Applause Theatre & Cinema Books
When you look at the great sit-coms of the ‘90s, Seinfeld stands apart and not because it was particularly more brilliant then, say, Friends or Frasier. Those sit-coms remain somewhat timeless, mostly because the plots and characters were not tied to the times. Seinfeld was the opposite. However, it was not merely reflective of the era, it was major influence on it. The show created an entire lexicon and presented a unique way of looking at the world. It was just as capable of exploring the mundane, such as finding a car in a parking garage, as it was getting the audience to take notice of the fact that some people are “close talkers.”
The show’s development and impact are chronicled in Seinfeld FAQ by Nicholas Nigro. A bit of a misnomer, the book asks no questions, but does cover the series from soup to nuts. That includes a detailed look at the four principle characters, as well as pretty in-depth profiles of much of the supporting and recurring characters. The book wraps up with an episode guide, but not before taking a look at the behind the camera personnel. There’s also a section that revisits some of the highlights and controversies occasionally stirred up by the show, from Kramer’s accidental emulation of the Puerto Rican flag to actor Danny Hoch’s later misgivings about being cast as “the Pool Boy” in the episode of the same name.
For the book, Nigro, an admitted Seinfeld, fan, drew from newspaper, magazine, and trade articles to build his narrative, as well as websites like IMBD and Seinfeld’s official website. No one from the show was interviewed, but in a way this gives a clearer view in many respects. Nigro doesn’t at all come off like gushing fan, but as an expert who has researched the subject in depth.
Seinfeld FAQ seems like a deep read for big fans of the show, but really it’s for anyone including the casual fan, stand-up comedy nerds, or those that are simply interested in the television industry.
9 Pez Dispensers out of 10
PF Wilson has been writing about music, TV, radio, and movies for over 20 years. He has also written about sports, business, and politics with his work appearing in Cincinnati CityBeat, The Houston Press, Cleveland Scene, Cincinnati Magazine, Cincy Magazine, Atomic Ranch, and many more. Check out his podcast PF’s Tape Recorder available from Podbean or in iTunes.