20 years ago tonight, “Seinfeld” aired “The Finale.”

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by AKA, May 14, 2018.

  1. The Hud

    The Hud Tuesday's Dead (New Music released on Fridays now)

    My least favorite episode is where the guy on the plane next to Jerry has a heart attack, and Jerry somehow ends up taking care of his dog. Jerry wants to take the dog to the pound, but Elaine doesn't want to have the dog put down.

    The dog's owner is annoying and so is all of the barking in the episode.
     
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  2. swandown

    swandown Under Assistant West Coast Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR
    I agree that the show is more about neuroses than characters. But I feel like the writers have a responsibility to make the neuroses fit within the established parameters of the character. You can't suddenly change George into a macho tough guy. You can't decide on a whim that Jerry is a serial killer, or that Kramer is really a secret billionaire who likes performance art. You can't mess with the audience like that.

    But Larry David doesn't care about that stuff. He decided to push the Seinfeld characters into uncomfortable areas for the finale -- something that worked great on Curb (where boundary-pushing was an established part of the show from day one), but obviously wasn't going to work so well with the established characters on Seinfeld. It was an experiment that was doomed to fail.

    I always felt like David wanted "Seinfeld" to be more like "Curb". But NBC obviously wasn't going to allow that to happen, so what we saw on the first few years of Seinfeld was a watered-down version of David's vision. Then, when David was brought back for the finale, he was finally able to bring his vision to life (without NBC or anyone censoring him). So, he wrote something that may have made sense in his own brain, but it was just too different from what Seinfeld had become.

    Like I said, it was an interesting experiment. But it wasn't very funny or entertaining.
     
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  3. cboldman

    cboldman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hamilton, OH USA
    Nobody on here (I think) has mentioned it, so I’m assuming that it’s so well-known and accepted that it’s not worth commenting on; or maybe it didn’t make a great impression — what I’m referring to is the dialogue about shirt buttons between George and Jerry in the slammer. It’s a repeat of the opening dialogue from the Seinfeld Chronicles pilot, bringing the whole thing full circle, I suppose. Good choice on Larry David’s part, or not?
     
  4. The Hud

    The Hud Tuesday's Dead (New Music released on Fridays now)

    It is kind of funny, but mostly not. The Pilot is a very poor episode as well.
     
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  5. asdf35

    asdf35 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austin TX
    I'm not a critical type, but I don't think the finale was bad. I can hear Larry David in my head saying "mehh what can you do," and I tend to agree with the voices in my head...I have yet to hear of any better ideas, and I don't think it would be hard for some determined creative types to write a "fan fiction" finale.

    The show had kind of drifted into absurdity (not that there's anything wrong with that, I enjoy it), and Larry seems to have come in at the end and tied it all together as best he could. It was ridiculous. No lessons and No hugging!

    I'm also glad it didn't turn into something like this:
     
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  6. Holy Diver

    Holy Diver Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    The ending was very befitting for the characters, but wasn't very exciting.
     
  7. kreen

    kreen Forum Resident

    Yeah, that was one of the early episodes when they still used some typical sitcomish situations and characters. In the same category are the new-age natural healer that turns George blue and the excitable rabbi that can't do the circumcision.
     
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  8. kreen

    kreen Forum Resident

    If we didn't know Larry David wrote the Finale, I don't think anyone would have ever guessed it from watching the episode. Any staff writer from NBC could have done a more competent job.
     
  9. kreen

    kreen Forum Resident

    It's gimmicky, but THAT should have been the only thing about the episode to indicate it was the last one. They should have written a regular episode, with that dialogue being at the end as a wink to the audience.
     
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  10. George Co-Stanza

    George Co-Stanza Forum Resident

    Location:
    America
    I honestly think the crazy popularity of Seinfeld got in their heads a bit and they felt like they had to do "something" for the finale, instead of keeping it about "nothing." The plots got pretty hokey and absurd near the end, and even the Kramer character became a bit of a caricature at the end. Seasons 4-7 will always reign supreme, with Season 3 just a hair behind.
     
  11. Dream On

    Dream On Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    I dunno. I think you can find a lot of pretty bad things that they did. Sure, compared to Charles Manson they were great people, but simply judged against some absolute level of goodness I think they fall short.

    George - well, it's not hard to find a lot of terrible things he did
    Jerry - drugs a women to play with her expensive toy collection
    Jerry (and Newman) - refuse to give mouth to mouth to the poolboy in order to save his life. They'd rather he die than put their lips on his.
    Elaine and Kramer - I must admit it's a bit harder for me to remember things they did...but pretty sure they are out there for Elaine at least. I think it's possible Kramer may actually have been a good person. Think the worst thing I remember is encouraging the stealing cable and postal fraud.

    And remember, Jerry and Kramer are two guys who couldn't take on those scary armoir thiefs. We want them to interfere now with someone who might have a gun? Or are we just saying we don't want them to make fun of the victim?

    I can agree with that (though I think Kramer would have done something different). I think that would have been funnier and more in keeping with the characters. But frankly, what you describe isn't exactly what I would call very sensitive and helpful. It's a little more sensitive and helpful than making fun of the guy but not by a lot.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2018
  12. They did to some extent after David left though, when it came to Elaine. She went from this kind of nerdy semi-intellectual bookstore owner type to this caustic anti-intellectual bitch in fairly short order. Once her hair started looking more expensively-processed, she changed, man.
     
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  13. MikaelaArsenault

    MikaelaArsenault Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Tomorrow’s the day I have to create the Cheers finale thread!
     
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  14. George Co-Stanza

    George Co-Stanza Forum Resident

    Location:
    America
    George slipping his boss a mickey is easily the worst thing he did.

    I think it is important to remember, though, that this was a comedy, not a serious drama. Certain things were done for the comedy of it, which is not unusual in sitcoms. Shoot, imagine the Sam/Diane Cheers breakup airing now where they both slap each other several times and then get in a nose-grabbing context. It was meant to be a funny moment in an otherwise serious moment, not a sign that the main character (Sam) was a guy that hits women.

    Exaggerating circumstances to the nth degree is pretty much a hallmark of sitcom comedies, and Seinfeld was no different in that particular regard. The Seinfeld main four characters were definitely shallow, but so criminally shallow that they deserved to be outed and thrown in jail? Nah.
     
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  15. MYKE

    MYKE Analog Upstairs, Digital Downstairs

    Yet, depending on the state, failure to render aid can be treated as a crime. Punishment again, depends on the state.
    .
     
  16. GregM

    GregM Ready to cross that fine line

    Location:
    Daddyland, CA
    I guess it's possible, but so is jay walking and law enforcement is grappling with one or two crimes that could be considered higher priority.
     
  17. troggy

    troggy Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow

    Location:
    Benton, Illinois
    Agreed, a lot of the early episodes still used the 80's template for sitcoms. I think Seinfeld sort of found its footing in season three or four, not that those early episodes weren't good.

    I agree with whomever said the genius of the show was often having all four characters with different story lines in the same episode. And then those stories would sometimes tie together in some way, often through coincidence.

    My dad, who was a big fan of the show, told me that one of the reasons he liked Seinfeld was that they always kept things moving, cutting quickly from one scene to the next. The 30 minute format worked for that.

    By contrast, the extended finale was lumbering, along with not being funny. It was contrived in multiple ways. Stating that the characters were plainly bad people or that they didn't act out of character in this episode is a pretty shallow view of the series. It's the only episode that I skip in reruns. It flat out stunk.
     
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  18. j_rocker

    j_rocker Forum Resident

    Location:
    WI
    Good deeds? All the time. Many of the plots were the characters trying to be helpful and then it actually turned out worse for the person they were trying to help. Think about Kramer with the mom and pop, Jerry helping Babu’s restaurant menu, George with the security guard’s chair. Kramer did an AIDS walk, Elaine did charity work, and they all volunteered to be paired up with the elderly.

    Purely selfish people wouldn’t even bother with things like that. Now many of the good things they attempted had selfish motivations, but that’s where the human nature comedic elements came into play.

    Many other stories were them doing the right thing only because they felt obligated to live up to social norms (“you can’t break up with them now, they just lost their job/had a stroke/surgery”, etc). Completely shallow people wouldn’t care.

    The show often was absolutely about nothing compared to other sitcoms of its day and earlier. It changed in later seasons to bigger and wackier story lines. But in the earlier seasons this was true to the extent that the network didn’t even want to air the Chinese restaurant episode because there was no way to promote it because nothing happened.
     
  19. troggy

    troggy Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow

    Location:
    Benton, Illinois
    Another anniversary and I didn't really want to open a new thread, so I'll post it here. Today is the 30th Anniversary of the first airing of Seinfeld, as the pilot episode originally aired on July 5, 1989.
     
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  20. pocofan

    pocofan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Alabama
    I’ve seen every episode except the finale.
     
  21. GodShifter

    GodShifter Forum Hot Take Resident®

    Location:
    Dallas, TX, USA
    I remember watching the finale and finding it pretty disappointing.

    I didn’t find the first part of season one of “Seinfeld” very good, either. It found its footing pretty quickly though.

    That’s all I’ve got.
     
  22. Matthew Tate

    Matthew Tate Forum Resident

    Location:
    Richmond, Virginia

    the original premise for the pilot was jerry and george were comics and the show was going to explore where comics get their material. that was obviously abandoned but makes me wonder how many episodes were written with that premise in mind
     
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  23. Jerrika

    Jerrika Queen in the North

    Location:
    Canada
    I didn't see the finale when it first aired, but I watched it on a cable TV station a month ago. They don't make good shows like this anymore. I agreed with what Jerry said about those reality stars. (You know who I'm referring to.) TV used to be a high point for a lot of entertainers' careers, but reality shows have degraded the medium.
     
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  24. mattdm11

    mattdm11 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    I thought it was just Jerry showing where he got his material from, and it wasn't supposed to be a long series. I also thought the waitress was supposed to be the lead female character, but they bagged her for being difficult or something like that.
     
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  25. mattdm11

    mattdm11 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    What's amazing to me are the people who don't like this show. It's just so damn smart and clever, I can't fathom not liking it. Or even if you don't like it, respect it. It's a top 5 show all-time, there's little question about that. People are still quoting the show 21 years after it went off the air!
     
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