Seinfeld never seemed to shy away from things it could turn its mocking eye on. Masturbation. The handicapped. Retirement community politics. But, as revealed in this article written for Screen Crush by Mike Ryan, there was one topic, attempted early in the show’s run, that the cast and crew refused to take part in mocking: guns.
“The Bet,” which would have been the show’s ninth episode, revolved around whether Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Elaine Benes would buy herself a gun (mimicking a real-life firearm purchase by Seinfeld writer Elaine Pope). But, as discussed in the article by episode director Tom Cherones, he and the cast were uncomfortable with the subject matter, and eventually told producers they didn’t want to film the episode.
Not surprisingly, the script for “The Bet” was written by Larry Charles, director of Borat, who was responsible for many of the show’s early dark moments, including the “Kramer is a suspected murderer” plotline from Season 4’s “The Trip.” Charles and Cherones go back and forth on whether “The Bet,” ever could have made it to air. Charles contends that they could have gotten away with it once the show became a ratings juggernaut, but Cherones remains adamant that “You can’t make a funny show about guns.” And so the episode, which also had a subplot about whether Kramer—whose first name would have been revealed to be “Conrad”—had had sex with a flight attendant mid-flight, was relegated forever to the mysts of rumor and decades-later oral histories.
And, of course, there’s also a brief anecdote about how scary Lawrence Tierney was when he guest-starred on the show, because Lawrence Tierney is the boogeyman figure who haunts the dreams and waking nightmares of the Seinfeld cast and crew.
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