There have been many sitcoms after Seinfeld that have tried to do something new based on a similar formula, but never managed to achieve the incredible success of that show. But what made Seinfeld such a success? Its funny characters who never got old or stale throughout the series’ almost decade-long run? Was it because the show dared to touch “sensitive topics” such as masturbation and group sex in a bold manner during a period when our society was ready to change and progress? Nobody can answer these questions with any certainty, but the facts speak for themselves: Being voted the #1 comedy in TV history, surpassing iconic American shows such as I Love Lucy and The Honeymooners in the list of fifty shows chosen by TV Guide’s editors, and delivering some of the most classic lines in television have helped make Seinfeld a lasting part of American pop culture. Here follows an intriguing list of surprising facts you might not know about Seinfeld but definitely should. You never know—they might come in handy on Trivia Night. Written by Theodoros II
OBSESSED WITH NUMBER 9
Jerry Seinfeld is quite obsessed with the number nine, which was the main reason he decided to end Seinfeld after nine seasons in 1998. His fascination with the number is so serious that he would later turn down an offer from NBC for a tenth season that would have made him about $110 million richer.
KRAMER WAS THE "MAN"
At the absolute height of his popularity, Kramer’s entrance applause kept growing to the point where the rest of the cast would moan that it was ruining the pacing of their scenes. Eventually, the directors kindly requested that the audience not applaud so passionately when Kramer showed up.
NEWMAN WAS SUPPOSED TO BE BLACK
While watching the show you probably felt like Jerry said “Hello, Newman” over a hundred times, but in reality he only said it sixteen times throughout the entire series. By the way, Newman was supposed to be an African-American character. Eventually, Wayne Knight got the role, even though he never got a first name to go with it.
THE SHOW WASN'T SUPPOSED TO BE SUCCESSFUL
Moments before the show was about to air for the first time, an anxious but excited Jerry Seinfeld asked Jason Alexander’s prediction for the show’s chances of making it big. Alexander thought the show had zero chance for success and justified his response by saying, “Because the audience for this show is me, and I don’t watch TV.”
IT WORKED AS ANTIDEPRESSANT FOR SOME PEOPLE
When Steven Spielberg was filming Schindler’s List, there were times he would get so depressed that he had to watch tapes of Seinfeld episodes to lighten his mood.
IT MADE HISTORY IN TERMS OF RATINGS
Seinfeld is one of only three series in American history to keep the number 1 spot in the ratings for its entire final network season. The other two are I Love Lucy in 1956–57 and The Andy Griffith Show in 1967–68.
SEINFELD HAD TOO MANY GIRLFRIENDS FOR AN UGLY DUDE
Have you ever wondered how many girlfriends Jerry had during the series? Yep, we added them up for you and we’re happy to announce that Jerry had seventy-three girlfriends. Not bad, especially when you consider that Jerry didn’t exactly look like Brad Pitt or George Clooney.
IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A "DOCUMENTARY"
The show was supposed to be a ninety-minute mockumentary titled “Stand Up,” about a stand-up comedian who writes jokes about his life. Apparently, the NBC producers loved the idea so much that the program went on to become the show we all know and love today as Seinfeld, and to last nine years.
THE SHOW WON A MEDICAL AWARD
Seinfeld won numerous awards during its nine seasons but its creators probably never expected to earn an award from the American Academy of Dermatology for promoting skin care awareness in the season nine episode “The Slicer.” In this episode Marcia Cross (Melrose Place, Desperate Housewives) starred as a dermatologist who Jerry ended up briefly dating.
FRANK SINATRA DIED ON THE SAME DAY THE SHOW ENDED
The great Frank Sinatra died during the airing of the final episode of the series on May 14, 1998. Ironically, his daughter Nancy was planning to visit him that day but she got caught up bingeing on Seinfeld reruns prior to the finale.
KRAMER AND THE WORD "YES"
Kramer actually says the word “yes” in only three episodes. In the rest of the 170 episodes he appeared in he usually stuck to variations of the word such as “yup,” “yeah,” “giddy up,” and so on.