The hilarious behind-the-scenes story of two guys who went out for coffee and dreamed up Seinfeld --the cultural sensation that changed television and bled into the real world, altering the lives of everyone it touched. Read more...
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More About Seinfeldia by Jennifer Keishin ArmstrongOverview"Her book, as if she were a marine biologist, is a deep dive...Perhaps the highest praise I can give Seinfeldia is that it made me want to buy a loaf of marbled rye and start watching again, from the beginning." --Dwight Garner, The New York Times Book Review
The hilarious behind-the-scenes story of two guys who went out for coffee and dreamed up Seinfeld--the cultural sensation that changed television and bled into the real world, altering the lives of everyone it touched.
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. NBC executives didn't think anyone would watch either, but they bought it anyway, hiding it away in the TV dead zone of summer. But against all odds, viewers began to watch, first a few and then many, until nine years later nearly forty million Americans were tuning in weekly.
In Seinfeldia, acclaimed TV historian and entertainment writer Jennifer Keishin Armstrong celebrates the creators and fans of this American television phenomenon, bringing readers behind-the-scenes of the show while it was on the air and into the world of devotees for whom it never stopped being relevant, a world where the Soup Nazi still spends his days saying "No soup for you ," Joe Davola gets questioned every day about his sanity, Kenny Kramer makes his living giving tours of New York sights from the show, and fans dress up in Jerry's famous puffy shirt, dance like Elaine, and imagine plotlines for Seinfeld if it were still on TV.
What's the deal with Seinfeld?
Maybe we should add “Seinfeldia” to the lexicon, joining “yada yada,” “sponge-worthy” and “Festivus.”
In Jennifer Keishin Armstrong’s view, espoused in the book of the same name, it’s not just a play on the title of the NBC sitcom that ran from 1989 to 1998 and starred comedian Jerry Seinfeld and featured four friends dedicated to zero personal growth. It’s an imaginary place, still thriving thanks to obsessive fans and enduring memes. And Seinfeldia (the book, that is) is the essential travel guide.
Armstrong is on familiar turf here: She also wrote Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted, about “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” and spent a decade on the staff of Entertainment Weekly. It’s a safe bet that she had a blast writing Seinfeldia, revisiting its origins, debriefing its writers (still shell-shocked from dealing with famously punctilious co-creator Larry David) and catching up with former cast members and network executives.
She’s at her best with tales from the writers, eager to dish about their turn at bat. Encouraged to mine their daily lives for stories, they came up with plotlines about dates gone wrong, shenanigans at the zoo and transgressions of the all-important “social contract.” But eventually the mines are emptied and it comes down to, as one writer once said, “sitting in an office in Studio City.”
And how did “the show about nothing” change everything? In Armstrong’s view, just look at shows like “The Office,” with its awkward humor, or “The Wire,” with its narrative complexity—both “Seinfeld” staples. But perhaps there’s nothing new under the sun: We learn that Michael Richards, who played “hipster doofus” Kramer, gleaned acting tips from watching Gale Storm in the 1950s sitcom “My Little Margie.”