On paper, the Season 7 episode “The Rye” is no more lavish than a typical “Seinfeld” outing. There are no high-speed chases or high-wire acrobatics — unless you count rigging a loaf of rye bread up a brownstone using a fishing pole. However, according to series writer Carol Leifer, the episode’s budget clocked in at $1 million, “an OUTRAGEOUS amount of money at the time to spend on an episode,” the comedian wrote in a Reddit AMA.
In her book “Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything,” Jennifer Keishin Armstrong points to the specific expenditures behind the episode’s hefty price tag. For one, the scene at Susan’s parents’ apartment was shot at an outdoor set at Paramount Studios, one big enough to be used for movies.
It was Kramer’s plotline, which involves his one-time gig as a hansom cab driver, that set the episode over the edge. In addition to budgeting for the horses and carriage, the show had to supply the California studio with fake snow. Reportedly, they got enough for the cast and crew to partake in a snowball fight. In retrospect, the $1 million budget makes a $50 loaf of bread look like chump change.