Seinfeld (NBC, 1989-1998)
Just like Married… With Children, Seinfeld was another acclaimed American sitcom that I got into after watching it on the Paramount channel in 2001. Seinfeld was first shown in the UK in the 90s on BBC2, but usually in a late-night slot. I remember reading at that time though a few articles from TV critics saying that Seinfeld was one of the best shows around, and it soon became clear to me that this wasn’t just gushing hype, after seeing a few episodes for the first time I definitely thought the show lived up to this claim.
Seinfeld is one of the most documented and famous sitcoms of its era, yet it’s still rather difficult to explain what the show is about before there is no format as such. It was famously described as a “show about nothing”, that is to say that it features Jerry Seinfeld who plays a variation of himself as a stand-up comedian who lives in New York, and we witness the events that happen in his life. One of the co-creators of Seinfeld Larry David would later go on to have further success starring in the sitcom Curb Your Enthusiasm.
There are a few other main characters in the show. We also meet George, who can be seen to be something of a loser in life, and he often makes situations much more difficult for himself. Elaine is a former girlfriend of Jerry’s who he remains friends with. There was also Kramer. He was a wonderful character where words like “madcap” were very suitable for his style. He was one of Jerry’s neighbours and he would often barge in to Jerry’s flat to have a conversation or take things from his fridge, and although he appeared regularly he remained a character that little was revealed about. Also along the way we meet a few of the main cast’s families, plus a few more neighbours and work colleagues.
Seinfeld got off to a fairly slow start, after the pilot episode in 1989, the first series in 1990 consisted of just four episodes, but after a while the word spread, and eventually, much to the delight of NBC, the show became a huge hit, and nine series were made, with the standard and ratings remaining high to the end. Seinfeld was constantly praised for having episodes with seemingly unconnected plots all nicely tied up together, and this caused many funny moments in the process.
It is so difficult to pick the best Seinfeld episodes, everybody will have their own, but for me some of my favourite episodes are also among my favourite episodes of any sitcom. Some great moments include Elaine getting frustrated by a barking dog, Jerry and Kramer having problems with their shower-heads, the one where everyone shouts “serenity now!”, muffin-tops, the one Kramer hosts a TV chat show… and that’s just a few that come to mind.
I have all nine series of Seinfeld on DVD and I have to say that it’s one of the best DVD collections that I have. Clearly a lot of effort has gone into the extras, including interviews with the cast and crew who all offer informative and interesting insights about working on the show. One of my feature features is the “notes about nothing”, which feature trivia about the episodes such as biographies of various cast members and the “George girlfriend counter”, and it really is remarkable to see how many poor women have had to put up with him as the episodes go by. It’s great to know that Seinfeld remains held in high regard to this day.