‘Seinfeld’ Star Jason Alexander Has ‘Never Understood’ Why People Call It a Show About Nothing: ‘They’re So Heavily Plotted’
Seinfeld, the iconic TV series from Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, is often referred to as “a show about nothing.” One of the sitcom’s four main stars, Jason Alexander, disagrees with that particular description.
Jason Alexander played George Costanza for nearly a decade
Audiences first met Jerry, Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), George Costanza (Jason Alexander), and Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards) on July 5, 1989. It followed Jerry, a stand-up comedian living and working in New York City, New York, as he got material for his acts through daily life and conversations with friends.
Alexander played Costanza, one of Jerry’s closest friends. Throughout the series, he had a number of jobs — one for the New York Yankees — and sometimes lived with eccentric parents, Estelle (Estelle Harris) and Frank Costanza (Jerry Stiller).
George experienced plenty of dark but funny moments. One of the most memorable being the episode when his fiancée got killed off Seinfeld. After George insisted on buying the cheapest wedding invitations available, his soon-to-be wife, Susan (Heidi Swedberg), died because of the toxic glue she ingested while sealing the envelopes.
The actor doesn’t think ‘Seinfeld’ is a show about nothing
Alexander doesn’t agree with the idea that Seinfeld is a show about nothing.
“They’re so heavily plotted,” he told Columbus Underground in 2019. “When we got into our stride, there were four storylines, or five, every show, and they would dovetail in these amazing ways.”
He continued, saying the creators felt comfortable having comical moments that didn’t necessarily fit in with the larger plot.
“But what the guys were focused on, Jerry [Seinfeld] and Larry [David], was the notion that funny trumps everything,” Alexander said. “You’re doing a comedy – funny wins. Don’t cry at [us] about the character not being able to do ‘a,’ ‘b,’ or ‘c.’ If the character would be funny, then let’s be funny.”
“They were unafraid of doing comedic, tangential runs that had nothing to do with the main plot,” he added. “Back when we were doing the show, that was a huge difference between us and other shows.”
Jerry Seinfeld agrees
During an episode of The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast, Seinfeld discussed the “show about nothing” descriptor. Calling it “nonsense,” he said the idea likely originated with a storyline from the program.
“That was made up by the press” after his character’s fictional show, Jerry, was described the same way.
How does the actor and comedian see Seinfeld? As a show that closely resembles his own life living in New York City as a single, stand-up comedian.
Whether or not Seinfeld is indeed a show about nothing, audiences still love the series even decades since it went off the air. Watch Seinfeld on Hulu before it joins Netflix in 2021.