Double Jump Company

Double Jump Company (May it Rest in Peace)

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The (Real) Best Films of the 80s

robofists-revenge:

(My good buddy and fellow cinephile, Tobi Ogunyemi, wrote our first guest article here at RBR! Get ready for a constructive look at some of the best films of the 1980s, perfect for a nostalgia blog like this one. Read about some of your favorites, and discover some new ones, because Tobi’s got some damn good taste in film.)

To write something for Steve’s new blog, I wanted to do something that not only would be good for publishing on there but also something that would be a challenge to write.

And there’s one thing for me that’s a challenge to write, it’s cinema from the 1980’s.

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Before I get started on this list, I should clarify on what exactly I mean by the ‘1980’s’ because of course, even I don’t have a clear definition of the decade and period.

Naturally, when someone says something that is completely understandable around the lines of “the films from the 1980’s are mostly, overall, pretty damn atrocious,” that makes sense. Not only because it’s true, but because when you hear the term ‘1980’s,’ it sounds like the period between 1980 to 1989. Makes sense. But not so fast, my friends. Where’s the fun in that, and also that doesn’t take into consideration history of American and world cinema in large.

Being the cinema junkie I am, I love the New Hollywood period that came out of the Classic Hollywood era that was crippled after the Paramount Decree that came down in 1948 against the studio system (that’s a whole other story, folks). So with the Hays Code having taken a permanent powder and before the MPAA was solidified into what we know it to be now, along with the influence of European cinema and filmmakers allowed to push the envelope upfront in the forefront as they’ve been doing subtly for decades, the New Hollywood era came about in 1966.

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Despite, or actually because of, Fred Zimmeman’s A Man of All Seasons winning six Academy Awards along with Best Picture, Hollywood clearly didn’t know what they were doing, sticking to the old format when America invaded Normandy. The studios were hemorrhaging money and decided to hand the keys over to innovative directors and the Movie Brats crew. So from 1966 (Mike Nichols’ Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and  Sidney Lumet’s The Pawnbroker) through the 1970’s to 1982. At that point in the historical narrative, the inmates were running the asylum (Divas! Drugs! Heaven’s Gate!), thanks the triple threat of blockbusters in The GodfatherJaws and most influentially, Star Wars, the studios knew how to make money again and took back control from the auteurs.

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So, in my usual long way around the barn, that’s my frame from reference in regards to the 1980’s; basically 1983-1989. I don’t want to say that this decade was aggressively oppressive in its depictions and storytelling of and towards the mainstream audience and catering to that viewpoint by all means necessary, mostly because I don’t have to - Quentin Tarantino already did in his own way. But hell, I said I’d use this decade for the challenge and its been more than four paragraphs already so let’s do this.

Some guidelines first; again, I’m only touching on films from ‘83-‘89. As a disclaimer, I’m not one who is beholden and tethered to nostalgia (sorry I’m not your current audience, Hollywood?) so there’s not going to be films like The OutsidersSixteen CandlesGremlinsTop Gun or other such nonsense on this list. Although, a case could theoretically be made for Top Gun, especially as a thinly-veiled front for military propaganda. Or, you know, something else.

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The King of Comedy (1983)

One of Scorsese’s underrated gems (I mentioned that this one is easily in Scorsese’s top ten from his filmography), this looks into how the fantastical elements that he has been experimenting with his earlier joints eases seamlessly into the realistic nature of the protagonist’s story. We follow Robert De Niro’s Rupert Pupkin stalk Jerry Lewis’ talk show star Jerry Langford to make his own way into the talk show world. Scorsese considered that this was De Niro’s best performance under his direction and considering the work they’ve done together, that’s high phrase and it’s certainly up there in De Niro’s overall oeuvre. Featuring a terrific overall performance from Lewis as well, the film has a very relevant thesis in looking at the nature of celebritism and what anyone would do to get that self-revered place that today has run rampant and unchecked. In classic Scorsese mode, the film doesn’t judge the characters or their actions; is Pupkin crazy? Most likely, yes - but how crazy exactly, and is it a case that he is crazy or the world around him is crazy?

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Amadeus (1984)

I love films where the entire project is held up by two titanic actors who are able to feed off each other; Becket with Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton (how drunk were they on set together? Probably loaded all the time), Sleuth with Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine and this Best Picture Oscar-winner by Miloš Forman. Part biopic (with fictional touches), part psychological drama, part character study, we follow Antonio Salieri retelling the story in flashback of how he encountered the genius of fellow composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, became jealous of his natural talents in comparison to his own God-fearing capabilities and conspires to kill Mozart in spite of God. This is a rare film in this decade that’s worthy of the phrase the Academy heaped upon it, and it’s a killer picture; the performances between Best Actor winner F. Murray Abraham and fellow nominee Tom Hulce, the cinematography, the music, the costumes, it’s a great across the board and easily one of the best Best Picture winners in history.

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Back to the Future (1985)

I was originally going to exclude this one just to mess around with Steve, but in all actuality it’d be a stupid move because you leave this film out in the cold when discussing the ’80s in any capacity. But this film is an all-timer in its creativity, energy, how damn fun it is and how it has seeped into the pop cultural osmosis since its inception. You know the story; directed by Steven Spielberg’s protege (who also produced this joint), Michael J. Fox’s Marty McFly travels back in time by the help of his friend Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) to 1955 where he meets his parents and attempts to fix history. Does the time travel aspects make complete sense? No, but stop it, most (if not all) time travel stories don’t really lock up narratively since time travel doesn’t exist but overall, this is one of the more captivating and engaging ones.

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Ran (1985)

Personally, I’m more of a 1950s Akira Kurosawa man but basically when you’re dealing with the best, you can touch on his film’s from any decade and you’re going to come away with something good. Considering the ’80s, we have Ran which is a film that Kurosawa had been planning to make for literally decades. He storyboarded every single shot (this is an epic jidaigeki period piece film, that clocks in 162 minutes), started working on it in 1975 and was his last epic film. Following the analogy of ‘three arrows together are invincible,’ at first glance, the film is Shakespeare’s King Lear set in the Japanese Sengoku-era and it certainly has the touches; an aging king divides his kingdom among his three rivaling heirs but the film has more illusions towards Kurosawa himself. The aging titan of world cinema reaching the end of his legacy, what will he leave afterwards, along with nihilism of the world they are leaving behind.

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Platoon (1986)

Throughout history, we see particular directors curry favor with the Academy in certain decades, mostly how some directors win over a few years. Frank Capra in the ’30s, William Wyler in the ’40s, George Stevens in the ’50s, Robert Wise in the ’60s, Francis Ford Coppola in the ’70s - in the ’80s, it was Oliver Stone. He won his second Best Director Oscar in ‘89 for Born on the Fourth of July, but his first award comes here for Platoon. Inspired by his own journey in the Vietnam War (Stone dropped out of Yale to teach at South Vietnam and then participate in the war, like that of his main protagonist Chris Taylor), we follow Charlie Sheen’s (ha) young soldier experience the visceral trials of war while being torn between his two commandeering officers - the serene Elias and the temperamental Barnes.

"I am reality." - always loved that line, Stone.

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Wings of Desire (1987)

I remember first seeing this picture from Wim Wenders and just being entranced by the fantastical romanticism of the picture. Perhaps it is because of how, in actuality, this world doesn’t exist anymore (set in West Germany) and then the involvement of angels in the proceedings as well. Even more so, this is a film that is engaging, involving, curious and wants the audience to ask questions along with it. In a nutshell, the story involves two angels who observe different people in Berlin, and the city itself to ‘preserve reality’ as we see Peter Falk (Columbo!) making a film about Nazis and he addresses the camera in his time in the city as well. There’s also the notion of angels wanting to be humans and humans wanting to be angels with one of the unseen angels falling in love with a trapeze artist, who drowns in her melancholic loneliness.

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Cinema Paradiso (1988)

A few years back, I had the chance to sit in one of the Cinema Studies professors capstone classes (helmed by Professor Ross Melnick) and it was treat, even more so because he announced he was playing this particular film for the last day of lecture. He asked everyone around the class who had seen the movie before, and I was the only one who raised his hand. Huh. Anyway, when the film was over, everyone in the class who hasn’t seen it before was crying. Needless to say, this Palme d’Or and Best Foreign Language Oscar winner is an all-timer. Following the story of famed filmmaker Salvatore Di Vica returning to his home village in Giancaldo, Italy after his mentor Alfredo has passed away. In a flashback to his childhood, we see Salvatore’s life to that point and how Alfredo, the projectionist at the Cinema Paradiso, taught him the job and infused him with his love of cinema. On that note, this film in general is a storied love letter to not only cinema, but to how one should love the experience of living a full life.

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Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

The second Robert Zemeckis piece on this list (trust me, I’m shocked as well but unlike the guy who made Forrest Gump and after that, Zemeckis had an inventive streak to his work) and for my money (sorry, Steve), this is the better picture. Not only that, but it features the best performance in the late Bob Hoskins’ career as well. This is top-notch genre buster, with elements of the neo-noir, fantasy, comedy and a seamless combination of animation and live-action where the case could be made that its quality hasn’t been touched since. The yarn involves animated toons living with humans in Toontown where gumshoe Eddie Valiant is hired to look into Jessica Rabbit possibly stepping out on Roger Rabbit, and that reveals an entire encompassing conspiracy that involves all the characters… including Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, Daffy and Donald Ducks! It still blows my mind that those four were in a film together all at once.

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Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade (1989)

Since I can’t put Raiders of the Lost Ark on this list because of my own restrictions, I’m putting in the next best thing which is the one where James Bond and Han Solo fight off Nazis to get to the Holy Grail. Quick aside; there’s been a recent commentary on the development and legacy of Temple of Doom which had an anniversary recently. Usually seen as the ‘weakest’ of the Indiana Jones trilogy, it’s seen as either (or both) a rather needlessly dark turn of events (Lucas and Spielberg going through their version of 99 Problems didn’t help with that) or just a literal theme park ride with no attempt at anything else.

That was a long quick aside (neither of those are bad by the way, it makes Temple as distinct as it is). Anyway, Crusade is an overall cap off to the series as the series is a homage to the adventurous B-series that the filmmakers grew up on, but also obviously on the James Bond franchise… who’s the father of Henry Jones, Jr., figuratively and literally! There’s also a reference to Charlemagne in this one! So great overall - one of those films that you can watch anytime and ends where we can see Indy going off on adventures of pure fun and save everyone when necessary. Except until aliens, but we don’t talk about that one.

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Do the Right Thing (1989)

Perhaps one of the most energetic films of this decade (along with Raging Bull, officially the best film of the ’80s) with its color, camera, performances, satire, commentary of life, race, cultures, city life, men, women and so much more, Spike Lee’s best film was a capstone in the emergence of the American independent film scene. Celebrating its recent 25th anniversary, the story revolves around the hottest day in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn as Mookie (Spike Lee) works for Sal and his pizzeria with his sons. Between making pizza runs, we see the different clashes of people that occupy the block and with temperatures running high, the cultural, racial and social  touch marks sweltering to that point explode in the form of the iconic trash can thrown through the pizzeria’s window.

And for the notable exceptions list from the rest of this period in the decade:

48 Hrs., Aliens, All Dogs Go To Heaven, Batman, Beetlejuice, Blue Velvet, Born on the Fourth of July, Broadcast News, Die Hard, Fatal Attraction, Ghostbusters, Glory, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Last Temptation of Christ, The Little Mermaid, The Mission, My Neighbor Totoro, Once Upon a Time in America, Purple Rain, The Secret of NIMH, Sea of Love, sex, lies and videotape, The Terminator, This is Spinal Tap

Oh, and fuck Scarface.

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(If you liked the flow and content of this article, be sure to check out SpaceLionCS, Tobi’s cinema studies website. It’s filled to the brim with reviews, editorials, and podcasts from film students and professors, and definitely worth bookmarking for future binge-reading!)

Filed under film review

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Top 25 Seinfeld Episodes!

robofists-revenge:

We here at RoboFist’s Revenge love Seinfeld to the point where it may be unhealthy. So to celebrate this groundbreaking show about nothing’s 25th birthday, without further ado, here are my

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25. The Chicken Roster

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"You don’t know what it’s like in there! All night long, things are creakin’ and crackin’ and that red light is burning my brain!

Kramer boycotts the new chicken roaster whose neon sign glows right into his apartment window. while Elaine gets busted for abusing her access to the Peterman expense account.

The thing about Seinfeld is that sometimes the most memorable scenes can come from otherwise forgettable episodes. I don’t remember much about the big fur hat that Elaine bought George with Peterman’s money, but the scene where Jerry switches places with Kramer is legendary. The mannerisms, the voice, even the interactions with the enigmatic Bob Sacamano display Jerry’s (usually sub-par) acting abilities at their absolute finest.

24. The Merv Griffin Show

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"Where are the cameras?"

After Kramer discovers the set of the old Merv Griffin Show in a dumpster, he sets it up in his apartment and promptly interviews whoever walks in. Meanwhile, Jerry’s new girlfriend has an awesome toy collection that she won’t let him play with, George is forced to take care of a squirrel he ran over, and Elaine is driven crazy by a man she never hears coming.

While the “Kramer is a talk show host” gag always steals the show, the real highlight is the toy collection! Everything from Etch-a-Sketch and Gumby to G.I. Joe and Easy Bake Oven, it’s a smorgasbord of childhood nostalgia.

23. The Dealership

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"High five!"

After Elaine’s boyfriend, David Puddy, is promoted from mechanic to salesman, Jerry goes to the dealership to score a good deal on a new car. Meanwhile, Kramer takes a car on a never-ending test drive, while George struggles to buy a Twix from the vending machine.

Let’s be honest with ourselves here: Any time Patrick Warburton’s “David Puddy” character is on-screen, it’s guaranteed to be a fantastic episode. His voice, squinty eyes, and bone-dry humor never fails to entertain, and he’s easily the best side character the show has to offer. When Jerry calls him a “grease monkey”,for example, he responds by stating, with a completely straight face, “I don’t know too many monkeys who could take apart a fuel injector.” It’s laugh out loud funny.

Plus, Kramer’s Thelma and Louise-style storyline is one for the books, proving what everyone was already thinking: you really can go on for miles on an empty tank of gas.

22. The Yada Yada

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"I met this lawyer, we went out to dinner, I had the lobster bisque, we went back to my place, yada yada yada, I never heard from him again."

George’s new girlfriend Marcy is fond of the expression “yada yada yada.” Meanwhile, Jerry feels uncomfortable when his dentist converts to Judiasm, Kramer and Mickey have trouble deciding which girl they each prefer when they double date, and Elaine accidentally prevents a couple from adopting a child.

If someone told you to say a catch phrase from Seinfeld, after you said “No soup for you!” in your worst Middle Eastern accent, you’d say “Yada yada yada.” The very best example of this phrase is used by George when describing his home life to his new girlfriend. Then again, if I lived with George’s parents, I’d “yada yada” over everything, as well.

Plus, we get more of dentist Tim Whatley (Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston), which is always a pleasure. 

21. The Race

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"I choose not to run!"

Jerry is finally dating a woman named Lois, but her new boss is a high school rival who Jerry once beat in a track meet, and now wants a rematch. Meanwhile, Elaine finds out that her boyfriend is a Communist, and Kramer gets a job as a mall Santa.

There’s something about this episode that seems so self-aware of itself, which just makes it all the funnier. Everything from the dialogue (“He’s hated me ever since…and now he’s back!) to the slow-motion rematch at the end set to John Williams’ original Superman theme screams superhero parody, and it works like a charm. Jerry’s fourth-wall-shattering wink to the audience at the end just seals the deal.

20. The Dinner Party

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"You sold us a hair with a cake around it."

On their way to a dinner party, Jerry and Elaine stop to buy a cake, while George and Kramer stop to buy a bottle of wine.

While it doesn’t sound like much as an elevator pitch, so much hilarity happens in this episode. George’s big coat accidentally knocks over bottles of wine, the cake Elaine buys has a hair on it, Jerry talks racial equality via a cookie, and Kramer tries to break a hundred dollar bill by buying candy bars and magazines. Sometimes, you have to appreciate the little hilarious moments within the bottle episodes of this series.

19. The Abstinence

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"So you’re enjoying the not enjoying?"

George’s new girlfriend is struck with mono, resulting in no sex for six weeks. Elaine is dating a doctor who hasn’t yet passed his licensing exam, so he denies sex so he can study. While Elaine becomes deprived and idiotic, George becomes a downright genius. 

Aside from the hilarious main story (watching George evolve as Elaine devolves is exactly as phenomenal as you’d expect), Kramer’s storyline about smoker’s rights is also fantastic. The whole “Don’t look at me, I’m hideous!” scene is physical comedy gold.

18. The Beard

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“They’re only comfortable with their equipment.”

Elaine attempts to convert a gay man to heterosexuality. Meanwhile, Kramer sets George up with a bald woman, and Jerry takes a polygraph test to see whether or not he’s seen the show Melrose Place.

Elaine’s story takes front and center, sure, but I find Jerry’s to be far more hilarious. Once he starts dating a woman who is convinced he’s seen Melrose Place, he tries to beat a lie detector test with some sage advice from George: “It’s not a lie if you believe it.” The resulting outrage is ridiculously funny.

Also, Elaine reacting to George’s toupee will forever be the highlight of this episode. Angry George is funny, but Furious Elaine is downright hysterical.

17. The Marine Biologist

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"The sea was angry that day, my friends. Like an old man trying to send back soup at a deli."

George starts dating a woman who thinks he’s is a marine biologist. Meanwhile, Elaine’s electronic organizer injures a person after being launched from a limo by a Russian novelist, and Kramer decides to golf on the beach.

This is a rare case of the last five minutes making the entire episode work. George’s exhausted monologue about saving a beached whale is Jason Alexander at his absolute best, telling the story with such gusto and passion that, once the punchline hits, it hits hard. What seals the deal is Kramer’s sheepish reaction, establishing that scene as one of the best in the series’ history.

16. The Comeback

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"George, the ocean called. They’re running out of shrimp."

George comes up with a comeback to a co-worker’s insult, albeit far too late, and then becomes obsessed with getting revenge. Meanwhile, Jerry gets sold a bad tennis racket by a terrible tennis player, and Elaine develops a crush on a video store employee she’s never met due to their shared taste in movies.

Everything works in this episode. George’s obsession with his “jerk store” comeback is classic Costanza, and Elaine’s crush on enigmatic video store clerk Vincent is as endearing as it is entertaining. Jerry’s foil this episode, a pathetic tennis salesman named Milos, is also outstanding, the climax to his story the obvious stand-out of the episode.

15. The Note

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"I think it moved."

George gets a massage from a man, which haunts him. Meanwhile, Jerry gets his dentist in trouble after getting a bogus doctor’s note, while Kramer insists upon seeing John DiMaggio in Dinky Donuts.

While not as funny in today’s more politically correct society as it was twenty years ago, it’s always fun watching George Costanza struggle with his own heterosexuality, mostly because he’s the only one ever panicking. “Men have been popping into my sexual fantasies,” he admits while Jerry is talking about something completely different. Jason Alexander is the master at looking uncomfortable, and it’s showcased perfectly in this episode. 

14. The Calzone

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"I am never putting on another piece of clothing unless it’s straight out of the dryer."

George gets Steinbrenner hooked on eggplant calzones, and panics once he’s banned from the restaurant he buys them from. Meanwhile, Kramer refuses to wear clothes that aren’t straight from the dryer.

You know, as hilarious as this episode is (Kramer trying to pay for a calzone with pennies is some of the best physical humor Michael Richards has to offer), I think the reason why I like it so much is because it introduced me to the magical calzone. Damn, I love calzones!

13. The Revenge

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"I drive naked, I clean naked, I cook naked…naked, naked, naked!"

George takes revenge on his boss for not hiring him back after he quit, while Jerry and Kramer take revenge on a dry cleaner after Jerry accuses him of stealing $1,500 from his laundry bag.

One of the first episodes where we start to see these characters for what they really are. George quits his job over something petty, immediately regrets it, and then gets the idea to just walk back in like nothing ever happened. It’s so pathetic, and classic Costanza. We also see the first physical comedy home-run from Michael Richards, who struggles to fill a laundry machine with concrete. I mean, watch this clip and tell me it’s not brilliant.

12. The Library

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"She needs a little tenderness. She needs a little understanding. She needs a little Kramer."

After getting a visit from “The Library Cop” Jerry is forced to prove that he returned a library book from 1971. Meanwhile, Kramer falls for an introverted librarian, and Elaine becomes paranoid that her boss is going to fire her.

Seinfeld is filled to the brim with hysterical side-characters, but the one who I constantly go back to is Philip Baker Hall as Lt. Bookman, the Library Cop. He’s on-screen for maybe five minutes, but the impact he had on that episode was phenomenal. I don’t think it would be too much of a stretch to say that without Bookman, there would be no Puddy, Babu, or even the Soup Nazi. 

11. The Heart Attack

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"You should’ve been born in August."

George thinks he suffered a heart attack, only to discover that he has inflamed tonsils instead. Kramer helps him seek alternative medicine as opposed to surgery. Meanwhile, Jerry has trouble reading his handwriting on a note from the night before.

Not many people would put “The Heart Attack” this high on the list, especially because it’s such a George-centered episode, and none of the B-stories are particularly interesting (Elaine’s “date gone wrong” story never goes anywhere, and the conclusion to Jerry’s arc is anticlimactic, to say the least). However, Stephen Tobolowsky as holistic healer Tor is exactly as hilariously bizarre as you’d expect, and the result of his treatment is equally delightfully silly.

10. The Boyfriend

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That is one magic loogie.”

In the show’s first two-parter, Jerry becomes best friends with Mets first baseman, Keith Hernandez. However, Kramer and Newman are bitter because they insist he spit on them, while Keith himself has the hots for Elaine. Meanwhile, George concocts a scheme to keep his unemployment checks coming.

Man, this episode was insane. The first hour-long episode, the first big celebrity guest star, and even the first intentional spoof (the entire “he spit on us” scene is a brilliant rip on Oliver Stone’s JFK film). In fact, that scene alone makes this episode a classic. George’s desperate “Vandelay Industries” arc is also filled with laughs, especially Jerry’s improvised “And you want to be my latex salesman” line.

9. The Bubble Boy

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"Moops!"

Jerry and Elaine agree to meet a boy who lives in a plastic bubble, but end up at a diner after getting lost. George and his fiancée, Susan, visit the bubble boy instead, resulting in a brutal game of “Trivial Pursuit.”

What is it about people born with immunodeficiency that makes for such comedy fodder? Is it the ridiculous concept of a grown man living in a giant bubble? Either way, it works out for the best here, mostly because the disease itself isn’t played for laughs; Donald, the titular bubble boy, is an absolute bastard, making him the perfect foil for George. Who’d have thought a simple game of “Trivial Pursuit” could result in an epic throw-down?

8. The Parking Garage

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"Everything looks the same! We’re like rats in some experiment!"

After a day at the mall, the four get hopelessly lost in a parking garage.

To me, Seinfeld is at its best when the characters are in perfectly normal situations. Yes, it’s great when something extraordinary happens to Jerry (such as, for example, the bubble boy), but Seinfeld is so much better at capturing the hilarity and frustration at normal, everyday occurrences. You can’t find the car. You have to go to the bathroom, but there isn’t one around. You finally find your car…but you’ve lost all of your friends. It’s episodes like these that let the normality act as the joke, substituting your typical three-act structure with something even more memorable.

7. The Jimmy

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"Jimmy doesn’t like misunderstandings…"

Kramer is given too much Novocain at the dentist, and is accidentally mistaken for a mentally handicapped man. Meanwhile, Jerry suspects his dentist is violating him sexually while he’s under the gas, and George is under suspicion of stealing Yankees equipment.

In what is arguably the show’s riskiest episode in terms of offensive content, I still can’t help but crack up at Michael Richards’ performance as Kramer on Novocain. People have cried foul in the past, but I think it’s exactly the right balance of offensiveness and comedy gold. Jerry being sexually violated while under nitrous oxide is also something you couldn’t get away with today, adding to Whatley’s already-established jerkiness.

Surprisingly, the most normal aspect of this episode is Anthony Starke as Jimmy, who refers to himself in the third person. While his performance is memorable, the story never seems to go anywhere.

6. The Outing

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"Not that there’s anything wrong with that."

Jerry is interviewed by a journalism student from NYU, who is convinced that he and George are a gay couple. The more they try to convince her that they’re both straight, the more they accidentally convince her otherwise.

While not as funny in today’s more politically correct world, the classic “two men try to convince people they’re not gay” trope is turned up to eleven in this episode. Again, we see George paranoid of his own repressed thoughts, and nobody being surprised about Jerry’s outing because he’s “single, thin, and neat.” Really, this episode was pretty progressive for 1993, coining the phrase “Not that there’s anything wrong with that” while also flawlessly satirizing both homophobia and excessive political correctness.

Oh, and it also totally won a GLAAD Media Award. So…there’s that.

5. The Limo

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"I may not look like a Murphy, but I act like a Murphy.”

George and Jerry lie their way onto a limo headed to Madison Square Garden under the guises of “O’Brien” and “Murphy.” They’re soon accompanied by a pair of Neo-Nazis, and discover O’Brien’s true identity.

You will never find “The Limo” this high on anyone else’s “Best Seinfeld Episodes” list, but it’s always been one of the best to me. The scenario George and Jerry find themselves in is both remarkably dark (they get threatened at gunpoint by Neo-Nazis) and extremely hilarious. I’ve come to terms with the fact that watching Jerry and George panicking is even funnier than watching them be snarky and narcissistic. 

4. The Soup Nazi

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"No soup for you!"

The group obsesses over a soup stand run by a ruthless owner. Meanwhile, Elaine’s armoire is stolen by effeminate street toughs.

I feel like, as this list goes on, I don’t even need to explain why these episodes are so funny anymore. Everyone knows about Larry Thomas’s portrayal of the Soup Nazi. Everyone knows the catch phrase. Everyone knows about the “street toughs” who steal Elaine’s armoire. If anything, this description is making you want to dive for your box sets and watch the episode all over again. Next!

3. The Opposite

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"My name is George: I’m unemployed and I live with my parents."

After deciding that every instinct he has ever had has been wrong, George decides to start living his life by doing the opposite of what he would normally do, resulting in a new girlfriend, a new job, and a new apartment. Meanwhile, Elaine’s luck goes sour, while Jerry discovers that he is “Even Steven.”

Ahhh, “The Opposite.” The one (and only) episode where everything works out for George. To me, just by watching this episode, you can see everything that makes George who and what he is. He’s a pathetic and hot-headed loser who has no real reason for getting up in the morning. And yet, this episode established him as my favorite character, simply because even when he was doing the opposite of what his instincts told him, that didn’t make him a good person. In fact, it only made him more pathetic and selfish, which fascinates me to this day.

2. The Chinese Restaurant

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"It’ll be five, ten minutes."

Jerry, George and Elaine wait for a table at a Chinese restaurant. Nuff said.

This is the episode that broke the camel’s back. No one at NBC wanted this episode to happen. They despised the script, claiming that “nobody wants to see three people waiting around for a table in real time.” It’s ironic, then, that this historic episode has gone on to become one of the most well-known episodes in sitcom history, simply because it broke the mold and made boring funny. Without “The Chinese Restaurant”, we wouldn’t have such shows as The Office, Parks and Recreation, or Community

1. The Contest

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"I’m out."

After George is caught masturbating by his mother, the gang devise a contest to see who can go the longest without masturbating.

The definitive Seinfeld episode, and easily one of the most brilliant moments of comedy in TV history. Pleasuring yourself wasn’t something you talked about on prime-time television. Hell, it was still taboo to talk about in person in 1992. The genius of the episode is that “the M-word” was never even said, mainly because of the censors, but also because creator Larry David didn’t think it would’ve been nearly as funny. Instead, harmless euphemisms, like the now-famous “Master of your domain” catchphrase, were used.

People went crazy for this episode. It won a Primetime Emmy Award, is ranked #1 on TV Guide’s “100 Greatest Episodes of All Time” list, and is easily the best episode of Seinfeld, even 25 years later.

Did I miss one of your favorite Seinfeld episodes? Leave it in the comment section below!

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Top 25 Seinfeld Episodes!

robofists-revenge:

We here at RoboFist’s Revenge love Seinfeld to the point where it may be unhealthy. So to celebrate this groundbreaking show about nothing’s 25th birthday, without further ado, here are my

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25. The Chicken Roster

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"You don’t know what it’s like in there! All night long, things are creakin’ and crackin’ and that red light is burning my brain!

Kramer boycotts the new chicken roaster whose neon sign glows right into his apartment window. while Elaine gets busted for abusing her access to the Peterman expense account.

The thing about Seinfeld is that sometimes the most memorable scenes can come from otherwise forgettable episodes. I don’t remember much about the big fur hat that Elaine bought George with Peterman’s money, but the scene where Jerry switches places with Kramer is legendary. The mannerisms, the voice, even the interactions with the enigmatic Bob Sacamano display Jerry’s (usually sub-par) acting abilities at their absolute finest.

24. The Merv Griffin Show

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"Where are the cameras?"

After Kramer discovers the set of the old Merv Griffin Show in a dumpster, he sets it up in his apartment and promptly interviews whoever walks in. Meanwhile, Jerry’s new girlfriend has an awesome toy collection that she won’t let him play with, George is forced to take care of a squirrel he ran over, and Elaine is driven crazy by a man she never hears coming.

While the “Kramer is a talk show host” gag always steals the show, the real highlight is the toy collection! Everything from Etch-a-Sketch and Gumby to G.I. Joe and Easy Bake Oven, it’s a smorgasbord of childhood nostalgia.

23. The Dealership

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"High five!"

After Elaine’s boyfriend, David Puddy, is promoted from mechanic to salesman, Jerry goes to the dealership to score a good deal on a new car. Meanwhile, Kramer takes a car on a never-ending test drive, while George struggles to buy a Twix from the vending machine.

Let’s be honest with ourselves here: Any time Patrick Warburton’s “David Puddy” character is on-screen, it’s guaranteed to be a fantastic episode. His voice, squinty eyes, and bone-dry humor never fails to entertain, and he’s easily the best side character the show has to offer. When Jerry calls him a “grease monkey”,for example, he responds by stating, with a completely straight face, “I don’t know too many monkeys who could take apart a fuel injector.” It’s laugh out loud funny.

Plus, Kramer’s Thelma and Louise-style storyline is one for the books, proving what everyone was already thinking: you really can go on for miles on an empty tank of gas.

22. The Yada Yada

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"I met this lawyer, we went out to dinner, I had the lobster bisque, we went back to my place, yada yada yada, I never heard from him again."

George’s new girlfriend Marcy is fond of the expression “yada yada yada.” Meanwhile, Jerry feels uncomfortable when his dentist converts to Judiasm, Kramer and Mickey have trouble deciding which girl they each prefer when they double date, and Elaine accidentally prevents a couple from adopting a child.

If someone told you to say a catch phrase from Seinfeld, after you said “No soup for you!” in your worst Middle Eastern accent, you’d say “Yada yada yada.” The very best example of this phrase is used by George when describing his home life to his new girlfriend. Then again, if I lived with George’s parents, I’d “yada yada” over everything, as well.

Plus, we get more of dentist Tim Whatley (Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston), which is always a pleasure. 

21. The Race

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"I choose not to run!"

Jerry is finally dating a woman named Lois, but her new boss is a high school rival who Jerry once beat in a track meet, and now wants a rematch. Meanwhile, Elaine finds out that her boyfriend is a Communist, and Kramer gets a job as a mall Santa.

There’s something about this episode that seems so self-aware of itself, which just makes it all the funnier. Everything from the dialogue (“He’s hated me ever since…and now he’s back!) to the slow-motion rematch at the end set to John Williams’ original Superman theme screams superhero parody, and it works like a charm. Jerry’s fourth-wall-shattering wink to the audience at the end just seals the deal.

20. The Dinner Party

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"You sold us a hair with a cake around it."

On their way to a dinner party, Jerry and Elaine stop to buy a cake, while George and Kramer stop to buy a bottle of wine.

While it doesn’t sound like much as an elevator pitch, so much hilarity happens in this episode. George’s big coat accidentally knocks over bottles of wine, the cake Elaine buys has a hair on it, Jerry talks racial equality via a cookie, and Kramer tries to break a hundred dollar bill by buying candy bars and magazines. Sometimes, you have to appreciate the little hilarious moments within the bottle episodes of this series.

19. The Abstinence

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"So you’re enjoying the not enjoying?"

George’s new girlfriend is struck with mono, resulting in no sex for six weeks. Elaine is dating a doctor who hasn’t yet passed his licensing exam, so he denies sex so he can study. While Elaine becomes deprived and idiotic, George becomes a downright genius. 

Aside from the hilarious main story (watching George evolve as Elaine devolves is exactly as phenomenal as you’d expect), Kramer’s storyline about smoker’s rights is also fantastic. The whole “Don’t look at me, I’m hideous!” scene is physical comedy gold.

18. The Beard

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“They’re only comfortable with their equipment.”

Elaine attempts to convert a gay man to heterosexuality. Meanwhile, Kramer sets George up with a bald woman, and Jerry takes a polygraph test to see whether or not he’s seen the show Melrose Place.

Elaine’s story takes front and center, sure, but I find Jerry’s to be far more hilarious. Once he starts dating a woman who is convinced he’s seen Melrose Place, he tries to beat a lie detector test with some sage advice from George: “It’s not a lie if you believe it.” The resulting outrage is ridiculously funny.

Also, Elaine reacting to George’s toupee will forever be the highlight of this episode. Angry George is funny, but Furious Elaine is downright hysterical.

17. The Marine Biologist

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"The sea was angry that day, my friends. Like an old man trying to send back soup at a deli."

George starts dating a woman who thinks he’s is a marine biologist. Meanwhile, Elaine’s electronic organizer injures a person after being launched from a limo by a Russian novelist, and Kramer decides to golf on the beach.

This is a rare case of the last five minutes making the entire episode work. George’s exhausted monologue about saving a beached whale is Jason Alexander at his absolute best, telling the story with such gusto and passion that, once the punchline hits, it hits hard. What seals the deal is Kramer’s sheepish reaction, establishing that scene as one of the best in the series’ history.

16. The Comeback

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"George, the ocean called. They’re running out of shrimp."

George comes up with a comeback to a co-worker’s insult, albeit far too late, and then becomes obsessed with getting revenge. Meanwhile, Jerry gets sold a bad tennis racket by a terrible tennis player, and Elaine develops a crush on a video store employee she’s never met due to their shared taste in movies.

Everything works in this episode. George’s obsession with his “jerk store” comeback is classic Costanza, and Elaine’s crush on enigmatic video store clerk Vincent is as endearing as it is entertaining. Jerry’s foil this episode, a pathetic tennis salesman named Milos, is also outstanding, the climax to his story the obvious stand-out of the episode.

15. The Note

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"I think it moved."

George gets a massage from a man, which haunts him. Meanwhile, Jerry gets his dentist in trouble after getting a bogus doctor’s note, while Kramer insists upon seeing John DiMaggio in Dinky Donuts.

While not as funny in today’s more politically correct society as it was twenty years ago, it’s always fun watching George Costanza struggle with his own heterosexuality, mostly because he’s the only one ever panicking. “Men have been popping into my sexual fantasies,” he admits while Jerry is talking about something completely different. Jason Alexander is the master at looking uncomfortable, and it’s showcased perfectly in this episode. 

14. The Calzone

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"I am never putting on another piece of clothing unless it’s straight out of the dryer."

George gets Steinbrenner hooked on eggplant calzones, and panics once he’s banned from the restaurant he buys them from. Meanwhile, Kramer refuses to wear clothes that aren’t straight from the dryer.

You know, as hilarious as this episode is (Kramer trying to pay for a calzone with pennies is some of the best physical humor Michael Richards has to offer), I think the reason why I like it so much is because it introduced me to the magical calzone. Damn, I love calzones!

13. The Revenge

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"I drive naked, I clean naked, I cook naked…naked, naked, naked!"

George takes revenge on his boss for not hiring him back after he quit, while Jerry and Kramer take revenge on a dry cleaner after Jerry accuses him of stealing $1,500 from his laundry bag.

One of the first episodes where we start to see these characters for what they really are. George quits his job over something petty, immediately regrets it, and then gets the idea to just walk back in like nothing ever happened. It’s so pathetic, and classic Costanza. We also see the first physical comedy home-run from Michael Richards, who struggles to fill a laundry machine with concrete. I mean, watch this clip and tell me it’s not brilliant.

12. The Library

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"She needs a little tenderness. She needs a little understanding. She needs a little Kramer."

After getting a visit from “The Library Cop” Jerry is forced to prove that he returned a library book from 1971. Meanwhile, Kramer falls for an introverted librarian, and Elaine becomes paranoid that her boss is going to fire her.

Seinfeld is filled to the brim with hysterical side-characters, but the one who I constantly go back to is Philip Baker Hall as Lt. Bookman, the Library Cop. He’s on-screen for maybe five minutes, but the impact he had on that episode was phenomenal. I don’t think it would be too much of a stretch to say that without Bookman, there would be no Puddy, Babu, or even the Soup Nazi. 

11. The Heart Attack

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"You should’ve been born in August."

George thinks he suffered a heart attack, only to discover that he has inflamed tonsils instead. Kramer helps him seek alternative medicine as opposed to surgery. Meanwhile, Jerry has trouble reading his handwriting on a note from the night before.

Not many people would put “The Heart Attack” this high on the list, especially because it’s such a George-centered episode, and none of the B-stories are particularly interesting (Elaine’s “date gone wrong” story never goes anywhere, and the conclusion to Jerry’s arc is anticlimactic, to say the least). However, Stephen Tobolowsky as holistic healer Tor is exactly as hilariously bizarre as you’d expect, and the result of his treatment is equally delightfully silly.

10. The Boyfriend

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That is one magic loogie.”

In the show’s first two-parter, Jerry becomes best friends with Mets first baseman, Keith Hernandez. However, Kramer and Newman are bitter because they insist he spit on them, while Keith himself has the hots for Elaine. Meanwhile, George concocts a scheme to keep his unemployment checks coming.

Man, this episode was insane. The first hour-long episode, the first big celebrity guest star, and even the first intentional spoof (the entire “he spit on us” scene is a brilliant rip on Oliver Stone’s JFK film). In fact, that scene alone makes this episode a classic. George’s desperate “Vandelay Industries” arc is also filled with laughs, especially Jerry’s improvised “And you want to be my latex salesman” line.

9. The Bubble Boy

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"Moops!"

Jerry and Elaine agree to meet a boy who lives in a plastic bubble, but end up at a diner after getting lost. George and his fiancée, Susan, visit the bubble boy instead, resulting in a brutal game of “Trivial Pursuit.”

What is it about people born with immunodeficiency that makes for such comedy fodder? Is it the ridiculous concept of a grown man living in a giant bubble? Either way, it works out for the best here, mostly because the disease itself isn’t played for laughs; Donald, the titular bubble boy, is an absolute bastard, making him the perfect foil for George. Who’d have thought a simple game of “Trivial Pursuit” could result in an epic throw-down?

8. The Parking Garage

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"Everything looks the same! We’re like rats in some experiment!"

After a day at the mall, the four get hopelessly lost in a parking garage.

To me, Seinfeld is at its best when the characters are in perfectly normal situations. Yes, it’s great when something extraordinary happens to Jerry (such as, for example, the bubble boy), but Seinfeld is so much better at capturing the hilarity and frustration at normal, everyday occurrences. You can’t find the car. You have to go to the bathroom, but there isn’t one around. You finally find your car…but you’ve lost all of your friends. It’s episodes like these that let the normality act as the joke, substituting your typical three-act structure with something even more memorable.

7. The Jimmy

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"Jimmy doesn’t like misunderstandings…"

Kramer is given too much Novocain at the dentist, and is accidentally mistaken for a mentally handicapped man. Meanwhile, Jerry suspects his dentist is violating him sexually while he’s under the gas, and George is under suspicion of stealing Yankees equipment.

In what is arguably the show’s riskiest episode in terms of offensive content, I still can’t help but crack up at Michael Richards’ performance as Kramer on Novocain. People have cried foul in the past, but I think it’s exactly the right balance of offensiveness and comedy gold. Jerry being sexually violated while under nitrous oxide is also something you couldn’t get away with today, adding to Whatley’s already-established jerkiness.

Surprisingly, the most normal aspect of this episode is Anthony Starke as Jimmy, who refers to himself in the third person. While his performance is memorable, the story never seems to go anywhere.

6. The Outing

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"Not that there’s anything wrong with that."

Jerry is interviewed by a journalism student from NYU, who is convinced that he and George are a gay couple. The more they try to convince her that they’re both straight, the more they accidentally convince her otherwise.

While not as funny in today’s more politically correct world, the classic “two men try to convince people they’re not gay” trope is turned up to eleven in this episode. Again, we see George paranoid of his own repressed thoughts, and nobody being surprised about Jerry’s outing because he’s “single, thin, and neat.” Really, this episode was pretty progressive for 1993, coining the phrase “Not that there’s anything wrong with that” while also flawlessly satirizing both homophobia and excessive political correctness.

Oh, and it also totally won a GLAAD Media Award. So…there’s that.

5. The Limo

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"I may not look like a Murphy, but I act like a Murphy.”

George and Jerry lie their way onto a limo headed to Madison Square Garden under the guises of “O’Brien” and “Murphy.” They’re soon accompanied by a pair of Neo-Nazis, and discover O’Brien’s true identity.

You will never find “The Limo” this high on anyone else’s “Best Seinfeld Episodes” list, but it’s always been one of the best to me. The scenario George and Jerry find themselves in is both remarkably dark (they get threatened at gunpoint by Neo-Nazis) and extremely hilarious. I’ve come to terms with the fact that watching Jerry and George panicking is even funnier than watching them be snarky and narcissistic. 

4. The Soup Nazi

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"No soup for you!"

The group obsesses over a soup stand run by a ruthless owner. Meanwhile, Elaine’s armoire is stolen by effeminate street toughs.

I feel like, as this list goes on, I don’t even need to explain why these episodes are so funny anymore. Everyone knows about Larry Thomas’s portrayal of the Soup Nazi. Everyone knows the catch phrase. Everyone knows about the “street toughs” who steal Elaine’s armoire. If anything, this description is making you want to dive for your box sets and watch the episode all over again. Next!

3. The Opposite

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"My name is George: I’m unemployed and I live with my parents."

After deciding that every instinct he has ever had has been wrong, George decides to start living his life by doing the opposite of what he would normally do, resulting in a new girlfriend, a new job, and a new apartment. Meanwhile, Elaine’s luck goes sour, while Jerry discovers that he is “Even Steven.”

Ahhh, “The Opposite.” The one (and only) episode where everything works out for George. To me, just by watching this episode, you can see everything that makes George who and what he is. He’s a pathetic and hot-headed loser who has no real reason for getting up in the morning. And yet, this episode established him as my favorite character, simply because even when he was doing the opposite of what his instincts told him, that didn’t make him a good person. In fact, it only made him more pathetic and selfish, which fascinates me to this day.

2. The Chinese Restaurant

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"It’ll be five, ten minutes."

Jerry, George and Elaine wait for a table at a Chinese restaurant. Nuff said.

This is the episode that broke the camel’s back. No one at NBC wanted this episode to happen. They despised the script, claiming that “nobody wants to see three people waiting around for a table in real time.” It’s ironic, then, that this historic episode has gone on to become one of the most well-known episodes in sitcom history, simply because it broke the mold and made boring funny. Without “The Chinese Restaurant”, we wouldn’t have such shows as The Office, Parks and Recreation, or Community

1. The Contest

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"I’m out."

After George is caught masturbating by his mother, the gang devise a contest to see who can go the longest without masturbating.

The definitive Seinfeld episode, and easily one of the most brilliant moments of comedy in TV history. Pleasuring yourself wasn’t something you talked about on prime-time television. Hell, it was still taboo to talk about in person in 1992. The genius of the episode is that “the M-word” was never even said, mainly because of the censors, but also because creator Larry David didn’t think it would’ve been nearly as funny. Instead, harmless euphemisms, like the now-famous “Master of your domain” catchphrase, were used.

People went crazy for this episode. It won a Primetime Emmy Award, is ranked #1 on TV Guide’s “100 Greatest Episodes of All Time” list, and is easily the best episode of Seinfeld, even 25 years later.

Did I miss one of your favorite Seinfeld episodes? Leave it in the comment section below!

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Happy Birthday, Danger!

robofists-revenge:

Danger is officially one year old!

Technically, Danger’s birthday fell on the 26th of June, but I was out of town yesterday and didn’t have time to whip anything up. I still don’t think she’s forgiven me.

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Have you ever pissed off a telekinetic bearded dragon? It’s pretty scary stuff, so I made sure to surprise her with something extra special today.

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Birthday cinnamon rolls!

Not that she could eat any of it. According to every single website in the universe, sugary baked goods are the cyanide of the animal world. And, really, I only made these cinnamon rolls because I knew they’d make for a great photo opportunity. I’m a bad parent.

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But wait! Just as Danger was about to telekinetically melt my brain, I showed her her real birthday cake! This one is made up of a bunch of beardie-friendly foods, like turnip greens, kale, apples, basil, mealworms, carrots, and rose petals! 

Now let’s see what her reaction is…

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She’s eating it slowly and reluctantly, but it’s only because she’s stubborn. She loves it, don’t let her fool you. So hey, Danger: You’re welcome.

Happy birthday, buddy! Here’s to many more!

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Anonymous asked: CHINA CAPITAL ARTS IS A BEAUTIFUL STORE I LIVE NEAR IT

Isn’t it just grand??

They moved to an even bigger space on the top floor. I think it’s time to go back and do a follow up with my new camera and my new blog, RoboFist’s Revenge!