Seinfeld (season 1)

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Season 1
DVD cover for seasons one and two
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes5
Original networkNBC
Original releaseJuly 5, 1989 (1989-07-05) –
June 21, 1990 (1990-06-21)
Season chronology
Next →
Season 2
List of episodes

Season one of Seinfeld, an American television series created by Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, began airing on July 5, 1989, on NBC.[1] Originally called The Seinfeld Chronicles, its name was shortened to Seinfeld after the pilot to avoid confusion with another sitcom called The Marshall Chronicles.[2] The season finale aired on June 21, 1990.[3]

A Seasons 1 & 2 DVD box set was released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in the United States and Canada on November 23, 2004, thirteen years after it had completed broadcast on television.[4] In addition to every episode from the two seasons, the DVD release features bonus material, including deleted scenes, animatics, exclusive stand-up material, and commentaries.[5] With only four episodes after the pilot, season one of Seinfeld is one of the smallest sitcom orders in television history.


Castle Rock Entertainment produced Seinfeld and Columbia Pictures Television and Columbia TriStar Television distributed the series. Seinfeld was aired on NBC in the US.[6] Larry David was the main show runner, the person who is responsible for the day-to-day operations, for this season, and one of the producers.[6] Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld wrote most of the season, with Matt Goldman writing episode three, "The Robbery".[7] The season was directed by Art Wolff and Tom Cherones.

The show features Jerry Seinfeld as himself, Jason Alexander as George Costanza, Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Benes, and Michael Richards as Kramer.[8] In the pilot, Lee Garlington appears as Claire, the waitress at Pete's Luncheonette, but after the pilot the "gang" started eating at Monk's Cafe. Garlington was set to appear as one of the main supporting characters. Her role was dropped when it was decided that there was no need for a regular female waitress.[1] The character of Claire was replaced with Elaine Benes in the second episode. Jerry refers to Kramer as Kessler; however, his name was changed to Kramer for the rest of the series.[1] Kramer was named after a real person; he was called "Kessler" in the pilot episode because of worries about the rights to use the name.[2]


The pilot was met with poor responses from test audiences, and NBC decided not to pick up the show.[2] Believing it had potential, NBC executive Rick Ludwin ordered four episodes about a year after NBC's rejection. The first aired on May 31, 1990.[2][3] When the pilot was first repeated on July 5, 1990, it received a rating of 13.9/26, meaning that 13.9% of households were tuned in at any given moment; additionally, 26% of all televisions in use at the time were tuned into it.[2] These ratings were high enough to secure a second season.[2] NBC research showed that the show was popular with young male adults, a demographic sought by advertisers, giving NBC an incentive to continue the show.[9] The episode "The Stake Out" was nominated for a Writer's Guild Award.[10]

Retrospective reception of the season has been positive. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 76% approval rating with an average rating of 8.1/10, based on 29 critic reviews. The website's critics consensus reads, "Seinfeld's first season lays out the template for the show's unique style, effectively outlining the hugless, lesson-free humor that would later make it an oft-imitated classic."[11] On Metacritic, it received a weighted mean score of 78/100, indicating "generally favorable reviews."[12] TV Guide ranked it the twenty second greatest television season of all time, being one of four of the series's entries on the list.[citation needed]


No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date [13]Prod.
code [14]
US viewers
11"The Seinfeld Chronicles"Art WolffLarry David & Jerry SeinfeldJuly 5, 1989 (1989-07-05)10115.4[15]
Jerry tells George about a woman named Laura he met in Michigan who is coming to New York for a seminar. Jerry wonders if she has romantic intentions. The two continue to talk about her after they leave the luncheonette. Jerry then receives a telephone call from Laura, who asks if she can stay overnight at his apartment. Jerry invites her, but is still unsure whether or not her visit is intended to be romantic. Jerry and Laura arrive at the apartment. Laura then receives a call and when Laura gets off the phone she tells Jerry: "Never get engaged." Jerry then realizes that he has no chance with Laura, but has already committed himself to an entire weekend with her.
22"The Stake Out"Tom CheronesLarry David & Jerry SeinfeldMay 31, 1990 (1990-05-31)10322.5[16]
During a party, Jerry flirts with a woman but fails to learn anything about her except her place of work. Jerry is reluctant to find out her phone number from his ex-girlfriend Elaine because he does not talk about other women to her. Jerry's father, Morty Seinfeld (played by a different actor from later episodes), suggests that he should wait outside the building for the woman and pretend to meet her accidentally. Jerry goes along with the idea. He manages to meet the woman, whose name is Vanessa. The two then decide to go out on a date.
33"The Robbery"Tom CheronesMatt GoldmanJune 7, 1990 (1990-06-07)10419.7[17]
Jerry is robbed after Kramer leaves Jerry's door open, so Jerry decides to find a new apartment. As a real estate broker, George finds a new apartment for Jerry, but then wants it for himself. The group argues about who should receive the apartment, with Elaine getting either George or Jerry's apartment, depending on who moves. Not wanting to hurt their friendship, Jerry and George decide not to move and give the apartment to someone else. After seeing how much the new owners enjoy the apartment, they regret their decision.
44"Male Unbonding"Tom CheronesLarry David & Jerry SeinfeldJune 14, 1990 (1990-06-14)10219.1[18]
Jerry tries to avoid meeting an old childhood friend, Joel Horneck, who persists in keeping in touch with him. Jerry claims that the reason he has not broken up the relationship is because Joel is a man. George suggests that Jerry should pretend that Joel is a woman and break up normally. Jerry attempts to break up with Joel, but Joel bursts into tears; Jerry changes his mind and agrees to take him to see the New York Knicks. Meanwhile, Kramer, working under the name Kramerica Industries, is working on the idea of building a pizza place where you make your own pizza pie.
55"The Stock Tip"Tom CheronesLarry David & Jerry SeinfeldJune 21, 1990 (1990-06-21)10519.4[19]
George gets a stock tip, and after investing $5,000, he passes the tip on to Jerry, who invests $2,500. Jerry goes on a first date with Vanessa; a weekend away at a place Elaine recommends. As George predicted, the date ends up being a disaster. Meanwhile, both George and Jerry are shocked to discover that the source of the stock tip had been admitted into the hospital. While they are unsure of when to sell the stock, the stock's value plummets. Jerry finally sells it, but its value subsequently begins to rise, and George ends up making an $8,000 profit.


General sources

  • "Seinfeld Official Site". Sony Pictures. Retrieved 2009-01-30.
  • "The Seinfeld episode search at Seinfeld Official Site". Sony Pictures. Archived from the original on 2009-05-11. Retrieved 2009-01-30.
  • "The Seinfeld Season 1 on TBS". TBS. Archived from the original on 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2009-01-30.

Specific sources and notes

  1. ^ a b c "The Seinfeld Chronicles episode at Seinfeld Official Site". Sony Pictures. Archived from the original on 2008-10-25. Retrieved 2008-04-22.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Notes about Nothing – "The Seinfeld Chronicles" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. 2008-04-22.
  3. ^ a b "Seinfeld Episodes |". TV Guide. Archived from the original on 2008-05-05. Retrieved 2008-04-22.
  4. ^ "Seinfeld region 1 DVD". DVD Movie Guide. Archived from the original on 2009-03-03. Retrieved 2009-02-01.
  5. ^ "Season 1 and 2 DVD on Seinfeld website". Sony Pictures. Archived from the original on 2008-06-14. Retrieved 2008-05-12.
  6. ^ a b "The Seinfeld Crew and Credits at Seinfeld Official Site". Sony Pictures. Archived from the original on 2009-07-23. Retrieved 2008-04-30.
  7. ^ "The Robbery episode at Seinfeld Official Site". Sony Pictures. Archived from the original on 2007-11-17. Retrieved 2008-04-29.
  8. ^ "Seinfeld and nihilism". The Observer. 1999-12-03. Archived from the original on 2007-12-17. Retrieved 2008-04-29.
  9. ^ Rapp, David (2006-05-31). "Seinfeld: The Unlikeliest Success Story". American Heritage. Archived from the original on 2008-03-15. Retrieved 2008-03-19.
  10. ^ "The Stake Out episode at Seinfeld Official Site". Sony Pictures. Archived from the original on 2008-06-14. Retrieved 2008-04-29.
  11. ^ "Seinfeld: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved November 16, 2021.
  12. ^ "Seinfeld: Season 1". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 2014-04-27. Retrieved 2014-02-16.
  13. ^ "Seinfeld Episodes |". TV Guide. Archived from the original on May 5, 2008. Retrieved March 20, 2008.
  14. ^ "Seinfeld Prod. Codes for all seasons". Archived from the original on 2008-08-05. Retrieved 2008-03-23.
  15. ^ "Hit Shows That Got Off to a Slow Start: Seinfeld". The TV Ratings Guide. Archived from the original on June 9, 2017. Retrieved July 3, 2017.
  16. ^ "'Seinfeld' is a standup hit". USA Today. June 6, 1990. p. 3D. Archived from the original on December 31, 2013. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  17. ^ "'Mysteries' cracks the top 5". USA Today. June 13, 1990. p. 3D. Archived from the original on December 31, 2013. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  18. ^ "'Seinfeld' is still going strong". USA Today. June 20, 1990. p. 3D. Archived from the original on December 31, 2013. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  19. ^ "Mandela didn't inspire ratings". USA Today. June 27, 1990. p. 3D. Archived from the original on December 31, 2013. Retrieved December 30, 2013.

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