I’ve mentioned before that I love reading histories of movies or shows — Clueless, The Princess Bride — and now I can add Seinfeldia to that list. I wouldn’t bother with this one if you don’t like the show, but if you do — this was a great read.
“By 2013, Seinfeld would become the most successful show ever in syndication. Networks buy reruns in packages sold in “cycles,” and Seinfeld was the first show in history to get to a fifth cycle, taking its rerun sales through 2017—nearly twenty years since its finale.”
I’m a huge fan of Seinfeld, although I’ve mostly just watched the show in reruns. I’ve seen every episode, most of them many times over, thanks to TBS. I’ve always loved how each storyline — regardless of how crazy — managed to intersect with the others by the end of the episode. The author of Seinfeldia makes it clear how intentional that was, and how much work went into it.
Seinfeldia is full of great interviews and trivia. I think Armstrong was hampered a bit by the fact that Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld must be very difficult to get a hold of — there’s a noticeable lack of interviews by them or the other main cast members. But there’s just so much other research and information that the book doesn’t suffer too much. My favorites bits were when she showed how Seinfeld infiltrated the “real world” — and how the real world impacted the show. For instance, the J. Peterman catalog really exists. The actual J. Peterman — not consulted for the show until his “character” appeared several times — rapidly expanded his business in anticipation of new sales boosted by the show. Unfortunately, most people didn’t realize it existed in real life (myself included). So he went bankrupt, and another catalog bought him out. Then IT went bankrupt, and Peterman bought it back — thanks to investment money from the actor who played him on the show. The whole book is full of weird trivia like that, and I loved it.