Author:Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Time taken to read: 8 days
Goodreads synopsis:The hilarious behind-the-scenes story of two guys who went out for coffee and dreamed up Seinfeld—the cultural sensation that changed television and bled into the real world, altering the lives of everyone it touched. […] In Seinfeldia, acclaimed TV historian and entertainment writer Jennifer Keishin Armstrong celebrates the creators and fans of this American television phenomenon, bringing readers behind-the-scenes of the show while it was on the air and into the world of devotees for whom it never stopped being relevant, a world where the Soup Nazi still spends his days saying “No soup for you!”, Joe Davola gets questioned every day about his sanity, Kenny Kramer makes his living giving tours of New York sights from the show, and fans dress up in Jerry’s famous puffy shirt, dance like Elaine, and imagine plotlines for Seinfeld if it were still on TV.
I am a pretty big Seinfeld fan. I’ve seen every episode at least once, though probably more, and I’ve always thought of myself as a young redheaded Elaine Benes, considering she’s a writer/editor and I want to be that, and also she has giant hair and is crazy like me. I’ve also especially been into reading and watching things set in NYC since I moved here three weeks ago. So I really enjoyed reading about the making of the show and the way they blended fiction and reality in ways I had never realized. Obviously the show that Jerry and George try to write is supposed to be the fictional version of Seinfeld, but I did not know, for example, that so many of the little plot lines are based off experiences of the writers, or that so many characters are based off real people connected to the show. I honestly didn’t know that Seinfeld was such a huge deal when it was on the air, and I also didn’t know that it nearly failed for the first few seasons. I read almost the first half of the book in one sitting because it was really fun to read, and it put me in a very funny mood, though I haven’t had time to watch any Seinfeld since finishing it. It only loses a star in my rating because I think it spent too much time at the end on a Twitter account made about what the show would be like if it were set in the 2010s, which wasn’t interesting enough to warrant the amount of pages it got.
Anyway, as much as books are my thing, I absolutely love TV as well, and back in high school I considered trying to write for sitcoms because I’ve always thought of myself as a pretty funny person. So it was fun to read about TV, and if you enjoy Seinfeld too, I definitely recommend reading this book. I imagine the next time I watch the show, I’ll be looking at it very differently, imagining what the actors were going through at the time. Especially because they haven’t been in much else, I rarely think of them as real people, just as their characters. Elaine and George are my favorites, and they feel really real to me. Also, I went to the famous Tom’s Restaurant yesterday (yep, that’s me in the photo, and yes, that’s my real hair), which Seinfeld fans know is the front of the diner they always go to! I got a half vanilla half butter pecan milkshake, which was phenomenal, and I tasted my dad’s cheesecake, which I also highly recommend. My dad and his girlfriend and my sister came to visit me yesterday and I had the idea to go here for coffee and dessert, and we didn’t tell my dad’s girlfriend where we were going because she’s a huge Seinfeld fan (might have something to do with her being Jewish), and she was so excited when we got there. The book says that Tom’s didn’t really try to make any money off of being a Seinfeld landmark, but they have a big Seinfeld sign out front, and there are signed posters and such inside, so I’m not sure why the author didn’t mention that that’s changed since Seinfeld aired. But anyway, my point is, go to Tom’s and get a milkshake.