Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.
While it's been an agonizing wait for this series to appear on DVD, the suspense is finally over. One might expect that the heavy syndication of the show might diminish the lust one has for watching these episodes. Not true for me. Watching them in chronological order without commercial interruption is great. And the extras make it even more so.
The Show: I feel compelled to discuss the content of the show, if only briefly, so here goes. Seinfeld is about nothing. There you go. Well, actually it chronicles the routine, daily life of one Jerry Seinfeld and his three quirky, somewhat pathetic friends, George, Kramer and Elaine. Except their routine, daily life is not really routine at all. They all regularly get caught up in ridiculous situations due to their poor decision making and infantile behavior. We laugh at the silly antics of four nincompoops as they stumble through life, having difficulty even finding their way out of a parking garage without getting arrested.
So why would I want to own the series if I've already seen them all more than once and the show is still in syndication? The answer to that is simple, Seinfeld is still better than most of the shows on TV today. It has become dated (if you pay attention to fashion and lingo) but not enough so that the style of humor and issues mined for material have lost their punch. Because the edginess of the show was so far ahead of its time in the 90's, it is still relevent in the 21st century. Put simply, the jokes still work because society hasn't changed enough to make the source material seem irrelevant. If you were paying attention to other popular shows in the last 10 years, you probably noticed a good deal of plaigerism going on. Shows like Friends, Will & Grace, Everybody Loves Raymond and others frequently borrowed themes from Seinfeld and put their on spin on it. Just about the only shows more edgy than Seinfeld today are cable shows like Monk and Sex & the City.
The DVD took a long time to produce, which seems unlikely at first, but when you factor in the amount of extras they included it becomes a little more clear. Here are a few:
Yada, yada, yada: Audio commentary about the making of the show. Jerry and Larry chat about the episode as it airs, discussing everything from wardrobe to what they had for breakfast that day. It is humorous but not the kind of funny that you get from the show. Insight is the main value of this feature.
Inside Looks: The creators and actors were all interviewed about the show, discussing its beginnings, its quirks, its development, etc. This was, in itself, worth about 2 shows. The insights into the shows creation alone make for entertaining viewing. It covered only the beginning years of the show, the pilot through the first 13 episode run. This documented the most difficult and tenuous period of the show.
In the Vault: Some extra footage was added back to the shows that had been cut to make it fit the TV schedule. This happens to all TV shows and it is inevitible that something hit the floor that would have been funny. There are also some full scenes that were cut or reshot that have been included as stand alone features.
Notes about nothing: Subtitles appear if activated that discuss unknown facts about the episode as it runs. Things like who wrote a particular line or why Jerry didn't want to wear a certain jacket. They are interesting if you are already familiar with the show but they make it almost impossible to actually watch the episode at the same time because there are so many notes flashing by so quickly. This feature could have been better if they had edited the notes down a bit.
For the purist, this collection is a must. For the more casual Seinfeld fan, you might want to skip this set and start with season 3, when the show begins to develop its sea legs and hit top form. This first set chronicles the show's deepest personality, its soul (which is basically Larry David's weird life). While it is funny and entertaining, it can be jolting to people who prefer sit-coms with more of a Hollywood feel.
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Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Better than Watching TV
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older