‘Seinfeld’: All 180 Episodes Had a Different Theme Song And Most Fans Didn’t Even Notice
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 30 years, you’ve heard of the show Seinfeld. It’s impossible to overstate what a huge part of pop culture Seinfeld was in the 90s and continues to be to this day.
Everything about the show is iconic. Its cast was legendary. The characters were hilarious. The funny conversations captured on the show are still talked about everywhere to this day.
One of the most iconic parts of the show was its theme song. But did you know that every episode of Seinfeld actually has a different, unique theme?
What was the show ‘Seinfeld’ about?
Seinfeld was famously known as a show about nothing, but this was hardly the truth. Seinfeld was a show about taking everything about life – expressions, idiosyncrasies, societal norms, etc. — and examining them in excruciating yet hilarious detail.
One of the most groundbreaking episodes of the show was called The Chinese Restaurant. It featured a half-hour of characters waiting for a table at a Chinese restaurant. What sounds mundane on the surface made for brilliant comedy.
The show set up catchphrases that are still used to this day. “Yada, yada, yada…”. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.” “Hello, Newman.” These are just a few examples of expressions that have woven their way into our pop-cultural subconsciousness.
While Seinfeld was certainly a show with plenty of similarities from episode to episode, it also had unique elements to each one as well. There were one-off characters, jokes, or other plotlines that helped episodes differentiate themselves from each other.
Why was the ‘Seinfeld’ theme song so iconic?
One of the most iconic elements of the show was its theme song, composed by Jonathan Wolff. While the theme is somewhat dated — listening to it is like taking a time machine back to the 90s — it’s definitely still associated with the show.
The theme includes synthesizer beats that are unmistakable. Reading this, you can likely imagine the signature song playing in your head.
The theme song would open the show, though in later seasons it wasn’t used as prominently in the opening. Variations and riffs on the theme would play over transitions from scene to scene.
What might surprise you about the theme is that no two Seinfeld episodes feature the same one.
Why every episode of ‘Seinfeld’ had a different theme song
Nearly everyone can place the Seinfeld theme song if they hear it. What you may not realize is that according to a piece on the show for the website Insider, each episode featured a different theme song. Why was this the case? According to composer Jonathan Wolff, it was due to the show’s format:
“I have no idea how many themes we did for Seinfeld. I knew that each monologue was gonna be different ’cause [Jerry] tells different jokes. The timing, the length — it had to be adjustable. Each monologue had its own recording of the ‘Seinfeld’ theme to match those timings.”
Because the show often opened the show with a stand-up performance by Jerry, Wolff had to be flexible. He needed to adapt it based on the length of time the show needed based on Jerry’s jokes. It’s an interesting fact about the show, and it makes sense. Every episode of Seinfeld was unique in its clever dialogue and hilarious plot lines, so it’s only fitting that the show would have unique themes for each episode as well.