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The Seinfeld Episode That Always Gives Fans The Creeps

There is no denying that the Emmy-winning series "Seinfeld" was a pretty big deal when it was on the air, and the sitcom continues to be popular decades after the series finale aired in 1998. There is no shortage of hilarious moments and side-splitting characters that occupy each well-crafted entry. Some chapters are must-watch endeavors with a high repeat value, and then there are certain episodes that fans find difficult to watch altogether.

Despite its massive success, it's hard to argue against the fact that some seasons of "Seinfeld" are better than others, and not every individual entry is going to be a hit with viewers. After 180 episodes, a few bad apples are bound to pop up, and in the world of comedy, some things are just going to rub individuals the wrong way. Some "Seinfeld" moments haven't aged well at all, and it's no secret that "Seinfeld" did some questionable things during its run that fans have simply ignored.

Despite all of this, many would agree that "Seinfeld" is nothing short of hilarious from start to finish, and several followers have an easy time overlooking some of its missteps and flaws. But certain episodes always get skipped, and there are some that just completely creep out fans altogether.

The Opera doesn't sit well with some Seinfeld fans

In Season 4, Episode 9 ("The Opera"), the character Joe Davola (Peter Crombie) is a mentally unstable individual off his medication who stalks and terrorizes the "Seinfeld" core four. Threats of Kiboshing and clown karate all add to the bizarre nature of the threatening personality, which makes for a dark chapter in the series.

In a post to the r/Seinfeld subreddit, u/derpferd wrote, "I'm watching The Opera, and this is, without question, the most unnerving sitcom episode I've ever seen. Crazy Joe Davola is terrifying." Similarly, u/pilchard_slimmons posted, "The first time I saw it, I actually forgot what I was watching and felt very uncertain about it. It had a certain darkness about it that was so out of character for the show, buffered on each side by a normal episode." Others like u/Cellarzombie also agreed "The Opera" was a tough pill to swallow, calling the episode "one of the most unsettling and uncomfortable episodes of TV that I can recall."

Notably, a number of commenters brought up their thoughts on the cringe-worthy scene where Elanie is trapped in Davola's apartment. For example, u/MybklynWndy wrote, "Not my favorite episode. A little too dark. When Elaine was trapped, it wasn't funny." In another comment, u/julia_fns also added, "Elaine being trapped by him got way too real for me, nothing funny about that at all."

So, what's the background on this episode?

Crazy Joe Davola was named after a real person

If fans find Crazy Joe Davola unsettling, they may have difficulty coming to terms with the fact that he was actually based on a real person. Thankfully the only thing taken from the real-life individual was his name, and all of the crazy antics were just made up for the series. 

It was first reported in the Sun Journal in 1993 that Crazy Joe Davola was really a big-time Hollywood player. At the time, the real-life Davola was a TV producer for Fox and MTV, whose credits include "One Tree Hill," "In Living Color," "Smallville," and "All That." He also co-created the Television studio AwesomenessTV, which operates under the umbrella of ViacomCBS as of 2022.

One of his friends in the industry, "Seinfeld" co-creator Larry David, liked his name so much that he decided to use it for the character. The real-life Davola has said it is an honor to be part of the iconic sitcom, and he also made sure to emphasize that he isn't like the persona seen in the series. "A lot of people are scared of me because they hear that I'm crazy," Davola said (via Todd Longwell on YouTube). "I am crazy but not that crazy." 

While Davola looks favorably upon his impact on the series, some fans still can't help but get incredibly creeped out when the fictional Joe Davola attends the opera.