The ‘Seinfeld’ Parking Garage Episode Was More Expensive to Film Than Anyone Expected
The fact that Seinfeld was a show about nothing is used as both a criticism and a compliment. Regardless of where you fall on that spectrum, the classic ’90s comedy is one of the most popular and well-regarded shows of all time. It’s been decades since the last episode aired, yet it’s still relevant in so many ways today.
There are 180 episodes of NBC’s Seinfeld in total. Each is funny in its own way, but a few keep earning spots on the best of lists. “The Parking Garage” is one of the most memorable even though, at base level, it’s really about the gang wandering around aimlessly in — you guessed it — a parking garage.
It may seem like a simple concept. But the Seinfeld parking garage episode wound up being way more expensive and complicated to film than anyone imagined.
Everyone has different stress during ‘The Parking Garage’
The episode, which was written by Larry David, aired on Oct. 30, 1991. It features George, Jerry, Elaine, and Kramer wandering around a parking garage in a New Jersey shopping center trying to find Kramer’s car.
Kramer is having a hard time because he purchased an air conditioner and gets tired of carrying it, which eventually inspires him to leave it behind a parked car. Elaine is worried her new goldfish will die. George frets over making it home by 6:15 to meet his parents for an anniversary dinner while Jerry just really has to pee.
After a lot of drama, including both George and Jerry getting caught urinating in public and Elaine’s goldfish dying, the friends all find the car and pile inside only to find it won’t start. But maybe the funniest part of all is that wasn’t originally part of the script — the car truly didn’t start when it was supposed to, which made the actors’ reactions to it completely genuine.
The episode cost more to film than expected
“The Parking Garage” is an episode with one setting which is known in the industry as a bottle episode. These are typically cheaper to produce because it costs less to film in a single location, plus these types of episodes don’t include as many actors. But this Seinfeld episode was more costly than anticipated.
For one thing, the set was constructed on the show’s usual soundstage and made to look bigger with the clever use of mirrors. In order to have enough room to create the parking garage, they had to take apart the set for Jerry’s apartment, which was no small feat.
Kramer (Michael Richards) demanded that the box he was carrying should literally be as heavy as an air conditioner for realism. Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld) and Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) needed their makeup redone multiple times from lying down on the ground. “The Parking Garage” was well-received by audiences, but it was not easy to create.
‘The Parking Garage’ was deemed a success
Like “The Chinese Restaurant,” another wildly successful bottle episode of Seinfeld, “The Parking Garage” was popular because it was so relatable. Who hasn’t forgotten where they parked the car? Who hasn’t pondered the meaning of life while wandering the endless aisles of a parking structure? Who hasn’t lamented the struggle of wasting a day at the mall?
Like so many other Seinfeld classics, it was about nothing but it still spoke to universal truths about the human condition.