‘Seinfeld’ Had a Scene So Controversial That NBC Apologized for It

by Michael Freeman

Seinfeld will forever be considered a classic sitcom, due in large part to its concept of being a show about “nothing.” Nonetheless, some episodes hit touchy subjects, with one particular scene being so controversial NBC apologized for it.

If you can think of a daily situation or happening, chances are a Seinfeld episode revolved around it once or twice. Some episodes saw the characters doing questionable things, like Jerry stealing a loaf of bread from an old woman. While some of the things the show’s characters did could be considered controversial, one was so bad NBC outright apologized for it, according to Looper. The episode in question saw Kramer trampling an enflamed Puerto Rican flag while a crowd of people watched.

“The Puerto Rican Day” is about Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer being stuck in traffic and trying to escape. After leaving a Mets game early, they soon find themselves blocked by the annual Puerto Rican Day Parade. During the episode, Kramer desperately has to use the restroom, and while outside, he accidentally sets the Puerto Rican flag on fire with a sparkler. In true Kramer fashion, he makes the situation worse by trying to stomp the fire out. A mob of people witness what he did and then rush to attack him.

At a glance, it’s easy to see why the episode caused such a stir, but if you’ve seen Seinfeld, you know the main cast typically are victims of circumstance. The episode is incidentally the second-highest-rated episode of all time. Only the series finale tops it in views, with it accruing a whopping 38.8 million viewers. Nonetheless, NBC apologized and banned it from airing on the network again.

One ‘Seinfeld’ Star had a Unique On-Set Issue Thanks to his Work on a Classic Film

In addition to the wide array of subjects Seinfeld covers, you’ll notice the cast often appeared in other shows and movies. One show regular starred in a popular classic film which presented a very unique problem when shooting Seinfeld.

You know Wayne Knight as Jerry’s nemesis Newman on Seinfeld, but you may recognize him from Jurassic Park. If you do recall him from the latter, you’ll also remember he met an untimely end. Right before his death in Jurassic Park, the Dilophosaurus spat a sticky, purple liquid onto him. As it turns out, the liquid also stained Knight’s shirt and face.

While filming the movie, Seinfeld was still in full swing, so Knight had to go there later to record. However, he couldn’t remove the liquid from his shirt and face, which naturally proved to be an issue.

ABC News provided the details, even including Knight’s own recollection of what happened. “One night, I went back to shoot a Seinfeld [episode] and I came back while we were shooting Jurassic [Park], and I said, ‘You know when you did the thing with the spitter?’ They go, ‘Yeah.’ [I said] ‘It kind of dyed my face purple.’ He [dinosaur creator] goes, ‘Yeah, it’ll do that,’” Knight said. “So there was a make-up problem going back to TV, we had to like cover the spot … and they basically said, ‘Don’t blink, because we’ll do it again.”