Seinfeld - A Cultural Phenomenon of the Small Screen
Seinfeld has won the accolade of being the greatest television program of all times which was conferred not just by the TV Guide but by the millions of people who loved this cultural extravaganza created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld. This sitcom first appeared on television screens on July 5th, 1989 and went on to complete nine successful seasons till May 14th, 1998.
This commercial blockbuster was produced by Castle Rock Entertainment and Columbia Pictures Television and stars Jerry Seinfeld along with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander and Michael Richards. A big chunk of the script was written by Larry and Jerry; the latter starred as a fictionalized representation of him in the sitcom. But there were also inputs to the script from various other writers like Gregg Kavet, Larry Charles, Andy Robin, Steve Koren, Max Pross, Elaine Pope and many others.
Lasting for nine seasons over 180 episodes, this sitcom has won plenty of awards, recognitions and accolades for all the nine seasons that it was aired. The fact that made Seinfeld stand apart from the other regular sitcoms was the lack of a central theme. Many of the episodes were revolved on the minutiae of life like standing in line for the movies, going out for dinner or dealing with the innumerable injustices and fallacies of life. Most of the characters especially the main and recurring ones were based on Larry's and Jerry's real-life friends and acquaintances. Two among these include Jacopo Peterman based on John Peterman and George Steinbrenner who is the owner of New York Yankees.
Many other characters were introduced later on in the episodes with different scriptwriters entering the foray. The storyline is always unique and quite different from the regular sitcoms which made this one extremely popular among the masses. Each episode begins with a story thread which shows different characters in unrelated incidents or situations but all their stories merge and come together related by the end of the episode. There is a degree of intimacy that is maintained among the cast especially as it involves only a handful of characters in each episode.
This blockbuster was also famous for its continuity as both characters and situations from earlier episodes were referred to giving a sense of real life scenarios. Sometimes story arcs are created which span many episodes or sometimes an entire season like the episode 'The Stake Out' in which Jeremy's girl friend is introduced to 'The Stock Tip' in which he breaks up with her.
Another difference that Seinfeld had from other sitcoms was the fact that the characters never get their moral lessons right at the end of an episode or even a season. They are indifferent, callous, and merciless to each other and to their friends, acquaintances and relatives. There are very few happy endings or kissing and making up. The sitcom is a good example of absurdism and nihilism; the former is the philosophy that life is meaningless and the latter denotes the philosophy that there are no values in life or the futility of relationships.