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

22. Just before Kramer gives Elaine his crappy electronic organizer from the bank (without telling her it beeps all the time for no good reason), there’s a quick scene in The Marine Biologist where he almost hits her in the head with his golf bag as she’s coming out of Jerry’s apartment.  Before it was filmed, Michael Richards told a concerned Julia Louis-Dreyfus that he’s never physically harmed anyone doing something like this.  Sure enough, as the cameras rolled he accidentally clobbered her right in the eye (causing a cut and a bruise which were quickly dealt with and covered with make-up) while doing the swing with his bag.  To make matters worse, Louis-Dreyfus was battling a bad fever that night.  (What a trooper.)  Eventually, they got a take that was far less brutal.

23. Michael Richards came very close to playing Al Bundy on Married…With Children.

24. In The Fire, an Entertainment Weekly critic comes to see Jerry’s show at the comedy club but it proves disasterous when he can’t handle Kramer’s obnoxious girlfriend, Toby, who won’t shut up while he’s doing his set.  As a result, he ends up getting a bad review. At Monk’s, he shows a copy of it to George.  If you look closely, though, what they’re both actually reading is an article about novelist Nicholson Baker entitled Now, Voyeur which was published in the March 11, 1994 edition of EW.

25. In The Puffy Shirt, Jerry and Kramer are in a waiting room at NBC.  Jerry’s about to promote a charity event on The Today Show with Bryant Gumbel.  Notice the triangular artwork on the walls.  Chances are they were created by an old boyfriend of Elaine’s.  Remember the fat starving artist from the season four episode, The Junior Mint?  He had a thing for triangles.

26. In The Stall, Elaine denies dating Dan Cortese’s character purely for his “perfect face”.  During an ill-fated rock climbing excursion with George and Kramer, that denial is heavily tested when he falls right on his face after some miscommunication.  In the episode, Elaine finally admits her shallowness but tearfully hopes she will still be with Cortese despite the possibility of him looking less than perfect.  In a deleted scene that was cut because the show was running long, Cortese takes Elaine rock climbing.  He ends up dumping her over a pimple he spots on her face and ultimately leaves her there to fend for herself.

27. Writer Bruce Kirschbaum thought he made up the Latvian Orthodox religion that played a central role in The Conversion.  In that episode, George’s girlfriend Sasha claims that she can’t date him anymore because he’s not Latvian Orthodox.  Her parents don’t approve of her dating an outsider.  So, thanks to a joking suggestion from Elaine, he decides to convert.  The Latvian Orthodox church were so thrilled with the mention Kirschbaum gave them he received letters of thanks from a few high-ranking members.  However, there is no Latvius and he’s not the son of an apostle.  That part was fictional.  In the scene where George raises his hand revealing crib notes in ink (he ended up cheating on his conversion test), the old priest doesn’t notice it.  Originally, he did.

28. In The Pie, George is desperate to buy a suit that another short, stocky fellow with glasses wants as well.  In the original script, his rival was named Dumpy Guy but the actor who played him really hated the name.  So it was changed to Bob which is never said once in the episode.  There’s another scene where a guy comes up to Elaine thinking that he’s seen her before (he actually saw her mannequin).  He was originally called Sleazy Guy but in the end credits, that’s replaced with the more generic Guy In Diner.

29. The mango really does improve sexual performance when eaten beforehand.  In fact, the Kama Sutra recommends drinking mango juice before lovemaking.  The Mango Association declares it “the natural Viagra”.  For a brief time, mangos were hard to come by in Great Britain.

30. In The Lip Reader, Elaine is annoyed by her overly chatty chauffeur to the point where she lies about going deaf.  She pretends to misunderstand what he’s saying hoping he’ll give up and stick to driving, something writer Carol Leifer went through during her stand-up days.  At one point, his question, “Hey, what about a hearing aid?” is purposefully misinterpreted as, “Am I fearing AIDS?” In The Non-Fat Yogurt, when she takes that melting vanilla yogurt sample to a lab with Jerry and Kramer, you can spot a black and white poster on the wall behind them with the heading, “Heard Much About AIDS Lately?”.

31. Speaking of The Non-Fat Yogurt, there are three different versions.  Set during the final leg of the 1993 New York election campaign for Mayor, the show needed to cover all its bases before the winner was announced because it was integral to the plot. (The episode aired two days after the election.)  The official version that aired features Lloyd Braun as incumbent Mayor David Dinkins’ personal advisor.  When he takes Elaine’s suggestion of having all New Yorkers wear name tags directly to the Mayor who in turn makes the proposal a campaign promise it’s the beginning of the end.  Rudolph Giuliani ultimately wins the election (as he did in real life).  In case Dinkins was reelected, an alternate version was prepared.  In this one, Braun advises Giuliani to his downfall.  A third version (not shown on the DVD) is reportedly the same as the official one with one twist.  Instead of the real Giuliani appearing in two scenes to talk about the controversial non-fat yogurt a fake spokesman took his place instead.  Because the real Dinkins wasn’t interested in participating a fake spokesman was used for one of the alternate versions.  The actor who played him is Phil Morris, who was re-cast as attorney Jackie Childs in numerous episodes later on.

32. The Conversion had two alternate endings.  In one, Jerry agrees to take the beautiful blonde Tawni and her sick cat to the vet but they make a pit stop at Elaine’s apartment because she has the cat’s fungicide that Jerry thought was Tawni’s.  At the same time, Elaine’s boyfriend, a podiatrist played by Tom Verica, discovers the fungicide in her medicine cabinet and excuses himself.  As he leaves, Jerry and company arrive.  Tawni discovers what’s really going on with Jerry and Verica’s character is attacked by the cat.  In the other unused ending, Elaine takes the fungicide that Jerry put in her purse and directly asks the podiatrist for his opinion.  He tells her that the medicine is for cats, not humans.

33. The Mango’s working title was The Orgasm and The Hamptons was originally called The Ugly Baby.

34. In The Glasses, thanks to squinty-eyed George’s observation, Jerry is convinced that his girlfriend Amy (the one who wants him to get air conditioning in his apartment) is cheating on him with his cousin Jeffrey.  The episode leads us to believe that George screwed up and made a mistake.  But in a deleted scene, Amy is actually on a couch making out with Jeffrey who is only seen from behind.  She asks him about his favourite animal, the leopard.  In the scene where George spots a dime on the floor from across the room in Jerry’s apartment, that’s a direct homage to The Great Escape.  Donald Pleasance is worried he won’t be leaving with his fellow prisoners (he’s losing his sight) so he plants a coin on the floor so he can see it from far away in order to convince James Garner that he’s good to go.

35. Jerry Stiller made his official debut as Frank Costanza in The Puffy Shirt, the episode where a broke, desperate George moves back home until things completely turn around for him in The Opposite at the end of the season.  (Larry Charles, who remembered his Ed Sullivan appearances with his wife, Anne Meara, recommended him for the part.)  Originally, he was supposed to look and act like his son:  bald and meek.  Estelle Costanza was going to be the only one with the temper.  But this approach didn’t work which frustrated Stiller who was just following direction.  Things were going so bad he thought he was going to be fired.  While rehearsing a fight with Estelle Harris he improvised a scream and the character found his voice.  Stiller didn’t go bald and he never backed down from anybody again.

36. In a previous box set, it was revealed that Wayne Knight (Newman) moonlighted as a private investigator in between acting gigs. In the season 5 collection we get more details on that.  He did it for five years and these were his duties: surveillance; tracking down deadbeats, bond jumpers and people who owed money; insurance work and background investigations.

37. In The Glasses, Jerry has a plan to expose Amy’s alleged infidelity.  His cousin Jeffrey has agreed to get him two tickets to a Paul Simon concert which Jerry will pick up with his heat-hating galpal at Jeffrey’s apartment.  When Jeffrey opens his door, to use Jerry’s line, “It’s Howdy Doody time.”.  Kramer replies, “Right this way, Mr. Doody.”.  That’s actually a direct reference to an old Fridays sketch where Larry David plays an elevator operator who interacts with a full-size Howdy Doody.  It’s Castle Rock executive Rob Reiner’s only memory of David on that show.  In The Stand-In, Elaine tells Jerry that his friend Phil took out his penis during their one and only date.  Their “he took it out” conversation was supposed to be a bit longer.  At one point, still stunned by his friend’s odd gesture, Jerry asks incredulously, “I’m shocked.  Are you sure that’s what it was?”  To which Elaine replies, “Well, it wasn’t Howdy Doody.”.

38. Director Tom Cherones and writer Larry Charles both left the show after season five.

39. Larry David’s voice can be heard in numerous episodes, sometimes unrecognizably.  In The Raincoats when Rudy the vintage clothes store owner burns Frank Costanza’s cabana wear that’s David doing the grumbling.  (You’ll notice Rudy’s mouth is closed. David did a post-production overdub to clarify what was happening in case of audience confusion.)  In The Lip Reader, he’s one of the U.S. Open tennis commentators goofing on George eating that hot fudge sundae as well as the dispatcher for the overly chatty, Jumble-obsessed limo driver who annoys Elaine.  And in The Conversion when Elaine’s podiatrist boyfriend finds the fungicide that’s David again doing a post-production voiceover since Tom Verica wasn’t available for the session.

40. In The Sniffing Accountant, there’s a scene where Kramer drinks a full glass of beer with a cigarette in his mouth.  That was not in the script.  It was a Michael Richards improvisation.  An outtake of that bit features the K-man struggling a bit with the initial chug and after managing to down all that ale in a single guzzle he belches out his cigarette smoke.  That was considered too much and the version with Kramer just coughing afterwards was used in the final show instead.  In another scene, George foolishly feels up the fabric of a woman waiting for an elevator after having successfully been hired to be a bra salesman.  She flips out and just as quickly, he’s unemployed again.  The woman he offended is Christa Miller who reappears as a love interest for George in the sixth season episode, The Doodle.

41. In The Raincoats, look closely at the pre-recorded videotapes on Jerry’s shelf in his apartment.  One of them is Pretty Woman which starred Jason Alexander as a sleazy attorney friend of Richard Gere’s.  For some inexplicable reason, however, there’s a white sticker covering “MAN” in “WOMAN”, so that it reads “PRETTY WO”.  Weird.

42. During a transitory scene in The Cigar-Store Indian, before we see Jerry and George in that antique store pay close attention to the little dog hovering around that fire hydrant.  He’s lifting his leg to take a whiz before the scene directly cuts to inside the store.

43. In The Hamptons, there’s a scene where Kramer clowns around on the beach.  Despite what the Notes About Seinfeld claim, that really is the The Beach Boys performing the original version of Wouldn’t It Be Nice from their 1966 album, Pet Sounds.  It is not a cover version put together by a sound-a-like band.

(Special thanks to Rob Kerr)

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Thursday, January 17, 2013
4:20 p.m.

Published in: on January 17, 2013 at 4:21 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Lots of great episodes in season five, Dennis. My favourite Seinfeld episode inspired me to write this essay:

  2. […] 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 DVD followed Unsolved Mysteries Of The Fifth Season Of Seinfeld in […]

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