Famously referred to as “a show about nothing”, in reality, Seinfeld is about so much more. Capturing the awkwardness of day-to-day life, the intricacies of dating and the ways in which other people are often just the worst, it remains a well-observed sitcom. Okay so the technology and those damn outfits might have aged rather disgracefully but the situations are still as easily recognizable as they always were. Here are 25 things you may have not known about ‘Seinfeld’.
The audiences response to the pilot episode was not to good
Sample feedback: “You can’t get too excited about two guys going to the laundromat”, “Jerry’s loser friend George is not a forceful character” and “Why are they interrupting the stand-up for these stupid stories?”
Elaine was not originally in the pilot
A waitress called Claire did. She was originally supposed to be a regular cast member but she made the mistake of telling Larry David that she had “a few ideas” about the show…
There were several others considered for the role of Elaine
Megan Mullally and Rosie O’Donnell. Mullally ultimately nabbed a small role on the show as Betsy, George’s girlfriend.
Just about every episode title starts with the word ‘The’
The only two exceptions are ‘Male Unbonding’ and ‘Highlights of a Hundred’. Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David had a few weird rituals they had to follow…
Jerry Seinfeld was obsessed with the number 9
He was born in 1954 (5+4=9), graduated from high school in 1972 (7+2=9) and first appeared on The Tonight Show in 1981 (8+1=9). Seinfeld would come on at 9pm and he decided the show should end when it did because, yep, it was the ninth season.
Elaine’s father, an author, was inspired by Richard Yates, who wrote Revolutionary Road
Larry David met him while dating his daughter. He was played by Lawrence Tierney, aka Joe Cabot in Reservoir Dogs, and was intended to become a recurring character but the cast and crew grew frightened of him after discovering he stole a knife from set. Tierney insisted it was a joke, after being caught by Seinfeld himself.
There are a whopping 180 episodes
There are a whopping 180 episodes of the show which has led to over $3 billion in syndication royalties worldwide
One of the final episodes ever, ‘The Puerto Rican Day’, also became one of the most controversial
One scene has Kramer accidentally burning and then stomping on the Puerto Rican flag. It upset many Puerto Ricans and NBC were forced to apologize and ban it from airing again.
Jerry Seinfeld is the only character to show up in every episode
Which makes sense since the show is titled after his last name…
The Note’, the first episode of season three used a different version of the theme song
The version included female singers harmonizing over the traditional tune. It went down badly with NBC and the music reverted back for the subsequent episodes.
George was almost played by other well known actors
Other actors considered for the role of George included Nathan Lane and Steve Buscemi. Could you imagine anyone else as George?
Jerry Seinfeld has a least favorite episode
Jerry Seinfeld’s least favorite episode is ‘The Alternate Side’, where Kramer gets a line in a Woody Allen film.
Larry David, the show’s co-creator, originally provided the voice for Newman in season two
When Wayne Knight came on to play him in season three, he dubbed the voiceover for the syndicated episode. David also supplied the voice of John F Kennedy Jr in ‘The Contest’.
Seinfeld was offered a nice chunk of change to do a season 10
Jerry Seinfeld was offered a whopping $110 million from NBC to make a tenth season of the show.
Junior Mint was not the first candy of choice in the famous ‘The Junior Mint’ episode
‘The Junior Mint’ episode memorably sees Kramer and Jerry accidentally drop a Junior Mint into the middle of an operation. Originally the producers spoke to M&Ms and Lifesavers but were turned down as they found the idea distasteful.
Arguably the most well-known episode ‘The Soup Nazi’ revolves around a strict owner of a soup stand
The real-life inspiration for him was a guy called Al Yeganeh, who runs Soup Kitchen International in NYC but he hates any association with the character. Apparently weeks after the show aired, Jerry Seinfeld went there for lunch and Yeganeh unleashed a rant, eventually replicating the line “No soup for you!” before kicking him out.
‘The Soup Nazi’ episode also inspired an entire soup chain called Soup Nutsy
It opened in 1996 in NYC and still exists in Toronto. While not officially affiliated with the show, there are two themed soups, “Jerry’s Favorite” and “Kramer’s Favorite”.
At age 22, LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy was offered a job writing for Seinfeld
He turned it down as he didn’t believe the show would be so big and wanted to continue with music.
When George’s finance Susan died from licking to many envelopes, it caused the episode to be taken off air momentarily
The shocking death of George’s fiancé Susan from licking the glue from low quality envelopes was temporarily pulled from syndication after anthrax attacks in 2001.
Frank Sinatra’s death coincided with the series finale
It’s believed that Sinatra’s ambulance got to the hospital so quickly because of the light traffic, due to everyone staying at home to watch Seinfeld.
George and Kramer wore certain outfits to make them appear a certain way
Jason Alexander wore clothes that were too small to make George appear uncool while Michael Richards wore clothes that were too big to make Kramer appear laid-back.
George’s last name was inspired by Michael Costanza, a college classmate of Jerry Seinfeld
In 1998, the real Costanza tried to sue NBC for $100 million claiming that he never gave his permission for his surname to be used and that the embarrassing behaviour of George meant that he wasn’t treated with respect. He lost the suit.
Peter Dinklage made a brief appearance in one of the episodes
Peter Dinklage, aka your favorite actor on Game of Thrones, had a very early appearance in ‘The Wink’ where he played the wake-up service guy who Elaine falls for.
There are several other actors who made brief appearances before they made it big
Other pre-fame actors who had small roles in the show include Jon Favreau, Catherine Keener, Courtney Cox, Denise Richards, James Spader and Bryan Cranston (pictured).
The guy who was upset with George at a funeral went on to write some big screenplays
The guy who berated George for double-dipping a tortilla chip at a funeral went on to write the screenplay for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.