7 Essential 'Seinfeld' Episodes To Watch On Hulu If You've Never Seen The Show Before
Quietly and without fanfare (well minus the recreation of Jerry's New York apartment IRL), Hulu put up all 180 episodes of Seinfeld on their website for streaming early on Wednesday morning. It seemed like it would never happen, that NBC would never sell the rights to the show about nothing that ended up being one of the greatest shows of all time, but Hulu acquired the Seinfeld rights earlier this year, paying a whopping $700,000 per episode. That's a lot of pretzels, or babkas, or big salads, or marbled ryes... there's a lot of eating on the show, so there are plenty of options for your marathon-viewing snacks.
But if you're one of the few that has, by some miracle, never watched Seinfeld save for the few stray episodes you've seen as reruns on TBS, fear not! You're not alone, and it's never too late to wise up on a show that has become such a cornerstone in not only sitcom history but pervades all throughout pop culture. You might even use the word "yada-yada" in place of etcetera, but did you know that Seinfeld invented that term? Even if you are a new viewer and are planning to marathon your way right through the nine seasons of the genius show from Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, consider watching these seven episodes first. Because Seinfeld is a show that relies on the "no hugging no learning" rule, which means you don't have to watch them in order, really. These episodes stand on their own, because none of the characters ever learns a thing.
Here are seven episodes to get you started and while these might not be the same nine that you would expect to see on other best-of lists, like "The Chinese Restaurant" or "The Boyfriend," they are all essentially Seinfeld, perfect for distilling the series' into twenty-two minutes.
1. "The Subway" (Season 3, Episode 13)
This is the kind of episode that proves even when it seems like this is a show about nothing, it's actually about all the nuances of nothingness. Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer all have places to be and hop on the subway to get to their respective destinations.
"The Subway" highlights not only the neuroses specific to each of the four — Elaine is delayed on her way to a wedding, and can't stand all the other animals crowding her in, while George follows a woman off of the train — but also embodies the utter strangeness of the underworld of the New York subway system.
2. "The Hamptons" (Season 5, Episode 21)
This one is essential because, of course, SHRINKAGE. Jerry and pals head out to the Hamptons to finally satisfy their friend's nagging requests to see her baby, who they all agree is ugly. George is horrified when Jerry's girlfriend spots him after he gets out the pool, because of... the shrinkage. Down there. This one is full of second-hand embarrassment, a Seinfeld specialty.
3. "The Café" (Season 3, Episode 7)
For once, the gang tries to do something nice, and it goes horribly wrong. Jerry just wants to help the Pakistani owner of the Dream Café, Bhabbu Bhat, thrive, and his advice is totally misguided. Also, Elaine takes an IQ test for George, and of course ends up making everyone look like an idiot. This is an episode where Jerry effectively ruins someone's life (oops, spoiler alert! but hey, it's been 25 years) and then he and his pals shrug it off and go to get something to eat.
4. "The Butter Shave" (Season 9, Episode 1)
Cosmo Kramer shaves with butter and literally cooks himself, so clearly this is a must-see. That's what Seinfeld is: a show where people cook themselves and it just makes sense... because it doesn't.
5. "The Parking Garage" (Season 3, Episode 6)
This is the darkest episode of Seinfeld, if you ask me. It's another example of how the "show about nothing" is really about anything; the gang goes to a mall in New Jersey to buy an AC, and of course, can't find their car in the garage. It turns into a living hell, and isn't that just an uncomfortable metaphor?
6. "The Deal" (Season 2, Episode 9)
This is a Jerry and Elaine episode, and one of the more notorious ones at that; can men and women sleep together and just be friends? It's a classic '90s sitcom dilemma about this, that, and the other thing.
7. "The Pez Dispenser" (Season 3, Episode 14 )
You have to see this episode because IT'S ABSURD. The plot hinges around a Pez dispenser. That's really all you need to know.
Now get going on the streaming, because Seinfeld's back, baby!
Image: Sony Pictures Television