Close Talkers and Double Dippers: 15 Phrases 'Seinfeld' Spawned - Rolling Stone
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Close Talkers and Double Dippers: 15 Phrases ‘Seinfeld’ Spawned

Shrinkage, spongeworthy, serenity now: check out the memorable terms that the popular sitcom have embedded into the culture

Seinfeld; Close Talkers

Pictured: (l-r) Jerry Seinfeld as Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander as George Costanza, Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Benes, Michael Richards as Cosmo Kramer (Photo by George Lange/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)


Seinfeld‘s pilot episode aired 30 years ago, on July 5th, 1989, yet it continues to be the most influential sitcom in TV history — not only for changing how we watched television and rewriting the playbook for every comedy that followed it, but also how this “show about nothing” expanded our vocabulary.

Nearly every episode of Seinfeld contains one word or phrase that we still weave into our day-to-day interactions. These are 15 of the best instances of how the show left a lasting mark on our lexicon.

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"The Hamptons": Season 5, Episode 21
"I was in the pool!" George yelled after being caught in his second-most emasculating moment. (First place goes to George being caught by his mother, alone, with an issue of Glamour issue, like in "The Contest.") This episode thankfully informed women about the cruel science of swimming pools. George's loss – in this case, a girlfriend who quickly fled the Hamptons – was mankind's gain.

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‘I Choose Not to Run’

"The Race": Season 6, Episode 10
For one episode, Jerry Seinfeld became the Bartleby of the Nineties. Much like Herman Melville's scrivener, Jerry, without providing rhyme or reason, just didn't want to do something — in this case, run. Also a riff on Calvin Coolidge's proclamation regarding the 1928 presidential election, Jerry spent years declaring "I choose not to run" to avoid a footrace rematch against his high school adversary Duncan Meyer. Two decades after the episode aired, sitcom fans still use the phrase as their "I'd prefer not to."

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‘Serenity Now’

“The Serenity Now”: Season 9, Episode 3
Frank Costanza’s two-word anger management technique became an everyday mantra for all Seinfeld fans overwhelmed by life. Frank often screamed the calming phrase to lower his blood pressure in high-stress situations, like when George and Lloyd Braun bankrupt his garage computer company. The rest of us sometimes call upon “Serenity now!” when an “ohm” or an f-bomb just won’t cut it.

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