2. Seinfeld

A show about nothing that went on to mean something

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Speaking in terms of style or genre, “Seinfeld” was in a world all its own.  “Seinfeld” came about in 1989, a point in time in which practically everything had been done before.  All the formulas were used up and all of the concepts floating around were just recycled or copied from the yesteryear before.

The reason a show about absolutely nothing worked so well:  there were no shows like it prior to its conception.  Filled to the brim with pessimistic overtones, “Seinfeld” was a very atypical sitcom with only a few stylistic hallmarks that were used: one device that died out over time as the show progressed into maturity was intercuts of Jerry Seinfeld’s standup act (that is how you know you’re watching an older “Seinfeld” episode). 

Still to this day, several try to imitate the existential, darker comedic approach in “Seinfeld”.  It is almost an anti-story as the main characters never grow or reach any kind of arc throughout the series, and that’s the probably the only real point show creators Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld ever really made.

The early episodes of “Seinfeld” weren’t indicative of its brilliant premise.  Perhaps they pushed the “show about nothing” shtick a little bit too hard as the pilot seemed to be devoid of any story whatsoever.  It was an experimental time for the show and the magic hadn’t quite happened.  Julia Louis-Dreyfus hadn’t joined the cast yet, Michael Richards hadn’t quite figured out his character and Jason Alexander and Jerry Seinfeld’s dynamic was completely different.  It wasn’t until season 3 or 4 that the show really hit its stride.

It may be difficult to believe (mostly because “Seinfeld grew into such a witty, original and intelligently written sitcom), but the “Seinfeld” pilot (“The Seinfeld Chronicles”) was reportedly so terrible that it was hated by focus groups and came close to being X’ed out from the get go.  If it weren’t for NBC producer Rick Ludwin (who saw the potential in “Seinfeld” and fought for its survival early on), no one would’ve ever uttered the phrase “No soup for you!” or known what it is to be “master of your domain.”  

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