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Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  8,309 ratings  ·  1,069 reviews
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.

Comedians Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld never thought anyone would watch their silly little sitcom about a New York comedian sitting around talking to his fr
Hardcover, 307 pages
Published July 5th 2016 by Simon Schuster
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Jun 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Seinfeldia is the story of Seinfeld, the TV show that went from being watched by a handful of people to being a pop culture phenomenon.

Confession Time: There was a period of my life that Seinfeld was my favorite show. I watched it religiously in syndication and in prime time as new episodes aired. Actually, religiously probably isn't the right word since I never missed Seinfeld but ditched church at every opportunity, sometimes while reading Sein Language. To this day, I still watch episodes in
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
About a week ago I was discussing the merits of double dipping tortilla chips into salsa with a few of my kids. They seemed puzzled; family germs do not count in the grand scheme of things, having told them this myself many times. Family germs aside, I found the Seinfeld double dipping episode and had my kids laughing hysterically. It is hard to believe that Seinfeld has been off of the air for twenty years this week. My husband has seen each episode countless times, and the show enters our vern ...more
Jessica J.
If there's one thing I guess you should know about me other than that I'm a huge bookworm, it's that I love sitcoms. I love thoughtful analysis of sitcoms, I love nostalgia and trivia associated with sitcoms, I love quoting sitcoms and making references to them on an annoyingly regular basis. So I was crazy excited to snag an ARC of this. Armstrong's previous book on The Mary Tyler Moore Show received such high praise and it goes without saying that I am a huge Seinfeld fan. I even have a Theory ...more
A free copy was provided through Netgalley in exchange for review.

I think anyone who picks up this book is most likely going to be a rabid Seinfeld fan, and I'm no exception. We are in the midst of PeakTV -- a new heralded Golden Age of Television -- and there's a very persuasive argument to be made that it all started with a small show about nothing, that did in fact, change everything. Despite the avalanche of remarkable and groundbreaking TV that's hit our small screens since Seinfeld exited
Jan 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
“From there, things started to get weird. No, really this time.” (2.5 stars)

“Seinfeldia” is not really a good book. But with a few exceptions I enjoyed reading it, thus the 3 star rating. “Seinfeld” is the only television sitcom that I own the entire series on DVD. I love it, but have not watched any episodes in a long time. This book reminded me why I love the show.
Stylistically “Seinfeldia” is very average. It reads like a popular magazine. The author wrote for magazines for many years, makes
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I can recite whole scenes from Seinfeld. It will always be among my very favorite sit-coms. And so I savored all these off-camera anecdotes and stories, and the origin of so many expressions and observations that now pepper my wife's and my conversations. ...more
This book is right up my street! I'm a huge Seinfeld fan!! I consider myself a devoted fan of everything related to Seinfeld, which this book refers to as Seinfeldia. Even as devoted to the series and the actors as I have been all these years, I still learned things I didn't know from this excellent book. The author delves into how the series became so groundbreaking and why it's so important in the history of situation comedies. If you are a fan of the show, this book is truly a must read!

Feb 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, arc
I like Seinfeld, it's a funny show. I watched all of them on DVD and cherry picked my way around my favourites in quiter TV times (few and far between these days). What doesn't necessarily work, or at least not for someone who likes the show and not love it, is a whole load of tales about some of the writing staff and there struggles to stay fresh.

You could call it a coffe table book, something to dip in and out of. That's what I did, read ten pages at a time for a quick fix. It was nice to reme
Sep 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: comedy
One GoodReads reviewer complains that large chunks of Seinfeldia seem to be mere regurgitations of "anecdotes from DVD bonus features" and that the author "clearly didn't have access to any of the big players," including Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David. These complaints are all completely valid. Luckily, I knew little about the show's backstory, and so I found the first few chapters of this book -- in which we learn about the show's origins and Seinfeld and David's creative process -- to be a pur ...more
Aug 14, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Unfortunately this book amounted to little more than click bait.

I enjoyed Seinfeld in its original run and still enjoy it in syndication and was hoping to learn some interesting behind-the-scenes information, but that hope was largely unmet. I did get lots of uninteresting and forgettable stories however.

Going into the book I did fear any mention of Kenny Kramer, a human fire hose of annoying unfunniness and Seinfeld monetizing. Not only were there KK stories but there were pictures too. One sta
Brandon Forsyth
Jun 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
Reminded me in a lot of ways of Caseen Gaines' WE DON'T NEED ROADS, in that if you're a fan of the property, you've heard a lot of this stuff before. There are moments when this book transcends "funny stories of working on Seinfeld", but the book never lives up to the subtitle "how a show about nothing changed everything". There's a loose narrative about how the show has changed people's lives and manifested itself in the real world, but there's just not enough here to recommend. For die-hards o ...more
Ange H
Nov 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
Like a great many people in my age bracket, I tend to think in Seinfeld-isms. Barely a day goes by that I don't see a parallel with some ridiculous situation from the show, or hear a quote from it in my head: Goofing off on the job? I'm working on the Penske file. Eating soup? Soup Nazi. Encounter someone I don't care for? "Hello, Newman."

Anyway, my point is that I am a huge Seinfeld fan, so this book didn't have to do much to delight me. And it did even less than that. The author obviously did
Dec 06, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Interesting facts and behind-the-scenes story from the point of view of the writers and directors.
Jun 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
ARC for review - EPD - July 5, 2016.

I love and adore Seinfeld so I was really looking forward to this book and my expectations were rewarded - just like with the show we are taken through the minutiae of all things having to do with the genesis of the show, its run and its aftermath - and maybe everyone isn't interested in that level of detail about the show, but I certainly was.

At this point the show has been off the air almost twice as long as it was on the air, yet just a few days ago one o
Peter Derk
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What's so special about Seinfeld? What about that show makes it so different?

"No hugging, no learning."

This was the rule, the mantra of Seinfeld writers, started by Larry David.

No matter what happened, the characters did not hug, and they did not learn.

It takes a special kinda show and a special group of people to commit to that. I've always felt that Seinfeld's success came from being very funny, and because it was different from so many other shows in that the characters are reprehensible. Se
Jul 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
If you were or are a Seinfeld fan, you should definitely read this book. The best parts are the behind the scenes info, especially about the writing staff, that apparently changed every year. (with the exception of one guy.) Larry David was the writing genius behind closed doors, who single-handily edited every single writers script himself. Jerry Seinfeld was and still is the comedic performing genius and co-collaborator on every episode. After Larry left the show after season 7 or 8 (?),
he had
Aug 13, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Seinfeld is one of my favorite shows of all-time, so it was fun to read about the behind-the-scenes stuff!
Jill Hutchinson
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humor
I have only one thing so say about this book......if you love the classic comedy Seinfeld. READ THIS BOOK!!!!! A true joy for the Seinfeld fan.
Alex Andrasik
A great history of the "show about nothing." When I started this book, I was looking forward to it, but a little skeptical of its claim to demonstrate how Seinfeld "changed everything." Well, I was wrong, as I soon remembered! There's the technical aspect, where Seinfeld's crew pioneered film-style single-camera shooting. There's the creative aspect, where the concept of the showrunner gained more power and prestige compared to TV execs and in the eyes of the public. There's the character aspect ...more
Ben Brown
Jan 26, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-nonfiction
A must-read for fans of “Seinfeld,” Jennifer Keishin Armstrong’s “Seinfeldia’ is the best kind of pop-culture deep-dive – funny, touching, and deeply introspective in all of the best ways. Armstrong doesn’t settle for the typical surface-level, lightweight examinations that characterizes most “tell all” television reminiscences (i.e. interesting but semi-trifling anecdotes, fun behind-the-scene details that explain how your favorite moments/characters came to be), although it does contain enough ...more
Mar 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Armstrong traces the history of the television show and the culture that grew around it, from the original concept that emerged out of a conversation in Lee's Market between Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, through the production of the show over nine seasons, to the finale, and beyond--the Curb Your Enthusiasm "reunion," for instance, as well as the emergence of Internet fan sites, such as the Twitter sites Modern Seinfeld and Seinfeld Current Day.

The book is not a work of criticism, so although
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was an enlightening read, even for a Seinfeld fan like myself. In addition to relating the tale of the show Armstrong also delves into the social impact of the show as well as how a little show about nothing helped propel NBC to new heights of ratings and syndication revenues.

The story of Seinfeld begins well before the show started airing and I was fascinated to see just how many different directions the show could have gone in before it solidified into what we know of it today. The f
Jul 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
Meh. This a labored book that stretches its thesis beyond "inside stories of the Seinfeld years." It's like a very long magazine piece that relies on interviews of just a few of Seinfeld's writers. Simple anecdotes are conflated into long passages. I wish I'd waited to get it from the library. (Disclosure: I am a lifelong Seinfeld fan. My husband and I have seen the episodes countless times. We just binged the entire series. We have an infographic poster of all the Seinfeld characters ever in ou ...more
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, non-fiction
An in-depth look at how the TV show Seinfeld was made and the impact it had on pop culture. It goes without saying, you need to be a fan of the show to get the most out of this book. I think I've seen just about every episode via reruns, but I didn't know very much about how it was made, or how much of an impact it really had on other TV shows.

The audiobook narrator sounds a little weird because she tries to imitate the characters' voices whenever she quotes the show, and I don't think she was v
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio-book
A fun and well-narrated (audiobook) history of Seinfeld. Hardcore fans won’t find much here since it all seems to be pulled from available sources and not new interviews. I’m not a hardcore fan, so it was all new to me. This covers everything you’d want to know from creation to the “where are they now.” Well paced and always just the right amount of detail
This book was sent to me as an advanced reading copy by somebody from Vandelay Industries and yada, yada, yada ... here is the review

This book is a tale about the show about nothing. So how can you write a book about nothing? Well, Jennifer Keishin Armstrong can apparently. So let's shift into soup mode for this review, and see if we'll get some soup. The sea was angry the day I started this book and I got a real sense of it before I looked away. Jennifer surely controls her mail, and therefore
Jun 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
There never was and never will be a sitcom like Seinfeld. A true example of when artists are allowed to create without the interference of 'suits' and 'corporate snakes,' something original, interesting and iconic can transpire. I was a fan from the beginning when 'The Seinfeld Chronicles' were hardly seen by anyone only because I had become a fan of Jerry Seinfeld's stand up. I thought it was a wonderfully odd show from the beginning and pestered everyone I knew to watch it. Anyone who really l ...more
Jason Mayer
Jul 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016
If all you know about Seinfeld is that it's a show you enjoy watching reruns of, then the stories in here will be new and fresh and interesting. Otherwise, there isn't anything in here that revelatory, and the detail I was hoping for was missing. There was more focus on what Seinfeld was--with scant description of episodes, scenes, and writers--than there was on the how and the why Seinfeld reached its level of importance on the culture and the medium. The level of detail on the various writers ...more
I am a huge Seinfeld fan--I can't count the number of times I have seen each episode and how many times I use quotes from the show so I have been wanting to read this one since it came out in July. My library e-book hold finally came through and I found myself quickly immersed in the world of Seinfeld.

Overall the book came through with plenty of details about the behind-the-scenes of the show and how it turned into the phenomenon it is. I especially liked learning how it was written and how som
Frances Marshall
Feb 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Loved reading this book. I'm a Seinfeld fan and had watched the entire series years ago. As I read this book though, I was surprised by all I'd missed or forgotten. I kept my smartphone close by so I could google clips and episodes as they were discussed in the book. I used it a lot to look up people that I didn't recognize who were connected to show. It was a great look at the backstory of a show I thoroughly enjoyed. ...more
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Jennifer Keishin Armstrong is the New York Times bestselling author of Seinfeldia; Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted; Pop Star Goddesses; When Women Invented Television; and Sex and the City and Us. She spent a decade on staff at Entertainment Weekly and has since written for many publications, including BBC Culture, The New York Times Book Review, Vice, New York magazine, and Billboard.

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The college campus has been a popular setting for books since the days of ancient Greece. In fact, Aristotle once wrote a dark academic...
141 likes · 12 comments
“BY 2013, SEINFELD WOULD BECOME the most successful show ever in syndication. Networks buy reruns in packages sold in “cycles,” and Seinfeld was the first show in history to get to a fifth cycle, taking its rerun sales through 2017—nearly twenty years since its finale.” 6 likes
“It is the story of two men whose sitcom—full of minute observations and despicable characters—snuck through the network system to become a hit that changed TV’s most cherished rules; from then on, antiheroes would rise to prominence, unique voices would invade the airwaves, and the creative forces behind shows would often gain as much power and fame as the faces in front of the cameras. Seinfeld” 3 likes
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