Seinfeld Season 4 Episode 4 [s4e4]
||16 Sep, 1992
||Heidi Swedberg, Wayne Knight, Jerry Stiller, Jerry Seinfeld, Barney Martin, Jason Alexander, Michael Richards
Season 1 was the very first season of Seinfeld. The Season featured only 5 episodes, very rare for a television series. The Season consisted of the pilot episode along with 4 other produced episodes. Due to the size of the season, Season 1 and Season 2 were released on DVD as a box set. When Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld) and George (Jason Alexander) on the NBC sitcom Seinfeld (1990 to present) pitched an idea for a new sitcom to a television network, the concept for this show-within-the-show was clearly intended to apply to the actual Seinfeld series.In this reflexive plotline Seinfeld created a label for itself, a label which seems to characterize the distinguishing quality of the show:it is "a show about nothing."Characters hang out at a coffee shop, visit each others' apartments, and talk.Characterizing Seinfeld as a show in which "nothing happens" seems to be an intuitively correct way to describe the show, but this self-defined label also hides the fact that Seinfeld is one of the most densely plotted comedies on television.Its rapid narrative pace and intricately interwoven plotlines belie the label:at times it seems to be a show with too much going on, rather than a show with nothing happening. How is it possible for a show to have a breakneck narrative pace and yet also seem to have "nothing happening?"How do you emplota episode "about nothing?"I argue that Seinfeld is not merely a show about trivial things such as Pez and Jujy Fruit candies.Rather I suggest that the narrative of each episode is constructed using certain innovative principles.I will articulate key narrational patterns in Seinfeld, showing how episodes packed with plot occurrences use distinctive strategies to differentiate the show from the structure of more traditional comedies.
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