Tegan’s Throwback Thursday: Why the last episode of “Seinfeld” was terrible


Graphic by Maliah White

The final episode of “Seinfeld” aired in 1998. Despite the iconic status of the show, the final episode fell flat.

Tegan Ruhl, Staff Writer

I’m sure everyone is familiar with the ‘90s sitcom “Seinfeld,” the famous show about nothing. The show stopped airing well over twenty years ago, but how did it end? 

For those of you who are not familiar with “Seinfeld,” the show has little to no solid plotline. There are some recurring characters and jokes, but the show does pretty much whatever it wants. 

The show follows four main characters, Jerry Seinfeld, George Costanza (Jason Alexander), Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards), as they navigate their day-to-day lives in New York City. 

I first began watching the series at the beginning of Fall 2021, and I just finished all nine seasons the week before Spring Break. Eager to see how a series about nothing would end, the finale of “Seinfeld” was not the satisfying conclusion I had expected at all. In fact, it was pretty terrible. 

In the final episode, Jerry gets a call saying the new head of NBC wants to air his show “Jerry,” an idea they scrapped five years ago. Ecstatic that the show finally picked up, he and George make a 13 episode commitment with NBC and agree to move to California.

The four friends decide to take a trip to Paris as their final fling before Jerry and George move. However, their trip takes an unexpected turn when they make an emergency landing in Latham, Massachusetts. While waiting for their plane to be repaired, the four witness the robbery of a “fat” man. Instead of calling for help, they watch and mock the man for his weight. 

Their neglect to help the man leads the four of them to arrest under Latham’s new law, “The Good Samaritan Law.” Following their arrest, a trial is held and every side character the show has ever introduced attends to testify against the four for not caring about anyone but themselves. 

Why didn’t I like the finale? 


George never stopped complaining the entire time. 

If you’re a regular viewer of “Seinfeld,” you know George complains a lot. I knew this going into the finale, but it was just inherently worse in the finale. It begins with the ketchup incident at the beginning of the episode when George complains  the waitress could check up on them. Apparently, he couldn’t eat his burger without any ketchup. It’s a downward spiral from thereon after.

His character was a ray of sunshine for a total of five minutes of the entire episode. It got to the point where all I would do is roll my eyes and want to scream. His character was awful the entire time. 


The finale basically deludes you. 

I guess the creators of “Seinfeld” wanted to go out with a bang because what the heck was that? Seriously! You get to know these characters and get attached to them for nine seasons, and then the show throws everything you love about them down the drain. 

Don’t get me wrong, the main four characters in the show are selfish, I won’t deny that. But I feel as if I’ve been manipulated. Why did I watch all nine seasons of the show for it to do a complete 180 on me? Why didn’t it just do that from the start? What was the point of it all? I feel as if I’ve wasted so much time. 


Why did the prosecutor have so much beef with them? 

I know the whole point of the finale was to show that the four are horrible people, but why did the prosecutor have so much beef with them? I’m pretty sure he didn’t know any of them before the trial. Why was he so dedicated to proving they were horrible people? Was he doing it to stand up for the little guy, or was he just bored?

 On another note, why were they so focused on prosecuting the four friends instead of actually going after the person who robbed the “fat” man? I think that would’ve brought more justice to everyone knowing a thief is off their streets instead of four people who would be considered jerks. Branching off of that, why didn’t the cop intervene? He was within walking distance of the crime, so why wasn’t he arrested? There was no reasoning in this episode.


Jackie Chiles basically carried the entire episode. 

Among the many side characters brought back in this episode was Jackie Chiles (Phil Morris), Kramer’s dedicated, determined and blunt lawyer. Hired to defend the four friends in court, Jackie was probably the only thing I really enjoyed about the whole episode. His character is genuinely funny and was the only thing that got me through the episode a second time.

 I wish his character was more present throughout the entire series. Hired with the impossible task of defending the four friends, he honestly tried his hardest (the guy also never loses, so the verdict was like a slap to the face, I’m sure). At least he got his own version of a happy ending in the end. 


Jerry and Elaine don’t get together in the end. 

I knew Jerry and Elaine were probably never going to get together anytime throughout the series, but the subtle hints of possibility in the finale were just frustrating. Their relationship was hinted at probably five times, and each time felt misplaced and meaningless. Even when they had a huge opportunity to tell each other “I love you,” the show handled it so distastefully that all I could do was roll my eyes. Huge waste of screen time if you ask me. 


The sentence doesn’t make any sense. 

The four are found guilty and sentenced to a year in prison together. Considering all who testified against them, it really doesn’t seem like that bad of a sentence. However,  at the beginning of the episode when they were first arrested, the prison guard says the violation of the law leads to a huge penalty: a thousands of dollars and at least five years in jail. 

After a long and dramatic hearing, they’re only sentenced to a year of jail. Sure, the judge showed mercy on them, but the tension is completely gone now. Aside from that, they’re sentenced to the same jail together, and I don’t think they’re going to learn their lesson if they’re together doing the same things they always do. Again, what happened here? 


Jerry closes out “Seinfeld” by doing a comedy show in jail. 

Whether they were in jail or prison, I don’t remember, but the series finale closes out with Jerry doing a comedy show in prison. It seems fitting considering each episode has always ended with a comedy show and some of the jokes are actually funny, but the whole thing is just sad.

 There’s no laugh track, the whole room of inmates is bleak, and everything just feels kind of dullPlus, the ending is open, making it seem like not much of an ending at all. I understand how difficult it is to close out a show about nothing, but I feel like if they didn’t have Jerry doing a comedy skit, then the whole show would feel more resolved. 


 I know I ripped apart the entire finale of “Seinfeld,” but I’m not going to stop watching the show. Yes, I’ll probably have to acknowledge the four of them are selfish and in a sense “terrible” people, but like many other sitcoms from the ‘90s, it’s just good fun.

 You don’t have to understand or like the show to laugh at it. That’s the whole point! I’m probably not going to watch the finale again for a long time, but it didn’t hinder my favorite episodes of the series at all, like “The Non-Fat Yogurt,” “The Big Salad,” “The Parking Garage,” “The Blood” and “The Marine Biologist.” 

Overall, my conclusion is this: the finale was terrible, but “Seinfeld” is still a good show. Love it or hate it, the choice is yours.