In 1989, creator Larry David made a show that would turn into an instant classic once the ninth season was said and done, Seinfeld, which starred Jerry Seinfeld (as Jerry), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (as Elaine Benes), Jason Alexander (George), and Michael Richards (as Kramer). For nine seasons, the show about nothing made us laugh over ordinary everyday moments. Who could forget when Elaine groped Teri Hunter in a sauna to test whether her breasts were real? To this day, my motto is, “Yes they’re real, and they’re spectacular”. How could you not root for Elaine as she finally beat that evil soup Nazi…who happens to make the best damn soup in the city. Or Frank Costanza’s endearing conversation to George about cup sizes. For nearly ten years, the show about nothing entertained audiences across America; however, the series finale, which is appropriately titled The Finale stirred up controversy following the last airing of the Seinfeld episode. The two-part episode focuses on the past “crimes” that Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer have done that violate The Good Samaritan Law. Throughout the episodes, we revisited the show’s most hilarious moments; The verdict strikes them guilty and the show goes off with the four spending the rest of their lives in prison. As the title of the article questions, was the Seinfeld series finale bad?
Usually, series finales tend to go big. After a long journey of following characters throughout multiple seasons and arcs, the creators wrap a bow of said characters’ journey, whether good or bad. Some finales kept viewers in the dark about a character’s fate (The Sopranos), some finales ended a frustrating season on a bad note (Dexter and Game of Thrones) or some finales ended on a happy note (The Office or The Leftovers). Either way, a series finale usually entails a long arc that bills up to the big episode. However, Seinfeld was a show about nothing. Sure, we could relate to Elaine, Jerry, George, and Kramer. Who hasn’t had sex with the cleaning lady at work? Or argue for hours and hours about a parking space? Or have a bet about masturbation with their friends? However, it’s no surprise that the show about nothing didn’t particularly build to the series finale. There wasn’t a long-season arc about the gang potentially going to prison for the rest of their lives. Seinfeld ended the way it lived, a show about four friends who live normal, everyday lives. The Seinfeld series finale was essentially a clip show, revisiting past moments that made the series such a hit with audiences. Of course, the plot is silly. Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer’s entire lives hang in the balance because of a Good Samaritan law? However, we as audiences can overlook this silly plot device since it’s a fictional comedy.
In reality, no, Seinfeld doesn’t measure up to finales like The Americans, Breaking Bad, or The Sopranos, though to be fair, those shows were layered, character-driven pieces. Still, a good finale is a good finale, regardless of genre. I can’t sit here and say that this was a bad ending. I can understand people’s frustration with the way things ended. The Finale wasn’t a typical finale. As I previously stated, it’s the end of a character’s journey. For nine seasons, we watched Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer grow as people. It would’ve been nice to see Jerry and his new wife ride off into the sunset. Or George happily settled down with three kids and a woman that truly loves him for his cynical and narcissistic behavior; While Kramer and Elaine laugh at life with their new high-paying jobs. A traditional ending would’ve been cool. We want these four to find happiness and tying a fancy bow around these characters could’ve been a great way to go. However, it would’ve betrayed what the show was about. Nothing. Yes, Seinfeld has had story arcs, namely Jerry and George’s whole turmoil with NBC about their pilot in season four; however, the show was about the four friends going through everyday life anew. Larry David ended Seinfeld on his terms. The Seinfeld series finale may not be the greatest ever written, but at least the creator got to go out the way he wanted. Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer will forever be in our hearts, regardless of the way their journey ended.