"Seinfeld" Celebrates 25 Years on Television

The show's hold on fans as it hits its 25th birthday suggests "nothing" might just last forever.

By Jere Hester
|  Wednesday, Jul 2, 2014  |  Updated 11:12 AM EDT
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"Seinfeld" turns 25 this week.

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A recent tweet from the "Modern Seinfeld" Twitter account, which serves up scenarios as if Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer were navigating current times, offered a fitting update of the old yada, yada, yada: "When Jerry's GF says he's no fun, he starts using emojis constantly. She dumps him. J:'I was being fun!' E:'Emoji guy is not fun. He's sad.'" 

Elaine might not be a fan of emojis (at least not in the Bizarro-world of "Modern Seinfeld"). But Elaine, who once got in trouble for inserting too many exclamation points into a manuscript she was editing, might find something to get excited about this week: the 25th anniversary of the "Seinfeld" pilot.
 
The whimsical Twitter account based on a show about "nothing" is among the signs of the anti-sitcom sitcom’s enduring popularity all these years later – and suggests that nothing might just last forever.
 
There's also something oddly comforting about a show in which nothing ever changes. That’s not just in repeats from the program's nine seasons: Whether it’s the “Modern Seinfeld” feed, the mini-“Seinfeld” reunion on show co-creator Larry David’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” in 2009 or the recent Super Bowl commercial of sorts featuring Jerry and George back in Monk’s Diner (with an appearance by Newman), there’s a sense we can pick up with these characters anytime, like old friends.
 
That’s notable for a bunch never known for exhibiting friendliness outside their dysfunctional quartet, filled with constant contention and tested by a dubious “contest.” Some 16 years after the final original “Seinfeld” episode aired on NBC, legions still like a program populated by not particularly likeable characters. The show’s topping of a 2012 “60 Minutes”/Vanity Fair poll ranking the best sitcoms of all time perhaps says something about us fans of the cynical, self-centered crew (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
 
TBS is marking the “Seinfeld” birthday by offering a week of the 25 “greatest” episodes leading up to Saturday’s 25th anniversary of the pilot for a show initially called “The Seinfeld Chronicles.” The strong lineup includes “Seinfeld” installments that changed the pop-culture vernacular, yielding catchphrases like “sponge-worthy,” “master of my domain” and “No soup for you!”
 
In keeping with the “Seinfeld” spirit of argumentation, though, there’s opportunity for an airing of the grievances over episodes left off the list. The exclusion of the “Festivus” epic alone is enough to send Frank Costanza screaming for “Serenity, now!”
 
But for most fans, the anniversary celebration is like Festivus in July. “Seinfeld,” after all, is the re-gifter that keeps on giving.

 

Jere Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter.

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