The season finale is usually the biggest episode of any show's current run. Most show's use this episode to tie up all the loose ends, conclude the season's biggest storylines, and maybe even leave the fan's anticipating what's to come next season. That's what most show's do, but Seinfeld is not most shows.
It can be easy to forget just how much Seinfeld changed the television sitcom forever. It's unusual humor, everyday misadventures and generally unlikable main characters were ground-breaking. They also avoided many television tropes which led to some unique season finales that often varied in terms of quality. Take a look back at the definitive ranking of all of the Seinfeld finales.
9 The Stock Tip (Season 1)
Since Seinfeld was such a new thing on television, it took a little while to find its footing. The first season is especially indicative of some of those early struggles. The first season finale shows the problems are still there, but also hints at the brilliance to come. The main story, which follows Jerry and George investing in a hot stock tip only for the tipster to fall into a coma, is pretty standard sitcom fare. The episode's highlights come in the smaller moments like Elaine getting obsessive about a lost grape and Jerry trying to get the laundromat to admit they shrunk his shirt.
8 The Finale (Season 9)
After becoming the biggest show of television, the series finale of Seinfeld was one of the most anticipated and most watched television events of all time. So there was no way it wasn't going to be a disappointment.
The finale is often named among the biggest television letdowns ever. That reputation is a bit unfair, but it's true the episode is lacking a little. While the fact that the episode falls into being a "greatest hits" clip show at times, the conclusion of the four leads heading to prison is an appropriate ending.
7 The Summer Of George (Season 8)
The end of the penultimate season of Seinfeld was surprisingly low-key. If the show's creators had known this would be it, they might have gone for something more substantial, but instead, we get this fine, standard episode. Each of the characters gets their own wacky storyline, but none of them rank among the more memorable moments of the show. There isn't really much to find at fault about the episode, but it doesn't inspire a lot of love either. It is simply a serviceable episode that gets lost among the better ones.
6 The Understudy (Season 6)
Unlike some of the other more popular sitcoms, Seinfeld rarely leaned on celebrity guest stars to raise its profile. The Season 6 finale was a rare exception, as it featured Bette Midler prominently in the story. After Jerry begins dating Milder's Broadway understudy, George butts heads with the icon, leading to her injury. Though a bit gimmicky and an usual parody of the Tonya Harding scandal, Milder is game for poking fun at herself leading to a charming enough episode.
5 The Invitations (Season 7)
The show has never been shy about making its main characters out to be awful people, but they never went anywhere as dark as in "The Invitations". The conclusion of the season-long storyline of George's engagement to Susan came to an end after she died from licking the cheap invitations George picked out.
For a primetime sitcom at the time, this was a pretty bold move. While some might have found it mean-spirited, it was in keeping with the show's tone and was a completely unexpected way to wrap things up.
4 The Busboy (Season 2)
By the end of Season 2, Seinfeld was really finding its stride, excelling at the interconnected storylines and cringe-worthy situations. This finale exemplified those qualities for which the show would soon be known. The episode follows George trying to make amends with a busboy he accidentally got fired but only making matters worse. While the writing isn't as sharp as it is later on, there are some classic moments, the best being Elaine frantically trying to get her annoying boyfriend to the airport and out of her life.
3 The Keys (Season 3)
The Season 3 finale was Seinfeld's first real attempt to set a season-ending cliff-hanger. For a first attempt, it is predictably hit-or-miss. The story centers on Jerry getting fed up with Kramer's intrusion and taking his keys from him. This leads to Kramer running away to Los Angeles. While the battle over the keys has some fun moments, the story feels pretty incomplete. Indeed, it would take the Season 4 premiere to really have some fun with Kramer's L.A. adventures.
2 The Pilot (Season 4)
Season 4 is when the brilliance of Seinfeld became undeniable. The show was now very comfortable with its unique storytelling and style of comedy. They also took a big risk in making a season-long storyline about Jerry and George attempting to sell a pilot to NBC. The story arc provided some hilarious meta-comedy, and it was a lot of fun seeing a new slew of actors playing the other characters on the show. There is also a great montage of some of the memorable supporting characters tuning in for the pilot's airing. And the conclusion reaffirmed that these characters just don't deserve happy endings.
1 The Opposite (Season 5)
Seinfeld is at its best when it is focusing on its four main characters and their dynamics together. The Season 5 closer uses this storytelling tactic to excellent effect making it not only the best finale the show delivered, but one of the show's best episodes ever. The story finds George realizing that his instincts are always wrong and decides to do the opposite of what his gut tells him, with great results. On the other hand, Elaine's life is falling apart, and Jerry realizes he always comes out even. The fun character work and the addition of Kramer's coffee table book make it a winner.