"The Highlights Of 100"
As groundbreaking and inventive a sitcom as Seinfeld was, here's an episode that truly dates it. Sure, a show might have a quasi-clip show for its 100th episode (I remember 30 Rock having a few clips this year) but busting out an episode like this for such a milestone would provoke a lot of angry comments on the internet. Still, I wanted to acknowledge the episode, not so much for its content (it's a perfectly enjoyable, perfunctory trip through the show's best gags, loosely organized), but to mark off that we're about halfway through at this point (55 percent, actually) and take a look back at all we've seen and done together, with a little top 10 list of the best episodes so far. This is The A.V. Club, after all, and list-making is part of the deal.
Making this list was a hell of a lot harder than I thought it would be, and I'm sure I've made many omissions that you guys can enumerate in the comments, but it's just reflecting my favorites, not any kind of canonical inventory. There's definitely some of the obvious classics along with some of my personal loves.
A few honorable mentions: "The Airport" from season 4 is a fantastic caper, the best part of which is Elaine's horrifying ordeal in coach (and a stinky cameo from Larry Charles). "The Library" from season 3 is a good episode elevated to the highest level by Philip Baker Hall's performance as Lt. Bookman, maybe Seinfeld's best ever one-off character. "The Jacket" from season 2 is equally memorable for Lawrence Tierney's terrifying portrayal of Elaine's dad Alton Benes (and Jerry's candystriped jacket). "The Dinner Party" from season 5 is a great example of the gang trying to get somewhere and failing, packed with great individual storylines like George's gigantic winter coat or Jerry's love of the black and white cookie. "The Soup" from season 6 is the standout of that season so far, introducing the horrible Kenny Bania and featuring Elaine trying, in vain, to order a big salad at a rival coffee shop.
10. "The Raincoats" (Season 5, Episodes 18-19)