When I was younger in the 90s sometimes I would see a celebrity who would appear on talk shows and I couldn’t figure out why they were considered famous and kept showing up on these talk shows. I’d never seen them in a tv show or a movie, and then I would find out that they had a starring role in a hit TV show that ended 10-20 years ago.
That pretty much describes Seinfeld now, he hasn’t done much in the last 20 years. Has anyone run into young people who have no idea why Jerry Seinfeld is famous?
I’m 36 and I’ve been trying to figure that out for decades. However, some of my classmates and coworkers who are at least 10 years younger than me, if not more, think he’s hilarious and have seen every episode of Seinfeld.
Funny, I love the reruns and tried to show them to my 13 and 9 year old daughters last night. Their critical conclusion was that the Festivus and Soup-Nazi episodes (I tried to pick some highlights) were “lame” and “boring”. I was going to force them to watch it all the way through for some retro-cultural appreciation lessons but then I realized it isn’t Gone With the Wind and they have a right not to like it for reasons I can’t relate to. Maybe they will in a few years but probably not. Young people can be a tough crowd.
The big difference is that Seinfeld-the-show is broadcasting literally non-stop as re-runs. Anyone who has ever watched TV will probably have watched at least an episode of Seinfeld.
In that regard, Seinfeld is more like Happy Days or Batman would have been to the 90s generation, and Jerry Seinfeld is more akin to Henry Winkler or Adam West. Winkler or West also hadn’t done much to keep in the public eye in the 20 years prior to “the 90s sometimes”. Both were still sufficiently recognisable to be able to show up in cameos in teen movies such as Scream and were still instantly recognisable.
Were there young people in the 90s who had no idea who Henry Winkler or Adam West was? Sure there were. And there will be some today who have no idea who Seinfeld is. But I doubt it would be a majority.
I think the type of stars you are remembering would be more akin to the Neve Campbells or Kevin Szorbos of today. Stars of shows that were huge in their time, but that haven’t been screened since.