Seinfeld dominated the airwaves from 1989 to 1998. For nine seasons, the hit sitcom provided plenty of memorable moments, and the Seinfeld cast had an undeniable chemistry that elevated the series to the next level. But only eagle-eyed fans might’ve noticed that the iconic TV show began and ended with the same mundane topic.
‘Seinfeld’ has been called a ‘show about nothing’
When many people describe Seinfeld, they often talk about how it is a show about nothing. Of course, a show about literally nothing wouldn’t become as successful as Seinfeld or create the lasting impact the show has made on the world of comedy and pop culture. So what’s with the claim that it’s a show about nothing?
Many people attribute that description to the fact that the show’s characters deal with trivial matters. For example, many scenes involve Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer at the diner or in Jerry’s apartment talking about mundane topics like the difficulties of dating, life at the office, and aging parents. Although they might seem like boring topics to cover on a show, the characters of Seinfeld made the conversations hilarious and relatable.
Perhaps it’s more accurate to say it’s a show about real, everyday life, and maybe its reliability made it so popular for so long.
The series started and ended with a conversation about shirt buttons
It’s always exciting when a series comes full circle, and the same was true when the Seinfeld series finale aired in 1998. According to Trivia Genius, the topic of conversation between Jerry and George at the beginning and end of the show was shirt buttons.
Seinfeld‘s opening scene begins with Jerry commenting on the buttons on George’s shirt while they sit at the diner drinking coffee.
“That button is in the worst possible spot,” Jerry says to George. “The second button literally makes or breaks the shirt. Look at it; it’s too high. It’s in no-man’s land. You look like you live with your mother.”
At the end of the series finale, the camera pans out while Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer sit in a jail cell. Jerry delivers a monologue strikingly similar to the opening scene about the buttons on George’s shirt.
In response, George asks, “Haven’t we had this conversation before?”
Jerry replies, “Yeah, maybe we have,” before the scene fades to black for the last time.
Jerry Seinfeld and Jason Alexander disagree ‘Seinfeld’ is a ‘show about nothing’
Jason Alexander, who played George Costanza throughout the show’s run, disagrees with the notion that Seinfeld is a show about nothing.
“Everyone claims that it’s ‘a show about nothing,’ and I’ve never understood that,” Alexander said in an interview with Columbus Underground. “They’re so heavily plotted. When we got into our stride, there were four storylines, or five, in every show, and they would dovetail in these amazing ways … [Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David] were unafraid of doing comedic, tangential runs that had nothing to do with the main plot. Back when we were doing the show, that was a huge difference between us and other shows.”
The Writers Guild of America West agreed when it named Seinfeld the second-best-written TV series of all time, behind only The Sopranos.
Co-creator and star Jerry Seinfeld also denies the show was about nothing: “That was made up by the press.” Seinfeld said he based the show mainly on his life and experiences doing comedy in New York City. Plus, Seinfeld discussed numerous real-life issues, such as the death of a partner, complex relationships, and when to settle down, if ever.