Cheers' little brother
Sunday, November 17, 2019
Stumbled on a documentary about the early days of the show Seinfeld on Youtube, and it turned out to be an enjoyable hour about a show that I watched pretty regularly during the 90s.
Mostly, the documentary talked to Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, the co-creators, with insight from NBC executives who had a hand in getting the show made, some of the writers involved in the early seasons, and of course, the other 3 actors who formed the core of the show along with Seinfeld. I knew that a lot of the humor came from David's and Seinfeld's personal experiences, but I wasn't aware that the George Costanza character was pretty much a direct avatar for Larry David himself.
My favorite bits might have been David describing his reactions to various milestones in the show's life. After it landed in the prime spot of following up Cheers on NBC's Thursday night lineup, which at the time also included The Cosby Show, he made some comment about not wanting to be Cheers' little brother, instead wishing Seinfeld could stand or fall on its own. Also hilarious, his reactions to the show getting picked up season after season, and needing to write more and more episodes. Seinfeld himself comes across as a far more level headed guy.
The NBC executives interviewed provide fantastic insight into the process from the network side of things, like how the time slot a particular show is given (Wednesday night on its own, or with a lead in of some of the best rated shows, as in the example above) can really help a show succeed, or disappear without a trace.
And there are those little life lessons in the success of Seinfeld, about how it didn't succeed right away, about how it only got a 4 episode initial contract, and was showed after RERUNS of Cheers during summer months (the garbage dump portion of the network television season), before catching on with audiences and taking over the sitcom world.
Not bad for a show about nothing.