During its nine season run, Seinfeld had plenty of memorable hit episodes. But there were also a few clunkers here and there. Even the most hardcore Seinfeld fans have forgotten about many of these flops entirely, and rightfully so.
Here are the worst six episodes of Seinfeld in the order they were aired. Enjoy!
Season 1 Episode 2
After the pilot episode “The Seinfeld Chronicles,” the show’s writers wanted to change the laundromat setting into Monk’s coffee shop. This episode centers around a mishap where Kramer’s fictional “Kramerica Industries” is accidentally hired to renovate the laundromat into the coffee shop. Rather than admit his company is fake, Kramer tasks George, Jerry, and Elaine with the required construction work. Critics found the premise funny but ultimately weren’t amused after watching the characters perform laborious construction work for 30 minutes.
Season 2 Episode 9
Uncle Leo gets mugged and decides to buy a gun for self defense. Later that day while practicing at a firing range he accidentally shoots himself in the leg. Leo gives the gun to Kramer, who accidentally shoots himself in the leg too. Kramer gives the gun to Newman, who, after accidentally shooting himself in the leg, insists Jerry take the gun. Jerry doesn’t want it; but when a police officer sees Jerry holding the gun, the officer shoots Jerry in the leg. Elaine and George both come up to Jerry’s apartment, see the gun, and accidentally shoot one another in the leg. Though some critics praised the episode’s focus on gun safety, there was near unanimous agreement that so many characters getting shot in the leg required a complete suspension of disbelief. Fortunately the writers learned their lesson from this one and it was the last time any character on the show was shot in the leg.
“The Other Contest”
Season 5 Episode 1
This one attempted to piggyback on the fan favorite episode “The Contest” but critics slammed it as derivative. In the episode Jerry, George, Kramer, and Newman hold a contest where the last one to get circumcised wins. Unfortunately for Jerry he’s already circumcised so he’s out of the contest immediately. None of the other characters get circumcised during the episode, though the possibility arises when Newman accidentally gets his penis stuck in a mailbox.
Season 5 Episode 20
When a flying car crashes through the window of Jerry’s fifth floor apartment, Jerry, Kramer, and Newman discover their building was pulled through a time vortex into the future. To return to the present, Kramer builds a time warp generator out of quantum flux crystals while Jerry fine tunes the warp energy by reversing the polarity of the laser diodes. Critics panned this episode’s storyline as focusing on science fiction instead of comedy. The writers clearly learned their lesson as the show never relied on science fiction tropes for the rest of its run.
Season 7 Episode 12
George, Elaine, and Kramer attend Jerry’s funeral after he dies of a heart attack in his sleep. They each try and fail to deliver a heartfelt eulogy: George complains that Jerry still owed him five dollars when he died, Elaine says she doesn’t have anyone fun to go to the movies with anymore, and Kramer knocks over the open casket before he can say a word. Critics had mixed feelings about this episode: though it was funny, it also made no sense to kill off the show’s title character halfway through the seventh season. The writers attempted to sweep this mistake under the rug by bringing Jerry back to life in the next episode without explanation. Fun fact: This episode was never shown in syndication and only appears in the season seven DVD set as a special feature.
Season 9 Episode 3
The final season was already off to a rocky start by the time this stinker rolled around. The entire episode focuses on Frank Costanza starting a bank specializing in subprime mortgages. While most critics at the time were puzzled by 30 minutes of Frank interacting with his bank’s clients and helping them fill out page after page of loan applications, looking back the episode predicted the subprime mortgage crisis almost a decade in advance. Although the writers took a lot of heat for this episode back in the day, perhaps they had the last laugh.