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It’s hard to believe that Seinfeld debuted 25 years ago this weekend.
While the show got little attention (or ratings) upon its premiere — on July 5, 1989 — it went on to become one of the most beloved comedies of all time by critics and viewers alike. (It ran for nine seasons on NBC, through 1998, and still airs in syndication on TBS and local stations.)
In honor of Seinfeld’s quarter-century anniversary, The Hollywood Reporter looks back at five of the show’s most memorable episodes.
1. “The Contest” (Nov. 18, 1992)
Spurred by a story George (Jason Alexander) tells about getting caught masturbating by his mother, Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld), Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), Kramer (Michael Richards) and George place a bet to see who can go the longest without pleasuring themselves — thereby earning the title of “master of his/her domain.”
2. “The Soup Nazi” (Nov. 2, 1995)
Jerry and George visit a soup restaurant run by a chef who is so temperamental he’s been dubbed “the Soup Nazi.” While George gets kicked out for asking for bread, Elaine manages to get herself banned for a year. Later, given the choice between his girlfriend (Alexandra Wentworth) or the soup, Jerry chooses the soup.
3. “The Chinese Restaurant” (May 23, 1991)
Airing in Seinfeld‘s second season, this episode is a prime example of why the series came to be known as “a show about nothing.” The entire plot centered around Jerry, Elaine and George as they waited for a table at a Chinese restaurant.
4. “The Yada Yada” (April 24, 1997)
This episode — featuring an unknown Bryan Cranston as dentist Tim Whatley — centered on George’s girlfriend’s penchant for cutting out parts of stories by using the phrase “yada, yada.” The phrase was a common one before the episode aired, but it’s now most associated with Seinfeld.
5. “The Merv Griffin Show” (Nov. 6, 1997)
Kramer finds the set of The Merv Griffin Show in a Dumpster and decides to re-create it in his apartment. He begins pretending that he’s the host of the show, conducting interviews whenever somebody enters his apartment — complete with commercial breaks. Animal expert Jim Fowler also guests as himself, asking: “Where are the cameras?”
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