Seinfeld (1989–1998)
7 user 2 critic

The Contest 

George's mother throws her back out when she falls down after catching George performing a personal act; the gang partakes in a contest of self-denial.


Tom Cherones


Larry David (created by), Jerry Seinfeld (created by) | 2 more credits »

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Episode complete credited cast:
Jerry Seinfeld ... Jerry Seinfeld
Julia Louis-Dreyfus ... Elaine Benes
Michael Richards ... Kramer
Jason Alexander ... George Costanza
Estelle Harris ... Estelle Constanza
Jane Leeves ... Marla
Ilana Levine ... Joyce
Rachel Sweet ... Shelly
Andrea Parker ... Nurse


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




PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

18 November 1992 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

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Did You Know?


According to Larry David on the Season 4 DVD extras, the censors requested only one change to the script: the removal of the word "Snapple." See more »


George says his parents were supposed to be at work when his mother caught him. However in the hospital Estelle says she went out for a quart of milk and caught him when she came back. See more »


Jerry Seinfeld: It's easier for a woman not to do it than a man, we have to do it, it's part of our lifestyle. It's like shaving.
Elaine Benes: Oh, that is such baloney! I shave my legs.
Cosmo Kramer: [while eating] Not everyday.
See more »


Featured in Sex and the Sitcom (2011) See more »


Seinfeld Theme Song
Written by Jonathan Wolff
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User Reviews

"Here, have some Tic-Tacs"
1 July 2016 | by juanmaffeoSee all my reviews

And here we are with the "creme de la creme" of... Seinfeld. Okay, that's debatable but nobody will deny The Contest is among the show's best ones. It has everything a classic episode must have: memorable moments, funny clever dialogue, great direction, great performances and a killer idea.

Killer idea: if you think that an episode revolving around 4 people trying to hold the longest without masturbating is a risky-weird choice, imagine what people thought back in 92'. Aside from its historical importance, the idea about a contest is perfect because the episode unfolds itself almost like a game. It is one of the most entertaining episodes and our four protagonist are all fundamental to the plot.

Memorable moments: some great Seinfeld episodes have one memorable moment, maybe two. The Contest has around 4 of these. The opening conversation, George visiting his mother for the first time, Kramer caving and George visiting his mother for the second time. Each one of these moments has the audience going absolutely wild.

Funny clever dialogue: from the masterfully written opening scene, to George's conversations with his mother and Kramer numerous speeches, it's perfect from every way you look at it.

Great direction: Master Cherones appearing once again in a review. His subtle camera-work is beyond believe, adding so much to the material. The pace is near perfect, nor rushed nor slow.

Great performances: every actor here gives an Emmy-winning performance. From the main protagonists to Estelle and Marla, everyone is on point. I don't know which is the peak of the episode, if Kramer or George. Either way, they are all fantastic.

One of the best of the show (if not the best), an episode that changed history and that remains an incredible one even taking its importance aside.

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