Seinfeld (1989-1998): A Moe’s TV Guide Classic TV review

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Throughout the history of television, and comedy sitcoms in particular, there has not been a more influential and groundbreaking show like Seinfeld. How does a show that is reportedly “about nothing” remain one of television's greatest comedies? The answer is by providing a compelling cast and absolutely hilarious writing that places the characters in gut-busting situations. This is what Seinfeld does, and does to near perfection.

 

Seinfeld Cast 1

 

Created by the American channel NBC, Seinfeld is a comedy sitcom created by the brilliant minds of Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld. It follows four now-iconic characters: Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld), George (Jason Alexander), Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), and Kramer (Michael Richards) as they go about their everyday lives. The show does not generally have an overarching storyline but instead chooses a particular topic or situation for each episode to showcase in a humorous way.


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The core source of greatness to Seinfeld is the outstanding cast, starting with Jerry Seinfeld, who, as the name suggests, plays the lead character Jerry. He is the “leader” of the group and tries to inject some sanity and common-sense to his friends, an endeavor he almost always fails at. He might be the weakest of the four but Jerry is an essential character as the show needs at least one sane person in the midst of this crazy bunch.

 

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Playing the much-loved role of George, Jason Alexander is simply superb. It is the best role I have seen him in and I highly doubt he will be able to deliver a better performance. Indeed, he has not managed to do that since the show ended nearly 14 years ago. What George brings to Seinfeld is the everyday man. The middle-aged, balding man who is desperate to find the right woman and the good job. George relies a lot on shady and unconventional ways to get what he wants, with terribly humorous consequences.

One of my favorite quests of George is his pursuit in getting a big job at one of the greatest baseball teams. It is one of the funniest sitcom story lines I have seen come to life. I have probably watched the entirety of Seinfeld six or seven times and never have I felt Alexander's performance become old and boring. Instead, my fondness towards the character has grown. George remains one of television's most iconic comedy personalities.

 

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Then there is the eccentric Elaine, played superbly by Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Elaine is the only lady in this group and is looking for the perfect partner in a sea of mediocre, idiotic, or boring men. Julia is instantly lovable in this role as she gives her character a lot of sass and attitude. Elaine does not allow anyone to mistreat her and always has a witty response in hand for any situation.

Her most memorable scene, in my opinion, is the one where she dances in a very strange and quirky way in an office party. Her colleagues all give stunned looks and later mock her dance routine at the office, behind her back. Elaine finds out and throws a fit with comical results. It is one of my favorite episodes and proves that Julia is a very talented actress who thoroughly deserved her Emmy for this role.


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The last of the group, but certainly not the least, is Kramer who is played to perfection by Michael Richards. Kramer is Jerry's neighbor in the apartment complex. However, he is the most annoying and intrusive neighbor as well as being a nightmare to deal with. Richards completely absorbs the character in such a way that one feels Richards was made for this role. Kramer is a lazy, unemployed and crazy guy who lives most of his life in Jerry's apartment, not allowing Jerry any peace of mind.

However, he is the main character who provides most of the physical comedy on the show. One of my favorite scenes of his is when a Kenny Rogers' Roasters opens in the neighborhood with a large red neon light emitting right into Kramer's apartment, making everything in his apartment glaringly red as well. He begs Jerry to switch apartments but they somehow end up exchanging personalities in the process too. It is a great and unforgettable episode, thanks chiefly to Richard's performance.

 

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A special mention should be given to Seinfeld's best recurring character, Newman. Played by Wayne Knight, Newman is Jerry's arch-nemesis whose confrontations with the comedian have delivered some of television's most memorable scenes. In particular, the exchange between Jerry and Newman where they both greet each other with equal suspicion is comedy genius. Actually, Wayne Knight is probably my favorite guest actor to have ever appeared on a comedy sitcom. He is simply superb.

 

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It must also be stated that all these great actors are given excellent and sharp dialogue, provided mainly by Larry David as well as Jerry Seinfeld. They manage to put all four characters in some of the most bizarre situations but also in very familiar day-to-day encounters that the viewers can relate to.

An episode that shows this clearly is “The Parking Garage” (Season 3, Episode 6). Here, the group finish shopping at the local mall and face the unenviable and relatable task of finding out where they parked their car in the mall's massive garage. It is one of Seinfeld's many self-contained episodes that plays out extremely well. That is because the writers manage to create many unpredictable events that the viewers do not see coming in the episode.

It is episodes like The Parking Garage in which the television show Seinfeld truly excels. It is perhaps the only show “about nothing” that is able to deliver such amazing episodes that focus on one bizarre topic or situation. Headed by the dynamic duo of Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, the show's writing team is one of those blessed with the talent of making every moment in these twenty-or-so minutes count without a boring or irrelevant scene.

 

Seinfeld Cast


Admittedly, Seinfeld does not have a fantastic series finale, which was a good concept that was poorly executed, but it still remains one of the greatest television comedy sitcoms to have ever existed.

The acting power of the four leads as well as the witty and sharp writing combine to give us nine seasons of comedy genius. Nine seasons we can keep watching on and on without it ever getting old. Seinfeld is truly a television classic to be cherished and loved forever.


Seinfeld Cast 2



Creators:

Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David

Genre:

Comedy (Sitcom)

Cast:

  • Jerry Seinfeld (as Jerry)
  • Jason Alexander (as George)
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus (as Elaine)
  • Michael Richards (as Kramer)
  • Wayne Knight (as Newman)

Favorite Episodes:

  • The Chinese Restaurant (Season 2, Episode 11)
    • Synopsis: Jerry, Elaine, and George endure a series of misadventures while waiting the entire episode to get a table at a Chinese restaurant.
  • The Parking Garage (Season 3, Episode 6)
    • Synopsis: The gang experience a series of misadventures while trying to find Kramer's car in a mall parking garage.
  • The Contest (Season 4, Episode 11)
    • Synopsis: George swears off doing 'you know' after being caught by his mother, causing her to throw her back out and ending up in the hospital. When Jerry proposes a contest to see who can go the longest without. Elaine and Kramer want in, but the four of them soon get into situations that test their will power to temptation.
  • The Junior Mint (Season 4, Episode 20)
    • Synopsis: Jerry has a date with a woman whose name he has forgotten, but it “rhymes with a female body part.” Could it be “Mulva”? Elaine visits an old boyfriend who's in the hospital for an operation; he was once fat, thin she's interested again. Kramer gets an opportunity to witness the operation and he drags Jerry along, while watching they have an accident with a “Junior Mint.”
  • The Puffy Shirt (Season 5, Episode 2)
    • Synopsis: George thinks he's made it big when, shortly after moving in with his parents, he gets work as a hand model. Elaine arranges for Jerry to appear on The Today Show to promote a charity benefit. However, when out to dinner with Kramer and his new “low talker” girlfriend, a misunderstanding has Jerry agreeing to wear a ridculous, pirate-style puffy shirt on TV.
  • The Marine Biologist (Season 5, Episode 14)
    • Synopsis: Jerry meets an old college classmate who asked about George, whom Jerry says is now a “marine biologist.” An infuriated Russian writer tosses an electronic organizer belonging to Elaine out of a limousine that hits a passerby on the head. Kramer struggles with his golf swing and sand. While walking along the beach, George is called on to use his marine biology skills to save a whale.
  • The Opposite (Season 5, Episodes 22)
    • Synopsis: George comes to the realization that he should try to do the opposite of everything, so he does, his luck changes and everything begins to go his way including getting a girlfriend, a job with the Yankees and moving out of his parents' house. Things begin to be unlucky for Elaine after she buys a box of “Jujyfruits.” Kramer appears on Regis & Kathie Lee to promote his coffee table book. Rachel wants to break up with Jerry and he readily agrees, because his luck has been “even Steven.” Elaine's eating of “Jujyfruits” causes Pendant Publishing to go under, and later she realizes that she and George have traded places.
  • The Race (Season 6, Episodes 10)
    • Synopsis: Through his current girlfriend, Lois, Jerry meets an old rival, who suspects that he cheated in a high school race and he wants a rematch with Jerry to prove he was faster. Elaine is put on a “blacklist” for Chinese food delivery and finds out her boyfriend is a Communist. George responds to a personal ad in a Communist newspaper while at work, when Steinbrenner hears about it, he wants to see George in his office. Through his friend Mickey, Kramer becomes a department store Santa, who later spouts out Communist propaganda.
  • The Label Maker (Season 6, Episodes 12)
    • Synopsis: Jerry and Elaine experience “re-gifting” and “de-gifting” when it comes to a label maker and a pair of Superbowl tickets. George loves his new girlfriend's apartment, but is shocked to learn that she has a male roommate. Meanwhile, Kramer and Newman become engrossed in a game of Risk.
  • The Soup Nazi (Season 7, Episode 6)
    • Synopsis: The gang all loves the soup from a new, temperamental cook unofficially called the “Soup Nazi”. Jerry and his girlfriend are beyond affectionate, and their nickname “Schmoopie” drives George crazy. Elaine buys an antique armoire on the street, but it is stolen while being guarded by Kramer.
  • The Chicken Roaster (Season 8, Episode 8)
    • Synopsis: George reveals a strategy to guarantee a second date with women – leaving an object behind at their place. However, this strategy gets Elaine into trouble, when George leaves behind a sable hat she shouldn't have charged to the Peterman expense account. Meanwhile, the red neon sign of a new Kenny Rogers Roasters restaurant beams directly into Kramer's apartment. Jerry and Kramer then switch apartments, and end up switching personalities as well.

Emmy Awards Won:

  • 1992
    • Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing in a Comedy Series: Elaine Pope and Larry Charles for “The Fix-Up”
    • Outstanding Individual Achievement in Editing for a Series: Janet Ashikaga
  • 1993
    • Outstanding Comedy Series
    • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: Michael Richards as “Cosmo Kramer”
    • Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing in a Comedy Series: Larry David for “The Contest”
  • 1994
    • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: Michael Richards as “Cosmo Kramer”
    • Outstanding Individual Achievement in Editing for a Series: Janet Ashikaga
  • 1995
    • Outstanding Individual Achievement in Editing for a Series: Janet Ashikaga
  • 1996
    • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: Julia Louis-Dreyfus as “Elaine Benes”
  • 1997
    • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: Michael Richards as “Cosmo Kramer”

 

 

*All episode synopsis taken from TV.com

 


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