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

1. When the show started to become immensely popular, Kramer’s entrances into Jerry’s apartment would receive an enthusiastic reception from the live studio audience.  This drove co-creator Larry David bonkos because 1. it would distort the flow and reality of the scene (the actors would have to wait for the audience to stop clapping so they could continue) and 2. it would eat up a few seconds of valuable screen time.  As a result, David would have to instruct the crowd before taping began to not cheer when Kramer crossed the threshold to his next door neighbour’s abode.  Eventually, they got the message.  Starting with The Lip Reader, he would never receive a sitting ovation for visiting Jerry again.

2. In The Mango, Jerry wears a blue and white Queens College T-shirt during a scene set in his apartment.  In The Barber, he wears a Queens College ballcap to cover his botched haircut while eating with a greatly amused George and Elaine at Monk’s.  In real-life, Seinfeld is an alumnus of that school.  He graduated from the theatre and communications program in 1976.  Singer/songwriter Paul Simon, porn legend Ron Jeremy and comedians Joy Behar and Ray Romano are all fellow alumni.

3. Seinfeld also attended SUNY-Oswego where he met future Today Show weatherman Al Roker who he became friendly with.  Roker made a memorable cameo appearance playing himself in The Cigar-Store Indian.  (He steals Jerry’s hot gyro and sits down to talk to Elaine on the subway train.)  Curiously, upon seeing him on that fake TV Guide cover for the first time and before being corrected by his Native American love interest, Jerry mistakes Roker for then-CBS This Morning meterologist, Mark McEwan.  (“Well, they’re both chubby weathermen.”)

4. Shortly after an escaped mental patient commits suicide by jumping several stories to land on George’s parked car in The Bris, he visits with the hospital administrator, Mrs. Swedler, in a failed attempt to get her to pay the bill to repair the severely damaged roof.  She’s played by Debra Mooney who had a memorable role on Roseanne.  Remember the woman in the beauty parlour with the little dog who kept calling Mrs. Connor “Roxanne” instead of Roseanne?  That’s her.

5. The late Charles Durning, Ed Asner, Carl Reiner, Alan Arkin and Abe Vigoda all auditioned and failed to land the role of Frank Costanza, George’s volcanicly tempered father.

6. That’s a Marlboro cigarette George’s dinner date Karen is puffing on after thoroughly enjoying her risotto in The Mango.

7. In The Glasses, Jerry is dating a woman who hates his hot apartment, so Kramer helps him get 30% off a new Commando-8 air conditioner so she’ll feel more comfortable, a story that was given to the K-man (originally, it was scripted for Jerry) when it was determined he had nothing to do in the episode.  In a deleted scene, we learn that the discount has been rejected by the store but Kramer promises to make it up to him by offering both him and Elaine “a round of papaya smoothies”.  This explains why he comes in singing “Oh my papaya” (to the tune of Roll Out The Barrel) in the actual show.  As he enters, the air conditioner, which hasn’t been properly installed, is on the verge of falling out the window.  Michael Richards ran so fast taping that scene he hit the wall a little too hard.  Worried that he had broken his ribs, he was ordered to go to the hospital for x-rays.  Fortunately, he only suffered bruising.  As for the little rottweiler that got nailed by the falling air conditioner, he wasn’t supposed to survive.

8. In The Stand-In, Jerry is on a mission to make his hospitalized friend Fulton laugh.  During his second visit, he finally succeeds by doing a superhero routine.  That entire Justice League Of America riff he performs was originally conceived for the first very show in season one.

9. In the original script for The Fire, there was a scene near the end where George and Jerry are at the movies.  Thoroughly deflated now that his true cowardly nature has been revealed (thanks to his hilarious panic over some burning hamburgers at a birthday party for his then-girlfriend’s son), he gets a chance at redemption when a couple of fellow patrons start acting obnoxiously behind himself and Jerry at the theatre.  Annoyed by them kicking their seats, he stands up, turns around and yells at them to stop.  Dropped from The Fire, this scene was re-tooled for The Opposite during George’s movie date with Dedee Pfeiffer.  One of the lines from his rant (“And if I have to tell you again, we’re gonna take it outside and I’ll go show you what’s it like!”) was lifted pretty much verbatim from an infamous bootleg of famed drummer Buddy Rich, who reportedly had a nasty temper of his own, lashing out at his band on their tour bus. 

10. Len Lesser, who played Jerry’s Uncle Leo, almost played Ray Romano’s father, Frank Barone, on Everybody Loves Raymond.  In the end, he played Frank’s pal, Garvin (“Hey!  Ray’s here!  Ha, ha!”) in numerous episodes.

11. Larry David made a successful bet with his entertainment lawyer over a friendly game of golf.  The victory allowed him to use his lawyer’s name in an episode of Seinfeld.  That’s how Lloyd Braun became a character in The Non-Fat Yogurt.

12. In The Cigar-Store Indian, a paranoid George takes his parents’ antique coffee table in to be cleaned.  He gets hit on by a beautiful curly-haired saleswoman who is 45 minutes late for work.  It’s curious he doesn’t recognize her because she played Gucci, Kramer’s brief girlfriend in the second season episode, The Keys.  When he takes her back to his parents’ house, a song from the Ray Conniff Singers can be heard in the background.  The original plan was to have The Lonely Bull by Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass playing instead but the show couldn’t secure the rights to use it.  In a later scene, his horrified mom finds a condom wrapper in her bed.  Originally, she was supposed to find the actual used condom but that was nixed because it was considered “too gross”.

13. To let viewers know the show was moving into Cheers’ old time slot (Thursdays at 9 p.m.) in its fifth season, a good number of NBC promos were put together to get the word out.  In one, Jerry dresses as Pat Riley, the androgynous character from Saturday Night Live.  He jokes that Pat is really a guy.  In another one, Jerry slyly pays tribute to Ted Danson (who played philandering ex-pitcher-turned-bartender Sam Malone) by removing a fake hair patch from the back of his head.  Danson used to wear one on Cheers to cover his bald spot.

14. After goofing around at an ATM, Jerry is recognized by an old college friend, Diane, in The Marine Biologist.  Wendie Malick (Just Shoot Me, Hot In Cleveland) tried to land that part.  When she asks about George, he tells her that the short, stocky, slow-witted bald man is now a marine biologist.  (At this point, he’s still unemployed (and back living at home) but looking and getting interviews.)  The director of The Marine Biologist, Tom Cherones, has a son, Scott, who actually is a marine biologist. 

15. George’s re-counting of how he removed Kramer’s Titleist from a whale’s blowhole in that same episode was the result of a rare, late-night rewrite.  Unfortunately, there was no time to rehearse because the next day was taping day.  But because Jason Alexander can memorize lines very quickly, this wasn’t necessary.  He nailed the one-page monologue in one take.

16. Ricky, the nerdy TV Guide fan who skeeves out Elaine on the subway train and at George’s parents’ house in The Cigar-Store Indian, is played by Sam Lloyd.  His uncle is Christopher Lloyd who played Reverend Jim on Taxi and the wacky scientist in the Back To The Future Trilogy.  One of the actors Lloyd beat out for the role was Jack Black.

17. In The Hamptons, George’s girlfriend Jane takes her bikini top off in clear view of Elaine, Jerry and Kramer while the bald man is away buying tomatoes for his mother.  If you look closely during the moment when she returns to the back porch, Jane is clearly wearing flesh-coloured pasties.  She’s not actually topless.  Interestingly, Melora Walters, the actress who played her, was more than willing to not wear the pasties.  Unfortunately, NBC wouldn’t allow actual nudity during a taping.  Speaking of that back porch scene, believe it or not, that’s an indoor set.

18. In The Stand-In, Elaine goes out with Jerry’s friend, Phil Tatola, who decides during the date to take “it” out.  Although Mr. Show’s Bob Odenkirk auditioned unsuccessfully for that part he ended up playing Elaine’s medical intern boyfriend in the eighth season episode, The Abstinence.  In The Fire, Kramer starts dating Toby, an annoyingly cheery redhead who drives Elaine bonkos at Pendant Publishing.  Molly Shannon tried out for the role.  She would end up playing a woman who leaves Elaine angry voicemails in the eighth season episode, The Summer Of George.  In The Non-Fat Yogurt, Kramer starts seeing a beautiful scientist at the lab where Elaine’s yogurt sample is being tested.  Lisa Kudrow read for that character.  Not that long afterward, she was cast as Pheobe on Friends.  In The Conversion, Kramer tantalizes a Latvian Orthodox novice to the point where she questions her devotion to the religion.  Kristin Davis was in the running to play Sister Roberta.  She would later be a love interest for both Jerry and Kenny Banya in two separate episodes in seasons eight and nine, respectively.  In The Marine Biologist, Carol Kane plays a woman who keeps getting wacked in the head by cheap electronic equipment thrown out of windows by a tempermental Russian novelist.  Sheryl Lee (One Tree Hill, Twin Peaks) wasn’t able to land that part.

19. Steven Spielberg was such a fan of the show that he specifically requested tapes to be sent to him in Poland where he was filming Schindler’s List to cheer him up at night after a grueling day of shooting.  As a tribute to his support, the one-hour episode The Raincoats featured a storyline where Jerry and his girlfriend Rachel are caught by Newman making out during a screening of Spielberg’s Oscar-winning film.

20. In The Glasses, George needs a new pair of specs after mistakenly believing that someone at the New York Health Club stole his old ones.  As he’s trying on new frames in a store, Jerry looks at some posters of models wearing glasses and declares that they would be “pretty good looking” if they didn’t wear them.  If you look closely at the top two glass shelves you’ll notice four pictures of Sophia Loren.  When George is trying on that pair of black frames, you’ll see a much bigger poster of Loren directly behind him.

21. In The Pie, Jerry catches his girlfriend’s father, a chef who runs his own restaurant, not washing his hands after doing his business in a stall.  At the end of the episode, a health inspector comes by to take him downtown.  When Jerry’s gal Audrey wonders what’s going on, the comedian replies, “Well, Poppie’s a little sloppy.” which gave the character, first called Father, a proper name. Originally, he was supposed to say, “Poppie’s hands are poopy.” In an outtake, unlike the finished episode, the health inspector wears a hat.

(Special thanks to Rob Kerr)

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Thursday, January 17, 2013
2:58 p.m.

Published in: on January 17, 2013 at 2:58 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] lines from these tapes were thrown into three different Seinfeld episodes.  The first is mentioned here.  (It’s number nine.)  The second pops up in The Understudy when Frank Costanza tells […]

  2. […] of 2008, I was finally able to write about what I had learned, albeit the second time around.  Interesting Things I Learned While Watching The Fifth Season Of Seinfeld On DVD and More Interesting Things I Learned While Watching The Fifth Season Of Seinfeld On […]

  3. Concerning the oh my papaya observation. Although it may do with the papaya smoothie he is singing it like the old Eddie Fisher song Oh my Papa, not Roll Out the Barrel.

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