The Worst Episodes Of 'Seinfeld'

Over 400 Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Worst Episodes Of 'Seinfeld'
Voting Rules
Vote up the episodes that missed the comedic mark.

When it was on the air, Seinfeld was the number one program around, and some of the characters, comments, and episodes featured throughout its nine-season run are still hilarious examples of late-80s and early-90s comedy. The series ran for a total of 169 episodes, and while most of them are as funny and relevant to this day (an impressive feat for "a show about nothing"), not all of them can be considered classics. In fact, some of the worst Seinfeld episodes have been panned by both critics and fans alike.

Now, let's not mince words here: Seinfeld was (and still is) one of the greatest shows ever made. That said, some episodes have aged better than others. Whether the comedy wasn't on-point, the topics were more offensive than originally intended, or parts of the dialogue were so off-character that they were hard to believe, these 12 episodes are often considered by both viewers and critics to be low moments in an otherwise standout series.

Check out the select few episodes that are widely considered to be flops and vote up all the ones you think missed the mark. That way new viewers can prepare themselves for the low points (which admittedly aren't many) in an otherwise fantastic series.

Photo: Seinfeld / NBC

  • The Seinfeld Chronicles
    Photo: NBC

    The pilot episode of the series is certainly not the best the show had to offer, and that's okay since it's a pilot. It centers around Jerry and his love life with George on hand to help him out with advice. Kramer... or Kessler, as he was named in the episode, is introduced. The dynamic between the characters is likely what helped get the show an order with NBC, but it's easy to look back on and see that the episode was far from the series' best.

    Why it falls short: It lacked Elaine, the pacing was horrifically slow, Jerry's love life is far from interesting, and the show would have never attained the prominence it achieved had the format remained exactly as it was presented in the pilot.

    • Original Airing: July 05, 1989
    • Season: Seinfeld Season 1
    • Episode Number: 1
    187 votes
  • 2
    225 VOTES
    The Dog
    Photo: NBC

    When Jerry finds himself on a flight next to a boorish alcoholic, he does whatever he can to stop their conversation. The man doesn't pick up on Jerry's disinterest in him, and when he suffers from some sort of medical attack, Jerry's proximity to the man makes him the default go-to to care for his dog, Farfel. The canine in question was never seen on screen but was clearly meant to be a large, aggressive, and nonstop-barking creature. Jerry hates caring for the animal and finally gets rid of it when the man shows up weeks after his medical debacle.

    Why it falls short: One of the features of this episode was the relationship between George and Elaine. Because of the dog, Jerry wasn't able to do much with the group, which left them having to hang out with one another. They felt uncomfortable without their Jerry buffer, which was strange because their relationship seemed very friendly up to this point in the series. It didn't make much sense for the characters, and while the episode works as a standalone, it falls flat when compared to the series as a whole.

    • Original Airing: October 09, 1991
    • Season: Seinfeld - Season 3
    • Episode Number: 4
    225 votes
  • 3
    190 VOTES
    Male Unbonding
    Photo: NBC

    Jerry is plagued by a childhood friend he no longer likes named Joel Horneck. He and George reason that he never stopped hanging out with him because he's a man, and the best way to end their relationship would be to treat him like a woman he was breaking up with. He gives it a shot, and the man breaks down in tears. Elaine makes her first appearance in the show and offers her advice in killing the relationship, and Kramer hatches his latest get-rich-quick scheme: a pizza place where you make your own pie.

    Why it falls short: This was the fourth episode of the series, and it introduced Elaine, but she wasn't given much to do. This is addressed later in the series when the two men admit that they didn't know how to write for a woman, which was effectively a callback to her earlier appearances. There were some funny points throughout the episode, but the overall storyline about Jerry breaking up with an old childhood friend isn't incredibly memorable and made for a weak episode.

    • Original Airing: June 14, 1990
    • Season: Seinfeld Season 1
    • Episode Number: 4
    190 votes
  • The Puerto Rican Day
    Photo: NBC

    "The Puerto Rican Day" features the main cast coming home from a game and finding the city completely gridlocked. The annual Puerto Rican Day Parade is the culprit, and after Jerry gets into a feud with another driver, nobody is going anywhere. The episode shows each of the men conning their way into a townhouse to use the bathroom and catch the last few minutes of the game while Elaine desperately attempts to get home but to no avail.

    Why it falls short: There were a lot of bottle episodes on Seinfeld, but this one is the dullest. More than that, it was incredibly racially offensive, and NBC even apologized for airing it. Overall, it's just not a funny episode, and that leaves the offensive bits standing out as the most prominent feature. Most people don't like this episode, and there are plenty who outright hate it.

    • Original Airing: May 07, 1998
    • Season: Seinfeld - Season 9
    • Episode Number: 20
    243 votes
  • The Ex-Girlfriend
    Photo: NBC

    Jerry begins dating Marlene, shortly after George breaks up with her. She could easily be described as incredibly sexy, but, like George, Jerry quickly finds her dull and uninteresting. He struggles internally to break up with her, but can't because she has a "psycho-sexual" hold on him. When she finally sees his act, she loses all respect for him and breaks up with him mainly because she doesn't think he's funny. The episode also features a subplot with George, who is revealed to be homophobic.

    Why it falls short: Overall, the episode was pretty boring. The whole point of "The Ex-Girlfriend" was to deliver a punchline, and it wasn't very funny. For a comedian to get dumped by someone because they don't find them funny is sillier than it is funny, and it just didn't work for a lot of viewers. The series touched on this again in a later episode with Jerry dating a woman who never laughed, and that played a lot better than this episode.

    • Original Airing: January 23, 1991
    • Season: Seinfeld Season 2
    • Episode Number: 1
    148 votes
  • 6
    202 VOTES
    The Deal
    Photo: NBC

    In "The Deal," Jerry and Elaine attempt to do the unthinkable: they work out a set of rules that allows them to sleep with one another, and not cross any lines that would endanger their friendship. While it works out in the beginning, the typical issues relating to such a liaison end up causing conflict, and their friendship is almost ruined as a result.

    Why it falls short: The episode was written solely to please the NBC brass, who continuously demanded that Jerry and Elaine get back together. The series was never about a "will they, or won't they" kind of dynamic, which is why Elaine was introduced as Jerry's ex-girlfriend whom he became close friends with. Larry David reluctantly wrote the episode, but in doing so, he proved it would never work. In some ways, it's ingenious, and while it helped the series stay on the air with NBC's approval, it left fans with an episode that disrupted the normal flow of the show, and ultimately, didn't go anywhere.

    • Original Airing: May 02, 1991
    • Season: Seinfeld Season 2
    • Episode Number: 9
    202 votes