62. "The Deal," Seinfeld (1991)
Welcome to the “100 Best Sitcom Episodes of All Time,” a countdown for 2012. Each episode will get a separate blog post, counting backward toward No. 1. A list of the programs revealed so far is here and an introduction to the project is here.
Like the last entry on this list, "Kim's O," this episode is about the futility of trying to apply logic to sex. In "The Deal," ex-couple Jerry and Elaine become friends with benefits, the result of a dull night at Jerry's apartment when a glimpse of "the naked channel" on TV puts an idea in their heads.
This is only the 13th episode that was aired, before Seinfeld became known as the show about "nothing" (more accurately, the show in which nothing would hold the characters' interest for very long). Jason Alexander and Michael Richards are still feeling out their characters, but Julia Louis-Dreyfus is great as Elaine, trying to be both alluring and dispassionate as she and Jerry rationalize their way to the bedroom. I love her over-enthusiastic delivery of "Well, why should that be?" when Jerry fears that sex will lead to her expectating a day-after phone call. (He'll find out "why that should be.")