Let me just ask you- who on earth doesn't recognize this cast of characters? That's right- EVERYONE knows Seinfeld. But I'll bet there are a few things you didn't know about this show.
Hubbie and I record endless episodes of this classic comedy, and it has become our nightly tradition to watch at least one (if not more) episodes before we drift off to sleep. Last night, we noticed that the episode we were watching seemed really early in the lineup. For example, George had hair, Jerry's apartment looked noticeably different from what we've come to know, Kramer had a dog, and they were hanging out at some unknown restaurant. So we did a little checking, and sure enough, we were watching the pilot episode. Not to be confused with the episode entitled "The Pilot", this one was simply known as "The Seinfeld Chronicles".
The pilot episode features several differences from the rest of the series. The character of series regular Cosmo Kramer is named "Kessler," although this inconsistency is later addressed in the season 9 episode "The Betrayal". Another regular character, Elaine Benes, does not appear in the episode at all. The character of Claire the waitress was originally planned as a regular but was dropped and later replaced with Elaine. The main characters, Jerry Seinfeld and George Costanza, eat at "Pete's Luncheonette", as opposed to Monk's Café. Originally, the pilot was to feature George, as well as Jerry, as a comedian. Early versions of the script featured George, named "Bennett," discussing his stand-up performance. However, this idea was abandoned, and George became a real estate broker instead. In the pilot, Kramer has a dog called Ralph, included so a stand-up routine Seinfeld had written about dogs could be used. However, this routine was cut, and as a result Ralph was never explained, and did not appear in any other episodes. The pilot also features different title music, written by Jep Epstein, which was never used again.
Interestingly, the pilot was a reference point for various incidents and storylines in later episodes of Seinfeld.
- The opening scene in which Jerry and George talk about the placement of a shirt button is repeated almost word for word in the final scene of "The Finale", the final episode of Seinfeld (with George remarking about having that conversation before).
- The process of making the pilot became the inspiration for the main story arc of season 4, in which Jerry and George write a sitcom pilot for NBC called Jerry.
- Jerry's calling Kramer "Kessler" is explained in "The Betrayal", the "backwards episode" in season 9. This features a scene from 11 years in the past, in which Jerry moves into his new apartment. Jerry calls Kramer "Kessler" after reading his name on the apartment buzzer, but Kramer quickly corrects him.
- George's philosophy of doing the opposite to his natural instincts reappears in the episode "The Opposite".
- George has an extra crop of hair in the front, which would later become bald for the rest of the show's run. A flashback in “The Slicer” is set in '89, the year this episode was filmed, and shows George with a full crop of hair at the beach.
And to leave you with one last fun factoid about this episode, Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Elaine) has claimed that she was not aware of the pilot before she became a regular on Seinfeld. Out of superstition, she has claimed she will never watch the episode.