‘Seinfeld’ Season 9 Episode 20: Here’s why ‘The Puerto Rican Day’ episode was banned by NBC
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: NBC’s beloved sitcom ‘Seinfeld’ is about nothing but everything you need! The show ran for nine years with its witty humor, endless pop culture references, and iconic characters. Created by Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, the ultimate sitcom has left its viewers bursting with laughter while reflecting on life’s absurdities. However, one of the episodes from the last season of the show sparked controversy and received backlash from the Puerto Rican community for “stepping over the line”.
Now streaming on Netflix, ‘Seinfeld’ follows the misadventure of four friends from New York City, namely Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld), Elaine played (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), George (Larry David), and Kramer (Michael Richards). What makes this ’90s show classic in the 21st century is its ability to hold a mirror up to society and poke fun at its uniqueness. The show’s cast includes talented and impeccable stars such as Patrick Warburton, Jerry Stiller, Anna Gunn, Jennifer Coolidge, Estelle Harris, Bryan Cranston, James Spader, Courtney Cox, Richard Herd, and others.
Why did NBC ban ‘Seinfeld’ Season 9 Episode 20?
‘Seinfeld’ has an abundance of timeless comedy with pop culture references that never gets old. However, the show’s 176th episode titled ‘The Puerto Rican Day’, which originally aired on May 7, 1998, was surrounded by controversy and received backlash from the Puerto Rican community. In the episode, the four friends — Jerry, George, Kramer, and Elaine — find themselves stuck in traffic due to the annual Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City. They encounter various difficulties, one where Kramer accidentally burns the Puerto Rican flag while trying to light a cigar. This scene was heavily criticized as being disrespectful toward the Puerto Rican community.
Secondly, the viewers found various scenes that depicted parade-goers as rowdy and offensive, displaying negative stereotypes. Another scene that caused controversy was when George and his friends encountered a group of Puerto Rican men harassing them and damaging George’s car.
Following the protest by the Puerto Rican community outside NBC Studios and the controversy and backlash the network faced, the episode was “banned” and removed from syndication. Moreover, the show’s fans also expressed their disappointment with the portrayal of a community and insensitivity toward burning their flag. Nonetheless, the episode remained a controversial moment in the entire ‘Seinfeld’ history. The episode was later re-released with a disclaimer at the beginning stating the offense caused by the episode.
Fans watch ‘The Puerto Rican Day’
Initially, ‘The Puerto Rican Day’ was banned as NBC underwent faced massive backlash. Some viewers of the show were highly upset and took to social media later after they recently watched the episode on Netflix. A viewer tweeted, “Last night I watched the one, single Seinfeld episode I had not yet seen,” while another added, “Who remembers the #Seinfeld episode where Kramer burned the #PuertoRican flag? Did they cross a line? Were you offended?”
Last night I watched the one, single Seinfeld episode I had not yet seen. #PuertoRicanDay #NeedMoreSeinfeld @Seinfeld2000 @JerrySeinfeld
— RHΞTT AHLANDΞR (@RhettAhlander) October 9, 2015