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May 18, 1998 - Image 9

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1998-05-18

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

":wli PERFI~i , M AT ARK.
Dick Siegel, Ann Arbor's own folk singer
extraordinaire, performs at the Ark on
Saturday, May 23. The show starts at 8
p.m. Call 761-1800 for more information.


'Seinfeld' series finale

By Michael Galloway
Daily Arts Editor
Perhaps nothing could have been sat-
Wssfying after all the hype and secrecy
built up around the last episode of
"Seinfeld." In fact, nothing would have
been satisfying. Nothing, as in the tiny
details of everyday life, was what made
the show great. But the season finale
was about something, breaking an
unfortunate precedent unrivaled for at
least six of the show's nine years of
This overused way to describe
"Seinfeld" never accurately described
9he show. The catchphrase "a show
about nothing" comes from the fourth
season of "Seinfeld" as an idea for a TV
sitcom pilot that George and Jerry pre-
sent to NBC. "Seinfeld" may always be
about minutiae, but the show was never
about nothing.
"Seinfeld" has actually tackled every
issue out there -- from masturbation to
euthanasia to the U.S. mail service -
ut the show never had "a very special
episode." "Seinfeld" was original
because nothing dramatic ever hap-
pened to the main characters, such as a
near plane crash or a court room trial
with actual jail time possible.
So why make the season finale about
something? Well, a court room trial
allows witnesses to be called, or in other
words, creates a way for all the favorite
characters from past episodes to appear
again. Half the finale rested on this
unoriginal and shallow plot idea.

Ironically, this one episode about some-
thing has less substance than most of
the previous "nothing" episodes.
The final episode could have been
called "The Clip Show II" since it
essentially performed the'same function
as "The Clip Show" which aired right
before it.
The court room idea could have
worked if Larry David and Jerry
Seinfeld had
stayed with the ;
basic formula of
the show when {
they wrote the "Seinfeld"
script. An average series finale
Seinfeld episode
has at least three UN
concurrent plot NBC
lines. Watching May 14,55p.m.
how these stories
interweave makes
the show hilari-
The finale had
one plot line. The
re-airing of Jerry and George's TV pilot
leads to the famous foursome taking a
trip to Paris aboard NBC's private jet.
Kramer, trying to get some water out of
his ear after visiting the beach, falls into
the cockpit, and the plane nearly crash-
es. The pilots land the plane in Latham,
Mass. for a check-up, and while waiting
in town, the four friends witness a "fat
man" get car-jacked. Because they do
nothing about the crime but cruelly

is sub-par
mock the victim, they get arrested
under the "Good Samaritan" law.
Never mind that the policeman who
picks them up must have been watching
the crime as well and doesn't aid the
victim either. Of course, one might not
have noticed the plot flaw - this dis-
play of scorn was so out of character
that little else was evident. Only
Newman and dentists have ever really
been openly insulted on the show.
Character witnesses are called to tes-
tify against the four for the so-called
crime. the prosecution sets out to show
that they have always callously mocked
others, and some of the series' most
famous characters return, such as the
Soup Nazi, Babu, Mr. Pitt and Mr.
Bookman, the library cop.
Sure, it's great to see the old charac-
ters again. They and the flashbacks to
old episodes were the best part, but
TV's famous foursome spends a good
deal of time just sitting in the court-
Whether the plots of "Seinfeld" are
about nothing or not, Jerry, Elaine,
Kramer and George rarely do or say
nothing at all. But that wasn't the case
in the finale - they just sat there in the
court room for half of it.
Whether they were stealing a marble
rye, throwing a big rubber ball of oil out
of an office building window, or
protesting the Kenny Rogers' Roasters
that opened across the street, the viewer
always had something to watch.
But the finale was sub-par not just for


Cwtesy of NBC
40 million households tuned in to a 'Seinfeld' finale that didn't quite measure up
to the media hype and network secrecy.

a singular plot. There was hardly one
new single joke or gag. One notable
exception comes during the jury's delib-
eration, when all the minor characters
are waiting and often interacting with
one another. The Soup Nazi takes his
soup back from Poppi, the chef who
doesn't wash his hands. Elaine's face-
painting, laconic, on-and-off boyfriend
Frank Puddy gets souse sun. And Jerry's
archenemy Newman sleeps in the back

of his car on a pillow of empty junk
food wrappers. This little diversion
from the plot lasts about a minute.
The final episode may have been
nostalgic and funny to some, but few
will likely count it amongst the show's
greatest episodes. But perhaps too
much was expected of the sign off of
"Seinfeld," and nine seasons of laughs
more than make up for one minor dis-

Students say 'show about nothing' not much to watch

By Michael Galloway
Daily Arts Editor
After months of patient waiting, the
year's biggest event in television finally
occurred last 'thursday as "Seinfeld"
*signed off. As exciting as it was, the big
finish didn't quite live up to the expec-
tations of many students around cam-
.Some students watched the big final
"Seinfeld," some watched the Red
Wings playoff game, and some didn't
watch TV at all. But how the "Seinfeld"
finale fared against the most viewed
shows of all time is speculative.
According to Nielsen Media
Research, the final episode of
W *A*S*Hl* in 1983 still reigns
supreme with a 60.2 market average
and about 50 million households.
"Seinfeld" only took a 43 2 market
average, which doesn't even put it in the
top-30 most-watched TV shows,
according to Nielsen Media Research.
At the same time, 40.5 million house-
holds are estimated to have watched,
which makes Seinfeld just short of #22,
,,he "Cheers" series finale.
Regardless of how it ranks against
other season finales, there is no ques-
tion that the final "Seinfeld" was a huge
television event, made even bigger by
all the hype surrounding it.

LSA junior Abby Magid, an avid fan,
was not satisfied. "I usually watch it
every week,' Magid said. "But I was a
little disappointed [with the finale]'.
"I liked how the trial showed
flashbacks .. I thought it was a little
silly that they end up in prison, and it
made them look like really bad people."
Engineering juniors Kristy Barefoot,
Amy Baceault and Carolyn Tate were
divided in their opinions.
"I already knew what the plot was
gonna be. I heard it." Barefoot said,
"The Boston Herald leaked what the
plot was gonna be about. So it wasn't
much of a surprise to me, and I was
very disappointed with it."
Barefoot is referring to the front page
story of The Boston Herald last
Wednesday which scooped the plot of
the last Seinfeld, getting information
from a mysterious informant who used
the pseudonym "Art Vandalay," the alias
George Costanza often uses.
Baceault liked the way "Seinfeld"
finished. "I thought it was pretty cool.
They ended up going to jail. It was
awesome," she said, laughing with Tate.
"It was different. All the other shows
that have ended in the past, they just all
moved away. They're all teary-eyed, but
I liked it."
Travis Maures, a pre-med student in

LSA, didt think the finale lived up to
the hype. "It was kind of like I was
expecting so much, and then it was kind
of a letdown."
"All the shows are really about noth-
ing and that one was about something.
It was all about a trial." Maures said
there were "spaces in it where there was
nothing funny going on sometimes.
"But then some of it was funny,"
Maures continued. "The funny parts
were looking back and seeing all the
(old clips). When you've watched for
about nine years, you remember every-
thing, so it's cool. That was the funniest
part, but that's a highlight reel basical-
LSA sophomore Sunita Doddamani
taped the finale, but missed the last five
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minutes. My tape stopped and rewound
so I didn't get to see the very end. But
the parts that I did see were really good.
I liked it because I love the recurring
characters. They were so funny. Like
the Soup Nazi. Oh my God, I was dying
when the Soup Nazi came on."
Doddamani was not the only one
who tuned her VCR in to NBC last
'thursday. LSA senior Geoffrey Ream
and his friends taped it.
Ream hadn't viewed the tape yet, but

lowered his expectations after hearing
repeadedly that the show was disap-
"If you liked Seinfeld all along, they
said you're going to like the finale. And
if you haven't liked Seinfeld all along,
then you're not going to like the finale,"
Reams said.
But in the end, according to students,
all the hype ended up hurting the show,
which simply could not live up-to the
ridiculously high expectations.

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