Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything (2016) by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong is all about the show and the phenomenon of Seinfeld almost twenty years after the show finished.

I remember when the show first hit Australia in 1993 and being blown away by just how clever and fresh the show was. Talking to people who ‘got’ Seinfeld was great.

The book covers how the show came about, how the characters appeared and how the actors got their roles. There are lots of chapters on the production of the pilot, the first shaky seasons and the later seasons where the show became a huge hit. Unless you are a Seinfeld fanatic you would find lots of new and interesting information. The way that Larry David and Seinfeld came up with their ideas and were ruthless with their writers is fascinating. It will also bring back fond memories for people who remember how great the show was at the time.

Like the show’s later seasons the book runs out of steam. Covering the later seasons it isn’t really acknowledged that the show declined, becoming huge stars seemed to take the edge away. The way the final episode didn’t fly is also well covered.

The way that the show has flourished for so long after the end of the run is well described. It’s an interesting phenomenon. Despite the fact that the title says how the show changed everything the continuing success of syndication shows that very little was actually changed by the show and it looks more like a lucky hit of timing and the great skill of the writers and actors. There hasn’t been a post-Seinfeld show like it.

The after lives of all the actors and writers is given time, as is the way that the show flourished online and how it has continued to work in the internet and mobile phone era despite it predating them is interesting.

For anyone who likes Seinfeld the book has a lot to offer, perhaps for people who really love the show and know everything about it there would be little new. The book sags a bit and could have been edited a bit better. But it’s still a good read about a truly great show.


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