22. If you ever experience the “jimmy legs”, you’re suffering from a real medical condition. The disruptive involuntary action that happens in your sleep is better known as nocturnal myoclonus and periodic-limb-movement disorder.
23. Julia Louis-Dreyfus had a number of concerns about the infamous Elaine dance in The Little Kicks. One, she was worried her purposefully bad dancing wouldn’t be funny enough. Two, she had to live with the personal humiliation of being considered a horrible dancer. And three, she fretted that people would think that her “dry heaves set to music” also meant she was bad at sex. She decided the key to making the bit work was “to be as spastic as possible” while maintaining an oblivious smile on her face. The point being that everyone but the confidently ignorant Elaine knows she has no rhythm. Originally, the dance was recorded to music but that made her dance too well. When she danced to no music it worked a lot better. The Earth, Wind & Fire song, Shining Star, she awkwardly grooves to was added during the editing phase. By the way, whenever anyone in the episode mocks her dancing, especially in the last scene, it’s referred to in the script as “the Mock-Elaine-a”, a goof on the MacArena. Ever since the episode aired, whenever she’s at a social function where dancing is involved Louis-Dreyfus can still feel the eyes of everybody on her wondering if she really sucks at boogieing. She insists she’s really not that bad.
24. In The Bizarro Jerry, Elaine visits her ex-boyfriend, Kevin, in his building. As she enters his apartment, look closely at the top of the door. You’ll see the shadow of the boom mic dangling over their heads.
25. The word “boogeyman”, mispronounced as “boogityman” by Elaine in The Checks, has roots going all the way back to the 16th Century. It derives from “boneyman” which was Napoleon Bonaparte’s nickname.
26. There are three notable mistakes in The Muffin Tops. Before the start of one of his Peterman Reality Tours, Kramer has a hard time getting on the bus and into the driver’s seat. Michael Richards wanted to do an entrance similiar to the ones he routinely performed getting into Jerry’s apartment. Unfortunately, during one take, he pushed himself too hard and legitimately tripped up the stairs. But because he kept going and didn’t miss a single of his lines, it ended up in the final cut. When he tries to get rid of Elaine and Mr. Lippman’s muffin stumps at the Jiffy Dump, he’s rebuffed by the same guy who gave him a hard time at the Jiffy Park in season seven’s The Wig Master. When a bewildered Kramer asks him, “Is this a joke?”, the guy replies, “That’s what I’d like to know about it.”. He was only supposed to say, “That’s what I’d like to know.” The flubbed version was deemed funnier so it stayed. Finally, when Elaine runs into her former boss, Mr. Lippman, at Peterman’s discounted book signing (each copy of No Placket Required is 25% off), he mentions that it’s being published by his new company, Pundit Publishing. Unfortunately, the closed captioning still thinks he works for Pendant.
27. Jill Franklyn was a struggling writer looking to break into show business. Fortunately, she’s friends with Seinfeld writer/producer Peter Mehlman. In 1997, he suggested they collaborate on an episode. The result: The Yada Yada which became one of the most famous and acclaimed in the show’s history. It also earned the duo Emmy nominations for outstanding writing in a comedy series. By the way, it was Franklyn’s very first script.
28. Writer Gregg Kavet once worked for a consulting firm in Boston. It was a grueling gig. A typical work week ran 80 hours. Very quickly, he found it very difficult to keep up with the pack. As a result, he found himself burnt out and leaving earlier than everybody else. Then, one day, a co-worker taught him a secret. He told him that the key to maintaining your energy was to sneak in power naps. The only way to do this in an open cubicle environment was to go under your desk and tuck your office chair in. He would do this for two hours every day and, according to Kavet, his friend would never get caught. In fact, when a fellow employee was looking for his sneaky colleague he left him a note not realizing he was dozing just inches from where he was standing. This inspired George’s own under-the-desk power naps in The Nap which Kavet co-wrote.
29. In The Summer Of George, Kramer has the unenviable task of firing the tempermental star of the fake Tony Award-winning musical, Scarsdale Surprise, Raquel Welch. This was loosely based on the real-life firing of Faye Dunaway from the troubled Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, Sunset Boulevard. In that same episode, Jerry starts dating a waitress (Amanda Peet) who appears to have a live-in boyfriend. JAG’s Catherine Bell, Baywatch’s Nicole Eggert and John Ritter’s widow and frequent Seinfeld auditioner Amy Yasbeck all tried out for that role. Also, the show’s working title was The Dude.
30. Writer Jeff Schaffer visited his brother’s apartment in New York City in the mid 90s and was greatly amused by what he saw. Across the street was the Empire Plaza Hotel which had this blindingly bright red neon sign. It was so bright it transformed his brother’s apartment into a dark room. It was literally bathed in red. Schaffer immediately felt this would be a good Kramer story. He would have to wait three years to finally write one. Originally, the K-man was to develop a sudden interest in photography because of his now crimson coloured apartment but that was eventually scrapped once Schaffer revisited his brother who, by this point a few years later, had moved into a different apartment building. The writer learned about a law firm across the street that lived above a new restaurant called Kenny Rogers Roasters. The firm was deeply upset about the hickory-flavoured chicken smells emanating through the vents in their offices so they put out a banner that said, “BAD CHICKEN” which caused a legal dispute and became a news story. Schaffer and co-writer Alec Berg would go on to write The Chicken Roaster, thanks in great part to this incident.
31. Speaking of Kenny Rogers Roasters, after expanding to 350 outlets by the mid-90s, it was ultimately absorbed into the Nathan’s Famous chain in the Aughts. Their motto: “It’s the wood that makes it good.” In The Chicken Roaster, Newman says this to a curious Kramer as he thoroughly enjoys his Kenny Rogers chicken while they both sit in Jerry’s apartment.
32. In the last scene of The Checks, Elaine’s boyfriend Brett is being examined by a doctor who zones out upon hearing The Eagles’ Witchy Woman. He’s played by stand-up comedian George Wallace who was the best man at Jerry Seinfeld’s wedding.
33. The opening scene of The Andrea Dorea was a bugger to shoot, particularly for Michael Richards. Jerry and Kramer are walking down the street talking when the comedian decides to buy batteries. The K-man refuses to wait outside so he stuffs all the food he’s eating right into his mouth. This sequence took six tries to get right. Jerry laughed at Richards’ antics during two takes, a camera ran out of film and the store door wouldn’t open during two others, and because the outdoor NYC street set is near an airport the noise of a passing airplane interrupted the very first attempt. Richards almost gagged at times while doing the food stuffing bit and it’s no wonder he wasn’t hungry for the rest of the shooting day.
34. In The Yada Yada, there’s a scene where Jerry’s longtime crush Beth Lookner confides in him that her second marriage might be on the verge of collapse. Before taping this in front of a studio audience, Debra Messing worked herself up into such a state of distress backstage that a puzzled Jerry looked at her and said, “What the fuck are you doing?”. Before the show aired, Messing preemptively apologized to her grandmother for her character’s surprising aversion to “the blacks and the Jews”. Like her grandma, Messing is Jewish.
35. In The Chicken Roaster, Jerry becomes terrified of Mr. Marbles, Kramer’s ventriloquist dummy that appears to be alive. Originally, Mr. Marbles was going to be seen in shadow brandishing a knife ready to kill the comedian but that ended up not happening. Coincidentally, Jerry has a VHS copy of the 1990 film, Child’s Play 2, on his entertainment shelf. That film, of course, features a murderous children’s toy. The Notes About Nothing feature mistakenly says he has the 1988 original.
36. The Notes About Seinfeld feature has been keeping track of the number of times the K-man goes through the entranceway of Jerry’s nearby apartment through the Kramer Entrance Counter since the first DVD box set. As noted previously, a mistake was made in the season seven box set which is thankfully corrected on season eight. (A technical error was blamed for the counter being off by one.) Unfortunately, an argument can be made that two legitimate entrances are not counted in the season eight box set. In The Soul Mate, Kramer wants to have a word with Jerry in his apartment alone but George won’t get up from his chair, so the hipster doofus drags him out on it into the hallway before closing the door and reentering Jerry’s place. For some reason, this isn’t counted as a proper entrance when it should be. Then, in The Susie, Kramer enters and reenters Jerry’s apartment while telling the comedian and Elaine about his adventure during and after the Knicks game. One of these entrances is not included in the overall count as it ought to.
37. Speaking of counters, the Notes About Seinfeld feature also keeps track of the fab four’s girlfriends and boyfriends since the beginning of the series. In The Yada Yada, Elaine sums up her one-night stand with a lawyer to Jerry and George. For some unknown reason, perhaps because he’s not named, this bad lay isn’t included in her overall bf total. A similiar mistake was made in the second Seinfeld DVD box set. In the third season episode, The Stranded, Kramer is having a conversation with Michael Chiklis in Jerry’s apartment. At one point, Chiklis wants to call an escort. The K-man isn’t interested. “I have a girl in the next building,” he informs him. Again, perhaps because his unseen love interest goes nameless, she’s not added to his girlfriend count.
38. In The Little Kicks, Elaine makes the following toast during a Peterman company party: “Here’s to those who wish us well and those who don’t can go to hell.” Episode writer Spike Fierstein’s grandmother used to make the exact same declaration at his family Thanksgiving dinner every year. Good times.
39. In The Nap, a frustrated Kramer decides to go swimming in the East River because he won’t be disrupted. After telling Elaine’s boyfriend Hal that doing this is good for the back, Hal, whose had a problem in that area for 15 years, tells his chiropractor who recommends the idea to all his patients which deeply annoys the K-man. All of these East River scenes were shot at Universal Studios in their circular tank. Footage of the tank itself was replaced with more water that was digitally added during the editing process to make it look more like the East River However, if you look really closely at almost the middle of your screen you can see where the digital water begins and the tank water ends.
40. In The Millennium, Newman mentions booking Christopher Cross for his millennium party. Cross’ self-titled debut, whose contents earned him 5 Grammys, was released in 1979. In that same episode, there’s a scene where Jerry’s speed dial ranker girlfriend complains about the Mongolian restaurant he took her to on their last date. She mentions how it got a bad rating in Zagat’s. The famous restaurant guide was founded in 1979. In The Nap, Yankee owner George Steinbrenner can’t figure out what song is in his head. It’s Pat Benatar’s Heartbreaker which was released off her debut album, In The Heat Of The Night, in, you guessed it, 1979. In the opening scene of The Little Kicks, Kramer mentions that the last time he was hit in the head occurred when he lived in Greenwich Village back in, wait for it, 1979. And during an unused conversation with Elaine in J. Peterman’s office that was originally planned for The Money, the last time he had regular sex with a steady girlfriend was, all together now, 1979.
41. Gene, aka Bizarro George, is an architect. In The Bizarro Jerry, he was supposed to say, “My company did the Guggenheim extension. It took quite a long time, too.”, a nod to the slow-witted bald man’s famous lie during a Monk’s scene in the sixth season episode, The Race.
42. Every season, the Seinfeld logo would have a different design to distinguish a year of shows from all the others. Season eight had a black and white checker design around the title because Jerry Seinfeld truly believed this was going to be the last season of the series. (It was meant to resemble the checkered flag at an auto racing event which signifies the final lap.) Of course, the show would actually conclude after its ninth season.
(Special thanks to Rob Kerr.)
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, April 14, 2013