Even in 2021, there are behind-the-scenes secrets coming out about Seinfeld. One of the most famous is how the cast actually hated one of the guest stars and tried to get her fired. But there are also some unknown details regarding the construction of the episodes themselves. This includes how the ending of the famous “Marine Biologist” episode was almost very different. While there are a few terrible episodes of Seinfeld, the iconic ’90s sitcom is known for being one of the most consistent around. And the season 5 episode 14 storyline involving Jason Alexander’s George Costanza prosing as a marine biologist to woo a girl is easily one of the best.
There have been a few last-minute changes to some of the most famous Seinfeld episodes. One script was even thrown out by co-creators Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld because the network hated it so much. But this wasn’t the case with the end of “The Marine Biologist”. Something wasn’t working for Larry and Jerry and therefore they needed to change it at the last minute. The result is one of the most quotable monologues of all time…
The Famous Marine Biologist Monologue Wasn’t In The Script Until The Last Minute
During an interview with Smallville actor Michael Rosenbaum on his podcast “Inside Of You”, Jason Alexander revealed that one of his most iconic moments on Seinfeld almost never happened. In fact, his famous “The sea was angry that day, my friends” bit wasn’t in the “Marine Biologist” episode until the very last minute. Jason had to learn that hilarious George monologue on the fly.
Even though Michael was shocked that Jason could learn a monologue in mere minutes, Jason claimed that he felt the entire situation was a “testament” to the genius of Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld.
“My storyline was [originally], Jerry had met a girl that I always wanted to date from high school and in order to impress her, on my behalf, told her that I was a marine biologist,” Jason reminded fans in his interview with Michale. “And then he tells me that and I go, ‘That’s not one of those things I can fake. I don’t know how to fake that.’ So, I was trying to pawn myself as a marine biologist. And my storyline in that episode ended when I was walking with her on the beach and there’s suddenly a beached whale and somebody yells out, ‘Is there a marine biologist!?’ And you see me like, ‘I’m a dead man’, walking off into the ocean to see if I can do anything to this whale. That was the end of my story.”
But during the taping of the episode (which took place in front of a live audience), Larry and Jerry were finding that their final scene with Kramer wasn’t working. It was supposed to be the end of Kramer’s storyline in the episode regarding golfing and hitting the balls into the ocean.
“It was fine. It was funny. But I guess the guys weren’t satisfied with the live-audience response. They felt it wasn’t good enough to be ‘the out’ for the show,” Jason explained. “So, as they always did, the writers circled the wagons and the band started to play and then Larry came over — clearly, they had gotten an inspiration in the circle — Larry said, ‘How long will it take you to learn a monologue?’ And I said, ‘How long a monologue?’ and he said, ‘I dunno, a page and a half.’ I said, ‘A couple of minutes.’ And he had written this monologue…”
On the fly, Larry and his team of writers had created this hilarious monologue (“the sea was angry that day”) for Jason that both concluded Jason’s storyline as well as Kramer’s simultaneously.
“They had never thought of, ‘Why would there be a beached whale… OH! there’s a golf ball in the blowhole.’ So, when they had that inspiration, they wrote this monologue for George to reveal that he went out and pulled the goofball out of the blowhole.”
Jason Alexander Nailed The Monologue In Just One Take Because He Had No Choice
Even though most of the Seinfeld episodes were meticulously rehearsed prior to being shown and filmed in front of a live studio audience, there was simply no time to rehearse this moment. At least, they couldn’t really rehearse it in private. The crew managed to block off the actors from the audience with some screens for one go-around of the monologue but they had to hurry up and get it done so they could move on with their shooting schedule.
“We did one-run through for ourselves just to make sure we had the lines,” Jason explained. “[Then the crew] pulled away the screens and said to the audience, ‘They’re going to try something and see if it works’. And what you see in the episode is the first and only time we shot that new re-write. And that became the most — it was one of the big highlight laughs of the entire series.
Not only was it beloved by the viewers of the final episode of the show but by the live studio audience as well. Jason claims there was a solid minute of laughter from the audience when he pulled the Titleist golf ball from his pocket.