Seinfeldia: How a Show about Nothing Changed Everything
Benefiting from the initial network apathy that allowed them more creative control, Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David created Seinfeld, a sitcom that “commanded the commercial realm like no sitcom before it.” Jennifer Keishin Armstrong’s book about a show about nothing, Seinfeldia, is interested in not only the massively successful show but also its continued interaction with the real world. What has resulted is the bizarre titular realm, where holidays like Festivus and people like J. Peterman are simultaneously real and not.
Ms. Armstrong necessarily begins with the show itself, which imitated the real world long before the reverse was true. Here, she makes a strong case for the show’s unique reputation, from the absence of stage directions in its scripts to its pioneering of a single camera, on-location approach to filming. And because an argument between Seinfeld and David about the inclusion of Kramer in the series can only have one outcome, the book streamlines the general narrative, instead adopting a more anecdotal style that succeeds in fleshing out an increasingly bizarre in-between world where Festivus is attacked by Fox News as a threat to Christmas and characters based on real people come to life alongside their real-world inspirations.
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