By Sam Acosta
After their loss of sitcom headliners “The Office” and “Friends,” Netflix was searching for another big name to fill the void. This fall, Netflix announced that the entirety of “Seinfeld” would be coming to the streaming platform. I had never seen a single episode before, so I took it upon myself to binge the entire series to see if it lived up to the hype.
The show follows Jerry Seinfeld, a comedian in New York City, and his friends George, Elaine and Kramer, as they live out their lives. With no greater overarching plot, each episode provides its own small set of jokes and odd situations for the gang to get caught up in.
I definitely enjoyed my time watching “Seinfeld.” It presents this self-aware, mundane yet ridiculously entertaining experience for nine whole seasons. Each character is essentially a horrible person in his or her own way and yet finds a way to gain sympathy from the audience. Even though Jerry and his friends are brutally selfish, we still root for them to succeed.
Jerry is a neat-freak comedian who can make a joke out of any situation. George is the guy who does whatever he can to get what he wants and normally ends up paying the price for it. Elaine is a hard-working independent woman who probably thinks a bit too highly of herself. Finally, Kramer is…well, Kramer. There are few words to describe this personification of chaos who steals the spotlight for the majority of the show.
Kramer’s oddity makes him a fan favorite.
I enjoyed how this show is able to take mundane or pointless situations and mine comedy gold out of them. For example, one of the show’s most famous episodes has the group waiting endlessly for a table at a Chinese restaurant. This incredibly ordinary situation should not be entertaining in the slightest. On the contrary, we probably all have painful memories of endless waits at restaurants that we would hate to relive. Yet, this is one of the staple episodes of the series, blending humor and normalcy into a perfect mix of entertainment.
This comedic blend that the show pioneered is part of what makes it so important to the sitcom genre. As the show itself addresses in hilarious moments of self-awareness, the idea of a “show about nothing” sounds like an absolutely horrible pitch for a sitcom. Yet, “Seinfeld” pulls it off seamlessly. Its success and influence led to the creation of many hit shows such as “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” and even “Friends.” While the latter has seen more success with current generations, “Seinfeld” nevertheless helped pave the way.
Another element of the show that I enjoyed was seeing lots of familiar faces that we have grown to love now come onto the show in smaller roles, long before they broke out into stardom. Seeing people such as Lauren Graham (Lorelai in “Gilmore Girls”), James Spader (Reddington in “The Blacklist”) and Bryan Cranston (Walter White in “Breaking Bad”) felt exciting and kept me interested in each new character introduced.
While most of the time the actor/actress would only appear for a single episode, some came back for multiple. The best instance of this is Patrick Warburton’s role as Puddy, Elaine’s on-again-off-again boyfriend whose iconic voice and oafish affect made him an instant favorite in the series. This “who’s who” element just makes watching this show in the current day that much more enjoyable.
Patrick Warburton as Puddy
One of the issues I did have with the show, however, was its finale. The show ends with the gang being put on trial for breaking a “Good Samaritan” law when a man gets mugged and the group stands by doing nothing but mocking him. As the trial begins, seemingly everyone that the characters have ever wronged during the course of the show makes a return to recount how they are horrible people. In the end, they get convicted, and the show ends with a fade-away shot of them beginning their year-long sentence in prison.
While I did enjoy some of the jokes in the episode, as a whole, it felt like a flat ending to the nine-season-long television series. I wanted something more substantial. Yet, I can see why it ended the way it did. As the show itself claims, it is all about nothing.
Overall, this show was fun to binge. While it is the kind of show that you watch while doing other things, like chores, video games or work, it also is the kind of show that you will miss when you decide to turn it off. It’s quirky and engaging. Not only do I enjoy it for its content, but I respect it for its influence on the entertainment industry and the sitcom genre.
“Seinfeld” is now available to watch on Netflix.
Sam Acosta is a Junior Theatre Comprehensive Major and an A&E writer for Cedars. He likes spending his time watching movies, drinking Dr. Pepper and writing plays.