Puddy first appears in "The Fusilli Jerry" (S. 6) as Jerry's mechanic and Elaine's current boyfriend. As Jerry had been friends with Puddy before he went out with Elaine, he had shared a sexual technique with Puddy known as "the move". Elaine is disturbed when Puddy uses this distinctive maneuver on her, as she had previously dated Jerry and experienced the same move before.
A recurring gag is that Elaine and Puddy break up and get back together so frequently that it becomes inconsequential. In the episode "The Butter Shave" (S. 9), the two manage to break up, get back together again, and break up again, all during the course of an international flight. In the episode "The Burning" (S.9), when George asks why she got back with Puddy the most recent time she says that she "needed to move a bureau".
Elaine finds Puddy attractive for his masculine qualities, such as his height, deep voice, and the fact that he works with his hands; early in their relationship, Elaine compares him to Stanley Kowalski. She is turned off by his lackadaisical attitude toward relationships and his odd behaviors, such as face and body painting at New Jersey Devils ice hockey games (of which he is a fan). She also finds his religious beliefs problematic, as she herself is atheist. He is untroubled by her lack of faith, but constantly reminds her that she is going to hell. Puddy is also a recovering germaphobe.
Though Puddy originally appears as a mechanic, he is later promoted to salesman at a Saab dealership, after which Jerry tries to use him to get a good deal on his new car. When Puddy agrees with someone strongly enough, he likes to get that person to give him a high-five. Puddy is offended by the term "grease monkey" to describe an auto mechanic, once replying, "I don't know too many monkeys who could take apart a fuel injector." (The Dealership, S.9)
He appears in the The Finale, Part 2 attending the trial of Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer in Latham County. An earlier scene shows that the building that David Puddy lives in is next door to the building that Mickey Abbott lives in. While the jury was deciding on the verdict, David was shown relaxing under a tree. As the four main characters are found guilty sentenced to jail, Elaine gets Puddy's attention where she says "Puddy, don't wait for me." Puddy shrugs and replies "Alright." A deleted scene had him meeting J. Peterman before the trial starts. During the same scene, he was supposed to save Mickey Abbot's seat only for the seat to be taken by Kenny Bania.
Along with J. Peterman, Jackie Chiles and George Steinbrenner, Puddy is one of the more memorable and frequently recurring characters to appear on Seinfeld. His distinctive voice and monotone delivery make his lines eminently quotable among Seinfeld fans.
A blog dedicated to the legality of the issues that arise in Seinfeld episodes, Seinfeld Law, has analyzed many of the classic Puddy moments as they might have played out in a court of law.
- "The Butter Shave"
- "The Voice"
- "The Junk Mail"
- "The Apology"
- "The Dealership"
- "The Reverse Peephole"
- "The Burning"
- "The Finale"
- "Yeah, that's right."
- "Feels like an Arby's night."
- "Alright, high five." (Said by Puddy several times in the episode "The Dealership")
- "No way, this is bogus, man!"
- “You stole my Jesus fish, didn’t you?”