Book review: Seinfeldia has nothing much to add for fans of Seinfeld

Seinfeldia Jennifer Keishin Armstrong Simon & Schuster Dh61 Eighteen years ago, in one of the most anticipated moments in American television history, fans of Seinfeld obsessed over the end of the show’s nine-season run and struggled with saying goodbye to one of the most influential and successful comedies of all time. In a sense, this […]

Seinfeldia

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong

Simon & Schuster

Dh61

Eighteen years ago, in one of the most anticipated moments in American television history, fans of Seinfeld obsessed over the end of the show’s nine-season run and struggled with saying goodbye to one of the most influential and successful comedies of all time.

In a sense, this 1998 farewell wasn’t entirely necessary. The show has lived on in reruns and, in fits and spurts, we’ve been treated to extensions of the show and glimpses into the making of it.

Jerry Seinfeld resumed his stand-up career and launched an online chat show, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, which has included appearances by Seinfeld co-creator Larry David and co-stars Michael Richards and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

David moved on to Curb Your Enthusiasm, in which the Seinfeld DNA was apparent – he even built a season around a fictional reunion/sequel to the earlier show, featuring the original cast.

Interviews and panel discussions have been abundant – and most insightful of all, the series was released on DVD a decade ago, with a huge amount of interviews, features and commentaries as bonus content.

Yet still we crave more. The wealth of information already available complicates an author’s ability to add something new, however – and despite a noble effort, Jennifer Keishin Armstrong does little to broaden perspectives on the show for its most ardent fans.

Though she spoke to numerous talents involved in Seinfeld, any new light they shed is limited. There are no fresh conversations with the main cast or David, relying instead on previously published comments.

Without the key players, we are given discussions from around the periphery: with the real-life Kenny Kramer, the inspiration for the fictional Cosmo Kramer; the composer of the theme music; the woman whose face was on the poster for the fictional movie Rochelle, Rochelle.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, as they say – but it leaves you wondering why we couldn’t come away with juicier morsels from more of those involved in the show.

What about the parade of wonderful secondary characters who might offer new stories? Where is Jerry Stiller, who played George Costanza’s dad? Wayne Knight, who was Seinfeld‘s nemesis, Newman? What about the actors behind David Puddy, J Peterman or Susan Ross?

It’s not that interesting threads are completely missing from Seinfeldia – but they are few.

* Matt Sedensky / AP

Source: art & life

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