Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Unpopped: Seinfeld And The Tyranny Of Endings

BBC Radio podcast: 4th June 2018

Created in 1989, the American television sitcom Seinfeld was almost cancelled after the first episode, but it slowly grew in reputation to become, after nine seasons and 180 episodes, one of the most influential and successful TV series ever. As well as introducing the characters of Seinfeld, Elaine, George and Kramer to the television viewing public, the show invented a lexicon that entered the language including 'yada yada yada', 'double dipping' and 'regifting'. Famously a show about nothing, Seinfeld insisted on a 'no hugging no learning' policy that added a touch of darkness to the comedy.

The show's final episode in 1998 was a huge cultural event, attracting an audience of 76 million people and is still the fourth most-watched television finale of all time. But many were disappointed by the way the show ended - the story was too dark, too big and moved too far away from the persona of the show. The failure of the finale developed into an industry joke and affected many of the stars and creators of the show.

Why was Seinfeld so successful and influential? Why did its finale fail to capture the audience’s imagination? What effect did this have the show's writers and performers and what lessons were learned from the programmes that came after Seinfeld? Discussing this are Lauren Bravo, Darren Richman and Sarah Dempster.

Presenter: Hayley Campbell
Producer: Dale Shaw

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