Seinfeld: Season 4, Episode 23

The Pilot (20 May 1993)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Comedy
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In the fourth season finale, Jerry and George's pilot is finally a go. But before the taping, Elaine desperately tries to avoid NBC president Russell Dalrymple after an awkward date, while ... See full summary »



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Title: The Pilot (20 May 1993)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Anne Twomey ...
Peter Crombie ...
Michael Barth (George)
Tom Pepper (Kramer)
Casting Director
Sandi Robbins (Elaine)


In the fourth season finale, Jerry and George's pilot is finally a go. But before the taping, Elaine desperately tries to avoid NBC president Russell Dalrymple after an awkward date, while Kramer comes face to face with his TV show counterpart. Before the pilot airs, Crazy Joe Davola (see episode "The Opera") shows up to put a damper in the gang's plans. As the pilot is finally finished and ready for airtime, the executives at NBC aren't impressed with the result. Written by halo1k

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Release Date:

20 May 1993 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


Rosie O'Donnell, Patricia Heaton, Mariska Hargitay, Jessica Lundy, Amy Yasbeck and Megan Mullally auditioned for the role of Elaine in Seinfeld. Mariska Hargitay would return playing an actress auditioning for Elaine in 'The Pilot'. See more »


When the gang sits down to watch the pilot, Jerry discovers his father's wallet stuck between the cushions of his couch and is holding it open in his lap when the credits come on. After the credits are over, we see Jerry once again but now his father's wallet is gone. See more »


References Shaft (1971) See more »

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User Reviews

Season 4: A great season hitting its mark in almost every regard to produce plenty of classic episodes
26 April 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Watching back over this show some seventeen years after it was first screened, season four marks a point where the quality is suddenly just that little bit higher than before and the season is a little bit more consistent than previous ones. This is not to say that there was anything wrong with the first three seasons, but just that season four has so many great episodes that are memorable amongst the many, many episodes made of this show. With previous seasons I had felt that the show had perhaps been dated a little bit by time and the comparison to those shows that exist because of it but are able to push the envelope further and be sharper and funnier – after all, Seinfeld's structure was new and fresh at the time but its success has meant that it seems more "normal" when viewed alongside all the other shows doing this now – it seems a long time since the Cosby Show structure was all there was for sitcoms. However, this was not the case with season four because I never felt that way once.

The main reason for this is the improved sharpness and determination for the show. As with Curb, the show benefits from a season-long structure provided by the NBC pilot of the show Jerry. It is not a factor in every episode but it does provide a linear movement in terms of time but also the characters that makes it feel a little stronger and less like you could watch the episodes in any order you want as if you were watching sketches in a sketch show. The sharpness in the writing is key though, not the specific dialogue, which has always been good but rather the scenarios. While Jerry and George may struggle to come up with one for their pilot, the actual show has lots of great scenarios that play out really well. The conclusion of the pilot plot is once example (which deserves credit for doing what it did in the early 90's – a period I do not look back on for innovative television) but there are plenty others. Like everyone else, my pick would have to be The Contest, not only because it is very funny indeed but also for the sheer chutzpah of a primetime network show doing an episode all about masturbation. Each episode hangs on the season line but within each specific episode there is so much going on with each character that each episode feels full. This allows simple ideas to be honed down to their basics so that each quick-hit works, Kramer is the best example of this, he never leads an episode but his asides are always hilarious.

The cast were already very good but the tweaks and the tightening in this season makes them really stand out. Seinfeld himself is given more to do in terms of comedy and he is less the "stable one" than before. Of course this is all relative because Alexander is on great form as George, a mess of worry and stress, he is hilarious in his total lack of self-awareness and for me he is the heart of the show. Richards gets the applause whenever he comes on first and this is understandable as he is a great comedy creation and he is great at the physical comedy. Louis-Dreyfus is very funny even without the colour of the characters given to the others; she has plenty to do in this season and she returns the favour well. The various guests include Piven and Hatcher and are well used, although I must admit not always knowing if they were famous at the time or have become so since. As always Wayne Knight is great fun added to the Kramer character.

Overall season four is a very clever, very daring and very funny season and easily the strongest of the show up to this point. There's not really a weak period in the season, far less a weak episodes and the scenarios are strong and well fleshed out to make many of them classics. A great season.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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