Call for Feature Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

How to Curb Your Enthusiasm for that 'Seinfeld' Reunion

Bookmark and Share
Monday, Aug 31, 2009

If you’re like me, then you’re beyond excited to see the cast of Seinfeld reunited during the seventh season of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

And that is why I suggest some contemplation to quell, or curb, your excitement. Let’s take some time to think about Seinfeld, which is, in essence, the founding father show of Curb. That is, Curb is almost a spinoff of Seinfeld. An actual spinoff (like The Jeffersons from All in the Family) isn’t necessary in order to consider the origin of certain story elements. 

I think most sitcoms can be traced to some of the iconic shows from the 1950s. For Seinfeld, I think it’s important to recall The Honeymooners.
The Honeymooners used a simple setting which had the interesting effect of centralizing the apartment door. The entrance of the characters into the Kramden’s apartment became an important point of action in the show. In Seinfeld, the apartment door is also prominent; and it became an important element of Kramer’s wild entrances into Jerry’s living room. 

Such physicality in a character like Kramer reminds me a lot of Ralph’s friend Ed Norton. When you really think about it, Norton is a character-type for sit-coms: large, full of physical motion, and absurdly unaware of their own eccentricities (think Herman Munster, Dwight Schrute).

Another parallel is in the usage of the get-rich-quick scheme as a means for comedic plot. A scenario that Ralph Kramden perfected, and that Jackie Gleason probably invented. George Castanza, Kramer, and Newman on several occasions continued this tail-chasing tradition of Ralph Kramden’s.

Finally, there is the voice of reason character who, on The Honeymooners, was Alice. What’s great about Seinfeld, is that this role can’t be unequivocally attributed to any one character. Even Jerry and Elaine, the two most reasonable characters on the show, had their fair share of obliviously eccentric moments. And I guess that’s why it’s so exciting to know they are going to be on Curb. Can Larry (the character) cause his usual socially awkward conflicts with the cast of the show that was, in part, based on some of his life? After all, if anyone should be able to empathize with him, it should be the people who became famous for re-enacting his antics.

Related Articles
14 Aug 2012
Curb Your Enthusiasm's eighth season brings Larry and crew to New York City, where he manages to turn yet another city against him in just ten episodes -- leaving us with the possibility that season nine could take place on another continent.
By PopMatters Staff
10 Jan 2012
The small screen offers up the usual suspects, proving once again that, with a few exceptions, what's good on today's prime time schedule will stay that way until the next best-of list.
8 Jul 2011
Curb Your Enthusiasm might be the most traditional sitcom currently on the air.
13 May 2010
The Honeymooners comedy is best here, as it was in the original show, when it comes from Jackie Gleason’s terrific timing, Audrey Meadows’ dry sarcasm, or Art Carney’s off-the-wall zaniness
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks

© 1999-2014 All rights reserved.™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.