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Seinfeld (season 2)

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Seinfeld Template:Str sub
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The front cover of the Seinfeld: Seasons 1 & 2 DVD box set, displaying the four main characters. The first two seasons were sold together as one box set.
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 12
Release
Original channel NBC
Original release January 23, 1991 – June 26, 1991
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 1
Next →
Season 3
List of Seinfeld episodes

Season two of Seinfeld, an American television series created by Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, began airing on January 23, 1991, on NBC.

Because of the commencement of the first Gulf War, the second season's premiere was postponed one week. The season comprised 12 episodes, and concluded its initial airing on June 26, 1991. It introduced a number of characters who played significant roles in later episodes, such as Jerry's Uncle Leo and Jerry's neighbor Newman.

Filming of the show moved from Hollywood to Studio City, Los Angeles. One episode, "The Bet", remained unfilmed, as it was considered too provocative by the network, as well as several cast and crew members. Two new writers joined the writing staff, Larry Charles and Peter Mehlman, who would continue to write for the show in later seasons. Even though season two started out with poor ratings, bringing the season to a two-month hiatus, the rest of the season was positively received by critics and was nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards.

A Seasons 1 and 2 DVD box set was released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in the United States and Canada on November 23, 2004, 13 years after it completed broadcast on television. In addition to every episode from the two seasons, the DVD release features an episode from the third season that was held over, bonus material, including deleted scenes, inside looks, bloopers, and commentaries. Four million copies of the DVD were sold by the end of the year, making it one of the best-selling DVDs of all time. TV Guide ranked it as the sixth-greatest TV season ever made.[citation needed]

Cast

The show features an ensemble cast of four characters: Jerry Seinfeld stars as a fictional version of himself; Jason Alexander portrays Seinfeld's neurotic friend George Costanza; Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays Elaine Benes, Seinfeld's ex-girlfriend; and Michael Richards stars as Seinfeld's neighbor Kramer.[1] Matthew Gilbert of The Boston Globe noted the characters' evolution during the season: "As the seasons progress, you can see Michael Richards turn Kramer [...] from a vague eccentric [...] into a stylized creation who redefined TV's quirky-neighbor type with Danny Kaye accents. You can see Julia Louis-Dreyfus [...] develop Elaine from a puffy-haired gal pal (who wasn't in the pilot) into a delightfully petty urbanite. And you can see Jason Alexander push George from "a blatant Woody Allen impression", as the actor acknowledges, into a more offensive and hyperactive neurotic."[2]

The season introduced several characters who returned later on the show. The episode "The Pony Remark" featured the second appearance of Helen and Morty Seinfeld, both of whom had previously appeared in the season 1 episode "The Stake Out".[3] In "The Stakeout", Morty was portrayed by Phil Bruns; however, David and Seinfeld wanted the character to be harsher,[4][5] and re-cast him with Barney Martin, who auditioned for the part on October 15, 1990 at 12:45 pm.[3] Martin was unaware that another actor had already established the part.[6] Helen was portrayed by Liz Sheridan, who had played her in "The Stake Out"[3] The same episode introduced Jerry's uncle Leo, portrayed by Len Lesser, who was known for his acting in gangster films such as The Outlaw Josey Wales and Kelly's Heroes.[3] When Lesser auditioned for the part on October 22, 1990,[3] he incited laughs from David, Seinfeld, and casting director Marc Herschfield, but did not understand why, because he did not think his lines were funny.[7] Herschfield stated that when Lesser had auditioned it was clear that he was the right actor for the part.[7] "The Revenge" features the first appearance by Newman (voiced by David), a suicidal man who lives in Jerry's apartment building.[8] In "The Revenge", Newman remained out of sight, although he appeared in a deleted scene.[8] Before this scene was cut, William Thomas, Jr. had been cast for the part.[8] Although the writing staff never intended for Newman to return to the show, the idea of having Wayne Knight as a neighbor appealed to them.[9] Therefore, Knight was re-cast in the role of Newman for the season 3 episode "The Suicide".[10]

Production

File:Larry Charles TIFF 2008 - Religulous.jpg
Larry Charles joined the writing staff for the season.

Castle Rock Entertainment produced Seinfeld, and the show was distributed by Columbia Pictures Television and Columbia TriStar Television.[11] Seinfeld was aired on NBC in the United States.[12] The producers of the show were Larry David, George Shapiro and Howard West[11] Tom Cherones directed all episodes of the season. Series co-creators Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld wrote eight of the season's episodes. The writing staff was joined by Larry Charles, who wrote three episodes, and Peter Mehlman, who wrote "The Apartment".[13]

Starting with the season premiere, filming of the show moved from Desilu Cahuenga, in Hollywood, California,[14] to CBS Studio Center, in Studio City, Los Angeles, California.[15] Tom Azzari worked as set designer during season two; he often re-used sets from the first season, because Castle Rock Entertainment had rented a large storage facility in which sets were stored, to save money.[15] Although the scenes in Monk's Cafe were filmed at CBS Studio Center, the exterior of Tom's Restaurant, a diner at the intersection of Broadway and 112th Street in Manhattan, was used as the exterior for the cafe.[15][16] The second season of Seinfeld was supposed to start airing on January 16, 1991, but the premiere was postponed one week because of the commencement of the first Gulf War.[15]

"The Bet"

"The Bet", also known as "The Gun", is an episode that was written for the second season but never filmed. In the episode, Elaine bets against Jerry on the ease of buying a handgun to protect herself. In a subplot, Kramer returns from a vacation in Puerto Rico and tells Jerry and George he had sex with a flight attendant during the flight back. George makes a bet with him and goes to the airport with Jerry and Elaine to ask the flight attendant if Kramer's allegation is true.[17] Additionally, the episode would have revealed Kramer's first name as "Conrad";[18] his name was instead revealed as "Cosmo" in the season six episode "The Switch".[19]

The episode was written by Charles to make a funny "dark-themed" episode, using elements that were unusual in sitcoms.[20] Sets for the episode were built, and Bobbi Jo Lathan was cast as flight attendant Lucy Merrit and Ernie Sabella was cast as gun salesman Mo Korn, who was described in the script as "overweight, greasy, slow and low-key".[17][21] The table reading of the episode was held on Wednesday, December 12, 1990.[17] Julia Louis-Dreyfus stated, "I read the script and I remember thinking 'we're not going to do this'."[22] According to Alexander, when she read a scene in which she holds the gun to her head stating "where do you want it Jerry? The Kennedy? [holds the gun to her stomach] The McKinley?" (referencing the assassination of the two American presidents), Louis-Dreyfus turned to Alexander, stating "I'm not doing this."[23] Both Alexander and Cherones, who would direct the episode, felt that the gun-content in the story was too provocative.[23][24] Richards was concerned that his character would be open about arming Elaine, though in a later interview he stated "although, why not? I think Kramer could justify the use of a weapon."[25]

The cast began rehearsing, but after 20 minutes stopped and turned to Cherones, who agreed to talk to Charles.[24] While on his way to Charles' office, Cherones met Castle Rock executive Glenn Padnick and informed him about the cast's reaction to the episode. Cherones said that Padnick was relieved to hear this, and they both discussed the problem with Charles, and decided not to use the script.[24] Commenting on the episode, Charles stated "You know, it would have been an interesting show, but [...] we couldn't solve the funny problem of it. It never seemed to quite be as funny as it should be and, because of that, the balance was off and the darkness kind of enveloped it, and it could never really emerge from that darkness and become what it should have been. So, it was disappointing but also understandable."[20] The replacement episode called "The Phone Message" was written by David and Seinfeld in two days.[17]

Reception

File:Larry David at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival.jpg
Larry David was nominated for two Emmy Awards for his work on the show.

The start of season two received poor ratings, prompting NBC to put the show on hiatus for two months.[17] When the series returned in its original timeslot behind Cheers, its high ratings and increasing popularity led NBC to order the full season.[17] Seinfeld kept a large number of Cheers‍ '​ viewers; the episode "The Apartment" was watched in 15.7 million American homes, while the Cheers episode that preceded it was watched by 20.5 million American homes.[26] Ratings for the show remained high, eventually leading to a third season pickup.[26] Season two received three Emmy Award nominations; series co-creator Larry David and Seinfeld were nominated in the category "Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series" for writing the episode "The Pony Remark".[27] Cherones was nominated for "Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series" for directing "The Pony Remark".[27] David was also nominated for the award for writing "The Deal".[27] Although the show did not win an Emmy, Seinfeld was praised for co-hosting the Emmy telecast.[28]

Critics reacted positively to the season.[15] During its 1991 Program awards, Entertainment Weekly, ranked Seinfeld second place in the "Program of the year" category, behind Roseanne.[8] Joseph P. Kahn, a critic for the Wilmington Morning Star, praised the writing and acting of the season premiere and stated, "One safe prediction, Seinfeld will be here for a good long run this time around."[29] Writing for The Spokesman-Review, critic Jon Burlingame stated that "Seinfeld is an offbeat take on the standard sitcom concept. While rarely hilarious, it's often smart and amusing."[30] Dave Kehr of The New York Times felt that "The Pony Remark" was a turning point for the show, noting that after the first few episodes, the show "turn[ed] into something sharp and distinctive [...] Here, suddenly, is the tight knot of guilt and denial, of hypersensitivity and sarcastic contempt that Seinfeld would explore for the next eight years."[31] Despite the critical acclaim for the season and several of its episodes, two of the season's episodes, "The Busboy" and "The Baby Shower", were named to a list of Seinfeld‍ '​s "Not-so-top episodes", compiled by the New York Daily News.[32]

Episodes

"Rating" refers to percentage of American households that watched an episode, and "Share" refers to the percentage of televisions that tuned into an episode at its time slot.

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Original air date[33] Production
code[34]
U.S.viewers
(in millions)

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DVD release

Columbia TriStar released Seinfeld‍ '​s first two seasons as a single "Volume 1" DVD boxset on Region 1 on November 3, 2004.[35] The season 3 boxset was released on the same day.[36] The DVD set contained numerous extras, including audio commentaries by the writers and cast,[36] inside looks on episodes, deleted scenes,[37] and "Notes About Nothing", which are special subtitles containing facts about the show.[38] Seasons 1 to 3 were also released as a deluxe gift set, which included Monk's Diner salt and pepper shakers, playing cards, and a limited-edition script with handwritten notes from co-creator Larry David.[35][36] One week before the release of these gift sets, 400,000 were sold in advance, selling out before the week ended.[35] On January 5, 2005 the show had sold over 4 million copies, making it one of the highest grossing and fastest-selling television DVDs of all time.[39]

Seinfeld Volume 1: Seasons 1 & 2
Set details Special features
  • 18 Episodes
  • 4-disc set
  • 1.33:1 aspect ratio
  • Subtitles: English
  • English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Audio Commentaries (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
    • "The Stakeout" – Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld
    • "The Busboy" – Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, and Michael Richards
    • "The Baby Shower" – Larry Charles
    • "The Heart Attack" – Larry Charles
    • "The Revenge" – Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander and Michael Richards
    • "The Deal" – Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld
  • Introductions
    • "The Stakeout" – Jerry Seinfeld and Julia Louis-Dreyfus
    • "The Stranded" – Jerry Seinfeld
  • Inside Look on every episode except "The Stock Tip", "The Ex Girlfriend", "The Stranded" and "The Heart Attack".
  • How it began (3-part making-of documentary)
  • Deleted scenes
  • "Not That There's Anything Wrong With That" (Bloopers)
  • "Master of His Domain" (Exclusive Stand-Up Material)
  • Appearances on The Tonight Show by Jerry Seinfeld and Michael Richards.
  • 3 Easter Eggs

References

General
Inline citations and notes
  1. ^ Tucker, Ken (January 10, 1992). "Seinfeld (1990–1998)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 6, 2009. 
  2. ^ Gilbert, Matthew (November 21, 2004). "With 'Seinfeld' DVD set, the delight is in the details". The Boston Globe. Retrieved August 13, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Notes about Nothing – "The Pony Remark" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. 
  4. ^ Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Notes about Nothing – "The Stake Out" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. 
  5. ^ Seinfeld, Jerry; David, Larry. Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Audio Commentary for "The Stake Out" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. 
  6. ^ Martin, Barney. Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Inside Looks – "The Stake Out" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. 
  7. ^ a b David, Larry; Cherones, Tom; Lesser, Len; Herschfield, Marc. Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Inside Looks – "The Pony Remark" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. 
  8. ^ a b c d Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Notes about Nothing – "The Revenge" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. 
  9. ^ Charles, Larry. Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Audio Commentary for "The Heart Attack" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. 
  10. ^ Seinfeld Season 2: Notes about Nothing – "The Suicide" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. 
  11. ^ a b "The Seinfeld Crew and Credits at Seinfeld Official Site". Sony Pictures. Retrieved August 6, 2009. 
  12. ^ Bark, Ed (November 21, 2004). "Early-years DVDs of the show about nothing are something else.". The Dallas Morning News. p. 1G. 
  13. ^ Schilling, Mary Kaye; Flaherty, Mike (April 7, 2008). "The Seinfeld Chronicles: Season Two". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 26, 2009. 
  14. ^ Reiner, Rob; Ludwin, Rick; Seinfeld, Jerry; David, Larry; Alexander, Jason. Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Inside Looks – "The Seinfeld Chronicles" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. 
  15. ^ a b c d e Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Notes about Nothing – "The Ex-Girlfriend" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. 
  16. ^ Stansbury, Robin (October 4, 1998). "Monk's Cafe Part of Museum's Seinfeld Exhibit". The Hartford Courant. p. F3. 
  17. ^ a b c d e f Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Notes about Nothing – "The Phone Message" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. 
  18. ^ Rowles, Dustin (March 23, 2015). "NBC Censors Nixed At Least Two Politically Incorrect ‘Seinfeld’ Episodes". Uproxx. Retrieved March 23, 2015. 
  19. ^ Buckman, Adam (August 27, 2011). "'Entourage' Preview: What's in a Name?". Xfinity TV Blog. Comcast. Retrieved March 23, 2015. 
  20. ^ a b Charles, Larry. Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Inside Looks – "The Bet" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. 
  21. ^ Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Notes about Nothing – "The Stranded" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. 
  22. ^ Louis-Dreyfus, Julia. Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Inside Looks – "The Bet" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. 
  23. ^ a b Alexander, Jason. Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Inside Looks – "The Bet" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. 
  24. ^ a b c Cherones, Tom. Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Inside Looks – "The Bet" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. 
  25. ^ Richards, Michael. Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Inside Looks – "The Bet" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. 
  26. ^ a b Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Notes about Nothing – "The Apartment" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. 
  27. ^ a b c DuBrow, Rick (July 19, 1991). "Networks Facing Cable, Syndication Emmy Challenge". Los Angeles Times. p. F1. 
  28. ^ Weinstein, Steve (September 4, 1991). "Tiny Issues, Big Laughs `Seinfeld' Earns Right to Weekly Berth to Toy With Life's Little Dilemmas". Los Angeles Times. p. F1. 
  29. ^ Kahn, Joseph (January 16, 1991). "Seinfeld Sitcom has solid start". Wilmington Morning Star. p. 5B. Retrieved August 16, 2009. [dead link]
  30. ^ Burlingame, Jon (January 16, 1991). "Seinfeld steps smartly back on to schedule". The Spokesman-Review. p. C3. Retrieved August 16, 2009. 
  31. ^ Kehr, Dave (November 23, 2004). "New DVDs". The New York Times. Retrieved August 10, 2009. 
  32. ^ Vaccaro, Chris (July 8, 2008). "A look back at the best – and worst – Seinfeld episodes". New York Daily News. Retrieved August 17, 2009. 
  33. ^ "Seinfeld Episodes | TVGuide.com". TV Guide. Retrieved August 6, 2009. 
  34. ^ "The Seinfeld episode search at Seinfeld Official Site". Sony Pictures Digital. Retrieved August 6, 2009. 
  35. ^ a b c Arnold, Thomas K. (November 22, 2004). "It's the autumn of 'Seinfeld'". USA Today. Retrieved August 6, 2009. 
  36. ^ a b c Poniewozik, James (November 22, 2004). "Ballad of Big Nothing". Time. Retrieved August 6, 2009. 
  37. ^ Werts, Diane (November 21, 2004). "They're here in all there glory, The long-awaited DVDs of 'Seinfeld' – a show about nothing – offer just about everything a fan could ask for". Newsday. p. C20. 
  38. ^ Dancis, Bruce (November 23, 2004). "Now, that's something; 'Seinfeld,' the classic sitcom about nothing, comes to DVD with bonuses and yada yada yada". Sacramento Bee. p. E1. 
  39. ^ Snider, Mike (January 5, 2009). "DVD continues spinning success". USA Today. Retrieved September 19, 2009. 

External links