Seinfeld "The Bet" (lost production material of unproduced TV sitcom episode; 1990s)
Seinfeld, known as “the show about nothing”, is 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. Despite this, the show has been met with some with controversy over the years. One of the most infamous examples was from the season 9 episode “The Puerto Rican Day” where Kramer accidentally burns and stomps the Puerto Rican flag. NBC apologized and never aired the episode during summer reruns. However, it did air on syndication but cut the flag burning scene until 2002.
But a lot of you might not know that there was an episode from season 2 that was written but never produced. It is called “The Bet”, which is also known as “The Gun” (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”.
What is known about the plot is that Elaine bets against Jerry on the ease of buying a handgun to protect herself. The episode also has a subplot in which Kramer return from a vacation in Puerto Rico and tells Jerry and George that he had sex with the flight attendant during the flight back. George makes a bet with Kramer and goes to the airport with Jerry and Elaine to ask the flight attendant if this is true. The episode would have revealed Kramer’s first name as Conrad, but would late be revealed as Cosmo in the season 6 episode “The Switch”.
The episode was written by Larry Charles who wanted to make a more darker themed episode. (Larry was responsible for many of the darker and controversial moments for the show such as the Nazi’s in the season 3 episode “The Limo”, the psychotic stalker in the season 4 episode “The Opera”, and the hospital patient committing suicide in the season 5 episode “The Bris”) Sets were build for the episode and even had cast members. Bobbi Jo Lathan was cast the flight attendant and Ernie Sabella was cast as the gun salesman Mo Korn. Ernie would later appear as the naked man in the season 3 episode “The Subway”. It is known that Elaine made a joke about the JFK assassination. Dreyfus stated “I read the script and remember thinking ‘we’re not going to do this’”.
The cast rehearsed for 20 minutes, but they felt very uncomfortable doing the episode. So the director of the episode, Tom Cherones, went up to talk to Larry Charles. While on his way, Cherones spoke to NBC executive Glenn Padnick to inform that the cast was not comfortable with the episode. Padnick was relieved and said that he had discussed the problems with Charles about the script. They then cancelled the episode.
It is unknown how much of the episode was filmed (if it was filmed it all) and 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 was George’s mother catching him masturbating to a Glamour magazine and the group bets 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 use these dark episodes.