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The Seinfeld finale is among the most criticized finales in television history, and that’s saying something. After the 1998 series finale, fans and critics lambasted the show’s writers, arguing that the ending didn’t make much sense. More than a decade later, Jerry Seinfeld would defend the finale. Still, the fans didn’t and still don’t get it. One Seinfeld fan theory makes the conclusion of the show a lot more interesting. 

Jerry Seinfeld and his friends went to jail to end the series

In the finale episodes of Seinfeld, Jerry Seinfeld and George Costanza finally get their television deal. The pals plan to fly to Paris to celebrate with Cosmo Kramer and Elaine Benes. On their way, their plane has a problem, and they are forced to make an emergency landing in a rural town in Massachusetts. 

The courtroom during the 'Seinfeld' series finale
‘Seinfeld’ finale | Joey Delvalle/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

While Jerry and his friends wait for their plane to be repaired, they walk around the quaint town of Latham. During their stroll, they see a man being carjacked. Instead of helping, the foursome makes jokes. They are arrested and tried for criminal indifference, eventually being found guilty and sentenced to a year behind bars. 

A fan theorized that Jerry and his pals died in the ‘Seinfeld’ finale 

The outcome of Seinfeld all hinged on a pretty absurd trial that wouldn’t have ever happened in the real world. A fan theory about the Seinfeld finale hinges on the fact. In a 2019 Reddit post, a fan theorized that the trial was actually Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer’s judgment for all the wrongdoings in their life after they die. 

The fan suggests that Latham was not a town where their plane made an emergency landing, but rather where the pals went after their plane crashed and they died. Basically, Latham would be purgatory. According to the fan’s theory, the trial was essentially a retelling of events to decide if Jerry and his friends belonged in heaven and hell. Since they had all done so much wrong in their lives, their sentence in jail was actually their final “judgment.” 

While the actual finale felt a little unrealistic, this take on the criminal trial makes a lot more sense. It would stand to reason that all of the people that Jerry and his friend had wronged over the years would be mentioned in an actual review of their lives. It’s less realistic for them to show up at a trial based on a strange small town law. 

Jerry Seinfeld defended the finale in 2014

While the fan theory certainly makes the series finale feel a lot more complete and way more interesting, it doesn’t seem like the writing team would have entertained any alternatives. Jerry Seinfeld himself has defended the choices that were made.

In a 2014 Reddit AMA, Seinfeld explained the rationale behind writing the finale. He said the goal was to thank the people who had worked on the show over the years. He was happy with how it turned out. Seinfeld said, “I was happy with the Seinfeld finale because we didn’t want to do another episode as much as we wanted to have everybody come back to the show we had so much fun with. It was a way to thank all of the people who worked on the show over the years that we thought made the show work. I don’t believe in trying to change the past but I’m very happy with it.” 

Jason Alexander as George Costanza, Jerry Seinfeld as Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Benes and Michael Richards as Cosmo Kramer in a promotional photo for 'Seinfeld'
The cast of ‘Seinfeld’ | George Lange/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

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Regardless of what Seinfeld thinks, there were some issues with the finale. The fan theory certainly makes the entire concept feel a bit more interesting. Then again, it also suggests Jerry and his friends are dead, which is a little dark for a sitcom about nothing.