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 40 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. She brings listeners 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.
©2016 Jennifer Armstrong (P)2016 Tantor
"Armstrong offers a masterly look at one of the greatest shows." (Library Journal)
I love listening to books when cycling, paddleboarding, etc but I press pause when I need to concentrate. Its safer & I don't lose the plot!
A few times I’ve started an Audible book review with the following formula: You have to like ‘X’ to like this book, and this formula applies again here: I think you would probably have to like Seinfeld to enjoy this book.
It’s the (mostly) interesting story of how a ‘show about nothing’ evolved from being a culty, avant-garde minority comedy into an absolute blockbuster, breaking records for viewing figures and the number of reruns.
Initially it seemed unlikely that this quirky comedy, in which four unlovable, selfish, petty people spend entire episodes bickering about little things that have annoyed them, would enter the mainstream. “Who wants to watch Jewish people running around being neurotic in New York?” was one early evaluation of its prospects.
But something about this show hooked people - and it became phenomenally successful. The characters may be petty and selfish but they are brilliantly funny and the shows were superbly written. It became so successful that the storylines were somehow allowed to cross way over the boundaries of propriety (in one episode there is a competition to see who can resist masturbating for the longest time, and in another they discuss parking in a disabled parking space in a very politically insensitive manner).
This book tells the story, and apart from the odd bit of meandering off into mundane digressions, it's a good listen. If you like Seinfeld.
Before buying this audiobook I read the reviews and noticed a lot of negative comments about the narration. So as I began listening, I was scratching my head trying to work out what people could be so annoyed by as the narration seemed fine to me. It wasn't until the narrator begins to quote people or, even worse re-enact scenes from Seinfeld that I got the full force of some very bad narration. Every male voice by this female narrator comes across as a fat neanderthal buffoon, while her impersonation of Julia Louis Dreyfus / Elaine is cringeworthy.
If you can get past this, there is some interesting trivia about the creation of the show, the writers, and of course the actors (major and minor) and Seinfeld and Larry David. Probably a little too much importance is attached to some bizarre Seinfeld related crazes that have sprung up in the years since the show ended, including a completely unnecessary and boring account of a few faux Seinfeld twitter accounts that I doubt anyone has ever heard of. The last half an hour or so of the audiobook can be skipped and you won't miss anything except for a brief mention of the Jerry / George Super Bowl ad right in the final few minutes of the audiobook.
If you really liked Seinfeld and are interested in a peek behind the scenes, this is a mostly interesting book and has a few nice moments of reminiscence, and for that its worth the listen - if you can get past the terrible narration.
More about Seinfeld and Larry David, less about the bit players. And redo the narration!
Some fun, interesting nuggets for the faithful.
Terrible narrator! Overly dramatic, even when there was nothing dramatic going on. Emphasized words for no apparent reason. Too slow. Like she was reading to a group of six year olds.
Was a quick read and just neat to see how much of an impact it was and still is. If you love comedy you respect how difficult it is to remain.
The narration was great. The unending commentary about writers and the world of writing was exhausting. But, I'm not a quitter and finally got to some good tidbits about the show material and actors in about chapter 10. If you are looking to learn how hard it is to be a sitcom writer, this book is for you. If you are looking for laughs about the Seinfeld things we all love, keep looking.
it was so awesome to go back to the good old days remembering all of the funny funny episodes. I learned a lot about what was going on behind the scenes. Very intetesting!
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