A Disappointing Way To End A Successful Show: Seinfeld

Zachary Pennace

A Disappointing Way To End A Successful Show: Seinfeld

Just like The Sopranos, Seinfeld is also criticized for the final episode and how they ended the series. This blog post will revolve around the feelings that the final episode gave to the audience and how many were dissatisfied with the way the sitcom concluded.  Seinfeld is one of the most renown sitcoms that aired on television and was loved by millions of Americans that would tune in each week to watch the newest episode. What made the television sitcom so successful is that the majority of the audience could connect to the characters and the antics that happen to them.

The show is a comedic perspective on Jerry Seinfeld’s life. Each episode revolves around Jerry and his friends, Cosmo Kramer, George Costanza, Elaine Benes, and many other minor characters that impact Jerry Seinfeld’s life. The show takes place in New York City and the series ran from 1989 to 1998 and was beloved by many because the show meant to connect to viewers by creating scenes and situations that would happen to everyone in their day to day encounters with other people thus making the show relatable to the audience.

On May 15th, 1998 many Americans got together for the final episode. Many were curious on how Larry David could create an episode that would conclude the sitcom and be memorable to many. Well he certainly did end the sitcom in a way that would garner lot of criticism. The episode ended with Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer being found guilty for disobeying the Good Samaritan law since they didn’t help the victim that was being robbed, but instead they were mocking him because he was overweight while filming the whole encounter.

This lead to the characters going on trial for breaking the Good Samaritan law. This scene helped bring nostalgia by bringing all the altercations with the characters like the Soup Nazi, Newman, and many other characters. Each character testified and explaining their altercations with Seinfeld. This scene is used to remind the audience watching about all of the bad stuff that the characters were involved in.  In the end karma takes place and all of them are them are found guilty and sentenced to prison for one year. The final scene cuts to them sitting in their jail cell all together. Larry David cleverly uses the first line of the series as the closing line to the series. The line was about Georges button on his shirt being placed in an awkward position. George then goes I think we had this conversation before which is ironic because it’s a de

Many fans were outraged on the way Larry David had written the show to end. Fans were very confused on why it ended with them in prison and wanted the fans were expecting a more comedic ending and not a series ending. This is the main reason for the shock and negative criticism after the finale aired. Fans were confused on why the show ended with them on trial and going to prison.

Sources like Entertainment Weekly gave it a C- and USA Today gave it a scathing review (Grace, Ziah).Many fans were angered about this episode being the epsiode to conclude a iconic sitcom that created its own culture. Yet today many people still tune in to watch reruns of Seinfeld because the show twenty years later still connects to the audience and makes them laugh.   However many fans still can’t get over how Seinfeld concluded and are still angry. On an interview with David Letterman Louis Dyfrus who played Elaine Benes said “Thanks again for letting me be part of a show with a hugely disappointing finale (Entertainment Weekly).” Even Jerry Seinfeld stated in an interview done by Esquire that he regrets ending the show the way he did and said there was a lot of pressure on them to do one last big episode.” Jerry https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/tv/a12807259/jerry-seinfeld-regrets-seinfeld-finale/.  In an interview with The New Yorker Jerry Seinfeld said that the finale had to be done quick and cheap because its television and they didn’t have a budget like a movie would.

The season finale actually helped the show live on because many would remember the series just by how controversial the finale was. This effect also happen with the tv drama The Sopranos. Being a Seinfeld enthusiast, I had mixed emotions the first time I saw the ending. Having watched the reruns all the time as a kid I was frustrated at the ending because I expected it to be filled with a lot of comedy but instead was a more serious episode. The ending didn’t ruin Seinfeld for me because it is still one of my all time favorite TV shows. I like many other fans have requested for a reunion which ends up happening on Larry David’s new sitcom Curb Your Enthusiasm on season 7 episode 10 that aired in 2009.


3 thoughts on “A Disappointing Way To End A Successful Show: Seinfeld

  1. Seinfeld is also one of my favorite shows, and though I’ve never seen the series finale episode, it sounds like it doesn’t fit the rest of the show at all. If I did see it, I probably wouldn’t like it either. It’s certainly memorable because of the tone of it, and I’m thinking maybe that was the point. Even though it wasn’t comedic, maybe Larry David wanted it to end differently. Though the public didn’t love it, and I can see why, it definitely got them talking. This could have been a case of “any publicity is good publicity,” as in, the creators didn’t care as much what the final episode was about as much as they did with the publicity of it. No matter what their motivations were here, it stinks that a show that was known for its comedy didn’t end that way.
    -Stephanie Sartori


  2. Seinfeld is not only one of my favorite shows, but in my opinion one of the greatest (if not the greatest) show in TV history. That being said it also has one of the worst finales in TV history as well. As you eluded to I found it very clever that the final lines of the show spoken between George and Jerry were the very first lines spoken on the show, but that doesn’t take away from how awful this ending was. Obviously on a “show about nothing” as Seinfeld was known to be, it’s probably hard to come up with a finale that will please everyone, and sure it was cool to see old characters come back for a scene or two, but I feel like this ending didn’t satisfy anyone. I watched the finale a couple of times and overtime I do, I find myself wondering if Larry David should’ve made one final episode a year after the finale aired (referencing how the gang was put in jail for a year) where Jerry, George, Kramer, & Elaine get out of prison and have to readjust to their old lives, dealing with any changes that have occurred while they were locked away. That way, maybe fans could have gotten some sort of closure on the characters they came to know and love.
    – Ryan Salvaggio


  3. I have watched many random episodes of Seinfeld including one of the best – The Soup Nazi, but I can’t say that I watched the final episode either. I did read that Larry David didn’t want it to be “an emotional ride” and after reading your post, I can see that there was definitely no “emotional ride,” just a lot of disappointment. It almost doesn’t even matter how the final episode turned out, Seinfeld was one of the best shows ever written. A lousy final episode could never change that. Seinfeld had the most believable four characters and they had solid friendships where they talked about the things that regular everyday people talk about through the course of their lives. They were all flawed, just like you and me. Plus, they had the best terms ever – “double-dipping,” close-talker.” Classics! Lastly, George Costanza, a total paranoid nutcase and one of the best characters ever written. No lousy ending could ever ruin Seinfeld – one of the greatest sitcoms ever.
    – Jack Mileszko


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