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  • Accidental Aesop: Despite its deliberate aversion of morals, the show does deliver aesops, even if incidentally.
    • The main characters frequently lie, and in pretty much every instance, the lie comes back to bite them in the ass by the episode's end. So the aesop? Don't lie, it only makes things worse.
    • A great many plots that are not powered by a Snowball Lie are set off by small violations of the unwritten rules of society — laughing in a concert hall, refusing junk mail, and so on. These can each be read in a variety of ways: "accept responsibility for your actions," "let's communicate with one another more," "don't take perceived slights personally," etc. Of course, they're also exaggerated for comedy and wouldn't be as funny if used as learning opportunities.
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    • The finale, divisive as it may be, does send the roundabout message of "don't be an asshole on the way up to the people who's help you'll need on the way down." Had the four main characters been generally kinder rather than the cynical, selfish jerkasses they were, they might have earned a few more friends who'd have taken their side in court rather than countless enemies who only made them look worse.
    • "The Deal" is probably the only one that plays this (mostly) straight, sending the message that feelings are complicated and you can't just turn them on and off, no matter how diplomatic you try to be about them. Despite their best efforts, Jerry and Elaine's differing feeling about casual sex were going to make having it difficult, no matter what.
    • Several viewers have noted that "The Cafe" sends the message that people shouldn't act too prideful when thinking they've done a good deed, because you'll never know if said deed really is going to benefit other people. Granted, Babu Bhatt's restaurant failed mainly because he was a bad businessman, but Jerry still gave him some rather questionable advice.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
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    • In "The Burning", was Kruger invoking Obfuscating Stupidity to George to get back at him for leaving the meetings early? Or did he truly think George was worthy of taking on such a big task by himself? Evidence of the former includes Kruger's Ironic Echo of "Thank you George, you've been great. That's it for me." and leaving George to do the project all by himself; evidence of the latter: Hey, he is Kruger, not the brightest bulb.
    • Are the core four terrible people who ruin the lives of everybody that crosses their path, or are they merely superficial and self-involved people who wind up at the center of a lot of misunderstandings? Word of God would seem to indicate the former if you go by The Finale, but most of their social blunders over the course of the series aren't rooted in malice.
    • George is an interesting case. He is short, chubby, and bald, and is generally written to be a loser. On the other hand, he managed to pull down several high paying executive-level jobs over the years, and has dated quite a few attractive women. While none of his careers or relationships ended particularly well, George didn't do as bad in life as his reputation would suggest.
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  • Ass Pull: Kramer and Newman not reporting seeing Jerry's stolen car in Ohio to the police, claiming they don't want to get in trouble for misusing a mail truck. The police wouldn't bother checking if the truck or occupants if they reported seeing a friend's stolen car while on a routine mail run. Justified in that they're idiots.
  • Award Snub:
    • The sets for the episode "The Parking Garage" were ironically not nominated for an Emmy for being too good; the voters assumed the episode was filmed in a real parking garage.
    • All the actors in the cast except for Jason Alexander walked away with an Emmy at one point or another (though Jerry Seinfeld's Emmy was as a producer rather than an actor) despite George being the fan favorite character (perhaps tied with Kramer) of critics and most of the fanbase.
  • Awesome Music:
    • "I like to stop at the duty free shop..."
    • George's answering machine song.
    • The theme song!
    • Cos...tanza!
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • In "The Chinese Woman", Jerry strongly implies that he has impregnated at least one woman in the past. The instance is used almost as a throwaway line and never mentioned again.
    • Jerry mentions a sister in "The Chinese Restaurant". Such a character never appeared in any episode, nor was mentioned. It's especially odd in episodes that feature Jerry's parents (the real Jerry Seinfeld does have a sister, however.).
    • The discovery of Susan's father's affair with John Cheever gets shockingly little attention. The episode's commentary brushes this off with "It wasn't funny anymore."
  • Broken Base:
    • The series finale oh so much; love the continuity or confused by it. Or just plain don't like seeing the show end on such a downer that vilified the cast.
    • To a lesser extent, the original version The Betrayal. Fans either like the backwards narrative, or hate it. There is another version that puts the events in order, however.
    • Not as much as the series finale, but while fans generally agree on the best episodes/seasons there's some disagreement over the quality of the seasons following Larry David's departure from the show (Seasons 8 and 9) when the show became less realistic and rooted in the sort of "social manners" humor Larry David is known for.
    • Susan's death in The Invitations is one of the most controversial moments in the series due to Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer's uncaring reaction. Some believe that this moment is hilarious, others believe that it's tasteless.
  • Catharsis Factor: The Bubble Boy getting his bubble popped by Susan is incredibly satisfying given how much of a Jerkass he was up until that point.
  • Crosses the Line Twice
    • Susan Ross's death is an outstanding practice of this trope. It began as a challenge for the writers to kill of a character that was neither melodramatic or made the other characters seem cruel, and their only conclusion reads like something out of the Darwin Awards: getting poisoned from licking too many cheap stamps.
    • The JFK parody where Jerry demonstrates how Kramer and Newman's claim that Keith Hernandez spat on them can't be true due to simple positioning and physics.
    • George shoving himself though kids and an old lady on walkers to get away from the "fire" (actually just burnt food) in "The Fire". That's an incredibly despicable thing to do and if a real person did it, let alone a different character, it would be completely unforgivable. With George, it's exactly what you expect him to do and is therefore hilarious.
    • The sub plot of "The Wizard," where Elaine tries to find out whether or not her boyfriend is a light-skinned black man without actually asking him, may feel a little bit tone-deaf for modern viewers. However, the punchline of them both realizing they're "just a couple of white people" before enthusiastically agreeing to go to the GAP is still hysterical.
    • The entire episode "The Limo," where Jerry and George accidentally wind up in a limo heading to a neo-Nazi rally, with George mistaken as the leader of the group. Special mention goes to when George starts whistling "If I Were a Rich Man", Jerry desperately trying to shut him up.
  • Designated Villain:
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Just about any of the show's many, many recurring and one-off characters are extremely popular with Newman, Frank and Estelle Costanza, The Soup Nazi and Bookman the Library Cop being some of them more prominent examples.
    • Some of the writers have noted that many of David Puddy's stories could have been done with various one-off Elaine boyfriends, but they loved Patrick Warburton's performance so much that they kept giving them to him.
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory:
    • Interpretations of the final episode have claimed that, in reality, the airplane on which the four leads were flying crashed, killing them all. Their trial was actually a stand-in for their judgment in the afterlife, and their prison sentence represents them being damned to hell for all eternity or a very lengthy stay in Purgatory.
    • George takes the last copy of Time magazine at the airport and mocks the serial killer being shuttled through about it, he gets locked in the airplane bathroom with him. It's Played for Laughs, but what would happen if you got locked in with a serial killer who swore to murder you? In view of this event, it becomes possible that every episode from that point on is George's trial and judgement and George's alone, as his bloody corpse was discovered in the plane bathroom a few hours later...
    • Everything post episode involving George's encounter with the Van Buren Boys was Georges dying dream after being violently attacked by the gang.
  • Fandom Rivalry: Against Frasier and Friends during The '90s.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • In the episode "The Masseuse", Elaine is trying to get her boyfriend Joel Rifkin to change his name to avoid being confused with a serial killer. One of the names Elaine suggests (whilst reading a football magazine) is "O.J." Seven months after this episode aired, O.J Simpson was accused of murder, leading to one of the most controversial murder trials in US history.
    • Susan's death from poison envelopes, after the post-9/11 anthrax scare. Even worse when you know it was done because it was the only "funny way to kill someone" they could think of.
    • In "The Contest" Elaine finds out John F. Kennedy Jr. is interested in her, and gushes over possibly becoming "Elaine Benes Kennedy Jr." Now you can't help but feel she was pretty darn lucky it didn't work out, as seven years later John would crash his plane, killing himself and his wife.
    • Kramer smugly declaring that mail is completely pointless and trying to ban it from his life became very awkward after the Trump administration's attempts to curtail the postal service in 2020 (with President Trump's arguments not sounding so different from Kramer's), which led to a whole new public understanding of just how important it is to society and even democracy, to the point that Wayne Knight reprised his role of Newman (given how Newman was a big defender of mail) for a PSA despite his famous I Am Not Spock attitude toward the role.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • In "The Butter Shave", which features a plot about Newman wanting to eat Kramer, Newman is seen reading the novel Alive, which is about survivors of a plane crash who had to resort to eating the bodies of the deceased passengers to survive.
    • The show includes three quotes from the infamous "Buddy Rich Bus Tapes", in which the virtuoso jazz drummer berates his band members. According to Seinfeld, the tapes were circulated among comedians of his era.
  • Growing the Beard:
    • The show began as a fairly innocuous observational sitcom, but took a sharp upswing in the last two episodes of its second season: "The Chinese Restaurant", a real-time episode with a single set, garnered impressive critical acclaim, while "The Busboy" started the show's practice of weaving together the various subplots at the end of each episode. It got more stubble with "The Parking Garage" but didn't really grow its beard until "The Boyfriend" and "The Limo", late in season three, which saw the show introducing more off-the-wall elements into the mix.
    • While it definitely started to hit its stride by the end of season 3, season 4 is what really cemented it for most fans. This season is considered not only by the fans, but by the writers themselves to be The Breakthrough Season. It is the first season to feature a Story Arc (in which Jerry and George write a pilot for NBC for a sitcom called Jerry), later seasons would become known for them (particularly season 7 when George becomes engaged to his on-again-off-again love interest Susan, then spends most of the season trying to get out of the engagement). Season 4 houses maybe more signature, quotable Seinfeld episodes than any other, including "The Bubble Boy", "The Contest", "The Outing", and "The Junior Mint".
    • Michael Richards also cites "The Statue" as the episode where Kramer started growing a beard.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • In "The Puerto Rican Day", Kramer accidentally burns the Puerto Rican flag with some sparklers, and when a mob of parade attendees attack Jerry's car, Kramer remarks, "It's like this every day in Puerto Rico!" NBC ended up having to apologize for the episode's poor taste and it was left off of syndication packages for several years. It's even more uncomfortable to look at now since Kramer's actor Michael Richards went on a racist tirade against several hecklers at a stand-up routine in 2006.
    • "The Postponement" and "The Maestro" are in part about Kramer suing Java World for them serving him hot coffee which he poured on himself, causing a burn. They were a parody of the infamous Liebeck v. McDonald's Restaurants hot coffee case, at the time widely considered a Frivolous Lawsuit. However, this understanding was, as reported by The New York Times in 2010, the result of severe misreporting by the media, stoked by McDonald's and others interested in severely weakening plaintiff's rights, that made Stella Liebeck into someone who wanted to shake-down a successful, multi-million dollar company by pouring hot coffee in herself, in full knowledge of the consequences, instead of the woman who suffered for life because of severe, third-degree injuries to her groins and thighs due to McDonald's repeatedly-comdemned-in-court business decision to overheat the coffee without so much as a danger sign warning her about the fact.note 
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In the opening of "The Kiss Hello", Jerry and George are arguing whether or not ketchup comes in squeezeable plastic bottles. Today ketchup is more available in plastic bottles than glass bottles.
    • In "Male Unbonding", Kramer has an idea for a pizza restaurant where you cook your own pizza pie. Nowadays, Papa Murphy's is a highly popular "take and bake" restaurant.
    • Two Season 7 episodes that involved the New York Yankees became prophetic. "The Wink" ends with Steinbrenner going on a tangent about all the people that he fired over the years. He ends by mentioning then Yankees manager Buck Showalter before quickly stating that George didn't hear that. Shortly after the episode aired the Yankees fired Showalter. Then in "The Calzone" Steinbrenner gets the idea to bake the teams uniforms in ovens before the games and declares that this will help them with the American League Pennant. The Yankees would win both the Pennant and the World Series that year.
    • In an often cut opening to "The Soul Mate", Jerry and George talk about how it might be nice to go to prison.
    • In "The Truth", George mentions that he belongs in a psychiatric hospital, and enjoys being pitied by others. Four seasons later, he's involuntarily institutionalized.
    • In the pilot, Jerry mocks the awkward button placement on George's shirt, saying "You look like you live with your mother." Five years later, George has to move back in with his parents.
    • In "The Ticket", George casually uses the word "masturbation" at one point. Later in the same season, "The Contest" would famously cover the subject of masturbation while avoiding the use of that very word at all costs.
    • Speaking of, "The Contest" sounds similar to No Nut November.
    • In "The Postponement", George misses out on make-up sex with Susan. Jerry informs him: "In your situation, the only sex you're going to have better than make-up sex is if you're sent to prison and you have a conjugal visit." Funny for two reasons: In season 8's "The Little Jerry", George did have conjugal visit sex (as well as fugitive sex) with a woman in prison that he's dating; and in the series finale, George lands in prison himself so it's possible he could've had conjugal visit sex at some point.
    • Elaine's boyfriend in "The Stall" was referred to as a male bimbo ("He's a mimbo.") years before "himbo" became a popular slang term.
    • In "The Caddy", Jerry refers to Sue Ellen Mischke, played by Brenda Strong, as Elaine's Lex Luthor. Many years later, Brenda Strong would appear on Supergirl (2015) as Lillian Luthor, the mother of Lex Luthor.
  • Hollywood Pudgy:
    • Jerry, in "The Blood"; 1 jean size was treated as Serious Business.
    • Also in "The Non-Fat Yogurt"; the other characters, especially Kramer, make fun of Jerry and Elaine for their weight gain, but they don't look much different compared to other episodes. Must be the smallest eight and seven pounds ever.
    • The plot of "The Junior Mint" involves an ex-boyfriend of Elaine's who used to be fat, but had lost weight after losing her. In the commentary track, the real Jerry Seinfeld doesn't seem to remember when he says, "now, this guy was supposed to be fat, but he doesn't look that fat. Maybe back then, it would have been considered fat [at that moment, dialogue comes on where Elaine gushes over how much weight the guy lost] and they explain it, that's funny."
    • In "The Soup", Kramer dates Hildy, the waitress from Reggie's (the Bizarro Coffee shop), who's a Big Eater, and Kramer even remarks how she's, "A full-figured gal!" She appears to be as tall as Kramer is, but she certainly doesn't look full-figured.
  • Informed Wrongness: All four (and even some of the secondary and tertiary characters) have moments where they are made out to be wrong but either (a) are actually right or at the very least (b) have a point.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • George is a moron and an amoral schemer, but man does his life SUCK. Especially in regards to how his relationship with Susan's parents soured. As a matter of fact, in one part of the series finale, Mr. Ross was shown buying a handgun. Yes, you saw that right. Susan's parents dislike George to the point of wishing death on him. To be fair, though, you can't blame them for missing their daughter.
    • Joel from the episode "Male Unbonding". He's rude and obnoxious but desperately lonely.
  • Love to Hate: All four of them are terrible people but they're fun to watch.
  • Memetic Mutation: One of the biggest pre-internet sources of Memetic Mutation in the history of media: See this page for more details.
  • Mexicans Love Speedy Gonzales: Even though his rowdy behavior at hockey games is Played for Laughs, the David Puddy character has long been embraced by the New Jersey Devils fan base, if only because it's one of the very few times the team has been depicted in pop culture media.
  • Misaimed Marketing: Subtly done In-Universe, when George has in his wallet an Exxom tie-in poster voucher card for the 1974 film Save the Tiger, as that film takes a dim view at best of capitalism and moral conflict in business.
  • Misblamed: In the finale, Babu's story of how Jerry ruined his life is treated In-Universe as a Moral Event Horizon by the jury and seals the group's fate. The irony being that it's one of the few things that wasn't Jerry's fault. Babu failed at running a restaurant because he was a poor businessman and he got deported because the mailman was incompetent. Plus, Babu apparently never even tried to get replacement visa renewal papers.
  • Newer Than They Think:
    • Before Seinfeld had the "Soup Nazi", Ali Yeganeh (the Real Life "Nazi") and his restaurant had been the subject of a 1989 article on The New Yorker, and was mentioned in a Meg Ryan line in 1993's Sleepless in Seattle:
      Annie Reed: This man sells the greatest soup you have ever eaten, and he is the meanest man in America. I feel very strongly about this, Becky; it's not just about the soup.
    • Before Tom's Restaurant became the exterior for "Monk's Café", it was briefly seen in a 1978 episode of The Bionic Woman and was the inspiration for Suzanne Vega's "Tom's Diner" (1987).note 
  • The Other Darrin:
    • Phil Bruns originally played Morty Seinfeld, but after his initial appearance, he was played by Barney Martin.
    • Larry David originally played Newman in "The Revenge" (he provided his off-screen voice), but his first on-screen appearance was by Wayne Knight. In syndication, Knight dubbed over David's voice in "The Revenge" to provide some continuity. However, both versions of the episode are available on the DVD set.
    • John Randolph originally played Frank Costanza in "The Handicap Spot". Later, Jerry Stiller replaced him in "The Puffy Shirt". For syndication, John Randolph's scenes in "The Handicap Spot" were re-shot with Jerry Stiller in his place, again to provide continuity. However, as with the previous example, both versions are available on DVD. One weird effect of this is that George says his father is bald in an earlier episode, which fit Randolph but not Stiller.
    • Lloyd Braun was initially played by Peter Keleghan, and later played by Matt McCoy in "The Gum" and "The Serenity Now".
    • Mr. Lippman was originally portrayed by Harris Shore in "The Librarian". And then starting with "The Red Dot", Richard Fancy took over the role.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • Some viewers will never forget the time George pushed a clown and an old lady onto the floor and abandoned children to what he thought was a terrible house fire (it turns out he just mistook overcooked food for said terrible house fire). Despite the series moving on like nothing happened and George still being presented in a positive light at times, it's very hard to forget about such atrocious actions. The Snap Back and fact that it was a one time thing, understandably, does not really mitigate what he did.
    • The series finale is practically made of this, with its decidedly Downer Ending still earning its share of mockery among fans to this day.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The series is pretty much void of disturbing things, but "The Opera" is an exception. "Crazy" Joe Davola, who was already creepy/threatening in his behavior towards Jerry and Kramer, was stalking Elaine, as revealed when she comes to his apartment and finds tons of covertly-taken pictures of herself on his wall, including one when she was in the shower. As if that wasn't bad enough, when she tries to leave, Joe shuts the door and blocks her path. It's only after she pepper sprays him that she can escape.
  • No Yay: Season 2 ended with it looking like Elaine and Jerry might wind up being a couple. This was a point of contention between the network (who wanted them together) and Larry David (who didn't). Between seasons Jerry toured with his standup act and asked the audience what they thought of the pair finally getting together; the overwhelming negative response to the idea from the crowd sealed the deal and by season 3 they'd gone back to being friends.
  • Older Than They Think: Predating Sue Ellen Mischke by several decades, Kim Novak wore a bra as a top in one scene of the 1968 film The Legend of Lylah Clare.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Quite a few, but one that stands out is Robert Wagner in "The Yada Yada": "If this weren't my son's wedding, I'd punch your teeth out, you anti-Dentite bastard!" His wife, Jill St. Jon, can be seen on the pew next to him.
    • Elaine's father was meant to be a recurring role but became this instead, due to everyone being afraid to work again with the notoriously cantankerous (and known to be occasionally violent) Laurence Tierney.
  • Protection from Editors: Not surprisingly, Jerry Seinfeld and co. were given carte blanch to do whatever they wanted the last two seasons and responded by writing broader stories that would require bigger budgets. The elephant at the beginning of "The Betrayal"? The writer of the episode put it in because he could.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Michael Richards were on sketch shows before they were on this show. Louis-Dreyfus was on Saturday Night Live from 1982 to 1985 while Michael Richards was on Fridaysnote  from 1980 to 1982 (show co-creator Larry David was also a Fridays cast member and the final episode had some former cast members, like Melanie Chartoff, Bruce Mahler, and Mark Blankfield), so if you watch either of these shows, you'll be surprised to learn that Elaine and Kramer did sketch comedy.
    • As far as the show itself goes, Courteney Cox appears as Jerry's girlfriend (and fake wife) in "The Wife", Teri Hatcher is Jerry's amply-endowed girlfriend in "The Implant", Thomas Dekker is a child actor working with Kramer in "The Stand-In", Jon Favreau is a birthday party clown in "The Fire", Sarah Silverman is Kramer's Jimmy-legged girlfriend in "The Money", and Maggie Wheeler (credited under her maiden name, Jakobson) is Cynthia, Elaine's friend who Jerry and the latter want to fix up with George, in "The Fix-Up".
    • Bryan Cranston as Tim Whatley.
    • A very young Drake Bell cameos as the beginning of "The Frogger" as the punk who messes up at the game when George distracts him.
    • Daniel Dae Kim appears as a minor character in “The Burning.”
    • So many actors had small parts in Seinfeld before making it big. Some easy-to-miss examples include Jennifer Coolidge, Megan Mullaly, Anna Gunn and Constance Zimmer.
    • Shaun Toub had a minor supporting role "The Betrayal."
  • Seasonal Rot: Although still popular, seasons 8 and 9 were notably different from the former ones. This is because the showrunner Larry David left the show after season 7, leaving Jerry Seinfeld as the new Executive Producer. With the remaining writing staff left to its own devices, these seasons featured faster-paced, "wackier" episodes with many references to previous episodes, and attempts at running gags. Characters also slightly de-evolved, especially George, and Kramer's stunts became ever increasing. Still, the series continued to enjoy ratings success and a tenth season was proposed, until Seinfeld declined.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Trope Namer. It's hard to believe that this was considered pushing the boundaries of network censorship and sitcom conventions back in the day, not to mention how most sitcoms today copy the show's premise of Jerkass city-dwellers getting into trouble (cf. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) or neurotic comedian does stand-up and has awkward encounters with others (Louie).
  • Slow-Paced Beginning: The first two seasons (mind you, these had about 15 episodes total) were very bland, slow and generically sitcom-y. The only thing that saved the show from being cancelled was the opinion of a few execs that the scripts were funny, if not good, and that the characters showed promise. The Growing the Beard episode is accepted as Season 2's "The Chinese Restaurant", where the characters do nothing but stand around in a restaurant waiting for a table for 23 minutes (in Real Time, no less), a move unprecedented in TV history.
  • Spoiled by the Format: Discussed in one of Jerry's stand-up routines. Specifically, he mentions how it's easy to predict if an episode of a show will end with a "to be continued" depending on how much time is left at the climax...at the end of an episode that does just that.
  • Squick: Robin's kid in "The Fire" put his tongue on the restaurant floor. Not shown, but still.
  • Strawman Has a Point:
    • George's choice of wedding invitations that lead to Susan's death. While George's choice of the cheapest invitations possibly reflects on his cheap bastardry, he really did have a point. Why spend a lot of money on an invitation that the recipient is more than likely going to glance at and either mail back or else throw away?
    • In one early episode, Elaine criticizes George for being "careful with your money". George seems visibly hurt by this and argues, "I'm unemployed, you know!" Keep in mind this was the early part of the series, George had just been fired from his real estate job, and wasn't quite the Jerkass he was in later seasons. Knowing all that, you can't help, but agree with George here, that Elaine was out of line making such a comment.
    • As touchy of a situation as it was, George was perfectly justified in asking for compensation from the hospital in "The Bris." The hospital royally screwed up in letting a suicidal maniac walk free, let alone anywhere near an open window. The damage caused to the car was absolutely the hospital's responsibility. Only made worse by the fact that it is one of the few times in the series that George attempts to handle a situation in a sensitive, professional manner. Hopefully he sued the hospital if they continued to refuse to pay.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Jerry in the episode "The Kiss Hello". Jerry isn't the nicest person but he's right to avoid unwarranted physical contact from the other people in his apartment building, and they were mean and petty to disown him.
  • Values Dissonance: Some of these are due to society having different standards, while others are due to certain things now not being how they were in the 1990s and vice versa.
    • In "The Secretary", George is painted in a positive light for discriminating against attractive applicants. At one point he explains to one that while she is qualified, he would not hire her based solely on her looks. He was afraid of a "Sexy Secretary" situation that he knew would be his own fault and didn't want to objectify her. So he deliberately hired a stereotypically nerdy-looking secretary. Then he ended up having sex with her anyway.
    • In "The Muffin Tops", after Jerry accidentally shaves off all of his chest hair, he gets worried that his girlfriend will think less of him if it were to grow back and he's thus not "naturally hairless" after all, and Kramer says you shouldn't shave your chest hair period. This seems strange to viewers today now that "manscaping" is considered normal.
    • In "The Fatigues", George intentionally fails an eye exam so he can get a book on tape as he can't stand reading anymore. This is used to show what a lazy and unscrupulous person he is, but after the Turn of the Millennium, books on tape became very common, easy to get, and it's considered perfectly normal for those who aren't blind to use them. He does still defraud a charity organization that records books-on-tape for the visually impaired though, so there's that.
    • While the show featured a generally positive depiction of male homosexuality, the way lesbianism was depicted implied that it was a conscious choice, with Susan only getting involved with women because of her bad experience with George (itself a rather old, hoary joke), one of her partners getting "changed back" by Kramer and Jerry and George both referring to her as having "become" a lesbian.
    • Jerry and George staring at the cleavage of a 15-year-old girl (played by an adult woman, thankfully) — the daughter of NBC president Russell Dalrymple no less — in "The Shoes" already depicted them as being sad perverts no matter their justification, even if in a tongue-in-cheek way. Now with the increased awareness and paranoia of grown men preying on underage girls, it comes off as downright repulsive.
    • Similarly, Jerry is clearly the butt of the joke when he yells "What are ya, deaf??" at someone who turns out to actually be deaf. Asking someone if they're deaf when they don't hear you is now seen as incredibly offensive, arguably for this very reason, so it just comes off as another example of Jerry being a jerkass.
    • The b-plot of Elaine trying to find out if her Ambiguously Brown boyfriend is a fair-skinned black man without actually asking him in "The Wizard" is a bit on the tone-deaf side. While the characters do try to brush it off as a non-issue in much the same way people 20+ years later might (and even then, asking someone about their ethnicity isn't seen as being all that offensive, so long as it's done politely, which is obviously not going to happen with these characters), the jokes about White Guilt and N-Word Privileges feel more like an awkward reminder of how some white people are more concerned with being Mistaken for Racist than having concern for the feelings of people of color. Though arguably, it makes the punchline to the episode, where Elaine and Darryl realize they're both "just a couple of white people" and enthusiastically decide to go to the GAP, even funnier.
    • A few of Kramer's early characterizations may have been funny at one time because they hadn't gone mainstream, but are cringe-worthy today, such as claiming the "alternative media" is where you hear the "real" truth, and his rejection of professional medical care in favor of alternative medicine. Both are uncomfortably reminiscent of "news" websites that just make things up but are still believed by the gullible, and the anti-vax/anti-science movements.
  • Values Resonance: Part of the reason it has so much staying power despite the inevitable "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny is that every generation can find something about the comedy that they can related to, no matter how much has changed since The '90s.
    • At a time when homosexuals were largely still considered Acceptable Targets by most sitcoms (see the infamous "You kissed a guy" bit from Friends), this show has been praised for being unusually sympathetic to them, even winning a GLAAD Award for "The Outing."
    • Speaking of "The Outing," the less taboo homosexuality becomes in America, the funnier George and Jerry's knee-jerk reaction of "Not That There's Anything Wrong with That" becomes. At the time, it seemed like the reasonable response to a heteronormative audience. Now, it makes them come off as thought they're in even deeper denial of being homophobic, making them even bigger Butt-Monkey's.
  • Vindicated by History: The Denser and Wackier Seasons 8 and 9 are much more popular with twenty-somethings today. It helps that both seasons were a Fountain of Memes in a show already known as the motherlode of pre-Internet Memetic Mutation.
  • "Weird Al" Effect: Some people are more familiar with George's answering machine message ("Believe it or not, George isn't at home...") than The Greatest American Hero, whose theme ("Believe it or not, I'm walking on air...") it was based on.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • Mickey in "The Wait Out". He's pretending to be Joey in bed, as the real Joey is on the street being chased by Kramer.note  Joey's mom comes in and sees what she thinks is Joey's body under the covers, and says "Good night, honey." Just as she's about to leave, Mickey (sounding decidedly unlike a little boy) gruffly says "Good night." He couldn't just keep pretending to be asleep?
      (Joey's mom is heard screaming from down the hall)
      Jerry: It's gotta have something to do with Kramer.
    • Kurt in "The Little Jerry". First of all, he had been shaving his head for the swim team, and only decided to let his hair grow back in to impress Elaine. When he's depressed that his hair isn't growing back on the top of his head, why doesn't he just continue to shave his entire head to look like he did before? Then, at the end of the episode, he's arrested for looking like George. All he had to do was show his driver's license and that would've cleared things up immediately. But what does he do instead? He punches the cop and gets over a year in prison.
    • George tells a complete stranger where Jerry lives in "The Glasses".
    • Jerry finds out a supposed tennis pro actually can't play at all, and agrees to throw a game to him so his wife will respect him again. But then the jackass insists on throwing nasty trash talk at Jerry after every point, which naturally soon drives Jerry to play for real and destroy him.
  • Writer Copout: The finale as seen as this by some, as much of the second half of the episode was basically a Clip Show. This might not have been terrible had the previous two episodes not been Clip Shows, meaning that three of the series' final four episodes were mostly just old reused footage.

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