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From “The Stall”
Season 5, Episode 12
Air date: January 6, 1994

After realizing her bathroom stall does not have toilet paper, Elaine asks the woman in the adjacent stall to share, thus prompting the iconic response “I can’t spare a square.” See every meme depicting toilet paper stockpiling and anxiety this past spring.

Illustration of a scene in Seinfeld

Image description: Two pairs of feet can be seen under two separate public restroom stalls. One occupant, represented by yellow socks and brown shoes, is reaching under the wall of their stall to the person next to them. The person next to them, represented by a pair of green boots, holds their feet away and says “No, I don’t have a square to spare. I can’t spare a square!” Charlotte Hollands


From “The Opposite”
Season 5, Episode 22
Air date: May 19, 1994

Elaine’s boss, Mr. Lippman, leaves his handkerchief in his office and ends up sneezing directly in his hands. To prevent the spread of germs, he refuses to shake hands with his publishing counterpart, which costs him a merger deal and puts an end to Pendant Publishing.


From “The Apology”
Season 9, Episode12
Air date: December 11, 1997

Elaine is upset that her coworker, Peggy, uses a toilet seat cover despite their being the only women in the office. Offended by the presumption that she is full of germs, Elaine takes revenge by coughing on Peggy’s doorknob and rubbing her office supplies over her body. Once Elaine’s boyfriend, David Puddy, reveals he is a recovering germaphobe, she invites both Puddy and Peggy to Kramer’s apartment for a makeup dinner. Unfortunately for them Kramer prepared dinner in his shower.


From “Serenity Now”
Season 9, Episode 3
Air date: October 9, 1997

Frank Constanza, George’s irascible father played by the late Jerry Stiller, is advised to repeat the phrase “Serenity Now” to keep his blood pressure down. Throughout the episode, he shouts “Serenity Now” at anything that frustrates him.


From “The Susie”
Season 8, Episode 15
Air date: February 13, 1997

One of the greatest gifts Seinfeld has given us is George’s rendition of “Believe It or Not” recorded via answering machine. One day, all of our answering machines (also known as voicemail greetings) will be set to this tune because one day we’ll finally be able to leave our homes.

Believe it or not, [we’re] not at home
Please leave a message at the beep
[We] must be out, or [we’d] pick up the phone
Where could [we] be?
Believe it or not, we’re not hoooooome

Charlotte Hollands created artwork as well as spot illustrations of experiences from social distancing life for AN’s pandemic issue. Hollands is an illustrator, artist, and ethnographer who is developing new ways to use illustration within social science research and is currently completing her first graphic nonfiction book, written by Alisse Waterston.

Cite as: Anthropology News website. 2020. “Here at Witchcraft, We like to Think…Seinfeld Anticipated the Present.” June 19, 2020. DOI: 10.1111/AN.1446