A Leaked Script for ‘Seinfeld’ That Was Too Disturbing to Air Has Surfaced—and It’s Pretty Dark

The show about nothing tried to make a show about guns.
“We’re doing what?”
“We’re doing what?” / David Turnley/GettyImages

Over the course of nine seasons, NBC’s Seinfeld (1989-1998) examined the petty grievances of four friends living in New York City. The show could occasionally get dark: Jerry once yanked a loaf of marble rye from the grasp of an elderly woman, for example, and the death of George’s finance Susan was played for laughs. But there was at least one episode that Seinfeld and co-creator Larry David deemed too morbid to film. The script for the episode, titled “The Bet,” was leaked online, though there were questions as to its veracity. Now, it’s been certified genuine by the script’s writer, Larry Charles.

“I haven’t gone through it page by page but it looks real, including my penciled-in revisions,” Charles told The Daily Beast. “I still have my original table read copy with the cover. From looking at the first few pages it seemed funnier than I remember. But very hard-edged.”

“The Bet,” which may have been retitled “The Gun” if it had made it to air, is definitely an anomaly in the Seinfeld universe. Dated September 1990, the script sees Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) worried about an uptick in crime in the city and deciding to purchase a firearm. While she instead opts for a toy gun, she nonetheless makes threatening statements to Jerry (“One bullet in the brainpan oughta drop your body temperature considerably”).

Jerry, meanwhile, greets Elaine’s ambitions with hectoring. (“Elaine, if you buy a gun, you’re just perpetuating the violence! You’re as bad as the criminal!”) Kramer (Michael Richards) and George (Jason Alexander) are less concerned with the gun than in debating whether Kramer is telling the truth over having a romance with a flight attendant.

The script would have been the ninth episode of the show ever produced. It made it as far as a table read, at which point it became clear the subject matter was a poor fit for the series. Charles later said he thought he was unsuccessful in bringing enough levity to the plot, which was inspired by a Seinfeld staffer named Elaine Pope considering a gun purchase.

“I can’t remember if she was contemplating buying a gun or whether she had already bought a gun,” Charles told Screen Crush in 2014. “But she felt very justified in buying the gun and would defend that position. And it was also at a time when that was a subject that was finding its way into the media: women buying guns. And I thought that was kind of fascinating. And I think it was as simple as me wondering, ‘What if Elaine bought a gun?’”

in the end, “The Bet” didn’t go over well with the cast or director Tom Cherones, who also blanched at Elaine making John F. Kennedy assassination jokes. After the read-through, the cast told Cherones they weren’t comfortable moving forward. To fill the gap, Seinfeld and David wrote “The Phone Message,” where George frantically tries to retrieve the tape from his girlfriend’s answering machine.

It’s not known how the script made it out of the show’s production hub. Charles told The Daily Beast it’s possible someone swiped his copy from the table read.

Charles’s notes on the script also reveal that there was apparently intent to reveal Kramer’s first name in the episode. While it would eventually take until season 6 for Kramer’s name to be disclosed as Cosmo, in “The Bet” it’s “Konrad.”

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