“The Seinfeld Chronicles” is the pilot episode of the NBC series, Seinfeld. It originally aired on July 5, 1989. It was written by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, and was directed by Art Wolff. The original title of the episode was StandUp, but later changed to Good News, Bad News before reverting to The Seinfeld Chronicles.
There are two versions of the pilot: the original version shown during the original airing, and the re-edited version shown in reruns.
The series opens with Jerry Seinfeld and George Costanza at Pete's Luncheonette, debating the placement of one of George's shirt buttons. George Strait's "Baby's Gotten Good At Goodbye" is playing in the background. The waitress, Claire, pours each of them a cup of coffee. George frets about whether Claire is giving him regular or decaffeinated coffee, saying he does not want caffeine in it. Claire later, to annoy him, implies that she gave him regular. Jerry then tells George about a woman he met in Lansing, Michigan, named Laura, who is coming to New York. Jerry wonders if she has romantic intentions. The two continue to talk about her after they leave Pete's and go to the laundromat.The next evening, Jerry tells his neighbor Kessler (who in all future episodes is known as Kramer) that he thinks he misunderstood the situation with Laura. 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. George and Jerry continue to debate the issue, with Jerry determined to find the true nature of her visit. At the airport, George and Jerry continue to try to identify the possible signals Laura might give upon her arrival, with George explaining the meaning of various greetings. However, when Laura arrives, her greeting is ambiguous. Jerry and Laura arrive at the apartment. Laura then removes her shoes and some excess clothing to get comfortable, and while in her stocking feet asks for wine, turns down the light and asks if she can stay over a second night. As Jerry begins to grow confident, the phone rings for Laura. 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 — and his one-bedroom apartment — to an entire weekend with her, including a five-hour sightseeing boat ride.
Notes About Nothing
- This episode originally aired on July 5, 1989, making it the only Seinfeld episode released in the 1980s.
- The episode does not feature the character Elaine Benes. Her character was introduced as a result of constructive criticism based on this episode. As a result, Julia Louis-Dreyfus does not appear in this episode.
- Jerry's apartment is significantly different from the rest of the series; the trimming on the cabinets & wood is yellow, not grey. The arch from the living room into the bathroom & Jerry's room does not exist & instead there is a door. Also, the far left side, where Jerry's computer & window to the street are, is not there; instead there is an observatory-esque glass wall looking out into the alley below.
- The pilot was filmed at Stage 8 of Desilu Cahuenga studios, the same studio where the CBS sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show was filmed. The sitcom was shot in black and white and ran for 5 seasons. A total of 158 half-hour episodes were aired from 1961 to 1966.
- George, at one point, suggests that Jerry should do the opposite of his instincts, a practice which George himself would later do in "The Opposite".
- Lee Garlington, who played Claire (the waitress at Pete's) in the pilot, although credited as a regular, was not asked to appear in the series and is only featured in this episode.
- The restaurant where Jerry and George are eating lunch is known as Pete's Luncheonette in this episode. It will later be replaced by the famous Monk's Cafe for the remainder of the series.
- The theme song in the original version is different; it is a typical 80s-esque sitcom theme.
- Kramer is called Kessler in this episode. Larry David was thinking of Kenny Kramer when he created the character, but Kenny did not authorize Larry to use his name; Larry used Kessler to avoid a lawsuit. Kenny liked the pilot, and Larry changed Kessler to Kramer.
- Kramer is shown owning a dog in this episode, but it is never seen again afterwards.
- In keeping with continuity, the name Kessler is used again in a flashback, when Jerry moves in, in Season Nine's “The Betrayal”. He corrects Jerry, saying, “Actually, it’s Kramer.”
The gallery page for The Seinfeld Chronicles can be found here.
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|Season One Episodes|
|The Seinfeld Chronicles | The Stake Out | The Robbery | Male Unbonding | The Stock Tip|