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Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything Hardcover – July 5, 2016
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***A NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER***
"Her book, as if she were a marine biologist, is a deep dive...Perhaps the highest praise I can give Seinfeldia is that it made me want to buy a loaf of marbled rye and start watching again, from the beginning."
—Dwight Garner, The New York Times
“Even for those of us who imagine ourselves experts, Armstrong scatters delicious details throughout her book, like so many Jujyfruits we can’t resist… [I]n describing the making and writing of this singular show, Armstrong is queen of the castle. Her stories about “Seinfeld” are real — and they’re spectacular.”
“Armstrong is an excellent writer and a first-rate journalist. I can attest from firsthand knowledge that Seinfeldia is not only a great read but an accurate historical description about two comedians and one TV show that changed the course of television history.”
—Kenny Kramer, the real-life inspiration for Sienfeld’s Kramer
“Lively and illuminating. A wildly entertaining must-read not only for Seinfeld fans but for anyone who wants a better of understanding of how television series are made.”
—Booklist, starred review
“Even as someone lucky enough to be on the show, I couldn’t put Seinfeldia down.”
—Larry Thomas, “The Soup Nazi”
“[S]avvy and engaging…the best way to enjoy “Seinfeldia” is to read the book with TV remote in hand, calling up episodes on Hulu as Ms. Armstrong adroitly recounts the back story of these still-captivating shows that were never, ever about nothing.”
—Wall Street Journal
"Armstrong proves herself the perfect guide to understanding who, what, when, where, why, and how this show came to define American culture in the ’90s…. Seinfeldia is as funny and interesting as a good episode of the show it covers. Armstrong’s pacing and attention to detail makes it a book about pop culture that goes by almost too quickly."
—A.V. Club, Grade: A-
"The heart of Armstrong’s book and its most engaging quality is how it all came to be: the Seinfeld rules of the road that seemed to be without rules; the actors who left their indelible mark (Bryan Cranston as dentist Tim Whatley, Teri Hatcher as one of Jerry’s “spectacular” girlfriends) and the parade of moments about nothing that really turned out to be something."
“Armstrong's intimate, breezy history is full of gossipy details, show trivia, and insights into how famous episodes came to be. How nothing could become something or how a national TV audience learned to live in a Beckett-ian world. Perfect for Seinfeldians and newcomers alike.”
“Armstrong offers a masterly look at one of the greatest shows. The research involved makes this a boon to television scholars, but Seinfeld enthusiasts will also enjoy this funny, highly readable book.”
“This book is the ultimate score for any Seinfeld addict.”
—Fred Stoller, author of My Seinfeld Year
“At last, here is the quintessential book on how and why a show about nothing managed to wend its way through the mediocrity and emerge as a hit. Read it.”
—Mike Sacks, author of Poking a Dead Frog
“Seinfeldia is an addictive read for any TV lover. Jennifer Keishin Armstrong's trenchant insight into the cultural phenomenon and pervasive fandom of the beloved show is real, and it's spectacular.”
—Maris Kreizman, author of Slaughterhouse 90210
“From the stories behind the stories to the characters behind the characters, Seinfeldia delivers everything you always wanted to know.”
—William Irwin, editor of Seinfeld and Philosophy
“Jennifer Keishin Armstrong has managed to do the impossible - she's written a book about nothing. Which is everything. Because it's Seinfeld. Through Armstrong's pen, we learn exactly how a couple of neurotic comics hijacked "nothingness" (once the exclusive domain of Buddhist monks and their serene, mountaintop "monk-spas") and transported it into every TV set in America.”
—Mary Birdsong, Reno 911
About the Author
Jennifer Keishin Armstrong is the author of Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted, a history of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. She writes about pop culture for several publications, including The New York Times Book Review, Fast Company, New York‘s Vulture, BBC Culture, Entertainment Weekly, and others. She grew up in Homer Glen, Illinois, and now lives in New York City. Visit her online at JenniferKArmstrong.com.
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Top Customer Reviews
-For a 320 page book, it goes surprisingly fast. This is praise and criticism, as it makes for light reading but seems oddly empty.
-It is strongest when the actual show is the main focus. When it discusses things after the show and (especially) fandom it shows its lack of real depth.
-Many things about the show aren't new and revelatory, but that isn't a problem per se, as any fan can find a few nuggets that are interestingly new, and re-living some other events and stories surrounding the show can't be anything but fun to read about.
-The writing can be choppy at times, with abrupt stopping and little transition into another topic within a chapter.
-The focus on much of the meat of the book is about the writers, which I found fascinating and interesting, though others that might care more about the actors might not appreciate as much.
-You can really tell who she interviewed more in depth because it comes through loud and clear via the amount of coverage that certain writers or people get compared to others. Some writers get barely a mention while others get superfluous details added.
-She is really obsessed with the cars people drive, implying a sort of meaning to them. I didn't notice this at first, but you notice as the book goes on that you may not know if a person is married or how old they are, but you sure know what car they drive at that time.
-The worst part of the book is her attempt to tie everything in to the concept of "Seinfeldia", which is sort of the real and fake universe of the show and everything associated with it, which has some recursive interaction within itself. I see what she is trying, but it seems forced and just doesn't really work at a level she is trying. But she keeps trying to make it happen. I kept rolling my eyes.
-The book really falls apart at the end, to the extant that I stopped enjoying it. Once the show ends, she keeps talking about things. Actually, she only talks about a couple things in long depth. It seems she had extensive notes on a couple things and wanted to include everything she took notes on.
-Are you interested in what the guy who played The Soup Nazi did after his time on that one episode? Including today? Well, you will get that. Want to know about the person who posed for the barely visible poster for Rochelle, Rochelle? You will hear that story too. Want to know way too much about someone and their Seinfeld2000 twitter account? Oh my gosh does that go on and on and on. The last part of the book focuses on a few things like that and is tedious and, in a capital offense, is not very interested at all.
The book is interested until the end, when I just wanted it to finish so I could move on. The writing is ok, but overall the whole thing seems like a shallow first pass at a book. Wait for paperback or get it from the library and know going in that it is a flawed book that craps out at the end and you will enjoy it. Buy it when it first comes out and hope for a book that is evenly interesting and you will be disappointed.
A lot of what the book covers is pretty well known. The book often repeats itself, such as often repeating that the writers did not last very long before they were replaced by new writers to mine new life stories for material. I understood the point the first time. Repeating it over and over was not necessary.
This is not a bad book, but it is not the deep dive that I wanted and expected. I felt disappointed when I was finished.
teel a lot more from the general to the specific and cost a lot less.