“Yeah? Well the jerk store called and they ran out of you!” proudly yells George Costanza, demonstrating what he believes to be punchline gold to his best friend, Jerry Seinfeld. Jerry, ever the honest one, shakes his head in disbelief, marveling once again at the idiocy of George. Jerry and George, alongside their best friends, Elaine Benes and Cosmo Kramer, make up the main characters on the 90’s sitcom Seinfeld, known as the first “show about nothing.” Seinfeld follows the ordinary but extraordinary lives of Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer, as they tangle themselves up in mess after mess.
Seinfeld first aired on NBC on July 5th, 1989 with their pilot episode. Created and produced by Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, Seinfeld was meant to mimic the feel of New York in the 90’s, while following the accounts of Jerry and his friends. Contrary to other shows at the time, Seinfeld did not have an overarching plot, and it did not develop over time. Seinfeld was truly one of the first meaningless sitcoms, truly “the show about nothing.” In the beginning, each episode began with standup from Jerry Seinfeld (whose name is also his character’s name) at a local improv club, which was meant to foreshadow the events that would take place later in the episode. Next, we would cut to Jerry and George eating at the infamous diner “Tom’s Diner” a real restaurant in New York that Seinfeld used as a setting. (They used the exterior image of the restaurant, but they completely changed the interior). George and Jerry would discuss some common events in their lives, often joined by the bustling Kramer, and the fast and terse Elaine. They would part ways, and in some way or another, something would go wrong, often for multiple characters. The rest of the episode would tie everything together, leading to a hilarious climax where everyone’s problems come together and become this huge mess. Then the episode ends and they start all over again.
The format of Seinfeld did not change much over the years, and it aired successfully for nine seasons. While the humor on Seinfeld was exceptional, and the episodes often went in ways that you would not expect, the best part of Seinfeld to me was the New York feel that Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld created. Everything on Seinfeld was shot in L.A., but the vibe is completely New York. From the brownstone apartments, to the careless and perpetually annoyed cab drivers, and the bustling atmosphere of the city, Jerry and Larry produced a New York vibe like never before.
All nine seasons of Seinfeld are available on Netflix. All episodes are around 22 minutes long, full of rich plot that staves off the boredom that sometimes comes with other good shows. Seinfeld is a great way to kick your feet back after a long day.