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Heartwarming / Seinfeld

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Seinfeld is the last show you would ever expect a heartwarming moment from, and in accordance with that perception, nearly all the moments are only heartwarming because they are tinged with meta, but there are a few worth mentioning.

  • Most obviously, the montage of still frames, behind-the-scenes footage, bloopers and classic scenes at the end of the penultimate episode, "The Chronicle", set to "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" by Green Day. We dare anyone who watched Seinfeld during its original run to not break out in goosebumps and feel unable to stop smiling. Doubles as a Tear Jerker, especially during the line "We hope you had the time of your life", because it was so true. The '90s were the time of many presently-living people's lives, and Seinfeld was the end-all-be-all of their entertainment.
  • In the canon of the show, the scene in "The Pilot, Part 2" (not to be confused with the actual pilot of "Seinfeld") where the actor playing "George" (in "Jerry", the show-within-a-show) comes running up to Jerry right before filming, freaking out and babbling that he can't do it, prompting Jerry to throw his hands up laughing, saying that he's perfect — he's acting just like George.
    • "The Pilot" also has an endearing sequence in which the Jerry pilot finally airs and a long list of one-off and minor characters from the past four seasons are shown watching it on television in their homes and commenting on the action.
      • That is, it's a season finale that's a much better version of the series finale.
  • In "The Deal", Kramer's card for Elaine: "Think where man's glory most begins and ends/And say my glory was I had such friends." - William Butler Yeats
  • The viewers witnessing, by implication, how "Seinfeld" was created — George trying to convince Jerry that a show about nothing would be a good idea. Jerry's scoffing response: "Yeah...sure...that'll work." If only he knew...
  • The scene at the end of "The Trip Part 2" when Jerry tosses Kramer his apartment keys, the cause of the argument that led to Kramer moving all the way to L.A.
    • Followed immediately by Mood Whiplash when Kramer does the same thing with his gigantic, fully-loaded key ring that probably weighs enough to seriously injure anyone who caught it.
  • In the first half of "The Wallet", Elaine returns from a trip, leading to a enthusiastic few minutes where she hugged all three of the guys. The Reality Subtext is that Julia Louis-Dreyfus was returning from maternity leave and all four actors were probably genuinely happy to see each other again.
    • This went for the studio audience too; they gave Julia an entrance ovation usually reserved for Kramer's entrances.
  • There are very few moments where what could be argued as love is shown. There are well wishes, appreciations, compliments, condolences, concerns and congratulations shared between the main four, but only once is there a hint of actual love: At the end of "The Deal", Jerry and Elaine admit that their deal is breaking their friendship apart. They can not simply have "that" (sex) without consequences and Elaine can't go back to just "this" (friendship). She wants "the other", a true romantic relationship. They start one. Both Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David said that this is the only moment where there is real true emotion between the characters. (Since this is Seinfeld, everything was back to normal by the next episode).
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  • For people who are close friends with an amicable ex, Jerry and Elaine are this in general. Despite their ill-fated relationship, watching them get along as inseparable friends without having hard feelings over the pastnote  is heartwarming throughout the series, including good-natured teasing about their dating days, supporting and advising each other's relationships, and the occasional pet name ("Lainey"). Contrast that to the other 90s megahit Friends where in the six-plus seasons after breaking up, Ross and Rachel holding past misdeeds against each other was a constant source of friction and both constantly undermined the other's relationships, which was even noted in-universe as unhealthy behavior.
  • Similarly, when Elaine agrees to have sex with Jerry to save the friendship in “The Mango.” She didn’t like the idea at first, but when their friendship is on the line she decides that she’d rather do something she doesn’t want to do than lose Jerry as a friend.
  • George and Jerry's friendship, which started when they were kids and has continued strong into the show's present despite all obstacles. Buried under all their snarking and Jerkass behavior there's a kernel of something warm and sincere in their liking for each other and the joy they get out of bouncing topics off each other's personalities. Jerry might just be the only person George can truly be himself around.
  • Another meta one: the reason why "The Raincoats" had so many Schindler's List references? It's because of Jerry (real life Jerry, that is) finding out that when making the movie, Steven Spielberg got so depressed he would watch episodes of Seinfeld to help cheer himself up.
  • "The Opposite" has a particularly great theme for George's storyline, in that acting against your instinct can reap huge rewards. By defying his on tendency towards neurotic, Evil Is Petty antics, and behaving like a mature and secure human being, George gets a girlfriend, a new apartment, and a job with the New York Yankees in quick succession.
  • In "The Fix Up", George believes that he knocked up one of Elaine's friends. She later tells Elaine that George showed up at her house to tell her that he would support her and be there if she needed him for anything. It turns out that her period was just a few days late, but given that George is normally enormously petty, callous, and dishonest, it's impressive that his first reaction is to take responsibility for what happened.
  • When Jerry's girlfriend Rachel declines the lobster Kramer has fixed, citing religious prohibitions, Kramer immediately accepts her refusal and tells her that he respects how pious she is ("When you die, you're gonna get special attention."). Later, when she sneaks into the kitchen to try some anyway, Kramer is lying in wait, having known she would be tempted. He then refuses to let her have any, knowing that she'll ultimately regret it. The next morning, she sincerely thanks him for his intervention. (Too bad it's all undone by George sneaking some into the scrambled eggs he's given her).
  • The moment in "The Busboy" when Elaine slogs into Jerry's apartment, having failed in getting apartment-crasher Ed to the airport on time, is given sympathy by Jerry and George. It's one of the few, if only times, in the series that the main characters show compassion for one another. This is the kind of thing that would emit a callous "That's a shame" from Jerry only a season or two later.
  • "The Tape" has a cute scene of Kramer goofing around with his camcorder while Jerry and Elaine pretend to be a porn director and porn star, respectively, doing an interview. While it's obviously meant to be funny, it's also sweet to just see three friends joking around with one another, trying to get one another to laugh.
  • In "The Beard", when Elaine laments that she couldn't convert her homosexual friend into a straight guy, Jerry responds, "Well there's always a place for you, on our team." A misty-eyed Elaine says, "Yeah, thanks."
  • When Elaine mentions that a date dumped her for being too "fat", Jerry seems genuinely angry on her behalf.
  • George begs Jerry to tone down his funny persona so as not to overshadow him and appeal to his new girlfriend. And Jerry. . . complies. It backfires horribly, of course, with the girl LIKING his morose demeanor, but it's sweet that Jerry was willing to do that for his friend.
  • In "The Face Painter" , Elaine tells Puddy that she doesn't like his face painting habits. He instantly says that if it bothers her that much, he'll quit. It's a sweet moment that's quite the contrast to the jerk he turned into in later seasons.
  • The show's portrayal of homosexuality in general is stunningly progressive for the time (remember that this was when it still wouldn't be unusual to hear someone drop the other f-bomb):
    • In particular, the discovery of Susan's father's affair with John Cheever is sure to resonate with anyone who stays closeted for fear of how their loved ones will react.
    "He was the most wonderful man I've ever known! And I loved him deeply, in a way you could never understand."

    • In "The Jimmy", the Jimmy in question, upon noticing two men flirting, sincerely declares, "Jimmy's not threatened by Hank's sexuality. Jimmy's happy for Hank."
    • Throughout the episode "The Outing", everyone's repeated "Not that there's anything wrong with it" makes it clear that for all their neuroses, these people are not homophobic—Jerry explicitly and emphatically declares, "People's personal sexual preferences are no one's business but their own!"
  • In Season 1's "The Apartment" Kramer accidentally sets Jerry back by talking Elaine into borrowing money so she can take the apartment above his, which has slipped out of her price range. Kramer is unable to comprehend why having Elaine upstairs might be a problem, so Jerry explains to him, "You see, you're not normal. ... You're a pod. I, on the other hand, am a human being. I sometimes feel awkward, uncomfortable, even inhibited, in certain situations with the other human beings. You wouldn't understand." Later in the episode Kramer manages to find an even higher bidder to take the apartment, and responds to Jerry's effusive gratitude by saying, "Occasionally I like to help the humans."
  • In "The Puffy Shirt," George has to move back in with his parents because he barely has any money. Kramer, feeling sorry for him, offers to let George move in with him. It's a brief moment, and of course George refuses, but it still shows what a devoted friend Kramer is.
  • A small moment in "The Lip Reader" where Kramer shows that he can both understand and "speak" ASL, saying that he learned it to communicate with his deaf cousin as a child. The implication that Kramer cared enough about a deaf relative that he made the effort to learn how to communicate with them is one of the only times anyone on the show is shown to be so empathetic.
  • Kramer takes an instant dislike to Jerry's girlfriend Jeannie, but upon hearing that they're engaged, immediately congratulates him and promises to learn to like her. It's genuinely sweet that he was willing to put aside his misgivings because he's happy for his friend.
  • The Kavorka Man Trope Namer plotline in "The Conversion" also emphasizes the sweet side of Kramer. A beautiful novice nun becomes wildly attracted to him and is on the verge of leaving her faith because of it. Uncharacteristically, he doesn't go for it, recognizing that his "power" makes it essentially an issue of Questionable Consent and that the situation is making her more miserable than otherwise. After reacting with horror and taking steps to undo the "Kavorka," he even pulls an inversion of the standard Race for Your Love situation by dashing to her final vows so that she can realize she's not interested in him before she reconsiders her choice.
  • In "The Cadillac," the unexpectedly sweet (if expectedly goofy) resolution of Kramer's vendetta with the cable guy, who stands at Kramer's door and admits that Kramer's efforts have made him realize how frustrating it is for customers to be forced to wait hours for cable installations. As he promises that he'll set clear appointments from now on and starts to tearfully walk away, Kramer emerges and gives him a Man Hug.
  • "The Bizarro Jerry" is about as blatant about Jerry's affection for his friends as the tone of the show allows, as he misses their company when they become distracted by their subplots and don't have time for him. Out of all of them, he's particularly distraught by Kramer getting a real job and working long hours, which strongly contrasts his typical resigned irritation with regard to Kramer's Drop-In Character antics. (Just four episodes prior he had walked obliviously into traffic while fuming over the prospect of being stuck with Kramer for the rest of his life if George and Elaine both ended up married; here he has takeout ready for them both and reacts with unrestrained eagerness when Kramer decides to blow off work and come to the diner with him.)
  • Regardless of how it turns out, Kramer psyching George up and encouraging him to be confident during his photoshoot in "The Package" is both endearingly sincere and—given that this is George—shockingly effective.
    Kramer: ... And I like what you're wearing.
    George: I feel fat.
    Kramer: No, no, you're stout. The camera loves stoutness! (He crouches down to talk to George.) Look, we're not going to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable! The key word is "tasteful." Now I want you to relax and have fun. 'Cause you're a fun guy! (Sees George cheering up.) All right! Let's do it, huh?! Yeah!
  • "The Serenity Now" is just a full episode's worth of experimentally violating the "no hugging, no learning" credo, with hilarious results (and arguably a bit of Take That! to the idea of making Seinfeld anything other than the Sadist Show it is, with Jerry noting that getting in touch with his emotions improves his life in every way at the expense of his comedy). A few moments stand out as genuinely touching, though, among them the fact that while George's reaction to Jerry's Platonic Declaration of Love is one of utter horror, Kramer responds to the same with an unfussy and casual, but clearly sincere, "I love you too, buddy."
  • "The Betrayal" ends with a flashback to Jerry moving into the building eleven years earlier and meeting Kramer for the first time. Notably, Jerry is the one who invites Kramer, who's afraid to impose, in for a bite to eat, encouraging him with the phrase, "What's mine is yours" with no awareness of how literally Kramer's going to take that dictum.
  • "The Yada Yada" has Kramer and Mickey Abbott squabbling over some girls they're double-dating with, neither of them being sure who's supposed to be dating who. After the argument is finally settled in Kramer's favor, he goes to meet his new girlfriend's family only to discover that her parents are little people like Mickey. At this, he unhesitatingly switches girlfriends, convinced that Mickey will be happier with that family. This goes about as well as you'd expect (turns out the girl already prefers Kramer), but it's a very rare moment of unselfish consideration from a Seinfeld character.
    • Mickey in general deserves recognition. Basically in the entire history of television up until the rise to prominence of Peter Dinklage, little people were never anything more than one note joke characters. Contrast that with Mickey, the exception to the rule: none of his friends ever comment on his size (and when it is brought up, its still done respectfully); he regularly dates (and marries) beautiful full-size women; and in one episode we see he's transitioning from bit parts on TV to serious roles on stage. So much like attitudes towards gays in "The Outing", the writing involving Mickey was surprisingly progressive.
  • In "The Heart Attack, as George is being rushed to the hospital, Kramer can be seen resting his hand on his shoulder, trying to comfort and calm him.
  • "The Red Dot" is a rare episode where Jerry makes up with someone whose life he ruined. After causing Elaine's boyfriend to fall off the wagon (by accident) and thus cause him to lose his job the end reveals that Dick has once more kicked his alcohol addiction and is attending one of Jerry's comedy performances, smiling as Jerry talks about the entire indicent.