Kramer was at the other end. Elaine told Jerry that she got a new phone number because an old lady in the building died. Kramer, not fully hearing Elaine, heard "Newman died" instead.
Hair-Trigger Temper: Michael in "The Good Samaritan", who snaps at George because he told his wife "God bless you" after a sneeze. Later in the episode, after he pieces together that George and his wife had sex, he tells Elaine:
Michael: He's finished! I'm going to sew his ass to his face! I'm going to twist his neck so hard his lips will be his eyebrows! I'm going to break his joints, and reattach them!
Elaine herself has bouts of this in "The Glasses". Justified in that she thought she had rabies.
In "The Voice", when Darrin the intern arranged a lunch with himself, Jerry, and Kramer, but Elaine joined in after the appointment was already made:
Jerry: Hey, Elaine is going to come with us, alright? Kramer: What? When did this happen? Jerry: Well, j- Kramer: DARRIN!!!
Half-Human Hybrid: In "The Bris", Kramer is convinced he saw a half man, half pig in the hospital, which he dubs "Pigman".
Halfway Plot Switch: Jerry's idea to perform "The Switch" doesn't come up until halfway into the episode, when he meets his girlfriend's roommate and Kramer's first name has been revealed.
Handshake Refusal: Elaine's boss has a cold. Having left his handkerchief in Elaine's office, he sneezes into his hand and is unable to shake the hand of a Japanese businessman when he sneezes, explaining that he can't because of the germs. The Japanese men assume he is implying that they might be diseased and cancel their business dealings.
George: ...Neither am I... (after a pause, they yell for Kramer to get in there to break the awkward silence)
The Heckler: Jerry got frustrated when Kramer brought his girlfriend to the show who was too excitable over his humor (it distracts both the comic and the audience and the person hasn't really said anything). Jerry gets even by going to her job and heckling her.
In "The Red Dot", a drunk Dick interrupts Jerry's stand-up.
Jerry: I like the hand blower, I have to say. It takes a little bit longer, but I feel when you're in a room with a revolting stench, you want to spend as much time as you can. Dick: The only stench is coming from you.
George acts like one in "The Blood" when he includes food (and later television) in lovemaking.
Jerry: Oh no, I'll tell you what you did, Caligula... you combined food and sex into one disgusting, uncontrollable urge!
Hellistics: Many of the events one character caused ended up biting another character in the ass...
Her Boyfriend's Jacket: In "The Little Kicks" episode, Anna returns to work at the J. Peterman Catalog at one point, wearing George's Yankees jacket, after Elaine warned her to stay away from him on the grounds that he's "a bad seed".
Here We Go Again: The series finale ends with Jerry and George having thesame conversation they did in the pilot.
Heterosexual Life-Partners: Jerry and George. George more-or-less admits to himself that the one thing he wants more than anything is a female version of Jerry that he can sleep with. Eventually he gets it, and freaks out because Kramer mentions it.
Hidden in Plain Sight: George's glasses, in the episode of the same name, are revealed to be on the top of his locker at the gym.
High School Sweethearts: In "The English Patient", Jerry is confused that Izzy Mandlebaum Jr. is only a slightly younger old man than Izzy. He explains:
Homoerotic Subtext : Jerry and George, which was lampshaded in "The Outing." Between Jerry and Mets first baseman Keith Hernandez in "The Boyfriend."
Pfft, those are nothing compared to Kramer/Jerry. Case in point: "The Kiss Hello." After a rant about how Jerry hates kissing, Kramer passionately kissed him.
Best part? It was never mentioned again.
No, the best part is that George walks in on it, stares, and then slowly backs out of the room and closes the door behind him.
Susan's father is revealed to have had a passionate affair with gay author John Cheever in his first appearance, though it's never mentioned again.
Hype Backlash: An in-universe example. Elaine hates The English Patient, and everyone she talks to loves it, including her boyfriend (who leaves her because of it), the waitress at Monk's (who refuses to serve her after finding out she hates it) and her boss (who forces her to watch it until she agrees to travel to Tunisia just so she'll never have to see it again).
Hypocrisy Nod: In "The Burning", George is flabergasted that Kruger is eating in Monk's when he's supposed to be helping George out with a big project. After asking Kruger to get back to work, George remarks to Jerry:
In "The Pick", after Jerry and George rationalized that nose picking wasn't a big deal:
Jerry: Let me ask you something. If you were going out with somebody and if she did that, what would you do? Would you continue going out with her? George: No. That's disgusting!
I Am Not Spock: It's happened to pretty much every cast member except Jerry Seinfeld. Particularly Wayne Knight. On one instance, after a bad day, he snapped at someone who greeted him with "Hello, Newman...".
On the other hand, Jason Alexander once appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher, and one of his fellow panelists agreed with him by saying "You know, George is right..." Cue a big "OOOOOOOH" from the audience. Alexander, however, laughed it off with a good-sported remark that "Hey, I'm still getting the royalty checks."
Alexander also got into a bit of quote call-backs during some hands at the 2010 World Series of Poker, and once mentioned he was grateful for George Constanza, because he'd otherwise be known as the guy who tried to rape Julia Roberts.
During the Laugh Factory incident, various media outlets kept referring to Michael Richards as Kramer, to the point that the real Kramer, Kenny Kramer, issued a statement saying that he personally was not a racist.
Speaking of Curb, even earlier than that, in season 2, a plotline revolved around Larry trying to get a show off the ground about an actor who can not escape their previous popular sitcom role, first with Jason Alexander and then with Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
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 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:
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)
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."
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).
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).
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.
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.
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!"
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 what I do is 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 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."
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.
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!
In "The Wallet", Elaine mispronounced "Svengali" as "Svenjolly". George and Jerry called her on it.
"Dem-me" or "Dem-I" Moore?
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.
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.
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.
Knuckle Tattoos: In Jerry's nightmare, Uncle Leo has "JERRY" and "HELLO" tattooed on 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. 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.
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."
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.
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!
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. 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...
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!
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.
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.
Jerry: Because if he doesn't ask you out, he doesn't get rejected. He has found a dating loophole.
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.
Jerry and George miss Kramer as he comes out of a store in "The Trip".
Missing Episode: "The Puerto Rican Day" has a scene where Kramer (accidentally) burns a Puerto Rican flag. Many viewers were highly offended, and NBC decided to leave the episode out of syndication for several years. Although it does occasionally air on local stations today, many stations still skip it (including TBS) and those that don't often cut out the flag-burning scene. You can see it uncut on DVD, though.
For a time, "The Invitations" was removed from syndication because Susan dropping dead from licking toxic envelopes reminded people of the anthrax mail scares. It returned to rotation in summer 2002.
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.
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.
"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.
Jerry: (on the phone) Hello? (...) Yeah, this is Jerry Seinfeld. (...) What? No. NO NO NO NO!!!! (calmly, friendly) Thank you.
Motive Decay: Geoge 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 assitance, comes back with a manager, Twix bar is gone, and George sees the janitor has taken it. The janitor 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 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!
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 [[Spoiler: though, as 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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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)
Obfuscating Disability: In a two-parter, George does this at his new job to receive special treatment. In another episode, Kramer does it by accident due to being doped up on vicodin from a dentist's visit and ends up the guest of honour at a charity dinner for the mentally challenged.
Off The Wagon: Elaine's latest boyfriend, Dick, is a recovering alcoholic in "The Red Dot", but falls off the wagon when Jerry accidentally lets his alcoholic drink be grabbed by Dick at a Christmas party.
In "The Apology", Puddy is a recovering "germaphobe" but falls off the wagon when he eats salad that Kramer reveals he prepared as he bathed. Elaine and Peggy also become germaphobes in the process.
Oh, the Humanity!: Newman shouts this as his mail truck catches on fire at the end of "The Pothole".
One Steve Limit: George tries to get everyone at his office to nickname him "T-Bone", but fails when they bestow it to someone else who makes a single mention of enjoying steak. He finds himself in a difficult situation because he refuses to let go of the nickname but his boss is quite adamant that there can be only one person with that nickname in the whole office. It seems he runs a very tight ship.
George Costanza and George Steinbrenner
Susie, Jackie Chile's secretary, and Susie the invented individual at the J. Peterman Catalog.
Tony, Elaine's mimbo (and George's man-crush) in "The Stall" and Tony, the maniacal auto mechanic in the 2-parter "The Bottle Deposit".
Bob Cobb prefers to be called "Maestro", to the point where George doesn't even know who Jerry is talking about when he says "Bob Cobb".
Jerry: Hey George, do you believe this guy?
Jerry: Bob Cobb.
George: "Bob Cobb"??
Jerry: You know, "Maestro".
George: Oh, I missed the Maestro?
Airplane passenger Vegetable Lasagna is referred to as this by Elaine and Puddy in "The Butter Shave".
"The Strike" has a character that is referred to as "Denim Vest" by Elaine.
Only the Worthy May Pass: In "The Sponge", Elaine's favorite contraceptive is taken off the market, but she manages to score a batch of sponges from a store still selling them. But she doesn't want to waste them, so she grills her latest boyfriend to prove that he's "sponge-worthy".
On Second Thought: In "The Finale Part 1", George rejects the new NBC president's suggestion that they incorporate more "relationship humor" into the show Jerry. The president then suggests they not do the show at all, to which George says, "...Or we could get them together!"
Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Cary Elwes makes a special guest appearance in "The Wait Out" where Jerry and Elaine wait out a marriage between David (Elwes) and Beth (Debra Messing); while David dines with Elaine and relates his and Beth's breakup with her, Elwes's natural British accent accidentally slips in at one point.
Open Minded Parent: Surprisingly, Jerry reveals he would be one if he ever had kids, most likely due to his complete indifference towards pretty much everything and everyone. George gives him one of his ideas for a TV show to pitch to NBC and we get this conversation:
George: You want an idea? Here's an idea. You coach a gymnastics team in a high school, and you're married, and your son isn't interested in gymnastics, and you're pushing him into gymnastics. Jerry: Why should I care if my son is into gymnastics? George: Because you're a gymnastics teacher, it's only natural. Jerry: But gymnastics is not for everybody! George: I know, but he's your son! Jerry: So what?
Out-of-Character Moment: In "The Secret Code", George is strangely unable to come up with a lie to get out of having dinner with J. Peterman. This was addressed later:
George: Well why couldn't you include me in your excuse? Jerry: Why didn't you come up with your own? George: I froze. I think I'm losing it. Jerry: Ah, c'mon. Maybe you're just in a slump? George: No, no. I reached down and there was nothing there.
With the exception of the final season, each season had a few episodes that were aired out of chronological order (for instance, "Male Unbonding" is the second episode of the series, but the fourth to originally air).
In Reruns, no channel seems to have any particular order in which they air episodes... one common practice is that whenever a channel airs the show back-to-back as part of their regular schedule, one will be an episode from an earlier season, and the other from a later season, and vice-versa (in the case of TBS, whenever reaching a two-parter, both airings would be reserved for both parts). TBS, however, recently began airing three episodes a night, and now play three episodes in chronological order up till certain points when they will bounce ahead or behind a few seasons (for example, Season Four will air for a week or so, then they will bounce to Season Nine).
Peterman: All right, brace yourself, Lubeck. You are about to be launched via pastry back to the wedding of one of the most dashing and romantic Nazi sympathizers of the entire British royal family.
Parallel Parking: The conflict in "The Parking Space": George and Mike get into a fight on who should get a spot: George, who was parallel parking, or Mike, who just decided to pull in front first. It's never solved by episode's end, because both think they're right.
In "The Postponement", Kramer does a poor job of parallel parking, bumping both the front and rear cars while parking. Though in Kramer's defense, the spot was incredibly tight, and he drives a behemoth 1973 Chevrolet Impala.
In another episode, the gang is headed for a party and Kramer and George stop at a liquor store. They are blocked by a parallel parker who has a noted resemblance to Saddam Hussein.
Parking Payback: George nearly gets lynched for parking in a disable parking space.
Paying In Coins: An episode had Kramer collecting change to use the apartment's dryer so his clothes would be warm when he got dressed. Then, after deciding to use Jerry's oven instead, tries to pay for Goerge's kalzones with loose change, pissing off the store owner. The episode's stinger has him paying a debt by tossing a pillowcase of coins at someone, knocking them over.
Percussive Maintenance: Done by Kramer with a Xerox machine at a financial company in "The Bizarro Jerry". This, Kramer's attitude and his clothes convinced people that he was employed there.
Perfectly Cromulent Word: The New Yorker's response to Elaine asking why a particular cartoon in their magazine was supposed to be funny: "Vorshtein?"
Perp Sweating: Parodied. In "The Package", Newman attempts to do this to Jerry, when he suspects him of committing mail fraud. It backfires since the lamp is positioned over his chair, rather than Jerry's.
Personal Arcade: A variation occurs in "The Frogger", where George tries to get the Frogger cabinet from Mario's Pizza Parlor and preserve his high score.
Persona Non Grata: In "The Mango", Kramer (and later Jerry) is banned from Joe's fruit shop for complaining about the quality of his fruit.
Police Lineup: "The Beard", where Kramer volunteers to be in a police line-up to make $50.
Poor Man's Porn: George Costanza was caught with a copy of Glamour, which led to the infamous "contest".
Pose of Silence: parodied with George and Jerry hiding their mouths from a deaf lip-reader in order to talk about her while she is sitting at the same table. As it turned out, she knew exactly what they were saying anyway.
George: Well, after dinner last week, she invites me back to her apartment. (...) Well, it's this little place with this little bathroom. It's like right there, you know, it's not even down a little hall or off in an alcove. You understand? There's no... buffer zone. So, we start to fool around, and it's the first time, and it's early in the going. And I begin to perceive this impending... intestinal requirement, whose needs are going to surpass by great lengths anything in the sexual realm. So I know I'm gonna have to stop. And as this is happening I'm thinking, even if I can somehow manage to momentarily... extricate myself from the proceedings and relieve this unstoppable force, I know that that bathroom is not gonna provide me with the privacy that I know I'm going to need... Jerry: This could ONLY happen to you.
In "The Pilot", Kramer is constipated but suddenly gets the urge to go during his audition to play himself. He exits the meeting and runs all over looking for a free toilet, to no avail. Later on:
Kramer: Well, I waited so long I— I missed my chance. Jerry: You didn't go? Kramer: No, and now I can't get it back! Jerry: The best thing to do is just not think about it. Kramer: (worriedly) How could you not think about it?
Man: A muffin top store just opened up down the street. Elaine: A muffin top store? Man: What'd I just say? Elaine: ....What the (fuck) is your problem?! (both crack up)
In an outtake from season 3's "The Subway":
Jerry: So you missed the wedding. You'll catch the bris! Elaine: FUCK YOU.
Jerry: You'll catch the bris! Elaine: Why don't you just shut the fuck up for a change? (Julia laughs)
In "The Non-Fat Yogurt":
Matthew: (to Jerry) Thanks for ruining my dad's business, you fat (fuck).
In "The Cartoon", during Sally's stand-up act:
Sally: To cease and desist on behalf of my client, Jerry Seinfeld. Signed, Crybaby Jerry Seinfeld's Lawyer. Okay, but I got two words for you Jerry Seinfeld... (bleep) YOU. Jerry: How could she say that on TV?!
Prenup Blowup: George tries to invoke this with Susan. It doesn't work.
Prima Donna Director: In "The Little Kicks" after one of Kramer's associates threatened him into bootlegging a movie, Jerry discovers a hidden talent for cinmeatography. When he's "hired" to bootleg another film, he first sees the new film to know what to expect, and won't work unless he was additional camera operators throughout the theatre and walkie-talkies to keep in contact with them.
Knuckle Tattoos: In "The Bookstore", during Jerry's nightmare, Uncle Leo has "JERRY" and "HELLO" tattooed onto his fingers.
Product Placement: Despite the widespread belief that the show had intentional plugs for Snapple and other products, it was not sponsored by them in any way.
Elaine: No, I can't do this anymore, I can't. It's TOO LONG. Quit telling your stupid story about the stupid desert and just DIE already! DIE!!!! Peterman: ...Elaine, you don't like the movie? Elaine: I HATE IT!!! (audience shushes her) Oh GO TO HELL!!!
Rare Vehicles: Kramer's 1973 Chevy Impala, one of only 1000 experimental models built with airbags (usingOldsmobile dashboards) and George's 1984 Chrysler Lebaron Town and Country convertible, one of only 500 made that year.
Real Life Writes the Plot: Two endings were shot for "The Non-Fat Yogurt" depending on the outcome of the NYC Mayoral election. They used the ending that reflected Rudy Giuliani being elected.note His high cholesterol, caused by the allegedly "fat-free" yogurt, apparently made him appeal more to average New Yorkers.
Had David Dinkins been re-elected, Jackie Chiles would've debuted as a spokesman for the Dinkins campaign, apologizing for the "Name-Tag" fiasco thought up by Elaine, and executed by her then-boyfriend (and Dinkins aide) Lloyd Braun.
Reality Has no Subtitles: Several one-shot and minor foreign characters spoke fluent, uninterrupted languages of their respective nationalities, occasionally without the aid of subtitles, such as The Soup Nazi, and Kramer's Hispanic friend that showed up for one episode and was never spoken of again, relying on the Rule of Funny and Rule of Drama, as they can fluently speak English if need be.
Rearrange the Song: The "Seinfeld" theme is remixed for the two clip show episodes, season 6's "Highlights of a Hundred", and season 9's "The Clip Show". The latter remix was particularly distinct, adding in new instruments not usually used.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: George plans to give one of these to a woman he had a bad date with years ago (she was a performance artist who got chocolate all over his shirt) but is upstaged by a woman who sees Jerry and gives one to him instead.
Kramer more or less gives one to George in "The Keys" when he asks him a series of questions designed to prove that George is wasting his life.
George: What you call wasting, I call living.
Kramer: Okay, like what? Tell me. Do you have a job?
Kramer: You got money?
Kramer: You got a woman?
Kramer: Do you have any prospects?
George: (growing more and more depressed) Uh... no.
Kramer: Do you have any action at all?
Kramer: Do you have any conceivable reason for even getting up in the morning?
George: ...I like to get The Daily News...
Kramer: George, it's time for us to grow up... (beats chest) and be men.
In "The Dog", Kramer (briefly) breaks up with his girlfriend by doing this:
Kramer: I must have been out of my mind. Look at you. Why don't you do something with your life?! Sit around here all day, you contribute nothing to society. You're just taking up space. I mean, how could I be with someone like you? Wouldn't respect myself.
Kramer gave one to the aspiring Broadway actress Genice in "The Undestudy":
Kramer: So my dear, you think you can get to Broadway. Well, let me tell you something. Broadway has no room for people like you. Not the Broadway I know! My Broadway takes people like you and eats them up and spits them out! My Broadway is the Broadway of Merman, and Martin, and Fontaine, and if you think you can build yourself up by knocking other people down... ...GOOD LUCK!!!
The roadside diner Jerry and Elaine visit in "The Bubble Boy" later serves as Reggie's, otherwise known as "The Bizarro Coffee Shop".
Anytime any character ends up in the hospital, they recuperate in the exact same two or three rooms.
The restaurant where Gail Cunningham cooks was later recycled as Poppie's restaurant.
Relationship Revolving Door: Whether or not Elaine was dating Puddy or not would depend entirely on what works for the episode. Their unstable relationship was lampshaded often.
Reset Button In the finale of Season 2, Jerry and Elaine decide to start having casual sex with each other. However, as dictated by the rule of Sex Equals Love, this causes their feelings for each other to resurface, and the final scene implies that they have rekindled their relationship. The writers later agreed they didn't want to take this any further and the solution was to completely forget about it from the start of Season 3.
The Reveal: Kramer's first name (Cosmo) was a mystery for the show's first six years. When we finally found out what it was, they managed to write the entire episode around the revelation, and NBC advertised it as a major television event.
Reveal Shot: Peterman in a phone booth that turns out to be in Burma in "The Foundation".
Reunion Show: It didn't have a real reunion show; however, in the series Curb Your Enthusiasm, where co-creator Larry David plays a fictionalized version of himself, there was a storyline in which he reunited the cast (who played themselves, and themselves playing the Seinfeld characters) for a reunion show.
We never see the whole thing, but we do get a good idea of the reunion show's plot and a few scenes from it.
Kenny Bania, to a lesser extent. Jerry can't stand him, yet Bania thinks they're great friends.
Roommate Com: Jerry's apartment is the meeting place for the gang, which includes his neighbor Kramer, friend George, and ex Elaine. One of the show's taglines is that it's "a show about nothing," as it's mostly just about watching these entertaining personalities play off one another.
Rule of Three: In "The Trip, Part 2", Jerry is on the phone with the police, who want to meet him.
Jerry: Do we know where the 101 is? (George shakes his head) No... do we know where 170 is? (George shakes his head) No... do we know where 134 is? No. (George stares blankly)
Jerry: Where did you get those? Those are private!
Discussed in "The Bris." Jerry tells a skeptical George that there certainly are women who would find a Pigman attractive.
Jerry: Believe me, there'd be plenty of women going for these pigmen. Whatever the deform is, there's always some group of perverts that's attracted it it. [Singsong voice] Oooh, that little tail turns me on!
Running Gag: Any reference to the name "Art Vandelay", as well as George's ambition to be an architect (or to pretend he is one).
Jerry got himself an amazing stable of girlfriends on a near weekly basis just so they could have a gag at the end where she would storm out over whatever element of the plot offended her and Jerry would stand in the doorway calling back "What's wrong?!"
During season 6: "Hi, Mr. Pitt! Is Elaine there?"
Repeated references to 'Rochelle, Rochelle.' note A young girl's strange, erotic journey from Milan to Minsk.
Someone (usually George) calls someone else (usually Jerry) requiring some insane help, and the callee will respond "Who is this?"
Sadist Teacher: Mr. Hayman, George's gym teacher in high school. He would always call George "Can't-stand-ya", and even gave him a wedgie. He gives George a second wedgie 25 years later, an atomic one this time.
Same Language Dub: Famously, George Steinbrenner was physically portrayed by Lee Bear and at least one other actor, and voiced by Larry David. David also voiced Saddam Hussein in "The Dinner Party".
Sassy Black Woman: The clerk at the thrift store when George tries to return his 'bathroom book.' She first appeared in "The Muffin Tops" as a woman who hassles Elaine for trying to unload muffin stumps on the homeless.
Scrabble Babble: According to Kramer in "The Stake Out", when a patient gets difficult, a doctor quones them.
Screwed by the Network: An in-universe example. Jerry and George had been pushing for a long time to get their "show about nothing" approved by NBC. Finally, their first episode is aired and is successful. However, at the same time, the head executive who had approved the show goes AWOL and is replaced by a vindictive woman who cancels the show out of spite.
Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Subverted in "The Chicken Roaster", when Elaine (filling in for Peterman as boss) is audited by the accountant for extravagant purchases.
Roger: Ms. Benes, I noticed you have been charging quite a bit of merchandise on the Peterman account. Elaine: Well, I am the President. Roger: Yes, and we're all very impressed. Nevertheless, the expense account is for business purposes only. Elaine: (confused) Well, isn't the president allowed to do anything that they want? Roger: ...No.
Seamless Spontaneous Lie: In "The Sponge" Jerry calls a woman whose number he got off an AIDS walk list, and glosses over that by mentioning he was shopping for a speedboat.
Second Episode Introduction: Elaine doesn't appear in the pilot because the character had not yet been created. She was added to the second episode when NBC demanded that a woman be added to the show or they'd cancel it.
See You in Hell: In "The Voice", George's boss Mr. Thomassoulo begged George to leave the job, by offering him six months' pay of his contract. George didn't bite: "See, if I stay the whole year, I get it all."
Mr. Thomassoulo: You wanna play hardball, huh? FINE. (gets on the company intercom) Attention, Play Now employees: George Costanza's handicapped bathroom on the sixteenth floor is now open to all employees and their families. (gets off it) George: Well played. Mr. Thomassoulo: I'll see you in Hell, Costanza.
One episode had Jerry and Elaine stuck at a party with people they didn't even know waiting for Kramer to arrive. Kramer didn't show up until several hours after the party had ended and in the mean time they were forced to engage in... gasp... small talk.
Seinfeldian Conversation: The first episode opens with Jerry and George talking about how the second button on the latter's shirt is too high 'in no man's land' and this continues for nine seasons.
Whether or not Iron Man wears anything underneath.note He does
Does Superman have Superhumor? note George has never heard him say anything funny
Why chocolate fudge should be on the bottom of the sundae.
"You know so much about nothing".
The missing lyrics to a certain song from Les Miserables.
Ending in the Series Finale in a Brick Joke where the first conversation from the first episode is brought up, in prison.
Senior Sleep Cycle: Jerry's parents, to the point that they eat dinner at 4 in the afternoon and consider waking up at 5:30 a.m. to be sleeping in.
This is even made part of a plot point in "The Cadillac", when Morty is accused of embezzling money as condo president, and this claim is "proven" when Jerry insists that they go out to eat at 6 PM, thus missing the "early bird special" (which is cheaper).
Jack: (accusingly) Must be nice to have that kind of money...
Serial Killer: The Lopper from "The Frogger". Why "The Lopper"? Because he goes around lopping off people's heads.
Series Continuity Error: In "The Statue" George says he broke the statue that sat on his paerent's mantle, in "The Pledge Drive" he claimed he'd be a totally different person had his parents had a mantle.
Serious Business: George had a habit of taking little things personally, and going far out of the way to achieve his idea of "justice." See "X Called ..." below for a good example.
Jerry and George's argument about whether Iron Man wears underwear under his outfit.note In case you're wondering, he's usually in some kind of clothing or bodysuit, except for the Extremis and Bleeding Edge versions.
George: (angrily) And I still say he's naked under there!
In "The Doodle," the publisher at Viking Press who interviews Elaine for a job is played by Guy Siner, who is known for having played Lieutenant Hubert Gruber on 'Allo 'Allo!. At the end of the episode, when Kramer is mad at Newman for taking the last peach, he sics a bulldog on him in revenge. He refers to the bulldog as "Hubert."
In "The Muffin Tops", Newman's called in to take care of a problem (that is, eating all the excess muffin stumps). His sports car and the line, "If I'm curt, I apologize" are references to Harvey Keitel's character The Wolf in Pulp Fiction.
Show Within a Show: In addition to the ill-fated TV pilot Jerry and George try to produce and the Super Terrific Comedy Hour that aired a clip from same, and numerous fictional movies often appear, some of which play a major role in the plot and many of which are mentioned more than once. Many of them are based on actual screenplays some of the show's writers unsuccessfully tried to pitch. Notable ones include:
The aforementioned Rochelle Rochelle, which later got a Tony-nominated musical adaptation.
Scarsdale Surprise, a musical about the highly publicized murder of Dr. Herman Tarnower.
Mountain High (a survival action movie starring Kevin Bacon and Susan Sarandon that Kramer imitates the trailer for), Death Blow (an explosion and gunfire-heavy action movie which Jerry was forced at gunpoint to bootleg), Chow Fun (presumably a comedy), and Sack Lunch (a family comedy starring Dabney Coleman) are others that are referenced in the series.
Slipping a Mickey: One of the plots of season 2's "The Revenge", when George slips a mickey in his boss's drink. Also present in season 9's "The Betrayal".
Slow Motion: Demonstrated at the end of "The Race" during the climactic rematch race between Jerry and Duncan.
Also demonstrated in "The Little Jerry" during the cockfight. Oddly, despite being in slow motion, the voices of Jerry, George, and Elaine are all in normal pitch, just delivered in a slower manner.
Small Name, Big Ego: Elaine in particular, but Kramer has his moments too (for example, he seems to think he's fluent in American sign language).
Small Reference Pools: On three different occasions, the show referenced a fairly obscure series of audio recordings of bandleader/musician Buddy Rich chewing out his band members:
In "The Opposite", George chews out some rude moviegoers:
George: Shut your traps and stop kicking the seats! We're trying to watch the movie! And if I have to tell you again, we're gonna take it outside and I'm gonna show you what it's like! You understand me? Now, shut your mouths or I'll shut 'em for ya, and if you think I'm kidding, just try me. Try me. Because I would love it!
In "The Understudy":
Frank: Her father would look at me and say, "eno enoa juang". Which means, "This guy... this is not my kind of guy."
In "The Butter Shave", Jerry confirms to Kramer that he's taking a dive so Kenny Bania doesn't have a good lead-in act:
Jerry: I'm laying down! Then let's see how he does, up there, without all the assistance!
On an unrelated subject, in "The Trip", Jerry's line "It's so nice when it happens good" is based on a quote that Fred De Cordova once gave him after Jerry was successful on The Tonight Show.
Smug Snake: Newman, though he tends to think this way about Jerry.
Sock It To Them: Kramer and Newman reverse their peepholes "so they can tell if somebody is hiding in their apartments with a sock filled with pennies". Later in the episode, an acquaintance is attacked by their superintendent (under the belief that he was sleeping with his wife) a sock of pennies.
Some of My Best Friends Are X: George desperately tries to get a black friend in "The Diplomat Club" so that Morgan will think he's not racist. He ends up calling a guy that fumigated Jerry's apartment in "The Doodle".
In "The Masseuse", George tries to get along with Jodi (Jerry's latest girlfriend), but fails. He keeps obsessing about it the whole episode, claiming that everyone has to like him. Finally, by episode's end, George has dumped his own girlfriend to go after Jodi, because he claims that being hated by someone is "irresistible".
Sound Effect Bleep: Demonstrated in "The Non-Fat Yogurt" many times, as Jerry is more foul-mouthed than usual.
"The Chicken Roaster" had Jerry and Elaine on the phone before Jerry was put on hold so Elaine could talk to the company accountant, at which point it cuts to three screens. However, Elaine forgot about Jerry after being made nervous by the accountant and left Jerry hanging on the other end. "Hello?..........Anybody?"
"The Millennium" had Jerry switching back and forth between two women (thus, two different split screens) as he tried to work out the speed dial controversy.
Springtime for Hitler: George's attempt to get fired from the Yankees in "The Millennium". While the first two attempts failed and thus played this trope straight (wearing a Babe Ruth jersey and spilling strawberries on it; streaking on the field while wearing a flesh-colored body suit), the trope was almost averted when George drove around the parking lot of Yankee Stadium yelling demeaning things about the club and Steinbrenner, all while dragging the World Series trophy. If only Wilhelm hadn't taken the credit for all of it and was fired in George's place...
Lampshaded by Jerry, who takes joy in noting that while George's life is bad and Elaine's is good (and sometimes vice-versa, though rarely) he always "breaks even" at life.
Deconstructed throughout the entire seventh season. George, after realizing he's unhappy with what his life has become, decides to make some major changes. With the big one being asking ex-girlfriend Susan Ross to marry him. Unfortunately, throughout the season, this "epiphany" is gradually phased out. And, by the time Susan passes away at the end of the season, the status quo has officially returned. With George having learned absolutely nothing from the experience.
Jerry: Well, I think you're wrong. George: Well, we'll just see. Jerry: Yes we will. George: Yes we will. Jerry: I just said that. George: I know you did. Jerry: So good for you. George: So good for you. Jerry: What are you repeating everything I'm saying? George: What are you repeating everything I'm saying? Jerry: Well George is an idiot. George: Well G-
Strange Minds Think Alike: In "The Puffy Shirt", a man with a self-control problem is referred to as not being "master of his domain" by another character.
In "The Deal", both Elaine and Kramer react to Jerry giving Elaine cash for her birthday the same way: "What are you, my/her uncle?"
In "The Boyfriend", both George and Kramer suggest that if Jerry helps Keith Hernandez move, the next step will be driving Keith to the airport.
Jerry: I'm not driving him to the airport!!!
In "The Good Samaritan", both Elaine and George say variants of "I'm speechless! I am without speech!" after Jerry tells them something.
Such a Phony: Elaine to George in "The Postponement", where she is jealous of his engagement, and the trope name drop and partly off-screen example of Mike Moffitt and Jerry in "The Parking Space".
Suddenly Sexuality: Susan. Dated George for several episodes, but then became a lesbian at the drop of a hat. Went back to men because her lesbianism "didn't take."
After receiving a somewhat erotic massage from a male masseuse, from which George admits that he got an erection from, he spends the rest of the episode being a closeted homosexual. This only lasted an episode, of course.
Suddenly Shouting: In "The Puffy Shirt", Jerry says he feels ridiculous wearing a pirate shirt on national TV, and suddenly the quiet talker Leslie shouts from off-screen: "YOU BASTARD!!!"
Gumbel: Did you hear that? Jerry: That, I heard.
In "The Voice", after George breaks into his boarded-up office:
George: (on the phone) Hello Margery, George Costanza. How are you sweet heart? Listen, can you give Mr. Thomassoulo a message for me? (...) Yes. If he needs me, tell him I’M IN MY OFFICE!!! (...) Thanks.
Supreme Chef: The Soup Nazi - which is why everyone (except for Elaine) put up with his behaviour.
Swapped Roles: In "The Opposite", George and Elaine switch places. George, who had been chronically unemployed since season 2, finally got a job with the New York Yankees, moved out of his parent's house, and got a girlfriend. On the other hand, Elaine, who had a fairly successful job at Pendant Publishing, is laid off due to the company closing (which she accidentally helped cause), is kicked out of her apartment due to a list of grievances, and Jake Jarmel breaks up with her.
Literally happens in "The Chicken Roster." After Jerry and Kramer switch apartments, they also switch personalities.
The Tag: When the episodes got more packed with story material, it became regular for an additional scene over the closing credits. The first two seasons had still photos of Jerry's stand-up act over the closing credits, but due to the longer running times of the earlier seasons, Jerry's closing stand-up was edited to become The Tag in syndication.
Take Our Word for It: Several times, such as the horrific B.O. in Jerry's car, in "The Smelly Car" the eponymous character's knee-buckling soup in "The Soup Nazi", the dot on the cashmere sweater in "The Red Dot" or Elaine's erotic message in "The Tape".
Also the horrific results of George's girlfriend badly-performed nose job in, what else, "The Nose Job". We only see her from the back during those scenes.
In the episode "The Shoes", we never actually see the eponymous Botticelli shoes that Gail was fascinated by and Elaine got defensive about.
In "The Chicken Roaster", we just see Jerry and Kramer looking up, commenting on the giant neon chicken sign.
Take This Job And Shove It: George quits his job in real estate in "The Revenge" because he wasn't allowed to use the same luxury bathroom as his boss.
George: That's it. This is it. I'm done. Through. It's over. I'm gone. Finished. Over. I will never work for you again. Look at you. You think you're an important man? Is that what you think? You are a laughingstock. You are a joke. These people are laughing at you. You're nothing! You have no brains, no ability, nothing! (knocks over an object on his desk) I quit!
He tried to do the same to Steinbrenner when he got an offer from the Mets, but couldn't get himself fired.
In "The Fatigues", all of Elaine's underlings quit when they find out that Elaine promoted Eddie Sherman just to get him out of her department.
Employee: I bust my hump ever day. (...) As far as I'm concerned, you and your demented protege can run the catalog by yourselves! I QUIT! (everyone else joins him) Elaine: Wha... hey. Hey! HEY!!!
Elaine herself wanted to do this in "The Diplomat's Club", until Mr. Pitt interrupted her resignation to say he's included her in his will.
Talkative Loon: Steinbrenner. George walks out on his unrelated rants several times.
The Tease: In "The Masseuse", Jodi is this to Jerry, though not for sex, but for her legendary massages.
Jodi: No means no. Jerry: Look, who are you kidding? You come up to my apartment with your table and your little oils, and I'm not supposed to expect anything?! You're a massage teaser! Jodi: Listen, I massage who I want, when I want. I don't submit to forcible massage!
Tech Marches On: A large number of episode plots would be ruined if the characters had cell phones. (Admittedly, they did show up in the last two seasons, but still.)
Kids not realizing when the episode was filmed probably wonder why George doesn't just sell the red-flagged book he took into the bathroom on eBay.
Which would have been hilarious if the eBay admins somehow discovered it was flagged and refused to have it on their site.
Lampshaded in the episode "The Betrayal" (in which the story proceeds backwards). During the ending scene which takes place in the early 90s, Jerry says to himself "What's email?"
In addition to the technological advances, the social mores surrounding some of the plot points have changed sufficiently that they seem rather odd:
In one episode, Jerry and George berate Elaine for making a call to ask about someone's health on a cell phone. Today, with the ubiquity of cell phones, no one would bat an eye of that.
Another episode features George trying to make a joke during a movie being upstaged by a guy with a laser pointer. Today, anybody who did either of those things during a movie (talking or shining a laser at the screen) would get booed by everybody.
Telethon: Jerry works the WNET 13 telethon the night his Nana goes missing in "The Checks".
Tempting Fate: On more than one occasion, Sid Farkus told someone (to George in "The Sniffing Accountant", and Kramer/Frank in "The Doorman") that barring some unforeseen development, he would hire George and sell the manseire, respectively. Immediately after Sid said this, something would occur that would sour the whole deal. In "The Sniffing Accountant"'s case, it was George feeling Ms. De Granmont's material, and in "The Doorman"'s case, it was Sid asking out Estelle (she and Frank were separated at the time).
Bookman: Yeah, I know what you're thinking: "What's this guy making such a big stink about old library books?" Well, let me give you a hint, junior. Maybe we can live without libraries, people like you and me. Maybe. Sure, we're too old to change the world, but what about that kid, sitting down, opening a book, right now, in a branch at the local library and finding drawings of pee-pees and wee-wees on The Cat in the Hat and the Five Chinese Brothers? Doesn't HE deserve better? Look. If you think this is about overdue fines and missing books, you'd better think again. This is about that kid's right to read a book without getting his mind warped! Or, maybe that turns you on, Seinfeld; maybe that's how you get your kicks. You and your good-time buddies.
This and That: Jerry and Elaine discussing the "friends with benefits" agreement in "The Deal".
Elaine repeatedly refers to a penis as "it" in "The Stand-In". Arguably, the blatant avoidance of the word is what makes the scene funnier, especially since Kramer (who walks in late on the conversation) knows exactly what Elaine means when she tells him, "He took it out."
This Is Gonna Suck: Jerry, in "The Voice", right before a rubber container filled with oil hits Jerry's girlfriend from a few stories up:
Three-Way Sex: notable for being one of the earlier uses of it in modern mainstream fiction. In fact, it's even referred to by the French name (ménage à trois), as the term Three-Way Sex hadn't been popularized yet. George devises this as a scheme to help Jerry become romantically involved with the roommate of the woman he's currently dating. It would offend the current girlfriend, making her break up, while the roommate would be flattered and thus open to a relationship. It backfires when they actually agree to it, and Jerry has to backpedal because he considers the proposition more Squick than erotic. "I'm not an orgy guy!".
George later tries it to get her to break up with him when he discovers the velvet furniture he adored (and was the entire motivation for moving in with her) actually belonged to her other (male) roommate. She gleefully exclaims to the male roommate "he's into it!" Fade to Black.
Throw It In: The ending of the episode "The Parking Garage". Originally, the four of them were supposed to get in the car and drive off. But the car they had had an undercharged battery and wouldn't start. After all the frustration of shooting the episode, they realized that the car being dead was just so much more perfect than anything they could have come up with.
Timmy in a Well: Parodied in "The Andrea Doria": Kramer is sick with a nagging cough, and he's told to get police when Elaine starts stabbing her boyfriend. Kramer runs up to some cops but by this time, has lost his breath and can't talk without coughing. The cops have to decipher that he's saying there's trouble at the Old Mill Restaurant.
George: Could it be because you don't want him to know you have a friend who pees in the shower?! Elaine: That is not the reason! George: Oh, I think it is! Elaine: Why couldn't you just wait? George: I was there, I saw a drain! Elaine: Since when is a drain a toilet?! George: IT'S ALL PIPES! What's the difference?! Elaine: Different pipes go to different places! You're gonna mix them up! George: I'll call a plumber right now! Jerry: All right, can we just drop all the pee pipe stuff?!
Token Good Teammate: Kramer is the only member of the cast who is consistently shown to be kind-hearted and caring, who goes out of his way to help people. It should be noted that his efforts to help others rarely succeed, though.
Too Many Halves: At the end of "The Sniffing Accountant", Jerry describes his shirt as "half silk, half cotton, half linen".
In "The Yada Yada":
Karen: I like your shirt. Mickey: Oh thank you. It's 100% cotton, and some wool.
Tough Room: While Jerry's friends have occasionally chuckled at his jokes, most of the time they don't, especially in the later half of the series.
Jerry: Slapping hands is the lowest form of male primate ritual. In fact, even some of them have moved on: They're doing sign language now.
Elaine: It's that bad?
Jerry: What do you think the Nazis were doin'? That was the heil-five.
Elaine: (unamused) Isn't that from your act, like, ten years ago??
Jerry: It was a good bit in the '80's, and it's still relatable today.
Also, in "The Cartoon", Elaine doesn't laugh at Jerry's suggestion for how to make her New Yorker cartoon (about a pig at a complaint department) funny. Somewhat justified in that Elaine was cranky from staying up all night on it.
Jerry: How about if it said something like, "I can't find the receipt, my place is a sty."?
Both in-universe and in Real Life, Jerry loves cereal. In fact, it was lampshaded on at least two different occasions, one of which where during the Clip Show, Jerry address the audience by pointing out, "Nine seasons... 190 episodes... same twelve boxes of cereal..." Later still in the second half of "The Finale", Helen packs boxes of cereal for Jerry since he says it's the one thing he misses the most.
Troll: Jerry could fall into this at times; in "The Couch", for example, he baits Poppy to divulge his stance on abortion, leading to a restaurant-wide division of opinions (with some leaving). Jerry later reflects:
Jerry: Oh, you really missed something. And I have to say... (proudly) it was pretty much all my fault.
Tropaholics Anonymous: George was once taken to a "Rage-aholics" meeting. David Puddy is also apparently a recovering "Germ-ophobe".
Troubled Production: In-universe, Jerry is this. Between the show jumping between in production and cancelled (mostly due to George repeatedly screwing things up with Russell) and the temperamental actors (the man playing Kramer refused to talk to George; the woman playing Elaine insisted that Jerry call her by her character's name, even when not filming), the main issue was that the plot to the pilot was contrived and had lame attempts at humor. It was cancelled by the new president of NBC only a couple minutes after the pilot aired on TV.
True Art Is Angsty: Invoked. Vincent at the video rental store seems to believe this, much to Elaine's chagrin, as she describes the movies he promotes as "emotionally exhausting." When Kramer suggests a summer comedy instead, Vincent does not take it well.
George: "Yes, I look forward to many years of looking at the triangles."
Jerry dates an artist who guilts George into buying one of her paintings.
George: "Look at it! What is it? It's just a bunch of squiggly lines! You're telling me you couldn't paint this?"
In the same episode:
George: "I don't get art. I always need somebody to explain it to me, and then I need someone to explain the explanation."
Truth in Television: When Jerry tells his old college buddy that he almost had his own show in Japan, but doesn't speak Japanese, he remarks in confusion, "So... you would have done it in Japan, but in English?", to which Jerry isn't sure. Japan actually has a rather large English-speaking population, so it's not entirely far-fetched that Jerry could have his own (in-universe) show in Japan, and it be done in English.
Uncanny Family Resemblance: Jerry Stiller plays Frank Costanza and implied relative Giuseppe in "The Doll", poorly disguised by Seinfeld standards, even compared to Jerry Seinfeld and Jason Alexander playing their characters in high school in "The Library".
Wayne Knight appears in a photo of Newman's mother in "The Bottle Deposit". Equally poorly disguised.
Undying Loyalty: According to Elaine, the women on this show have this towards their preferred birth control methods of all things.
In "The Handicap Spot" Jerry mentions "every big [boxing] fight" in the same breath as the Super Bowl.
Averted with Puddy's Martin Brodeur jersey in "The Face Painter". Brodeur went on to play for the New Jersey Devils for two more decades after the episode aired.
In one episode, George wishes that ketchup and mustard would come in squeeze tubes (similar to toothpaste), though Jerry tells him they do come in squeezable bottles now, though George argues he's never seen such.
Milos: ANOTHER GAME FOR MILOS!!! (...) Hey Patty, look at this guy. He's awful! He's not a man, this Jerry. He's not even married like I am. Jerry: Hey, uh, Milos, I don't mind rolling over here, but could you lighten up on the "not a man" stuff? Milos: Hey everybody, look! The little chicken girl wants me to ease up. He can't handle this, so he cries like a woman! (later...) Milos: Look at the big baby! HAHAA!!! Hey, big baby, are you wetting yourself? Maybe it is time for you to be changed!
Jerry sees two goons carrying a body wrapped in a carpet leaving Kramer's apartment.
That nut's always up to something.
In another episode, George is sleeping in Jerry's cupboards. Jerry opens the door, closes it, opens it again, and exclaims that he accidentally bought something in low-fat instead of regular with no mention of George.
In another episode, Kramer came in, had a conversation with Jerry and George, all the while going to Jerry's sink, filling up a bucket with water, and walking back out.
George: ...he doesn't have running water? Jerry: I don't ask those kind of questions anymore.
George got used to them as well, as proven by an episode where Jerry and George were watching television when they heard a woman scream from down the hall. Jerry casually remarked that Kramer must have something to do with it and they both went back to the television.
Vigilante Execution: Susan's parents are seen purchasing a handgun during the trial in the season finale presumably with intent of carrying out one of these on George as retribution for Susan's death if the gang is found not guilty.
Vocal Dissonance: A plot point in "The Pledge Drive": A guy named Dan had a voice which sounded like a woman's. Elaine got Dan's voice mixed up with his wife's, Noreen, which caused headaches aplenty when she let it slip to Dan that Noreen was flirting with Jerry.
Vomit Discretion Shot: In "The Pitch." More specifically, a Vomit Discretion Cut, when Kramer, having drunk the expired milk, vomits all over Susan the NBC executive's vest.
An example also occurs in "The Gum", when Kramer vomits on the sidewalk after eating a 70-year old hot dog.
An example of this was created in "The Fatigues". Originally in the scene parodying Platoon they were going to have the soldiers spit fake vomit at the camera, but the director decided that showing the vomit wouldn't be funny, so what we end up seeing is a bunch of food poisoned soliders vomiting into their hats.
In "The Dinner Party", Jerry heads for the bathroom to vomit up the black and white cookie he ate earlier. Afterwards...
Elaine: How was it? Jerry: Good as it gets.
Vorpal Pillow: In "The Heart Attack", George asked Jerry to put him out of his misery. Jerry decided to play along and stuck a pillow over George's face, who apparently wasn't expecting Jerry to actually do it.
In "The Diplomat's Club", Elaine, already under suspicion of wanting to kill Mr. Pitt so she could collect the money from his will, walked towards Mr. Pitt's bed holding a pillow. Mr. Pitt's estate lawyer, witnessing this, looked aghast.
Walk and Talk: In "The Bottle Deposit", Wilhelm is walking and talking with George in the halls of Yankee Stadium, and mentions having an assignment for George when he abruptly stops to use the restroom. George waits for him outside, not realizing that Wilhelm just kept on talking while he was in there. George spends the rest of the episode (and it's a two-parter!) trying to figure out what the important assignment was.
Kramer eats an ancient hot dog from the concession stand of a really old movie theater, to which the cashier responds "Are you out of your mind? That hot dog's been here since the silent era, you'd have to be insane to eat it." Predictably, Kramer becomes rather ill after tasting it.
After developing a craving for eating cake in the afternoon, Elaine consumes a piece of leftover wedding cake ... from the wedding of King Edward VIII ... that's worth $29,000 ... and over 60 years old.
We never find out why Audrey rejected the piece of pie.
The eponymous character of "The Old Man" is still apparently wandering around lost at the end of the episode, only later being seen safe at home in the season 4 finale "The Pilot", where he sees Jerry on TV and exclaims, "That's the idiot who took all my records!"
Who's on First?: In "The Tape", Elaine reveals to George that she was the one to say lewd things into Jerry's tape recorder, but asked George not to tell Jerry because she wanted to have fun with it. Towards the end of the episode, George reveals that, due to the tape, he's become attracted to Elaine.
Jerry: Does she know? George: No. Jerry: How did it happen? George: I can't say. Jerry: Well, why can't you say it? George: Because I promised her. Jerry: I thought you just said she doesn't know?? George: She doesn't. Jerry: So how can you promise her? George: Because she asked me to. Jerry: What is this, an Abbott and Costello routine?!
Will They or Won't They?: Elaine and Puddy are a subversion, since it's pretty much outright stated they had no intention to get serious and were just "having a good time". Also, George and Susan.
Also Jerry and Elaine. They dated before the series began but then existed as 'just friends', leaving many to wonder when and if they would ever get back together. They hook up (or nearly hook up) a few times over the course of the series but nothing ever really comes of it. Their sexual tension gets a couple of brief mentions in "The Finale" but only as diversions from what will turn out to be the true ending. "The Reunion" on Curb Your Enthusiasm only pushes their relationship further into ambiguity when it turns out that Elaine and Jerry have had a baby together... sort of.
Julia-Louis Dreyfus said on her appearance on Inside The Actors Studio that in her opinion Jerry and Elaine were meant for each other but, their chief problem was that they were both too immature to realise that, hence their set-up of just being friends.
The Worst Seat in the House: In one episode Jerry, a big New York Rangers fan, was desperate to attend NHL playoff series games between the Rangers and the New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden. By the end of the story, Jerry's one means of getting a good seat is with Elaine's boyfriend, Puddy, and his friends... but they're all going with their chests painted to spell out the team name, and to only make things more embarrassing for Jerry, Puddy's group is composed of Devils fans.
The ending to "The Label Maker" also counts: Due to a mix-up, Jerry gets a seat right next to Newman at the Super Bowl. Jerry has barely any room next to Newman's girth, not helped by the fact that Newman keeps leaning over when talking.
Write What You Know: Larry David based the George character off of himself, and many of the plotlines allegedly were based on real life experiences he had, and how he reacted to them.
(paraphrasing) Jason Alexander: This is ridiculous. This could never happen to someone, and even if it did, no one would react that way.
Larry David: What are you talking about? It happened to me, and that's exactly how I reacted!
Kramer was based on David's neighbor Kenny Kramer.
This was even parodied in the series: In "The Muffin Tops", Kramer starts his own bus tour, proclaiming himself to be the real J. Peterman (to differentiate himself from the anecdotes he supplied to J. Peterman's autobiography). This mirrors real life, as Kenny Kramer has run Kramer's Reality Tour and Kramer's Reality Road Show, the gimmick being that he's the real life Kramer.
In addition, Bob Balaban's recurring role of Russell Dalrymple, the fictitious president of NBC who works with Jerry and George on a television pilot and later becomes Elaine's love interest, was modeled on then NBC Entertainment president Warren Littlefield, who had allowed David and Seinfeld to produce the Seinfeld pilot. Balaban later went on to play Littlefield outright in the 1996 film The Late Shift, a dramatization of the struggles that occurred at NBC when Littlefield selected Jay Leno to replace Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show, instead of David Letterman.
The famous Soup Nazi was based on a real soup kitchen owner in New York. He did not take it well, and banned the entire cast and crew of the show from ever coming to his kitchen.
Written By Cast Member: Jerry Seinfeld co-wrote at least one (and usually more than one, especially in the early years) episode in all but the last two seasons.
Wrong Genre Savvy: The basis of the episode The Merv Griffin Show is Kramer finding the set of The Merv Griffin Show in a dumpster, and setting it up in his apartment. He then spends 10 hours a day conducting a talk show, down to taking 'commercial breaks' (read: awkward silences) and 'revealing' a secret to Jerry's girlfriend while she was 'backstage', with hilarious results.
Kramer ignores Newman's warnings just before getting ambushed by mail agents in "The Junk Mail" because Newman mentioned "a mailman you know" would be involved in such an attempt.
X Called; They Want Their Y Back: When George is scarfing down a plate full of shrimp, a co-worker says (to much laughs) "Hey, George. The ocean called, they're running out of shrimp!"
George later thinks up the "perfect comeback", and goes out of his way to recreate the same scenario in which to use it. "Yeah? Well the jerk store called, they're running out of you!", which gets no laughs and is casually countered by "What's the difference? You're their all time best seller!" George then counters with what Kramer believes is the ultimate comeback for any situation. "Well, I had sex with your wife!"
In the tag, George comes up with the "perfect" comeback when driving home: "The life support system called..." We never hear the punchline, but apparently it's good enough to turn the car around and drive back. Keep in mind that this was after he got back to New York. He has to take a plane between the two cities.
Yank the Dog's Chain: In "The Pilot Part 2", mere seconds after the pilot finished airing on TV (and after Elaine told Jerry and George that they'd probably get picked up and become famous), Rita Kierson (who replaced Russell) called Jerry to let him know that she was passing on the show.
Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: "Thou who cureth can maketh ill", attributed for laughs to the Bible by Kramer in "The Slicer". Kramer's convincing attitude may put this into fridge territory.
You Are Grounded: Frank grounded George in "The Cigar Store Indian" after George had sex with a woman in Frank and Estelle's bed.
You Are Number Seven: As a tribute to his favorite player, Mickey Mantle, George plans to name his firstborn child "Seven".
Jerry: You know George, just because you had a terrible childhood doesn't mean you have to ruin someone else's.
Your Cheating Heart: George secretly getting together with Marisa Tomei in "The Cadillac". His fiancée Susan is unaware, until she asks Elaine (who is supposed to have a cover story) and George the same questions, and both give different answers. Susan punches George.
You Say Tomato: One episode involves George breaking up with his girlfriend because she's pretentious, pronouncing words such as "pap-ee-ay mache" instead of "paper mâché."