By almost all accounts, “Seinfeld” was a pleasure. The iconic comedy series from the 1990’s set an impossible bar for future network television entertainment while leaving a serious imprint on pop culture.
What episode was the favorite of the “Seinfeld” mastermind and co-creator Larry David?
For that, we’ll return to that word, “pleasure.” And David’s fear that NBC would refuse to air his now-favorite episode and that he’d have to quit. During a virtual political fundraiser Friday night, covered by the Hollywood Reporter, the show’s creator answered the question.
It had to be “The Contest,” the episode in which the four main characters competed to be the last one standing – to be the one who resisted, uh, pleasuring themselves longer than their competitors could.
David, who won an Emmy for the episode, said he purposely kept the plotline off his blackboard to make it difficult for network execs to see what he was up to.
“This one I didn’t even put on the board because I didn’t want them asking,” David said. “I just wanted them to come and see the read-through. I had worked myself up into a lather because the read-through really went great. I was watching (the executives) and I couldn’t tell how much they liked it. But I was ready to pack the whole thing in if they didn’t let us do this show: ‘I’m quitting. I’m quitting. I’m gonna quit.’
“Fortunately, they didn’t say a word. I was shocked.”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who played Elaine Benes, was “convinced we were going to be shut down.”
Jason Alexander (George Costanza) saluted the impact of “Seinfeld” on the TV world. “All of our shows broke some ground about what you could get away with …” he said. “No one was going near a subject like this, but here’s what’s so subversively wonderful about the show — Elaine’s in the contest! And she doesn’t win!”