Seinfeld


Seinfeld
Seinfeld
Seinfeld logo.svg
Genre Sitcom
Created by Larry David
Jerry Seinfeld
Directed by Art Wolff
Tom Cherones
Andy Ackerman
David Steinberg
Starring Jerry Seinfeld
Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Michael Richards
Jason Alexander
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 9
No. of episodes 180 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Larry David (Seasons 1–7)
Howard West
George Shapiro
Andrew Scheinman
(Seasons 2–4)
Jerry Seinfeld (Seasons 8–9)
Alec Berg (Season 9)
Jeff Schaffer (Season 9)
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 22 minutes
Production company(s) Castle Rock Entertainment
Conundrum Entertainment ("The Virgin")
Distributor Columbia Pictures Television (1989–1998)
Columbia TriStar Television (1999–2002)
Sony Pictures Television (2002–present)
Broadcast
Original channel NBC
Picture format 4:3 SDTV
16:9 HDTV (details)
Color
Original run July 5, 1989 (1989-07-05) – May 14, 1998 (1998-05-14)
Chronology
Related shows Mad About You
Curb Your Enthusiasm
External links
Website

Seinfeld is an American television sitcom that originally aired on NBC from July 5, 1989, to May 14, 1998, lasting nine seasons, and is now in syndication. It was created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, the latter starring as a fictionalized version of himself. Set predominantly in an apartment block on Manhattan's Upper West Side (but shot in Los Angeles), the show features a host of Jerry's friends and acquaintances, in particular best friend George Costanza, former girlfriend Elaine Benes, and neighbor across the hall, Cosmo Kramer.

Seinfeld was produced by Castle Rock Entertainment and distributed in association with Columbia Pictures Television and Columbia TriStar Television; Sony Pictures Television has distributed the series since 2002. It was largely co-written by David and Seinfeld with input from numerous script writers, including Larry Charles, Peter Mehlman, Gregg Kavet, Andy Robin, Carol Leifer, David Mandel, Jeff Schaffer, Steve Koren, Jennifer Crittenden, Tom Gammill, Max Pross, Charlie Rubin, Marjorie Gross, Alec Berg, Elaine Pope, and Spike Feresten.

A critical favorite, commercial blockbuster and cultural phenomenon, the show led the Nielsen ratings in its sixth and ninth seasons and finished among the top two (along with NBC's ER) every year from 1994 to 1998. In 2002, TV Guide named Seinfeld the greatest television program of all time.[1] In 1997, the episodes "The Boyfriend" and "The Parking Garage" were respectively ranked #4 and #33 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.[2]

Contents

Overview

Seinfeld stood out from the many family and group sitcoms of its time. None of the principal Seinfeld characters were related by family or work connections but remained distinctively close friends throughout the seasons. The episodes of most sitcoms like Family Ties, Who's the Boss? and Full House revolve around a central theme or contrived comic situations, whereas many episodes of Seinfeld focused on minutiae, such as waiting in line at the movies, going out for dinner, buying a suit and dealing with the petty injustices of life. The view presented in Seinfeld is arguably consistent with the philosophy of nihilism, the idea that life is meaningless.[3]

Tom's Restaurant, a diner at 112th Street and Broadway, in Manhattan, was used as the exterior image of Monk's Cafe in the show.

The main characters and many recurring characters were mainly based on Seinfeld's and David's real-life acquaintances. Two of the most prominent recurring characters were based on well-known people: Jacopo Peterman of the J. Peterman catalog (based on John Peterman)[4], and George Steinbrenner, the owner of the New York Yankees[5]. Many other characters were introduced as more writers got involved with Seinfeld. As such the prominent guest stars includes the Soup Nazi [6] and Jackie Chiles based on Johnnie Cochran. [7]

With nearly every Seinfeld episode, the main characters' unique storyline is different from the conventions of a normal sitcom. A story thread is presented at the beginning of each episode, which involves the characters in separate and seemingly unrelated situations. Rapid scene-shifts between storylines bring the stories together toward the end of the episode. Despite the separate plot strands, the narratives reveal the creators' "consistent efforts to maintain the intimacy" amongst the small cast of characters.[8]

The show kept a strong sense of continuity—characters and plots from past episodes were frequently referenced or expanded upon. Occasionally, story arcs spanned multiple episodes and even entire seasons. For example, Jerry's girlfriend appears in "The Stake Out" and he ends the relationship when things do not work out in "The Stock Tip". Other examples were Kramer getting his jacket back and Elaine heading the "Peterman catalog". Larry David, the show's head writer and executive producer for the first seven seasons, was praised for keeping a close eye on minor details and making sure the main characters' lives remained consistent and believable. Curb Your Enthusiasm—David's later comedy series—further expanded on this idea by following a specific theme for all but one season in the series.

The most important difference between Seinfeld and other sitcoms prior to this is that the principal characters never learned their moral lessons throughout the seasons. In effect, they were indifferent to the outside world and could be callous towards their guest characters and relatives, indeed sometimes towards each other; a mantra of the show's producers was: "No hugging, no learning."[9] This leads to very few happy endings, except when they come at someone else's expense. More often in every episode, situations resolved with characters getting a justly deserved "comeuppance".

Main characters

  • Jerry Seinfeld (Jerry Seinfeld) – Jerry is a "minor celebrity" stand-up comedian who is often portrayed as "the voice of reason" amidst all the insanity generated by the people in his world. His character is a slight germophobe and a neat freak, as well as an avid Superman and breakfast cereal fan. Jerry's apartment is the center of a world visited by his eccentric friends George, Elaine, and Kramer.[10] Plot lines often involve Jerry's romantic relationships. He typically finds small, silly reasons to stop dating women; some of the reasons for the breakups include his dislike for a woman because she eats her peas one at a time, a woman having over-sized "man hands" and a woman having an annoying laugh.
  • George Costanza (Jason Alexander) – George is Jerry's best friend. He is cheap, dishonest, petty and often envious of others' achievements [11]. He is often portrayed as a loser who is insecure about his capabilities. He frequently complains and lies about his profession, relationships, and almost everything else, which usually creates trouble for him later. He often uses an alias ("Art Vandelay") when lying or concocting a cover story. Despite these shortcomings, George manages to date numerous women and achieves a successful career as Assistant to the Traveling Secretary for the New York Yankees. During the run of the show, he and Jerry work with NBC to produce a pilot episode of a TV show called Jerry. During this time, he meets Susan Ross who works for NBC. George has an on-and-off relationship with her until she dies at the end of Season 7. He often pretends to be an architect and once pretended to be a marine biologist to impress a woman.
  • Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) – Elaine is Jerry's ex-girlfriend. She is attractive, intelligent and assertive. She sometimes has a tendency to be very honest with people, which often gets her into trouble.[12] She usually gets caught up in her boyfriends' habits, her eccentric employers' unusual demands, and the unkindness of total strangers. She tends to pick the worst men to date and she's often loses her cool easily. She works at Pendant Publishing with Mr. Lippman and later she works with the Peterman catalogue. One of Elaine's trademark moves is her forceful shove while screaming "Get out" when she receives good or shocking news. Another is her memorable "Little Kicks" dance moves. She also has a hatred for "The English Patient", which costs her friends.
  • Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards) – Kramer is Jerry's "wacky neighbor". His trademarks include his humorous upright pompadour hairstyle, vintage clothing and energetic sliding bursts through Jerry's apartment door. At times, he appears naive, dense and almost childlike yet he randomly shows astonishing insight into human behavior; likewise, he makes friends with people very easily with his charm and easygoing manner and has almost effortless success with women. He is often the only main character acting with any sort of apparent conscience and is typically the only one to lobby for maintaining social decorum in order to appease acquaintances. Although he never holds a steady job, he often invents wacky schemes which usually work at first but then eventually fail. Among these are coffee table books about coffee tables (for which he appeared on Live with Regis and Kathie Lee) and a brassiere for men called the Bro (or Manssiere suggested by Frank Costanza).[13]

Recurring characters

There are many recurring characters that made several appearances, either as a friend or a relative like Newman and Uncle Leo. In addition to its regularly recurring characters, Seinfeld featured numerous celebrities who appeared as themselves or as girlfriends, boyfriends, bosses and other acquaintances. Many of those who made guest appearances became household names later in their careers, or were comedians and actors already well known for previous work.

Characteristics

Theme

Seinfeld broke several conventions of mainstream television. The show, often described as being about "nothing",[14][15][16] became the first television series since Monty Python's Flying Circus to be widely described as postmodern.[17] Several elements of Seinfeld fit in with a postmodern interpretation.[18] The show is typically driven by humor interspersed with superficial conflict and characters with strange dispositions. Many episodes revolved around the characters becoming involved in the lives of others to typically disastrous results.[citation needed] On the set, the notion that the characters should not develop or improve throughout the series was expressed as the "no hugging, no learning" rule.[18] Unlike most sitcoms, there are no moments of pathos; the audience is never made to feel sorry for any of the characters. Even Susan's death in the series elicits no genuine emotions from anyone in the show.[19]

The characters were "thirty-something singles with no roots, vague identities, and conscious indifference to morals."[20] Usual conventions, such as isolating the characters from the actors playing them and separating the characters' world from that of the actors and audience, were broken. One such example is the story arc in which the characters promote a television sitcom series named Jerry. The show within the show, Jerry, was much like Seinfeld in that it was "about nothing" and Seinfeld played himself. Jerry was launched in the Season 4 finale but unlike Seinfeld it was not picked up as a series.

Plotlines

Many Seinfeld episodes are based on its writers' real-life experiences. For example, "The Revenge" is based on Larry David's experience at Saturday Night Live.[21] "The Contest" and "The Phone Message" are also based on David's experiences.[22] "The Smelly Car" is based on Peter Mehlman's lawyer friend, who could not get a bad smell out of his car. "The Strike" is based on Dan O'Keefe's dad, who made up his own holiday—Festivus.[23] Other stories take on a variety of different turns. "The Chinese Restaurant" consists of the main characters (excluding Kramer) simply waiting for a table throughout the entire episode.[24] "The Boyfriend", revolving around Keith Hernandez, extends through two episodes.[25] "The Betrayal" is famous for using reverse chronology, and was inspired by a similar plot device in a Harold Pinter play.[26] Some stories were inspired by headlines and rumors, which are explained in the DVD features "Notes About Nothing," "Inside Look," and "Audio Commentary." In "The Maestro", Kramer's lawsuit is roughly similar to the McDonald's coffee case.[27] "The Outing" is based mainly on rumors that Larry Charles heard about Jerry Seinfeld's sexuality.[28]

Catchphrases

Many terms coined, popularized, or repopularized during the series' run have become part of popular culture.[29][30] Notable catchphrases include "Yada, yada, yada", "These pretzels are making me thirsty" and "Not that there's anything wrong with that".

Other popular terms that also made the transition into slang were created by, directed at or about secondary characters, including: "Festivus", "spongeworthy" and "re-gifter".

As a body, the lexicon of Seinfeldian code words and recurring phrases that evolved around particular episodes is referred to as Seinlanguage, the title of Jerry Seinfeld's best-selling book on humor.[17]

Progression

Seasons 1–3

The show premiered as The Seinfeld Chronicles on July 5, 1989. After it aired, a pickup by NBC did not seem likely and the show was actually offered to Fox, which declined to pick it up. Rick Ludwin, head of late night and special events for NBC, however, diverted money from his budget, and the next four episodes were filmed.[31] These episodes were highly rated as they followed Cheers on Thursdays at 9:30 p.m., and the series was finally picked up. At one point NBC considered airing these episodes on Saturdays at 10:30PM, but instead gave that slot to a short-lived sitcom called FM. The series was renamed Seinfeld after the failure of short-lived 1990 ABC series The Marshall Chronicles.[32] After airing in the summer of 1990, the series' second season was bumped off its scheduled premiere of January 16, 1991, due to the start of the Persian Gulf war. It settled in a regular time slot on Wednesdays at 9:30PM and eventually flipped with veteran series Night Court to 9:00PM.[33]

Seinfeld was championed by television critics in its early seasons, even as it was yet to cultivate a substantial audience. For the first three seasons, Jerry's stand-up comedy act would bookend an episode, for a while even functioning as cut scenes during the show. A few episodes set a benchmark for later seasons. "The Deal" shows the only time Jerry and Elaine trying to become a couple by setting rules about sleeping together.[34] "The Parking Garage" is really the first episode shot without an audience for the entire run.[35] In connection between Season 3 and 4, "The Keys" makes a breakthrough between NBC and CBS showing Murphy Brown as rival networks working together and opening up that the main cast is not going to be tied to Jerry's apartment all the time. [36] The episode, "The Busboy" really introduces George, Kramer and Elaine as having their own storylines for the first time. Although Glenn Padnick thought Jerry Seinfeld being too generous, it became a unique trademark that showcases his co-stars comedic talent throughout the series. [37]

An episode in Season 2, titled "The Bet" written by Larry Charles, showed Elaine buying a gun from Kramer's friend. This episode was, however, not filmed because the content was deemed unacceptable and was hastily replaced by the episode "The Phone Message".[38] An episode "The Stranded" which was aired in Season 3 was originally intended to air in Season 2. In the beginning of this episode, Jerry clears up the continuity error over George's real estate job.[39]

Seasons 4–5

Season 4 marked the sitcom's entry into the Nielsen ratings Top 30, coinciding with several popular episodes, such as "The Bubble Boy", in which George and the bubble boy are arguing over Trivial Pursuit [40], and "The Junior Mint" in which Kramer and Jerry accidentally fumbles over the mint in the operation room [41]. This was the first season to use a story arc, in which Jerry and George try to create their own sitcom, Jerry. Also at this time, Jerry's stand-up act slowly declined with the middle stand-up segment no longer part of the episodes that preceded it.

Much publicity followed the controversial episode, "The Contest", an Emmy Award-winning episode written by co-creator Larry David, whose subject matter was considered inappropriate for primetime network television. To circumvent this taboo, the word "masturbation" was never used in the script itself, instead substituted by a variety of oblique references [42]. Midway through that season, Seinfeld was moved from its original 9:00 p.m. time slot on Wednesdays to 9:30 P.M. on Thursdays, following Cheers again, which gave the show even more popularity. The move was also sparked by ratings, as Tim Allen's megahit sitcom Home Improvement on ABC had aired at the same time and Improvement kept beating Seinfeld in the ratings. NBC moved the series after Ted Danson had announced the end of Cheers and Seinfeld quickly surpassed the ratings of the 9:00 P.M. Cheers reruns that spring.[43] The show won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in 1993, beating out its family-oriented and time-slot competitor Home Improvement, which was only in its second season on fellow network ABC.

Season 5 was an even bigger ratings-hit, as it consisted of many popular episodes such as "The Puffy Shirt" in which Jerry feels embarrassed wearing the "pirate" shirt on The Today Show [44], "The Non-Fat Yogurt" featuring Rudy Guilani who was the Republican mayor of New York at the time. [45] and "The Opposite" in which George begins his career with the "New York Yankees" and Elaine quits "Pendant Publishing". Another story arc has George returning to live with his parents. In the midst of the story arc, Kramer creates and promotes his coffee table book.[46] The show was again nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series, but lost to the Cheers spin-off Frasier, which was only in its first season. Seinfeld was nominated for the same award every year for the rest of its run but always lost to Frasier, which went on to win a record 39 Emmy Awards.

Seasons 6–7

With Season 6, Andy Ackerman replaced Tom Cherones as the director of the show. The series remained well-regarded and produced some of its most famous episodes, such as "The Race" in which the Superman music theme is used as Jerry raced [47], "The Switch", when Kramer's mother revealed that his first name is Cosmo [48] and "The Understudy" in which Elaine meets Peterman for the first time[49]. Story arcs used in this season were Elaine working as a personal assistant to her eccentric boss Justin Pitt as well as George's parents' temporary separation. This was also the first season in which Seinfeld reached Number 1 in the Nielsen Ratings. Jerry's stand-up act further declined with the end stand-up segment no longer in use as the storylines for all four characters got more dense.

In Season 7, a story arc involved George getting engaged to his former girlfriend, Susan Ross, after the unsuccessful pilot Jerry. He spends most of the season regretting the engagement and trying to get out of it. Along with the regular half hour episodes, two notable one-hour episodes include "The Cadillac" in which George plans to date an award winning actress Marisa Tomei [50] and "The Bottle Deposit" with Elaine and Sue Ellen particapating in a bidding war to buy JFK's golf clubs in an auction. [51]

Following the anthrax scare of 2001, the episode, "The Invitations" was temporarily not shown in syndication due to the concern that it might seem objectionable and insensitive to portray Susan's death due to licking toxic envelopes.[52]

Seasons 8–9

The show's ratings were still going very strong in its final two seasons (8 and 9), but its critical standing suffered.[53] Larry David left at the end of Season 7 (although he would continue to voice Steinbrenner), so Seinfeld assumed David's duties as showrunner, and, under the direction of a new writing staff, Seinfeld became a more fast-paced show. The show no longer contained extracts of Jerry performing stand-up comedy, and storylines occasionally delved into fantasy, absurd humor. An example being "The Bizarro Jerry", when Elaine is torn between exact opposites of her friends or when Jerry dates a woman who has the now-famed "man hands".[54] Some notable episodes from season 8 include "The Little Kicks" showing Elaine's horrible dancing,[55] and "The Chicken Roaster" which depicts the Kenny Rogers Roasters chicken restaurant which opened during that time [56]. A story arc in this season involves Peterman going to Burma in "The Foundation" [57] until he recovered from a nervous breakdown in "The Money" [58], followed by Elaine writing Peterman's biography in "The Van Buren Boys" [59] which leads to Kramer's parody of Kenny Kramer's Reality Tour seen in "The Muffin Tops".[60]

Season 9 included episodes such as "The Merv Griffin Show" in which Kramer converts his apartment into a talk-show studio and play the character of talk-show host [61], "The Betrayal" (scenes shown in reverse order chronologically), and "The Frogger" where George pushes a Frogger machine across the street.[62] The last season included a story arc in which Elaine has an on/off relationship with David Puddy. Despite the enormous popularity and willingness from the rest of the cast to return for a tenth season, Seinfeld decided he should end the show after its ninth season in an effort to maintain quality and "go out on top". NBC offered him $110 million but he declined the offer. [63]

A major controversy caused in this final season was the accidental burning of a Puerto Rican flag by Kramer in "The Puerto Rican Day". This scene caused a furor amongst Puerto Ricans, and as a result, NBC showed this episode only once.[64]

Series finale

After nine years on the air, NBC and Jerry Seinfeld announced on December 25, 1997, that the series would end production the following spring in 1998. The announcement made the front page of all the major New York newspapers, including the New York Times. Jerry Seinfeld was even featured on the cover of Time magazine's first issue of 1998.[65]

The series ended with a 75-minute episode (cut down to 60 minutes in syndication, in two parts) written by co-creator and former executive producer Larry David, which aired on May 14, 1998. Before the finale, a 45-minute retrospective clip show, "The Chronicle", was aired. The retrospective was expanded to sixty minutes after its original airing and aired once more on NBC as an hour-long episode, which has since aired in syndication.

It was also the first episode since the finale of Season 7, "The Invitations", to feature opening and closing stand-up comedy acts by Jerry Seinfeld. The finale was filmed in front of an audience of NBC executives and additional friends of the show. The press and the public were shut out of the shoot for the sake of keeping its plot secret, and all those who attended the shoot of the final episode signed written "vows of silence."[66] The secrecy only seemed to increase speculation on how the series would end. The producers of the show tweaked the media about the hype, spreading a false rumor about Newman ending up in the hospital and Jerry and Elaine sitting in a chapel, presumably to marry.[67]

The episode enjoyed a huge audience, estimated at 76 million viewers (58 percent of all viewers that night) making it the third most watched finale in television history, behind M*A*S*H and Cheers. However, the finale received mixed reviews from both critics and fans of the show. The actual finale poked fun at the many rumors that were circulating, seeming to move into several supposed plots before settling on its true storyline—a lengthy trial in which Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer are prosecuted for violating a "Good Samaritan law" and are sentenced to jail.

According to Forbes magazine, Jerry Seinfeld's annual earning from the show in 1998 was $267 million.[68] He was reportedly offered $5 million per episode to continue the show into a tenth season but he refused.[69] As of July 2007, he is still the second highest earner in the television industry, earning $60 million a year.[70] The show itself became the first television series to command more than $1 million a minute for advertising–a mark previously attained only by the Super Bowl.[71] According to Barry Meyer, chairman of Warner Bros. Entertainment, Seinfeld has made $2.7 billion through June 2010.[72]

Awards and nominations

Seinfeld has received awards and nominations in various categories throughout the mid-90s. Several magazines and publications have listed it as the greatest television series of all time.[73][74][75] It was awarded the Emmy for "Outstanding Comedy Series" in 1993, Golden Globe Award for "Best TV-Series (Comedy)" in 1994 and Screen Actors Guild Award for "Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series" in 1995, 1997 and 1998.[76][77][78][79] Apart from these, the show was also nominated for an Emmy award from 1992 to 1998 for "Outstanding Comedy series," Golden Globe award from 1994 to 1998 for "Best TV-Series (Comedy)," and Screen Actors Guild Award for "Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series" from 1995 to 1998.[80]

Broadcast History

Season Day & Time Before or After
1 (1989-1990) Wednesday at 9:30 pm
Thursday at 9:30 pm
Night Court at 9:00pm
Cheers at 9:00 pm
2 (1991)
3 (1991-1992) Wednesday at 9:30 pm Night Court at 9:00 pm
4 (1992-1993) Wednesday at 9:00 pm
Thursday at 9:30 pm
Wings at 9:30 pm
Cheers at 9:00 pm
5 (1993-1994) Thursday at 9:00 pm Frasier at 9:30 pm
6 (1994-1995) Madman of the People at 9:30 pm
7 (1995-1996) Caroline in the City at 9:30 pm
8 (1996-1997) Suddenly Susan at 9:30 pm
9 (1997-1998) Veronica's Closet at 9:30 pm

Ratings

Season Season premiere Season finale TV season Season
rank
Rating Viewers
(in millions)
1 July 5, 1989 June 21, 1990 1989–1990 n/a n/a n/a
2 January 23, 1991 June 26, 1991 1990–1991 n/a n/a n/a
3 September 18, 1991 May 6, 1992 1991–1992 n/a n/a n/a
4 August 12, 1992 May 20, 1993 1992–1993 #25 12.75[81] 13.7
5 September 16, 1993 May 19, 1994 1993–1994 #3 18.27[82] 19.6
6 September 22, 1994 May 18, 1995 1994–1995 #1 19.65[83] 20.6
7 September 21, 1995 May 16, 1996 1995–1996 #2 20.33[84] 21.2
8 September 19, 1996 May 15, 1997 1996–1997 #2 19.89[85] 20.5
9 September 25, 1997 May 14, 1998 1997–1998 #1 21.27 [86] 21.7

After Seinfeld

The Seinfeld curse

Louis-Dreyfus, Alexander and Richards have each attempted to launch new sitcoms as title-role characters. Despite decent acclaim and even some respectable ratings, almost every show was canceled quickly, usually within the first season. This gave rise to the term Seinfeld curse: the failure of a sitcom starring one of the three, despite the conventional wisdom that each person's Seinfeld popularity should almost guarantee a strong, built-in audience for the actor's new show. Shows specifically cited regarding the Seinfeld curse are Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Watching Ellie, Jason Alexander's Bob Patterson and Listen Up!, and Michael Richards' The Michael Richards Show. Larry David once said of the curse, "It's so completely idiotic. It's very hard to have a successful sitcom."[87]

This phenomenon was mentioned throughout the second season of Larry David's HBO program Curb Your Enthusiasm. However, the Emmy award-winning success of Julia Louis-Dreyfus in the CBS sitcom The New Adventures of Old Christine led many to believe that she had broken the curse.[88] In her acceptance speech, Louis-Dreyfus held up her award and exclaimed, "I'm not somebody who really believes in curses, but curse this, baby!"[89] The show was on the air for five seasons starting March 13, 2006 before its cancellation on May 18, 2010.[90] The Saturday Night Live episode guest-hosted by Louis-Dreyfus made several references to the curse.

Dreyfus will star in a new HBO comedy in 2012, titled Veep.

Another scene

On the November 1, 2007, episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Jerry Seinfeld mentioned the possibility of shooting one last scene, after they leave prison. He mentioned he is far too busy to do it now, but did not announce what the scene would entail as it is still a possibility they will do it.[91] In commentary from the final season DVD, Jerry Seinfeld outlines that he and Jason Alexander spoke about this scene being in Monk's Cafe, with George saying “That was brutal” in reference to the four's stint in jail.[92]

Curb Your Enthusiasm 2009 Reunion

Early in March 2009, it was announced that the Seinfeld cast would reunite for the seventh season of Curb Your Enthusiasm.[93] The entire cast first appeared in the third episode of the season, all playing themselves. The season-long story is that Larry David tries to initiate a Seinfeld reunion show as a ploy to get his ex-wife, Cheryl, back. Along with the four main characters, some of Seinfeld's supporting actors such as Wayne Knight, Estelle Harris and Steve Hytner also appeared in the ninth episode at a table read for the reunion show. Though much of the dialogue in Curb Your Enthusiasm is improvised, the plot was scripted, and the Seinfeld special that aired within the show was scripted and directed by Seinfeld regular Andy Ackerman, making this the first time since Seinfeld went off the air that the central cast appeared together in a scripted show.

Consumer products

A recurring feature of Seinfeld was its use of specific products, especially candy, as plot points. These might be a central feature of a plot (e.g. Junior Mints, Twix, Jujyfruits, bite size Three Musketeers, Snickers, Nestlé Chunky, Oh Henry! and Pez), or an association of a candy with a guest character (e.g. Oh Henry! bars), or simply a conversational aside (e.g. Chuckles, Clark Bar, Twinkies).

Non-candy products featured in Seinfeld include Rold Gold pretzels (whose advertisements at the time featured Jason Alexander), Kenny Rogers Roasters (a chicken restaurant chain), Oreo Cookies, Ben & Jerry's, H&H Bagels, Baskin Robbins, Dockers, Drake's Coffee Cakes, Ring Dings, Pepsi, Mello Yello, Snapple, Clearly Canadian, Bosco Chocolate Syrup, Cadillac, Saab, Ford Escort, Tyler Chicken (a parody of Tyson Chicken), Specialized Bicycles, Nike, BMW, Volvo, Toyota, Tupperware, Calvin Klein, Klein Bicycles, Ovaltine, Yoo-hoo, Arby's, TV Guide, Trump Tower, Glide Floss, Gore-Tex, Entenmann's, J. Peterman clothing catalog, and the board games Risk, Boggle, Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble, and Battleship.

The computers shown in Jerry's apartment are Apple Macintosh and several different models were shown, although Jerry is only seen using his computer once during the entire show. Also seen throughout the show's run were many different brands of cereal, e.g. Cheerios. Notable exceptions to this pattern are a fictional scotch brand called "Hennigan's" (a portmanteau of "Hennessy" and "Brannigans") and a canned meat product called "Beef-a-reeno" (a parody of "Beef-a-roni"). Product placement, for Snapple, was inserted as a parody of product placement; when offered some by Elaine in the middle of a conversation, the character Babu Bhatt's (owner of a Pakistani restaurant named as "Dream Cafe") brother declines, calling the drink "too fruity". A second time this product was mentioned is when when Marla "the Virgin" is offered a Snapple by Elaine.

The show's creators claim that they were not engaging in a product placement strategy for commercial gain. One of the motivations for the use of real-world products, quite unrelated to commercial considerations, is the comedy value of funny-sounding phrases and words. "I knew I wanted Kramer to think of watching the operation like going to see a movie," explained Seinfeld writer/producer Andy Robin in an interview published in the Hollywood Reporter. "At first, I thought maybe a piece of popcorn falls into the patient. I ran that by my brother, and he said, 'No, Junior Mints are just funnier.'"[94]

Many advertisers capitalized on the popularity of Seinfeld. American Express created a webisode in which Jerry Seinfeld and an animated Superman (voiced by Patrick Warburton, who played the role of David Puddy) starred in its commercial. The makers of the Today Sponge created the "Spongeworthy" game, on their website, inspired by the episode "The Sponge". Another advertisement featured Jason Alexander in a Chrysler commercial. In this, Alexander behaves much like his character George, and his relationship with Lee Iacocca plays on his George's relationship with Steinbrenner. Similarly, Michael Richards was the focus of a series of advertisements for Vodafone which ran in Australia where he dressed and behaved exactly like Kramer, including the trademark bumbling pratfalls.

Seinfeld in HD

There are two high-definition versions of Seinfeld. The first is that of the network television (unsyndicated) versions in the original aspect ratio of 4:3 that were downscaled for the DVD releases.[95] Syndicated broadcast stations and the cable network TBS have begun airing the syndicated version of Seinfeld in HD. Unlike the version used for the DVD, Sony Pictures cropped out the top and bottom parts of the frame, while restoring previously cropped images on the sides, from the 35 mm film source, to use the entire 16:9 frame. The TBS airings were edited to reduce running time (presumably for more advertising space), cutting out certain lines, even rearranging the stand-up scenes position in the episodes as well as showing the credits during the last scene as opposed to after the end of the episode.[96] Amazon.com lists season one of Seinfeld in Blu-ray, though no release date has been announced.[97]

Media

DVD releases

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released all 9 seasons of Seinfeld on DVD in Regions 1, 2 and 4 between 2004 and 2007.[98] On November 6, 2007, Seinfeld: The Complete Series was released on DVD. The final season and the complete series set included a 2007 reunion of the four main cast members and Larry David.

Music

A signature of Seinfeld is its theme music. Composed by Jonathan Wolff, it consists of distinct solo sampled bass synthesizer riffs which open the show and connect the scenes, often accompanied by a "percussion track" composed of mouth noises, such as pops and clicks. The bass synthesizer music eventually replaced the original standard sitcom music by Jep Epstein when it was played again after the first broadcast "The Seinfeld Chronicles".

Seinfeld lacked a traditional title track and the riffs were played over the first moments of dialogue or action. They vary throughout each episode and are played in an improvised funk style with bass synthesizer. An additional musical theme with an ensemble, led by a synthesized mid-range brass instrument, ends each episode.

In "The Note", the first episode of Season Three, the bumper music featured a scatting female jazz vocalist who sang a phrase that sounded like "easy to beat." Jerry Seinfeld and executive producer Larry David both liked Wolff's additions, and three episodes were produced with the new style music. However, they had neglected to inform NBC and Castle Rock of the change, and when the season premiere aired, they were surprised and unimpressed, and requested that they return to the original style. The subsequent two episodes were redone, leaving this episode as the only one with the additional music elements.[99] In the commentary of "The Note", Julia Louis-Dreyfus facetiously suggests it was removed because the perceived lyric related too closely to the low ratings at the time.[100]

In the final three seasons (7, 8, and 9), the bits were tweaked slightly to give them more frenetic rhythms and the occasional hint of guitar. Throughout the show, the main theme could be re-styled in different ways depending on the episode. For instance, in "The Betrayal," in which part of the episode takes place in India, the theme is heard played on a sitar.

See also

References

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