Seinfeld: Season 4, Episode 11

The Contest (18 Nov. 1992)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Comedy
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 9.6/10 from 2,232 users  
Reviews: 4 user

After George's mother catches him alone in a somewhat embarrassing situation, Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer stage a contest to see who can last the longest without any sexual ... See full summary »



(created by), (created by), 2 more credits »
0Check in


Airs Sun. Dec. 06, 8:00 AM on TBS

« Previous Episode | 50 of 172 Episodes | Next Episode »


1 video »


Episode complete credited cast:
Rachel Sweet ...


After George's mother catches him alone in a somewhat embarrassing situation, Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer stage a contest to see who can last the longest without any sexual gratification. Temptation quickly sets in for everyone. Kramer is the first to fall after ogling the woman across the street who walks around her apartment naked. George is next after he visits his mother in hospital and her roommate gets a sponge bath across from the curtain separating them. Elaine signs up for a fitness class where none other than JFK Jr. is enrolled. Her fantasizing does the rest. Finally, Jerry's new girlfriend Marla decides it's time to lose her virginity but Jerry has to explain the contest. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

18 November 1992 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

See  »

Did You Know?


George throwing the Tic Tacs on the bed for Estelle to eat so she would stop complaining was completely improvised by Jason Alexander. See more »


Jerry remarks to his mother that he's watching "Tiny Toons" on Nickelodeon. "Tiny Toon Adventures" didn't begin airing on Nickelodeon until 1995, whereas "The Contest" first aired in late 1992. See more »


Cosmo Kramer: [after having seen a naked woman across the street, he enters his apartment and exits 30 seconds later with a wad of cash] I'm out!
See more »


Spoofed in Seinfeld: A XXX Parody 2 (2010) See more »


The Wheels on the Bus
Performed by Michael Richards and Jerry Seinfeld
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

"I'm out!"
26 September 2010 | by (Italy) – See all my reviews

Whenever there's a poll for the greatest Seinfeld episode, The Contest

  • which happens to be the show's fiftieth, not counting the original

pilot - usually comes on top, and for good reason: it perfectly embodies the creative boldness the series is known for, and uses all four of the main characters - plus a couple of guest stars - in the best possible way. Even now, years after Seinfeld went off the air, its brilliance is unmatched.

Premise: having been caught masturbating (!) by his mother (Estelle Harris), George vows never to do it again. When Jerry suggests he could last longer, all four decide to make a bet to see who can refrain from their impulses the longest. Naturally, problems arise almost immediately: Kramer is tempted when he sees a naked woman in the building across the street, George fantasizes about the nurses in the hospital where he goes to visit his mom, Elaine has a run-in with John Kennedy Jr. and Jerry is nervous because Marla still hasn't agreed to sleep with him. The contest can begin...

Based on a real incident involving, among others, Larry David (who won a deserved Emmy for the script), the concept is still incredibly brave from a conceptual standpoint, at least for network television: even more than a decade later, few producers would green-light an episode that's entirely focused on masturbation. That they did is purely down to the ingenious writing: by replacing the "dirty" word with the now classic euphemism "master of his domain", David draws huge laughs from a subject few mainstream comedians had contemplated joking about, and the self-censorship is part of the episode's appeal: if the word had been used even once, it wouldn't be as funny.

Alongside the snappy dialogue, the other source of comedy gold is the cast. As expected, Richards (who won his second Emmy thanks to this episode) and Alexander make the most of it, with the former delivering the single funniest line of the entire season and the latter enjoying his first on-screen pairing with Harris, a TV mom to be reckoned with. As for the other leads, Dreyfus brings a welcome feminine view on the matter, while Seinfeld himself has to carry an excruciating payoff scene with Jane Leeves that plays out like a cringe-worthy Curb Your Enthusiasm with an added studio audience.

Proving once again, and perhaps in the strongest fashion, that no subject is taboo in American sitcoms, The Contest is the definitive Seinfeld episode, and a milestone in US television. How many other shows can boast an Oustanding Comedy Series Emmy on the grounds of a script about masturbation?

30 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
The three bulls Pleasant_Pineapple
Are you seeing a psychiatrist? ben_m-53550
Everybody's talking at me, I don't hear a word they're saying ben_m-53550
"My wife has an inner ear infection." carpet_crawler
Oh my goodness... mrkovacs1
There's a void, Jerry ben_m-53550
Discuss The Contest (1992) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: