Banned Episode: One of the last episodes of the series, "The Puerto Rican Day", was initially pulled after its original broadcast, mainly because NBC felt the episode was too offensive with its depictions of Puerto Ricans, as well as a scene involving Kramer (accidentally) burning a Puerto Rico flag, causing an angry mob of Puerto Ricans trashing the streets, and vandalizing Jerry's car (to which, Kramer remarks, "It's like this every day in Puerto Rico."). As of 2010, certain local markets across the country had placed the episode back into their packages; but as of 2012, the episode is now back permanently in the syndication package (Kramer's line, "It's like this every day in Puerto Rico" is absent, though it could be a case of being Edited for Syndication).
For the most part unnoticable note For example, there are people who still think the second season premiere was filmed in New York, and not NBC's LA studio, but in some parts it's apparent.note If you can't tell, that's a California license plate on a New York taxi.
Jerry's apartment is actually an LA building, with very noticeable earthquake retrofitting (the diamonds on the side).
The highway Kramer chases Jerry's mechanic on in The Bottle Deposit - said to be the Ohio SR 135 - is the Passadena Freeway.
Jerry Seinfeld's character is named... "Jerry Seinfeld."
George's mother Estelle is named after her actress. But they couldn't name his father the same way because they already had a Jerry (though George's dad was originally played by John Randolph before being recast with Jerry Stiller).
In "The Kiss Hello", Wendie Malick as Wendie the delicate genius.
Defictionalization: For a while during the Turn of the Millennium, Eggo had toaster muffin tops. In fact, their advertising gimmick to get people to "Leggo" your Eggo muffin tops was to pretend you were having muffin stumps.
Descended Creator: As the show went on, Larry David had more and more Creator Cameos usually seen only from behind or voicing unseen characters like George Steinbrenner, a part David continued to voice for some time after he had already left the series as a writer.
Edited for Syndication: Most episodes feature little dialog cuts here and there to save time for more commercials. Also, a 2015 Cracked article pointed out that TBS speeds up reruns by about 7%; you can see a comparison here.
The episode which suffers the worst in this regard is "The Yada Yada", as it originally ran 26 minutes in its NBC premiere.note Before commercialism increased to epic proportions with The '90s, most half-hour shows were 26 minutes.
Since 2010, most markets air the episodes in a cropped format (similar to a x1.2 zoom on most DVD players), and as such, all on-screen titles (opening credits, closing credits, subtitles, etc) have been changed accordingly. Some episodes also have either repositioned the show logo in the opening, or left alone, resulting in half of the 'S' in Seinfeld being cut off.
The series finale was originally aired as a 75-minute "extra-length" episode. Being chopped into two parts for syndication ended up eliminating several testimonies by other "witnesses" at the trial (many of whom are shown departing for Massachusetts for the trial, and seen in background shots in the courtroom).
Newman first appears in a voice-only cameo in "The Revenge", in which he was voiced by Larry David. In syndication, the voice was redubbed by Wayne Knight, who by that point had been cast as the character and appeared on the show.
Writers Gregg Kavet and Andy Robin have admitted to changing Jerry Stiller's lines during production of "The Fatigues" to get Frank Costanza to speak with noticeable pauses.
Julia Louie Dreyfus had just gotten pregnant when "The Subway" was filmed. All of her disgruntlement you see is a combination of hormonal distress and a herculean effort not to throw up.
Jerry's rapt attention to George's "The sea was angry that day, my friends" monologue in "The Marine Biologist" was the result of the real Jerry's astonishment at how Jason Alexander was flawlessly reciting a monologue he'd been instructed to memorize mere minutes before the cameras rolled.
Jerry and George's fear and discomfort of Elaine's father in "The Jacket" wasn't entirely acting. The actor who played him, Lawrence Tierney (whom you may also recognise as crime boss Joe Cabot), was an incredibly intimidating presence on set, and his erratic and discomforting behaviour (including stealing a kitchen knife at one point) unsettled practically everyone.
Kathy Griffin has said that Seinfeld's annoyance towards her character Sally Weaver was genuine, as Jerry Seinfeld really did find her an irritating person. So much so, that Seinfeld actually snapped at her during production of one of her episodes.
Jason Alexander disliked working with Heidi Swedeberg, as he felt as though their comedic styles didn't gel and they generally weren't on the same page. He repeatedly pleaded with Larry David to remove her from the show, as he didn't like working with this person whom he felt threw him off his game. David countered that Alexander's discomfort with Swedeberg was exactly why the George/Susan relationship was so hilarious, as the actor's contempt for the actress perfectly spilled into his role as a deeply unhappy fiance.
Larry David stated on numerous occasions that the fact that real-life Jerry couldn't act played perfectly into in-universe Jerry's character, given that his deadpan delivery of his lines reflected the sarcastic detachment you'd expect from a stand-up comic.
Frank Costanza's strange, stilted manner of speaking was often a result of Jerry Stiller struggling to remember his lines. Jason Alexander would later posit that it was actually Stiller's frustration that made the character so hilarious and memorable.
Hide Your Pregnancy: Julia Louis Dreyfus had both her sons over the course of the series. For the first, production wrapped on the season before she began showing (which is why Elaine is absent for "The Trip"). For the second, the crew gave her the more traditional technique of carrying props in front of her belly or hugging the throw pillows while sitting on Jerry's couch.note At one point, Jerry pitched the idea of writing it into the series as Elaine just getting fat. He retracted the idea immediate when it caused a hormonal Dreyfus to burst into tears.
Hostility on the Set: In a 2015 interview on The Howard Stern Show,Jason Alexander revealed that the main cast had difficulty working with Heidi Swedburg, who played Susan Ross (George Costanza's girlfriend/fiancee). Alexander, along with Jerry Seinfeld and Julia Louis-Dreyfus complained to Larry David that Swedburg didn't mesh with the main cast. When Alexander's comments made the newswaves, he (and the rest of the main cast) apologized to Swedburg on Twitter, saying that she was a fun person to work with.
Wayne Knight infamously snapped at a fan who greeted him with "Hello, Newman..." on a bad day.
Jason Alexander had had more of a sense of humor about it, remarking "Hey, I'm still getting the royalty checks." after a fellow panelist on Real Time with Bill Maher agreed with him by saying "You know, George is right..."note Cue a big "OOOOOOOH" from the audience. Later, during the 2010 World Series of Poker, he mentioned he was grateful for George Constanza, because he'd otherwise be known as the guy who tried to rape Julia Roberts.
During the series run, Michael Richards took a vacation to a rural part of Bali, assuming it would be the last place on earth anyone would recognize him as Kramer. While hiking in the jungle, he was recognized immediately by some locals who pointed him out and exclaimed "KRAMER!!" As it turned out, they had set up a hut with a DIY TV hookup running into a nearby city just to watch his show (dubbed rather crudely in Balinese).
Following the Laugh Factory incident, various media outlets kept referring to Michael Richards as Kramer, to the point that the real Kramer, Kenny Kramer, issued a statement saying that he personally was not a racist.
All four cast members reunited for an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Before that, in season 2, a plotline revolved around Larry trying to get a show off the ground about an actor who can not escape their previous popular sitcom role, first with Jason Alexander and then with Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
Jason Alexander rather impressively sings badly on purpose for George's answering machine message, despite being an accomplished Broadway singer.
Barney Martin, who played Jerry's father, Morty Seinfeld, often commented that many Jewish viewers of the show would tell him how much his character reminded them of their own fathers, despite him actually being of Irish Catholic extraction.
In one episode, Elaine's boyfriend claims he thought she was Hispanic because of her last name and dark hair, which Elaine quickly denies. note Elaine's subplot in that episode is she thought he was a very light skinned black man, due to being from Africa, but he reveals he's not, and is from a white family from South Africa. Julia Louise-Dreyfus is actually part Mexican.
McLeaned: Almost twenty years after its airing, the most controversial twist ever on the show (Susan's death) was revealed by Jason Alexander himself to be more than just a creative decision: Heidi Swedberg was reportedly very difficult to work with, not so much as a person but as an actress her instincts were not on board with the rest of the castnote Alexander said that she was originally a minor character who had a network executive look to her, so her acting was not considered as much when she was cast. When she became a bigger character, Alexander found it very difficult to get a good comedic rhythm with her, while the cast and crew thought it was a hysterical George and Gracie act (maybe an accidental Enforced Method Acting was involved). When the rest of the cast started having more scenes with her they understood why Alexander was so flummoxed. While the writers knew they needed to end her engagement to George somehow, by virtue of the "No Hugging, No Learning" rule, the idea of actually killing her stemmed from a remark Julia Louis Dreyfus made during a cast lunch after a particularly excruciating bit of filming with Swedberg: "Don't you just wanna kill her?"
Mid-Development Genre Shift: The project began as just a 90 minute special about a day in Jerry's life, and how it inspires his stand-up material that night. Jerry and Larry David couldn't quite stretch the script to fill the 90 minutes, so they reduced it down to a half hour as a series pilot. As Jerry would later say, "We couldn't make 90 minutes, so we made 90 hours."
"The Puerto Rican Day" has a scene where Kramer (accidentally) burns a Puerto Rican flag. Many viewers were highly offended, and NBC decided to leave the episode out of syndication for several years. Although it does occasionally air on local stations today, many stations still skip it (including TBS) and those that don't often cut out the flag-burning scene. You can see it uncut on DVD, though.
For a time, "The Invitations" was removed from syndication because Susan dropping dead from licking toxic envelopes reminded people of the anthrax mail scares. It returned to rotation in summer 2002.
In Season 5's "The Masseuse," Elaine dates a man named Joel Rifkin, which causes a stir amongst those she knows, who tease her for dating a man who shares the name of a notorious serial killer.
Old Shame: Regis Philbin loves the series, so he was disappointed that when he guest starred, he was given a line that he didn't think was funny (three variants of "This guy's bonkos!"). The producers insisted it would be hilarious, but his lines didn't get very many laughs with the studio audience. To this day, Regis dreads watching that episode for that reason.
Phil Bruns originally played Morty Seinfeld, but after his initial appearance, he was played by Barney Martin.
Larry David originally played Newman in "The Revenge" (he provided his off-screen voice), but his first on-screen appearance was by Wayne Knight. In syndication, Knight dubbed over David's voice in "The Revenge" to provide some continuity. However, both versions of the episode are available on the DVD set.
John Randolph originally played Frank Costanza in "The Handicap Spot". Later, Jerry Stiller replaced him in "The Puffy Shirt". For syndication, John Randolph's scenes in "The Handicap Spot" were re-shot with Jerry Stiller in his place, to provide continuity. However, as with the previous example, both versions are available on DVD. One weird effect of this is that George says his father is bald in an earlier episode, which fit Randolph but not Stiller.
Lloyd Braun was initially played by Peter Keleghan, and later played by Matt McCoy in "The Gum" and "The Serenity Now".
Mr. Lippman was originally portrayed by Harris Shore in "The Librarian". And then starting with "The Red Dot", Richard Fancy took over the role.
Reality Subtext: Phil Morris has noted that his delivery of the line "I've been wanting a piece of them for years" regarding tobacco companies very much reflects his real life antipathy toward the industry because...well, just look at his name.
Cell phones could have cleared up a lot of the show's stories. And then the finale features Elaine being chastised for making an important personal call on one as if it's not important enough to make at home, which comes off very strange now.
Current viewers probably wonder why George doesn't just sell on eBaythe book he took into the bathroom with him at the bookstore.
Throw It In!: The ending of the episode "The Parking Garage". Originally, the four of them were supposed to get in the car and drive off. But the car they had had an undercharged battery and wouldn't start. After all the frustration of shooting the episode, they realized that the car being dead was just so much more perfect than anything they could have come up with.
Jerry's line in "The Junior Mint," "Let's go watch them slice this fat bastard up." His quickly taking a sip of coffee afterwards was to keep from laughing.
"The Bet," was written as something completely different, in that it was more of a seriocomic episode that dealt with Elaine buying a handgun for self-protection (actually a BB gun replica) and Jerry betting her that she'll never even use it; meanwhile, Kramer returns from a trip and claims to have had sex with the flight attendant in mid-flight and Jerry and George try to track her down betting that Kramer's story is bogus. The script made it to table reading, but the cast felt it was too dark and not very funny, so it was shelved and ultimately never made.
"The Bet" lives on as an Internet urban legend in the form of a "creepypasta" story alleging the episode was filmed and all but one copy destroyed. Naturally, the episode supposedly contains disturbing and supernatural phenomena happening to the actors and crew.
"The Bubble Boy" has Jerry and Elaine getting lost when the car they are following to their destination goes through a light turning red that they have to stop at. Modern viewers can be excused for having no idea why this would be a problem at all; GPS would solve this problem, as would cell phones. Jerry and crew having neither immediately marks the show as mid-90s. (And for you younger readers — yes, this used to happen. You had to hope that the person you were following would notice you weren't behind them any more and pull over to wait for you.)
The finale featured a bit where Elaine is reprimanded by Jerry for calling someone to ask about their health on a cell phone (rather than calling on their home phone). With the ubiquity of cell phones in the new millennium—to the point where some people don't even have a home phone—it seems almost laughably outdated to suggest that calling someone on a cell phone rather than a home phone would be seen as rude.
In general, the widespread use of cellphone technology in the years after many of these episodes were aired would have made the plots of a few episodes easily resolvable. For instance, the episode "The Boyfriend, Part 1" has part of its plot revolve around George attempting to scam the unemployment office by giving them Jerry's phone number and claiming that to be his new employer. Jerry goes along with it, but the scheme gets derailed when Kramer answers the phone in complete ignorance of the scam while Jerry is out. If this were done on a show set when cell phones were nearly ubiquitous, it'd be easy to question why George wouldn't have given the unemployment office Jerry's cell phone number instead. In addition, this particular plot might have just fallen apart from the start in the age of widespread use of internet search engines if a savvy unemployment office employee bothered to look up George's fake company and find that "Vandelay Industries" doesn't exist.
"The Puerto Rican Day Parade" heavily features a guy with a laser pointer as a plot point. Laser pointers is treated as a novelty object, and a plotline hinges on a movie theater patron trolling the audience by pointing one at the screen, which was a brief fad in the 90s.
Any episodes involving airports due to the fact that the characters are always shown as waiting right outside arrival gates. As well as the fact that it, like any other show set in New York City, is bound to feature a shot of the Twin Towers. The episode "The Airport" in particular would never happen today. George and Kramer are able to buy a ticket at the last minute from the departure gate as opposed to the entrance lobby of the airport, where you have to buy them today, due to security measures instituted after 9/11.
When Elaine starts dating a man who shaves his head, Jerry visibly reacts to his appearance and later quips to Elaine, "Is he from the future?" Fittingly, shaved heads would become much more mainstream after a few years.
In "The Handicap Spot" Jerry mentions "every big [boxing] fight" in the same breath as the Super Bowl.
Averted with Puddy's Martin Brodeur jersey in "The Face Painter". Brodeur went on to play for the New Jersey Devils for two more decades after the episode aired and even after he retired his jersey remains a popular choice with the team's fans.
In one episode, George wishes that ketchup and mustard would come in squeeze tubes (similar to toothpaste), though Jerry tells him they do come in squeezable bottles now, though George argues he's never seen such.
Keith Hernandez lights up in a bar in "The Boyfriend". Rather dated now that many states have adopted "no indoor smoking" policies.
This became dated during the show's run, with Kramer setting up a smoking room in his apartment after having to join smokers outside the coffee shop.
Elaine's subplot in "The Contest" has John F. Kennedy Jr. joining her aerobics class, a few years before he crashed his plane, killing himself and his wife. It's especially uncomfortable when she dreamily says "Elaine Benes Kennedy Jr."
Jerry's "friend" character was also going to be a comic, but he and Larry David decided that one standup act at the end was enough, so they changed him to a "guy who hangs out with showbiz people but isn't in showbiz" character.
"The Tape" was an unproduced Saturday Night Live skit that Larry David had written during his tenure there.
Elaine's father was intended to be a recurring character, but then they hired the notoriously ill-tempered and intimidating Laurence Tierney to play him, and after filming the episode, no one wanted to work with him again. Among other things, Jason Alexander and Jerry were genuinely intimidated, and Tierney was seen stealing knives from the apartment set.
The waitress Claire in the pilot was meant to be a recurring character, but the producers thought she was too abrasive and the show needed a female lead, so Elaine was written in. Lee Garlington, the actress who played Claire stated once that she thinks another reason why she wasn't asked back is because her and Larry David had disagreements over how Claire should be portrayed. David wanted her to be kinda ditzy, but Lee played her as more deadpan.
The writers considered making the Soup Nazi an actual Nazi - according to David Mandel, his colleagues talked about ending the Soup Nazi's episode with the character fleeing to the jungles of Brazil, where he "would return to the other Nazis — the actual former Nazi war criminals — with his soup recipes."
"The Sniffing Accountant" has the scene where Kramer chugs a glass of beer while smoking a cigarette. In one unaired take, he lets out an unscripted belch. The staff considered putting the take in the episode but production was laughing too hard from them to use it.
Larry David based the George character off of himself, and many of the plotlines allegedly were based on real life experiences he had, and how he reacted to them.
(paraphrasing) Jason Alexander: This is ridiculous. This could never happen to someone, and even if it did, no one would react that way.
Larry David: What are you talking about? It happened to me, and that's exactly how I reacted!
Kramer was based on David's neighbor Kenny Kramer.
This was even parodied in the series: In "The Muffin Tops", Kramer starts his own bus tour, proclaiming himself to be the real J. Peterman (to differentiate himself from the anecdotes he supplied to J. Peterman's autobiography). This mirrors real life, as Kenny Kramer has run Kramer's Reality Tour and Kramer's Reality Road Show, the gimmick being that he's the real life Kramer.
The whole arc about Jerry and George pitching "a show about nothing" to NBC was based on how Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David actually pitched Seinfeld.
In addition, Bob Balaban's recurring role of Russell Dalrymple, the fictitious president of NBC who works with Jerry and George on a television pilot and later becomes Elaine's love interest, was modeled on then NBC Entertainment president Warren Littlefield, who had allowed David and Seinfeld to produce the Seinfeld pilot. Amusingly, Balaban later went on to play Littlefield outright in the 1996 made-for-TV film The Late Shift, a dramatization of the struggles that occurred at NBC when Littlefield selected Jay Leno to replace Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show, instead of David Letterman, as well as narrate the audiobook version of Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV, a book Littlefield co-wrote with T.R. Pierson which documented Littlefield's career at NBC.
The famous Soup Nazi was based on a real soup kitchen owner in New York. He did not take it well, and banned the entire cast and crew from ever coming to his kitchen, in person no less. Wayne Knight was actually proud of this — he'd eaten there when he lived in New York and would usually have an unpleasant time — and be shortchanged a strawberry. Ironically, Jason Alexander had eaten there a lot too, but never had a bad experience.
Wayne Knight: The fact that he was so upset by the publicity was great!
He got better, though. The Original Soup Man is selling his soup to this day, and today he puts sly references and even the image of his TV counterpart on some of his promotions, though his official 'ordering instructions' now include 'Never say the N word'.
Written by Cast Member: Jerry Seinfeld co-wrote at least one (and usually more than one, especially in the early years) episode in all but the last two seasons.