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The Contest


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After catching him masturbating causes his mother to fall and end up in the hospital, George insists he will never do it again. But, when his friends claim he could never quit so easily, George, Jerry, Elaine and Kramer make a bet to see who can hold out from having sex the longest. However, when Kramer notices a neighbor walking around her apartment without any clothes on, and~Elaine ends up in an exercise class with John F. Kennedy, Jr., their resolve is put to the test. Meanwhile, George discovers that a beautiful woman sharing a hospital room with his mom gets a regular sponge bath during visiting hours, and Jerry gets ever closer to having sex with Maria, testing their self control, too.

Unable to resist the temptation of the nude neighbor, Kramer is the first to bow out and pay up on the bet.

Frustrated by the tension, Jerry decides to tell the neighbor to keep her blinds drawn but is dissuaded by

Kramer's impassioned plea. Though George admits to being excited by the nightly sponge bath ritual and

Elaine reveals that she shared a cab ride with the young Kennedy, they both insist they are still holding out.

But, after discovering that JFK, Jr. is interested in a date, Elaine gives in to the pressure and pays off on

the bet, too.

With George at the hospital to witness another sponge bath, Jerry is finally asked by Marla to take her to bed. However, when he casually reveals the terms of the bet, Maria is appalled with their insensitivity and runs crying from the apartment. Finally, after giving up on her rendezvous with Kennedy outside Jerry's apartment, she and Jerry spot Kramer in bed with the nude neighbor, and George arrives and tells Elaine that JFK just met with the distraught Maria.

SEINFACTS SeinfeldSeinfeldSeinfeld

Only 21 people complained to NBC's New York headquarters about the taboo-breaking subject matter of "The Contest" following its initial broadcast.

This episode won writer Larry David an Emmy for outstanding writing for a television comedy series.

Tom Cherones won the Emmy for outstanding directing in a television series for his work on "The Contest."

"The Contest's" storyline was inspired by a real-life contest of self-denial in which Larry David participated. It reportedly lasted several months.

This episode introduced Estelle Harris as George's mother, coincidentally also called Estelle. Harris auditioned for the role of Estelle at 2:45 on October 23, 1992 and according to all present, she was hysterical.

Larry David on "The Contest": "I just thought NBC would say there was no way we'd let you do this show. And I would quit over it. I had the whole scenario worked out."

Due to the acclaim it received after its premiere, the first repeat showing of "The Contest" scored the highest rating in the show's history: a 20.1 rating and a 30 share, compared to a 13.0/19 on its premiere.

A porno movie called The Bet was released soon after "The Contest" aired and became a subject of great amusement around the Seinfeld offices. Another porno called Hindfeld was made the following year.

SEINSPEAK SeinfeldSeinfeldSeinfeld


"Are you a master of your domain?"


"I am the king of the county. You?"


"Lord of the manor."


"I'm the queen of the castle!"

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