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The Only Two Seinfeld Episodes That Don't Feature Kramer

It's difficult to imagine seemingly any episode of "Seinfeld" without the antics of Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards), Jerry Seinfeld's always odd and always funny neighbor, but believe it or not, there are two. 

The fact that only two episodes across nine seasons of material do not feature Kramer speaks to what an integral dynamic he was to the show's core group of New York cynical friends dealing with the most mundane, but sometimes most frustrating life dilemmas. Among Jerry Seinfeld (playing himself), Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfous), and George Costanza (Jason Alexander), Kramer is somehow the one usually embroiled in the strangest adventures, whether that's starting a late-night show in his apartment or testing the limits of a car's gas gauge. 

Kramer was always getting up to something, whether with his closest pals or off entertaining himself, which was a particular skill of his. Of the two total episodes of "Seinfeld" that don't feature Kramer at all, though, one is often referenced as one the best from the series. As for the other, it's an episode that also stands out as the only one not featuring Jason Alexander. Here is a look at the two episodes of "Seinfeld" somehow not featuring Kramer.

Kramer is not in The Chinese Restaurant

"The Chinese Restaurant" is often hailed as one of the all-time top episodes of "Seinfeld." 

The contained plot of Episode 11 of Season 2 was classic "Seinfeld," placing Elaine, Jerry, and George inside a Chinese restaurant for the entire run, as they are repeatedly told the table will be ready in five to 10 minutes. The ticking time bomb under the table is that they are running out of time to catch their movie, a showing of "Plan 9 From Outer Space" and who in their right mind would be late for that? 

Kramer is not seen in the entire episode, though he's not really needed as so much of the story's comedy is just the subtle absurdity of what seems at first like a Chinese restaurant, but soon morphs into a Lynchian nightmare where everything that can go wrong will go wrong. 

Kramer is not featured in the episode for an odd reason. It was so early in the show's run that his character hadn't been entirely fleshed out. At the time, the writers thought of him as a homebody who never left his apartment (which clearly proved not to be the case as the character evolved). In an interview for the DVD box set, producer Larry David said that if the signature episode had been written later in the run, they would have found a way to get Kramer involved in the plot.

Kramer was not in The Pen

Kramer also doesn't appear in another contained episode, this time Episode 3 of Season 3, titled "The Pen." Also not featured is George. The absence of these two characters is because the episode sees Elaine and Jerry head to Florida at attend an event honoring Jerry's father. After a misunderstanding leads to a member of the retirement community begrudgingly  gifting Jerry a pen, the rest of the episode devolves into bitter fights between people making the best of the little pettiness they still have left in those golden years. 

The episode was obviously the writers trying something different, choosing to focus on a storyline only featuring Jerry and Elaine and away from the main city setting of the show. While this was Richards' second time being left out, Alexander felt there was no story justification for leaving his character out. Alexander was so upset about his non-involvement, he pulled Larry David aside and said if he was left out again, he should be written out permanently (via New York Post). Luckily, "Seinfeld" found its footing and mainstream success soon after, and David and the other writers figured out how to juggle the characters all at once, with Kramer and Costanza going on to appear in every remaining episode of "Seinfeld" until the series finale