For many of us, Seinfeld is not a TV show, but a way of life. It may have stopped airing more than 20 years back, but as any Seinfeld fan would tell you, Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer live with us. In our conversations, in our thoughts, in our highs, in our lows. The other day, social networks suddenly woke up to the realisation that it’s been 30 years of “the show about nothing”. It was the perfect excuse to watch some old Seinfeld episodes and say the lines before the characters do. And then it hit me that besides the unforgettable characters – from the main four to the parents to the Banias and Puddys to the one-episode characters – Seinfeld gave us elements and words, locations and props which have entered our system for good. Here’s my attempt to list 30 things you can’t forget about Seinfeld.
Monk’s Cafe (Almost every episode) – The Central Perk of Seinfeld where the four characters would meet up and exchange notes – about nothing – in every episode. The location is actually Tom’s Restaurant near Columbia University.
The Merv Griffin Show (S9E6) – Kramer picked up the remains of the set of the famous American talk show from the back of a truck and started his own show in his room, replete with guests and ad breaks.
The Muffin Tops (S8E21) – Elaine has this brainwave of a store selling just the top of the muffins and her boss Mr Lippman instantly steals the idea to start Top of the Muffin to You. But the store only works when they make the entire muffins first, with Newman being brought in to eat the stumps!
The Non-Fat Yoghurt (S5E7) – Jerry, Elaine, George and, of course, Newman get obsessed with the new frozen yoghurt shop in town till they realise “the non-fat yoghurt” is actually making them fat.
The Envelopes (S7E22) – All Georgie wanted to do was save some money on wedding invites and he picked the cheapest envelopes, not knowing that fiancee Susan will lick her way to death from the toxic low-quality glue on those envelopes. “Huh?”
The Slicer (S9E7) – Since Kramer “hasn’t had a decent sandwich in 13 years”, he gets this extraordinary slicer which makes super thin slices of all kinds of meat, till Elaine uses it to slice her uneven pair of heels.
The Bro (S6E18) – George’s father Frank has man breasts and with the help of Kramer, he starts wearing an undergarment. While Frank wants to call it The Mansiere, Kramer prefers the name The Bro.
The Frogger game (S9E18) – When George visited his high-school hangout, Mario’s Pizza Parlour, he discovers that he still has the highest score in the Frogger video game. To safeguard that score, he is forced to carry the machine across the street, hopping around like the frog in the game.
Yada Yada Yada (S8E19) – An evolved version of blah, blah, blah just that you skip a lot of important information when you use this phrase in a sentence, leading to all kinds of wrong impressions and hilarious guesswork. Although the phrase was in existence since the 1950s, Seinfeld took it to every home.
The Oil Tanker Bladder (S9E2) – A rubber bladder inside war tankers; so, if it crashes, the oil won’t spill out. That’s one of Kramer’s genius ideas as part of Kramerica Industries. Of course, the prototype ball of oil doesn’t really drop right.
The Puffy Shirt (S5E2) – Thanks to Kramer’s “low-talker” girlfriend, Jerry inadvertently agrees to wear a white puffy shirt straight out of a pirate’s closet on the Today show. The shirt hangs at the National Museum of American History!
Kavorka (S5E11) – When a nun at the Latvian Orthodoxy church can’t resist Kramer’s charm, the priests conclude that he has “the kavorka” – the lure of the animal – that makes him irresistible to women.
Bob Sacamano (In many episodes) – What is a character doing in a list not meant for characters? Well, Kramer’s friend Bob Sacamano, who does everything from selling Russian hats to defective condoms, never really appears in flesh and blood and could very well be a figment of Cosmo’s wild imagination. But we all know him so well!
The Today Sponge (S7E9) – Elaine sticks to her brand when it comes to contraceptives and when she picks up the last case in the city, she evaluates every man on the basis of his sponge-worthiness.
Eating Snickers with cutlery (S6E3) – It all starts with Elaine’s boss Mr Pitt eating his Snickers bar with a knife and a fork and soon everyone in Manhattan seems to catch on to this weird habit. Many still do, as a tribute to the show.
The Technicolor Dreamcoat (S7E19) – Kramer gets hold of the coat from the Broadway musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and then pairs it with a woman’s hat and the Peterman walking stick. Not surprising everyone mistakes him for a pimp on the streets!
The Gore-Tex Coat (S5E13) – To counter inclement cold weather, George wears this massive jacket which doesn’t quite pair well with his stocky short build. And that it’s not a good fit for him is evident in the liquor store when the coat knocks down a few bottles of wine.
The Wizard organiser (S9E15) – Jerry’s birthday gift for his father turns out to be the trending tip calculator in Del Boca Vista, the old folks’ condo. But when Kramer gets into the picture, the Wizard actually takes down him and Seinfeld Sr.
Serenity Now! (S9E3) – The magic phrase of Frank Costanza’s anger management routine, it clearly enrages him further every time he utters “Serenity Now!” By the end of the episode, he switches to “Hoochie Mama”.
The Astronaut Pen (S3E3) – Jerry is almost forced to buy the astronaut pen from his father’s neighbour Jack Klompus, leading to all kinds of mad situations. Why is it so called? Because the pen can write upside down and is supposedly used by men in space ships!
Schnitzer’s Marble Rye (S7E11) – One loaf of marble rye becomes the bone of contention when Jerry fights with an old lady for the last loaf in the store and then later tries to throw it inside Susan’s parents’ house through the third floor window.
The Regifter (S6E12) – When Dr Tim Whatley gifts Jerry the same label maker that Elaine had gifted him, they call him “the re-gifter”, a phrase which hit the spot instantly. While George also introduced the word “de-gifter” in the same episode, it didn’t stick as much.
Assman (S6E21) – When Kramer is given a new number plate by the Motor Vehicles department called ASSMAN, he starts claiming that he is a proctologist and hence the plate. That’s not all, as the plate goes on to earn Kramer catcalls on the streets and a date with the heavy-bottomed Sally!
Shiksappeal (S9E3) – George’s intuitive reasoning behind why Jewish men like a non-Jewish woman like Elaine – because she doesn’t remind them of their mother. In case if you are wondering if the word has Shakesperean roots, well, it’s a play on the Yiddish word shiksa.
Anti-Dentite (S8E19) – Jerry starts believing that dentist Whatley has converted to Judaism so that he can crack Jewish jokes. He counters it by joking about dentists and that earns him the title “anti-dentite”. “You’re a rabid anti-dentite,” screams Kramer!
The Coffee Table Book (S5E21) – A Kramer invention, it is a book which becomes a table, thus giving a complete new meaning to “the coffee table book”. It becomes so famous in the particular episode that Kramer is called to talk shows to discuss his invention.
The Double Dip (S4E19) – At a funeral reception George puts his chip in a dip and then after a bite puts it back again in the dip, infuriating his then girlfriend’s brother, which in turn leads to the eventual break-up with the girl.
The Stop Short (S6E21) – It’s another of Frank Costanza’s claimed inventions – he “used it on Estelle 40 years ago”. Basically it’s a move by a man driving a car to abruptly stop the vehicle causing the lady passenger next to him to lurch forward and him to grab her breast in an attempt to steady her.
The Mimbo (S5E12) – Jerry believes that Elaine is dating Tony only because he is handsome and that he is a mimbo or a male bimbo! While she initially dismisses Jerry’s observation, later in the episode Elaine does concede that Tony is a mimbo.
The Festivus (S9E10) – It’s a festival in retaliation to the commercialisation of Christmas and while it actually exists, it is Seinfeld which made it hugely popular with George’s father Frank celebrating it, replete with the airing of grievances, the feats of strength and, of course, the aluminium pole. “Festivus for the rest of us!”