Re-watching "Seinfeld"

But that very new concept was precisely what Seinfeld was about, loosely based on some of the real-life experiences of Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David and some of the characters they encountered.

When Seinfeld launched in 1989, there was nothing else like it on television. By the time Friends launched in the fall of 1994, Seinfeld was wildly successful and already starting its sixth season. You’ll never convince me that Friends wasn’t a direct ripoff and attempt to ride the crest of Seinfeld’s tremendous success. I mean, Seinfeld could just as easily have been titled Friends in New York, in which case the copycat would have had to pick a different title.

I’d say definitely George. He was a serial liar and constant schemer and insufferably self-serving. Jerry and Elaine were the relatively normal ones, while George and Kramer were the outliers. I think I saw it mentioned somewhere that George was an exaggerated caricature very loosely based on Larry David, and Kramer was based on one of David’s old apartment neighbours.

Seinfeld introduced 4 single friends living in New York City. Was that nothing at all like The Odd Couple that had two single friends living in New York City or I Love Lucy with four married friends living in New York City?

He’s not my favorite, but had many great lines. When George was caught peeing in the shower at the gym, someone asked Kramer if he peed in the shower. - “I take baths”. Or - “I’m out”.

My cousin, a best friend really, talk for about an hour a week (she lives 2 hours away) there are Seinfeld quotes seeded into every conversation.

Also The Honeymooners.

No, nothing at all. It’s been a really long time since I saw any episode of The Odd Couple but the premise of the show is two middle-aged guys separated from their wives who have to get along sharing an apartment despite being diametric opposites. The whole premise is completely different from Seinfeld and its almost-clone, Friends.

Bringing up I Love Lucy for comparison is an even more ridiculous stretch. The series almost exclusively centered on wacky Lucy constantly getting herself in some kind of comical trouble.

Just as silly a comparison as I Love Lucy. The only thing those last-named three shows have in common with Seinfeld is that there are people in it, and it’s set in New York City. Nothing else. Whereas Seinfeld and Friends are practically clones. No one ever accused Seinfeld of ripping off The Odd Couple or I Love Lucy because that would be nuts; on the contrary, the show was celebrated for its trail-blazing originality. Seinfeld and David did, however, accuse the creators of Friends of plagiarizing their concept.

Despite the trouble that Michael Richards got himself into after the series ended, I have to say that as Kramer he was arguably the most entertaining of the four principal actors. I’d put Jason Alexander as George Costanza next, followed by Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine.

I don’t know where the hell to put Jerry Seinfeld. He’s in a special category called “so bad, he’s good” or “so annoying, he’s funny”! :wink:

I should re-watch Seinfeld. Easily one of my favorite shows of the 90s.

I thought everyone knew by now that Friends was a direct ripoff of Living Single?

The only thing Friends had in common with Seinfeld are a number of single friends living in New York City. New York City wasn’t new, a different number of friends wasn’t new, not even the part about them being single. Everything else had been done before many times in sitcoms. It was a good show, better writing than most sitcoms, better characters than most perhaps, but not unique in the circumstances.

While you argue pointlessly based on a rant from Larry David, a guy who comes up with comedy material by looking at the result of his own zany behavior, Seinfeld was new and original in a number of ways, but Friends didn’t copy those things. Give it credit for it’s unique features, not calling Friends a ripoff.

But he did work on the Finale, right?

He took credit for writing the finale. If anybody helped him they haven’t been talking about it much.

Sorry, that was a reference to the Curb finale, where people keep asking Larry that :stuck_out_tongue:

Ah! Haven’t got around to watching the last season yet. Was it mentioned in earlier episodes too? Sounds kind of familiar.

I remember watching it at the time, and there were some classic bits. The buildup and payoff with “And you want to be my latex salesman!” was pretty great. But I can’t watch reruns of it. Mainly because I have a massive aversion to overacting, but also because I couldn’t relate to any of the characters. Even as they acknowledged the unbelievability of their situation (George describing Kramer: “He never works, falls ass-backwards into money and has sex without dating…his life IS a fantasy camp.”) nothing seemed remotely believable to me, even putting aside the TV convention of non-wealthy New Yorkers living in apartments large enough to play tennis in, and who all seemed to own cars to boot. I think it was Television Without Pity that noted how the writers really captured specific New York concerns (parking spots, Moviefone), but these characters still lived on another planet.

It’s possible that its “revolutionary” aspects have just been muted over time. I’ve seen a few different comedy figures say that the episode in which George’s financee dies from licking the poisoned envelopes and, much more importantly, the main foursome shrug it off, as being a turning point in television comedy that showed you could take things to a dark place and the audience would follow you. Which is possible, I suppose; I don’t remember humour that grim in major sitcoms before that, and less than a decade later Arrested Development would run for three seasons on incest and prison rape jokes. As a lover of darker humour myself, I guess we owe it that gratitude?

Maybe I have too much experience in having to cut toxic people out of my life, but I could never understand why Jerry didn’t have a restraining order out against Kramer from day one. From the time that Kramer left Jerry’s door open and his apartment got robbed, to every other time he caused chaos, I would have severed ties with him with as much severity as possible. And George was just a pain in the ass.

I’ve seen every episode of Seinfeld multiple times. I’ve never seen an entire episode of Friends and never plan to.

A truth that survives to this day:

“NOBODY beats the Van Wyck”

I wish I could forget, but people keep reminding me.

“Just when you think you’re out, they pull you back in.”

Same with Maddie and David.

FYI, here is a gift link to a 1996 New York Times article about Kenny Kramer, the real-life inspiration for the Kramer character on the show. At the time of the article, he was offering tours of the places where various scenes were set.

And another minor bit of trivia; the exterior shots of Monk’s, the diner that the Seinfeld characters hung out in, were of the same place as in the Suzanne Vega song Tom’s Diner.

Not only that, but check out this picture on the website of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), which is a major center for climate science research. It’s straight out of Seinfeld. GISS occupies practically the entire building that houses Tom’s Restaurant on the ground floor. They’re affiliated with Columbia University and the building is officially known as Columbia’s Armstrong Hall. Instead of Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer, in real life the restaurant is probably often occupied by climate researchers!

Their original location per the website was “located in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of New York City.” [George Carlin] White Harlem! [gc]

Which became an inspiration for the “Peterman Reality Tour” that Kramer set up when he sold his stories to Jacopo Peterman for 750 bucks