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How to Curb Your Enthusiasm for that 'Seinfeld' Reunion

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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.

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