Ahead of its airing in 1998, the series finale of Seinfeld was one of the most highly-anticipated TV episodes in history. The beloved sitcom was about nothing in particular, so the ongoing story arcs never seemed to be that big of a deal, but that didn’t stop people from craving secrets about the show’s final episode. Photographers went to great lengths to get shots of what was happening on the set, and it got so intense that the production had to be completely walled off in order to guard the show’s secrets. More than two decades later, we’re now learning that the actors were offered bribes to reveal information about how the iconic series would end.
This week, Seinfeld stars Jason Alexander and Julia Louis-Dreyfus got together on an online video call to talk about their time working on the show. They broke down a couple of the show’s most popular episodes, “The Contest” and “The Chinese Restaurant,” and eventually talked a bit about the finale, which has long been considered controversial. During their conversation, Alexander opened up about the secrecy of the final episode, saying that he was bribed in the hopes that he would share secrets about the script.
“My own publicist — I don’t know if this came for you, too — my publicist was asking me if I was willing to leak out some secrets for money,” he admitted. “And I went, ‘They’ll kill us!’ How can you do that?”
A shocked Louis-Dreyfus told Alexander that she hoped he fired the publicist that brought the information to him. The then joked, “No, I gave him a raise!”
The series finale, aptly titled “The Finale,” aired on NBC on May 14, 1998. The episode saw Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer attempting to fly to Paris to celebrate Jerry and George’s TV show being sold to NBC. However, when the group witnessed a man being mugged and did nothing about it, they were arrested for standing by while a crime occurred. The trial featured many characters from past seasons of the show, many of them testifying that Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer aren’t great people. The group is ultimately sentenced to one year in prison. The series ends with Jerry performing a standup routine in prison, where Kramer is the only person who cheers for him.
You can watch the full video of Alexander and Louis-Dreyfus discussing Seinfeld at the top of the page.
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