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- Aborted Arc:
- Frank and Estelle were preparing to divorce throughout Season 6, but that story line just ends without any proper conclusion and they stay together.
- George's realization that to be successful he needs to just do the opposite of whatever his intuition tells him to do is ignored for the rest of the series, likely because that would ruin George's character.
- Kramer's request to be called by his first name, Cosmo, is almost immediately forgotten. And in that same episode he talks his mother into going to business with him only for her to disappear from the series.
- Aborted Declaration of Love: "I've always loved you—nited airlines."
- Absent Animal Companion: Among the Early Installment Weirdness in the series pilot was the fact that Kramer (or "Kessler") apparently had a dog - called "Ralph" in the script - who dropped into Jerry's apartment with the same abandon as his owner.
- Absentee Actor: Jerry was the only character to appear in every episode. The other three leads missed at least one each.
- Elaine was introduced in the second episode after NBC requested a female character be added and was also absent from the two part Vacation Episode that started season 4.
- Kramer is absent in both "The Pen" and "The Chinese Restaurant." Doubles as Early Installment Weirdness, as Kramer was originally written as agoraphobic and therefore never left his apartment.
- George is absent from "The Pen." Jason Alexander was so upset that he told Larry David to "do it permanently" if he was ever written out of another episode.
- Absurdly Bright Light: The red neon sign from a Kenny Rogers Roasters chicken restaurant outside Kramer's apartment. It drives Kramer nuts, enough that he mistakes tomato juice for milk at one point.Jerry: What's going on in there?
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.
- Accidental Aiming Skills: Kramer's golf skills in "The Marine Biologist."
- Accidental Misnaming: In "The Package," when Kramer goes to steal Elaine's medical chart:Kramer: It's "Bennett", right?Elaine: It's "Benes", you jackass. My last name is Benes! (Kramer looks stunned) Yeah!
Kramer: George...Lily.Susan: No, Susan.Kramer: No, no, it's Lily.Susan: I think I know my own name.
- In "The Invitations" when Kramer runs into George and Susan
Kramer: It's good to have you back, Stan.
- In "The Baby Shower", an FBI agent calls Jerry "Mr. Steinfeld" (this turns out to be a dream Jerry's having).
- 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.
- In "The Chinese Restaurant", George is expecting a call from his girlfriend. When she calls the restaurant looking for him, the host calls out "Cartwright". George has no idea that was supposed to be him until a few minutes later when he tells the host he's expecting a call and the host says that was it.George: [dumbfounded] She called. He yelled "Cartwright". I missed her.
Jerry: Who's Cartwright?
George: I'm Cartwright.
Jerry: You're not Cartwri-
George: OF COURSE I'M NOT CARTWRIGHT!
- In "The Dealership":
Rick: Its Rick, by the way.
Kramer: No time!
- 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.Kramer: People in this city are crazy.
- In "The Sniffing Accountant", George blows a job interview by feeling up Ms. De Granmont's material while waiting at the elevator.
- Accomplice by Inaction: The main cast is accused of this by a bystander in the finale.
- 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.
- In "The Butter Shave," George raves to Jerry about the private handicap bathroom Play Now gave him, remarking how much he enjoys the high toilet, "I feel like a gargoyle perched on the ledge of a building!"
- This isn't the first time Kramer's been in prison.
- Adam Westing: Anytime a celebrity appeared as themselves, they almost always did this.
- Added Alliterative Appeal: In "The Trip Part 2", Lt. Martel uses this while grilling Kramer:Martel: Maybe the pervert in the park had a present in his pants, huh?
Kramer: He [Darrin] took all my clothes to some cleaners! I'm clueless!
- In "The Voice":
Kramer: (to Jerry) You stubborn, stupid, silly man!
- In "The Face Painter:
- Addiction Displacement: In "The Pez".Jerry: He's doing great in rehab. He's hooked on Pez! He's eating them like there's no tomorrow!
- Aesop Amnesia: In "The Serenity Now", Jerry is briefly a more caring, emotional guy after he breaks up with Patty, but when he encourages George to open up to him, he's so disturbed by what George tells him that he returns to normal.George: So, that's it. All of my darkest fears, and everything I'm capable of. That's me.
Jerry: (disturbed look) ...Yikes. Well good luck with all that.
George: Where you going? I, I thought I could count on you for a little compassion.
Jerry: I think you scared me straight.
- In "The Handicap Spot", George can't find a parking spot at the mall and Kramer tempts George to park in the handicapped spot, to which George protests that a handicapped person might need it. Kramer talks him into doing it anyway, which ends up getting him into trouble when a woman in a wheelchair is injured as a result of having to park somewhere else. At the end of the episode, the foursome return to the same mall and George again can't find a parking spot. Kramer tempts George to park in the fire lane, to which George protests that there could be a fire. Kramer says, "Now what are the chances of that?" It's highly likely that George took Kramer's advice again.
- 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.
- George has done this on the phone when on the receiving end of the "who is this?" gag.
- 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."
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Anna, George's girlfriend in "The Little Kicks".
- 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.
- 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 become super-intelligent after they stop having sex for a period of time, because the majority of their brainpower is normally focused solely towards obtaining sex, so a celibate man's brain becomes free to think about other things. For the same reason, going without sex has the opposite effect on women. Since men are always so obsessed with sex, women can get sex so easily that they take it for granted, and barely have to think about it at all. A celibate woman's brain becomes cluttered up thinking about sex, and she becomes stupider. This was demonstrated by George becoming an Omnidisciplinary Scientist and Omniglot after going without sex, while Elaine became The Ditz. Jerry delivered the explanation to both of them.
- Almost Famous Name:Kramer: I saw the sunrise at Liza's.George: What, Minelli's?Kramer: (matter-of-factly) No.
- 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.
- Alternate Universe: See "The Bizarro Jerry".
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: The diner is a real Manhattan diner, in the Upper West Side, called Tom's.
- The Boston Red Sox actually have an "Administrative Assistant to the Traveling Secretary and Baseball Operations".
- There was, at one point, an electronics chain store called The Wiz, their slogan being "Nobody Beats The Wiz," although they didn't have a mascot. The store was eventually phased out at the Turn of the Millennium.
- Frisbee golf (from "The Summer of George") is a real game dating back to the 1960s.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Jerry's parents fit this trope...and a few seasons later we're introduced to George's parents, who are even worse.
- Ambiguous Disorder: When unmedicated, "Crazy" Joe Davola speaks with a flat affect, pedantically takes statements as literal, exhibits extreme paranoia, responds to perceived transgressions with calculated violence, and Cannot Tell Fiction from Reality.
- 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. Even more interestingly, Julia Louis-Dreyfus actually has Mexican heritage in real life.
- 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" (though it was common among Sephardic Jews), and because of the fact that they celebrated Christmas before his father created Festivus.
- 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.
- An Aesop: Frequently subverted.Kramer: The important thing is that you learned something.Jerry: (smirking) No I didn't.
- Analogy Backfire: In "The Butter Shave", Jerry describes Kenny Bania: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.
George: I just don't see what the big deal is. They let you try on pants.
- In "The Bookstore", when George complains about having to keep a book because he brought it in the store bathroom:
Jerry: Not underpants...
- Angry Chef: Yev Kassem, known as the Soup Nazi. He's a draconian soup chef who demands that all customers follow his precise orders to the letter — if they don't, he outright bans them from the place.Jerry: The guy who runs the place is a little temperamental, especially about the ordering procedure. He's secretly referred to as the Soup Nazi.
Elaine: Why? What happens if you don't order right?
Jerry: He yells and you don't get your soup.
The Soup Nazi: NO SOUP FOR YOU!!!
- Annoying Laugh: Naomi, the hostess Jerry dates in "The Watch", has a nasal, rapid-fire stutter of a laugh. As a comedian, Jerry isn't sure he can date a woman whose laugh he hates. She ends up dumping him after George repeats his description of her laugh on Jerry's answering machine: "like Elmer Fudd sitting on a juicer".
- Anorgasmia: In "The Mango", Jerry finds out that Elaine faked all of her orgasms when the two of them were dating.
- 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!
George: I know a million theater jokes. "What's the deal with those guys down in the pit?"
- In "The Summer of George", George fails at comedy:
Jerry: They're musicians. That's not a joke.
George: (adamant) It's a funny observation.
Jerry: I can't believe we went all the way to India for a wedding! (cue Castle Rock logo)
- 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 Yorker to concede that the comic had no actual joke, but merely printed it because he "liked the kitty".
- The "forwards" version of "The Betrayal" ends with a non-punchline from Jerry:
- Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: One episode features a cult that masquerades as a carpet cleaning company in order to brainwash its customers into joining. George hires them because they're so cheap and he's confident he can beat the brainwashing. He gets offended when they just clean his carpet and give him the bill without attempting to brainwash him, and gets even more offended at the end of the episode when he sees that they've brainwashed Mr. Wilhelm.George: Him you brainwashed?! What's he got that I don't have?!
Cult Member: (shrugs)
- Argentina Is Nazi Land: The Soup Nazi ends in Argentina, of course.
- A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside an Enigma: Jerry says Newman is a Mystery wrapped in a Twinkie.
- Aroused by Their Voice: "The Tape" revolves around an erotic message that was left on Jerry's tape recorder by Elaine, which none of the guys know initially.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: From "The Revenge".Jerry: Elaine? How did you rope her into this?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.
Jerry: (concerned for Kramer's safety): Kramer!
- In "The Little Jerry," Kramer jumps into the ring to save Little Jerry from a much bigger and nastier-looking rooster, and the following shout happens in slow motion:
Elaine: (also feeling it): Stop the fight!
George: (looking elsewhere): Tamale!
- 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.
- In The Money, Morty and Helen claim to never use the Northstar System in their Cadillac Fleetwood. The Northstar System is another name for the Northstar V8 engine, which was never available on any Fleetwood; the Fleetwood was only offered with a Chevy L05 350 in 1993 and the Chevy LT1 350 in 1994-96. Earlier in The Cadillac, they are seen driving without a license plate or a temporary registration, required by Florida law.
- 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.
- Artistic License Medicine:
- In "The Blood," an accident with a scalpel to the neck causes Jerry to lose at least three pints of blood, which Kramer happily donates to him since coincidentally had taken his supply out of the blood bank and was storing it at Newman's. In the end, another accident results in Jerry being dragged along the road from behind his car as it was being driven by Izzy Mandelbaum's son (who accelerated in panic due to Kramer's blood leaking out of the engine), losing more blood, and this time receiving some from Newman. Though it's possible they all shared a blood type, or both of them were type O (universal donor) or Jerry type AB (universal recipient) records would probably have to be checked. Also, the hospital would use existing blood supplies unless it had none.
- At one point, Elaine begins dating her therapist. This is grossly unprofessional, unethical, and strictly forbidden. Then, she continues seeing him as a patient even though they're also sleeping together, which is even worse—at the very least, the professional relationship must end before a romantic one can begin. Then when Elaine tries to break it off by claiming to have met a new guy, he demands to meet him—and is quite manipulative when he does so—as if he'll only allow her to end it if he decides that the new boyfriend is good for her. This is thoroughly creepy, controlling, stalker-like behavior that Elaine is clearly unnerved by, yet there's never any mention of her filing a complaint, which she's well within her rights to do.
- Elaine being blacklisted by the AMA. No matter how much of an Annoying Patient one is—and to make matters worse, she wasn't, they are still entitled to medical care. To drop her as a patient or refuse to even see her is highly unethical. She could sue over this.
- When George visits his hospitalized mother in "The Outing", he finds himself getting hot and bothered by the Sexy Silhouette of the handsome male nurse and his equally good looking male patient. While this is obviously a Brick Joke regarding the Les Yay scene in "The Contest", in Real Life, male and female patients don't share rooms.
- In "The Apology", George contacts an alcoholic friend's sponsor to complain that the guy hasn't apologized to him, skipping the "making amends" step. The confidentiality of "Anonymous" groups is sacred—George would have no way of even knowing who the guy's sponsor is, much less contacting him—and he reveals his full name to him as well, thus violating his privacy even more.
- Artistic License Sports:
- "The Wink". After a promise to a sick child that Paul O'Neill will hit two home runs doesn't work out as planned, Kramer pacifies the child by promising that in the next game, O'Neill will catch a fly ball in his hat. This would be an incredibly stupid thing for O'Neill to do; intentionally touching the ball with a piece of equipment other than his glove is illegal for a fielder to do and would result in the batter automatically being given three bases.
- Another Seinfeld example comes from the episode where Jerry dates an Olympic gymnast expecting acrobatic sex and being disappointed when the sex turns out to be extremely ordinary. After the encounter, Jerry describes his disappointment to Elaine saying that he expected her to use him as the apparatus. Elaine asks, "You mean like the uneven parallel bars? Or the balance beam? Not... the pommel horse?" This might explain why Jerry found the sex disappointing; his girlfriend would have no experience using a pommel horse since that particular apparatus only appears in men's gymnastics.
- As Himself:
- Happens a few times, most notably when Keith Hernandez shows up and his friendship with Jerry becomes the basis of an episode.
- Jon Voight, David Letterman, Jay Leno, George Wendt, Corbin Bernsen, Rudolph Guliani, Bryant Gumble, Regis Philbin, Mel Torme...
- Jerry himself is an example.
- Much of the New York Yankees appeared as themselves while George worked there.
- And we mustn't forget Marisa Tomei.
- Ask a Stupid Question...: George wondering how lesbians decide who will be the bride and groom at their weddings, and also how they decide who leads when they dance.
Jerry: What's all this stuff?
- 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:
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?!
George: Excuse me, where are we?
- In "The Trip, Part 2", when Jerry and George are in L.A.:
- Zig-zagged in "The Dealership": After Puddy breaks up with Elaine (again), he drops all pretenses of giving Jerry a deal on the new car and instead starts charging him extra for everything, including essential items like car keys:
Puddy: ("you're an idiot" tone) How ya gonna start it?
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: In "The Chicken Roaster", Elaine visits J. Peterman in Burma, where he starts shouting at a young boy in a supposed foreign language:Elaine: You speak Burmese?
Peterman: No, Elaine, that was gibberish.
- Ass Shove:
- In "The Fusilli Jerry," Kramer discusses this trope when he accidentally gets a proctologist's vanity plate that says "ASSMAN"... and Frank demonstrates it when he accidentally sits on a miniature statue of Jerry that Kramer made out of pasta.
- In "The Pilot", Kramer suffers from constipation and is forced to use an enema to clean himself out. He later describes the experience as "wet and wild!"
- Asshole Victim: Newman, occassionally. In "The Sniffing Account" he tried to touch a woman's material, and she got mad at him for it. Also George's boss in "The Revenge."
- George on occasion, notably in The Soup Nazi (he's right, everyone else does get bread without paying extra for it).
- 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.
- Author Avatar: George is one for Larry David. Or rather, he's a pawn to tell all of Larry David's real life experiences which are either too weird or too unflattering to play straight. Once Jason Alexander figured this out, he tried to play the character, once a blatant Woody Allen impression, as more of a blatant Larry David impression.
- Auto Erotica: Frank and Estelle have sex in the back of a van. Of course George opens it up and finds them...If this van's a rockin', don't come a knockin'.
- Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Estelle and Frank Costanza.
- Babies Make Everything Better: One of Elaine's friends is quite enthusiastic about giving her this advice, much to Elaine's chagrin. Jerry ponders it when they go to visit that same friend in "The Hamptons."Is it possible they're having babies just to get people to visit them?
- Back to Front: "The Betrayal."
- Bad "Bad Acting":
- Kramer on Murphy Brown in "The Keys".
- Jerry's girlfriend Isabel in "The Nose Job".
- Perfected by Kramer again in "The Stand In" in such a job on All My Children.
- Kramer auditioning to play himself on Jerry. He was reading words that he himself said verbatim in another episode, and still sucked.
- 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: 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)
Elaine: Nina? Nina? No. Psshhh.. Not weird. No. Nina.
- 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):
George: (suspicious) Why do you keep saying "Nina"?
Elaine: (nervous) I don't know. Nina. Nina!
Jerry: What is that bubbling sound? Are you making your tomato sauce?
- Kramer is a bad liar in "The English Patient" when he's on the phone with Jerry:
Kramer: Hot and spicy.
Jerry: (accusingly) You're not wearing a shirt, are you?
Kramer: ...Yes I am.
Jerry: What color is it?
Kramer: (looks down, and can't think of a lie) Damn!
- Bait-and-Switch: In "The Face Painter", Gary Fogel died... not from cancer like he claimed he had in "The Scofflaw", but from a car accident.
- 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?
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".
- Battle in the Center of the Mind: Jerry's mind vs. his penis in a chess game in "The Nose Job".
- Bavarian Fire Drill: Numerous examples.
- 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.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: In "The Blood", Elaine gets to do her babysitting gig after all, and then comes to regret it.
- 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.
- Berserk Button: Morty Seinfeld hates Velcro, to the point of throwing out a wallet that Jerry gave him as a gift simply because it uses Velcro.Morty: I can't stand Velcro, that teeeeaaaarrrrring sound!
- 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.
- Beware the Nice Ones: In "The Visa", Ping informs Elaine that Cheryl is this:Elaine: Thank you so much for dropping the lawsuit against me.
Ping: Not anymore.
Ping: Cheryl called me last night; lawsuit back on.
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 and Newman's claim that Keith Hernandez spat on the two of them. He traces the imaginary path of the spittle which involves changing directions and pausing in midair to strike Newman in multiple locations. "Now that... is one magic loogie." The point being to illustrate how impossible it was for the event to happen in real life.
- Big Damn Heroes: The undercover cop who saves Kramer from the mugger in "The Subway."
- 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.
- Big Word Shout: See Skyward Scream for more examples.
- SEVEN! ("The Seven")
- SUUUUUUUUZE! ("The Susie")
- TWIIIIIIIIX! ("The Dealership")
- Bile Fascination: Invoked in "The Letter": A couple named the Arms is fascinated by the Kramer portrait. Mr. Arm is repulsed by it:Mr. Arm: He is a loathsome, offensive brute. Yet I can't look away.
Mr. Arm: He sickens me.
Mrs. Arm: I love it.
Mr. Arm: Me too.
- Bilingual Bonus: Manny, the fast-talking Hispanic super in "The Apartment", is left untranslated and unsubtitled. When he describes Kramer's moussed-up hair as "mucho más malo", Kramer takes it as a compliment.
- 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 Catchphrase "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!
- George is contrite at first, but on the drive home he happens to think of the perfect coma joke...
- The way George's fiancee, Susan is written out of the show, by licking poisonous envelopes for their wedding invitations.
- Black Comedy Rape: Jerry suspects Tim Whatley and his dental assistant of doing sexual things to him while he was under the gas.Elaine: What do you think could have happened?
Jerry: I don't know but I was spitting out and rinsing like there was no tomorrow! Is this guy a dentist, or Caligula?!
- Blah Blah Blah: "The Yada Yada."
- Blind Without 'Em:
- George but he can apparently squint down to 20/20 vision without glasses.
- A inversion 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.
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: Played for Laughs — Cloudcuckoolander Kramer is asked if he's an alien on more than one occasion. It's mostly that his Skewed Priorities mean that he often doesn't seem to understand when he's doing something wrong, and even when he's trying to help the attempt often goes sideways. It's more that he doesn't really get that he's asking too much — after all, he'd do the same for them — but it never seems to occur to him that they might not want the same things.
- 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.
- Bluff Worked Too Well: Jerry and George pretend to be gay to prank an eavesdropper at Monk's cafe, who turns out to be a reporter from a college newspaper and who publishes that they're gay. No matter how much they try to backpedal and/or deny that they're gay (Not That There's Anything Wrong with That) it just "proves" that they're gay that much more.
- Book-Ends: The last conversation between Jerry and George in the finale is identical to the first conversation of the first episode. 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 Opposite" starts with Jerry, Elaine, and George at the diner, with Elaine on top of the world regarding the developments in her career and personal life and George down in the dumps for the same reasons. At the episodes end, the situations have been completely reversed, with Elaine even dressed identically to how George was.
- The first and last episodes of Season 9 feature Kramer acting as a claque for Jerry's bombing act.
- 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.
- Borrowed Catchphrase: In "The Fire", Jerry is twice accused of stealing "Baby!" from George.Jerry: There's no precedent, baby!
George: ...What, are you usin' my "babies" now?
- In "The Chicken Roaster", Jerry acts like Kramer after spending a few nights in his apartment, and also uses one of his catchphrases ("Giddyup!"). Likewise, Kramer starts acting like Jerry and uses "That's a shame."
- In "The English Patient", Jerry says "It's go time" (the Mandlebaum family catchphrase) right before Izzy Sr. throws out his back trying to lift a TV.
- Both Sides Have a Point: In "The Parking Spot" both George and the other driver have equal claim to the spot outside Jerry's apartment. George was there first but was just sitting around instead of actually parking. The other guy meanwhile was trying to parallel park front first, which may be his preferred style, but is still unusual and not the recommended method. Played for laughs when observers, up to and including the police can't figure out whose right. In the end the issue is left unresolved.
- Bottle Episode: "The Chinese Restaurant", "The Parking Garage", etc.
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: In "The Serenity Now":George: [trying to sell Jerry a computer] You can check porn. And stock quotes.
Jerry: (fondly) Porn quotes.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick:
Jerry: They really should mention that in the breakdown: height, weight, goiter.
- As they were befriending elderly people through an agency in "The Old Man":
Jerry: Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, Costanza?
- When George gets hired by the Yankees in "The Opposite":
George: All I want is my 75 cents back, an apology, and for him to be fired.
- In "The Dealership" when George complains about the mechanic who stole his Twix bar:
- 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.
- Breakout Character: Cosmo Kramer
- 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 Keys" Jerry gets fed up with Kramer's constant intrusions and demands that Kramer give him his spare keys. Kramer then demands his own spare keys back, which turns out to be a massive keyring with dozens of keys on it. At the very end of the multi-part episode (which involves Kramer moving to California to be an actor and being mistaken for a serial killer before coming back to New York), Jerry gives Kramer his spare key back... at which point Kramer returns his massive keyring by hurling it onto Jerry's coffee table.
- 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.
- "The Alternate Side" opens with Jerry's car having just been stolen. He calls the car phone and speaks to the thief, and Kramer takes the phone and asks the thief to drop off a pair of gloves that he left in the car. During the credits, Kramer comes into the coffee shop to talk about how he was fired from the Woody Allen movie he got a part in. He then pulls out a pair of gloves, which Jerry recognizes as the ones that were in his car.
- Perhaps the most famous example is from "The Marine Biologist" in which early in the episode, Kramer is striking golf balls into the ocean as a means of recreation; towards the end, when George is telling the story of how he helped the beached whale, revealing that he found Kramer's golf ball in its blowhole.
- The first episode begins with Jerry and George talking about the second button of George's shirt. The finale ends with them having the same conversation verbatim until George notes that they've talked about this before.
- In the Season 3 episode "The Parking Spot", George spends ages hunting for a parking spot and refuses to park his car in a parking garage, likening it to paying a prostitute for sex when "if I apply myself, maybe I can get it for free". In the Season 7 episode "The wig Maker", George has apparently gotten over his dislike of parking garages and now keeps his car in one. As fate would have it, he discovers that this particular garage moonlights as a brothel, and has actual prostitutes having sex with their clients inside the cars, including George's.
- Brief Accent ImitationElaine: Maybe the dingo et yer baby.
Kramer: Not bloody likely!Jerry: That's the worst Cockney accent I've ever heard in my life.
- Also discussed by Jerry and Kramer with their (very bad) attempts at a Cockney accent.
- In "The Conversion," George accidentally pronounces "vast" the same way the priest he is talking to pronounces it.
- 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?"
- Brown Note: One of Elaine's boyfriends suddenly goes into a trance-like state any time he hears the song "Desperado", telling everyone around him to shut up so he can listen to it. Feeling left out, Elaine tries to pick a song that the two of them could enjoy together, suggesting "Witchy Woman", but the boyfriend shoots the whole idea down. At the end of the episode, the boyfriend is getting surgery after being injured. The radio begins to play "Witchy Woman", and the surgeon abruptly stops operating and goes into the same kind of trance, causing the boyfriend to apparently die on the table.
- Brutal Honesty: Kramer on more than one occasion. In "The Nose Job", for example, Kramer openly tells George's latest girlfriend that she needs a nose job.
- Subverted in "The Kiss Hello". Jerry and Elaine scheme to get Kramer to meet Wendy, because they know he'll criticize her old-fashioned hairdo. It backfires when Kramer finds Wendy's hairdo appealing.
- 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!
- Butt-Monkey: The main group all qualify, but Elaine and especially George stand out.
- 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.
- 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).
Man: I hadn't seen another pair of hands like Ray McKigney's, until today. You are his successor. I... only hope you have a little more self-control.
- 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 episode "The Pie", a subplot is about why a mannequin looks so much like Elaine. At the end of the episode, we learn it was made by the creepy guy who has a crush on Elaine from the episode, "The Cigar Store Indian".
- 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?"
- In "The Puffy Shirt", the man photographing George's hands tells of a man who was his predecessor, with beautiful hands that were disfigured by excessive masturbation ("He was not "Master of his domain"). The scene ends with a Call-Back to "The Contest":
George: You don't have to worry about me. I won a contest.
- "The Pilot" had many references to older episodes, mostly from the regular and one-shot characters watching Jerry's pilot. Just one example: Helen Seinfeld finds the pilot hilarious and says, "How could anyone not like him?", something she said in "The Wallet".
- Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Likely more examples than can be reasonably counted - the "who owns a pony" line comes to mind.
- Can't Get in Trouble for Nuthin': In "The Millennium", George must get fired from the Yankees in order to obtain a better job with the Mets. Everything he does in an attempt to get fired ends up getting him praised. In the end, he finally manages to do something that would have gotten him fired... except Mr. Wilhelm barges in at the last second, claiming George is innocent and was only working under his orders. Wilhelm gets fired instead, after which he reveals to George that he was up for the same Mets job.
- Can't Take Criticism: Raquel Welch in "The Summer of George".
- The Caper: Lampshaded in "The Café":Jerry: Hey, I love a good caper.Elaine: Yeah, that's what this is. A caper.
- Parodied in "The Frogger." George assembles a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits with a diverse range of skills to help him take a Frogger arcade cabinet home without turning it offnote , going so far as to make a plan of action and draw up a map of the pizzeria the game is situated in. All of his crew members operate under the assumption that they're committing a heist.Schlomo: So what kind of jailtime are we looking at if we're caught?
George: What do you mean?
Slippery Pete: We're stealing this thing, right?
George: No, no, I've paid for it.
Slippery Pete: I thought we were stealing it.
Kramer: Yeah, it feels like we're stealing it.
George: We're not stealing it.
Schlomo: I definitely thought we're stealing it.
- Parodied in "The Frogger." George assembles a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits with a diverse range of skills to help him take a Frogger arcade cabinet home without turning it offnote , going so far as to make a plan of action and draw up a map of the pizzeria the game is situated in. All of his crew members operate under the assumption that they're committing a heist.
- Captain Obvious:
- In "The Chinese Restaurant":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 sixth grade, seventh grade—
Jerry: I understand.
- In "The Wizard", when Kramer is running for Del Boca Vista condo president:Kramer: Remember, ma'am, a vote for me is a vote for Kramer.
- In "The Chinese Restaurant":
- 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 has a quite impressive number of girlfriends over the show's run, despite how much he bemoans his difficulty with getting one.
- Casual Car Giveaway: Jerry gets rid of a car infected with unbelievable B.O. by driving it to a bad neighborhood and leaving it with the keys in front of a shady-looking guy. The guy steals it immediately... and regrets it just as quickly.
- Elaine's "Get out".
- Jerry's "That's a shame".
- Kramer's "Giddy up!".
- George tends to refer to saleswomen and waitresses as 'Darling' and 'Sweetheart'.
- (After George excitedly blurts out something he needs Jerry to do after Jerry answers the phone) "Who is this.........?" Elaine turns it on Jerry in "The Dealership".
- David Puddy: "Yeah, that's right".
- Uncle Leo: "Jerry! Hello!"
- Caught on Tape: Kramer's video recording of an armed robbery (including the Main Characters' mockery of the victim) gets used against them in court during the finale.
- Caught on the Jumbotron: In one episode, George eats very sloppily on the Jumbotron at the US Open, and the commentators mock him for not using a napkin.
- Caught with Your Pants Down: The setup for "The Contest."
- "Cavemen vs. Astronauts" Debate:
- Elaine's breakup with Jake Jarmel over an exclamation point.
- Jerry breaking up with a 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).
- Celebrity Paradox: In "The Pitch", the NBC lobby is adorned with posters for its current shows, one of them being Reasonable Doubts, a legal drama starring Mark Harmon and Marlee Matlin, who are featured on the poster. Marlee Matlin later guest-starred as Jerry's (deaf) girlfriend of the week in the episode "The Lip Reader" the following season.
- Celebrity Resemblance: Kramer thinks that Jerry looks like Lena Horne.
- Celibate Eccentric Genius: Men become more intelligent when they stop having sex, because most of their brains are always obsessed with sex, and that part begins to function properly when sex is no longer a factor in their lives. This is inverted though with women-they get dumber from abstinence.
- Celibate Hero: George vows to remain celibate after not having sex for several weeks makes him vastly more intelligent, since he finds life much more fulfilling being smart and pursuing knowledge. However, his new ability to speak Portuguese allows him to sleep with the hot Portuguese waitress at Monk's. He did the math in his head and determined it was a once in a lifetime chance, so he took it, and became an idiot again.
- Chalk Outline: In his standup in "The Beard" Jerry pokes fun at the thought that the police employ people solely for this.
- Character Development: Completely averted, by design. "No hugging, no learning". To further touch on this, Larry David made it clear that he cared nothing about character development or any kind of continuity, all he cared about was that the show was funny, and by design, the characters were funny as well; this did disorient some of the actors at first, particularly Jason Alexander (see Characterization Marches On below), who found they would behave one way one week, and then behave differently the next as if what happened last week never happened.
- Characterisation Click Moment: Jason Alexander initially thought George was based on Woody Allen and played him as such until one day he walked up to Larry David claiming to be unable to make heads or tails of one of George's antics seeing as "not only could this never happen but no human being would react like this". David explained it happened to him and this was how he reacted. It was then he realized George was David's Author Avatar all along.
- 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. This can be attributed to the filming of "The Revenge", when Jason found out that Larry David actually based George off of himself.note
- 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.
- Character Title:
- Seinfeld, named after the title character.
- In-universe, Jerry.
- The in-universe movie Death Blow is apparently named after the character of the same name in the movie, since Kramer shouts at the screen, "Go get 'em, Death Blow!". Unless it's like when people call Bruce Willis's character "Die Hard".
- Chekhov's Gun:
- 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?
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.
- Christianity Is Catholic: Somewhat justified by this being New York, which is in fact noticeably more Catholic than the rest of the United States. None of the main characters are religious and Jerry and George are both clearly Jewish (Jewish-ish in George's case), but when Christianity appears, Catholicism is the default.
- Costanza is seemingly an Italian name and Frank belongs to the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic organization, but Estelle is a very stereotypical Jewish Mother.
- In "The Burning", Elaine learns that her boyfriend Puddy is religious, and believes that she's going to Hell. While the religious stations preset on his car radio sound born-again Protestant, the couple wind up being counseled by his priest. The same priest, Father Curtis, is also the one Jerry consults (in a confession booth, no less) when he thinks Tim Whatley has converted to Judaism purely for the jokes in "The Yada Yada".
- Puddy's religion doesn't stop him from painting himself up as the devil and terrorizing an elderly El Salvadoran priest in his first appearance in "The Face Painter", but it's entirely possible his born-again faith was a later development or a passing phase.
- Averted in "The Conversion", however, where the church in question is specifically Latvian Orthodox.note
- Christmas Episode: Downplayed. To be expected, given the Jewish title character as well as many of the cast and writers. Rather than special holiday episodes, they're usually just regular episodes that happen to be set around the Christmas season.
- Elaine attends her office Christmas party, as in "The Red Dot", and sends out annual Christmas cards, including a memorable nip slip in "The Pick".
- Kramer gets hired as a Mall Santa at a department store then converts to communism in "The Race".
- "The Gum" and "The Andrea Doria" show that it's Christmastime, but it isn't plot-relevant.
- The closest thing to an actual Christmas episode is the full-on Crappy Holidays episode "The Strike": George pretends his family doesn't celebrate Christmas to get out of his office's gift exchange. Which is technically true: his father Frank got so fed up with the commercialism of Christmas after a fight over a doll in a store (for George) one year that he washed his hands of Christmas and decided to start his own holiday: Festivus ("A Festivus for the rest of us!"). Kramer takes an interest; George's boss Mr. Kruger invites himself along. The made-up holiday includes such events as the Airing of Grievances (telling people all the ways they've ticked you off and let you down during the past year) and the Feats of Strength (the head of the household choosing someone to wrestle — George, naturally). There's no hugging, no learning, and no tree (Frank finds tinsel distracting, so it's just a featureless aluminum pole instead), but it does bring everyone together.Kramer: It's a Festivus miracle!
- ...at least until Jerry breaks up with his latest girlfriend because she looks terrible under certain lighting ("She's a two-face!") and Kramer has to leave to work a double shift at the bagel place where he's been on strike for the last twelve years. Elaine handing out fake phone numbers to interested guys also catches up to her when a bookie she placed a bet with shows up as well (along with his henchman).
- Cigar Chomper: The gang occasionally treats themselves to a cigar when they're celebrating, which typically segues into them acting smug with each other. Elaine clenches a cigar between her teeth as temporary boss of the J. Peterman Company in "The Foundation". Cuban dictator Fidel Castro naturally smokes and gestures expansively with one of Cuba's famous cigars in "The Race".
- Circular Reasoning:
- Attempted by Elaine in "The Maid":Elaine: 646? What is this?Phone guy: That's your new area code.Elaine: I thought 646 was just for new numbers.Phone guy: This is a new number.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?
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.
- In "The Reverse Peephole", after Elaine mentions that Joe Mayo's fur coat was thrown out (she accidentally threw out what she thought was Puddy's fur coat, but it turned out to be Mayo's):Elaine: So now Joe Mayo wants me to buy him a new coat.
Jerry: Because you threw it out.
Elaine: No, because I was in charge of the coats. It's insane.
Jerry: But you did actually throw his coat out the window.
Elaine: But he doesn't know that. As far as he knows, somebody stole it, and that's the person who should be responsible.
Jerry: (confused) ...But that's you.
Elaine: So I guess I'll have to buy him a new coat, even though I don't think I should be held responsible, which I am anyway.
- Attempted by Elaine in "The Maid":
- Clingy Costume: Kramer's jeans in "The Wait Out".
- 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: The finale is a borderline example. While most of the episode is new footage, there are still some clips from previous episodes to go along with the testimonies of the characters from said episodes.
- 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 violent.
- Jerry, who is quite sane if he puts his mind to it, but usually doesn't care enough to clean his act up.
- Kramer doesn't seem to be all that grounded in reality, considering his wacky and over-the-top personality and penchant for engaging in crazy schemes, many of which somehow actually work. He also mooches off Jerry constantly, demands things be done his way, is constantly asking for favors and to get out of things he's agreed to, and whenever he does do something for someone else (for example, giving Jerry blood), he usually expects an increasingly bizarre series of things in exchange — but still, more than the other members of the group, he seems to genuinely mean well.
- It's the contrast between would-be real-life adventure hero J. Peterman's romanticized vision of the world and the crapsack nature of the show he's on that provides most of the comedy between him and Elaine, based on the real Peterman catalog's over-the-top descriptions of fairly mundane clothing items. Dropping off the map in Burma and handing the reins of his company over to Elaine are just business as usual at the company.
- George's boss George Steinbrenner, the real-life general manager of the New York Yankees, is depicted here as a faceless Rambling Old Man, obsessing over minutiae and babbling nonstop to whoever's in the room (or himself). The President of the Tyler Chicken company and Cuban dictator Fidel Castro turn out to be the exact same way.
- Cold Opening: Started replacing the stand-up routines in season 8; Larry David left the show around that time, so Jerry took on more responsibilities and no longer had time to write new material.
- Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere: In "The Wink," Jerry is on a diet that specifically precludes him from eating any kind of meat. Unluckily for him, his then-girlfriend in the episode is as carnivorous as a lion or a tiger.
- Collector of the Strange: In "The Cigar Store Indian", it is discovered that Frank Costanza collects issues of TV Guide Magazine.
- Color Blind Confusion: In "The Chicken Roaster", Kramer (who is not himself after a neon red Kenny Rogers Chicken sign has been put outside his window) unknowingly pours some tomato juice over his cereal. When he tastes:Kramer: That looked like milk to me! Jerry, my rods and cones are all screwed up!
- 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, after he gets back to New York, he thinks of a comeback for that line. And he turns the car around.
- Comedic Underwear Exposure: Happens to George at the end of "The Boyfriend, Part 1", when he runs out of the bathroom when Kramer answers the phone without pretending to be Vandelay Industries.
- Comic Sutra: In "The Fusilli Jerry", Elaine's boyfriend Puddy, who is also Jerry's friend, steals Jerry's sex move and uses it on Elaine. The only part of the maneuver that is described is the very end, and it is referred to only as "the swirl". The swirl is contrasted with the pinch, which Jerry finds "a little presumptuous". It is found out that George also has invented a sex move, and all we know is that there is a knuckle involved.Jerry: Hey, what's the story? I hear you're doing my move.Puddy: What move?Jerry: What move? My move. The one I told you about. You used it on Elaine.Puddy: You're move? What, are you kidding? I was doing that before I knew you. All you told me about was the ending.Jerry: The ending is the whole thing. Without the ending, it's nothing. You had nothing.Puddy: Oh, that ending was so obvious. I would have figured it out anyway. I didn't need you to tell me that stupid twist.Jerry: Swirl.Puddy: Whatever. I don't even do it.Jerry: Oh, yeah, I know. You do the pinch.Puddy: Yeah, that's right.
- Comically Missing the Point: Often occurs with Kramer.
- From "The English Patient":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?Jerry: CIGARS?!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!
- In "The Chicken Roaster", after Kramer asks Jerry to switch apartments temporarily, Jerry makes a sarcastic comment that goes right over Kramer's head.Jerry: Or I could sleep in the park. You could knock these walls down, make it an eight room luxury suite.
Kramer: Jerry these are load-bearing walls, they're not gonna come down!
Jerry: Yeah, that's no good.
- In "The Little Kicks", when Kramer encourages Jerry to keep bootlegging movies:Kramer: This isn't your little comedy act. We're talking feature films here!
- From "The English Patient":
- 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!!!
- Competition Coupon Madness: Invoked several times with the show's focus on the characters' daily lives.
- Elaine's quest to become a submarine captain note at Atomic Sub in "The Strike".
- Kramer buys absurdly high amounts of food at the Price Club in "The Rye".
- In "The Van Buren Boys" Peterman's surprisingly mundane private life includes collecting coupons.
- The Complainer Is Always Wrong: Elaine is the only one who doesn't like The English Patient, and that opinion causes her to lose her boyfriend, her friends, and her job (temporarily).
- Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Jerry mentions this happening in one of his stand-up comedy bits involving Superman, theorizing this is why superheroes have secret identities, since their rescues are so often destructive.Jerry (voicing a complaining person): Yeah, Superman, thanks for saving my life and all, but did you have to come through my wall? I've got a security deposit here, what am I supposed to do?
- Compliment Backfire: In "The Maid", when George is annoyed at being nicknamed "Koko" (named after the monkey) at the office:Jerry: Well, it's probably the most intelligent ape there is.
George: (still annoyed) ...Yeah.
- Compressed Abstinence: In the episode "The Contest", the characters try to "be the master of their domain" by spending the longest without... mastering their domain. It doesn't last long. It was called back to, however, even in the series finale.
- Compressed Vice:
- George takes his shirt off in the bathroom and doesn't put it on properly again only in "The Gymnast".
- In "The Note," George turns gay after experiencing an erection while a male masseuse gives him a massage; after that episode, he's back to his old self, and it's never mentioned again.
- 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.
- When Keith Hernandez spat on Kramer and Kramer is analyzing the trajectory of the saliva, he concludes that their must have been a second spitter. The whole scene parodies similar interpretations of the JFK assassination.
- 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.
- Most seasons actually pick up from where the previous seasons left off, such as...
- Season Five begins with George looking for a new job, after Season Four ended with his and Jerry's in-universe pilot not getting picked up for a series proper.
- Season Eight starts with the Rosses starting up a foundation for Susan, and nabbing George on the board of directors, after Season Seven ended with Susan dying from sealing envelopes that had toxic adhesive (and their engagement was a thread that ran through the entire season). In fact, George mentions he just spent the last three months mourning (not really) her death, in reference to the summer hiatus between the two seasons.
- Season Nine has George still recovering from the injuries he sustained in the Season Eight finale from falling down the stairs while his legs were in a state of extreme atrophy.
- Most seasons actually pick up from where the previous seasons left off, such as...
- Contrived Coincidence: Almost every episode with an A plot and B plot will have them collide at the end, no matter how unlikely. This is made fun of in "The Gum", where George's truthful explanations for the increasingly absurd complications of the plot lead a woman he's trying to impress to believe he's undergoing Sanity Slippage.
- Control Freak: After George's therapist doesn't think the "Jerry" pilot script is funny, George accuses Jerry of being a control freak, having taken out all his good lines.
- The Couch
- "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: "YOU HAD TO HOP ON THE PLANE!!!"
George: There's no house! It's a lie! There's no solarium. There's no Prickly Pete. There's no other solarium.
- 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:
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.
- 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)
- All but Michael Richards were prone to this... so much so, in fact, that Richards would try to not lose his cool whenever his costars would start to break up. Hilarious Outtakes aside, it's not uncommon to see either Seinfeld or Alexander stifle a smile; in fact, Alexander has acknowledged his breaking up at the end of "The Parking Garage," when Kramer's car actually stalled for real when he tries to get it started.
- Jerry is unable to hold in his laughter during Library Detective Bookman's monologues. The fact that he's played by Phillip Baker Hall, and delivers them completely straight probably hast something to do with it.
- Courtroom Episode: Several, including the finale.
- 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.
- *Crack!* "Oh, My Back!": The hyper-competitive Izzy Mandelbaum throws out his back in "The English Patient" trying to show up Morty Seinfeld in the exercise room. Later, he tries to jump out of bed ... and he does it again. And so does his son. And his father.
- In "The Nap", Elaine throws her back out and falls down by trying to move a mattress into her bedroom. The laughs are multiplied by the fact that the mattress smells terrible. She somehow procures a telephone and calls Jerry, begging him to come over and help her because, as she puts it, she's "trapped under a funky mattress".
- Crazy Cultural Comparison: "Festivus," George's dad's alternative to Christmas.
- Creator Breakdown: Invoked. Particularly in the early seasons, before the show about nothing theme really took off the episodes worked around the theme that what we saw happening to Jerry was used as inspiration for his stand-up routines, with the content of the routines we saw reflecting these experiences.
- Creepy Doll: In "The Doll", George is disturbed by one of his fiancee's dolls because it looks exactly like George's mother.George: Susan has this doll collection. One of the dolls looks exactly like my mother. She likes to sleep with it.Jerry: Wow. You were in bed with your mother last night?George: Felt like it. I tell you, this doll is pretty spooky. It's really freakin' me out, man.
Jerry: You gotta get rid of this thing! I keep thinking it's gonna come to life at night and kill me!
- When Jerry and Kramer switched apartments, one of the things that disturbed him to most was a ventriloquist dummy Kramer referred to as "Mr. Marbles."
- Creepy Gym Coach: Offhandedly implied by Jerry at one point when he mentions that a gym teacher once told him something along the lines of someone only being gay if they get an erection as a result of contact with another man, not simple attraction to them. However, the only gym teacher actually physically seen in the series was a vicious bully, but not a pervert.
- Cringe Comedy
- Crippling the Competition: The Tonya Harding case is parodied in an episode where Jerry is dating Bette Midler's understudy in a stage production of Rochelle, Rochelle. When George and Jerry accidentally injure Midler in a celebrity softball game, forcing Jerry's girlfriend into the role, New Yorkers accuse Jerry of injuring her intentionally.
- The Croc Is Ticking: Elaine uses this technique by giving a container of Tic-Tacs to an employee who sneaks up on her in inconvenient situations.
- Crossing the Burnt Bridge: A variation in "The Slicer": George interviews at Kruger Industrial Smoothing, but notices that he's in the photograph on Kruger's desk. It turns out he got into a fight with Kruger at the beach years ago, and is concerned he won't get the job once the photo jogs Kruger's memory.
- Cult: The Sunshine Carpet Cleaners. They get to Wilhelm.Wilhelm: Most of the world is carpeted. And one day, we will do the cleaning.
- Cultural Translation: In the German dub of "The Statue", Jerry plays "Ix ax ux", which is an equivalent of "Inka dink".
- Curse Cut Short: Elaine.
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 Fire":
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...
- In "The Shoes":
Elaine: Oh yeah, because she caught you jer-
George: NEVER MIND.
Jerry: Y'know, George isn't too happy, uh, about your new friendship.
- In "The Pool Guy":
Elaine: Yeah? Well I don't really give a sh- (shuts bathroom door)
Elaine: I'm not difficult; I'm easy.
- In "The Package", Elaine addresses her medical chart, where it claims she was difficult at an earlier appointment:
Jerry: Why? Because you dress casual and sleep with a lot of guys?
Elaine: ...Listen to me, you little sh-
(Jerry and Elaine fake a smile for Kramer's camera)
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.
- In "The Finale":
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)
- Cynicism Catalyst: In "The Statue", after George fails to get back the statue that he suspects Ray stole:George: There's just no justice. This experience has changed me. It's made me more cynical, more bitter, more jaded.
George: Sure, why not.
Kramer: Do you realize this is gonna be on our permanent records? Are you aware of this?
- In "The Postponement", Elaine seemed to display traits of this, not caring at all that she got in trouble with the law:
Elaine: (sarcastic) Oh, dear.
Kramer: It can never be erased. It'll follow us wherever we go for the rest of our lives. I'll never be able to get a job. I mean, doesn't that concern you? Everything I've worked for, down the drain, because of one stupid mistake. I mean, aren't we entitled to make one mistake in our lives, Jerry?
Jerry: We're gonna change the system.
Elaine: Well, I could care less. I hope it is on our record. I'm just sorry they didn't lock me up.
- 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. George wins. note
- The unseen character Ray McKigney in "The Puffy Shirt", whose hand modeling career was tragically cut short by masturbating so much that his hand deformed to a "claw" shape.
- Barry the chimpanzee in "The Face Painter". One of the ways that Mr. Pless noticed something was wrong with him was that he curtailed his "autoerotic activities".
- Deadpan Snarker: Jerry.
- Death Glare: In "The Strike", Jerry gives one to Kramer when he says "Another Festivus miracle!" after Gwen arrives to tell off Jerry.
- Deconstruction: "The Bizarro Jerry" applies Elaine's behavior to the "Bizarro" counterparts to Jerry, George, and Kramer. Being actually decent people, they are put off by the way she acts, and the last straw for them is when her trademark "get out" shove winds up injuring one of them.
- Defiled Forever: Played for Laughs in "The Betrayal." Sue Ellen angrily calls off her marriage to Pinter because Elaine once had sex with him in the past. On the other hand, considering the way George blurted it out during the wedding ceremony, he did indeed make it sound like it only happened yesterday.
- Definite Article Title: All but one episode (Male Unbonding) has a title that begins with "The." (though some online guides list that episode as "The Male Unbonding"). The reason for this is Jerry Seinfeld didn't want the writers wasting time trying to come up with "clever" episode titles and rather they focused on the scripts themselves (a smart decision).
- Deliberately Jumping the Gun: In an episode, Jerry was in a footrace in high school and had gotten away with literally jumping the gun, taking a 10 yard lead before the race started, and for some reason nobody noticed except George. Many years later, a guy he beat comes back for a do-over.
- Department of Redundancy Department:Kramer: Jerry, this relationship is killing me. The distance, the longing, the distance...
George: I know you're there, laughing at me! Laughing and lying and laughing!
- In "The Pool Guy" when George calls out to Jerry, Elaine, and Susan in the theater:
Elaine: We don't have to name names, or, point fingers, or... name names!
- In "The Susie":
- Description Cut: In "The Gum", Kramer wants to wear a King Henry VIII 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.
- Designated Victim: While not direct, it was building up for years. In the finale this trope comes into play. While the "Seinfeld" characters are indeed flawed and do bad things, the people who screw the gang over and oppress them socially are actually mean. There's the Rosses who show disdain for the gang. Marla Penny, who gets upset because of a silly contest. The white Puerto Ricans who treat Kramer with disdain, like he's a dark-skinned "'bro'-saying wog," a racial slur for southern Europeans and Middle Easterners. There's Bookman, who gets mad with Jerry for an overdue book. The gang did not deserve most of what they got. Some of whom reacted with violence.
- Dice Roll Death: Susan dies from being poisoned after licking too many stamps, specifically because those particular stamps were cheap and used toxic glue. Had the stamps been higher quality or had she not licked them all (and had instead used, say, a sponge), she would've lived.
- Didn't Think This Through: This often applies to Kramer.
- In "The Secretary":Jerry: ...Where are your clothes??
Kramer: I told you: I sold them to Bania.
Jerry: You mean, what you were wearing?!
Jerry: How did you expect to get out of here??
Kramer: Well I didn't think ahead!
- In "The Van Buren Boys":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!
- In "The Wallet", Morty Seinfeld insists on paying for dinner, despite that he lost his wallet. Jerry calls him on it and goes to the bathroom. While he's gone:Morty: How the hell am I gonna pay for this?
- In "The Secretary":
- 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.
- Digital Destruction: TV networks show no mercy◊
- Dining in the Buff: In "The Apology", Jerry dates a nudist named Melissa. She eats waffles and attempts to open a jar of pickles.
- Disabled Love Interest: Lola, who was denied "The Handicap Spot".
- Dispense with the Pleasantries: Done in "The Doodle":Newman: Hello, Jerry. What a pleasant surprise.
Jerry: There's nothing pleasant about it, Newman, so let's just cut the crap!
- Disproportionate Retribution:
- 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.
- In "The Millennium", just because of a little bit of bad customer service, Elaine becomes determined to drive the store Putumayo out of business.
- In "The Nose Job":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...
- Later: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...
- In "The Nose Job":
- 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, which Jerry proclaims is the world's first, by saying "I hate you" to each other at the exact same time.
- Distant Prologue: If you watch "The Betrayal" in sequential order, the episode begins years ago when Jerry first moved across the hall from Kramer.
- Distinction Without a Difference: In "The Burning":Kramer: You got any Ipecac?
Jerry: Ipecac? Kramer, I really think you guys are going too far with this.
Kramer: No, Mickey, he swallowed twelve aspirin.
Jerry: Did he overdose?
Kramer: No, it's just too much.
- Distracted by the Sexy:
- Elaine distracts men with her display of fanservice in multiple occasions:
- In "The Revenge": "So, I'm going to a nudist colony next week...".
- In "The Shoes", by putting her cleavage in Russell Dalrymple's face.
- Unknowingly in "The Gum" when her shirt is unbuttoned, displaying her cleavage to Lloyd Braun.
- In "The Caddy", Sue Ellen Mischkie accidentally causes a car accident by walking around in a bra with no shirt, starting a trend.
- Elaine distracts men with her display of fanservice in multiple occasions:
- Does Not Understand Sarcasm: Kramer.Kramer: Do you have a leaf blower?Jerry: Yeah, it's in my tool shed, next to my ride-on lawnmower.[minutes later]Kramer: Now, where's that tool shed of yours?
- When Kramer is losing sleep due to the neon sign outside his window.Kramer: I'm just gonna have to move in here with you.Jerry: Or I can just go live in the park! Yeah, you can knock down these walls, get an eight-room suite!Kramer: Jerry, these are load-bearing walls! They're not gonna come down!
- After Poppy pees on Jerry's couch.Kramer: Ah, you're making too much of it.Jerry: Yeah, you're right. It's just a natural human function... happens to be on my sofa, instead of in the toilet, where it would normally be!Kramer: Right!
- In "The Slicer":Kramer: Oh, and Jerry, we're gonna need a case of Kaiser rolls.
Jerry: I think we might have one left in the stockroom.
Kramer: Hey, and I couldn't find that stock room.
- Bania at times, such as this example from "The Soup" after Bania gives him an Armani suit:Bania: You worn the suit yet?
Jerry: Actually I did! I put it on last night and slept in it.
Jerry: (annoyed) Oh, I'm joking.
- When Kramer is losing sleep due to the neon sign outside his window.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: In the same episode where Elaine laments that the guy she really likes is pro-life instead of pro-choice like her, Kramer and Poppy have an argument about pizza toppings reminiscent of a pro-life vs. pro-choice debate.Poppy: No no no, you can't-a put-a cucumbers on a pizza.
Kramer: Well, why not? I like cucumbers.
Poppy: That's-a not a pizza. It'll taste-a terrible.
Kramer: Yeah, but that's the idea. You make your own pie.
Poppy: Yes, but we cannot-a give-a the people the right to choose any topping they want! Now, on this issue there can-a be no debate!
Kramer: What gives you the right to tell me how I would make my pie?!
Poppy: Because it's a pizza!
Kramer: It's not a pizza until it comes out of the oven!
Poppy: It's a pizza the moment you put-a you' fists in the dough!
Kramer: No, it isn't!
Poppy: Yes it is!
- Jerry keeps having relationships where the woman is very interested in having sex but withholds something else which he then tries to obtain. One relationship was with a massage therapist and ended when Jerry tried to force her hands onto his back for a massage and the other was with a woman with an impressive toy collection which ended when Kramer revealed he had been "drugging" her and playing with her toys.
- A visual one in "The Cheever Letters": Jerry mentions to George that his girlfriend in the episode dirty-talked to him, and George wanted an example. Jerry quietly told George what she told Jerry, and George accidentally squirts some ketchup in response. Obviously this is a reference to an ejaculation.
- The whole Enzo/Gino scenario in "The Barber" is played like a wife in a long-lasting marriage having an affair with a younger man, and the husband finding out about it.
- Don't Explain the Joke:Kramer: Well, I signed up for a food delivery service, Now We're Cookin'. That's a play on words.
Maxwell: My name is Maxwell. I'm from Maid To Order. It's a pun.
- In the same episode:
Executive: We're bit confused. Why was this man Jerry's butler?
- In "The Checks", after Jerry and George show the Jerry pilot to some Japanese execs:
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.
Kramer: (holding up a speed limit sign that reads "165") Speed limit, one hundred and sixty-five miles per hour. See? They slipped a one in there. (laughing) Those kids with the spray paint, God love 'em.
- In "The Pothole", Kramer comments on various items he found while cleaning the highway:
- 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.
Kramer: Kramerica Industries lives! Let's get back to work!
- In "The Voice":
(Darrin enters Kramer's apartment and they shut the door; the camera holds on their door, and a couple seconds later they open it again)
Kramer: Let's see what Jerry has to eat.
- Doppelgänger Dating: In "The Cartoon" and "The Invitations".
- 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. On the other hand, 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.
- Another double standard shows up in a later episode, combined with a continuity error. In the episode "The Shower Head," when J. Peterman merely suspects Elaine of being a drug addict, he immediately becomes angry with her and fires her on the spot. In the later episode "The Bookstore," when one of Peterman's employees actually is a drug addict, he assigns Elaine to be his nurse while he gets it out of his system.
- Spoofed in one episode, where Kramer advises Jerry against getting married because, as he puts it, married couples talk about how their days went. So, the Seinfeld Gang talking about how their days went is okay, a married couple doing it is not. Right...
- In "The Movie", George is stopped twice by the ticket ripper when he tries to re-enter the theater without presenting his ticket stub, irritating him for having to waste his friends' tickets on himself. Meanwhile, Kramer is able to get in without showing a ticket stub at all.
- When Jerry tells Elaine he believes his dentist and the dental technician might have sexually assaulted him when he was under the gas, she dismisses his anxiety with "So you were violated under the gas. So what?" Granted, Jerry is likely just being paranoid, but it's improbable she would accept a reaction like that from him if the situations had been reversed.
- Double Take: There's a brilliant one in "The Chinese Woman" when Jerry's latest girlfriend, Donna Chang (a non-Asian, mind you) says "Ridicurous." Jerry does a double take when he isn't sure if he heard her correctly.
- Downer Ending: The series finale, where the main four got sent to prison and were still there by the time the credits rolled.
- Drench Celebration: One episode had this in retrospect. In Improv comedy club, a friend of Jerry's was on the softball team. They won a game and Kramer convinced him to pour a cooler full of Gatorade over the coach's head. The coach ended up dying of exposure and the friend developed a drug problem out of guilt.
- Driving a Desk: Happens rather frequently, but in particular, "The Bris". George's car is clearly in Park during the driving scenes.
- Drives Like Crazy: Elaine, as seen in "The Wait Out."
- Drop-In Character: Kramer.
- 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.
- Dude, Not Funny!: In-Universe examples.
- 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.
- In another episode, Jerry, George, and Kramer start jumping for joy when "The murderer struck again!", thereby automatically clearing Kramer's name. They immediately stop when they see a grieving couple walking by.
- An intentional case in 'The Butter Shave' where Jerry purposely bombs on stage to make things harder for when Kenny Bania follows him:
- Duel of Seduction: There's one with no ulterior motive in "The Package". George accidentally receives a photo that isn't his from the photo store. Assuming the body in it belongs to Sheila, he thinks it's a come-on and wants to ask her out. Kramer criticizes George for not engaging in the game.Kramer: She goes to these lengths to entice you, and your only response is "Gee I really like your picture. Would you like to go out on a date with me please?"
George: No good?
Kramer: George, it's the timeless art of seduction. You got to join in the dance. She sends you an enticing photo, you send her one right back.
- Dump Them All: In the backwards episode, one woman chooses this solution.
- Dying Declaration of Love: 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. Russel Dalrymple might have said something to this effect in "The Pilot, Part 2" when he is seen drifting out to sea 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!"
- Dynamic Entry: Kramer, every time he comes through the door.
- 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, but 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.
- During the first two season, Jerry, George and Elaine were all said to have siblings. In Season 3 and onwards, Jerry and George were retconned into being only children and, aside from her father, Elaine's family is never shown or talked about in detail.
- 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 David 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 (because the other characters had all aged five years by then.)
- In "The Handicap Spot," Estelle Costanza says that Kramer is "a real troublemaker" and "altogether crazy." In later episodes, she seems quite fond of him, even to the point of flirting with him.
- 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 makes up the phony charity he says he'd like to be in a position to give away money to worthy people. Guess he forgot when 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.
- The format of the first four or so seasons seem to play out more like a stage play, as is common with many Studio Audience, multi camera sitcoms. Later, despite still retaining an audience and multiple cameras, the overall format broadened, placing the characters in more locations throughout the show, and even outdoors, more akin to single camera sitcoms.
- The episodes also generally followed a single plot until about midway through season four, when the show took on an A-Plot, B-Plot, C-Plot format (with each character, naturally, getting his/her own plot).
- Ear Worm: 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. His randomly singing snippets of the song causes it to get stuck in Elaine's father's head as well.
- 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!" (and later: "Co-stanza!") Later, Jerry is mumbling that jingle to himself.
- Easily Condemned: In their respective episodes "The Kiss Hello" and "The English Patient," because Jerry doesn't want to get kissed hello and Elaine doesn't like the eponymous movie, everybody treats them like they're evil monsters.
- Easily Forgiven: Jerry has this in a couple episodes.
- In "The Kiss Hello," the other apartment tenants are very angry with him for not wanting to get kissed hello, and in the next episode, everything's okay again. Alternatively, it might just be a case of Status Quo Is God.
- In "The Hamptons," his bringing over a good dinner was all he needed to get back on his girlfriend's father's good side.
- The Easy Way or the Hard Way: In "The Yada Yada", Elaine goes to the adoption agent to convince him to let Beth and Arnie have a baby:Elaine: Look it, look it, Ryan. These people are gettin' a baby. Period. Now, we can do this the easy way, or... we can do this... the fun way.
- 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".
- Eldritch Abomination: To Jerry anyways, the woman with the man hands.
- 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".
- '80s Hair: Probably one of the first 90's sitcoms to almost entirely avert this (even in The Pilot, which technically aired in the late-80's).
- 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 Hobby: Jerry is secretly a fan of Melrose Place. His Girl of the Week is a cop and doesn't believe him when he says he never watches the show, so she has him hooked up to a Lie Detector and has the investigating detective ask him probing questions about plots going on on MP. Jerry is cool for a while but eventually cracks.
- 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 and 4 episodes, George is nicknamed "Biff" by Jerry. George is always annoyed by being associated with one of the biggest losers of theatre.
- In "The Maid", George is nicknamed "Koko" because he looked like a monkey when he was going on a tirade to Watkins about stealing his nickname (T-Bone). Later in the episode, George is nicknamed "Gammy", much to his annoyance.
- In "The Library", George recalls how his High School gym teacher always called him "Cantstandya".
- Elaine in "The Strongbox" is called "Lois Loan", due to her dating a homeless guy whom she wants to give money to. Elaine calls herself this name towards the end of the episode.
- Emergency Cargo Dump: Parodied in "The Bottle Deposit," where Kramer and Newman - driving a mail truck full of bags of empty soda cans and bottles to turn them in for refunds - find Tony the mechanic driving Jerry's stolen car. They tail him, but he seems to be slipping away, so to gain speed, Kramer decides to lighten the truck by dumping out all their bags of cans and bottles, much to Newman's horror. Finally, Kramer still feels they're too heavy, so he manages to kick Newman out of the truck and press on; then, he gains speed.
- 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.
- Ephebophile: Elaine accuses George and Jerry of being this in "The Shoes" when George is caught staring at Russell's daughter's cleavage. Jerry defends himself:Jerry: You don't consider age in the face of cleavage. This occurs on a molecular level, you can't control it! We're like some kind of weird fish where the eyes operate independently of the head.
- Episode on a Plane: "The Airport."
- Establishing Character Moment:
Bubble Boy: HEY, MA! WHAT THE HELL DO I GOTTA DO TO GET SOME FOOD AROUND HERE?!? I'M STARVING, AND IF IT'S PEANUT BUTTER, I'LL SHOVE IT IN YOUR FACE!!
- "The Phone Message" is, in many ways, this for Jerry. It's the first time we see Jerry having an ugly debate over something trivial (in this case, a Dockers TV commercial), a trait that would be a Running Gag in the series, where Jerry finds the most petty reasons to break up with his girlfriend-of-the-week.
- From "The Bubble Boy", both George and Susan meet up with the title character's family, and the family asks if they could meet him. He's then heard screaming at his mom for food, which proves how much of a Jerkass he is revealed to be. His voice also indicates that he is an adult who is too lazy to fend for himself.
- 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 "The Muffin Tops", Elaine sells muffin tops, and needs to dispose of the stumps (making them without stumps just isn't the same, you see). She drops them off at a homeless shelter, but when she goes to drop off another batch, they refuse to take any more since the homeless all refused to eat them, feeling insulted that they were given what they assumed to be half-eaten leftovers. Later, Kramer tries dropping them off at a garbage dump, only to be turned away because the owner doesn't consider them bad enough to qualify as garbage.
- In "The Smelly Car", Jerry finally rids himself of the unkillable B.O. in his car by just abandoning the car next to some random guy sitting on the side of the road and leaving the keys inside, gesturing to him as if to say, "it's yours now". The guy gets inside, and the episode ends with a freeze frame of his face making an expression that clearly indicates he isn't going to take it.
- In "The Big Salad", 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!
- In "The Bookstore", 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 store locations in the city 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 stores. She calls George a sick and evil man for trying to give the flagged book to the less fortunate.
- In "The Strike", Kramer comes home from a shift at H&H Bagels, and offers Jerry and George free bagels. But he adds: "They're day-olds. The homeless won't even touch 'em." The two are promptly disgusted.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Donald O'Brian, the neo-Nazi leader George was mistaken for in "The Limo", was even denounced by David Duke (then president of the Ku Klux Klan) as a "violent extremist."
- Everyone Has Standards:
- In "The Strike," Kramer thought Festivus was too weird even for a Cloudcuckoolander like him.
- Jerry may himself be an antisocial and misanthropic jerk, but he didn't like having to deal with the paranoid and abrasive Sid Fields in "The Old Man."
- A funny one shows up in "The Pledge Drive." Even though Jerry is well-known as a neat freak, he finds the city-wide fad (that Mr. Pitt inadvertently started) of eating candy and other such sweet treats with utensils to be more off-putting than cool.
- Everything Is Racist: Uncle Leo seems to think so.He's an anti-Semite!
- Ramon the pool guy automatically assumes that the reason Jerry doesn't want to be friends with him must be because Jerry is prejudiced against people who clean pools for a living.
- A similar example, a doorman assumes everything Jerry says to him is some kind of prejudiced jab against his job and/or social class. Of course, he's also a huge troll, so he may have just been doing it to mess with Jerry.Jerry: How about those Knicks?
Doorman: Oh, I see, on the sports page.
Doorman: What makes you think I wasn't reading the Wall Street page? Oh, I know, because I'm the uneducated doorman!
- A similar example, a doorman assumes everything Jerry says to him is some kind of prejudiced jab against his job and/or social class. Of course, he's also a huge troll, so he may have just been doing it to mess with Jerry.
- George unwittingly offends his boss Mr. Morgan by remarking that he looks like Sugar Ray Leonard, causing Morgan to accuse George of thinking all black people look alike. George spends the rest of the episode tracking down nearly every black character who had previously been on the show to prove to Morgan that he's not racist by getting one of them to be (or pretend to be) his friend, eventually tricking Carl the exterminator into unwittingly going along with him to a restaurant where Morgan is currently eating. Morgan eventually figures out the ruse and storms out in anger, leaving George and Carl at the table. A depressed George then asks for the check, only for a black waiter to walk up and tell him that Sugar Ray can eat there for free whenever he wants. The episode ends with the newly vindicated George running out of the restaurant after Morgan.
- Parodied in "The Yada-Yada-Yada," on two different levels: for one thing, Jerry finds Tim Whatley's conversion to Judaism for the jokes offensive... as a comedian, not as a Jew. However, Jerry makes remarks about dentists, and the next thing he knows, he's labeled an Anti-Dentite, and is all but ostracized for it.
- In another episode, Jerry is trying to date a Native American woman but is held back by constantly looking like a racist to her (such as for doing things like using the phrase "Indian giver"). One particularly awkward case was when he was attempting to figure out directions to a Chinese restaurant and asked a mailman who was bent down and collecting letters from a mailbox. The mailman then stands up and turns around, revealing that he is, of course, Chinese, and is extremely offended.Jerry: You know, I don't get it. Not allowed to ask a Chinese person where the Chinese restaurant is? I mean, aren't we all getting a little too sensitive? If someone asked me "Which way's Israel?", I wouldn't fly off the handle.
- When Jerry accidentally calls a woman, named Chang, because George's phone line was messed up and ends up asking her on a date, he tells Elaine he like Chinese women.Elaine: Isn't that a little racist?Jerry: If I like their race, how can that be racist?
- Ramon the pool guy automatically assumes that the reason Jerry doesn't want to be friends with him must be because Jerry is prejudiced against people who clean pools for a living.
- Everytown, America: Kramer turns his apartment facade into "Anytown, USA", which is waterlogged with Type-I Eagleland and all the tropes accompanying it. This was during the "Serenity Now" episode.
- Evil-Detecting Dog: In "The Wink", Elaine is barked at by James's dogs. Apparently they knew Elaine hated dogs from her experience in "The Engagement".
- Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: In "The Little Kicks", Jerry jokes that Brody the movie bootlegger is working on quite a foodbag.Brody: (serious) It's for all of us. Is there a problem?
Kramer: Brody, come on, he's just kidding. He's a joke maker, tell 'im, Jerry.
Jerry: (nervously) I'm a joke maker.
- Exact Words: George often asks people what someone's exact words were, to the point where Jerry can see it coming.George: So she doesn't like me?
George: She said that?
George: She told you she doesn't like me!
George: What were her exact-
Jerry: "I don't like him."
- Jerry puts a damper on Newman's new millennium party by telling him that by booking the venue for "the millennium New Year" he actually booked it one year too late, since the new millennium doesn't technically start until 2001, but everyone else will have already celebrated it in 2000 and will have stopped caring about it by the time of Newman's party.
- Puddy promises Elaine that he'll give up painting his face for hockey games. So he paints his chest instead.
- George buys a car while under the impression that it used to belong to Jon Voight. The salesman didn't technically lie about the name of its previous owner, he just failed to clarify that said owner was a John Voight instead.
- Frank uses the phrase "serenity now" to (futilely) attempt to calm himself down. The tape he listened to never mentioned what tone of voice he had to use for the phrase, so he chooses to shout it each time.
- Extra-Long Episode: Occasionally did hour-long episodes every once in a while, and they two were split into half-hour two-parters in syndication; two of these were Clip Shows, while another was the Grand Finale. As far as running time goes, all episodes originally ran for 22 minutes (which was standard practice at the time), except for, "The Yada Yada," which originally ran 26 minutes with limited commercials.
- Extreme Doormat: George in "The Baby Shower"; he intends to tell off an old girlfriend but is upstaged by one of Jerry's old girlfriends telling Jerry off, so George abandons his plan and tries to warm up to her instead. By the end of the episode, George is helping a woman he despises carry things.
- Eyepatch of Power: In "The Scofflaw", Kramer meets a police officer who wears an eyepatch. Thinking it looks cool, Kramer decides to start wearing one as well.Jerry: You look like a pirate.Kramer: I want to be a pirate.
- The Faceless: George Steinbrenner, voiced by Larry David. The real Steinbrenner was supposed to cameo as himself in the season 7 finale but backed out.
- Failure Is the Only Option
- Fake Charity: The Human Fund from "The Strike", which George invented so he didn't have to give christmas gifts at work.
- Fan Disservice: Used in-universe in one episode when Jerry's girlfriend walks around the apartment naked. He is initially thrilled by this, but seeing her do strenuous tasks naked that involve her muscles contracting are hard for him to stomach, leading to him later explaining to George the concept of "good naked" and "bad naked." When Jerry tries walking around the house naked himself, his girlfriend sees it as "bad naked" entirely.
- Fan Myopia: Humorously invoked in the episode "The Soup;" George assumes that his then-love interest will find horse manure to be as fascinating a topic as he does. It prompts her to come up with a fake boyfriend. Though it does work later on when George meets Marisa Tomei.
- Fanservice: Notice throughout the final seasons, the Girls of the Week were wearing shorter and shorter skirts.
- 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!Jerry: They do have their own schools!Kramer: Aaahhh!!!
Priest: And this offends you as a Jewish person?Jerry: No, it offends me as a comedian!
- Later, as Jerry meets with a priest...
- Fat Best Friend: Kramer's buddy and Jerry's antagonist Newman.
- George is pretty much a more subtle example of this; he's nowhere near as huge as Newman is, however, his own, "Generous proportions" are brought up on occasion.
- Faux Affably Evil: Newman, complete with Evil Laugh. Though he seems to think it's the other way around.Elaine: Perhaps there's more to Newman than meets the eye?Jerry: No, there's less. I've looked into his eyes. He's pure evil.
- Faux Death: In "The Friar's Club", Kramer's been without a full night's sleep for days (he was trying to take short naps throughout the day instead, patterning his sleep habits after Da Vinci), so while on a date with Connie, he passes out from exhaustion. Connie jumps to conclusions and thinks he's dead, and calls her mob friends to dump Kramer's "dead" body in the Hudson River.
- Faux Interracial Relationship:
- 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!
Gene: Well, we have a wide variety of Gene picks.
- In "The Comeback", Elaine doesn't know what to rent from the video store now that Vincent stopped making picks:
Elaine: Gene's trash.
Gene: (hurt) I'm Gene.
Elaine: (embarrassed, smiles nervously) Hi.
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.
- In "The Strongbox", Jerry confronts a neighbor with whom he's already on thin ice with:
Jerry: I thought maybe you'd clean it up, or your maid, there.
Phil: That's my wife.
Jerry: All right, I think we're done here.
- Finger-Licking Poison: Susan drops dead from licking toxic envelopes in "The Invitations."
- Finishing Each Other's Sentences: One of Jerry's girlfriends did this; the trope is subverted in that how she finishes Jerry's sentence is not what he was going to say at all.Jerry: I'll tell you Lisi, I never expected that movie to—Lisi: —End underwater?Jerry: ...Be that long.Jerry: I mean, most action movies are—Lisi: So much more violent.Jerry: (Beat)—not as long.
- Firing Day: Elaine can't bring herself to fire somebody when she is running the Peterman magazine. The mailroom toughguy is so intimidating that every time she tries to fire him she chickens out and promotes him instead. This leads to all of her other senior staff quitting in indignation when he winds up over their heads.
- First Name Ultimatum: "Newman." Probably his last name, but still.
- Flanderization: Everyone goes through some level of this, except arguably Jerry.
- His neat-freak tendencies grew, somewhat.
- Lampshaded by Estelle Costanza in season 4's "The Handicap Spot": "And Jerry, I used to think was nice. I don't know what happened to him."
- 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."
- Elaine's trademark "Get Out!!" complete with shove gets so out of control that she pushes people with enough force to knock them down. Reality Ensues in "The Bizzare Jerry" when she does this to Kevin and he's annoyed and angry like most people would be (the fact that he appears to be genuinely injured doesn't help either).
- 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.
Frank: Blow out the candles! Blow out the candles, I said! Blow out the damn candles!
- 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:
Estelle: Stop it, Frank! You're killing him!
- In "The Caddy", Elaine is at a party chatting with her high school boyfriend, who then follows Sue Ellen Mischke out the door.
- Flash Forward: Occurs in "The Invitations": Jerry realizes that if George and Elaine both get married and move to another borough, 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...
- Flea Episode: In "The Doodle", Jerry gets fleas. His apartment has to get fumigated, which leads to a frantic search in the toxic gasses for something Elaine left in there, as well as Kramer accidentally poisoning himself and losing the sense of taste. Eventually, Jerry finds out that he got the fleas from Newman.
- 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 driver 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.
- Plus that waitress at Monk's who used her middle finger for scratching her nose and pointing things out in the menu.
- 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!"
- In "The Betrayal", George eats a Clams Casino and remarks, "Hmm, tastes a little funky." Jerry assures him: "I'm sure it's fine." In the next scene, George says something's not sitting right.
- For the Evulz: George Steinbrenner once threatened to move the Yankees to New Jersey "...just to upset people!"
- 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...
- In "The Invitations", Kramer flips out at how similar Jerry's new girlfriend Jeannie is to him, saying "It's too much! I can't take it!" Jerry scoffs at this, but by the episode's end, he's thinking the exact same thing.
- 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.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Jerry (phlegmatic) - apathetic, indifferent, unconcerned with his anybody's problems; George (melancholic) - rude, stubborn; Kramer (sanguine) - energetic, flighty, out-there; and Elaine (choleric) - confident, hard to embarrass.
- Freak Out: Jerry loses it in "The Diplomat's Club" after getting bugged about every little detail by his assistant.
- Freedom from Choice: Jerry's big problem with his assistant, Katie, in "The Diplomat's Club"; she has multiple choice options for every single thing, finally causing Jerry to snap:Jerry: I don't have a preference, okay! Just make a decision yourself! Stop bothering me with every minor little detail, please?
- Freeze-Frame Ending: The show had the short freeze frame from the beginning for Larry David (Seasons One through Seven) and Jerry Seinfeld (Seasons Eight and Nine) as executive producer, and co-executive producers George Shapiro & Howard West.
- Fridge Brilliance: In-Universe example. Jerry is dating a girl whose name he can't remember. The only clue he gets is that it rhymes with a female body part. He and George go over a list of names they can think of, but only come up with nonsense names (Mulva, Heast) or rather outdated names (Bovary). When the girl realizes Jerry doesn't know her name, she gives him one guess. He fails it and she leaves him. Just after she leaves, he goes to the fridge and...Jerry: Oh! Oh! (runs to the window) Dolores!
- Friend to All Living Things: Parodied with George's then-girlfriend in "The Merv Griffin Show." She doesn't just like animals; it's to the point that she likes and cares about animals a lot more than she does George. It makes you wonder how he got her to go out with him in the first place.
- "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 jewelry 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.
- Subverted with Jerry who lives in a small, one bedroom apartment despite being a celebrity comedian with enough significance to regularly appear on primetime television.
- 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.)
- The series subverts the trope for the most part. While the four characters all spend a lot of time in each other's company, it's made clear that the only thing connecting Elaine, George, and Kramer are their friendships with Jerry. They probably wouldn't hang out nearly as much (or at all) if Jerry left the picture.
- 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.
Elaine: We have to have sex to save the friendship!Jerry: Sex... to save the friendship?
- 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.
- From My Own Personal Garden: Parodied.Guest (to Kramer): You made this salad?Kramer: Yes, I prepared it as I bathed!
- Full-Name Basis: The woman who always introduced herself as Donna Chang (which she changed from Changstein), which Jerry believes she does because she likes people thinking she's Chinese.
- Crazy Joe Davola is always referred to as Crazy Joe Davola.
- The "Fun" in "Funeral": "The Susie".
- Funny Answering Machine / Song Parody: George's classic message, sung to the tune of the theme from The Greatest American Hero.
- Funny Background Event: Watch Puddy while Jerry is on the phone with Elaine in "The Dealership": He's just blankly staring into space.
- Funny Foreigner: Babu Bhatt.
- Testikov from "The Marine Biologist".
- The doctor who treats Elaine after she is bitten by a dog in "The Glasses".Elaine: That's it? I don't need a shot?
Doctor: No shot. Dog bite.
Elaine: I know I wasn't shot. Do I need a shot?
Doctor: (slower) No shot. Dog bite. "Woof woof", not "bang bang". (walks away, clearly thinking Elaine is a complete idiot)
- Fun with Acronyms: George was fond of these:
George: Oh, this is beyond B.O. This is B.B.O.
- In "The Smelly Car":
George: She's a B.L.
- In "The Lip Reader":
Jerry: (confused) A "B.L".??
George: A "beautiful lineswoman".
- Fun with Foreign Languages: Elaine thinks the Korean women at the Nail Salon are making fun of her, which of course they are. She brings George's father, who secretly speaks Korean, to eavesdrop on their chatter, but his short temper leads him to blow his cover quickly.
- The Gambling Addict: Kramer.
- Game Night Fight: In the episode "The Bubble Boy", George and Susan play Trivial Pursuit with the title character. George asks "Who invaded Spain in the 8th century?", to which the Bubble Boy responds with "Moors". George says he's wrong as the answer card says "Moops", with the Bubble Boy pointing out that's a misprint. George sticks to his guns, leading to them arguing between "Moors" and "Moops". The Bubble Boy strangles George, and Susan stops him by popping his bubble.
- Gang of Bullies: The Van Buren Boys.
- Gasp!: The audience gives one in "The Watch" when Morty throws the wallet Jerry gave him in the garbage because it has velcro (which he hates), unaware that Jerry also put several hundred dollars inside.
- Gave Up Too Soon: The episode with the Chinese restaurant.
- Gay Moment: George, unsure of his sexuality in "The Outing", gets flustered when a male patient behind the curtain gets a sponge bath from the male nurse.
- George again after an appointment with a male masseuse says to Jerry: "it moved."
- Gayngster: Cedric and Bob, the pair of street toughs who steal Elaine's armoire, harass Kramer relentlessly for not wearing an AIDS ribbon and ultimately chase him down the street for accidentally burning a Puerto Rican flag.
- Geeky Turn-On: George gets a secretary and decides to hire completely based on ability, turning down any attractive women applying for the job since they would only distract him from getting any work done. However, the one he does hire turns out to be so efficient at her job that it makes him attracted to her anyway.
- Genre Deconstruction: To the Sitcom genre, the premise being "a series about nothing"; neither a Dom Com nor a Work Com. The Couch and many other sitcom tropes are averted. The title character is a Real Life character, and the situations are extremely mundane.
- 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?
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!
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.
- In "The Calzone":
- Get Out!:
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!!
- This is Elaine's catch phrase.
- 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:
Kramer: (laughs) What is that, a new bit?
- The Ghost: Kramer's various friends, such as Bob Saccamano and Lomez.Jerry: You sure have a lot of friends. How come I never see any of these people?Kramer: They want to know why they never see you.
- Jerry's cousin Jeffrey, the son of Uncle Leo who works for the Parks Department.
- Gilligan Cut: Seen in "The Voice" when Elaine keeps sleeping with David Puddy, and then the scene cuts to Elaine forking over lost bet money to Jerry because of it.
- Girl of the Week: Lampshaded.Elaine: Jerry, you break up with a girl every week.
- But despite this, the characters are also...
- Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Discussed.Elaine: What is so appealing to men about a Cat Fight?Jerry: Because men think if women are grabbing and clawing at each other, there's a chance they might somehow... kiss.
- Golden Moment: Averted at all costs.
- 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 Feels Good: Jerry puts a spin on this:Jerry: Thats the true spirit of Christmas; people being helped by people other than me.
- Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Discussed in one episode, when Elaine, who's firmly pro-choice, urges Jerry to not eat at a restaurant whose owner supports anti-abortion groups. He challenges this by later asking Poppy, owner of another restaurant they go to, what he thinks of abortion. Turn's out he is against it, and Elaine gets into an argument with them. Then this comes up again with a new guy she dates, after Jerry got Elaine to bring it up. He's also pro-life, and they break up over it.
- Good Is Dumb: Kramer seems to be Larry David's Author Tract on how being unselfish and caring for people makes you an idiot. Zigzagged in that Kramer's idea of 'good' is often fairly bizarre, and George is both the dumbest and most unscrupulous member of the group.
- Good News, Bad News: Frank, to Lloyd Braun in "The Serenity Now":Frank: I have good news and bad news, and they're both the same: You're fired.
- Good People Have Good Sex: Jerry says the opposite; in "The Sponge," he's of the belief that a woman being a genuinely good person is a mood-killng turnoff.
- 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.
- Got Me Doing It:
- George starts imitating Jimmy's Third-Person Person tic, which even carries over to later episodes. "George is getting upset!"
- In an earlier episode, the main characters meet Elaine's macho, controlling father. George has the "Master of the House" song from Les Miserables in his head, and periodically starts singing it. At the end of the episode, Elaine's father starts singing it to himself.
- George again, in "The Betrayal", picks up a habit of saying "you can stuff your sorries in a sack, mister." Because the episode runs backwards, it's not until the end of the episode that we learn that he picked it up from Susan when she was still alive.
- Go-to Alias:
- George had Art Vandelay, who was an architect. Usually he used this alias when he didn't need to.
- Kramer would often pretend to be H.E. Pennypacker or Dr. Van Nostrand.
- In "The Boyfriend", Jerry got his own alias, Kel Varnsen.
- Elaine also had an alias, but only used it once: Nurse Paloma, in "The Package".
- Gratuitous Spanish: A specialty of Kramer's.Tony: Hey Kramer, what are you doing mañana?Kramer: Mañana? I'm doing nada.
- In "The Millennium", Kramer (posing as H.E. Pennypacker) tastes some chips & salsa and says, "Mmm, Machu Picchu!"
- Grave Robbing: In "The Strongbox", Kramer and Jerry have to dig up a neighbor's pet bird because Kramer's strongbox key is still in it's stomach after it was buried.
- The Greys: According to George in "The Raincoats", if there was an alien invasion, they would relate first to bald humans.
- Groin Attack: In one of the outtakes for "The Trip Part 2", George is accidentally hit in the keys by, um, Kramer's keys.
- Grossout Fakeout: In "The Pick," Jerry's new girlfriend Tia sees him scratching the side of his nose, but as she's only seeing his profile as he's driving, it looks like he's picking his nose. She gets disgusted and breaks up with him, not believing that he was actually just scratching.
- Grumpy Old Man: Sid Fields in "The Old Man". Elaine's father, Alton Benes, in "The Jacket". George's father Frank could also qualify.
- Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: George in the flashback from "The Library".
- 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!
Jerry: Hey, Elaine is going to come with us, alright?
- 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:
Kramer: What? When did this happen?
Jerry: Well, j-
- Timmy flies straight into a rage when he catches George double dipping a chip in The Implant. George, being the total jerk he is, brushes him off, only to be straight out attacked by Timmy. Dude has some problems.
- 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.
- Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Susan Ross's mother.
- Harmful Healing: Kramer cures Elaine's back with some chiropractics, only for it to get worse the next day.
- Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: In "The Cartoon", when Jerry and George discuss how Jerry's latest girlfriend, Janet, looks a lot like Jerry:George: 'Cause you don't think Janet?...Jerry: No.George: Why would I...Jerry: It's ludicrous.George: Yes.Jerry: For either one of us.George: No...Jerry: So...George: Exactly.Jerry: I'm not gay.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.
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.
- In "The Red Dot", a drunk Dick interrupts Jerry's stand-up.
Dick: The only stench is coming from you.
Jerry: Hey, how you folks doing tonight?
- In "The Pen", Jerry tries to do stand-up to distract from Jack and Morty's fight, but nobody's interested.
Man: Who are you?
Jerry: Have you ever noticed how they always give you the peanuts on the planes?
Woman: Not my Harry! He flies first class!
Jerry: Who ever thought the first thing somebody wants on a plane is a peanut?
Man: I'd rather have a bottle of scotch!
- The Hedonist: Dr. Tim Whatley (Bryan Cranston)Jerry: Is this guy a dentist or Caligula??
Jerry: Oh no, I'll tell you what you did, Caligula... you combined food and sex into one disgusting, uncontrollable urge!
- George acts like one in "The Blood" when he includes food (and later television) in lovemaking.
- 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.
- "The Parking Space": In the last couple minutes, two cops approach George and Mike and tell them to move their cars. When the two plead their case on who should get the spot, it looks as if the plot is resolved because one of the cops tells Mike to move his car. But then the other cop disagrees and the two debate who's in the right.
- "The Handicapped Spot": Kramer tempts George to park in the handicapped spot early in the episode; at the end, he tempts George to park in front of a fire hydrant.
- "The Dealership": Kramer and Rick drive back onto the highway instead of returning to the dealership, to see how much farther they could go without filling the tank.
- 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:Izzy: I got married in high school.
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood: George.Frank Costanza: "Blow out the candles! Blow out the damn candles!"
- Also...George: "I need my glasses..."Frank: "You don't need glasses, you're just weak! You're weak!!"
- Hilarious Outtakes: Some season 9 episodes have audio bits from the episode in the credits.
- Hint Dropping: In "The Burning", Jerry keeps trying to get his latest girlfriend to tell him "The Tractor Story" by dropping not-so-subtle verbal hints about farms.Jerry: (playing a board game) They should update these pieces. Nobody rides horses anymore. Maybe they should change it to a tractor.Sophie: Jerry, are you embarrassed that you're losing?Jerry: Losing? You know, yesterday I lost control of my car. I almost bought the farm.Sophie: "Bought the farm"?Jerry: TRACTOR!
George: I'm George Costanza.
- In "The Bottle Deposit", George is on a special project for Wilhelm, only he doesn't know what the project is (as Wilhelm explained it in the bathroom while George stood outside). His hint dropping to a clerk (in the hopes that the clerk would know about the project and could fill him in) doesn't work.
George: Assistant to the traveling secretary? I'm, uh, workin' on the project.
Clerk: What project?
George: Payroll project. Wilhelm? Big, uh, big payroll project.
Clerk: You're gonna have to fill me in.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The series finale, where the characters finally get punished for all the people they've screwed over.
- Holier Than Thou: Elaine's boyfriend Puddy is revealed to be a Christian. When she asks him if it bothers him that she's not religious, he tells her he doesn't care because he's not the one going to Hell. He becomes very unhappy after they're told by a priest that, as a result of their extramarital sex, both are going to Hell (a sign of his self-righteous ignorance itself for not knowing that beforehand).
- Hollywood Dateless: George Costanza is a slow-witted, self-centered, ugly failure who repulses women and can't get them to go out with him... except for, oh, the forty or fifty gorgeous women he dated over the course of the show. He even got a model whom he suspected was bulimic. He winds up getting engaged to the attractive daughter of a rich, Upper East Side, WAS Py, old money couple-Susan Ross. Even if they were evenly-matched looks-wise, it's completely far-fetched status, class and money-wise.
- Hollywood Law:
- The series finale; Good Samaritan laws do not work that way. There is so much wrong here we made a list (and is examined by an actual lawyer here):
- 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 compulsory 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 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 explicitly a duty to report, not a duty to aid. note 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. Of course, in this case, the administrator could have just been trying to weasel her way out of paying, and George was cowardly enough to buckle under her intimidation and not attempt an actual lawsuit, especially since she gave him the impression that doing so would make people see him as a heartless monster.
- The series finale; Good Samaritan laws do not work that way. There is so much wrong here we made a list (and is examined by an actual lawyer here):
- Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Karen at the end of "The Chaperone", who butchers "It's a Most Unusual Day".
- 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.
- 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.
- Honest John's Dealership: George considers all car salesmen to be this, to the point where he threatens to walk out simply if a car salesman says hi, though in an earlier episode he buys a used car he wasn't interested in because the salesman claims it was owned by Jon Voight. Which it was... technically. Its former owner was John Voight, a periodontist who went to dental school with Tim Whatley.
- Hulk Speak: Kevin, the Bizarro Jerry. But only at certain times.Kevin: (hugging his friends) Me so happy. Me want to cry.
- Hype Backlash: An In-Universe example. Elaine hates The English Patient, while everyone she talks to loves it, and hates her for hating it. Her boyfriend breaks up with her, her friends boot her out of their group and replace her with the boyfriend, the waitress at Monk's refuses to serve her, and Peterman fires her (though she manages to convince him not to by agreeing to take a trip to Tunisia where the movie was filmed).
- Hypocrisy Nod: In "The Burning", George is flabbergasted 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:George: Have you ever seen anything like this?!Jerry: Never.
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?
- In "The Pick", after Jerry and George rationalized that nose picking wasn't a big deal:
George: No. That's disgusting!
- Hypocrite: Elaine is accused of being one in "The Stranded" when she criticizes George's girlfriend, Ava, of wearing fur. Ava asks Elaine if she ever eats meat, and Elaine says she occasionally eats fish.Ava: So, you're a hypocrite.
George: Hey, I've eaten frogs, so nobody's perfect.
- Hypocritical Humor: The four of them chip in for a fancy TV to give to the Drake and his new wife as a wedding present, only for them to break up a few days later. They expect to get the TV back, but they find out it was donated to charity instead.Jerry: Charity? That's appalling.
George: How could anybody be so selfish and inconsiderate?
- In "The Burning," George says he strongly dislikes people just saying "it's me" as a phone call greeting, saying it's "self-centered and egotistical" - qualities George himself has in spades.
- In "The Reverse Peephole," George gladly describes his giant wallet as "an organizer," even though he's just randomly stuffing anything and everything he can find into it, making it rather disorganized.
- In the ending of "The Merv Griffin Show," Elaine says to Jerry's now-ex-girlfriend "Believe me, I've dated Jerry; I know what a monster he can be" - while offering her the same sleep-causing dinner Jerry made her eat. Ironically, in the series finale, the jury says the same thing about Elaine.
- Hypothetical Fight Debate: In "The Pool Guy," Jerry and George briefly argue over which of the two would win if they fought one another. Elaine comes in and says that George would probably win because he's more likely to fight dirty.