‘The Secret History of Television’: Why Bottle Episodes Make Great Television

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No creator enjoys having to work within a budget, but oftentimes financial limitations can lead to legitimate artistic breakthroughs. Such is the case for many so-called "bottle episodes," or installments of TV shows — e.g. Seinfeld's "The Chinese Restaurant" and Breaking Bad's "Fly" — where locations and cast sizes are kept small to save cash. In this edition of Vulture's Secret History of Television, we dissect the history of the bottle episode and discuss why the format can help generate timeless storytelling. Come back every Wednesday for new episodes, and be sure to check out last week's video on Cousin Oliver Syndrome...before we add an adorable child actor to drum up ratings.