10 Seinfeldisms That Are Even Truer Today

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1/27/16

Jerry Seinfeld has begun a year-long residency at the Upper West Side’s Beacon Theater, where he’ll perform standup about once a month. To celebrate “Jerry Seinfeld: The Homestand,” we’ve dug up 10 Seinfeld insights that stand the test of time.

1. Coffee’s not always just coffee.

Season 2, Episode 7, “The Phone Message”

Quote: “She invited me up! Coffee’s not coffee. Coffee’s sex. Coffee’s coffee in the morning, not at twelve o’clock at night.” —George
How it’s survived: A midnight invitation still means something more… although today, it’s more likely to be to a “Netflix and chill” situation.

2. Cash is not an appropriate gift.

Season 2, Episode 9, “The Deal”

Quote: “What are you, my uncle?” —Elaine
How it’s survived: Giving cash to a friend on her birthday is as inappropriate today as it was in 1991; since then, iTunes and Amazon gift cards have joined the ranks of “uncle gifts.”

3. Taking a reservation is not the same as holding it.

Season 3, Episode 11, “The Alternate Side”


Quote: Jerry reserves a rental car, but when he goes to pick it up, the clerk says it’s not available. Challenging the claim, he says, “See, you know how to take the reservation; you just don’t know how to hold the reservation. And that’s really the most important part of the reservation—the holding. Anybody can just take them.” —Jerry
How it’s survived: You can make reservations for just about anything online, which adds a bit more accountability—but there are still plenty of businesses out there that have trouble “holding” reservations.

4. Nobody wants strangers to call them.

Season 4, Episode 3, “The Pitch”

Quote: To a telemarketer: “Oh, gee, I can’t talk right now. Why don’t you give me your home number, and I’ll call you later?” —Jerry
How it’s survived: Telemarketers are still at it, 23 years after this episode aired. The only difference is, today they have our cell phone numbers too!

5. Don’t stare.

Season 4, Episode 16, “The Shoes”

Quote: “Looking at cleavage is like looking at the sun. You don’t stare at it. It’s too risky! You get a sense of it, and then you look away!” —Jerry
How it’s survived: It’s still not cool to give pervy stares in public. But, hey, good news for creeps! You can now ogle all day long on Instagram.

6. George Costanza’s misery will always entertain.

Season 4, Episode 18, “The Old Man”

Quote: “I listen to this for fifteen minutes, I’m on top of the world. Your misery is my pleasure.” —Jerry
How it’s survived: Seinfeld, one of the most successful syndicated shows of all time, is largely focused on the complaints and tribulations of George Costanza—a stand-in for the show’s co-creator Larry David. His misery is all of our pleasure.

7. Security guards deserve chairs.

Season 7, Episode 3, “The Maestro”

Quote: “She’s not concerned about the security guard. What kind of a person is this? I’m marrying a person who doesn’t care that this man has to stand here eight hours a day, when he could easily be sitting.” —George
How it’s survived: Walking through NYC, it’s evident that many workers are still forced to stand in situations where they could kick back. If you’re curious, pull a Costanza: Ask a security guard if they would rather be sitting.

8. Secret to a successful career: Act annoyed.

Season 7, Episode 5, “The Hot Tub”

Quote: “When you look annoyed all the time, people think that you’re busy.” —George
How it’s survived: Workers have been slacking off for years based off this lasting bit of Costanza logic.

9. No spoilers allowed.

Season 7, Episode 11, “The Rye”

Quote: George’s father interrupts a dinner conversation about a movie by saying, “Wait, wait! I haven’t seen it yet” He’s assured the conversation has nothing to do with the plot. He responds, “Still, still! I like to go in fresh!” —Frank Costanza
How it’s survived: In the age of wannabe movie critics filling up social media newsfeeds, spoilers are as plentiful and dangerous as ever. Respect Mr. Costanza, and let us all go in fresh.

10. We all must live with the office party.

Season 9, Episode 18, “The Frogger”

Quote: Jerry asks Elaine why she’s upset about having to eat cake at the many birthday and goodbye parties at her office. “It is the forced socializing,” she responds. “I mean, just because we work in the same office, why do we act like we are friends?” Jerry asks her why she’s not at work right now. “I had to take a sick day,” she replies, “I’m so sick of these people.”
How it’s survived: As long as there are offices, colleagues we will have to buddy up for birthdays and send-offs, whether they want to or not.

cover image @seinfeldtv

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