‘Seinfeld’: Two Episodes Were Too Controversial to be Aired

by Leanne Stahulak
(Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)

“Seinfeld” represents some of the peak comedy of the 1980s and 90s. But some of their episode ideas didn’t sit well with cast members even back then.

CBR detailed two specific episodes that never even aired because either the cast or NBC opposed them. Larry David, the show’s creator, pitched both ideas. While David came up with several brilliant plots and jokes throughout “Seinfeld’s” nine seasons, these two apparently crossed the line.

The first episode, called “The Bet,” made crude references to gun safety and different presidential assassinations. The episode follows Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), who makes a bet with Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld) that she could easily purchase a gun in New York City. According to CBR, once she acquires the gun, she jokingly points it at her head and stomach. Elaine then asks Jerry if he wants “the Kennedy or the McKinley.”

Louis-Dreyfus read the scene and told the showrunner that she wasn’t comfortable with the subject or how they portrayed it. Apparently, several cast and crew members agreed, so the director cut the episode. They’d already started pre-production at that point, but the decision was made not to film it.

The other episode that got thrown out was one where George (Jason Alexander) makes a racist comment. According to Dennis Bjorklund, the author of the book “Seinfeld Reference,” Larry David wanted George to say that “he has never seen a Black person order a salad.” Since a member of the all-white cast said the comment, NBC didn’t feel it was right for them to make that joke. The network scrapped the whole episode and premise.

Other shows have also pulled controversial episodes, both before and after they aired. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” postponed an episode about a school shooting because the Colombine Massacre occurred right before it aired. Certain episodes of “30 Rock,” “Community,” and “Golden Girls” also pulled episodes featuring blackface.

How Elaine Almost Didn’t Make It Into ‘Seinfeld’

Elaine Benes represents a staple character of “Seinfeld.” But fans will notice that she didn’t appear in the show until later on in Season 1. That’s because at the time the pilot episode premiered, showrunners hadn’t even conceived Elaine’s character yet.

According to Screenrant, showrunners wanted to focus on Claire (Lee Garlington) instead. They wrote her as a waitress who works at the coffee shop where Jerry and George spend a lot of time. But she never appears past the pilot episode. Some people say NBC executives wanted a female character who would interact with the group outside of the coffee shop. Others say Garlington argued with Larry David about rewriting her scenes.

Either way, Claire wasn’t there to stay. Instead, the showrunners wrote Elaine into an episode, and Louis-Dreyfus immediately hit it off with the cast.