Comedy may be subjective — but according to a recent poll by Vanity Fair and 60 Minutes, Seinfeld is definitively the best sitcom of all time. The NBC comedy, which was created by Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, edged out fellow contenders like The Honeymooners, Friends, and Arrested Development for the funniest sitcom crown. (The results: Seinfeld — 22 percent, The Honeymooners — 20 percent, Friends — 16 percent, Cheers — 14 percent, Arrested Development — 7 percent, Mary Tyler Moore — 6 percent, 30 Rock — 5 percent.) The self-described "show about nothing," which ran for 180 episodes between 1989 and 1998, spawned innumerable pop-cultural catchphrases and became the first TV series to earn more than $1 million a minute for advertising — an amount previously earned only by the Super Bowl. (Watch a video compilation of some of Seinfeld's most iconic moments below.) Is Seinfeld really the funniest sitcom of all time?
Yes. It's obvious that Seinfeld is the best sitcom ever: "Jerry Seinfeld is master of his comedy domain," says David K. Li at the New York Post. Though the show went off the air in 1998, Seinfeld episodes still "run nonstop" in syndication, and the show's numerous classics "are still water-cooler talk now, more than a decade later." For legacy, timelessness, and overall cultural impact, it's hard to argue with a best sitcoms list that has Seinfeld at the top.
"'Nothing' funny in top show"
It might be the best — but this survey proves nothing: Seinfeld isn't undeserving of consideration, but this is a "stupid, flawed poll," says Jeff Cazanov at Rock Cellar Magazine. Voters were only offered seven choices, which means there were "countless other television programs ignored for the purposes of this survey," including beloved older series like The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Cosby Show, and current hits like The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, and How I Met Your Mother. The lack of choices offered by Vanity Fair makes this an "extremely unprofessional survey" that can be immediately discredited by any comedy fan.
"Seinfeld? Honeymooners? Vanity Fair's 'Best Sitcoms is a stupid, flawed poll"
And "sitcom" is too broad a term anyway: "The sitcom is, and always shall be, an ever-changing art," says Kevin Fitzpatrick at ScreenCrush, and the diversity of TV shows that fall under the genre makes it difficult to determine whether any one sitcom is really the "best." Some fans prefer modern single-camera sitcoms like Arrested Development, while others dig "the heightened situations and laughs tracks" of a classically-styled three-camera sitcom like The Big Bang Theory. There's "no perfect formula for success," which makes determining the best sitcom almost impossible.
"Is Seinfeld really the greatest sitcom of all time?"