Season 4 Episode 11

The Contest

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Nov 18, 1992 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
482 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

George swears off doing 'you know' after being caught by his mother, causing her to throw her back out and ending up in the hospital. When Jerry proposes a contest to see who can go the longest without. Elaine and Kramer want in, but the four of them soon get into situations that test their will power to temptation.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • perfect

    the gang have a contest to see who can go the longest without... doing something... and they all bet 100 (Elaine bets 150). but they are soon all tempted. who will end up winning this bet?

    hilarious episode, i can't think of one scene that did not make me laugh. are you master of your domain?, and the ever famous "I'm out!" line, this episode is really hilarious from start to finish, with every scene being funny and memorable. series classic, no doubt, and my overall grade for this episode is an A+, simply a hilarious episode and very well-writtenmoreless
  • George gets caught master-bating by his mother,which leads to George,Jerry,Kramer and Elaine contesting who is "master of their domain".All 4 are tested in various ways.In the end they all give in,but as a later episode suggests,George apparentlmoreless

    This certainly has to rank among the funniest and wildest TV sit-com episodes ever.Dealing with a subject which is so taboo,the actual word describing it is never used during the entire episode.The ways in which each is tempted are hilarious,from the naked girl across the street to the sexy nurse in Georges moms hospital room,to Jerry dating a virgin,not to mention Elaine meeting John Kennedy,Jr.This episode is brillantly written.This is an example of most season 4 episodes,where the humor just seems to come so naturally from simple situations.George in his insecure mode is at the top of his game,and we actually empathize with poor,frustrated Jerry.Kramer is,well,Kramer,and even Elaine comes off fairly sympathetic in this episode.We never actually learn who wins in this episode,but there is a reference to it in "The Puffy Shirt"where George claims that "he won a contest".However,in the series finale,it is suggested that George cheated.Im not sure how he could do that though.Im prone to go along with the idea that he won.The George in the later episodes might have found a way to cheat,but I dont think the George in this episode could pull it off.moreless
  • Defining episode.

    "The Contest" is one of the most recognizable episodes of television and really set the pace for what a sitcom is supposed to be. One story, one idea driving all the characters toward a common goal, with some funny detours along the way.

    The episode is legendary because of its execution, how they could have such a raunchy topic without even mentioning it by name.

    This is one of the reasons Kramer became an icon, for distinguishing characteristics and behavior like this and why he is one of television's greatest personalities.

    You would be hard-pressed to find a more meaningful episode of television for a series than this.moreless
  • "Are you the master of your domain?"

    This episode, although not clever. It was perfectly amazing. It was probably because this episode was so controversial. I love how the group of friends did a contest like this. I cannot believe Elaine came in third place! Well I thought she was going to win. i love the JFK Jr. scenes. He ends up with Marla the virgin!? Elaine must of been pissed. I know George ended up winning but they never actually talk about it, and did Jerry actually give in to the naked woman. He goes to the window, but at the end you see George sleeping. Nobody won? I also fell in love with the sleeping scenes. It was hilarious!moreless
  • Master of your Domain

    What a great episode!

    The four decide to host a contest to see who can go the longest without gratifying themselves. It features of the best dialogue in all of the and some of the best moments, especially when George visits his mother in the hospital. This is what make Seinfeld such a reveled series. You really can't beat "The Contest" episode.

    As the foursome try to see who can hold out the longest, we're treated to a crazy storyline with Jerry and his girlfriend, "The Virgin", we also get Elaine seeing John F. Kennedy Jr. at the health club. It's a definite treat.moreless
Ilana Levine

Ilana Levine


Guest Star

Rachel Sweet

Rachel Sweet


Guest Star

Andrea Parker

Andrea Parker


Guest Star

Jane Leeves

Jane Leeves


Recurring Role

Estelle Harris

Estelle Harris

Estelle Costanza

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (7)

    • First appearence of George's mother Estelle.

    • When Kramer enters Jerry's apartment and says "I'm out", it is the 100th time Kramer enters Jerry's apartment starting from the first episode. How fitting.

    • When Marla and Jerry are making out on his couch, we can see someone walking behind the set through the window in Jerry's bathroom.

    • In "The Baby Shower", while Elaine *claims* to think the Kennedys are boring, she nevertheless asks breathless questions about them at the shower, clearly showing that she is in fact intensely interested in them. Thus, this episode does not contradict the earlier one.

    • Viewer Daniel C. Weinblatt writes -- There seems to be some out of sequence events here. In the episode "The Virgin" George goes to a therapist recommended by Elaine. We learn that his mother is paying for it when he is upset with the therapist for criticizing the script he and Jerry wrote (George "and I'm paying her -- she's my employee", Jerry "I thought you're mother was paying her" , George "and she works damn hard for that money" -- or something close to that). Elaine then eludes to the fact that George's Mom is paying for the therapy becuase she caught him at something -- I am assuming that he caught him masturbating-- but he wasn't caught until this episode.

    • How does Kramer know about the naked woman across the street from Jerrys window? Kramers apartment is across the hall so he wouldn't be able to see the womans building from his place.

    • When the aerobics instructor tells Elaine that she made an impression on JFK Jr., Elaine grabs the aerobics instructor by the jacket, and the jacket begins to hang below the instructor's shoulder. But, the throughout the rest of this scene there's a continuity error. In some shots the instructor's jacket is hanging under her shoulder, and in other shots, the jacket it covering her shoulder.

  • QUOTES (30)

    • Jerry: I haven't been myself lately. I've been snapping at everybody.
      George: Me too. I've been yelling at strangers on the street.

    • Kramer: I'm out!!

    • Marla: (sleeping with JFK Jr.) Oh, John. That was wonderful.

    • Jerry: (looks out the window, shocked) Oh my God in heaven!
      (all three crowd around the window)
      Elaine: (gasps) Is that…?
      George: Kramer?!
      Elaine: He's waving…
      (all three wave back)

    • Elaine: (angrily) He left with Marla, the virgin?!

    • Elaine: What happened?
      Jerry: I told her about the contest.
      Elaine: Ohh, boy, she's a whack-o.

    • Jerry: Alright, Costanza. It's just you and me.
      George: And then, (smacks the money) there were two.
      Elaine: Elaine Benes Kennedy Junior…

    • Jerry: What happened?
      Elaine: It was, uh, John John.
      Jerry and George: Ohhhhh. John John.

    • Jerry: (singing along with the TV) The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round. The wheels on the bus…
      (Kramer joins in with Jerry, only, he has a different version)
      Kramer: The woman across the street has nothing on, nothing on, nothing on…

    • Estelle: George… I'm huuunnnggry!
      George: Hang on, ma, hang on.

    • Estelle: Could you go now, George? I'm very hungry. I'm weak.
      George: Well, wait a little while, Ma. What's the difference?
      Estelle: Could you go now, George? I'm very hungry. I'm weak.
      George: Well, wait a little while, Ma. What's the difference?
      Estelle: I don't understand why you can't do this for me!
      George: I just got here, Ma! I'd like to spend a little time with you.
      Estelle: But if you wait, they won't let you back in! Visiting hours are almost over!
      George: Ten minutes! Here, here, (throws a box of Tic-Tacs to her) Have some Tic-Tacs.

    • Jerry: But the question is, are you still master of your domain?
      Elaine: I'm queen of the castle.

    • Elaine: John F. Kennedy Jun-ya!

    • George: I am king of the county. You?
      Jerry: Lord of the manor.

    • (Kramer sits in front of Jerry's window to see a naked lady)
      Jerry: She's not there!
      Kramer: Oh, I can wait…

    • Kramer: So, you're still master of your domain.
      Jerry: Yes. Yes I am. Master of my domain.

    • Joyce: I can get you a spot right behind him. He has got a great butt.
      Elaine: Yeah. Butt. Butt. Great butt. John-John's butt.

    • (George is hypnotized by a sponge bath with a female patient)
      Estelle: George, you're cousin, Shelly, is talking to you!
      (George is still focused)

    • Estelle: Too bad you can't do that for a living. You'd be very successful at it. You could sell out Madison Square Garden. Thousands of people could watch you! You could be a big star!

    • Estelle: I don't understand you. I really don't. You have nothing better to do at 3:00 in the afternoon? I go out for a quart of milk; I come home, and find my son treating his body like it was an amusement park!

    • Elaine: What're you looking at?
      Jerry: There's a naked woman across the street.
      Elaine: (smiling, chuckling) This is gonna be the easiest money I've ever made in my life.

    • Jerry: We have to do it. It's part of our lifestyle. It's like, uh, shaving.
      Elaine: Oh, that is such bologna. I shave my legs.
      Kramer: Not everyday.

    • George: I didn't know whether to try and keep her from falling, or zip up.
      Jerry: What did you do?
      George: I zipped up!
      Elaine: So, she fell?
      George: Yeah. Well, I couldn't run over there the way I was!

    • George: I stopped by the house to drop the car off, and I went inside for a few minutes. Nobody was there. They're supposed to be working. My mother had a Glamour magazine; I started leafing through it…
      Jerry: Glamour?
      (Kramer and Elaine laugh slightly)
      George: So, one thing lead to another…
      Jerry: So, what did she do?
      George: First she screams, "George, what are you doing?! My God!"

    • Jerry: What's the matter?
      George: My mother caught me.
      Jerry: Caught you? Doing what?
      George: You know. (All three give him blank stares) I was alone…
      Elaine: You mean..?!
      George: (Nods) Uh-huh.
      Kramer: (laughing) She caught you?

    • George: What are you doing tonight?
      Jerry: Date with Marla.
      George: Oh, the virgin? Any progress there, what's the latest?
      Jerry: Well, I've got my troops amassed along the border. I'm just waiting for someone to give me the go-ahead.

    • Jerry: She's driving me crazy, I can't eat, I can't sleep, I'm here, I'm climbing the walls. Meanwhile I'm in this contest, I'm datin' a virgin, SOMETHING'S GOT TO GIVE!

    • (after learning that Elaine is out of the "contest")
      George: You caved?!
      Jerry: It's over?!
      George: You're out?!
      Jerry: Oh my God, the Queen is dead!

    • Jerry: (on Kramer's chance of winning the contest) You'll be out before the check comes!

    • Jerry: (after George tells him about the hot nurse who gives sponge baths to the gorgeous patient)
      Well, I guess you'll be going back to that hospital.
      George: Well Jerry, my mother...

  • NOTES (10)

    • In 2008, The Emmys Academy chose the most memorable comedy TV moments. The scene where the gang create and start the contest, was in the top 5.

    • This episode received an Emmy nomination in 1993 for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Directing in a Comedy Series.

    • I think that, like Jason Alexander, Michael Richards does a little spontaneous acting. It's right in the beginning, after the talk about laundry while being held hostage by terrorists. He says "You, take off your socks, your pants, your underwear, we're doing a wash" and I think this wasn't in the script because Julie Louis-Dreyfus' reaction and especially Jerry Seinfeld's reaction is quite natural. If you ever watched bloopers of Seinfeld (or if you watched "The Clip Show"), you know how Jerry laughs when he laughs for real, naturally. Now, just after Richards says that line, the laugh is the same, if you listen to it carefully, you understand that. Also when the frame is cut to George entering, we can see that both Seinfeld and Dreyfus sit straight, but both were laughing and thier heads were bowed down. I think Jerry Seinfeld couldn't stop laughing after Richards' improvised line and they taped the rest afterwards.

    • Although it is, of course, alluded to, the word "masturbation" is never once mentioned throughout the entire episode.

    • The "hot nurse" is played by Andrea Parker, most known for her role as Miss Parker on NBC's drama The Pretender and currently a regular on the ABC sitcom Less Than Perfect. After having started as a dancer, this was her first speaking part as an actress on a network show. As she's later said, if you were going to be on just one episode of Seinfeld, this was the one to be on.

    • On the Letterman show, actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus admitted that the censors would not allow the cast to say the word "masturbation".

    • When Estelle is lying in the hospital bed and tells George that she is hungry, George throws her a box of tic tacs. According to Jerry Seinfeld, this was not part of the scene. Jason Alexander just did it impromptu and Estelle could not stop laughing for 20 minutes.

    • TV Guide named this episode, specifically the moment where Kramer says he's out, as the third funniest moment in TV history.

    • Tom Cherones won the Director's Guild of America Award for this episode. This episode was based on a real contest that Larry David participated in.

    • Thanks to this episode, the series won the Emmy for best Comedy, Writing and Supporting Actor (Michael Richards). The episode was based in a real life experience of writer Larry David.


    • Elaine: And then there were three.
      This quote is the recurring line in Agatha Christie's book "And Then There Were None," also published as "Ten Little Indians."