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The first season without Larry David is still great comedy
on April 15, 2007
"Seinfeld" did a pretty good job rebounding from Larry David's departure from the show. Jerry doesn't have as many segments featured around him this season, possibly because of the stepped up demands on his time behind the camera. However, the ones in which he is featured are very funny. For example, Jerry has a check bounce, and the unfriendly merchant puts the returned check on display in his store. Word gets back to Jerry's parents, and they jump to conclusions and decide that Jerry must be broke. Jerry's dad decides to return to work to help support Jerry. Unfortunately, the job his dad takes is working for Elaine, and the situation doesn't work out for anyone.
George, reeling from the mixed emotions he had at losing Susan at the end of season seven, prepares to go on without her, but finds that he really can't. Instead, Susan's parents start a charitable foundation in her memory and have George installed on the board with a large framed photograph of Susan framed on the wall in the room where the foundation meetings are held. Later in the season, George does meet a woman he is interested in, and she seems to be interested in him. George, always trying to better his position through lying but usually just worsening his lot because of it, does the same thing in this instance. The woman believes George is a tourist from Arkansas, and George decides to continue the deception by faking a move to the city so he can continue the relationship. The way George sees it, if you condense everything he has accomplished in the last ten years into just a few weeks, it seems quite impressive.
Elaine enters an alternate universe when she meets Kevin and his friends, who turn out to be the opposite of Jerry and his friends in every way. She likes the fact that Kevin and his friends inspire her to be a better person - they are genuinely kind and helpful and they enjoy reading. However, ultimately Elaine is just not cut out to be among them because of her own selfish personality traits. Perhaps the funniest episode featuring Elaine is "The English Patient", titled after the Best Picture winner of 1996. Her boss, the eccentric Peterman, loves the film and forces her to go see it with him. Elaine hates the movie, and just can't take sitting through it in its entirety without blurting out how she feels. Peterman gives her a chance to do penance for her bad attitude which involves a most hilarious assignment. In "The Susie", due to a series of mix-ups, Elaine winds up with an alternate identity at work - "Susie". Her coworkers begin discussing her as though Elaine and Susie are two different people. Her ultimate solution to the problem is to have Susie "die", complete with a memorial service for the fictitious woman that winds up packed with mourners.
Of course, Kramer's adventures are as unbelievable as ever. This season his apartment turns into "The Red Planet" due to a neon sign from the Kenny Rogers Roasters restaurant shining through his window all night. At first he is doing everything he can to put the restaurant out of business, but when he and Jerry temporarily switch apartments the pressure is off, and Kramer finds himself addicted to the restaurant's food. In another episode, Elaine's boss Jay Peterman is trying to write his memoirs, but finds his own life isn't very interesting. His solution is to buy Kramer's life story and use it as his own. Kramer and Peterman eventually get into an argument over the details of the arrangement, and Kramer answers back by starting his own "Peterman Reality Tours". Finally, Kramer is incensed by the fact that he can no longer find a public place in which he can light up a cigar, and opens a smoking lounge in his own apartment. As a result of all of the exposure to tobacco smoke, Kramer ages prematurely and goes to his attorney friend, the fast-talking and flamboyant Jackie Chiles, to file suit against the tobacco companies. When Kramer negotiates a deal with the tobacco companies without Jackie's approval, Jackie declares the results to be "the most public of his many humiliations".
In summary, this season is very good with more of an emphasis on fast-paced zaniness rather than the comedy that made more of a commentary on human nature that you saw during the Larry David years. However, I still highly recommend it.