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Dramatic Stories From Behind The Scenes Of 'Seinfeld'

Updated December 11, 2020 4k votes 597 voters 3.0m views14 items

List RulesVote up the behind-the-scenes stories from 'Seinfeld' that are truly something.

During its run on NBC from 1989 to 1998, Seinfeld told the stories of Jerry, Elaine, George, Kramer, and others through true-to-life experiences in New York City. As "a show about nothing," the comedy was a smashing success with viewers, esteemed as one of the best sitcoms in the history of television.

However, Seinfeld definitely had something going on when the cameras were off — and sometimes even when the cameras were on. Seinfeld fan theories abound when it comes to things like on-screen relationships, but the relationships off-screen could be just as tumultuous and dramatic at times. The entire cast of Seinfeld didn't always get along, sometimes to the point of writing characters off the show so that others wouldn't have to deal with them. There were also the fair share of cat fights, tears, lawsuits, temper tantrums, and other things that tend to plague popular television shows, including a long-running feud with Roseanne, proving every successful show has its dark secrets — even the comedies — and Seinfeld is no exception. 

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    The Original Leading Female Role Might Have Been Cut After The Actress Gave Too Much Input

    In the pilot of Seinfeld, the main female role was a character named Claire, the waitress at the diner where George and Jerry frequently ate. Claire, played by Lee Garlington, was supposed to be "the girl" on the show but, according to some, she gave Larry David too many suggestions, and he didn't like her contributions. Supposedly, Garlington told David that she "could write something better than he had," which infuriated him. So Garlington's contract wasn't renewed, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus was brought in.

    Another version of the story behind why Garlington only appeared in one episode involves the network wanting a stronger female presence, one that Louis-Dreyfus brought to the table. 

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    The Cast Killed Off Susan Because She Was An 'Impossible' Coworker

    George's fiance on Seinfeld, Susan, was played by actress Heidi Swedberg. In an interview Jason Alexander gave to Howard Stern in 2015, the actor retold the story of how Susan's death came to be written. Alexander had a difficult time getting his comedic timing to sync with Swedberg's style, and complained about it. She was, according to Alexander, "'f*cking impossible' to work with."

    It wasn't until Seinfeld and Louis-Dreyfus experienced the same type of struggle when playing opposite Swedberg that the cast got together with writer Larry David to try to find a solution to the problem. According to Alexander, "Julia actually said, ‘Don’t you want to just kill her?’ And Larry [David, the series’ co-creator] went, ‘Kabang! Now we gotta kill her!’"

    Bring on the deadly envelopes. In the show, George buys cheap wedding envelopes that turn out to be poisoned — and Susan licks them, sealing her fate.

    Alexander has since apologized to Swedberg, clarifying that no one wanted to kill her; it wasn't entirely her fault; and she was a "kind, lovely person who undoubtedly worked really hard to create Susan." He also emphasized that the relationship was never going to work between George and Susan so the comment about "killing her" merely gave an end to a doomed engagement.

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  • 7

    'The Chinese Restaurant' Almost Got The Whole Show Shut Down

    In Season 2, Seinfeld's "The Chinese Restaurant" episode almost didn't make it to the screen. In fact, it almost ended the show. The premise of the episode — the misadventures of grabbing a quick Chinese meal before a movie — was lost on NBC's late night executive Rick Ludwin and his programming associate, Jeremiah Bosgang.

    After watching "The Chinese Restaurant," they complained to their bosses about the "plotless" episode and struggled with how to rationalize continued production on the show. Larry David heard their concerns and told them it was "in the spirit of the show," ultimately persuading them to continue with the episode and the show. 

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  • 8

    Tom Arnold Wrote The C-Word On The Windshield Of Julia Louis-Dreyfus's Car

    There was very little love between the cast of Seinfeld and the cast of Rosanne, which ran from 1988-1997. On one occasion when Julia Louis-Dreyfus accidentally parked in Tom Arnold's parking spot — the two shows filmed at the same studio — she found a note from Arnold that read "How stupid are you? Move your f*cking car, you assh*le!”

    Upset, Louis-Dreyfus told Larry David and Jason Alexander about what had happened and they confronted Arnold. He admitted writing the note but said he wasn't mad and considered the issue closed.

    His wife, Rosanne Barr, however, did not. Barr called Louis-Dreyfus a "b*tch" on Late Night With David Letterman, left a picture of someone's butt, and wrote the word "c*nt" in soap on her windshield, and faxed a letter to a Variety columnist that said, "The combination of arrogance and ignorance is quite ordinary in this town, but Julia takes the cake." 

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