With its inimitable take on life's most mundane moments, Seinfeld --ubiquitously and ironically referred to as "the show about nothing"-garnered countless accolades, initiated a string of words and terms into America's pop culture lexicon... and continues to draw network-sized audiences into its uniquely comic world.
Widely regarded as the small screen's most innovative sitcom, the series created an unparalleled cache of clever plots, snappy dialogue and crafty characters. Cementing the show's standing among classic series, TV Guide ranked Seinfeld #1 on its 2002 list of "50 Greatest Shows of All Time." And while the show's innovators would never consider it endearing, it has earned a spot in the hearts of millions, as the mere mention of an episode will send fans reveling in memories.
During its nine-year network run, Seinfeld, which premiered in 1990 on NBC, set the meandering course for four single friends living in New York. The group's core is Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld), a stand up comedian whose professional path includes a shot of creating a network sitcom, a guest spot on the "Today" show, and a wealth of other quests gone-awry with a personal life rife with an endless parade of never-quite-right girlfriends. His childhood best friend, George Costanza (Jason Alexander), could be deemed the quintessential loser; he can never hold a job or keep a romance.. although he has more than enough schemes to make either happen. Jerry's ex, Elaine Benes (Julia Loius-Dreyfus) offers the quirky quartet her own barrage of bad dates and worrisome workplace sagas. The curiously-coiffed Kramer (Michael Richards) rounds up the group as Jerry's over-the-top imaginative and often-mysterious neighbor, who has no visible means of support and an uncanny knack for opening doors to opportunities he has no business being near.
The foursome's escapades swiftly segue from the corner coffee shop to a Chinese restaurant, from the local movie house to a mall parking lot, and from the car mechanic to a car rental counter as their everyday experience subtly set the stage for incisive humor about modern single life and its assorted inanities in the big city.
Seinfeld earned a well-deserved reputation for generating water-cooler conversation with brilliantly spun storylines about Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer, oft-repeated conversation snippets... unapologetic glee for a revolving lineup of quirky friends' relatives, dates and urbanities. Those colorful characters include George's doomed ex Susan, his petulant parents Frank (Jerry Stiller) and Estelle (Estelle Harris), Jerry's name-elusive date Dolores a/k/a "Mulva," the Soup Nazi, arch-nemesis date (Wayne Knight), "The Bra-less Wonder" Sue-Ellen Mishkie, abrasive lawyer Jackie Chiles, ego-driven catalog magnate J. Peterman (John O'Hurly), and squinty-eyed Puddy (Patrick Warburton). The series' scenarios have spawned such memories as puffy shirts, close talkers, big salads, black and white cookies, shrinkage, killer envelopes, masters of their domain, marble ryes, and, well, yada, yada, yada.
During its run, Seinfeld was honored with more than 20 major awards and nearly 60 nominations. These included an Emmy, Golden Globe and three People's Choice Awards for "Outstanding Comedy Series"; a Screen Actors Guild Awards for "Outstanding Ensemble in Comedy Series"; two Writers Guild of America, and three Directors Guild of America nods. In addition, the series' stars received a multitude of nominations and awards for their individual performances, including Emmys, nine American Comedy Awards, a Golden Globe Award and three SAG trophies.
Currently, Seinfeld airs in high-profile time periods in leading television stations in more than 200 markets around the U.S., representing more than 99 percent of the viewing audience. Seinfeld's national demographic rating in syndication, particularly among males and young adults, have outrated the best of current broadcast network and cable programs.
In fact, the show's popularity seems to have an endless reign. 'The Parking Garage' and 'The Boyfriend' were named by TV Guide as two of the greatest episodes in television history , and others including ' The Pez Dispenser' and 'The Contest,' earned spots as two of the funniest moments in TV history. The characters also keep on resonating with audiences: George Costanza and Kramer were named by TV Guide as two of TV's greatest characters. In 2001, a TV Guide cover story detailed that "It's [been] three years since Seinfeld went off the air (in primetime), and yet the show - in reruns - is still the best comedy on TV."
With consistently high ratings, a place in the pantheon of television classics series, and a litany of Seinfeld -isms and references still used, millions of viewers still agree: junior mints and babkas all around, double dipping into a Seinfeld episode is never like re-gifting.