His field

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Television series
German title His field
Original title His field
Country of production United States
original language English
Year (s) 1989-1998
length 23 minutes
Episodes 180 in 9 seasons ( list )
genre Sitcom
idea Larry David
Jerry Seinfeld
music Jep Epstein (1989)
Jonathan Wolff (1990-98)
First broadcast July 5, 1989 (USA) on NBC
first broadcast
April 24, 1995 on Kabel Eins

Seinfeld is an American sitcom created by Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David that ran on NBC from 1989 to 1998 . The series is considered one of the largest and most influential sitcoms ever produced and is about the everyday life of four New York- based friends Jerry Seinfeld, George Costanza, Elaine Benes and Cosmo Kramer.

The Writers Guild of America voted Seinfeld second on the 101 Best Written TV Series behind The Sopranos .

Series concept

The real Tom's restaurant in New York

The first draft of the script of The Seinfeld Chronicles  - the series' initial title - that Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David sent to NBC was briefly called Stand Up . The main theme of the series was to tell how a stand-up comedian gets to the material of his performances. The 'pillars' of each episode were therefore excerpts from Jerry's appearances, in which he took up elements of the main plot. This story element appeared less and less in later episodes when the actions focused more on the characters themselves. However, David and Seinfeld deny having planned the series with this topic in mind, claiming they only used it as a good idea in their offering to NBC. The fact that Jerry Seinfeld is a comedian in real life as well as playing a comedian of the same name in the series deliberately blurs the line between fiction and reality in Seinfeld . This principle is taken to the extreme, as Jerry in the series for its part, a television series named Jerry designs, like Seinfeld is a series without special main story plays out in the Jerry himself. This led many critics to point out the series' postmodernity .

The course of an episode is basically structured in such a way that different storylines begin that are linked to the individual characters and originally often have no connection to one another. In the course of the plot, these strands converge and usually come together in an ironic way at the end of the episode. Because of the condensed plot in this way, a summary of an episode is fundamentally more extensive than one would expect from a sitcom. Despite the separation of the storylines, their context is basically retained. Much of the show's humor comes from outsiders who try to break into the group of four and fail.


main characters

Jerry Seinfeld

Jerry Seinfeld plays a fictional version of himself.

Jerome "Jerry" Seinfeld is a semi-fictional character. He is a stand-up comedian who comments on what he considers to be the "strange" behavior of his fellow human beings on stage and takes a critical look at various customs and conventions of modern society. Jerry values ​​cleanliness, loves breakfast cereals, and is a fan of Superman . His apartment is next to the Monk's Cafe the main meeting place for the four main characters. He often seeks relationships with attractive women, but most of them do not last longer as a consequence. He is seen as the only character in each episode.

Elaine Benes

Elaine Marie Benes is intelligent and confident. Elaine often has problems with friends or her employers. She had a relationship with Seinfeld. In season nine, she has an ever-fluctuating relationship with David Puddy ( Patrick Warburton ). Elaine worked, among other things, for Pendant Publishing , as a personal assistant to the wealthy Justin Pitt and later for J. Peterman .

Elaine is a combination of two friends of the makers, Carol Leifer (Jerry Seinfeld's former girlfriend) and Monica Yates (Larry David's former girlfriend).

Cosmo Kramer

Cosmo Kramer is Jerry's neighbor. He is an athletic man with a striking hairstyle. Often he has outrageous plans to get rich. He is well received by women and is extremely helpful, but regularly causes chaos that affects less himself than those whom he wants to help. Last season, Kramer ended a multi-year strike (he was a bagel seller) after wages were raised. In fact, this was not a wage increase, but the introduction of the new statutory minimum wage. A few episodes later, however, Kramer confessed to his friends that he had been unemployed for years. Cosmo Kramer is friends with Newman and has a large number of dubious acquaintances and business partners. Kramer's first name, Cosmo, wasn't revealed until season six. Most of the characters continued to call him Kramer. In the pilot episode, however, Kramer still had the name Kessler because Kenny Kramer, a former neighbor of Larry David on whom the role was based, had not yet given his consent to the use of his name. Later he took advantage of the newly gained popularity of his name, among other things through the Seinfeld sightseeing bus trip Kramer's Reality Tour . This development was again satirized in the series when the fictional Kramer - after he had sold his life story to Elaine's boss J. Peterman for his autobiography - offers a similar bus sightseeing tour through his life.

George Costanza

George Louis Costanza has been friends with Jerry since high school. His character is largely based on Larry David . George is short, plump, and bald. He is stingy and very neurotic , but can also speak well and is a shrewd liar. He has had many jobs, including as a real estate agent, but is also often unemployed and then has to live with his parents. Only when George decides at the end of the fifth season to do everything exactly the other way around from now on, he gets a job as an assistant to the management of the New York Yankees . He was engaged to Susan Ross, but there was never a wedding because she poisoned herself and died by licking the sticky gum on envelopes that George had bought cheaply.


Claire is a waitress and works at Pete's Luncheonette , now Tom's Restaurant . In 1989 Jerry and George went to the place and talked about women. George asked Claire for her opinion. She seems to have slept a bit, but she can always remember her order.

Claire only appeared in the very first episode of the series. Originally, the actress Lee Garlington was to become an integral part of the series, but her role disappeared and was replaced by the character of Elaine Benes . In the credits of the first episode, Garlington was featured as the lead actress.

Minor characters

Numerous recurring minor characters appear in the course of the series; almost all of the minor characters in the series have a brief appearance in the final episode, "The Finale".


Newman is Jerry and Kramer's neighbor. Jerry always greets him with a pressed "Hello Newman". Newman - whose first name you never find out - works as a postman , but does not do his job well. He doesn't work when it rains, and it happens that he drops mail in Jerry's storage room. When things go badly for him, he sometimes shows a more sensitive side, then lapses into melancholy, almost lyrical considerations. His dream is a postal district in Hawaii . Something like a friendship connects him with Kramer, while Jerry, George and Elaine don't like him. Newman has a crush on Elaine. He appears in a total of 45 episodes.

Before Newman was played by Wayne Knight, Newman's voice could be heard in an off- screen scene . It was spoken there by Larry David. For the later TV reruns, Knight's voice was recorded for the scene in question.

Frank Costanza

Frank Costanza is the father of George. George's parents, Frank and Estelle, live in Queens and fight constantly. The Costanzas don't miss an opportunity to discourage George. Frank is eccentric and can be irritated very quickly. He was a former cook in the army and therefore speaks fluent Korean . Incidentally, Frank has replaced the family Christmas with the “Festivus” that he himself invented. Furthermore, he refuses to exercise his right to vote in all elections because the United States for its part denies him the right to stand for the presidency because he was born in Italy .

In his first appearance in episode 64 he was portrayed by John Randolph , the episodes later by Jerry Stiller .

Estelle Costanza

Estelle Costanza is the obnoxious and melodramatic mother of George. She always questions Frank and George's actions. She lives in Queens with her husband. In the course of the series, the two split up, but come back together later.

Susan Ross

Susan is George's fiancée. She is the daughter of rich parents. Susan briefly "experimented" with "lesbianism" and worked for NBC until she was fired there (thanks to George). She died after licking toxic glue on the envelopes for her wedding invitations, which George bought because of their low price.

Morty Seinfeld

Morty Seinfeld is Jerry's father. Jerry's parents, Morty and Helen, live in Florida and are constantly concerned about Jerry's finances. In her opinion, he should do something “reasonable”. The Seinfelds have all the stereotypes of retirees who moved to Florida. Morty was a raincoat seller for 38 years. He has very strong convictions and was for some time chairman of the homeowners association in the retirement community "Phase two of the Pines of Mar Gables" until he had to face impeachment proceedings and then moved with his wife to "Del Boca Vista".

Helen Seinfeld

Helen Seinfeld is Jerry's mother, who likes to try to put her son in perspective (“How can someone not like him?”). She often wonders why her son cannot find a right wife.

Jacopo Peterman

Mr. Peterman is Elaine's third boss. He always has different ideas about things than Elaine. When Peterman leaves civilization in Asia for some time , Elaine takes over his post with little success. The role of J. Peterman is based on John Peterman, the founder of the actual J. Peterman Company .

George Steinbrenner

George Steinbrenner is George's boss, modeled on the then real owner of the New York Yankees . He is portrayed as a hardened club boss who lives in his own world. George often has to go to his office, whereupon Steinbrenner babbles him.

His face is never shown. He is played by several doubles and voiced by Larry David. A cameo of the real George Steinbrenner was filmed, but had to be edited due to time constraints.

Uncle leo

Leo is Jerry's uncle and the brother of Helen Seinfeld. He likes to gossip, mostly about his son Jeffrey, who works in the New York park administration.

David Puddy

David Puddy is - every now and then - Elaine's friend. Sometimes he is calm and calm, but sometimes he can also be a passionate individualist . He was once a car mechanic, but later became a car salesman. David Puddy is mysophobic , a born again Christian and a fan of the New Jersey Devils .

Matt Wilhelm

Mr. Wilhelm is the travel agent for the New York Yankees and George's supervisor. He is a good-natured person who, however, is often absent-minded and thereby causes misunderstandings.

Mr. Lippmann

Mr. Lippman is Elaine's first boss. He is the owner of the publishing house "Pendant Publishing". He later gave up that position and opened a bakery that only sold the tops of muffins .

Justin Pitt

Mr. Pitt is Elaine's second boss. He is an extremely wealthy businessman and very pedantic, which makes it almost impossible to please.

Mickey Abbott

Mickey Abbott is a friend of Kramer's, who is often annoyed with everyday life. He belongs to an acting group of short stature .

Jackie Chiles

Jackie Chiles is Kramer's eccentric lawyer. He is very successful, but loses every case in which he represents Kramer. The role is a parody of Johnnie Cochran .

Cast and dubbing

The German dubbing was done on behalf of Rainer Brandt Filmproduktions GmbH in Berlin . The dialogue was directed by Sabine Sebastian , together with Horst Müller, Hannes Bojahr, Stefan Ludwig and Rainer Brandt also wrote the dialogue book.

Leading roles

figure Appearances actor Dubbing voice
Jerry Seinfeld 1.01-9.24 Jerry Seinfeld Oliver Field
Elaine Benes 1.02-9.24 Julia Louis-Dreyfus Traudel Haas
Cosmo Kramer 1.01-9.24 Michael Richards Klaus-Dieter Klebsch
George Costanza 1.01-9.24 Jason Alexander Detlef Bierstedt

Supporting roles

figure Irregular appearances actor Dubbing voice
Helen Seinfeld 1.02-9.24 Liz Sheridan Luise Lunow
Morty Seinfeld 1.02-9.24 Phil Bruns (episode 2),
Barney Martin
Wilfried Herbst
Estelle Costanza 4.11-9.24 Estelle Harris Marianne Lutz
Frank Costanza 4.11-9.24 John Randolph (episode 62),
Jerry Stiller
Michael Telloke
Newman 3.15-9.24 Wayne Knight Uwe Paulsen
Susan Ross 3.03-7.22, 9.08 Heidi Swedberg Karin Buchholz
Uncle leo 2.02-9.24 Len Lesser Gerd Holtenau
J. Peterman 6.23-9.24 John O'Hurley Peter Reinhardt
George Steinbrenner 5.21-9.24 Larry David  (voice),
Lee Bear
Thomas Kästner
David Puddy 6.21-9.24 Patrick Warburton Stefan Fredrich
Mr. Wilhelm 6.19-9.24 Richard Herd Eric Vaessen
Mr. Lippman 3.12-9.24 Richard Fancy Norbert Gescher
Justin Pitt 6.01-9.24 Ian Abercrombie Lothar Blumhagen
Mickey Abbott 5.16-9.24 Danny Woodburn Santiago Ziesmer
Jackie Chiles 7.03-9.24 Phil Morris Ronald Nitschke
Kenny Bania 6.07-9.24 Steve Hytner Gerald Schaale
Tim Whatley 6.08–9.10 Bryan Cranston Bernd Schramm

Episode overview

Special consequences

The episodes that only take place in one location are particularly popular among the followers of the series. One episode only takes place in a parking garage, another only in the subway or another only in the waiting room of a restaurant.

In the parking garage (season 3)

After shopping in a mall, Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer can't find their car in the parking garage. While George urgently needs to go to the bathroom, Elaine's newly bought goldfish are threatened with suffocating in their plastic bags.

The Contest (Season 4)

The friends bet on which of the four can last the longest without masturbation. What is memorable about the episode is Kramer's early departure when he slammed his stake on the table with the words “I'm out!” Jerry's tirade about his neighbor from across the street who is walking around naked in her apartment, Elaine's weakness for John F. Kennedy Jr. . and George's tale of how his mother caught him doing it as a teenager . As a result, who wins the bet is not explained. However, in a later episode, George mentions that he won the bet. In the last episode (the finals parts 1 & 2) George again confesses to the other three that he lied about the bet and that Jerry is the real winner.

NBC only approved the production of this episode because it didn't even mention the word "masturbate".

The Soup Nazi (Season 7)

The "Soup Nazi" (played by Larry Thomas ) sells extremely delicious soups in a small shop. He is of Iranian descent and never smiles.

Strict rules of conduct must be observed when purchasing the soup. Everyone in the always long line has to move quickly and calmly forward, name the soup they want, pay for it and leave. Of course, these behaviors are diametrically opposed to Elaine's rebellious nature. She wants to involve him in a dialogue and promptly gets into trouble with the soup Nazi, who sends her out of the store with the sentence “No soup for you!” (Original: “No soup for you!”).

Elaine finds the secret recipes in a used cupboard belonging to the soup Nazi that her Kramer got, and takes revenge by threatening to distribute the recipes and thus deprive the grim soup dictator of his taste monopoly.

The model for this figure is the New York soup kitchen "Soup Kitchen International". The "Soup Man" has since moved from near Times Square and can be found on the corner of 5th Avenue and 42nd Street .

In season 3 of the US series Scrubs , the 21st episode (orig. "My Self-Examination") alludes to this episode and actor Larry Thomas has a guest appearance as himself and also has to do the soups -Play Nazi.

Inside Microsoft , the Windows XP key checking system introduced with Service Pack 2 is called soup nazi .


Various expressions from Seinfeld have found their way into American colloquial language, for example "sponge-worthy" or "yada, yada, yada".


The term "sponge-worthy" ("sponge-worthy") is used by Elaine, who expresses a special appreciation for men. The background to this expression is the contraceptive sponge , the production of which has been stopped by the US health authorities . Elaine has a stash that she uses on rare occasions, exclusively for sexual partners she considers exceptional.

Yada, yada, yada

The meaning of the repeated use of the made-up word “yada” can be equated with the phrase “and so on, and so on”. The character Marcy, who appears exclusively in the episode “The Yada-Yada thing” (in the original “The Yada Yada”), uses three repetitions in the narration in order to shorten the description between the beginning and the end of an incident, while the number increases Movement melody towards the end of the repetition.

No soup for you!

The soup Nazi's saying “No soup for you!” Has also found its way into American colloquial language, for example to refuse requests.


After initially weak audience numbers, Seinfeld soon developed into one of the most popular television series. Many characters in the series, like the weird eccentric Kramer or the devious and selfish Newman, became popular, and Jerry Seinfeld became the highest paid comedian in the world.

NBC offered Jerry Seinfeld five million dollars per episode for another season, which he declined. The 1998 end of the series attracted tremendous fan interest, with the final episode being watched by around 108 million people in the United States, according to NBC estimates. This episode had more US viewers than Titanic in the first 21 weeks. The final advertising revenue was higher than that of the Super Bowl .

more details

Running gags

Jerry often mentions superheroes from comic series, and Superman in particular is referred to in almost every episode in one form or another, often well hidden. Other episodes allude to Lone Ranger , Batman , Spider-Man , Green Lantern , Wonder Woman , Two-Face , Elastic Man , Plastic Man , Iron Man, and the nonexistent Rubberman.
"Get out!"
When Elaine is surprised by good news, she gives the deliverer an excited but powerful push and yells “Get out!” (In German dubbing: “Stop!”).
"Hello Newman"
When Newman greets "Hello, Jerry", Jerry always responds with a grim look and says "Hello, Newman" through his teeth. Jerry's mother does the same.
When Jerry suddenly realizes that a mishap or misfortune was caused by Newman, Jerry clenches his fist and grimly says "Newman!" This gag appears in many episodes and is also used by other characters when they conflict with Newman.
George, Kramer and Jerry occasionally use pseudonyms : George's pseudonym is "Art Vandelay". Kramer uses (based on the respected New York publisher Van Nostrand Reinhold ) "Peter van Nostrand" or "Martin van Nostrand", but at the end of the series he appropriates a second ego as a "rich industrialist" "HE Pennypacker". Jerry's pseudonym is "Kel Varnsen". The three pseudonyms are used once at the same time during a scene in the episode "Day of the Puerto Ricans".
Ted Danson
When Jerry and George were preparing the television series "Jerry", George complained that they were only offered $ 13,000 while Ted Danson got a full $ 800,000 per episode. Five years later, on the penultimate episode, when NBC gave them a plane, George complained that Ted Danson got a better plane. Jerry then tells George that Danson is no longer with NBC.
Death of a Salesman
George is often compared by Jerry to the character of Biff Loman from Arthur Miller's drama Death of a Salesman. Especially in the episode “In the U-Bahn” there are some dialogues on the subject.
Kramer's appearance
In many episodes, Kramer suddenly bursts into Jerry's apartment by sliding through the open door as if he were on ice skates.

Story arc and continuity

The series relies heavily on continuity : characters and actions from past episodes have often been retained or expanded. Occasionally, storylines span multiple episodes and even entire seasons. Larry David, the series' lead writer and executive producer for the first seven seasons, was notorious for paying attention to small details. He ensured the steady and believable development of the main characters.


The professional activities of George and Elaine were an integral part of the series:

George is a real estate agent at the beginning of the series, later unemployed for most of the time (the first five seasons) and only has a few desk jobs that mostly end badly for him. George later worked for the New York Yankees for an extended period .

Elaine is relatively successful as an editor at the beginning of the series. Towards the end of the fifth season, however, she has bad luck. Over the course of the sixth season, she is reduced to a kind of running girl for the wealthy businessman Justin Pitt. With the beginning of the seventh season, Elaine finally finds her dream job at J. Peterman, where she works until the end of the series.

Season 4

The fourth season connected by a long distance the most episodes through several storylines:

  • Jerry and George get the chance to write and produce a pilot episode for NBC. At the beginning of the season they develop the series, towards the end the pilot “Jerry” is produced.
  • Elaine's romantic relationships with her therapist, wacky Joe Davola and NBC boss Russell Dalrymple.
  • Chasing Joe Davola: he is chasing Jerry and Elaine. He also kicks Kramer in the head, which sometimes leads to crazy actions by Kramer in individual episodes.
  • A box of Cuban cigars leads to various fires; the first fire ignites in Kramer's hair.
  • Another storyline is George's wooing Susan Ross. Eventually, her parents' weekend house is lit by one of the Cuban cigars mentioned above and burns down.

Jerry's relationships

Most of Jerry's relationships don't survive a single episode. While this becomes a downright running gag in the last season , it was less intentional in the previous seasons.

George's engagement

The seventh season begins with the episode "The Engagement". This theme dragged on throughout the season. In the primary story arc, George becomes engaged to his ex-girlfriend, Susan Ross. The engagement lasts all season and makes George unhappy; it means that George is constantly separated from Jerry, Elaine and Kramer.

Towards the end of the series

The continuity diminished considerably towards the end of the series, starting with the eighth season. This was mainly because Larry David left production as a producer and writer. The plots and the jokes became increasingly satirical, even surrealistic . Figures and stories from the past often reappeared, but mostly only in the form of a parody or only understandable for long-time viewers. New storylines picked up again the relationship between Elaine and David Puddy, as well as George's participation in the "Susan Ross Memorial Foundation".


Characteristic for Seinfeld are the slap bass figures during the change of scene. These were also used by other series in scenes that were supposed to be reminiscent of Seinfeld.

Careers after Seinfeld

The Seinfeld curse

While Jerry Seinfeld worked again as a stand-up comedian after the end of the series, the three other main actors were plagued by failures, so that a "Seinfeld Curse" (Seinfeld curse) was already spoken of.

The Michael Richards Show as well as Bob Patterson and Listen Up! with Jason Alexander were quickly canceled, mostly in the middle of the first season. Also Watching Ellie with Julia Louis-Dreyfus disappeared during the second season of the screens. The term "Seinfeld Curse" also established itself for other follow-up series that were created for stars of successful programs, e. B. the friends spin-off Joey . Julia Louis-Dreyfus only managed to break the spell in 2006. Her role in The New Adventures of Old Christine earned her an Emmy . The series ran for five seasons. Since 2012, Louis-Dreyfus has played the Vice President of the USA in the series Veep , for which she received an Emmy in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 . She won the Emmy nine times for Veep .

Jerry Stiller was even more successful than in Seinfeld's time with his role as Arthur Spooner in King of Queens . John O'Hurley is a partner in the real J. Peterman Company ; the founder and namesake of this company served as a model for his role in Seinfeld .

"Reunion" 2009

In the improvisational sitcom Lass es, Larry! In production since 2000 . Larry David plays himself. Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jason Alexander made several guest appearances in the first two seasons.

In the last episode of the seventh season a fictional done Seinfeld - Reunion , in which all four main characters themselves as well as their respective characters from the series play, which have evolved as follows:

As a sperm donor, Jerry became the father of Elaine's daughter; but is only considered the good uncle. Elaine finally wants to tell her daughter that "Uncle" Jerry is her father. But Jerry is against it because Superman only met his father when he was 16 years old.

George invented an app for the iPhone : the iToilet , which always shows you the nearest public toilet. With that he earned a few million and put the money with Bernie Madoff , who then went bankrupt and took George's money with him. George was married to Amanda, but she was able to get half of her share to safety. To get his money, he wants to marry her again. They got divorced because Amanda called him from a plane that was about to crash, and George told her to call later because he had a TV technician who was hard to get an appointment with. Georges iToilet is a reference to episode 12 of the second season ("The Fired Waiter"), in which he claims to know the best public toilets in New York.

Kramer still lives next to Jerry and has volunteered to donate sperm for Elaine but has been turned down.

Newman still lives in the same house and is annoyed by Georges iToilet .

Kenny Bania is still on the road as a comedian and complains that he is no longer making good appearances due to the economic situation.

Broadcast and DVD release

In Germany, the series ran from 1995 to 1996 in the night program of kabel eins , and in 1998 in the night program of ProSieben . From July 1998, ProSieben moved the series to the evening program, albeit with some cuts. The stand-up inserts at the beginning and before the end credits were cut out and the opening credits were replaced by a self-made opening credits. After the series ran for six months in the early evening program, it was moved to the broadcasting slot on Mondays shortly before midnight from January 1999. There it continued to run with moderate ratings. When the series went into repetition, the original opening and closing credits were used.

The series was subsequently broadcast by kabel eins , Premiere Serie , Comedy Central , ZDFneo and TNT Serie . In Austria, Seinfeld was broadcast weekly on ORF 2's night program in two-channel sound (German / English).

All nine seasons of the series were released between 2004 and 2007 as DVDs individually and in one box.

In September 2019, Netflix acquired the international streaming rights to Seinfeld for the years 2021 to 2025 for an amount of over 500 million US dollars.

See also


  • Caspar Battegay: Judaism and Pop Culture. An essay. Transcript, Bielefeld 2012, ISBN 978-3-8376-2047-4 , p. 57ff (about Jewish identities in Seinfeld)
  • Frank Kelleter: Seinfeld. In: Thomas Klein, Christian Hißnauer (Hrsg.): Classics of the television series. Philipp Reclam jun., Stuttgart 2012, ISBN 978-3-15-019025-8 , pp. 203-209.
  • Nicholas Mirzoeff : Seinfeld: A Critical Study of the Series . British Film Institute , 2007
  • David Lavery (ed.): Seinfeld, master of its domain. Revisiting television's greatest sitcom. New York 2006.
  • William Irwin (ed.): Seinfeld and Philosophy. A Book about Everything and Nothing. Chicago 1999.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. 101 Best Written TV Series List . In: Writers Guild of America . Retrieved February 27, 2020.
  2. Kramer | Four thousand hundredths | The podcast label. Retrieved on May 27, 2020 (German).
  3. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001431/
  4. Over 500 million: Netflix pays an insane sum for one of the best sitcoms. In: Moviepilot.de. Retrieved September 17, 2019 .