Photo Credit: HBO
With some TV shows, you tune in because you're invested in the characters. Week after week, you watch these people navigate life's ups and downs, and you long to know what will happen to them. When Jim pined for Pam on The Office, you rooted for him. In those moments when they connected, the payoff wasn't just funny; it was emotionally satisfying.
Seinfeld was a fantastic sitcom--possibly the best ever--but it wasn't one of those shows. I caught every last episode, but not because I cared deeply for George's plight with women, or Elaine's issues with J. Peterman, or Kramer's latest get-rich-quick scheme. I watched because the show was hilarious and light-hearted. Jerry didn't take these people (his best friends) seriously, so why should we, the viewers? It managed to be smart--but just for fun. The Office has made me cry. Seinfeld? Never.
After Seinfeld ended, its co-creator, Larry David, continued the smart-but-light-hearted thing on Curb Your Enthusiasm. Last night, its excellent seventh season ended with a fictional Seinfeld reunion. It wasn't something I've been clamoring for. I haven't thought about Seinfeld in ages. But there it was last night. We got to see snatches of Seinfeld again--not just the usual repeats but a new episode--as the actual actors rehearsed the scenes. We watched parts of the show along with Larry, sitting on his couch at home.
And my heart swelled with affection. Sure, I haven't sat around wondering whatever happened to Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer, but getting to see them again felt special. We all have our connections to Seinfeld, the jokes we related to, or the fictional situations that we ourselves had been in. I may not have been emotionally invested in any of the characters per se, but I'd underestimated how attached I was to the show itself.
For those who thought that Jerry and Elaine would eventually end up together, the faux reunion put an end to that idea. It's not even brought up. Discussing a possible happy union between George and his ex-wife, Larry says, "Who's gonna buy that? What couples get together in the end?" Seinfeld was never about emotional pay-offs. But the irony is, last night's Curb delivered just that.
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