Seinfeld is a sitcom that is often thought of as one of the best written and most successful sitcoms of all time in American television. The series ran for an impressive nine seasons and gave rise to a myriad of acting careers, from the main cast to the minor side characters. People involved in the series won numerous awards and the entire series is acclaimed by both critics and audiences alike. The series is still gaining a fair amount of ratings just in the rerun episodes on TV and people still hold dear their favorite characters and episodes of the series. While the series had a bit of a slow start once it was initially released to TV audiences, it quickly grew in popularity and by the time the final show aired, it had become one of the most favorite sitcoms in the eyes of viewers.
Certain catchphrases from the series are still instantly recognizable with people and the characters are still dearly missed. In fact, every now and again there are rumors surrounding the possibility of the cast reuniting to try and get out another season but it seems that the stars haven’t completely aligned to get that into production. In the meantime, the world will just have to settle for watching reruns on TV and reminiscing about all the funny moments involving the incredible mix of actors in its cast. While you may be a super fan of the series and know each line by heart, there are undoubtedly a few tidbits that you may not know about this beloved sitcom. Check out our list of the 15 things you never knew about Seinfeld and see how all the little features within the series helped to make it truly unique.
15. Debra Messing Appeared As Jerry’s Love Interest
Prior to Debra Messing appearing in the hit sitcom, Will & Grace, she had a brief stint on Seinfeld. During Season 7 of the series, Messing portrayed the role of Beth Lukner, who was having hardships in her relationship. During their separation, Jerry pursues her while Elaine pursues David. In Season 8, she appeared again but reveals that she’s a racist to Jerry. During a wedding, Messing’s character and Jerry begin talking about dentists not being real doctors. She turned to Jerry and said, “Who needs them?” and then went on to say, “Not to mention the blacks and the Jews.” This was Messing’s final appearance on the show since Jerry completely cut ties with her after that. Obviously, she was just playing a character and audiences didn’t hold it against her when she emerged as everyone’s favorite roommate in Will & Grace. The series had a huge fan base, with people demanding for the show to return. NBC recently released a statement saying that the series would be coming back after being on hiatus for 11 years.
14. Mr. White Was A Seinfeld Dentist
It’s hard to imagine Bryan Cranston appearing in anything other than his major badass Mr. White character from AMC’s Breaking Bad. His Walter White character was incredibly memorable and won him a number of highly acclaimed awards. Yet, prior to this award-winning role, he appeared as Tim Whatley, a recurring character, in Seinfeld. His look changed drastically from one appearance to the next but the premise of his character remained. He was a dentist that had some pretty impressive clientele, with George referring to him as the “Dentist to the Stars.” He had an on-again / off-again relationship with Elaine but it didn’t end up working out after all in the end. In Season 8, Cranston’s character had less of a scruffy look and even appeared in his white dental coat during “The Yada Yada” episode. This wasn’t exactly the same kind of lab coat Mr. White wore in Breaking Bad but it is interesting to see him working with dental tools. He didn’t exactly earn Jerry’s respect in the episode since Jerry ended up making jokes about how dentists aren’t real medical professionals. This earned Jerry the name, “anti-dentite,” which was a coined phrase in the episode.
13. Janice Appeared As George’s Girlfriend
In Season 3 of the series, Jerry and Elaine collaborate to fix up their friends with each other. George can be seen complaining to Jerry about his inability to get a girlfriend and Elaine’s friend, Cynthia, has the same complaint. Cynthia is portrayed by the actress, Maggie Wheeler, who went on to become the instantly recognizable Janice character on the hit sitcom, Friends. Unlike other actors that drastically change their look from one character to the next, Cynthia and Janice look pretty much the same, even sporting the same hairstyle. The only glaring difference is, of course, Janice’s infamous whiny voice and annoying laugh. The fix up goes pretty well between Cynthia and George since it resulted in the two of them having sexual intercourse. There was even a pregnancy scare that resulted from their dalliance but happily, there was never a child produced from it. Later on in the episode, it seemed that things would actually go well for the two, giving viewers hope that George would finally be in a real relationship. Yet, it didn’t pan out, which left her open to get the role of Janice in Friends.
12. Not Above Swapping Actors
While the main cast members of Seinfeld has always stayed the same, the series had a number of recurring side characters that would appear throughout the series. However, not all of these characters were played by the same actors throughout their appearances. For example, during the first episodes of Seinfeld, Jerry’s father is played by a different actor. Phil Bruns was the actor that originally played him but then he was replaced by Barney Martin. The same is true for the original appearance of the character, Lloyd Braun. During his first appearance, he was played by the actor Peter Keleghan. He appeared much more debonair and expressed interest in Elaine when they first met at the “non-fat” yogurt shop. Later, Braun’s character was later portrayed by the actor, Matt McCoy. He became the new actor to play this role until his final appearance. McCoy had a less pulled together look about him and exuded the mentally unstable character to a tee.
11. Actor That Played J. Peterman Went On To Own Part Of The Company
Like so many other characters in the Seinfeld series, the part of J. Peterman is actually based on the real-life John Peterman, who owns the clothing line and respective clothing catalog. The actor who portrayed J. Peterman, John O’Hurley, gave an interview with Rolling Stone magazine in April 2016 and gave a little insight behind how he came to understand the character. He said that he was actually shocked to realize that there was actually a J. Peterman and a clothing catalog with whimsical stories to tell customers about the clothing, rather than photos of the items. After portraying the character throughout the series, O’Hurley said he was contacted by the real John Peterman and asked if he would collaborate with him to reinvent the brand. O’Hurley became part owner in 1999 and also serves on the board of directors. If you’re interested, the clothing line offers ultra-unique items similar to products featured in Seinfeld episodes. This includes the infamous Urban Sombrero.
10. Monica Considered Jerry’s Wife
There were a number of women that came in and out of Jerry’s life throughout the series, with none of them making any real impact in regards to intimacy level. While Jerry could be himself around Elaine, she seemed to be the only woman that had a true connection with him out of all the women he dated. However, there was one woman, in particular, that had the closest chance at becoming something real in Jerry’s life and she might have looked pretty familiar. The character, Merryl, was featured in Season 5 of the series and was played by Friends’ actor, Courteney Cox. In the episode, she tried to take advantage of a dry cleaning discount by claiming to be Jerry’s wife and the two went along with it for awhile. They even referred to each other by the husband and wife labels and it eventually got back to Jerry’s family in Florida. After adopting the new spouse labels, it seemed to change the dynamic of their relationship and the two ultimately broke up. Yet, it did make an interesting storyline since who better to pair up with the most eligible bachelor but everyone’s favorite “Friend.”
9. Jon Favreau Plays A Clown
With Seinfeld being one of the most successful sitcoms of all time, it shouldn’t be surprising that it featured some of the most well-known actors throughout its time on television. However, some of the actors appeared in ultra-obscure roles in the show. During Season 5 of the series, there was an episode that showed George Costanza dating a woman with a child. At the child’s birthday party, there was a clown named, “Eric, the Clown.” George got into a confrontation with the clown due to his ignorance of the most famous clown of all time, Bozo the Clown. There was a huge altercation between the two and the clown didn’t seem at all friendly or jolly. What most people don’t realize is that underneath all that clown makeup and abrasive demeanor was the actor, Jon Favreau. Prior to Favreau becoming the mega superstar that he is today, he was once ready and able to don a clown costume and appear on an episode of Seinfeld as “Eric, the Clown.”
8. Actress Once Dated Jerry In Real-Life
Jerry has had a variety of different girlfriends throughout the series, with each one being completely different from the next. While there are some TV characters that have a definite “type” in who they become interested in, Jerry’s tastes are all over the board. In Season 3, Jerry meets a beautiful aspiring actress in an elevator, played by Tawny Kitaen. He winds up being incredibly conflicted about his relationship with her because he finds it tedious to have to run lines with her all the time. He also doesn’t find her to be bright and his own brain and libido end up having a chess competition on who will win out in the end. The interesting part is that Tawny Kitaen had a pretty active social life outside of the serious and it was even reported that her and Jerry had a brief romance back in 1992. She is best known for her relationship with Whitesnake musician, David Coverdale, and was even featured in one of their music videos.
7. Mr. Kruger Wasn’t So Happy Go Lucky In Real-Life
George Costanza had a number of jobs throughout his time on Seinfeld but one that he was particularly happy about getting was with Kruger Industrial Smoothing. With the company being known for being unorganized, George felt that he could be with the company for years without ever having to really do any hard work. Mr. Kruger, the owner of the company, was played by the actor, Daniel von Bargen. While his Seinfeld character seemed happy go lucky in his demeanor, his real-life personality was quite different. The actor famously tried to kill himself in 2012 and shot himself in the head in a botched suicide attempt. He was apparently suffering from a severe case of diabetes and even had to have toes amputated because of it. Besides his small role on Seinfeld, the actor also played in a number of other roles both on TV and on the big screen. At the age of 64-years-old, the actor finally succumbed to his medical struggles and passed away in 2015.
6. Seinfeld Wasn’t The First Time Jerry Was Featured On A Sitcom
When Jerry Seinfeld was first featured on his very own sitcom, he had already made a number of appearances on television shows like The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and The David Letterman Show. However, many people don’t realize that Jerry Seinfeld had been an another scripted show prior to creating Seinfeld. Benson was a TV series on ABC that ran from 1979 to 1986 and Jerry Seinfeld had a recurring part in the series. However, he didn’t like it because he didn’t write his own material and he was forced to just say the lines that were given to him. When he sat down with the executives at NBC, the only thing that Jerry could say to them about what he wanted to do moving forward was that he didn’t want it to be a situation like he had with Benson. Another interesting tidbit about his experience on that TV series was the fact that he was never told that he was fired from the series. He reportedly showed up one day and asked why he hadn’t received a script for that week and that’s when someone had to turn to him and tell him it was because he was no longer on the show.
5. Jason Alexander Did A Woody Allen Impression During Audition
When Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld set out to find an actor to play the role of George Costanza, there were a number of actors that were being considered. One of them was Jason Alexander, who was known for his comedic acting in the TV series, E/R, and for his dramatic acting in a play called Broadway Bound. Jason Alexander said that he felt that the partial script he was given for the first episode of the series reminded him of a Woody Allen film. Alexander went out and got a pair of glasses for the reading and said that he was trying to do “a blatant Woody Allen” impression. Yet, both Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David both claimed that within seconds of seeing his audition tape, they both felt he was the perfect actor to play the role of George Costanza. He ended up getting the role even though Jerry’s best friend, Larry Miller, was also up for the part.
4. The Cast Could Barely Keep It Together While Filming
In a series filled with seasoned comedians, it shouldn’t be surprising that there would be an abundance of laughter on the set. Yet, Seinfeld had more than its fair share of bloopers and bursts of laughter amongst the cast. Bryan Cranston, who made a number of appearances in the series, gave an interview with People magazine in 2016 and revealed some behind-the-scenes secrets about his days while filming Seinfeld. In the interview, he said, “It was so much fun, we had to stop rolling the tape often because Jerry would be laughing.” He went on to say, “When you watch the show now, you’ll see him smiling constantly – that’s the best take they had of him not actually laughing, just smiling and trying to contain himself. It was a blast.” The best part of the series is the fact that many of the bloopers have been posted online and there are even some episodes that audiences can pick up on the times when the actors fell out of character. In the episode involving the parking garage, the actors heads can be seen bobbing in laughter once they finally make it into their car. The behind-the-scenes story behind this is the fact that it wasn’t written into the script that the car wouldn’t start once they finally got in.
3. The Elaine Character Was Forced Into The Series
Getting Seinfeld to become a full-time series was a bit of a struggle in the beginning. It first started off as The Seinfeld Chronicles as a special and then later went on to sign for four shows. Yet, the network required that the show would have to include a female into the cast. Larry David integrated a real-life friendship that he had with a girl he once dated and that became the premise for the character of Elaine. When they went out in search of a female actress to play the part, a number of noteworthy actresses were considered and read for the part. Patricia Heaton from Everybody Loves Raymond, Megan Mullally from Will & Grace and even Rosie O’Donnell came into read for the part. It was Larry David that suggested Julia Louis-Dreyfus because he had worked with her when he was a writer for Saturday Night Live. Looking back on the series, it seems impossible to think of the show without the Elaine character and even more daunting to think of another actress who could have played that role.
2. Meagre Beginnings
Thinking about how successful Seinfeld became by the time the finale episode aired during Season 9, it’s hard to imagine that they had such a hard time trying to get the ball rolling on the series in the very beginning. Yet, the pitch to NBC was very much like how it was depicted in the series. Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld pitched “a show about nothing” and had a loose premise that it would be a special on how a comedian gets his material. After making the pilot, they were denied to get into the Fall line-up. After much negotiation, they were finally given the green light for four episodes. After allowing the show to run after reruns of Cheers, the ratings were good enough for the executives to give the go-ahead for 13 more shows. This was the moment when everyone involved in the series finally thought that the series would actually have a shot at gaining an audience.
1. The Real Story Behind Kramer
The character of Cosmo Kramer is actually based on the real-life neighbor of Larry David by the name of Kenny Kramer. Although they were very different in personality and character, they became really close friends. David felt that he knew him well enough to write for his character and thought that he would be a great addition to the Seinfeld cast. The character was originally named Kessler because David felt that if he would have named the character, Kramer, it would open the door to a whole new can of worms. Kenny Kramer ultimately gave permission for them to use his name and the series continued with Kessler being renamed as Kramer. Larry David was definitely right about his real neighbor because Kenny Kramer went out and milked this real-life connection at every turn. Kenny Kramer began giving TV interviews to capitalize on the show’s success and he even started a tour bus business called “Kramer’s Reality Tour.”