With syndication, the show is still on in most markets on a nightly basis, allowing new generations of viewers to witness the antics of this show that was supposed to be about nothing. While not spectacular writing, Jennifer Keishin Armstrong brought back the sitcom and its comedy and it had me in stitches, reminding me that Seinfeld was a one of a kind show, the best of its generation. Jerry Seinfeld has returned to his roots as a stand up comedian.
He has produced a show for Netflix called Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, which is charmingly hilarious but still does not measure up to his twenty two minute show about nothing. With syndication, I still see the show, and it is as still as funny as it was twenty years ago, but like the actors, I have moved on in real time. I still do not turn down an opportunity to see Seinfeld if it is convenient for me to do so.
Jennifer Keishin Armstrong brought back the show in this book, that, despite being about nothing, was at its best humorous. View all 13 comments. If there's one thing I guess you should know about me other than that I'm a huge bookworm, it's that I love sitcoms. I love thoughtful analysis of sitcoms, I love nostalgia and trivia associated with sitcoms, I love quoting sitcoms and making references to them on an annoyingly regular basis. So I was crazy excited to snag an ARC of this. Armstrong's previous book on The Mary Tyler Moore Show received such high praise and it goes without saying that I am a huge Seinfeld fan.
I even have a Theory If there's one thing I guess you should know about me other than that I'm a huge bookworm, it's that I love sitcoms. I even have a Theory of Life based on the show: you can make a reference to Seinfeld out of nearly every experience you have, and that episode will show up on your television with 24 hours. The theory has held up so much, that my husband once found a reference in an article on Slate that had been published less than 10 minutes before he and I watched the episode that it referenced.
So you might think that this is the perfect book for me. But I have some pretty mixed feelings about it and I'm struggling to figure out how to articulate them.
On the one hand, it was well-written and interesting. On the other hand, I just couldn't shake the fact that large chunks of it seemed to be just regurgitating anecdotes from DVD bonus features. Literally, sentence after sentence after sentence are credited to DVD features in the bibliography. So many ibid s. That would be fine, I guess, if it felt like Armstrong added anything to those anecdotes. But she didn't really do that.
No commentary, no analysis, very little in the way of tying the anecdotes into a bigger point. She clearly didn't have access to any of the big players -- no interviews with the four main cast members or Larry David or anyone more important than a guy who wrote for more than two consecutive seasons the show's reliance on events plucked from writers' real lives meant a high turnover rate as they burned through their personal wells of funny stories and Larry David's tight creative control couldn't have been fun, so lasting more than a year or two was rare.
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And that just meant that she relied primarily on those commentary reels and old newspaper interviews filled with now-familiar tidbits. Even descriptions of Jerry's pre-NBC stand-up routines seem to be limited to what had been included in bonus features. The back half of the book shifts from a narrative of how the show was conceived and produced to a modest exploration of the show's influence in the two decades!
But again, much of this was just an exploration of familiar anecdotes--how John O'Hurley became an investor in the real Peterman catalog, how the real Soup Nazi hated the show. Very little original analysis of how the show has affected television, in terms of both the business side and the content side. And so, instead of this: I walked away from the book feeling a little more: Maybe the book would be more enjoyable had I not immediately recognized so much of its content from videos like this one?
I don't know. As it is, I was really just View all 3 comments. A free copy was provided through Netgalley in exchange for review.
I think anyone who picks up this book is most likely going to be a rabid Seinfeld fan, and I'm no exception. We are in the midst of PeakTV -- a new heralded Golden Age of Television -- and there's a very persuasive argument to be made that it all started with a small show about nothing, that did in fact, change everything. Despite the avalanche of remarkable and groundbreaking TV that's hit our small screens since Seinfeld exited A free copy was provided through Netgalley in exchange for review. Despite the avalanche of remarkable and groundbreaking TV that's hit our small screens since Seinfeld exited stage left in , it still remains one of my favorite shows of all time.
I've never stopped watching it in syndication, it continues to make me bust a gut laughing on a regular basis, and I've yet to encounter any situation in life that cannot be captured by applying a Seinfeld quote. Seinfeldia is a fun book, and a totally immersive experience into the bizarre, unexpected and meteoric rise of a show that probably should have been cancelled after its first season. But after a rocky and uncertain start, the show got traction with fans and critics. As its influence spread, it was clear to see that Seinfeld was bleeding over and breaking through the Fourth Wall on a regular basis, blending fact with fiction in an original and inspired way not only becoming part of the zeitgeist and popular culture but seemingly birthing it out of thin air.
The catchy phrases and neurotic dialogue uttered on the show were quickly absorbed by television audiences and recited in everyday life as if we had always been saying such things. Or here's what I think -- we had always needed these words to describe both the inanity and absurdity of life, and it was Seinfeld who gave them to us. The author takes a nice even-handed, well-researched approach describing the "making of" the show, offering a behind-the-scenes analysis of early working relationships, scripts and the jockeying for power and position between the actors, writers and directors.
And David wielded that power like Thor's mighty hammer. The only other creative force welcomed into the inner sanctum was not surprisingly David's right hand man, Jerry Seinfeld. Together, these two gentlemen mind-fused into a comedic entity where the sum of their brilliance far exceeded their individual talents.
The book also has fun dipping into the "bizarro" aspects of the show -- how it carried the Midas touch for a lot of struggling actors who would go on to great careers after their stints on Seinfeld , no matter how brief or fleeting their appearance. Probably the most notable here is Bryan Cranston -- the inimitable Dr. Whatley -- a dentist who Jerry is certain converted to Judaism strictly for the jokes. Even regular people who never acted on the show got pulled into its gravitational belt for better and for worse.
The real people counterparts to the fictionalized versions of themselves on the show would reap financial rewards and a fame by proxy -- 1. Rather than fight against it, the actor has made peace with a role he will never outlive and embraces the benefits with grace and humor. The book also addresses the backlash against a show that had become so popular it attracted haters and critics who believed it to be insufferably smug and overrated. The author also talks about the controversial finale episode and how it disappointed many fans and critics it's not my favorite episode by any means, but I found things to appreciate about the finale.
Then there was the fate of the four leads post- Seinfeld and the various trajectories their careers took, the strangest and most disappointing being Michael Richards and his public breakdown of racist rage. I haven't seen this yet, but I do plan on checking it out at some point. Not surprisingly, the brains and soul and passion behind Seinfeld , creator Larry David, has had the most enduring and critical success with his show Curb Your Enthusiasm which ended in after eight seasons, but it's just been announced the show will return for a season nine.
To wrap things up and leave on a high note, with hand , I'm gonna take a page from Dan who in his review listed his ten favorite Seinfeld episodes. For anyone who has ever watched and loved the show, you'll remember just how packed each episode became, routinely following four sub-plots for each of the four leads -- Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer.
David's singular purpose and desire was to strive to have every episode end with the four sub-plots intersect by the ending. And he almost always succeeded. In no particular order it was too hard to pick just ten, let alone rank here are some of my favorites. And who can forget Mr. Highlights: Elaine wanders helplessly holding a goldfish in a plastic bag of water waiting for it to perish.
George and Jerry get arrested for urinating in public. It remains a fan and critical favorite of Seinfeld's groundbreaking approach to comedic storytelling -- an episode about "nothing". Susan and George stop at the Bubble Boy's house to get directions and play a game of trivial pursuit. Elaine and Jerry are trying to enjoy a night out at the opera when Davola turns up dressed as the clown from Pagliacci.
Part of the fun is all the euphemisms used to avoid saying the actual word, and what eventually makes each character crack. George gets discovered as a hand model. Jerry is "silly" so his is made from Fusilli. Highlights: "the move" David Puddy, my favorite recurring character, starts using Jerry's sex move on Elaine; Kramer becomes "the Assman"; and Frank Costanza ends up at the proctologist's office after impaling himself on the Fusilli Jerry.
Seinfeldia : How a Show about Nothing Changed Everything [Hardcover]
This is also the episode where we get Frank's move of "stopping short". I still say "Gotta support the team" in my best Puddy impression. No soup for you! Also, Jerry becomes a bootlegger and we meet Brody. Highlights: Jerry is dating a woman with collectible toys from his childhood that she won't let him play with ; George runs over a squirrel and is pressured by the woman he's dating to save its life, which the vet informs him will be costly and require the use of "special, really tiny instruments.
Elaine and Kramer conspire to short circuit the power in her neighbor's apartment only to find out there's a cat trapped inside starving because its food dispenser no longer works. And that's just the tip of the iceberg -- there's so much hilarity stuffed into this episode that often gets overlooked. He tries to return it and discovers it's been "flagged".
Seriously, I feel like I'm just getting started. I haven't even mentioned "Moviefone", "shrinkage", "not that there's anything wrong with that", "Dolores", "George's desk naps", yada yada yada.
It would have been a much shorter list identifying the odd sub-plot or moments that can no longer make me laugh. There are far fewer of those. After all these years and repeated viewings Seinfeld has more than stood the test of time. If anything, it's ageless, or like a fine whiskey, keeps getting better with age as it thrives and finds new audiences in syndication. And while some outstanding comedies have appeared in the years following its finale -- It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Parks and Rec to name my two favorites -- they all owe a debt to Seinfeld and for a show that continues to make me laugh out loud, I owe it a debt too.
View all 23 comments.
Dec 13, Chris rated it it was amazing. I can recite whole scenes from Seinfeld. It will always be among my very favorite sit-coms. And so I savored all these off-camera anecdotes and stories, and the origin of so many expressions and observations that now pepper my wife's and my conversations. View 2 comments. Jul 10, Joy rated it it was amazing Shelves: seinfeld-books , saw-it-on-tv , non-fiction , library-has-it , i-loved-this , can-t-wait , comedy , humor , looks-like-fun. This book is right up my street!
I'm a huge Seinfeld fan!! I consider myself a devoted fan of everything related to Seinfeld, which this book refers to as Seinfeldia. Even as devoted to the series and the actors as I have been all these years, I still learned things I didn't know from this excellent book. The author delves into how the series became so groundbreaking and why it's so important in the history of situation comedies. If you are a fan of the show, this book is truly a must read!
I'll This book is right up my street! I'll share a few personal things about the series that pertain to my life. After I had foot surgery, when I was in recovery, I evidently felt that the nurses needed to know the plot of the famous "Soup Nazi" episode that I had seen the night before! In the book, Ms. Armstrong talks to Larry Thomas, the actor who played the "Soup Nazi" and who continues to be known for that single episode!
She also talks to the actual soup purveyor for whom the character was based on Al Yeganeh who despised the show. I have thought of the dialogue from my favorite episodes when I've gone through difficulties in my life so clearly Seinfeld means a lot to me. But having read this book, I understand that I'm not the only one. It is truly a pop culture phenomenon with many catchphrases still in use today.
I doubt the series will ever go off the air. If you want to read about how this show came to be the worldwide hit that it is, this is the book for you! View all 11 comments. Feb 05, Richard rated it liked it Shelves: arc , nonfiction. I like Seinfeld, it's a funny show. I watched all of them on DVD and cherry picked my way around my favourites in quiter TV times few and far between these days. What doesn't necessarily work, or at least not for someone who likes the show and not love it, is a whole load of tales about some of the writing staff and there struggles to stay fresh.
You could call it a coffe table book, something to dip in and out of. That's what I did, read ten pages at a time for a quick fix. It was nice to reme I like Seinfeld, it's a funny show. It was nice to remember certain parts of the show I'd forgotten but I'd rather watch it than read about how it became popular. Decent enough to dip in and out of but not one I would overly recommend.
There was an article on the guardian around the time of publication that had the best bits from this book and that only took ten minutes to read. I received a free copy from NetGalley Sep 03, Don rated it liked it Shelves: comedy. One GoodReads reviewer complains that large chunks of Seinfeldia seem to be mere regurgitations of "anecdotes from DVD bonus features" and that the author "clearly didn't have access to any of the big players," including Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David.
These complaints are all completely valid. Luckily, I knew little about the show's backstory, and so I found the first few chapters of this book -- in which we learn about the show's origins and Seinfeld and David's creative process -- to be a pur One GoodReads reviewer complains that large chunks of Seinfeldia seem to be mere regurgitations of "anecdotes from DVD bonus features" and that the author "clearly didn't have access to any of the big players," including Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David.
Luckily, I knew little about the show's backstory, and so I found the first few chapters of this book -- in which we learn about the show's origins and Seinfeld and David's creative process -- to be a pure delight, something akin to eating Non-Fat Yogurt episode 71 and ogling the beautiful exhibitionist across the street from Kramer's apartment episode But then Armstrong starts to give us the kind of minutiae -- e. Jun 27, Brandon Forsyth rated it it was ok. There are moments when this book transcends "funny stories of working on Seinfeld", but the book never lives up to the subtitle "how a show about nothing changed everything".
There's a loose narrative about how the show has changed people's lives and manifested itself in the real world, but there's just not enough here to recommend. For die-hards only. View 1 comment. Jun 28, Rebecca McNutt rated it really liked it Shelves: filmmaking-film , actors-actresses , humor , comedy , non-fiction , television , pop-culture. Well-written, comedic and detailed, Seinfeldia is a very original pop culture book with a lot of info and trivia. Unfortunately this book amounted to little more than click bait. I enjoyed Seinfeld in its original run and still enjoy it in syndication and was hoping to learn some interesting behind-the-scenes information, but that hope was largely unmet.
If you like Seinfeld. Is there anything you would change about this book? More about Seinfeld and Larry David, less about the bit players. And redo the narration! Would you recommend Seinfeldia to your friends? Why or why not? Some fun, interesting nuggets for the faithful. How did the narrator detract from the book? Terrible narrator! Overly dramatic, even when there was nothing dramatic going on. Emphasized words for no apparent reason.
Too slow. Like she was reading to a group of six year olds. Excellent listen for those enamored by all things Seinfeld. I like how Armstrong deals with the angst of creating these episodes. Your audiobook is waiting…. By: Jennifer Keishin Armstrong. Narrated by: Christina Delaine.
Length: 9 hrs and 59 mins. People who bought this also bought Hi Bob! Publisher's Summary Comedians Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld never thought anyone would watch their silly little sitcom about a New York comedian sitting around talking to his friends. Critic Reviews "Armstrong offers a masterly look at one of the greatest shows. What members say Average Customer Ratings Overall.
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Seinfeldia – Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
Most Helpful Most Recent. Audio Gra Gra Australia This bad narration is making me thirsty Cody G. Virginia Pretty Decent I really liked the content, narration was great, but it could have ended about 2 hours earlier Ashley B. Marable I Learned Something Who knew matching the Narrator to the subject matter is extemely important? Narrator tried too hard to do impressions. John Ireesh Milton Pennypacker Mark Raglan, New Zealand Mia Barnett A few fun stories, terrible narration!
Steven King USA Visit Our Stores. They really just don't design books the way they used to Comedians Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld never thought anyone would watch their sitcom about a New York comedian sitting around talking to his friends. But against all odds, viewers did watch — first a few and then many, until nine years later nearly forty million Americans were tuning in weekly. Fussy Jerry, neurotic George, eccentric Kramer, and imperious Elaine — people embraced them with love.