Produced by comedian Billy Domineau, the 44-page screenplay hits the sweet spot between shocks and silliness
What’s the deal with that blackly comic spec script for an episode of Seinfeld that is set in the aftermath of 9/11, the worst terrorist attack ever carried out on American soil and that left more than 3,000 people dead? Turns out it is very, very funny.
The teleplay, written by American comedian and The Onion writer Billy Domineau, runs to 44 pages and was posted online by its creator this week. In the days since, it has become a huge cult hit amongst fans of the ‘show about nothing’ sitcom, which came to an end after its 180-episode run in 1998.
Domineau has revealed that the idea for the script came about when he was asked for some sketch comedy advice a few months ago. When an improve student asked him about pushing the limits of bad taste, Domineau had the idea of the cast of Seinfeld characters reacting to the September 11th, 2001 attacks, which prompted him to write the script.
“In the course of a day or two, I developed a storyline,” Domineau said. “Finally, a few weeks ago it got to the point , once I started writing, where things got into place.”
In the episode, entitled The Twin Towers, George (Jason Alexander) is mistaken for a 9/11 hero responsible for saving a group of survivors, milking the glory for all it’s worth. At the same time, neat-freak Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld) is struggling to cope with all the dust covering Manhattan, while Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) cannot bring herself to break up with her injured boyfriend, one of the survivors who believes George saved him. And as for Kramer (Michael Richards), well... it involves a Stanley knife and good intentions gone awry.
In the near 15 years since the attack, 9/11 has remained a constant taboo when it comes to laughs, but Domineau believes his blackly comic script may have changed things. "9/11 has always been this thing that is so firmly held in our collective consciousness and I think we’re all sort of wondering at different times, 'What is appropriate? How soon is too soon?' — stuff like that. And I’ve always been tempted to find out what the line is with it," he said in an interview with EW.
"Especially when I started writing this, it was less about where the line was or how far could I go, than how can I actually make this something that is ultimately not offensive, that goes up to the line but is actually no way intended to attack the issue, but to actually find ways to make positive light of it, and just in the context of the show."
You can read the full script for The Twin Towers here or embedded in this article below: