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The 10 Best Running ‘Seinfeld’ Gags, Ranked

Jerry's girlfriends, George's jobs, Elaine's dance moves, and Kramer's entrances all made the cut.

Michael Richards, Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jerry Seinfeld in "Seinfeld"

Ranking the best “Seinfeld” recurring gags.

Castle Rock Entertainment/Everett Collection

A bonafide staple of TV sitcom excellence, “Seinfeld” still lands. Co-created by namesake star Jerry Seinfeld and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” auteur Larry David, NBC’s iconic half-hour comedy received mixed reviews when it aired its pilot on July 5, 1989. The episode, titled “The Seinfeld Chronicles” (but also known as “Good News, Bad News”) was funny, no question. But the brilliantly understated beats of a stand-up comedian in New York City and his three closest friends talking about “nothing” ad infinitum wasn’t yet optimized for its raucous comedic potential. Fast-forward that metaphoric VHS a few years and you’ve got one of the most successful eight-handers in the history of the small screen, heralded by a bass line just as recognizable.

Seinfeld appeared as a fictionalized version of himself opposite Jason Alexander as George Costanza, Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Benes, and Michael Richards as Cosmo Kramer for a whopping nine seasons. Over the series’ 180 episodes, the “Seinfeld” gang explored the drama of both life’s predictable mundanities and surprise wonders with equal zeal. They’d aimlessly search for their parked car at a shopping mall one season (“The fish will be dead!”), before producing a meta NBC sitcom all their own during the next. (“Who says you gotta have a story?”) This resulting ebb and flow of the semi-fantastic allowed audiences to fall into a world that they recognized without ever growing bored. There were limits to the antics of “Seinfeld,” sure. But the promise of possibility kept audiences alert and ready to laugh.

Before ending its run on May 14, 1998 with the infamous “The Finale,” which — spoiler alert — saw all four “Seinfeld” stars sentenced to prison, the series earned 68 Emmy nominations and clinched 10 wins. Many a TV lover has waxed poetic about the special “Seinfeld” sauce that allowed for this huge awards success, matched by massive national viewership. But, as with all great comedy, all it really boils down to is an unwavering commitment to the bit. Episode by episode, “Seinfeld” stood by its ridiculous heroes and the hysterical stances they championed. The best of those made for repeat jokes-turned-series fabric audiences won’t soon forget. Here are the top 10 most memorable recurring gags on “Seinfeld.”

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