I can't tell you how chuffed I am that other people get the Toobworld concept. There's hope for the future!
I've got a special guest appearance lined up for today, thanks to Jeremy Kreuzer. In fact, this post has inspired me to add Jerry Seinfeld to the Television Crossover Hall of Fame for 2022!
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did....
I’m a longtime reader of the Toobworld blog. As
a huge fan of interconnected universes, the connections and crossovers
established within the Toobworld dynamic are always a delight to read. I’ve
actually written to you once before years ago, asking for your thoughts on
shows’ differing interpretations of the Kennedy assassination. This time, I had
some theorizing of my own I was hoping to share.
While reading some older posts on the blog, I
came to realize that Jerry Seinfeld had made quite a few appearances on other
television shows while ‘Seinfeld’ was on the air. Unfortunately, this usually
was accompanied by zonks of all sorts. Jerry is referred to as an actor and
having a show, complete strangers know who his friends are, and other characters
even submit scripts for the series.
In most cases, Toobworld has a coverall explanation for such zonks: everyone
has a television show based upon their lives, even if we don’t see it. However,
‘Seinfeld’ is unique in that we actually do see such a television adaptation
integrated into its ongoing plot. And it’s a plot point that the pilot for ‘Jerry’
was never developed into a full show while ‘Seinfeld’ was on air. I wondered,
then, how appearances contemporaneous to Seinfeld’s original run could be dezonked.
After some digging, I think I may have a thorough “splainin”.
It all begins in September of 1992, when Jerry
is approached by NBC to develop a pilot for them.1 He and
George spend the next few months working on a pilot script for the network. Meanwhile, Paul Buchman has been subletting his apartment to
Kramer, but is spurred by his wife to give up his old residence and turn over
the apartment. While meeting with Kramer, he asks what happened to the Jerry
living across the hall. When told about Jerry’s pilot, he is skeptical that it
will succeed.2 In February of 1993, Jerry goes to Los Angeles,
possibly for an appearance on a late night talk show. While in a CBS back lot,
he is nearly run over by the crew of the WKRP
radio station in Cincinnati,
who were themselves in L.A. to develop a sitcom about their own lives. Mr.
Carlson recognizes Jerry (presumably from his standup) and has Frank film him.
Jerry flirtatiously introduces himself to Mona, claiming he has ‘a show’ – a
slight exaggeration when in truth he has but a work-in-progress pilot.3 Over the next few months the pilot is completed
and filmed. ‘Jerry’ airs that spring, but never gets off the ground due to the
incoming head of NBC passing on the project.4
Despite this, the
pilot is a hit with viewers who appreciate the unique approach of ‘a show about
nothing’. The news that the massively popular pilot would not be proceeding to
a full series is upsetting to its loyal fan base. Some fans reach out to Jerry
and push him to pitch the series elsewhere, many of them sending their own
scripts for consideration as well. That summer, Jerry is convinced that there
may be some future for the show. After the hectic writing partnership he
experienced with George, however, he opts to look elsewhere for a
Enter Larry David, a fellow comedian with some
television credits to his name already. Hoping that his bit of professional experience
might help get the series off the ground, Jerry enlists Larry to help develop
new scripts for a potential second pilot at a new network.
Barton is among those to
have watched the ‘Jerry’ pilot, and an interest is sparked to write a spec
script for the aborted show. In December of 1993 he spends time at the Blue
Shamrock bar/restaurant working on the script, which features Kramer sleeping
with Elaine. With only a pilot to work off of, the characters haven’t been too
defined, and he’s not sure if the plot is plausible. Nonetheless, he finishes
the script and sends it to Jerry and Larry. Initially unimpressed, upon further
consideration they decide to give the spec another look.5
Ultimately, the endeavor doesn’t go anywhere.
Shortly thereafter, Jerry and Larry tired of rejections from television
networks and the overwhelming barrage of scripts. They finally retire the ‘Jerry’
project and go their separate ways. Regardless, Jerry and his pilot retain some
level of notoriety. In May of 1997, his popularity is recognized by WNYX
broadcaster Bill McNeal, who cajoles Jerry into an interview. Bill has ‘seen [Jerry] on
TV’, and refers to him as an actor and ‘a big Hollywood star’, apparently
unaware that the ‘Jerry’ pilot was filmed in New York.6
In May of 1998, yet another new NBC president expresses interest in reviving ‘Jerry’
(in part inspired by the cult following the pilot had amassed), but a chain of
events winds up leaving Jerry sentenced to a year in prison.7 Fortunately,
this conviction is overturned by his lawyer Jackie Chiles, who successfully
argues for a mistrial due to the blatant improper character evidence presented
by the prosecution.
Jerry is back in New York by September of 1998,
where he briefly runs into Paul
Buchman, who is under the
effects of Viagra at the time. Paul’s opinion of Jerry’s work has risen since
his dismissal of Jerry’s pilot in 1993 (and seemingly untainted by Jerry’s
recent conviction), and attempts to get Jerry’s autograph.8
A free man, Jerry is happy to learn that NBC still has interest in his show –
Jerry and the gang’s high profile incident in Latham, Massachusetts, led to
massive publicity and interest in ‘the New York four’. Hoping to distance
himself from the group that helped land him in jail, Jerry once again exchanges
George for Larry to help produce the show. Significantly, the
original cast of the pilot sans Jerry is replaced with Jason Alexander, Julia
Louis-Dreyfus and Michael Richards.
The rest is history. With the newly retitled ‘Seinfeld’
hitting the waves in 1999, it becomes a cultural touchstone that many other
characters would reference. Despite its success, it enjoyed only a brief run.
Shortly thereafter, Larry David was no longer working on ‘Seinfeld’.9
So that’s my theory. Admittedly a bit long, but
I was determined to be thorough, ha-ha. If you find it useful, I would be
honored if it became the official Toobworld ‘splainin. At any rate, it’s a plot
bunny that needed to come out in some form, so thanks for the inspiration! Can’t wait to see what other fascinating ideas Toobworld
might have in store.
‘Mad About You’
‘The New WKRP in Cincinnati’
Goes to Hollywood (1993)
‘Love & War’
Not Call it Love (1993)
Real Deal (1997)
I think Jeremy has done a great job in delineating what would be pertinent for Earth Prime-Time only. I would add a post-script though, one in which Jerry doesn't take more of an active part than in making the series' finale....
'Dharma & Greg'
"Much Ado During Nothing"
From the IMDb:Greg discovers why Dharma is so eager to 'do it' with him in weird, dangerous, public places: it's a contest with Jane, the winner is awarded the duck (actually a goose), just one of many silly rules. Still Greg decides to help her win the duck back when told doing it with a dull guy like him was worth a bonus. They get arrested, but are released without bail by cop Mel, an old friend of the Finkelsteins. Greg reasons the safest time is during the last episode of 'Seinfeld', when all San Francisco will be watching inside. However, enlisting Pete to give instructions by walkie-talkie is just the lead Jane needs, and she first tricks the Montgomerys to come to the steps of the courthouse....
Of course, it did not go well. That's what keeps sitcoms going.....
Like I said, Jeremy did a great job remaining true to the main Toobworld. So this is just an O'Bservation from another dimension:
'Saturday Night Live'
Season 25, Episode 1
Jerry hosted this episode of the comedy warhorse - which takes place in the main Toobworld as well as in the Trueniverse. But there was a filmed sketch which parodied HBO's 'Oz,' showing what happened when Jerry served his year in jail. That happened in Skitlandia. (Here is the transcript
However, Tele-Jerry may have told the televersions of the show's writers about his experiences in prison and so they wrote the sketch based on that. In which case, 'Oz' is a TV show from another dimension; or has a TV show based on the 'real life' situations there; and if so, Jerry actually spent time there.
Thanks for the special guest appearance, Jeremy! Happy holidays and all the best for 2022!