Seinfeld: "The Bet" (lost production material of unproduced TV sitcom episode; 1990s)
Seinfeld, known as “the show about nothing”, was an American sitcom that ran for 9 seasons from July 5, 1989 to May 14, 1998. Created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, it is considered to be one of the greatest and most influential sitcoms of all time.
“The Bet”, which is also known as “The Gun” was an unproduced season 2 episode written by Larry Charles (This is not to be confused with the season 4 episode “The Contest”) It would have aired on February 13, 1991, but was replaced by “The Phone Message”. The episode would have revealed Kramer’s first name as Conrad, but would later be revealed as Cosmo in the season 6 episode “The Switch”.
What is known about the plot is that there were two bets placed in the episode. The main plot featured Jerry and Elaine betting each other over if Elaine would buy a gun to protect herself. The subplot included Kramer returning from a vacation from Puerto Rico and claiming he had sex with the flight attendant. While Jerry believes him, George doesn't, leading to Jerry and George to bet against each other and go to the airport to see if Kramer was telling the truth. It was later revealed by the writer Larry Charles that Kramer did, in fact, have sex with the flight attendant.
- Bobbi Jo Lathan as Flight Attendant
- Ernie Sabella as Mo Korn the Gun Salesman
Both guest stars later appeared in different episodes in season 3. Bobbi appeared as Patti in "The Stranded" (although it was produced in season 2) and Ernie appeared as the naked man in "The Subway"
The whole cast at the table reading allegedly felt uncomfortable with the plot. Julia Louis-Dreyfus' character Elaine made a joke about shooting herself in the head and also referenced the JFK assassination. Jerry Seinfeld stated that trying to make the episode funny was no fun. The director of the episode, Tom Cherones, was also offended, saying there was no way to make guns funny. Cherones then went up to Charles office to confront him. While on his way he met an NBC executive, who had also talked to Charles about the script. The executive felt the same way so the episode was then cancelled.
It is unknown how much of the episode was filmed (if even filmed at all) or if a script of the episode still remains. It would be interesting to see what was so controversial about the episode that it didn’t even get made, as just about 2 years later, an episode from season 4 called “The Contest” plot involved George’s mother catching him masturbating to a Glamour magazine. After the group mocks George for saying he would quit, they all bet to see who can go the longest without masturbating. (The word “masturbate” is never actually said in the episode) However, “The Bet” would have been only the 9th episode of the entire series, and the show wasn't a huge hit yet, so it might have been too early to make darker episodes since they were still trying to attract new viewers to the show. Charles believed that had the episode been in a later season, the episode would have aired.