There’s no question that the gang on Seinfeld has a void where empathy, compassion, or anything resembling a moral compass should be. While Kramer, George, and Elaine are each flawed in their own ways and have their own adversaries, it’s Jerry who perhaps racked up the longest list of foes over the show’s nine season run. Sure, Jerry maintains the appearance of well-mannered Jewish boy next door with his perfectly white sneakers and impeccably clean apartment, but this is a man who robbed an old woman like a hungry predator.
To mark the occasion of real-life Jerry Seinfeld’s birthday, and to remind you that the entire series is coming to HULU — in case the near-continuous loop of episodes on TBS weren’t enough — I’ve decided to compile a list of fictional Jerry’s arch enemies and rank them. His mother might have a hard time believing how anybody could not like him, but there were plenty of characters who didn’t find his act funny.
12. Kenny Bania
Hacky comedian Kenny Bania wasn’t so much an enemy of Jerry’s, as he was more of a pest. While Kenny in fact admired Jerry so much that he attempted to write jokes with him and give him an Armani suit, it’s probably safe to say that if Jerry had ever been forced to work a road gig with Bania, somebody would have been murdered.
11. Tim Whatley
Who can forget Tim Whatley, the dentist who converted to Judaism for the jokes and the role that first brought Bryan Cranston into America’s living rooms. As you may recall, it was Jerry’s annoyance with Whatley that led Kramer to accuse him of being an “anti-Dentite.”
10. Mr. Bookman
While Jerry had no ill will towards Mr. Bookman, the fact that he took humor in Mr. Bookman’s job as a library cop made Bookman hate him even more. Jerry may have viewed his overdue book case as ridiculous, but Bookman saw Jerry as nothing more than a wise-cracking punk who took delight in drawing “pee-pees and wee-wees” on library property. Joyboy had to go down.
Poppie had some problems, and Jerry was completely justified in his dislike of the man. Poppie treated his customers to daily servings of germs by not washing his hands after using the bathroom; there’s no telling how many cases of food poisoning could be traced back to the guy. Plus, if somebody deliberately urinates on your couch, they automatically become an enemy for life.
8. Izzy Mandelbaum
Jerry never meant Izzy harm — seemingly — but when he came into Izzy’s house talking trash, there was no other option besides a weightlifting contest. Unfortunately for Izzy, his back was as brittle as a tortilla chip, and Jerry easily defeated him, thus creating an arch rival. If that wasn’t enough, Jerry paraded his father around in a #1 Dad shirt and then out lifted the entire Mandelbaum clan.
7. Mike Moffit
At first, Jerry actually liked Kramer’s bookie Mike, but he then found out that Mike had called him a phony, and that was the end of that. Sure, Jerry said that breaking Mike’s thumbs was an accident, but Mike got the message. Nobody badmouths Jerry’s comedy reputation and gets away with it.
6. Mabel Choate
If there was ever any doubt that Jerry was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, it was put to rest with “The Rye” episode. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jerry kicked a puppy on the way home after stealing that marble rye to top off his night of crime. In case you forgot, karma comes back around for Jerry in “The Cadillac, Part 2” when Mabel remember’s her run-in with Jerry and votes to impeach Morty as condo president.
5. Duncan Meyer
Nobody likes a cheater, or a liar, and Jerry allowed a myth to develop around him after unfairly defeating Duncan in a high school race. As Jerry puts it, “He’s hated me ever since,” and rightfully so. When Jerry finally does accept Duncan’s challenge for a rematch, he cheats again, fueling Duncan’s hatred for him even more. Who knows what became of Duncan, but I like to believe he developed an unhealthy obsession with beating Jerry and spent every second of his free time in training to challenge his arch rival to yet another race.
4. Mary Contardi
As evidenced by Burnsy’s ranking of Jerry’s girlfriends, Jerry had no shortage of soured former lovers who didn’t particularly like him. Perhaps none hated him more than Mary Contardi, though. They only went on one date, and her appearance is very brief, but it’s obvious that the woman hated Jerry — that “insignificant piece of dust” and “liar” — with a burning passion.
3. Joe Davola
Joe Davola likely hated anyone who looked at him for a split second too long. After all, the guy was “crazy,” but he especially disliked Jerry. The unstable writer blamed Jerry for his rejected NBC deal and set out to take him down. While other enemies merely wanted to badmouth Jerry, Crazy Joe likely had violent intentions, as evidenced by kicking Kramer in the head and jumping out of the audience during the taping of Jerry’s pilot.
2. Sally Weaver
In “The Doll,” we learn that Jerry dislikes Sally for her bad attempts at comedy. After she ruins his Charles Grodin appearance by bringing him the wrong doll, he dislikes her even more. Once Sally learns that Jerry thinks she should just give up comedy, she channels her hatred of him into a successful one-woman show called Jerry Seinfeld is the Devil.
Just as Batman has the Joker, and Superman has Lex Luther, Jerry had Newman, and there really could be no other No. 1 enemy. It’s never exactly revealed why Jerry hates Newman, but the fact that Newman encourages and partakes in Kramer’s harebrained schemes only irritates Jerry even more. Throughout the series, it becomes more clear that Newman really is “pure evil.” He takes delight in torturing Jerry at every opportunity and even goes so far as to sabotage George when he has the opportunity, merely because he’s part of Jerry’s inner circle. Simply put, the man is a diabolical menace who deserved to burn up in that fire. Yeah, I said it.