When a Seinfeld aficionado is asked,” Where did Seinfeld‘s funniest moments occur,” they are likely to say in Jerry’s apartment. After all, this is the gang’s favorite meeting place—where Kramer mooches food and makes his most grandiose entrances, where Elaine gives Jerry the biggest chest shoves, and where George hatches his best schemes.
But one setting that is often overlooked is the simple automobile. Whether it’s one of Jerry’s Saabs, Kramer’s ancient Impala, or George’s father’s beloved set of wheels, many laugh-out-loud moments have taken place in a car.
10 The Prostitution Ring In “The Wig Master”
When someone drops their car off at a city parking lot, they might expect to get a door ding or an unsightly scratch. The furthest thing from their mind is that their car will become an unwilling pawn in a parking lot prostitution ring. But when George finds a used condom in his car and lipstick on the dashboard, he suspects that something is awry at Jiffy Park. Kramer, donning the brightly colored threads for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, discovers a sex worker in his car just as the police drive up. Thanks to his outrageous get-up, he is mistaken for a pimp.
Season seven’s “The Wig Master” is a perfect example of the world in which these characters live. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong—especially when it comes to George.
9 The Cadillac
One of the most memorable cars in the series is the Cadillac that Jerry buys for his parents—a seemingly thoughtful gift that goes wrong. Not only does this wretched automobile inadvertently lead to his parents being accused of embezzlement and their eviction from their retirement community, but it winds up being sold for a fraction of the cost to his father’s nemesis, Jack Klompus. Jerry buys it back for his parents, but before he can take possession of the Cadillac, Klompus drives it into a swamp.
An hour-long season seven installment, “The Cadillac,” is noteworthy for more than just its humor and being the best Del Boca Vista episode. It truly reflects the relationship between Jerry and his parents. By buying them this gift, he not only hopes to give them something that they will enjoy, but he wants to give a present that reflects his financial stature. And, in true Seinfeld fashion, it blows up in his face.
8 The “John” Voight Car
All Seinfeld fans remember the moment when a very excited George announces that he has just bought a Chrysler LeBaron once owned by actor, Jon Voight. Predictably, he soon discovers that it was owned by a “Jon with an ‘h'” Voight, who is not a Hollywood A-lister but is a dentist.
Fast forward to season five’s “The Bris,” and fans are treated to one of Seinfeld‘s weirdest episodes. The John Voight car returns only to have a hospital patient plunge to his death and land squarely on the LeBaron’s convertible top. And after two seasons of driving the repaired automobile, in season seven’s “The Gum,” it catches fire due to an old man’s tinkering—and the John Voight car is declared dead.
7 Nose First
Season three’s “The Parking Space” asks viewers if it’s okay to parallel park by entering the spot nose-first. While George is about to pull into a coveted parking spot using the traditional backing in approach, Mike the Bookie comes in behind him and attempts to go in front first. The two wind up in a hilarious battle of wills (and automobiles) with passers-by weighing in on the parking etiquette debate. Ironically, both George and Mike are headed to Jerry’s to watch a fight.
This episode is noteworthy as it not only poses a previously unexplored question regarding the right way to park but also highlights George’s self-defeating character. He is so excited about getting a great spot, that he feels the need to pontificate to Elaine about his parking prowess. During his lengthy speech, he winds up losing the space.
6 The Squirrel
When George accidentally runs over a gathering of pigeons in the ninth season’s “The Merv Griffin Show,” his girlfriend is appalled. To impress her, he later makes a big show of avoiding hitting the birds but, instead, clips a squirrel. At the insistence of his girlfriend, George takes the wounded rodent to the veterinarian and forks over big bucks to save its life.
The squirrel scenario is abdomen-achingly funny, but it also highlights George’s bad luck—a common theme throughout the sitcom. Not only does he hit a squirrel while trying to avoid pigeons, but it winds up costing him a small fortune to return the rodent to health. And, after all that expense, it is attacked by a hawk in an Upper West Side apartment building. These hilarious scenes are one of the reasons that this is the best Seinfeld episode of the season.
5 The Handicap Spot
Tired of driving around a shopping center’s parking lot, looking for a space, Kramer tells George to park his father’s Mercury in a handicapped spot. A reluctant George gives in. When the gang returns to the car after their shopping, they are shocked to see an angry crowd has formed around it. The mob destroys the borrowed car and to make amends to his father, George agrees to become his butler.
Season four’s “The Handicap Spot” is remarkable for several reasons. It is just one of several instances where a car driven by George is destroyed. It, again, illustrates George’s miserable existence and Kramer’s ability to get other people into trouble, and it provides some of the best Frank Costanza quotes. Plus, it mirrors Jerry and George’s failed NBC pilot where a driver is sentenced to be Jerry’s butler.
4 George’s “Death”
In season seven’s “The Caddy,” George accidentally locks his keys in his car at the Yankee Stadium’s parking lot. Management for the Yankees assumes he is working long hours, as his car is always there, causing them to consider him for a promotion. In the meantime, he takes a trip out of town with Susan, leaving his car to collect a heap of flyers.
Jerry and Kramer go to retrieve the flyers, see that the car is full of bird poop, break in, and take it to get washed. But, of course, they damage the car, Kramer bleeds a bit inside it, and return it to the parking lot. Due to the damage and the presence of blood, Yankee management assumes George is dead, his parents are notified, and he loses the promotion.
3 O’Brien And Murphy
In the third season, “The Limo” brought viewers the strangest limousine ride imaginable. Posing as a “Mr. O’Brien” and his friend, “Murphy,” George and Jerry hope to simply snag a free limo ride and tickets to a Knicks game by nabbing the real O’Brien’s limousine at the airport. When an O’Brien groupie gives George a copy of the speech that he is to say at a rally, he and Jerry make the discovery that the real O’Brien is a high-profile Nazi—and there is a violent, angry mob awaiting him.
What makes this automotive episode so special is the fact that, yet again, the gang’s scheming and attempts to get “something for nothing” lands them in significant trouble. And, of course, George’s character receives the crappiest end of the stick.
2 The B.O. Car
“Smelly Car,” a fourth season gem, revolves around an intrusive stench of unknown origins that attaches itself to Jerry’s car and refuses to leave. It permeates everything and everyone that enters the vehicle causing those around them to declare, “You smell.” The gang suspects that a valet contaminated the car, but no amount of cleaning can fix it. Even Elaine’s hair can’t seem to shed the odor. A completely defeated Jerry throws the keys at a would-be car thief in an attempt to rid himself of the car, but even the thief can’t stand the smell.
This episode is exceptionally fun to watch as the smell is passed from one person to another. Every time someone new enters the vehicle, the audience is treated to a hilarious collection of facial expressions.
1 The Parking Garage
Only Seinfeld could stage an entire episode in a parking structure and make it work. In season three’s “The Parking Garage,” the gang has misplaced Kramer’s boat-sized car and find themselves endlessly wandering from level to level in search of it. Meanwhile, George’s parents are waiting for him to take them out to celebrate their anniversary and Elaine’s new goldfish are dying. Jerry and George both decide to urinate on the premises, landing them in a sitcom version of a parking garage jail. And, Kramer has now lost his air conditioner.
Part of this automotive bit’s appeal is the many strange people that they encounter while looking for the car. Whether they are being asphyxiated by someone’s exhaust, having a hostile encounter with a pair of muscle heads, or accidentally insulting a Scientologist, they just can’t seem to catch a break. And, true to form, they don’t find the car until it’s too late. Despite this seemingly unhappy ending, this episode remains a fan favorite and one of the best standalone Seinfeld episodes.