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Every Season Of Seinfeld Ranked Worst To Best

One of the greatest collaborations in TV history happened when Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld put their heads together and created a comedy for the ages. "Seinfeld" was a show about nothing, but it commented on many things over the course of its nine-season run. Jerry Seinfeld played himself, and with the help of George (Jason Alexander), Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), Kramer (Michael Richards), and a cavalcade of fantastic guest stars, recurring characters, and iconic sets, they created one of the blueprints for the modern sitcom.

"Seinfeld" was a cultural landmark for so many years, and nearly every season is full of episodes worth watching. It launched all its stars to the next level of fame and set the foundation for Larry David's even longer-running HBO comedy "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (currently at 11 seasons). It is such a classic show that splitting hairs over the seasons can be difficult, but someone has to do it.

Here are all nine seasons of "Seinfeld," ranked worst to best.

9. Season 1

The 1st season of most comedies is where the show is stumbling to figure out its identity. Beloved shows like "The Office" and "Schitt's Creek" take the entire first season to find themselves, and Larry David's award-winning show about nothing didn't start to really shine until its 2nd and 3rd seasons. But while "Seinfeld" struggles in its early run, it didn't really have many attempts to figure itself out. After all, the 1st season of "Seinfeld" only runs five episodes — an unusually short order, especially for network TV in the 1990s.

Mistakes like not including Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine in the pilot episode make this short season easy to skip, and if you're catching the show for the first time, choosing to do so isn't going to set you behind any. None of these episodes are classics by any standard, although none of them fall below a rating of 7 on IMDb, so they aren't terrible either. If you fall in love with "Seinfeld" in its later seasons and run out of episodes, it's always easy to come back to these ones later.

8. Season 2

The 2nd season of "Seinfeld" was a marked improvement over the short-lived first outing and features some fan-favorite episodes. By the end of this season, it is easy to see something truly special begin to come together. And the team did it with only 12 episodes.

It seems that even from the get-go, the writers and cast of "Seinfeld" have found their stride in Season 2. An early high point for the series is the season's third episode, "The Jacket." Highlighting the neuroses of Jerry and George, the two go to meet Elaine's father, but Jerry fears getting snow on his new suede suit and George can't stop singing "Les Misérables." Another important Season 2 episode is "The Deal," where Elaine and Jerry briefly start sleeping together again. This one is the most the show ever goes into the romantic past of the two characters and establishes why they will never, ever get back together for real.

But Season 2's best episode is "Seinfeld"'s first all-timer. "The Chinese Restaurant" doesn't have Kramer in it, but that doesn't prevent it from being one of the funniest episodes from the show.

7. Season 3

This is where we start splitting hairs in terms of ranking, and we're only just getting started. The 3rd season of "Seinfeld" far and away outranks its predecessor and is the first "Seinfeld" season to go a full 23 episodes. We are already getting into the best of the best here, folks. Some of the best episodes of Season 3 are instantly recognizable to fans by their names alone. Notably, "The Parking Garage" and "The Red Dot" bring hilarious images and classic moments to mind.

The top-rated episode of the season is "The Limo," a classic Larry David tale of misunderstandings. Jerry and George lie to a limo driver about their identities to get a free ride from the airport to the Knicks-Bulls game. But it turns out they are going to a white supremacy rally, much to everyone's chagrin. The unexpected way all the principal characters meet up at the end would go on to be a staple of "Seinfeld" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm."

6. Season 6

Season 6 might not rank as highly as the seasons adjacent to it, but this was still "Seinfeld" at its peak popularity and creativity. The season featured Bette Midler, an irritable doorman, big salads, and a cast member made out of pasta. Episodes like that last one, "The Fusilli Jerry," don't just feature one classic gag but multiple legendary jokes. Who can forget Michael Richards saying, "I'm Cosmo Kramer, the Assman!"

One of the absolute best episodes is "The Race," where Jerry runs into an old childhood classmate who holds a grudge against Jerry's illegitimate victory in a race. George finds himself gaslighting as a communist, while Jerry repeatedly proclaims his stance on the race: "I choose not to run!" 

Still, during this season, "Seinfeld" celebrated its 100th episode. The hour-long clip show, "Highlights of a Hundred," is decidedly off-brand for the irreverent comedy, and it's the less than stellar reception of this episode that puts the 6th season below the rest of the later seasons.

5. Season 9

The final season of "Seinfeld" gets a worse rap than it probably deserves. Ranking somewhere near the middle based on IMDb ratings, Season 9 still sports some great episodes. The two-part finale is derided by fans as disappointing, and each of the episodes holds a relatively low ranking compared to the rest of the show, but up until the very end, "Seinfeld” was still firing on all cylinders, and these episodes prove it.

Some "Seinfeld"-isms have permeated pop culture, even all these years later. "Serenity now," a supposedly calming phrase yelled at full volume by Frank Costanza (Jerry Stiller), is one such moment, and it came in this final season. In fact, Stiller's work as one of the show's most memorable supporting characters is still some of his best, even a decade on. Other highlights include the episode where Kramer rebuilds the set of "The Merv Griffin Show" in his apartment and the one where George gets obsessed with the arcade game "Frogger."

4. Season 4

Season 4 marks a lot of legendary firsts for "Seinfeld." In the two-part season premiere, the show transplants Jerry, Kramer, and George into Los Angeles, marking the first time the show's characters leave New York City. The episode following "The Trip" introduces a major character and the show's first and biggest overarching plotline.

"The Pitch" is where "Seinfeld" starts to get meta, beginning a season-long thread where Jerry and George begin to write the pilot for their "show about nothing." This episode also introduces Susan (Heidi Swedberg), George's long-term girlfriend and eventual fiancé in Season 7. Swedberg shows her comedic chops alongside the rest of the crew in memorable episodes like "The Bubble Boy," and the season culminates in "The Pilot," where the meta storyline comes full circle.

More than any of these episodes and characters, Season 4 is best remembered for "The Contest." This classic premise where the four go in on a pact to try and mitigate self-pleasure has resulted in one of the highest-rated (and most referenced) "Seinfeld" episodes ever.

3. Season 5

If Season 4 cemented "Seinfeld" as a defining comedy of the '90s, Season 5 skyrocketed that reputation. When looking back on the season, there is no doubt that this was when "Seinfeld" became one of the best TV comedies of all time. From the season's get-go, we are given two of the funniest episodes to grace NBC.

Going from "The Mango" to "The Puffy Shirt" is one heck of a one-two punch, and both have a great deal of fun with Jerry and Kramer. The first features Jerry getting kicked out of a fruit store for shopping for papayas (the best in the city, mind you) for Kramer, who is banned. And the latter is an absolute classic — after Kramer's "low-talking" friend accidentally convinces Jerry to wear an abominable puffy shirt on "The Today Show," the comedian is forced to go through with it.

It's getting harder to single out episodes, but two George-centric storylines are standouts of Season 5. First, "The Marine Biologist" sees Costanza doubling down on a lie at each possible second, leading to one of the best closing scenes in the show. Then, in "The Opposite," George decides to make the exact opposite decision he normally would in every conceivable situation to incredible comedic effect. If you want to know why "Seinfeld" fans can't get enough of George, these are two episodes you have to watch.

2. Season 8

Don't listen to anyone who tells you Season 8 is past the prime years of "Seinfeld." By this time, the show's writers, cast, and directors had nailed the formula and were starting to run with some very silly ideas. Luckily, the talent was there, so many of these crazy episode ideas miraculously worked.

There is "The Muffin Tops," a classic Elaine episode that unofficially inspired Panera Bread's Muffies. And who can forget Elaine's very classy dance moves in "The Little Kicks"? Another Julia Louis-Dreyfus highlight is "The Bizarro Jerry," where she doesn't just meet a Jerry look-alike, but an entire friend group that is like a mirror dimension of the "Seinfeld" cast.

Speaking of bizzaro personality changes, in "The Chicken Roaster," Jerry and Kramer are forced to switch living situations, and soon, one begins to act like the other. And then, last but far from least, there is "The Yada Yada," which spawned one of the most influential "Seinfeld"-isms to ever enter the popular vernacular.

1. Season 7

It was an extremely tight race, but Season 7 edges out the competition to be ranked the best season of "Seinfeld." Full of legendary episodes and an overarching story with one heck of a payoff, the 7th season earns its spot atop this list.

It starts and ends with Susan, and the ongoing narrative serves less of a through-line in the season and more of a bookend. The tragic finale, where Susan dies licking the envelopes to the wedding invitations, is the show's most shocking moment. The fact that "Seinfeld" doesn't often go for big moments with permanent consequences makes it even more surprising, and yes, also way funnier.

And who could forget "The Soup Nazi?" One of the highest-rated "Seinfeld" episodes, this outing is funny in its own right,  as any great sitcom episode should be. But it also introduced "no soup for you!" to the world, and now there's no way of putting the genie back in the bottle.