Recap: Seinfeld S 1 E 1 The Seinfeld Chronicles

The series opens with Jerry Seinfeld and George Costanza seated at Pete's Luncheonette, debating the placement of one of George's shirt buttons. The waitress, Claire, pours each of them a cup of coffee. George frets about whether Claire is giving him regular or decaffeinated coffee, saying he does not want caffeine in it. Claire later, to annoy him, implies that she gave him regular. Jerry then tells George about a woman he met in East Lansing, Michigan, Laura, who is coming to New York. Jerry wonders if she has romantic intentions. The two continue to talk about her after they leave the luncheonette and go to the laundry.

The next evening, Jerry tells his neighbor Kessler (as the character is known at the time) that he thinks he misunderstood the situation with Laura. Jerry then receives a telephone call from Laura, who asks if she can stay overnight at his apartment. Jerry invites her, but is still unsure whether or not her visit is intended to be romantic. George and Jerry continue to debate the issue, with Jerry determined to find the true nature of her visit.

At the airport, George and Jerry continue to try to identify the possible signals Laura might give upon her arrival, with George explaining the meaning of various greetings. However, when Laura arrives, her greeting is ambiguous. Jerry and Laura arrive at the apartment. Laura then removes her shoes and some excess clothing to get comfortable, and while in her stocking feet asks for wine, turns down the light and asks if she can stay over a second night. As Jerry begins to grow confident, the phone rings for Laura. When Laura gets off the phone she tells Jerry: "Never get engaged." Jerry then realizes that he has no chance with Laura, but has already committed himself and his one-bedroom apartment to an entire weekend with her, including a five hour sightseeing boat ride.

This episode demonstrates the following examples:

  • Did Not Get the Girl: Laura turns out to be engaged, and Jerry knows he has no chance with her.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The soundtrack is different (at least in the original version); Jerry's apartment has different furniture; Elaine doesn't exist; the diner is called Pete's Luncheonette, and Claire, the waitress there, is meant to be the show's female role; and Kramer's name is Kessler (Kenny Kramer hadn't yet gotten back to them on whether they could use his name), has a dog, is hinted to be an agoraphobic, and doesn't have his distinctive "high hair" that he's known for. All of this is actually kind of understandable; the pilot and second episode were aired nearly a year apart, time enough for all these re-tools to be thought out and worked into the show.
  • '80s Hair : While the series pretty much averts this, Claire is sporting a pretty big 'do with a ponytail on top.
  • Executive Meddling: Claire was intended to be the show's female presence, but she was dropped when NBC Executives demanded that there be a female main character and Elaine was created.
  • Unique Pilot Title Sequence: The pilot uses a very different end title and theme, and a slightly different opening title. The theme was rescored a few weeks later for syndication, and is no longer aired, though is featured on the Season 1 and 2 DVD.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • George was meant to be played by Larry Miller, but it was decided that Miller was too tall to show how much of a loser George is, and Jason Alexander was cast instead.
    • The pilot was also meant to be a 90 minute documentary about how Jerry Seinfeld works his daily life into his routine.
    • Claire was meant to be the show's female lead, a role that was later rewritten as Elaine.