"Seinfeld: The Finale" turns 20
Joseph Del Valle/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — On this day in 1998, the Emmy-winning “show about nothing,” Seinfeld, took its final bow on NBC.
The series ended with a two-parter in which Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer were sentenced to a year in jail for violating a good Samaritan law in a small, fictitious town known as Latham, Massachusetts. They were stranded there by a private plane that a newly interested NBC chartered for Jerry as a “make good” for turning down Jerry and George’s “Jerry” pilot.
Seinfeld — initially titled The Seinfeld Chronicles — first aired July 5, 1989. NBC later ordered more episodes, and yada yada yada, Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer became iconic TV characters who made countless contributions to the pop culture lexicon. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
However, the Seinfeld pilot didn’t quite resemble the show that millions came to know and love.
It began with Jerry Seinfeld’s Jerry and Jason Alexander’s George dining in their native New York City at Pete’s Luncheonette, rather than the familiar Monk’s Café. They weren’t even sitting in a booth.
In the scene, Jerry riffs on the buttons on George’s shirt. The show’s finale had a callback to that very same conversation, when Jerry and the gang were jailed.
Initially, Emmy winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ character, Elaine, was not yet part of the cast. The lead female role belonged to Lee Garlington, who played a sassy waitress at Pete’s. Michael Richards is featured in the episode, but his character is referred to as Kessler, not Kramer. The switch was made because it was thought that Kenny Kramer, show co-creator Larry David’s former mooching roommate, would want a cut of the Seinfeld action. He went on to run the Kramer Reality Tour, which was spoofed on the show.
The last scene of the show featured Jerry performing his stand-up act in prison.
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