Dramatic Stories From Behind The Scenes Of 'Seinfeld'
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 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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'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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Kramer's Popularity Became An Issue On The Set
Michael Richards's portrayal of Kramer was one that audiences loved. When Kramer would appear on set during tapings of Seinfeld episodes, the live audience would cheer and cheer and cheer. This got to be problematic and annoying for the other stars of the show, and Richards himself, as the applause was lengthy enough to mess with the rhythms of their performances and took up precious time in episodes.
As a result, the show's producers asked the audience to "refrain from clapping when Kramer entered a scene."
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Seinfeld Was Offered $5 Million An Episode To Keep The Show Going But Turned It Down
After Seinfeld told NBC officials he wanted to end the show, they made him a very sweet deal: $5 million an episode to do Season 10. But he turned it down. During his last season, Seinfeld was making $1 million per episode and figured he had made enough money off the show. He also didn't want to ruin the integrity of the series. In his mind, he had an ending for it and didn't want to needlessly stretch it.
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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 a**hole!”
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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The Actor Who Played Elaine's Dad Scared The Other Actors
Actor Lawrence Tierney played Elaine's father, Alton, on the show. His role was one that could've had much more longevity, had it not been for his strange antics on set. Seinfeld said Tierney carried a butcher knife on him while on set and generally was kind of bizarre.
The knife in his pants was actually stolen, and when he was confronted about it, he allegedly starting fake stabbing Seinfeld. "Lawrence Tierney scared the living crap out of all of us," Alexander said in an interview. While everyone parted on good terms, he was not invited back to the show.