How ‘Seinfeld’ Almost Killed A Man With A Junior Mint
“I thought individuals have been going to crucify me for killing this present that they love with these weird storylines that had no foundation in actuality,” stated Andrew Robin, who wrote the script for the now iconic “Seinfeld” episode, “The Junior Mint.”
The episode was Robin’s first-ever sitcom script (for any present) and he was satisfied it will be the dying knell for each him and comic Jerry Seinfeld’s collection.
The primary premise of this episode is not truly too on the market. Basically, an ex-boyfriend of the character Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is within the hospital to have a spleen eliminated and she or he visits him alongside together with her associates.
Robin introduces the primary absurdity when Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld) and his pal Kramer (Michael Richards) truly attend the operation after which by accident drop a Junior Mint into the affected person’s physique. Somehow no one else notices, together with the docs. Jerry and Kramer each presume they killed the ex with a Junior Mint. Then, in a coincidence, the episode ends with the person’s physician admitting it appeared as if his affected person might die, however as an alternative “one thing past science, one thing maybe … from above,” saved his life.
Despite the present solely being a half-hour sitcom, that is someway not the top of the now infamous ridiculousness of this episode. Other aspect plotlines embrace their pal George (Jason Alexander) shopping for hundreds of dollars value of the ex-boyfriend’s unusual triangle artwork, presuming the worth would go up publish-demise. Another includes Jerry forgetting his new girlfriend’s identify, then after discovering it rhymes with a physique a part of the feminine anatomy, him and George spend the episode making an attempt to guess it. (Her identify finally ends up being Dolores). Amid all of this, Kramer tries to rework his condo right into a ski lodge.
Still, the episode is definitively a basic and Robin, as of but, stays unscathed. Just this weekend, The New Yorker Radio Hour podcast launched an interview with “Seinfeld” co-creator Larry David, throughout which they performed him a clip from “The Junior Mint” as a spotlight of the present.
The Huffington Post spoke with each the unique script author, Robin, in addition to Patti Ganguzza, president of AIM Productions, Inc., who the present contracted for all 9 seasons to handle and supply clearances for the quite a few moments of product placement. A “Seinfeld” superfan, Twitter consumer @Seinfeld2000 (who wrote an excellent novella imagining the collection happening in modern occasions), offered additional context into the chocolatey mintcident.
What follows is a historical past into arguably one of many strangest, however most beloved TV episodes in popular culture.
The merchandise Jerry and Kramer dropped within the physique wasn’t initially going to be a Junior Mint.
In the script, Robin had Kramer treating the surgical procedure like an outing to the films. Besides Kramer insisting on a no-spoilers coverage main as much as the operation, the character decides he ought to convey a basic film deal with to eat in the course of the surgical procedure. This ended up being Junior Mints, however that is not how Robin initially wrote the scene.
“I was considering he would convey popcorn into the working stands to benefit from the expertise much more,” stated Robin. This plan did not find yourself lasting previous an preliminary define. The author ran the thought by his brother, who made the Junior Mints suggestion. Why? “Because Junior Mints are simply funnier.”
Robin additional defined, “Junior Mints are a type of belongings you simply type of solely see in film theaters” including that the “odd identify” aided the joke.
“Seinfeld” reached out to sweet corporations aside from Junior Mints to hunt approval, simply in case.
Other perennial sources of tv trivia have claimed that “Seinfeld” solely went with Junior Mints for this episode as a result of M&Ms and Life Savers turned the present down. Despite the pervasiveness of this trivia, it isn’t precisely true.
“It was all the time Junior Mints,” stated Ganguzza. However, on the time she wanted to safe approval, Thanksgiving was quick approaching and it was unclear whether or not the Junior Mints model would approve the request by the present’s capturing deadline. Ganguzza added, “I had little time to get Andrew [Robin]’s scripting of Junior Mints cleared by means of company channels.”
So to hedge bets, Ganguzza reached out to M&Ms and Life Savers as backups. As all the time with the present, “no manufacturers paid for publicity, as a result of each model placement had a objective within the storyline,” defined Ganguzza.
Life Savers handed as a result of “it was improper use of product. :),” stated Ganguzza over e mail. “M&Ms was prepared and prepared in order that they signed the clearance and product was despatched to manufacturing.” But Ganguzza had occurred to satisfy with the possession behind Juniors Mints on the time, Warner-Lamber, nearly every week earlier than this request on separate enterprise. So regardless of the tight time window, in the long run, Ganguzza was capable of safe the initially deliberate Junior Mints.
“For their cooperation, M&Ms was included in Jerry’s stand-up routine on the finish of this episode,” added Ganguzza. In the bit, Jerry waxes about how solely S-yr-olds can inform the distinction in style between numerous M&Ms colours.
In 2002, for what it is value, The New York Times did quote Ganguzza as having stated, “I pitched [an opportunity for product placement] to 3 totally different sweet corporations, and stated, principally, ‘The first to leap on this will get into ‘”Seinfeld.'” Shortly after, The Times revealed a response from Robin, the place he stated, “As the author of the ‘Junior Mints’ episode of ‘Seinfeld,’ I can say with authority that Patti Ganguzza didn’t ‘place’ Junior Mints within the script,” earlier than explaining the story about his brother.
Robin advised HuffPost that, “Patti Ganguzza labored actually exhausting for the ‘Seinfeld’ present and was an essential a part of its success,” including she “did a pleasant job of smoothing the waters and reassuring corporations that have been for no matter cause reluctant that it will be a good suggestion for us to make use of them.”
Junior Mints representatives initially had reservations about their sweet falling into an open physique throughout surgical procedure.
On prime of the time problem, Ganguzza additionally had the duty of making an attempt to persuade the corporate behind Junior Mints that it would not harm their model if their product fell into an open physique on an operation desk.
“As a lot as manufacturers love placement, model administrators are very protecting over their manufacturers and wish to think about the influence it might have on the buyer,” defined Ganguzza. “With Seinfeld, I stored reminding determination makers, it’s a comedy!”
In the actual case of Junior Mints, Warner-Lambert was within the means of promoting the model and, as Ganguzza put it, the corporate was fearful that the sweet falling into the affected person may need adverse repercussions.
Concerns from the Junior Mints firm triggered an necessary line to vary.
After Robin turned in a ultimate script, the present writers added a number of tweaks. Among these modifications was an change between Kramer and Jerry by which Kramer says, “Who’s gonna flip down a Junior Mint? It’s chocolate, it is peppermint, it is scrumptious.” Jerry responds, “That’s true,” to which Kramer provides, “It’s very refreshing.”
Robin did not know the origin of the place these got here from and claimed, “I love these strains, they actually make me snigger, however they weren’t mine.”
Later on within the episode, a physician reiterates Kramer’s declare, and says in reference to the sweet, “Those might be very refreshing.”
According to Ganguzza, that remaining line is how Junior Mints agreed to the product placement. The firm had accredited Robin’s script “verbatim” however had “one copy tweak,” as Ganguzza defined.
Ganguzza stated she had nothing to do with the preliminary scene through which Kramer hypes up the sweet — presumably it got here from one other present author, if not Robin. But the unique script did not name for the physician to say Junior Mints are refreshing. When Kramer provides him a Junior Mint on the finish of the episode, he would have as an alternative stated, “No thanks. That stuff will kill you.”
“I communicated to manufacturing that the model wouldn’t approve until they did one thing about that line,” stated Ganguzza. So, the physician recommends the sweet.
The author thought that the medical inaccuracies have been so ridiculous that his episode would wreck the present.
“The script is sort of weird,” Robin stated of his work. “You’ve obtained the unsterile working room. A Junior Mint flying into anyone’s stomach,” he continued, laughing. “You’ve obtained this bizarre triangle artwork.”
The premise of Kramer and Jerry watching the operation notably frightened Robin.
“It simply abruptly donned on me that this is not the Eighteen Nineties,” he stated. “There’s going to be some sterility. It’s going to be a really managed setting. And how is anyone going to sneak Junior Mints in.” Robin concluded that the premise was “completely unattainable,” however the remainder of the “Seinfeld” employees did not appear to agree.
“It’s a bizarre kind of talent that Larry [David] and Jerry [Seinfeld] have, figuring out how a lot implausibility can get in the best way of the comedy,” defined Robin. “They’re so humorous that you would be able to clean over nearly any implausibility.”
In any case, Robin nonetheless “thought this was going to be an enormous flop,” and had “no confidence within the episode” till after it aired.
The episode is so beloved, the truth is, that in 2014, “Seinfeld” followers launched a online game the place you’ll be able to attempt to purposely drop Junior Mints into the affected person.
Robin is not alone in his perception that the Junior Mint scene is insane, even for “Seinfeld.” Popular Twitter persona @Seinfeld2000 — a fan account that’s loosely centered round imagining what life can be like if “Seinfeld” was nonetheless round, however posits much more ridiculous conditions than Robin’s — created a video recreation devoted solely to the second’s iconic bizarreness.
“It’s the absurdity of the state of affairs mixed with the obscurity of the kind of sweet, after which the main target and repetition of the Junior Mint as a callback all through the episode,” stated @Seinfeld2000 as to what impressed him about Robin’s episode. “Very ‘Seinfeld.'”
After teaming up with video recreation designer Pippin Barr, the duo got down to make “an already ridiculous story much more insane,” @Seinfeld2000 stated. The premise of this Internet-based mostly recreation is to purposefully drop Junior Mints into the affected person’s physique whereas avoiding numerous obstacles that attempt to get in your approach, similar to Miley Cyrus driving a wrecking ball (this was 2014).
The Twitter consumer additionally satisfied fellow “Seinfeld” fan and avid Twitter consumer Ezra Koenig — who fronts the band Vampire Weekend — to hum the “Seinfeld” theme within the background of recreation play. This recreation could also be a masterpiece that was mentioned in a New York Times profile, however @Seinfeld2000 nonetheless is not glad.
“If anybody from NBC and/or Jerry Seinfeld’s staff is studying this, it will be nice should you might put ‘Seinfeld’ again on TV with model new episodes,” @Seinfeld2000 advised HuffPost over e-mail. “I’d like to see how Jerry offers with Kramer borrowing his iPad or how George would function on the earth of on-line courting. Please, that is one thing I actually need and I’m unsure if I will ever be really glad in life till it is one thing I get.”
Robin might have thought “The Junior Mint” would kill “Seinfeld” and his personal profession, however as an alternative followers proceed to obsess over each the present and this specific episode.
With its weird premise, “The Junior Mint” taught us that sweet might save a life. Perhaps Seinfeld2000’s recreation already proved the present continues to be alive, at the very least in some junior means.
Also on HuffPost
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