Seinfeld’s journey from flop to acclaimed hit

Initially, Seinfeld met with a lukewarm response, a baffled network, low ratings and a volatile creator. So how did it become such a hit?

“Pilot performance: Weak”. That was the research report verdict on the 1989 pilot of new NBC sitcom Stand Up, written by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld. The episode had excited “lukewarm reactions among adults and teens and very low reactions among kids”. The audience found it annoying that the main character, a fictionalised version of comedian Jerry Seinfeld, “needed things to be explained to him”. The lead was too wimpy, the show was “too New York” (and therefore too Jewish) and worst of all, nothing happened in it. “You can’t get too excited about going to the Laundromat”, as one respondent put it. The report’s conclusion was stark: “no viewer was eager to watch the show again.”

Fast forward nine years and the Seinfeld finale
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'Seinfeld' lost episode: Cast rejected gun plot

'Seinfeld' lost episode: Cast rejected gun plot
Seinfeld certainly had its provocative moments (see: “sponge-worthy”). So it’s hard to imagine that there was any subject too controversial for the hit comedy. But one topic did manage to cross the line: guns.

The cast and crew refused to shoot what would have been the show’s ninth episode, “The Bet.” The second season episode, written by Borat director Larry Charles, followed the friends making a bet whether or not Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Elaine Benes would purchase a gun for protection. The narrative was inspired by a firearm purchase made by Seinfeld writer Elaine Pope.

Charles told Screen Crush
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'Seinfeld': 'The Contest' turns 20 years old - retro-recapping a comedy classic

Sunday (Nov. 18) is the 20th anniversary of the "Seinfeld" episode "The Contest." It's now considered one of the very best episodes of the series -- if not of any sitcom ever. Zap2it -- heck, the web as we know it -- didn't exist then. But if it had, this is how we would have recapped "The Contest" in our first ever Retro Rave. The items in parentheses are little factoids about the episode.

That's it. "Seinfeld" is king of the comedy county, lord of the laugh manor. Truly, the show is master of its domain.

The show has been on an unbelievable run this fall, and it came to a head, so to speak, this week with "The Contest," which has to be about the funniest and certainly the most innuendo-laden take on masturbation in TV history. Where to start?

("The Contest" Fact No. 1: Larry David won an
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Television Tourniquet: We Rip Open 'Reaper' -- Episode 2.2

Reaper Episode 3 "The Sweet Science" Written by: Chris Dingess Directed by: Tom Cherones Original Airdate: 17 March 2008 In This Episode… Ben tells Nina he wants to introduce her to his friends. However, he doesn't want to tell them just yet that she was the demon who tried to kill Sam. She doesn't like the lying (she was just "rebelling" and "acting out" when she tried to kill him) but goes along with it. Sam's soul is Red, a boxer who threw a fight in the 1950s. Sam is certainly no match for him. His first attempt at collecting sees Sam beaten soundly. Second attempt, Sock jumps in to help, and Sam runs...
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