I’m not one of those Seinfeld fans who saw a big decline in the show as the season’s came and went. I loved the final couple of seasons just as much as any. Only the first season, where they were still working with the formula to get it right, was a bit weak. That said, if I was on a desert Island and could have only one season of Seinfeld to own and watch, it would be season four. It not only had many great episodes but it had many that would go down as classics, not only of Seinfeld, but all-time sit-com classics.
There are so many great episodes from season four but here are my favorites:
“The Wallet” & “The Watch” this was a two-parter as Jerry’s parents come to town so Morty can see a back specialist. Morty is up in arms when he thinks his wallet is stolen in the doctor’s office. Meanwhile Unlce Leo finds a watch that Jerry threw in the trash, a watch his parents gave him and Jerry tries to buy it back.
“The Bubble Boy” Jerry, Elaine, George and Susan are going up to Susan’s father’s cabin. They are asked to see a local fan named “the bubble boy” who lives in a plastic bubble ala John Travolta in the movie. George gets there first and plays a game of Trivial Pursuit with the bubble boy and they get into a fight. Kramer accidently burns down the cabin. One of the all-time great episodes!
“The Contest” Maybe the greatest episode ever…George is caught pleasuring himself by his mother who throws out her back and lands in the hospital. George, jerry, Kramer and Elaine all bet to see who can go the longest without doing…that…Later appearing on David On the Letterman show, Julia Louis-Dreyfus said that the network censors would not allow them to say “masturbation”.
“The Pick” Kramer takes a picture of Elaine for her Christmas card. After she sends the picture out to everyone, including her nephew, they notice that her nipple was exposed! Jerry’s girlfriend thinks she caught him picking her nose.
“The Visa” Kramer punches Mickey Mantle at a baseball fantasy camp, Babu’s visa expires and he is deported. Kramer’s explanation of the fight with Mantle is the highlight.
“The Outing” this would feature one of the all-time great Seinfeld lines “Not that there is anything wrong with that” when a college newspaper reporter mistakenly thinks jerry and George are a gay couple.
“The Implant” Jerry dumps his girlfriend (Terry hatcher) when Elaine tells him that her breasts are fake. Kramer thinks he sees Salman Rushdie the author, in a sauna and George gets into a fight at his girlfriend’s Aunt’s funeral because he ‘double-dipped’ a chip.
“The Junior Mint” Jerry can’t remember the name of his girlfriend, only that it rhymes with the word for a female body part. Jerry and Kramer watch an operation and accidently toss a junior mint into the surgical opening.
“The Smelly Car” a Valet parker leaves a strong body odor in Jerry’s car. Jerry tries everything to get the smell out and eventually gives the car away.
“The Pilot” George & Jerry’s show is greenlighted to have a pilot produced and they interview prosective “kramers, Georges, and Elaines”. Elaine finds Morty’s wallet…missing since that early episode, in Jerry’s Couch.
This season really had it all. I would have to say that there really was not one bad episode in the entire season. This group of talented actors was on their game all season and took the sitcom to incedible heights. There simply has been nothing since that has come close to matching Seinfeld’s brilliance.
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Just for the Junior Mint episode alone, but the contest to see who can go the longest without, you know, is fabulous. I LOVE George’s mother; how I love seeing her in her hospital bed, berating him for yet another transgression, (What is it with you; who are you; I don’t know you any more!”) and George’s reaction to his mother’s next door neighbor-patient when she gets a spongebath is hilarious (and in another show, a young guy gets a spongebath, equally hilarious), and of course, the Trip…IMHO, George’s parents are one of the best aspects of this fantastiuc show; I enjoy Jerry’s parents also, his father at the doctor’s office when he is fillling out the patient information form and gets to the STD part is a riot; he says “That’s it! They got my name and my phone number; that’s it!” And later in the room where he waits for the doctor when he thinks someone stole his wallet…well, you just have to see it. I was so upset when Seinfeld went off the air, but now I can watch these classics over and over and over again whenever I want and it really doesn’t get any better than that. And the peripheral characters are so good you want them to be a regular part of the show; e.g, the grumpy old man Jerry volunteered to take care of; the Rabbi in Elaine’s building; George Steinbrenner; Tim Whatley, the weird dentist; Elaine’s roommate; and my favorite of all, Jimmy…Jimmy’s DOWN; Jimmy’s got a compound fracture! Thank God for DVD!
Looking down from this high perch in 2005 Seinfeld’s cosmic success is easy to take for granted but as I watched the behind the scenes material and episodes (The Bubble Boy, The Contest, The Junior Mint to name but a few classics) included in season 4, I was reminded of how risky and cutting edge Seinfeld was way back in the “olden days.” The fact that the one liners and gags have held up and stayed so fresh over the years is an amazing testament to the creative instincts of Larry David, Jerry Seinfeld and the entire cast and crew. And what other real life sitcom creators could have been so incredibly naive as to actually do a season story arc about producing a fictitious show about the show we were already watching and then to come right out and admit that it was in fact; “…a show about nothing!” In essence the emperor had no cloths and we loved it!
To borrow a phrase from Banya, Season 4 is “Gold Jerry… gold!” and truly marks the moment in the shows history when everyone hit their stride like a runner finding their second wind not to mention the fact that we get more of Jerry and George’s parents, Susan, Uncle Leo, Newman, Del Boca Vista… more everything! The chemistry and craft seems so effortless and magical it’s hard to imagine anything like it happening again. Simply put Seinfeld redefined the sitcom and defined water-cooler chat without anyone getting pregnant, suffering from cancer, running for politics or getting naked (although they sure talked about it a lot) and the credit goes to a group of people who were able to throw caution to the wind rather than holding their collective fingers into the air to see which way the network trends were blowing. On the technical side the mastering in HD is fantastic (the shows have never looked or sounded better), the extra’s (including a short documentary on season 4) are gloriously insightful and funny, it’s like attending some twisted family reunion filled with faces you haven’t seen in years. And the “bloopers” (running at just under 22 minutes) are an entire show about nothing unto themselves!
The planets and stars were certainly aligned when the players in the Seinfeld universe collided and I image it will be at least another thousand TV years or so before such a celestial event happens again.