Monday, June 27, 2016

Review: Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything

Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Seinfeldia is the story of Seinfeld, the TV show that went from being watched by a handful of people to being a pop culture phenomenon.

Confession Time: There was a period of my life that Seinfeld was my favorite show. I watched it religiously in syndication and in prime time as new episodes aired. Actually, religiously probably isn't the right word since I never missed Seinfeld but ditched church at every opportunity, sometimes while reading Sein Language. To this day, I still watch episodes in syndication. When this popped up on Netgalley, I requested it immediately.

Seinfeldia chronicles Seinfeld from it's early days to it's prime to it's eventual conclusion, yadda yadda yadda. The behind the scenes stuff was really interesting. A lot of the material from the show was drawn from real life experiences of the writing staff, something suspected but was never quite sure about. I also learned that most writers only lasted a season, discarded once they'd been milked of all useful material, which kind of makes Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld seem like heartless dicks. Early tension between Jason Alexander and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss was something I'd never heard about before, as was Michael Richards' aloofness.

The show about nothing had some humble beginnings. Fear of cancellation was rampant, which was fine with Larry David, who thought he only had four or five episodes in him anyway. Good thing he was able to Curb that feeling eventually. Early landmark episodes include The Chinese Restaurant, which takes place entirely in a Chinese restaurant and doesn't feature Kramer, and The Contest, the infamous episode where the gang try to see who can go the longest without masturbating.

The book continues to chronicle the show, covering everything, including Larry David's exit to Jerry's rejection of $5 million per episode to keep the show going beyond the ninth season. After that, the lives of the cast post-Seinfeld are covered, as is the rise of Seinfeld fandom. I'd forgotten about Michael Richards' racist meltdown in 2006.

This book tickled all of the nostalgia centers in my brain, a fun trip down memory lane peppered with speed bumps like the low talker, the close talker, man-hands, and yadda, yadda, yadda.

To sum things up, I enjoyed the hell out of this. Not that there's anything wrong with that. To wrap things up, here are ten of my favorite Seinfeld episodes in the order they aired.
1 - The Chinese Restaurant
2 - The Parking Garage
3 - The Contest
4 - The Bubble Boy
5 - The Junior Mint
6 - The Non-Fat Yogurt
7 - The Marine Biologist
8 - The Calzone
9 - The Sponge
10 - The Soup Nazi

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