Seinfeld (season 2)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||12|
|Original release||January 23 –|
June 26, 1991
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.
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. 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."
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". In "The Stakeout", Morty was portrayed by Phil Bruns; however, David and Seinfeld wanted the character to be harsher, and re-cast him with Barney Martin, who auditioned for the part on October 15, 1990, at 12:45 pm. Martin was unaware that another actor had already established the part. Helen was portrayed by Liz Sheridan, who had played her in "The Stake Out". 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. When Lesser auditioned for the part on October 22, 1990, he incited laughs from David, Seinfeld, and casting director Marc Hirschfeld, but did not understand why, because he did not think his lines were funny. Herschfield stated that when Lesser had auditioned it was clear that he was the right actor for the part. "The Revenge" features the first appearance by Newman (voiced by David), a suicidal man who lives in Jerry's apartment building. In "The Revenge", Newman remained out of sight, although he appeared in a deleted scene. Before this scene was cut, William Thomas, Jr. had been cast for the part. 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. Therefore, Knight was re-cast in the role of Newman for the season 3 episode "The Suicide".
Castle Rock Entertainment produced Seinfeld, and the show was distributed by Columbia Pictures Television and Columbia TriStar Television. Seinfeld was aired on NBC in the United States. The producers of the show were Larry David, George Shapiro and Howard West. Tom Cherones directed all episodes of the season. Series co-creators 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".
Starting with the season premiere, filming of the show moved from Desilu Cahuenga, in Hollywood, California, to CBS Studio Center, in Studio City, Los Angeles, California. 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. 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. 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.
"The Bet", also known as "The Gun", is an episode that was written for the second season, but was 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 claim is true. Additionally, the episode would have revealed Kramer's first name as "Conrad"; his name was instead revealed as "Cosmo" in the season six episode "The Switch".
The episode was written by Charles to make a funny "dark-themed" episode, using elements that were unusual in sitcoms. 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". The table reading of the episode was held on December 12, 1990. Louis-Dreyfus stated, "I read the script and I remember thinking 'we're not going to do this'." 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." Both Alexander and Cherones, who would direct the episode, felt that the gun content in the story was too provocative. 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."
The cast began rehearsing, but after 20 minutes stopped and turned to Cherones, who agreed to talk to Charles. 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. 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." The replacement episode called "The Phone Message" was written by David and Seinfeld in two days.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 100% approval rating based on 17 critic reviews. The website's critics consensus reads, "Seinfeld's comedic voice gets more confident in this much-improved second season, which better utilizes its supporting players to uproarious effect."
The start of season two received poor ratings, prompting NBC to put the show on hiatus for two months. When the series returned in its original timeslot behind Cheers, its high ratings and increasing popularity led NBC to order the full season. 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. Ratings for the show remained high, eventually leading to a third season pickup. 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". Cherones was nominated for "Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series" for directing "The Pony Remark". David was also nominated for the award for writing "The Deal". Although the show did not win an Emmy, Seinfeld was praised for co-hosting the Emmy telecast.
Critics reacted positively to the season. During its 1991 Program awards, Entertainment Weekly ranked Seinfeld second place in the "Program of the year" category, behind Roseanne. 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." 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." 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." 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.
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date ||Prod.|
|6||1||"The Ex-Girlfriend"||Tom Cherones||Larry David & Jerry Seinfeld||January 23, 1991||201||15.6|
|George complains about his girlfriend Marlene, whom he finds annoying, to Jerry. Jerry insists that George break up with her. George takes Jerry's advice, and ends his relationship with her. Telling Jerry about the break-up, George insists that Jerry see Marlene to retrieve books he left at her apartment. When he goes there, Jerry forms a relationship with Marlene. After George tells him that he does not mind his dating Marlene, Jerry decides to pursue her. However, after seeing Jerry's comedy act, Marlene breaks up with him.|
|7||2||"The Pony Remark"||Tom Cherones||Larry David & Jerry Seinfeld||January 30, 1991||202||15.2|
|At an aunt's dinner, Jerry makes an off-color remark ("I hate anyone who ever had a pony when they were growing up!"), which may have led to her subsequent death. Much to the disgust of Elaine, he hesitates on whether to go to her funeral or to a championship softball game. Meanwhile, Kramer and Jerry bet over whether or not Kramer will rebuild his apartment so that it has multiple levels. Kramer changes his mind and decides not to build levels, arguing that because he didn't attempt it, the bet was invalid.|
|8||3||"The Jacket"||Tom Cherones||Larry David & Jerry Seinfeld||February 6, 1991||205||14.8|
|While shopping with Elaine, Jerry buys an expensive suede jacket. Elaine convinces George and Jerry to meet her father, who has a reputation of being difficult and intimidating. Jerry wears his new jacket when he and George meet Elaine's father. After learning that she is going to be late in coming, Jerry and George are left alone to have an uncomfortable conversation with her father. When Elaine arrives, they leave for the restaurant and see that it is snowing. Elaine and George suggest that Jerry turn his new jacket inside out so that it does not get ruined. Elaine's father demands that Jerry not wear the jacket inside out because the lining has pink candy stripes. After they walk a short distance during the snowfall, Jerry's jacket gets ruined.|
|9||4||"The Phone Message"||Tom Cherones||Larry David & Jerry Seinfeld||February 13, 1991||207||13.6|
|George becomes concerned when his girlfriend, Carol, doesn't return his calls. He loses his temper and leaves a series of angry messages on her machine. Later, he discovers that she was out of town. Before she can hear the messages, he and Jerry plan to go into her apartment and switch the tape on her answering machine. George and Jerry manage to intercept Carol at her apartment and switch the tape. George later learns that she had already heard the messages and found them funny, adding that she "loves jokes like that".|
|10||5||"The Apartment"||Tom Cherones||Peter Mehlman||April 4, 1991||208||24.7|
|Elaine is depressed about her apartment's low quality. Jerry overhears the two managers of his building discussing a death that makes an apartment available. Surprised by its low rent, Jerry immediately tells Elaine that he will be able to get her the apartment. Excited at first, Jerry later realizes how intrusive Elaine might become. Meanwhile, George hears about the effect a man with a wedding ring has on a woman, and starts wearing one to see what happens. This plan backfires, as he discovers that wearing the ring causes women who would otherwise date him to reject him.|
|11||6||"The Statue"||Tom Cherones||Larry Charles||April 11, 1991||210||23.3|
|Jerry receives some of his grandfather's old possessions. Among them is a statue that looks like one that George's family had until George broke it. Jerry promises that George can have it, but leaves it in his apartment for a few days. Jerry later has his apartment cleaned by Ray, the boyfriend of Rava, a client of Elaine's. Jerry and Elaine see the statue at Ray's apartment, and think that Ray stole it. Dressed as Joe Friday, Kramer pretends to be a cop and retrieves the statue from Ray. The statue is returned to a grateful George, but George later drops it when Kramer gives him a friendly slap on the back.|
|12||7||"The Revenge"||Tom Cherones||Larry David||April 18, 1991||212||19.6|
|George quits his job after tiring of his demanding boss, but immediately regrets his decision. He returns to the workplace, pretending that the event had never occurred, but is fired. Jerry is irked to discover that the money he had hidden in his laundry bag went missing subsequent to his trip to the laundromat. He immediately blames the owner, who claims no responsibility. Jerry is furious and, helped by Kramer, plots to pour a bag of cement into the washing machine. After pulling the prank, Jerry's money is discovered in Kramer's laundry bag. George, helped by Elaine, plots revenge against his former boss, but his attempt costs him his chance to regain his job.|
|13||8||"The Heart Attack"||Tom Cherones||Larry Charles||April 25, 1991||211||20.6|
|George thinks that he is having a heart attack, but actually needs a tonsillectomy. Kramer recommends a holistic healer as an alternative. George takes Kramer's advice, and when George, Kramer, and Jerry meet the holistic healer, he gives George tea to fix his tonsil problem. George gets sick from drinking the tea and is rushed to the hospital. On the way to the hospital, the paramedics argue, causing the ambulance to get into an accident. George and Jerry are later seen in neck braces, and George has had his tonsils removed.|
|14||9||"The Deal"||Tom Cherones||Larry David||May 2, 1991||213||22.9|
|Elaine and Jerry renew their sexual relationship after viewing a soft-core pornographic film, but to protect their friendship, they establish boundaries for future escapades. They pride themselves on having finally come up with the perfect template for having sex while remaining friends, though George doubts that their deal can work. On Elaine's birthday, Jerry inadvertently offends Elaine by giving her $182 in cash as a gift. Kramer, on the other hand, pleases Elaine by giving her a bench that she wanted. Jerry wants to end the agreement, but Elaine admits that she wants a full-fledged relationship and can no longer conform to the established rules. Realizing that he and Elaine cannot be only friends, Jerry resumes the romantic relationship.|
|15||10||"The Baby Shower"||Tom Cherones||Larry Charles||May 16, 1991||204||17.2|
|Elaine holds a baby shower for a friend at Jerry's apartment. George is excited, because he finds the baby shower to be the perfect opportunity to "tell off" the woman who gave him "unequivocally, the worst date of [his] life" by pouring Bosco chocolate sauce on his red shirt. However, he cannot muster the courage to do so. Meanwhile, Kramer convinces Jerry to pirate cable television to watch the Mets home games. When the Russian cable providers show up, they ruin the shower.|
|16||11||"The Chinese Restaurant"||Tom Cherones||Larry David & Jerry Seinfeld||May 23, 1991||206||16.8|
Jerry, George, and Elaine decide to order dinner without reservations at a Chinese restaurant, but are repeatedly stymied by the maître d'. After they are repeatedly told that they will receive a table in "5, 10 minutes", Elaine mentions that she is so hungry, she would eat food off of another patron's plate. Jerry wagers $50 that she would. Elaine approaches the diners at a table and tells them that her friends would give her $50 to eat one of their egg rolls and that she is willing to give them $25 of it. The people at the table do not understand her, and Elaine walks away and loses the wager. Jerry, having lied to his uncle that he couldn't make it to dinner, sees his uncle's receptionist at the restaurant. Realizing that his cover is blown, he decides to have dinner with his uncle after all. George, who is unable to reach his girlfriend on the pay phone, and Elaine are more than willing to leave. After they do, the maitre d' calls their party.Absent: Michael Richards as Cosmo Kramer
|17||12||"The Busboy"||Tom Cherones||Larry David & Jerry Seinfeld||June 26, 1991||203||12.5|
|Jerry, George, and Elaine are at dinner, when a menu on an adjacent table catches on fire. George puts it out and explains to the manager that the busboy, Antonio, left the menu too close to a candle, and Elaine jokingly declares that she is never eating there again. Antonio is subsequently fired, upsetting Elaine and George. George and Kramer later go to his apartment to apologize, only to accidentally let his cat out of the apartment. A few days later, Antonio comes to see George, and tells him that there was an explosion at the restaurant, killing five employees, including Antonio's replacement. He also explains that, while he was searching for his cat, he found a better job. He thanks George for saving his life. On his way out of the building, Antonio gets in a fight with a boyfriend, Eddie, whom Elaine is trying to dump, injuring them both. Antonio loses his new job, George is forced to take care of his cat, and Eddie is bed ridden at Elaine's apartment for several more weeks.|
- "Seinfeld Official Site". Sony Pictures Digital. Retrieved August 6, 2009.
- "The Seinfeld episode search at Seinfeld Official Site". Sony Pictures Digital. Archived from the original on May 11, 2009. Retrieved August 6, 2009.
- "The Seinfeld Season 2 on TBS". TBS. Archived from the original on May 12, 2008. Retrieved August 6, 2009.
Inline citations and notes
- Tucker, Ken (January 10, 1992). "Seinfeld (1990–1998)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 6, 2009.
- Gilbert, Matthew (November 21, 2004). "With 'Seinfeld' DVD set, the delight is in the details". The Boston Globe. Retrieved August 13, 2009.
- Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Notes about Nothing – "The Pony Remark" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
- Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Notes about Nothing – "The Stake Out" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
- Seinfeld, Jerry; David, Larry. Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Audio Commentary for "The Stake Out" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
- Martin, Barney. Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Inside Looks – "The Stake Out" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
- David, Larry; Cherones, Tom; Lesser, Len; Hirschfeld, Marc. Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Inside Looks – "The Pony Remark" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
- Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Notes about Nothing – "The Revenge" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
- Charles, Larry. Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Audio Commentary for "The Heart Attack" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
- Seinfeld Season 2: Notes about Nothing – "The Suicide" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
- "The Seinfeld Crew and Credits at Seinfeld Official Site". Sony Pictures. Archived from the original on July 23, 2009. Retrieved August 6, 2009.
- Bark, Ed (November 21, 2004). "Early-years DVDs of the show about nothing are something else". The Dallas Morning News. p. 1G.
- Schilling, Mary Kaye; Flaherty, Mike (April 7, 2008). "The Seinfeld Chronicles: Season Two". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 26, 2009.
- Reiner, Rob; Ludwin, Rick; Seinfeld, Jerry; David, Larry; Alexander, Jason. Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Inside Looks – "The Seinfeld Chronicles" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
- Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Notes about Nothing – "The Ex-Girlfriend" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
- Stansbury, Robin (October 4, 1998). "Monk's Cafe Part of Museum's Seinfeld Exhibit". The Hartford Courant. p. F3.
- Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Notes about Nothing – "The Phone Message" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
- Rowles, Dustin (March 23, 2015). "NBC Censors Nixed At Least Two Politically Incorrect 'Seinfeld' Episodes". Uproxx. Retrieved March 23, 2015.
- Buckman, Adam (August 27, 2011). "'Entourage' Preview: What's in a Name?". Xfinity TV Blog. Comcast. Retrieved March 23, 2015.
- Charles, Larry. Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Inside Looks – "The Bet" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
- Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Notes about Nothing – "The Stranded" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
- Louis-Dreyfus, Julia. Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Inside Looks – "The Bet" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
- Alexander, Jason. Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Inside Looks – "The Bet" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
- Cherones, Tom. Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Inside Looks – "The Bet" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
- Richards, Michael. Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Inside Looks – "The Bet" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
- "Seinfeld: Season 2". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved November 16, 2021.
- Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2: Notes about Nothing – "The Apartment" (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
- DuBrow, Rick (July 19, 1991). "Networks Facing Cable, Syndication Emmy Challenge". Los Angeles Times. p. F1.
- 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.
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- Kehr, Dave (November 23, 2004). "New DVDs". The New York Times. Retrieved August 10, 2009.
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