Larry David famously instituted a policy of "no hugging, no learning", meaning that the show must avoid sentimentality and moral lessons, and the characters must never learn or grow from their wrongdoings.
As Kramer became more popular, his entrance applause grew so prolonged, that the cast complained it was ruining the pacing of their scenes. Directors subsequently asked the audience not to applaud so much when Kramer entered.
Jerry Seinfeld turned down an offer from NBC, that would have made him one hundred ten million dollars for a tenth season of the show.
Before the show was set to air, Jerry Seinfeld asked Jason Alexander what he thought their chances for success were. Alexander said he thought they "didn't have a chance". When asked why, Alexander responded, "Because the audience for this show is me, and I don't watch TV."
Michael Costanza, Jerry Seinfeld's friend, after whom George is named, filed a one hundred million dollar lawsuit against Seinfeld, Larry David, and NBC, claiming invasion of privacy and defamation of character. Costanza claimed damages, due to the show's alleged use of his likeness. The case was dismissed.
It was originally intended that Elaine's formidable father, famous author Alton Benes, of whom Jerry and George are terrified, be a recurring character, but in an odd case of life imitating art, Lawrence Tierney really did so frighten and intimidated the other cast members, that it was decided he should never return.
Larry David was quite volatile in meetings with NBC executives, and would often outright refuse to accept their notes and suggestions. He was eventually banned from attending the meetings.
The Soup Nazi is based on the actual owner, Al Yeganeh, of a take-out soup business in Manhattan on West 55th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue. Just like in the sitcom, his soups were known for their excellent quality, but Yeganeh was also famous for the unusual way he treated his customers. Instead of calling him a Nazi, local patrons called him a terrorist, presumably because they knew Yeganeh was born in Iran, not Germany. Yeganeh was so angered by the episode, that he forbade the use of the "N word" in his restaurants. Even the slightest reference to "Seinfeld" would push his buttons (it can be seen in an interview he did with CNN). So when some cast members and writers from "Seinfeld" bravely visited the restaurant after the episode aired, Yeganeh claimed that the show had ruined his life.
Director Steven Spielberg once commented that while filming Schindler's List (1993), he got so depressed that he would watch tapes of "Seinfeld" episodes to cheer himself up.
When the final episode aired on May 14, 1998, the TV Land network honored the occasion by airing no programming in the show's timeslot. Instead, the network just showed a still photo of a closed office door.
Jerry Seinfeld is the only cast member to appear in all one hundred eighty episodes. Jason Alexander comes in a close second, missing only one episode, "The Pen".
Jason Alexander originally based his portrayal of George on Woody Allen, which is why he wore glasses. When he realized that George was actually based on Larry David, he began basing his performance on David's mannerisms.
During the original airing of the finale, MTV aired original cartoons that were specially timed to fit into the finale's commercial breaks, so that viewers could freely watch both of them and not worry about missing anything.
The night before the final episode, ABC aired an episode of Dharma & Greg (1997), in which the couple tries to have sex in public, because everyone will be indoors watching the "Seinfeld" finale.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus was pregnant while shooting part of this series. Her pregnancy was disguised with her carrying props to hide her changing body. This was parodied on The Nanny (1993), when the very-pregnant Lauren Lane mentioned them hiding Elaine "behind all these huge props" while standing in front of a poster with "Baby" on it.
The puffy shirt used in "The Puffy Shirt" episode is currently placed in the Smithsonian. A doll-sized replica was included with the fifth season DVD set.
Kramer's famous "I'm out of the contest!" moment, was his one hundredth entrance into Jerry's apartment.
The character of Cosmo Kramer is based on Kenny Kramer, a man who worked across the hall from co-creator Larry David. In a self-confessed move to cash-in on the sitcom's popularity, Kenny Kramer formed the "Kramer Reality Tour", an officially-recognized New York City tour which visits the real-life locations often featured in the sitcom. In the 1997 season of "Seinfeld", Cosmo Kramer's memoirs are published by J. Peterman as his own. Wanting to make the most of the situation, Cosmo Kramer starts a "Peterman Reality Tour", offering a tour of the real-life locations featured in the memoirs.
In the episode where Elaine dates a man named Joel Rifkin, she tries to have him change his name, since Joel Rifkin is also the name of a man involved in a notorious New York City murder case. One of the initial suggestions for a new name was O.J. This episode was shot in 1993, a year before O.J. Simpson was accused of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.
Jerry Seinfeld was inspired to end the show after nine seasons by The Beatles, who broke up after nine years together.
An episode titled "The Bet" in which Elaine buys a gun from Kramer's friend, was written for season two. It was not filmed, because the content was deemed unacceptable, and was hastily replaced by the episode "The Phone Message".
One of only three series in American history to rank number one in the ratings for its entire final network season. The other two were I Love Lucy (1951) and The Andy Griffith Show (1960).
Larry David based George Costanza on himself. Many of the situations, into which George gets himself, are based on David's real-life experiences. George is named after Jerry Seinfeld's friend Michael Costanza. George's middle name, Louis, is an homage to Lou Costello of The Abbott and Costello Show (1952), which was a major influence on this series.
Many plots of the early episodes were completely based on the episode writer's real-life troubles, including "The Chinese Restaurant", "The Jacket", "The Robbery", "The Cafe", "The Nose Job", and many others.
The model of the bike Jerry never rides, hanging in his apartment, changes throughout the series.
Jerry, George, and Kramer each had alter-egos that they used on occasion. Jerry's was Kel Varnsen, George's was Art Vandelay, and Kramer alternated between Dr. Martin Van Nostrand and H.E. Pennypacker.
The apartment used for exterior shots of 129 West 81st Street, New York City, New York, is not actually in New York at all, but is 757 S. New Hampshire Avenue, Los Angeles, California.
The original script was called "Stand Up". It was to be a ninety-minute mockumentary about how a stand-up comedian writes his jokes based on his everyday life. It was to air in place of Saturday Night Live (1975) for one night. NBC liked the script so much, that they decided to develop it into a pilot instead.
Jerry's girlfriend's infamous "man hands" were actually those of one of the show's producers.
Though Larry David played George Steinbrenner, the actual George M. Steinbrenner III was filmed playing himself for use in an episode. However, the scene was never shown on the series. Steinbrenner did appear with Jason Alexander (in the part of George) in a 1996 promotional spot for MLB All-Star Game balloting.
Kramer's wardrobe of mostly 1960s and 1970s clothing was not intended to make him into retro fashions, so much as to suggest that he hadn't bought clothes in several years. The pants, in particular, were always about an inch too short, in order to stress this. In later seasons, appropriate clothing became increasingly difficult for producers to find, due to the combination of it getting older and older, as well as the extreme popularity of Kramer as a character, forcing them to have tailors personally make Kramer's clothing out of retro fabrics. Often, they would create numerous back-up copies of the clothing, in case it was damaged during the physical comedy.
The show's often-repeated phrase, "Yada, yada, yada," was ranked #1 in TV Guide's list of TV's 20 Top Catchphrases (August 21-27, 2005 issue).
While they are waiting in the Chinese restaurant, Jerry lists the many people that will be getting phone calls as a result of him being seen there. One of the included people was his sister. His sister never appeared on the show, nor is she ever referred to again.
Voted the #1 top TV series of all time, beating out #2, I Love Lucy (1951), and #3, The Honeymooners (1955), in the list of 50 shows chosen by TV Guide editors, April 2002.
The restaurant exterior belongs to Tom's Restaurant, which is the same restaurant that was immortalized in the Suzanne Vega song "Tom's Diner." It is near the Columbia University campus in Manhattan at West 112th Street and Broadway.
In one of the episodes, Jerry is walking down the street with one of his buddies, and in the background, there's a building with a sign on it that reads "Kal's Signs". Jerry Seinfeld's real-life dad's name is Kal, and he made signs for a living.
In the episode where George thinks someone stole his glasses from the gym locker room, he is eating a bag of Rold Gold pretzels. At the time, Jason Alexander was a spokesman for the product.
In early versions of the pilot script, George was originally written as a fellow stand-up comedian named "Bennett".
Throughout the run of the series, Kramer rarely says "Yes". Nearly all of his positive responses are slang variations ("Yup", "Yeah!", "Giddyup" et cetera). Five episodes where he does actually say "Yes" are "The Puffy Shirt", "The Sniffing Accountant", "The Subway", The English Patient", and "The Little Jerry".
Jason Alexander has stated that, in addition to Larry David, his performance as George was also inspired by Jackie Gleason's performance as Ralph Kramden in The Honeymooners (1955).
Kramer's line "These pretzels are making me thirsty", is an homage to Jeff Goldblum and his one and only line in Annie Hall (1977), a Woody Allen film. Goldblum's line is famous in movie history for his delivery.
ABC Entertainment Executive Lloyd Braun lent his name to a character appearing in three episodes, "The Non-Fat Yogurt", "The Gum", and "The Serenity Now", and is a neighbor and nemesis of George Costanza.
Larry David was the original voice of Newman in "The Revenge", but Wayne Knight redubbed the voice for syndication.
Lee Garlington was originally supposed to be a member of the cast, as Claire, the coffee shop waitress who gave Jerry and George friendly advice. She appeared in the pilot episode. But when the show was picked up, her character was dropped. According to Jason Alexander, Garlington offended Larry David by re-writing her lines.
Larry David was very adamant that every character of the lead quartet had a storyline in each episode, and he even charted it out on the writers' room, to keep close track of the plots and screentime.
Rosie O'Donnell, Patricia Heaton, Mariska Hargitay, Jessica Lundy, Amy Yasbeck, and Megan Mullally auditioned for the role of Elaine.
In real-life, Jason Alexander does not wear eye glasses, and the ones he wore as George were props.
Throughout the series, there are numerous references to Kramer's friend Bob Saccamano, but the character is never seen.
The character of Lloyd Braun (George's childhood neighbor, and rival) is played by two different actors, first Peter Keleghan then, four years later, Matt McCoy.
The show introduced a character, "Crazy" Joe Davola, the name of an ABC Executive Producer.
Steve Vinovich, Larry Hankin, and Tony Shalhoub were considered for the role of Kramer. Hankin later played Kramer in the show within the show in the episode "The Pilot".
Patrick Warburton was unable to play his recurring role of David Puddy in the seventh and eighth seasons, due to his commitment to Dave's World (1993).
Danny DeVito, Nathan Lane, David Alan Grier, Larry Miller, Kevin Dunn, and Brad Hall were considered for the role of George.
At Jerry Seinfeld's high school, Massapequa High School on Long Island, there was a teacher named Mr. Bevilaqua, he was the wrestling coach there. In one of the episodes, Jerry had a race that was officiated by Mr. Bevilaqua.
"The Café" is the first episode to have applause by the studio audience as Kramer entered. Interestingly, it happened when Kramer entered the Dream Café rather than Jerry's apartment.
Elaine is loosely based on Carol Leifer, a friend of Jerry Seinfeld's, whom he also used to date. She is also based on model Susan McNabb, who was Seinfeld's long-time girlfriend, and Monica Yates, whom Larry David dated.
In the first show, Kramer's last name was Kessler. Jerry is heard saying Kessler exactly the same way as he does Kramer. This was because Kenny Kramer would not allow his name to be used on the show, unless he was allowed to play Kramer. Eventually Kenny Kramer's list of demands were met, and the name Kramer was used.
Morty Seinfeld (Jerry's father) was originally played by Philip Bruns for one episode, then by Barney Martin for the rest of the series run.
Kramer's first name was originally going to be "Conrad". This was planned to be revealed in a season two episode titled "The Bet", written by Larry Charles. But the episode was scrapped, due to its controversial storyline, in which Elaine buys a gun. Kramer's first name was finally revealed to be "Cosmo" in the season six episode, "The Switch".
In a season three episode, George can be seen wearing a baseball shirt that says "Broadway Bound". Jason Alexander appeared in a play of this name by Neil Simon during its original New York City run.
Jerry is the only character to appear in every episode. Elaine does not appear in "The Seinfeld Chronicles" and "The Trip (Parts 1 and 2)", Kramer does not appear in "The Chinese Restaurant" and "The Pen", and George does not appear in "The Pen".
In his autobiography, Paul Shaffer claimed to have turned down the role of George. He was offered the part due to his resemblance to Larry David, upon whom the character is based.
With the exception of "Male Unbonding" and "Highlights of a Hundred", every episode starts with the word "The".
Bob Balaban played an NBC Network Executive, who approved a sitcom pilot to be called "Jerry". Balaban was chosen because of his resemblance to NBC Executive Warren Littlefield, the man who allowed Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David to produce this show's pilot. Balaban also played Littlefield in The Late Shift (1996).
Phil Morris planned to star in a spin-off as Jackie Chiles, but the project was stalled.
The famous Seinfeld fictions (George's pseudo career as an architect, the fictional importer and exporter, and the fictional Art Vandelay) are introduced in "The Stakeout".
Elaine was not originally part of the series. During development, NBC expressed concern that the series would be too male-centric, and became insistent on including a regular female character. The network was also said to make the casting request as a condition for picking up the series.
Although Jerry's cousin Jeffrey is mentioned several times throughout the series (always by Uncle Leo), he never actually appears on the show (although he does appear in a deleted scene on the DVDs).
In Jerry's apartment, he has a picture on the wall of a black Porsche 911 catching air going over a hill. In real-life, Jerry Seinfeld is an avid Porsche fan and collector.
As Larry David states on the DVD, the character of Elaine's father, the gruff war vet and author Alton Benes, was based on the late Writer Richard Yates, who was the father of his former girlfriend Monica Yates, and author of the novel "Revolutionary Road".
In the series finale, Kramer suggests that he, George, Elaine, and Seinfeld do a musical such as "Bye, Bye, Birdie" or "My Fair Lady". Jason Alexander, who plays George, did in fact star in Bye Bye Birdie (1995) as Albert Peterson.
Although Jerry uses Apple computers throughout the series, he has various IBM-PC Microsoft office products (Word, Excel, MS windows) on his desk next to his computer.
Newman was originally written as the African-American son of Jerry's landlord. William Thomas, Jr. was cast, and a scene featuring him was filmed, but it was deleted. Tim Russ also auditioned for the role.
In season four, episode six, "The Watch", Elaine is asked by Joe Davola if he knows her from somewhere, and she answers with a joke, that he probably recognizes her, because her face is sculptured on Mount Rushmore, alongside the U.S. Presidents, instead of Roosevelt's face. Way later, on 2015, a poster was released for the fourth season of Veep (2012), that shows the face of Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), sculptered on Mount Rushmore, but it appears instead of Jefferson's face.
In addition to Jerry having a sister who is only mentioned once (in "The Chinese Restaurant"), George has a brother who is mentioned only twice in the series: "The Suicide" (his brother impregnated a woman named Pauline) and "The Parking Space" (George's father, mother, and brother never pay for parking). Elaine has a sister, Gail, who she visits in St. Louis, and who she calls after she sends Gail's son her exposed nipple Christmas card. Elaine also mentions a brother-in-law (presumably Gail's husband) in "The Phone Message" (he blurted out secret business information on an answering machine).
Jerry Stiller plays George's dad. Ben Stiller (Jerry's real-life son) is married to Christine Taylor, who guest-starred on the show as Jerry Seinfeld's girlfriend.
Several movies can be seen on Jerry's stereo shelf, including Child's Play 2 (1990) and Wayne's World (1992) in the later seasons.
Newman, played by Wayne Knight, was the only major character known by just one name.
Jerry's apartment number switches from 411 to 3A to 5A. In earlier episodes, where the whole exterior of Jerry's building is visible, his apartment is clearly on the third floor. But in one episode, Jerry suggests that a bus stop on the corner is ten floors down.
Alec Berg, a character that Jerry says has a great John Houseman name, is the name of a producer on the show.
The building used for the exterior shots where Elaine works is 600 Madison Avenue in Manhattan, between 57th and 58th streets.
Kramer's first name of Cosmo was not revealed until the show's sixth season. The revelation, and some promotional hype surrounding it, was criticized by some at the time for being too gimmicky, or unnecessary.
Jerry's apartment number is 5A. Kramer's apartment number is 5B. Newman's apartment is 5E.
In the episode "The Parking Garage", George is leaning up against a car with the license plate BIF725. Seinfeld often refers to George as Biff. This is an homage to Biff Loman from Death of a Salesman, whom Jerry compares George to in another episode.
Elaine's middle name is Marie. George's middle name is Louis. Jerry's real first name is Jerome and his middle name is Allen..
As for acting Emmys, Michael Richards and Julia Louis-Dreyfus won awards, while nominations went to Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander, Jerry Stiller, Bill Erwin, Judge Reinhold, Marlee Matlin, Larry Thomas, and Lloyd Bridges.
Jerry Seinfeld received five Emmy Award nominations for Best Lead Actor in a television series, but never won.
For awhile, NBC stunted with having an interconnected storyline, or character crossover between their New York City set sitcom block which aired on Thursday nights. Seinfeld was the only one of the shows which refused to take part.
Bette Midler, Raquel Welch, Jon Voight, Marisa Tomei, Regis Philbin, Kathie Lee Gifford Keith Hernandez and Pat Cooper are some of the celebrities who appeared as themselves, but though mentioned several times, Woody Allen and Ted Danson never appeared.
In season one, episode three, "Male Unbonding" (aired June 1990), the character Elaine is sleazily hit on by Jerry's unstable "friend", Joel (Kevin Dunn). Twenty-two years later, Kevin now plays the role of Ben Cafferty in the show Veep (2012-), as an advisor to the title character Selina Meyer, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
The first DVD releases of the show (November 23, 2004) were the first DVDs to be released under Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment's new name, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
In Massillon, Ohio, there is a restaurant called Kosmo, named after the Cosmo Kramer character. The restaurant sign features a pencil sketch of Cosmo Kramer. One of the menu items is called the "Newman", which is a meatball sandwich. The famous picture of George Costanza, posing half naked in his underwear, is hanging up in the lady's room.
Jerry and George mention having sisters in the first two seasons, but neither are ever seen or mentioned again.
In the episode "The Bizarro Jerry" during the scene in Kevin's apartment, you can see "Bizarro Superman" in the background.
A running gag in the show is that Jerry can't act. This was actually a real consern for the shows producers. To weigh up for this they needed strong supporting actors, hence Jason Alexander, who previously had been an actor on Broadway.
Jerry and George had both parents on the show, Elaine had only a father, and Kramer had only a mother appear. Uncle Leo was Helen Seinfeld's brother.
In "The Pothole", the audience learns that Elaine lives on the south side of West 86th St.
Since her appearance on the show, the actress who played Jerry's pea-picking girlfriend (the one who insisted on eating her peas one at a time) is on record as saying that she now eats her peas with a spoon.
While Jason Alexander never won an Emmy Award (nominated six times) for playing George, he's the only one of the four main performers to have won a Tony Award. He won a Best Actor in a Musical award for "Jerome Robbin's Broadway" in 1989, the same year this show started.
Three guest stars have worked with Director John Landis. David Naughton (who appeared in the episode, The Red Dot), worked with Landis on An American Werewolf in London (1981). Peter Riegert (who appeared in "The Finalie: Part 1") and Mark Metcalf (who appeared in the episode, "The Maestro") worked with Landis on Animal House (1978) and Oscar (1991).
Was chosen by Time Magazine as one of the "Best of Television 1996" at position #2 in the in their year end review issue dated December 23, 1996.