Interesting Things I Learned While Watching The Fourth Season Of Seinfeld On DVD

1. Brian George was thrilled to be asked back to reprise his role as Babu Bhatt.  When he was reading the script for The Visa for the first time, he got even more excited when he learned that not only would he be working at Monk’s Cafe he would also be living in Jerry’s apartment building.  It sounded like his character was going to receive a significant amount of screen time in the series.  However, his enthusiasm greatly dimmed once he got to the end.  Through circumstances beyond his control, Babu gets deported back to Pakistan.  Thankfully, it would not be his last appearance on the show.
2. Heidi Swedberg, who played Susan, initially thought she was going to be Kramer’s love interest.  Halfway through the fourth season, she finally clued in that she was really George’s girl.
3. In The Airport, Jerry and Elaine’s flight back to New York gets cancelled.  They get on a different flight but are not seated next to each other.  In fact, Jerry’s in first class while she’s greatly suffering back in coach.  The episode, a satire on the class differences between the two sections, originally had a different story for Elaine.  She was supposed to be sitting next to a guy who had just died right on the plane.  (This was based on a real experience that happened to Line Producer/Unit Production Manager/1st Assistant Director Joan Van Horn.) This Larry Charles premise was thought to be too dark and was therefore replaced with the angle you see in the show.
4. Speaking of The Airport, in a deleted scene, Jerry visits Elaine in coach and invites her to sneak into first class since there’s a spare seat available.  This explains why she slips into that section while everyone is resting.  It doesn’t explain why Jerry wakes up all perturbed complaining about the lack of security.
5. In The Trip (Part Two), Kramer is mistaken for The Smog Strangler, a serial killer targetting young women in Los Angeles.  When he’s arrested, Jerry and George are there right behind the two police officers making the bust.  But if you look to your right, you’ll notice Larry David and Larry Charles standing in the shot, as well.
6. In The Pilot, Russell (Bob Balaban), the NBC President who greenlights the Jerry show, becomes obsessed with Elaine after just one date.  He keeps calling her and calling her until she finally meets him in a restaurant.  She tries to let him down easy by saying she doesn’t respect his job.  But then she suggests that if he joined Greenpeace, she might change her mind.  Russell takes her bullshit seriously and soon thereafter, disappears.  We last see him on a raft with a couple of Greenpeace colleagues.  Look closely and you’ll notice that the quiet guy is Larry Charles and the talkative Irish-sounding guy is Larry David without his glasses.
7. In The Handicap Spot, the gang of four are on the hunt for an engagement present for their friend, The Drake.  Struggling to find a parking space, Kramer suggests a handicap spot.  Despite the lack of unity on this idea, George takes Kramer’s advice.  After buying a big screen TV for The Drake, they return to chaos.  Something terrible happened to a woman in a wheelchair and an unruly mob is itching to wreck George’s father’s car because of it.  The gang of four retreat to think of how to get out of this mess but by the time they return, the worse has happened.  The car is completely trashed.  George and Jerry approach the front of the car to inspect some of the damage.  Originally, there was no dialogue for this scene.  But Jerry Seinfeld ad-libbed, “You know, a lot of these scratches will buff right out.”
8. Warren Frost, who played Susan’s gruff father, has a son named David who co-created Twin Peaks with David Lynch.  Warren and Grace Zabriskie, who played his lush of a wife on Seinfeld, both acted on that show.
9. There’s an interesting easter egg that briefly discusses the Tom Arnold incident.  Julia Louis-Dreyfus had accidentally parked in his space one day (because her space wasn’t available) which so infuriated the comic actor that he left her a very nasty note on her car.  Understandably, Juila was quite distressed over the whole thing.  Jason Alexander tried explaining to Arnold how his actions really hurt his co-star and friend, but when Julia came up to confront him the seemingly contrite actor turned belligerent.  Soon thereafter, there was another rude message (Arnold called her “a cunt”) and a damaged windshield.  (Roseanne soaped a couple of nasty words on her car.)  Julia’s co-workers, most especially Michael Richards, wanted to even the score but the classy Emmy winner told them not to do anything on her behalf and to just the let whole thing die down.  At one point, Roseanne wanted to publicly debate Julia about all of this on Television but Julia wisely declined.  By this point, the incident had become public and at the 1993 Academy Awards, host Billy Crystal even made a joke about it in his monologue.
10. Dyana Ortelli plays Lupe the cute short-haired chambermaid who forgets to untuck George’s blankets in The Trip (Part One).  She also played a character named Lupe The Cook in a NBC sitcom called Marblehead Manor which also starred Michael Richards (who played a gardener) and Phil Morris who later played Kramer’s lawyer, Jackie Childs.
11. Wayne Knight, who played portly Newman, had lost close to 100 pounds at the time of this DVD’s release (2005).  The Internet Movie Database says he was warned about entering a dangerous weight class and was urged to slim down.  The site claims he’s lost 117 pounds since going on a strict diet-and-exercise program.
12. The hotel that Kramer lives in while trying to make it as an actor in Los Angeles is the exact same hotel where Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts’ character in Pretty Woman) resides while under the employment of businessman Richard Gere.  Jason Alexander played his partner who infamously made an inappropriate attempt to make it with her.
13. In The Trip (Part One), Kramer spots Fred Savage sitting at a table.  He very nervously tries to get him interested in his movie treatment, The Keys, which was the name of the third season finale.  Originally, he was supposed to approach Michael J. Fox.  The sequence was inspired by a real life incident.  Larry Charles, the writer and supervising producer of the episode, cornered Richard Dreyfuss in a bookstore hoping he would play a role in a script he had written.  He was so unrelaxed that he hyperventilated.  Dreyfuss didn’t accept his offer.
14. In The Pitch/The Ticket, Jerry gets a call at an inopportune time.  It’s a telemarketer making a pitch.  The telemarketer is voiced by Deck McKenzie, Seinfeld’s usual stand-in.  The hour-long episode aired September 16, 1992.  Kramer foolishly drinks from a milk carton which expired September 3rd.  It’s no wonder he vomits all over Susan.  It’s thirteen days past its best before date.
15. In The Trip (Part One), Kramer goes in for a series of auditions in a single day.  They’re being held by Idbox Productions whose name can be seen on the glass door to their office.
16. In The Watch, a desperate George pleads with Russell Dalrymple, NBC’s President, to reinstate the pilot deal for “Jerry”.  Russell’s dinner companion is Mimi Craven, who was briefly married to director Wes Craven in the 1980s.
17. Elmarie Wendel memorably plays Helene, the delusional Gloria Swanson-esque actress who speaks to Kramer at that hotel as he’s on his way out for a business meeting.  Years later, she was cast as Mamie Dubcek, the oversexed land lady on another hit NBC sitcom, 3rd Rock From The Sun.
18. In The Watch, Jerry’s mother urges him to get together with the restaurant hostess played by Jessica Lundy who we learn has an Elmer Fudd-type laugh.  Amy Yasbeck and Mariska Hargitay auditioned unsuccessfully for the role.  Despite numerous attempts, Yasbeck never landed a part on Seinfeld.  A long-haired Hargitay, however, appears in The Pilot where she tries out for the role of TV Elaine.
19. Crazy Joe Davola’s first name was originally supposed to be Richard.
20. Jerry Seinfeld is good friends with fellow comic Jay Leno.  For The Trip (Part One), Jerry was scripted to do a Tonight Show appearance.  Leno had just gotten the gig following Johnny Carson’s retirement.  Jerry wanted his old friend to interview a couple of guests on the show.  Unfortunately, according to Larry Charles, Leno’s then-manager and Tonight Show executive producer, Helen Kushnick, outright refused the idea and so, Leno never appears in that episode.  (Curiously, the Notes About Seinfeld feature offers a different explanation.)  Since they couldn’t shoot on the actual Tonight Show set, it was decided that Stage 19, where many Seinfeld interiors were shot, would be used as a back-up.  Close-ups successfully covered up the fact that this wasn’t the real set.  Guest stars Corbin Bernsen and George Wendt pretend to be talking to the host who is never named.  They’re literally talking to themselves.  No one sat at the desk beside them.
(Special thanks to Rob Kerr.)
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, May 4, 2008
9:35 p.m.
Published in: on May 4, 2008 at 9:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

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