The world loves to debate Friends vs. Seinfeld, and now that Seinfeld is on Netflix, we’re able to make a much more informed decision. And although Friends has some truly iconic moments, Seinfeld’s episodes tend to be iconic as a whole, which makes them nearly impossible to rank.
Every episode is like a perfectly formatted comedy set, with premises and punchlines that all call back to the beginning of the episode. We never know how it will all fit together, but somehow it does, and that’s the magic of Seinfeld.
We’re sure we'll leave out some iconic episodes; nearly every episode of Seinfeld is someone’s favorite.
Nevertheless, here's our ranking of the top 10 Seinfeld episodes of all time.
10. “The Hamptons”
In this episode, the gang goes on a trip to the Hamptons with George’s girlfriend, Jane, and a woman Jerry is seeing, Rachel. While George is out getting tomatoes, Jane goes topless on the beach, so George wants to see Rachel topless in return.
It’s a whole hullabaloo (similar to the Friends episode “The One With the Boobies”), and Rachel accidentally sees George’s penis, laughing at the size of it. George blames it on “shrinkage” after coming out of the pool — now a widely used term for, well, shrinkage. The punchline of the episode is a tomato getting thrown at George’s face.
9. “The Red Dot”
A lot happens in this episode — Jerry drives Elaine’s boyfriend back “off the wagon” while George somehow seduces the cleaning woman at his new job. It’s all capped with a cashmere sweater George buys for Elaine that’s discounted because of a little red dot that everyone can see, much to George’s chagrin.
8. “The Puffy Shirt”
This episode is one of creator Larry David’s favorites. It introduces us to the “low talker” while George simultaneously gets a gig as a hand model. This is also the first time the late and great Jerry Stiller appears as George’s dad, and we get a hilarious amount of his nagging mother.
Jerry Seinfeld inadvertently agrees to wear a ridiculous puffy shirt on the Today show for Kramer’s “low talker” girlfriend (we can’t help but laugh hysterically whenever she “speaks”) while promoting Goodwill for Elaine.
7. “The Pilot”
This set of episodes goes largely underrated, and it’s actually not the pilot of the series. It’s the meta show within a show that Jerry and George create called Jerry, and it shows the casting process in which they’re casting themselves.
Jeremy Piven’s audition to play George and Larry Hankin (also known as Mr. Heckles from Friends)’s performance as Kramer are truly unforgettable. Not to mention that Larry actually did audition to play Kramer in Seinfeld.
6. “The Yada Yada”
Since Seinfeld is “a show about nothing,” it’s more than fitting that there would be an episode about the nothing words that we speak. Sometimes we use “yada yada” to be concise, but other times, it can be to hide something.
This episode plays with that, all while Bryan Cranston’s performance as a dentist who converts to Judaism allegedly for the jokes leads to Jerry getting called an “anti-dentite.”
5. “The Chinese Restaurant”
A bottle episode, this episode is all about Jerry, George, and Elaine just waiting to be seated at a Chinese restaurant for dinner before a movie.
Like many bottle episodes, it’s in real time, so the brilliance of it is that we’re waiting along with them — we’ve had all those same thoughts and feelings, the frustration, the hunger. And the irony is that when they get to the point of deciding to leave, they finally get called to their table.
4. “The Bubble Boy”
In this truly unforgettable episode, Jerry has a fan whose son lives inside of a bubble due to a rare blood disease, so he agrees to visit “the bubble boy,” Donald, upstate for his birthday. Expecting a sweet young boy, George arrives at the house first to an aggressive and abrasive Trivial Pursuit expert.
Donald doesn’t win on a technicality — a typo in the game calls the Moors “the Moops,” and George refuses to give him credit. He starts to strangle George, who accidentally pops Donald’s bubble, and the town goes wild.
3. “The Subway”
This episode might be one of Seinfeld’s earlier forays into the weird. Each character has their own experience on the subway. Jerry befriends an overweight nudist on the way to Coney Island. George is seduced by a beautiful woman who takes him back to her apartment, only to handcuff and rob him.
Kramer overhears a betting tip-off, wins $18,000, and then gets attacked on the train by another bettor, but is saved by a cop who poses as a blind violinist. Elaine gets stuck on a train, missing a lesbian wedding, and gives us the iconic line, “I hate men, but I’m not a lesbian!”
2. “The Junior Mint”
Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten this absolute banger of an episode. In Jerry’s main story, he dates a woman whose name he can’t remember — he tries every trick in the book, but she won’t reveal her name.
At the same time, Elaine visits her ex-boyfriend in the hospital before his splenectomy. The gang watches his procedure, and Kramer accidentally drops a junior mint right into his body. He develops an infection … and things get pretty wild for everyone.
1. “The Parking Garage”
Many of us might have expected “The Contest” to take the cake, but our favorite episode is “The Parking Garage.” Another bottle episode, things get wildly out of hand as the gang tries to find their car.
Elaine is worried her fish will die, Jerry has to pee, Kramer is carrying a heavy AC, and George needs to meet his parents by 6:15 for their anniversary dinner. There is irony after irony in this episode, and it also coins the fictional disease, “uromysitisis.”
So there we have it! Our top 10 Seinfeld episodes ranked — there are too many incredible episodes to name, so making this list was not easy. But between the numerous ironies, calamities, and silly words, these 10 made it to the top.
All episodes of Seinfeld are now available to stream on Netflix.