Seinfeld, the most innovative and influential sitcom of the past 15 years, finally making its way to DVD is cause for celebration on many fronts. For one thing, we can finally view classic episodes from the first three seasons in their pristine, presyndicated form. For another, we are presented with a full-on assault of accompanying material — commentary tracks, documentaries, deleted scenes. Then there’s this added bonus: Julia Louis-Dreyfus can watch the landmark pilot episode…for the very first time!
It seems the actress formerly known as Elaine (who started in episode 2) has never bothered to watch the installment that began it all. (Get out!) Which sort of throws into question whether she deserved to get the part. Maybe it should have gone to…Rosie O’Donnell? That’s right, Rosie, along with Patricia Heaton and Megan Mullally, also auditioned for the role. Such tidbits are revealed in abundance in a package as detail-obsessed as the characters it celebrates.
Wanna keep track of Kramer’s entrances or all the characters’ exes? Wondering how many times Michael Richards’ stand-in, Norman Brenner, appears as an extra? Then there are deleted scenes (like an abandoned story line in ”The Heart Attack” involving Elaine and a Reader’s Digest), unused stand-up material, and an hour-long doc on the show’s rocky inception: It was originally slated as an hour-and-a-half late-night special, but was broken up into a series because ”I just didn’t think we could last 90 minutes,” Jerry Seinfeld explains. ”So, instead, we ended up making 90 hours.” Best. Decision. Ever.