Between 1989 and 1998, “Seinfeld” brought laughs to tears from millions of enthusiasts. If you didn’t follow everything well or if your memory suddenly challenges you, we tell you the end of the series.
Warning, spoilers. The following article reveals key plot elements of “Seinfeld” as well as its ending.
During its 9 years of existence, the sitcom has been more than adored, widely acclaimed and amply rewarded – 10 Emmys please. But when it came to slipping away, the series was also talked about…
Few episodes in the history of television have been as controversial as the finale of Seinfeld. Airing on May 14, 1998, “The Finale” was a one-hour double episode that marked the return of nearly every character that Jerry (jerry seinfeld), George (Jason Alexander), Elaine (Julia Louis Dreyfus) or Kramer (Michael Richards) harmed throughout the show’s 9 years and 9 seasons.
Some liked it, some didn’t. Indeed, if many thought that the finale was not the height of the show and differed too much from the general tone of the series, others saw qualities in it, saying it was faithful to the characters and appreciated its honest end: after all, for Jerry and his friends, a happy ending didn’t seem to be possible…
Jerry and George finally made a deal with NBC to produce their sitcom pilot and now have to leave New York for California. Jerry receives permission to use NBC’s private jet: he, George, Elaine and Kramer decide to go to Paris for “one last hurrah”.
On the plane, George and Elaine argue while Kramer tries to drain water from his ears after a trip to the beach earlier that day. Desperate, he begins to jump up and down in the aircraft, stumbles and falls into the cockpit, causing the pilots to lose control. While the plane nose dives, the four accomplices prepare to die.
On what appears to be their last moments of life, George, momentarily feeling the need to confess, reveals that he cheated in the famous contest of the‘season 11 episode 4, “The Airport”, and Elaine begins to reveal to Jerry that she has always loved him but the plane stabilizes and they make an emergency landing in the fictional small town of Latham, Massachusetts.
Meanwhile, throughout the first half of the episode, Elaine tries to call her friend Jill. First of all, she can’t get reception with her cell phone on the street. Then Jerry interrupts her with news of the pilot pick-up and Elaine hangs up on Jill to take the call. Jerry then scolds her for, first, trying to rush the call before they all left for Paris and, second, for thinking about calling from the plane.
While waiting for the plane to be repaired, the group sees an overweight man, Howie (John Pinette), having his car stolen at gunpoint. Instead of helping him, they make jokes about his size while Kramer films everything on his camcorder, then walks away.
The victim notices this and informs the police. The four main characters are therefore placed in police custody for having broken the law of the good Samaritan which obliges passers-by to help in such a situation. Jerry and his friends have no choice but to call on Jackie Chiles (Phil Morris) to represent them at their next trial.
The second part begins with many famous faces associated with the main characters: they are all packing for the trial which will take place in the county court of Latham.
The case is covered by Geraldo Rivera and Jane Wells who report that the defendants are now known as the “New York Four”. In the room, we find Jerry’s parents and those of George, but also Newman, Uncle Leo, J. Peterman, David Puddy, Mickey, Kenny Bania, Susan’s parents, the rabbi of Elaine’s building, the pool guys, or George Steinbrenner and Keith Hernandez.
A lengthy trial ensues, presided over by Judge Arthur Vandelay, a name that makes George smile as he has used this pseudonym very frequently in the past for the bogus companies he claimed to have worked for: he thinks it is a good one sign.
On the one hand, the prosecution has the statements of eyewitnesses like Howie, the victim, and the officer Vogel who arrested them as well as Kramer’s camcorder recording as evidence of their violation.
Also, as this is the first case to implement this law, District Attorney Hoyt steps up and piles the cases against the quartet as much as possible, calling many character witnesses.
Thus almost all the people the defendants have met over the past 9 years – including Marla Penny, the chatterbox, Donald Sanger, Babu Bhatt, Yev Kassem, George Steinbrenner, Dr. Wexler and Sidra Holland (Teri Hatcher) – are made to testify about their unethical behavior – both real and supposed, with bonus flashbacks – to the point that the judge stops the testimonies for simple matter of time.
On the defense side, Chiles argues that the witnesses are only exaggerating to settle accounts with the four and that the latter did not act because they did not want to be shot by the criminal. He also adds that the carjacker is free to “laugh and lie”.
Despite George’s mother’s efforts to try to convince Judge Vandelay to reduce the sentence, the jury finds Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer guilty of criminal indifference and they are each sentenced to one year in state prison.
In their temporary cell, the group waits to be transferred. Kramer finally gets the water out of his ears after days of trying. Elaine decides to use her only phone call from prison to finally reach Jill: a phone call from prison, that’s the “king of calls”.
Jerry, meanwhile, strikes up a conversation about George’s shirt buttons – using lines from the first episode. George then wonders if they’ve ever had this conversation…
In the series finale scene, Jerry wears an orange jumpsuit and tells prison-related jokes in front of an audience of fellow inmates – including Kramer and George but not Elaine who is not seen as she is in a women’s prison. No one is laughing except the studio audience and Kramer.
As he was finally dragged from the stage by a guard, he told his audience: “Hey, you’ve been great. Meet in the cafeteria.“End of Seinfeld.