‘Seinfeld’: A Real-Life Event Inspired the Marble Rye Episode

Real-life serves as the inspiration for many TV shows and movies including the iconic sitcom, Seinfeld. One of the program’s most popular episodes centers around a loaf of rye bread. As it turns out, the plot’s loosely based on a true story. 

Michael Richards, Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Jason Alexander of 'Seinfeld'
Michael Richards, Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Jason Alexander of Seinfeld | Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank

George Costanza’s dad took the rye loaf home after bringing it to a dinner party

Seinfeld Season 7, Episode 11: “The Rye” begins with a dinner party. George Constanza (Jason Alexander) and his fiancée, Susan Ross (Heidi Swedberg), get together for dinner with their parents. 

George’s parents, Frank (Jerry Stiller) and Estelle (Estelle Harris), show up with a loaf of marble rye bread as a gift for Susan’s parents. The two family’s don’t hit it off at dinner.

To make matters worse, Frank’s Insulted that Susan’s parents didn’t serve the marble rye they brought. Unbeknownst to him, they forgot to put it out. Frank retaliates by taking the loaf of bread home with him. 

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#FrankCostanzaForever

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George Costanza tried to replace the rye bread his father took

On the way home, George finds the bread and realizes his dad took it from Susan’s parents. Intent on returning the bread, George enlists Jerry to help him get a replacement. 

Jerry goes to the bakery to get another loaf. The woman in line ahead of him gets the last one. Desperate, Jerry steals it from her.

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He arrives back at Susan’s parents’ house where he and George try to get the loaf inside without anyone noticing. They attempt to get the replacement loaf inside by using a fishing pole. Not so discrete, Susan’s parents see George with the fishing pole. 

‘Seinfeld’ writer got the inspiration for ‘The Rye’ episode from a friend

Comedian Carol Leifer wrote for Seinfeld during seasons 5-7. As she told radio station WBUR in 2018, the idea behind “The Rye” episode came from a friend of hers. 

Leifer shared that a “hazard” of being a writer for a successful TV show meant that people often told her their not-so-funny ideas for Seinfeld.

However, a friend from high school told her about an incident with a loaf of bread that she knew would be great for Seinfeld.

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Nothing like a fresh, theft-worthy Rye.

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“But a girlfriend of mine from high school, she said, ‘You know, the funniest thing happened to me. My husband and I had a couple over for dinner, and they brought a bread, and I forgot to put it out. And I realized, at the end of the evening, that they had taken the bread home with them,’” Leifer said.

She continued, saying she knew right away she wanted to make it into an episode of Seinfeld

“And as my friend was telling me this story, I said to her, ‘Oh, my God. That — I cannot wait to pitch that,” Leifer said, adding, “That is an amazing Seinfeld story.’”

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Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David ‘loved’ the bread idea for ‘Seinfeld’

Leifer still had to sell Seinfeld co-creators, Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, on the idea of a bread episode after getting the idea from a friend. When she explained the storyline to David and Seinfeld, Leifer said they “loved” it.

“And sure enough, I went back to the office — and, when you pitched to Larry [David] and Jerry, it was a tough room,” Liefer said. “You had to go in, and you had to grab them quick because if you didn’t, it was curtains. And when I pitched it, they both loved the idea … and that became the marble rye.”

As they say, the rest is history.

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