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Number of Seasons: 9
Number of Episodes: 180 (including two-part episodes and clip shows)
Executive Producers: Fred Barron (Season 1), Larry David (Seasons 2-7), Ben A. Scott, Howard West, George Shapiro, Andrew Scheinman, Jerry Seinfeld (Seasons 8-9)
Original Channel: NBC
Original Run: July 5, 1989 to May 14, 1998
The show is an Emmy Award-winning American situation comedy that originally aired on the National Broadcasting Company from July 5, 1989 to May 14, 1998, lasting nine seasons. Many of its catchphrases have entered into the popular culture lexicon. The show led the Arthur Nielsen Media Research Ratings in its sixth and ninth seasons and finished among the top two (along with NBC's ER) every year from 1994 to 1998. In 2002, TV Guide named the show as the greatest American television program of all time. A 2006 sitcom industry poll conducted by the United Kingdom's Channel 4 voted the show as the third best sitcom ever, ranking behind Frasier and Fawlty Towers.
The eponymous series was created by Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, with the former starring as a fictionalized version of himself. Set predominantly in an apartment block on New York City's Upper West Side (but shot mostly in Los Angeles, California), the show features a host of Jerry's friends and acquaintances, which include George Costanza, Elaine Benes and Cosmo Kramer. The show was produced by Castle Rock Entertainment and distributed by Columbia Pictures Television and Columbia TriStar Television (now Sony Pictures Television). It was largely co-written by David and Seinfeld with inputs from numerous script writers, including Larry Charles, Peter Mehlman, Gregg Kavet, Andy Robin, Carol Leifer, David Mandel, Jeff Schaffer, Steve Koren, Jennifer Crittenden, Tom Gammill, Max Pross, Charlie Rubin, Alec Berg, Spike Feresten, and Peter and Bobby Farrelly.
Jerry and Larry pitched Seinfeld as a "show about nothing," similar to the self-parodying "show within a show" of Season 4 episodes "The Pilot, Part 1" and "Part 2". The show stood out from the typical family- or coworker-driven TV sitcoms of its time. None of the principal show characters were related by blood or worked together. The episodes of most sitcoms revolve around a central theme or contrived comic situations, whereas most episodes of the show focused on the minutiae of daily life, such as waiting in line at the movies, going out for dinner, buying a suit, coping with the petty injustices of life. Some viewers hold the belief that the world view presented in The show is somewhat consistent with the philosophy of nihilism, the view that life is pointless.
Tom's Restaurant, a diner at 112th St. and Broadway in Manhattan, referred to as Monk's Cafe in the show. Google Street View
Originally, the show began with Jerry delivering his stand-up comedy routine, which was set in a comedy night club. The theme of his act is loosely based on the plot of each episode. Originally, his stand-up act would bookend an episode, for a while even functioning as cutscenes during the show. By Season 4, the cutscenes in the middle of the episodes became less common and by Season 6, the clips that ended the shows also became less common. By Season 8, the stand-up act was cut out entirely as the plots expanded and required more time. The show's main characters, and many secondary characters, were modeled after Seinfeld's and David's real-life acquaintances.
Other recurring characters were based on well-known, real-life counterparts, such as the Soup Nazi (based on Soup Kitchen International manager Al Yeganeh), Jacopo Peterman of the J. Peterman catalogue (nominally based on John Peterman), and George Steinbrenner, the owner of the New York Yankees.
In most show episodes, one story thread is presented at the beginning, involving the characters in separate and unrelated situations. Rapid scene-shifts between story lines move the story forward. By Season 4, the episodes ended by having all of the separate story lines converge—often unexpectedly. Despite the separate plot strands, the narratives reveal "consistent efforts to maintain [the] intimacy" between the small cast of characters.[cite this quote]The show kept a strong sense of continuity—characters and plots from past episodes were frequently referenced or expanded upon. Occasionally, story arcs would span multiple episodes and even entire seasons. Larry David, the show's head writer and executive producer for the first seven seasons, was praised for keeping a close eye on minor details and making sure the main characters' lives remained consistent and believable. He would later make use of season-long story arcs in his next series, Curb Your Enthusiasm.
The show stood apart from other sitcoms of the time for not placing a shred of importance on the characters learning moral lessons. In effect, the characters are often morally indifferent or callous. It was often said that the mantra of the shows' producers was: "No hugging, no learning."
Jerry Seinfeld (himself)—Jerry is the show's central character who comes across as a cleanliness freak. He is obsessed with orderliness and is a bit of a "germophobe". In the show, Jerry makes a living as a stand-up comedian. His apartment is the center of a world visited by his eccentric friends George, Elaine and Kramer. He is often seen as "the voice of reason" amid all the insanity generated by the people in his world. Plot lines often involve Jerry's romantic relationships; he typically finds "stupid reasons to break up" with women. While seemingly the 'normal' one amongst his friends, his character's neurosis reveals itself in his obsessive cleanliness, narcissism, and steadfast immaturity. His favorite superhero is Superman and there are various references to it in the series.
George Costanza (Jason Alexander)—George is Jerry's best friend since school. He is cheap, dishonest and often jealous of others' achievements. He is often portrayed as a loser who is insecure about his capabilities. He often lies about his profession, relationship and almost everything else, which usually creates trouble for him later. He often uses an alias ("Art Vandelay"), when lying or assuming a fake identity. George was once succinctly described by Elaine as a "short, stocky, slow-witted, bald man". He fantasizes of being an architect. He often does questionable things which others might also do but often gets caught in the act (such as peeing in a parking garage).
Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus)—Elaine is intelligent and assertive, but superficial. She sometimes has a tendency to be very honest with people, which often gets her into trouble. She often gets caught up in her boyfriends' habits, her eccentric employers' unusual demands, and the unkindness of total strangers. A recurring plot line for Elaine is her frustrating inability to find Mr. Right; she also goes through an on/off relationship with David Puddy throughout Season 9. She used to date Jerry, and remains his close friend. One of Elaine's trademark maneuvers is her forceful shove when she receives good news or shocking news, sometimes using the catch phrase "get out!". She is seen as the intellectual stronghold of the group of friends.
Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards)—Kramer is Jerry's own unique "wacky neighbor" and friend. His trademarks include his humorous upright bouffant hairstyle, his vintage wardrobe and his energetic sliding bursts through Jerry's apartment door. Elaine refers to him as a 'hipster
doofus'. At times he acts naive, dense and almost child-like, yet randomly shows astonishing insight into human behavior. Though he never seems to have held a 'real' job, he often makes a bundle on some wacky scheme. He often dreams of ridiculous schemes to make money, some of which include a pizza place where "you make your own pie", a cologne which smells like "the beach", and designing a brassiere for men called the "Bro" (or Manssiere according to Frank
Costanza). Kramer consistently goes out of his way to help total strangers.
There are numerous recurring minor characters in the show. The most prominent are:
Newman (portrayed by Wayne Knight)—An overweight, despicable postal worker. He is Kramer's accomplice and Jerry's nemesis. Newman is a neighbor of both (Apartment 5E) and he is noted for his excessive overeating. He will go out of his way to make Jerry's life miserable. He is usually greeted contemptuously by Jerry with "Hello, Newman!," to which he responds with "Hello, Jerry!" in similar fashion. He is always plotting against Jerry, always eating and being obnoxious in Jerry's apartment. He is the most frequently recurring male character, from his first appearance in the show's second season all the way through the last episode.
Morty Seinfeld (originally portrayed by Phil Bruns, but later replaced by Barney Martin) and Helen Seinfeld (portrayed by Liz Sheridan)—They are Jerry's parents. Morty is a retired raincoat salesman and famous for obstinately sticking to his convictions; Helen cannot understand why anyone would not like her son. They always feel that Jerry is not making enough money and try to help him out financially. These two characters are based on Jerry's biological parents.
Frank Costanza (originally portrayed by John Randolph, replaced by Jerry Stiller) and Estelle Costanza (portrayed by Estelle Harris)—They are George's eccentric parents. George usually blames them for his current mental state and failure to succeed in life. They are known for their violent temper, often leading to yelling and constant verbal fights. They make many appearances from seasons 4 to 9.
Uncle Leo (portrayed by Len Lesser)—He is Jerry's uncle and Helen's brother. He personifies the eccentric old man and often tries to demean Jerry with comparisons to his own purportedly successful son. He has a habit of grabbing the person with whom he is conversing by the arm. He always brags about his son, Jeffrey (who never makes an appearance on the show), who works for the Parks Department. Uncle Leo is seen in seasons 2 to seasons 9 occasionally.
Susan Ross (played by Heidi Swedberg)—George's fiancée and a former NBC executive. She tries to become friends with Elaine and Jerry in one episode but can't tolerate their inane chatter. She worked for NBC in season 4 and was engaged to George in season 7. She dies in the last episode of season 7, from cheap poisonous envelopes. She is the most frequently recurring female character in seasons 4 and 7, and has a cameo role in the season 9 episode titled "The Betrayal".
Mickey Abbott (portrayed by Danny Woodburn)—A friend of Kramer's and a "little person", he has aspirations to be an actor ("The Wait Out", "The Burning") and competes for women with Kramer ("The Yada Yada"). He makes appearances from Season 5-9.
George Steinbrenner (voiced by Larry David, portrayed by Lee Bear, who is only seen from behind)—He is George's boss and owner of the New York Yankees. Steinbrenner's face is never shown on the show. He is parodied for his arrogance and lack of touch with the realities of running of a baseball team. A recurring gag is for him to call George into his office, then proceed to ramble on about inane topics as George slowly walks out the door. In edited scenes, the real George Steinbrenner makes a cameo appearance and goes out with Elaine. The scenes were cut due to time constraints and are available on the season 7 DVD. He usually appears from the finale of season 5 to 9.
Justin Pitt (portrayed by Ian Abercrombie)—Usually referred to as "Mr. Pitt," he was Elaine's demanding boss during the sixth season. He hired her because she reminded him of Jackie Onassis. He makes his appearance throughout Season 6 as well as "The Finale".
Kenny Bania (portrayed by Steve Hytner)—Bania is a fellow stand up comedian. Jerry hates Bania, because he is so annoying. Bania's trademark "Hey Jerry!" is often treated by Jerry and his friends with annoyance and indifference. Kenny Bania appears in various episodes throughout seasons 6 through 9.
Tim Whatley (played by Bryan Cranston)—Jerry's dentist, he appears in Seasons 6, 8 and 9. Elaine accuses him of regifting in "The Label Maker", and he converts to Judaism and begins to make references to the Jewish people as if he is a lifelong Jew in "The Yada Yada".
David Puddy (portrayed by Patrick Warburton)—Puddy is Elaine's on-again, off-again boyfriend. He is a competent auto mechanic, but also an airhead with numerous quirks, most notably his squinting, staring, and insatiable appetite for high fives. He calls himself a Christian and he is known for his short, unapologetic delivery and unflinching assuredness. He is seen in seasons 6 and 9.
J. Peterman (played by John O'Hurley)—He is one of Elaine's eccentric bosses. Peterman owns the J. Peterman apparel company and Elaine works on the catalog released by the company. Using the florid style of a treasure hunter, he typically announces his journeys to exotic locations in search of unique clothing. He is usually seen making an appearance from the finale of season 6 to season 9.
Jackie Chiles (portrayed by Phil Morris)—Jackie is Kramer's lawyer. He has a secretary named Suzy and sets up appointments for his clients with an unseen "Dr. Bison". He also speaks with a rapid-fire delivery and tends to overuse grandiose adjectives like 'preposterous' and 'outrageous'. Chiles is a caricature of the late Johnnie Cochran. He is seen occasionally in seasons 7 to 9.
Sue Ellen Mischke (portrayed by Brenda Strong)—She is known as the "Bra-less Wonder" due to her habit of not wearing a brassiere. She is the heiress to the Oh Henry! candy bar fortune. Out of spite, Elaine gives her a bra as a birthday gift which Sue Ellen wears as a top. She repeatedly attempts to better Elaine, but was finally betrayed in her appearance in "The Betrayal". She makes an appearance in seasons 7 to 9.
See List of the show's minor characters for a complete list of celebrities who played themselves and other guest stars in minor roles.
Besides its regularly recurring characters, the show featured numerous celebrities who appeared as themselves or as girlfriends, boyfriends, bosses and other acquaintances. Many of those who made guest appearances would become household names later in their careers, or were comedians and actors who were well-known for previous work.
Seinfeld violated several conventions of mainstream television. The show, which (correctly or not) is often described as "about nothing", became the first television series since Monty Python's Flying Circus to be widely described as postmodern.
Several elements of Seinfeld fit in with a postmodern interpretation. The show typically is driven by humor dispersed with superficial conflict and characters with strange dispositions.
The characters were "thirty-something singles ... with no roots, vague identities, and conscious indifference to morals". Usual conventions, such as isolating the characters from the actors playing them and separating the characters' world from that of the actors and audience, were broken. One such example is the story arc in which the characters promote a television sitcom series named Jerry. The show within the show, titled Jerry was much like Seinfeld, in which Seinfeld played himself, and that the show was "about nothing". Jerry was launched in the Season 4 finale, but unlike Seinfeld, it was not picked up into a series.
Many episodes revolved around the characters becoming involved in the lives of others to typically disastrous results. However, regardless of the damage they caused, they never gained anything from the experience and continued to be selfish, egocentric people. On the set, the notion that the characters should not develop or improve throughout the series was expressed as the "no hugging, no learning" rule. This quote is almost referenced in an episode ("The Secret Code") where Kramer says to Jerry, "Well the important thing is, you learned something," to which Jerry replies, "No I didn't." Unlike most sitcoms, there are no moments of pathos; the audience is never made to feel sorry for any of the characters. Even Susan's death in the series elicits no genuine emotions from anyone in the show.
The Seinfeld community can draw on a large amount of in-slang, "a lexicon of Seinfeldian code words and recurring phrases, that evolved around particular episodes". The show has propelled many catchphrases such as Yada Yada Yada, master of your domain, and festivus into daily life conversations.
Seasons 1 to 3: The early years
The show premiered as The Seinfeld Chronicles on July 5, 1989, on NBC. The pilot was not very well received. After it aired, a pickup by the NBC network did not seem likely and the show was actually offered to Fox, which declined to pick it up. However, Rick Ludwin, head of late night and special events for NBC, diverted money from his budget, and the next four episodes ("Male Unbonding", "The Stakeout", "The Robbery", and "The Stock Tip") were filmed. These episodes were highly-rated as they followed Cheers on Thursdays at 9:30 p.m., and the series was finally picked up. At one point, NBC considered airing these episodes on Saturdays at 10:30 but instead gave that slot to a short-lived sitcom, FM.
Seinfeld was championed by television critics in its early seasons, even as it was yet to cultivate a substantial audience. The series was generally seen as steadily improving over the course of its first four seasons. The early episodes such as "The Chinese Restaurant", "The Pony Remark", "The Parking Garage", and "The Subway", tended to be more realistic than the later ones, and dealt with the minutiae of daily life, such as getting stuck on the subway or waiting for their turn in a Chinese restaurant.
Season 4 marked the sitcom's entry into the Nielsen Ratings Top 30, coinciding with several popular episodes, such as "The Bubble Boy", "The Outing", "The Airport", and "The Junior Mint". This was the first season to use a story arc, in which Jerry and George try to create their own sitcom, Jerry.
Much publicity followed the controversial episode, "The Contest", an Emmy Award-winning episode written by co-creator Larry David, whose subject matter (masturbation) was considered inappropriate for primetime network television. To circumvent this taboo, the word "masturbation" was never used in the script itself, instead substituted by a variety of oblique references.
Midway through that season Seinfeld was moved from its original 9 p.m. time slot on Wednesdays to 9:30 p.m. on Thursdays, following Cheers again, which gave the show even more popularity. The show won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in 1993, beating out its family-oriented competitor Home Improvement, which at the time was a big hit for NBC's rival ABC.
Season 5 was also a ratings-hit as it consisted of many popular episodes such as "The Mango", "The Puffy Shirt", "The Lip Reader", "The Marine Biologist", "The Hamptons", and "The Opposite". Another story arc was used in which George returns to live with his parents for the entire season and later, creation of a coffee table book by Kramer. This was also the first season to be shown in the 9 p.m. time slot on Thursdays, replacing Cheers. The show was again nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series, but lost to the Cheers spin-off Frasier, which was only in its first season. Seinfeld was nominated for the same award every year for the rest of its run but would keep losing to Frasier.
With Season 6, Andy Ackerman replaced Tom Cherones as the director of the show. Even so, the series remained well-regarded and produced some of its most famous episodes, such as "The Fusilli Jerry", "The Chinese Woman", "The Jimmy", "The Face Painter", and "The Switch", which finally revealed Kramer's first name, Cosmo. Story arcs used in this season was Elaine working as a personal assistant to her eccentric boss Mr. Pitt as well as George's parents' separation, which ended by the next season. This was also the first season in which Seinfeld reached Number 1 in the Nielsen Ratings.
According to the cast, crew, and many critics, Season 7 was when the show reached its creative peak. Another story arc created this season consisted of George getting engaged to his former girlfriend Susan Ross, whose last appearance was in Season 4. He spends most of the season regretting the engagement and trying to get out of it. Garnering its highest ratings yet, Seinfeld went on to produce some of its most famous episodes—namely "The Soup Nazi", "The Hot Tub", "The Maestro", and "The Rye" among others.
The show's ratings were still going very strong in its final two seasons (8 and 9), but its critical standing suffered. Larry David left at the end of Season 7, (although he continued to voice Steinbrenner in Season 8), so Seinfeld assumed David's duties as showrunner, and, under the direction of a new writing staff, Seinfeld became more of a fast-paced, absurdist show. The humor began to rely heavily on slapstick, and storylines occasionally delved into fantasy, an example being "The Bizarro Jerry", when Elaine is torn between exact opposites of her friends or when Jerry dates a woman who has the now-famed "man hands". Some notable episodes from season 8 include "The Little Kicks" showing Elaine's horrible dancing, "The Yada Yada", "The Chicken Roaster", and "The Comeback".
Season 9 included episodes such as "The Merv Griffin Show", "The Butter Shave", "The Betrayal" (the backwards episode), and "The Finale", which was written by Larry David. The last season included a story arc in which Elaine has an on/off relationship with David Puddy. Despite being offered to return for another season, Seinfeld decided to end the show after its ninth season.
After nine years on the air, Jerry Seinfeld announced on December 26, 1997, that the series would end production the following spring. The announcement made the front page of all the major New York newspapers, including the New York Times. Jerry Seinfeld was even featured on the cover of Time magazine's first issue of 1998.
The series ended with a 75-minute episode (cut down to 60 minutes in syndication, in two parts) written by co-creator and former executive producer Larry David, which aired on May 14, 1998. Before the finale, a one-hour retrospective clip show was aired which included memorable scenes from the show's past nine seasons.
Jerry Seinfeld on the cover of TIME magazine in 1998. It was also the first episode since the finale of Season 7, "The Invitations", to feature opening and closing stand-up comedy acts by Jerry Seinfeld. The finale was filmed in front of an audience of NBC executives and additional friends of the show.
The press and the public were shut out of the filming for the sake of keeping its plot secret, and all those who attended the taping of finale signed written "vows of silence". The secrecy only seemed to increase speculation on how the series would end. Various accounts suggested that Jerry and Elaine get married while more cynical fans favored Julia Louis-Dreyfus's suggestion that the foursome die in a car accident after all their wishes come true. The producers of the show tweaked the media about the hype, spreading a false rumor about Newman ending up in the hospital and Jerry and Elaine sitting in a chapel, presumably to marry.
The episode aired on the same day that Frank Sinatra died, and its airing may have been somewhat overshadowed by this event, but nonetheless it enjoyed a huge audience, estimated at 76 million viewers (58 percent of all viewers that night) making it the third most watched finale in television history. However, the finale received mixed reviews from both critics and fans of the show. The actual finale poked fun at the many rumors that were circulating, seeming to move into several supposed plots before settling on its true storyline—a lengthy trial in which Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer are prosecuted for violating a "Good Samaritan law" and are sentenced to jail. The last conversation in this final episode repeats the very first conversation from the pilot episode, discussing the positioning of a button on George's shirt. In the finale, the characters vaguely recall having the conversation before.
According to Forbes magazine, Seinfeld's annual earning from the show in 2004 was $267 million. He was reportedly offered $5 million per episode to continue the show into its tenth season but he refused. As of July 2007, he is still the second highest earner in the Television industry, earning $60 million a year.
The show itself became the first television series to command more than $1 million a minute for advertising–a mark previously attained only by the Super Bowl.
Awards and nominations
Seinfeld has received awards and nominations in various categories throughout the mid-90s. It was awarded the Emmy for "Outstanding Comedy series" in 1993, Golden Globe Award for "Best TV-Series (Comedy)" in 1994 and Screen Actors Guild award for "Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series" in 1995, 1997 and 1998. Apart from these, the show was also nominated for an Emmy award from 1992 to 1998 for "Outstanding Comedy series", Golden Globe award from 1994 to 1998 for "Best TV-Series (Comedy)", and Screen Actors Guild award for "Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series" from 1995 to 1998.
Season Ranking Viewership
Four (1992–93) 25 12,754,700
Five (1993–94) 3 18,274,800
Six (1994–95) 1 19,652,400
Seven (1995–96) 2 20,330,800
Eight (1996–97) 2 19,885,000
The "Seinfeld curse"
Dreyfus, Alexander and Richards have attempted unsuccessfully to launch new sitcoms as title-role characters. Despite decent acclaim and even some respectable ratings, almost every show was cancelled quickly, usually within the first season. This gave rise to the term Seinfeld curse to describe the failure of a sitcom by an actor following massive success on an ensemble show. Shows specifically cited regarding the Seinfeld curse are Julia Louis Dreyfus' Watching Ellie, Jason Alexander's Bob Patterson and Listen Up! and Michael Richards' The Michael Richards Show. This phenomenon was mocked in Larry David's hit HBO show Curb Your Enthusiasm, in which Larry David brings up the idea to Jason Alexander that he should do a show about Alexander's inability to shake the 'George' title in order to move on with his career. When David and Alexander begin feuding in the show, Larry David takes the idea to Julia Louis-Dreyfus. They plan to work on a show called Aren't you Evelyn? but Larry David blows their chances with every network they meet, causing Julia to bow out of the idea.
Since the end of the program, Alexander has acted in film, theater and television, including guest appearances on Larry David's HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Louis-Dreyfus also appeared on Curb Your Enthusiasm and has received on-screen and voice credits in television (such as Arrested Development) and the Disney/Pixar animated film A Bug's Life. Louis-Dreyfus stars in the CBS sitcom The New Adventures of Old Christine, which debuted in March 2006 to strong ratings and has been consistent ever since. The show was also renewed for a second season. Its 35 episodes make it the longest running show starring a Seinfeld alumnus since Seinfeld ended. Louis-Dreyfus also received an Emmy Award for lead actress in a comedy series for her role as Christine. In her acceptance speech, Louis-Dreyfus held up her award and exclaimed, "I’m not somebody who really believes in curses, but curse this, baby!" The show was also renewed for its third season, and returned as a midseason replacement through the 2007-08 season. The "Seinfeld curse" was discussed in the opening of Saturday Night Live episode on May 13, 2006, hosted by Louis-Dreyfus. Alexander and Seinfeld also appeared in this episode of Saturday Night Live. Richards continues to appear in new film and television work as well. In November 2006, controversy arose concerning racial epithets Richards shouted at black hecklers during a live comedy show. He apologized for his statements a few days later on the Late Show with David Letterman at the request of Jerry Seinfeld."It's so completely idiotic … It's very hard to have a successful sitcom," Larry David once said of the curse.
On the November 1, 2007, episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Jerry Seinfeld mentioned the possibility of filming one last scene, after they leave prison. He mentioned he is far too busy to do it now, but did not announce what the scene would entail as it is still a possibility they will do it. In Commentary from the final season DVD, Jerry Seinfeld outlines that he and Jason Alexander spoke about this scene being in Monks Coffee Shop, with George saying “That was brutal” in reference to their team's stint in jail.
A recurring feature of Seinfeld was its use of specific products, especially candy, as plot points. These might be a central feature of a plot (e.g. Junior Mints, Twix, Jujyfruits, Snickers, Nestlé Chunky, Oh Henry! and PEZ), or an association of a candy with a guest character (e.g. Oh Henry! bars), or simply a conversational aside (e.g. Chuckles, Twinkies). Non-candy products featured in Seinfeld include Rold Gold pretzels (whose advertisements at the time featured Jason Alexander), Kenny Rogers Roasters (a chicken restaurant chain), Oreo Cookies, Ben & Jerry's, H&H Bagels, Drake's Coffee Cakes, Pepsi, Mello Yello, Bosco Chocolate Syrup, Cadillac, Saab, Ford Escort, Tyler Chicken, Specialized Bicycles, BMW, Volvo, Toyota, Tupperware, Calvin Klein, Klein Bicycles, Ovaltine, Arby's, TV Guide, Trump Tower, the board games Risk, Boggle, Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble, and Battleship, Entenmann's and the J. Peterman clothing catalog. The computers in Jerry's apartment are always Apple Macintosh; the featured model changed every few seasons to reflect Apple's latest offerings. Also seen throughout the show's run were many different brands of cereal.
A notable exception to this pattern is the use of a fictional whiskey brand called "Hennigan's". One product placement, for Snapple, was inserted as a parody of product placement; when offered some by Elaine in the middle of a conversation, the character Babu Bhatt's (owner of a Pakistani restaurant named as "Dream Cafe") brother declines, calling the drink "too fruity".
The show's creators claim that they were not engaging in a product placement strategy for commercial gain. One of the motivations for the use of real-world products, quite unrelated to commercial considerations, is the comedy value of funny-sounding phrases and words. "I knew I wanted Kramer to think of watching the operation like going to see a movie," explained Seinfeld writer/producer Andy Robin in an interview published in the Hollywood Reporter. "At first, I thought maybe a piece of popcorn falls into the patient. I ran that by my brother, and he said, 'No, Junior Mints are just funnier.'"
Many advertisers capitalized on the popularity of Seinfeld. American Express created a webisode in which Jerry Seinfeld and an animated Superman (voiced by Patrick Warburton, who played the role of David Puddy) into its commercial. Another advertisement featured Jason Alexander in a Chrysler commercial. In this, Alexander behaves much like his character George, and his relationship with Lee Iacocca plays on his George's relationship with George Steinbrenner. Similarly, Michael Richards was the focus of a series of advertisements for Vodafone which ran in Australia where he dressed and behaved exactly like Kramer, including the trademark bumbling pratfalls.
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