20 years after Seinfeld’s season finale, Jerry Seinfeld still feels conflicted about it. Is the joke on us?
In a recent interview at The New Yorker Festival, he expressed his dissatisfaction with how the curtain was closed on one of the most successful and critically acclaimed TV shows of all time.
According to a recent list compiled by Business Insider built upon data measurements by Nielsen, Seinfeld’s finale, which aired on the 14th of May in 1998, was seen by an audience of 40.5 million viewers.
This makes it the 4th most watched episode in the history of U.S. television.
Titled The Finale Part 2, the very last episode continues on from the penultimate instalment and starts with Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer sitting in jai.
The group found themselves there after their die-hard archenemies “Bubble Boy”, “the Low-Talker” and George Steinbrenner testify against them for breaking the “good Samaritan law” by recording an overweight man getting carjacked and making fun of him instead of helping.
Although the finale brought back the series’ most beloved characters and provided a final burst of meta-absurdist humour, Jerry himself is still not convinced they made the best call.
“I sometimes think we really shouldn’t have even done it,” he told New Yorker editor David Remnick in front of an audience last Friday.
“There was a lot of pressure on us at that time to do one big last show, but big is always bad in comedy,” he said.
He went on to argue comedy should be “small and cheap and quick” rather than the “impossible” episode that co-creator Larry David attempted to write.
“That’s why TV is always funnier than movies: because you don’t have that much time and that much money.”
Seinfeld ran for nine seasons on NBC between 1989 and 1998. Created by Larry David and Seinfeld himself, it’s widely considered one of the greatest and most influential sitcoms ever made and is ranked among the best television shows of all time by Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone Magazine.
In 2013, the Writers Guild of America voted it the second best written TV series of all time, bested only by The Sopranos.