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Tuesday, November 23, 2004



Assorted Seinfeld news and views:

...DVD boxsets of perhaps the greatest sitcom ever can finally be purchased in stores (and online) today, November 23, 2004 (just the first three seasons, for now)... Fittingly, "THE CONTEST" was voted the winner in AOL's all-time favorite Seinfeld episode contest (wanna bet?)... Look for a special limited-edition AOL CD in stores which features special Seinfeld show-related content along with AOL 9.0...

The image “http://math.scu.edu/~dostrov/fab4seinfeld.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Seinfab Four

My popculture analysis: Seinfeld's Fiendish Four were to the 90's what the Fab Four were to the 60's: Seinfeld ran for almost the entire decade, just as the Beatles' career did in their time -- all four rose to roughly equal stature during their time at the top, as did the Beatles (in terms of songwriting) -- the Seinfour's influence was felt in other popculture domains, just as the Moptops were -- there is even a promo-photo of the quirky quartet that uses the famed look of the "Meet the Beatles" cover, and a perSeinified version of the South Park characters. Note how both images show the characters in the same order -- Jerry, George, Elaine, Kramer. Coincidence? Okay, maybe... but the Beatles too always had a pecking order (the press, and everyone else, always used the same order: "John, Paul, George, Ringo")...

The image “http://www.123freehost.co.uk/sites/seinfeld_pictures/images/sein1.JPG” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Sein Park

Another similarity with the Beatles, perhaps the most crucial, was how the Seinfabs evolved over the decade. As the sixties began, The Beatles were good, not great, which is why so many record labels passed on them - but they improved and evolved relentlessly until they became stellar showmen and deft songwriters, hitting their stride just when they got a shot at a mass audience. Same for Seinfeld. They were good at first, with witty wordplay and scripts with simple plots, but they morphed into more complex plot schemes and characters who hit their stride and full potential, just as their move to Thursdays helped their popularity soar. What started as a little show about nothing became ultimately a big soap opera about everything, with a steady stream of hilarious characters weaving in and out of complex plots that often relied on wild coincidence -- but we could suspend our disbelief through our belly laughs. Seinfeld evolved over the nineties, as any great show (or band, or species, or any organic entity) should. And the result was spec-tacular.

Now, thanks to the tech marvel called DVD, we can watch their entire evolution with the analytical lever of hindsight, aided by hours of bonus material. (Or, we can just watch, wonder, and wail with wild laughter.)

One final Beatle-Seinfeld comparison worth mentioning is how each character in each group seems to have a match, at least in spirit, in the other quartet:
JOHN/JERRY: the leader; broke up his group even though they were still popular and other members wanted to keep things going.
PAUL/ELAINE: the pretty one.
GEORGE/GEORGE: always searching for meaning; into dark humor; sarcastic view of life.
RINGO/KRAMER: the oddball; the oddest looking.

Speaking of Kramer, you can hear a new interview with his alter ego (actor Michael Richards), and relive some classic Seinfeld clips, at npr.org.

(In memoriam: late actress Gina Mastrogiacomo -- forever my feistiest, funniest female friend -- was part of the Seinfeld universe, playing a hilarious happy hooker hassling hapless George; in addition to that classic episode, she also was featured in the film "Goodfellas", and we all miss her immensely. Look for Gina on the Seinfeld DVDs; I believe she will be on one of the future releases. )

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