The Pothole

"The Pothole" is the 150th episode of the sitcom Seinfeld. This was the 16th episode for the eighth season. It aired on February 20, 1997. This episode earned Andy Ackerman an Emmy Award for Outstanding Direction. Jerry Seinfeld, in an appearance on The Tonight Show the night before the episode aired, declared "The Pothole" to be one of the best episodes of the series.

"The Pothole"
Seinfeld episode
Episode no.Season 8
Episode 16
Directed byAndy Ackerman
Written bySteve O'Donnell & Dan O'Keefe
Production code816
Original air dateFebruary 20, 1997
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"The Susie"
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"The English Patient"
Seinfeld (season 8)
List of Seinfeld episodes


Kramer has adopted one mile of a highway

Jerry accidentally knocks his girlfriend Jenna's toothbrush into the toilet, and she uses it before he can tell her. George shows off the new key ring that George Steinbrenner has given everyone in the Yankees organization, celebrating Phil Rizzuto's induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame; the key chain displays Rizzuto's head that, once squeezed, exclaims his famous catchphrase, "Holy Cow!" Kramer complains about the failing highway infrastructure after running over an abandoned sewing machine, so he adopts a one-mile piece of the 'Arthur Burghardt Expressway' through the Adopt a Highway program. Elaine tries to order a new Chinese dish, Supreme Flounder, but she lives across the street from the boundary of the Chinese restaurant's delivery area. Later, George bemoans the fact that he lost his new key chain.

Jerry plans to secretly sterilize Jenna's mouth, but despite his efforts, he just can't get past the vision of the toothbrush in the toilet. George theorizes that he may have lost his keys when he did a broad jump over a pothole that's now been paved over. Kramer works diligently to keep his part of the road clean, not trusting the work to the city's maintenance crew. Elaine schemes to get her flounder by moving into a janitor's closet, located in the building across the street. The building's superintendent believes her to actually be the janitor and pesters her about the maintenance that needs to be done. Jerry indirectly tells Jenna about the toothbrush, even though he never actually planned on telling her; as retaliation, she sticks something of Jerry's in his toilet and refuses to tell him what it is, causing him to panic.

Kramer repaints the four-lane highway to two extra-wide lanes, intending to make it like flying first class for drivers (a "two-lane comfort cruise"), but his efforts only result in mass confusion and congestion on behalf of the drivers. George, unwilling to pay the city maintenance crew, dons construction gear and takes a jackhammer to the pothole himself in order to reclaim his key chain. Elaine has the gang over for dinner in the janitor closet, but it gets crowded; the superintendent confronts Elaine and continues to pester her about the maintenance that needs to be done. Jerry throws away nearly everything he owns, suspecting that anything could have gone in the toilet; he finally learns that the mystery item was nothing more than his toilet brush. George unintentionally severs a water main while digging up the road, causing Jenna's toilet to erupt and dump its contents onto her. Jerry is disgusted and dumps her on the spot.

Elaine, still pretending to be the janitor in order to allay suspicion, brings the building's trash to the dump in Jerry's car, swerving all over Kramer's luxurious 2-lane highway and unknowingly dropping an old Singer sewing machine on the road, similar to the one Kramer ran over earlier. Kramer tries to return the highway to its original state but spills flammable paint thinner all over the road. Newman drives by in his mail truck, delivering crates of fish for the Chinese restaurant's Supreme Flounder orders. His truck catches Elaine's sewing machine and drags it along the highway, sending up sparks that ignite Kramer's paint thinner and causing his truck to go up in flames as panicking Newman yells, "Oh, the humanity!"

Kramer, having witnessed the accident, is desperate to evade the law. A now-torched, stranded Newman wanders off in a daze; Kramer offers him a ride, but after getting no response decides to flee.


Jerry's girlfriend (Jenna) is played by Kristin Davis of HBO's Sex and the City and formerly, Melrose Place. She briefly reappears in the episode "The Butter Shave" dating Kenny Bania, another comedian for whom Jerry has little respect.

The Arthur Burghardt Expressway was named for the actor who, according to the DVD commentary for the episode, had been called in to audition for the series several times without being cast (despite Seinfeld's creative team liking his performances).

The scene where the four principals are jammed into the janitor closet is an homage to the famous Marx Brothers state room scene in A Night at the Opera.

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