These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Ass Pull: Kramer and Newman not reporting seeing Jerry's stolen car in Ohio to the police, claiming they don't want to get in trouble for misuing a mail truck. The police wouldn't bother checking if the truck or occupants if they reported seeing a friend's stolen car while on a routine mail run.
The sets for the episode "The Parking Garage" were ironically not nominated for an Emmy for being too good; the voters assumed the episode was filmed in a real parking garage.
All the actors in the cast except for Jason Alexander walked away with an Emmy at one point or another (though Jerry Seinfeld's Emmy was as a producer rather than an actor) despite George being the fan favorite character (perhaps tied with Kramer) of critics and most of the fanbase.
The series finale oh so much; love the continunity or confused by it. Or just plain don't like seeing the show end on such a downer that vilified the cast.
To a lesser extent, The Betrayal. Fans either like the backwards narrative, or hate it (which is silly, considering that there is a version of the episode with a non-reverse narrative).
Big Lipped Alligator Moment: In "The Chinese Woman," Jerry strongly implies that he has impregnated at least one woman in the past. The instance is used almost as a throwaway line and never mentioned again.
Double Standard: Present in the episode "The Sniffing Accountant" in regards to "feeling someone's material" (that is, rubbing a part of someone's shirt between the thumb and index finger). When a man does it with a woman's shirt, it's treated as the nonverbal equivalent of a death threat (though Elaine's boyfriend Jake Jarmel was somehow exempted from it), but when a woman does it with a man's shirt, nobody so much as raises an eyebrow. Jarmel is good-looking. George and Newman are NOT, hence the women in question reacting like it's practically an Attempted Rape. It's more of a Double Standard based on looks rather than gender. That might also explain why Jerry took a beautiful woman feeling his material as a pick-up line.
An intentional case in 'The Butter Shave' where Jerry purposely bombs on stage to make things harder for when Kenny Bania follows him:
Jerry:So, what's the deal with cancer?
Audience member:I have cancer!
Kramer:Ooh, tough crowd.
The show got in major hot water with the Puerto Rican community when "The Puerto Rican Day" featured Kramer burning the country's flag, despite it being an accident. The DVD set features interviews of everyone lamenting how the joke was blown out of proportion, and cast such a pall over the show right as it was ending.
A number of viewers (including Larry David's own mother) had this response when Susan Ross was killed off, feeling they took that joke too far. Years later, after September Eleventh, Jerry asked that the episode be taken out of syndication (it has since returned to airing cycles); not because of the black humor in killing Susan, but because with the anthrax scare going on at the time, dying from licking envelopes had suddenly become a lot less funny (ironically, it was included in the first place because they figured it was the only funny way to kill someone).
Jerry's stand-up about suicide might have produced more groans of disgust than laughs.
Ear Worm: "I like to stop at the duty free shop..."
George's answering machine song.
Ensemble Dark Horse: Just about any of the show's many, many recurring and one-off characters are extremely popular with Newman, Frank and Estelle Costanza, The Soup Nazi and Bookman the Library Cop being some of them more prominent examples.
Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: Interpretations of the final episode have claimed that, in reality, the airplane on which the four leads were flying crashed, killing them all. Their trial was actually a stand-in for their judgment in the afterlife, and their prison sentence represents them being damned to hell for all eternity or a very lengthy stay in Purgatory.
No Exit has three people stuck in a waiting room forever as a punishment...
George takes the last copy of Time magazine at the airport and mocks the serial killer being shuttled through about it, he gets locked in the airplane bathroom with him. It's Played for Laughs, but what would happen if you got locked in with a serial killer who swore to murder you? In view of this event, it becomes possible that every episode from that point on is George's trial and judgement and George's alone, as his bloody corpse was discovered in the plane bathroom a few hours later...
Everything post episode involving George's encounter with the Van Buren Boys was Georges dying dream after being violently attacked by the gang.
One of the biggest pre-internet sources of Memetic Mutation in the history of media: "Yada, Yada, Yada", "NO SOUP FOR YOU!", "Hello... Newman", "Serenity now!", "Not That There's Anything Wrong with That", "Master of Your Domain", "These Pretzels are making me thirsty", "Maybe the Dingo ate your baby", "I don't wanna be a pirate!", "You very, very bad man!", Vandelay Industries, shrinkage, man hands, spongeworthy, assman, puffy shirt, Festivus, double dip, high-talker, low-talker, close-talker ... the list is enormous. There was even a period in The Nineties where adults began referring to themselves in the third person, like the character of Jimmy.
The jerk store called, they're running out of you!
Fridge Brilliance: The sub-plot in "The Abstinence" of George becoming more intelligent by forgoing sex and Elaine becoming less intelligent for the same reason makes more sense when you remember the fifth season finale ("The Opposite"). There, the plot was that whenever George gained a success (got a girlfriend, got a new apartment, got a job), Elaine would suffer the opposite failure (broke up with her boyfriend, got evicted, lost her job) due to Jerry being "Even Steven".
In the episode "The Fire," George Costanza overreacts to burning food in the kitchen during a birthday party, and then flees by shoving over, among others, an old lady in a walker and a birthday clown to flee out of the door, earning him the wrath of several birthday attendees. It becomes significantly more uncomfortable to watch after similar behavior was witnessed on-board the Costa Concordia when it capsized and sank.
One episode had Kramer (Michael Richards) get overtanned in a tanning bed and going to meet his black girlfriend's father, who brands him a racist. In 2006, Michael Richards would be branded a racist for offensive behavior towards blacks.
The Banned Episode "The Puerto Rican Day". Here he accidentally sets fire to the Puerto Rican flag and comments that riots are common in Puerto Rican neighborhoods. This one is worse thanks to Michael Richards' racist outbursts at The Laught Factory.
In "The Face Painter," Kramer tried to apologize to a chimp for throwing a banana peel at him, only for the chimp to spit water on his face. Shortly after the Laugh Factory incident, Michael Richards tried to apologize on Late Show with David Letterman for his racist outbursts, only for the audience to laugh at him. The Letterman example was fascinating to watch, since it was that rare moment where truly nobody seemed sure what was going to happen.
Both episodes were cut into a 'Lost Episode' after the Laugh Factory Incident.
In "The Blood," Kellie Waymire plays a friend of Elaine's who is seriously ill and wants Elaine to take in her son if she dies. Waymire had already been diagnosed with heart trouble, and died five years later.
In the episode 'The Masseuse', Elaine is trying to get her boyfriend Joel Rifkin to change his name to avoid being confused with a serial killer. One of the names Elaine suggests (whilst reading a football magazine) is O.J. Seven months after this episode aired, O.J Simpson was accused of murder, leading to one of the most controversial murder trials in US history.
The numerous fat jokes about John Pinette in the series finale. Pinette would die in April 2014 of natural causes related to his weight at age 50.
In, "The Puffy Shirt," Estelle insists George take a civil service test, to which George retorts, "I'm a college graduate, you want me to be a mailman?" George should have counted his blessings (if he had any), fast-forward over a decade since that episode, with today's economy and job market, even a degree or diploma are not very likely to get you a job.
Genius Bonus: In "The Butter Shave", which features a plot about Newman wanting to eat Kramer, Newman is seen reading the novel Alive. Said novel was about survivors of a plane crash who had to resort to eating each other to survive.
In "The Contest" (the "Master of Your Domain" episode), Jerry mentions he's watching Tiny Toon Adventures on Nickelodeon, which wouldn't come true until years after both shows ended and were put in reruns (at the time of the episode's premiere, TTA was on FOX as part of the FOX Kids line-up).
In the opening of "The Kiss Hello", Jerry and George are arguing whether or not ketchup comes in squeezeable plastic bottles. Today ketchup is more available in plastic bottles than glass bottles.
In "Male Unbonding", Kramer has an idea for a pizza restaurant where you cook your own pizza pie. Nowadays, Papa Murphy's is a highly popular "take and bake" restaurant.
The show is known for being filled with Superman references (To the point that there was an urban legend that there was one in every episode). Kramer's attorney Jackie Childs would later play Martian Manhunter in the Superman-themed series Smallville and Larry would later star alongside future Superman Henry Cavill in Whatever Works.
Two Season 7 episodes that involved the New York Yankees became prophetic. "The Wink" ends with Steinbrenner going on a tangent about all the people that he fired over the years. He ends by mentioning then Yankees manager Buck Showalter before quickly stating that George didn't hear that. Shortly after the episode aired the Yankees fired Showalter. Then in "The Calzone" Steinbrenner gets the idea to bake the teams uniforms in ovens before the games and declares that this will help them with the American League Pennant. The Yankees would win both the Pennant and the World Series that year.
The season 8 episode "The Yada Yada" focus on Tim Whatley converting from Catholicism to Judaism. Recently, Seinfeld's writer Tom Leopold converted from Judaism to Catholicism.
In "The Truth", George mentions that he belongs in a psychiatric hospital, and enjoys being pitied by others. Four seasons later, he's involuntarily institutionalized.
In "The Visa", Babu yells "I KEEL YOU" at Jerry and Elaine.
In the pilot, Jerry mocks the awkward button placement on George's shirt, saying "You look like you live with your mother." Five years later, George has to move back in with his parents.
George's unexplained hatred over Ted Danson is even more hilarious now considering that in Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David (whom George was largely based on) is "friends", but often gets in fights with, Ted Danson.
Also in "The Non-Fat Yogurt"; the other characters, especially Kramer, make fun of Jerry and Elaine for their weight gain, but they don't look much different compared to other episodes. Must be the smallest eight and seven pounds ever.
The plot of "The Junior Mint" involves an ex-boyfriend of Elaine's who used to be fat, but had lost weight after losing her. In the commentary track, the real Jerry Seinfeld doesn't seem to remember when he says, "now, this guy was supposed to be fat, but he doesn't look that fat. Maybe back then, it would have been considered fat [at that moment, dialogue comes on where Elaine gushes over how much weight the guy lost] and they explain it, that's funny."
Jerkass Woobie: George is a moron and an amoral schemer, but man does his life SUCK.
Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In one episode, when Jerry returns to his apartment after traveling, he goes to turn on his TV. He does so by looking directly into the camera and pointing the remote at the audience.
Moral Event Horizon: George feeling relieved over Susan's death (as well as the rest of the gang's indifference). The fact that in the season 8 premiere Jerry and George almost get emotional when discussing Spock's death but are indifferent when visting Susan's graveside makes it worse. Karma finally does catch up to George in the end when Susan's parents testify against him and accuse him of being a murderer during the finale.
In-Universe, in the finale Babu's story of how Jerry ruined his life is one to jury and seals the group's fate. The irony being that it wasn't Jerry's fault. Babu failed at running a restaurant because he was a poor businessman and he got deported because the mailman was incompetent.
No Yay: Season 2 ended with it looking like Elaine and Jerry might wind up being a couple. This was a point of contention between the network (who wanted them together) and Larry David (who didn't). Between seasons Jerry toured with his stand-up act and asked the audience what they thought of the pair finally getting together; the overwhelming negative response to the idea from the crowd sealed the deal and by season 3 they'd gone back to being friends.
Quite a few, but one that stands out is Robert Wagner in "The Yada Yada": "If this weren't my son's wedding, I'd punch your teeth out, you anti-Dentite bastard!" His wife, Jill St. Jon, can be seen on the pew next to him.
Elaine's father was meant to be a recurring role but became this instead, due to everyone being afraid to work again with the notoriously cantankerous Laurence Tierney.
Retroactive Recognition: Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Michael Richards were on sketch shows before they were on this show. Louis-Dreyfus was on Saturday Night Live from 1982 to 1985 while Michael Richards was on Fridaysnote ABC's Alternate Company Equivalent of SNL from 1980 to 1982 (show creator Larry David was also a Fridays cast member and the final episode had some former cast members, like Melanie Chartoff, Bruce Mahler, and Mark Blankfield), so if you watch either of these shows, you'll be surprised to learn that Elaine and Kramer did sketch comedy.
Seasonal Rot: Disputable, but the general consensus is Seasons 8 and 9 are weaker than earlier ones.
Seinfeld Is Unfunny: Trope Namer. It's hard to believe that this was considered pushing the boundaries of network censorship and sitcom conventions back in the day, not to mention how most sitcoms today copy the show's premise of JerkAss city-dwellers getting into trouble (cf. Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia) or neurotic comedian does stand-up and has awkward encounters with others (Louie).
Strawman Has a Point: George's choice of wedding invitations that lead to Susan's death. While George's choice of the cheapest invitations possibly reflects on his cheap bastardry, he really did have a point. Why spend a lot of money on an invitation that the recipient is more than likely going to glance at and either mail back or else throw away?
Unfortunate Implications: If successful, Kramer's lawsuit against Sue Ellen Mischke in "The Caddy" would lead to a public dresscode, and presumably one that treats women harsher than men.
In "The Secretary", George is painted in a positive light for discriminating against attractive applicants. At one point he explains to one that while she is qualified, he would not hire her based solely on her looks.
In "Muffin Tops", Jerry is worried about what his girlfriend will think after he accidentally shaves off all of his chest hair. This seems strange to viewers today now that "manscaping" is considered normal.
Values Resonance: Part of the reason it has so much staying power despite the inevitable Seinfeld Is Unfunny is that every generation can find something about the comedy that they can related to, no matter how much has changed since The Nineties.
Weird Al Effect: Some people are more familiar with George's answering machine message ("Believe it or not, George isn't at home...") than The Greatest American Hero, whose theme ("Believe it or not, I'm walking on air...") it was based on.