‘Seinfeld’: All the Ways Jerry’s Apartment Changed Over the Years
When we first get a look at Jerry’s apartment in the first episode of what was then known as The Seinfeld Chronicles, Jerry’s friend Laura tells him, “This place isn’t so bad.” To which Jerry jokingly replies, “Yeah, it kind of motivates me to work on the road.”
Jerry’s apartment, of course, became one of the most iconic sets in TV history, with replicas made into Lego sets and pop-up versions still appearing at Seinfeld events more than two decades later. It’s best known for Jerry’s cereal boxes, Superman figurine and classic green couch, but it was far from just those things — and changed more over the years than you might have thought.
The Original Look
In the pilot, Jerry’s apartment starts out completely different than it would end up. The left side of his living room is a floor-to-ceiling window, the kitchen cabinets are all wood without a view of Jerry’s famous cereal collection and the fridge is totally bare. The shot of the building’s exterior is different, too, and if you look closely, when Kramer enters, you’ll notice that his door isn’t across the hall.
In fact, it only took that one episode for the set designer to make several immediate changes — replacing the window wall with a smaller window and computer desk, painting the kitchen cabinets green and beginning to add some photos and magnets to the fridge. Kramer’s apartment is also now across the hall, and we learn that Jerry’s apartment is a studio without a separate bedroom, as his parents visit from Florida and sleep on Jerry’s pullout couch, leaving Jerry without a bed and forcing him to sleep at Kramer’s place.
A few episodes later, Jerry’s apartment has a separate bedroom with a hallway leading to it. We first see him in there in a Season Two episode when he scribbles “flaming globes on Sigmund” onto a piece of paper — something he spends the rest of the episode attempting to decipher.
Jerry’s leather couch in the pilot was swiftly updated to the aforementioned black-and-blue foldout couch, which remained in his apartment for the first two seasons. In Season Three, the iconic green couch shows up and remains for the rest of the series. Jerry did replace the couch once, when he fell in love with a white couch, remarking, “The best part about it is it doesn’t fold out, so no one can sleep over.” But after Poppie pees on one of the cushions, Jerry brings his green couch back and gives the soiled one to George. “George doesn’t care, he says he’ll turn the cushion over,” he explains.
The Apartment Number
Seinfeld superfans know that Jerry lives in apartment 5A, but the number on his door was swapped a few times early in the show’s run. In the pilot, it’s an “8” before becoming “411” for the rest of Season One. In Season Two, it switches back and forth between “3A” and “5A” because the episodes aired in a different order than they were shot, which resulted in that minor continuity error. By Season Three, though, 5A had taken permanent hold.
Jerry’s VHS Collection
The collection starts with homemade VHS tapes that had handwritten titles. But beginning in Season Five, better known titles such as Goodfellas, The Hunt for Red October and Pretty Woman are in the mix. Interestingly enough, Jason Alexander co-starred in Pretty Woman as the villainous Philip Stuckey. So having the Pretty Woman VHS as part of the set dressing was a fun Easter egg. Unfortunately, there were no VHS tapes of Prognosis Negative, Chunnel or Rochelle, Rochelle.
Originally, Jerry’s bookshelf has no games, but he eventually accumulates an assortment of them, including Scrabble, Taboo and Yahtzee. Jerry and Elaine are also seen playing Battleship in Season Nine. In an interview with the Archive of American Television, Alexander said that because the set was small, the cast had to find creative ways to use each other within such a limited space. “We would have to concoct reasons to be there and things to do,” he explained. This is why we often see them opening the fridge or turning on the television — or perhaps why we see Jerry and Elaine playing Battleship.
In addition to the bookshelf with Jerry’s board games and VHS collection, there was a second bookshelf in front of the bathroom that was ultimately replaced by Jerry’s infamous bicycle. Speaking of which…
Although Kramer is the only one we see ride it, Jerry keeps a green Klein mountain bike on the wall outside his bedroom. The bike is a fixture of the apartment from Season Three on, although it gets briefly replaced with a silver Cannondale at one point. In an interview with The Place to Be: A Seinfeld Podcast, Ann Talman, who played Robin Sandusky in “The Good Samaritan” and also dated Michael Richards for several years, revealed that the Klein bicycle company gifted the cast with mountain bikes of their own, which Richards especially enjoyed as he loves hiking and the outdoors.
In the Season Nine episode “The Apology,” Jerry’s good naked/bad naked girlfriend Melissa repairs the ball bearings of the bike. “That wasn’t necessary,” Jerry tells her. “I don’t ride it; it’s just for show,” finally acknowledging the bike we never saw him use all those years.
Seinfeld himself is a die-hard Superman fanatic, making the statue, which first appeared in Season Five, an appropriate addition to his place.
Along those lines, Season Eight’s “The Bizzaro Jerry” is based on the DC Comics premise of a “Bizzaro World,” with bizzaro versions of Superman, Louis Lane and others. In Seinfeld’s case, there are bizzaro versions of Kramer, George and Jerry. Elaine’s ex-boyfriend Kevin serves as Bizzaro Jerry, and he has a “Bizzaro Superman” statue in his apartment (and unicycle on his wall).
Later that season, Jerry and Kramer briefly trade apartments in “The Chicken Roaster” episode, and Kramer subtly replaces the Superman figurine with a fusilli figurine of his own.