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I guess I just like liking things


Yesterday marked the fifteenth anniversary of the Seinfeld finale airing. Today marks the fifteenth anniversary of when people started really griping about the Seinfeld finale. I mean, they started right after it aired, but they really didn’t get into full swing griping until the next day, you know, around the water cooler at work. We had the Internet back then, but people hadn’t quite figured out how to squeeze every last drop of griping out of just yet, so the griping happened more slowly – a griping Thanksgiving dinner, if you will, as opposed to a griping microwaved Hot Pocket.

I had some people over to watch the finale with me, I don’t remember how many. A friend in another state called me two minutes after it was over to ask what I thought. I don’t remember my exact words, but it was along the lines of “It wasn’t what I expected, but I liked it.”

See, the other thing we didn’t have back in the early days of the Internet was a well-cultivated Spoiler Garden. Sure, there were seeds being planted here and there, but it was more random so you didn’t know where things would grow and you didn’t know if you could eat the stuff that grew anyway. Nowadays you can go to the row marked “Game of Thrones” and pick out exactly the spoiler you want, however ripe or un, but back then you’d hear rumors and speculation and wouldn’t have any idea how much you could trust it.  There’d been a lot of “Elaine and Jerry get married!” and stuff like that thrown around, but nobody knew anything. In fact, the finale threw in a bunch of fake-outs to exactly that sort of thing – Jerry and George almost hug, Elaine and Jerry almost confess they love each other, that kind of thing. For fans who knew that people were expecting it but Jerry et al. didn’t want it, it was perfect.

As with most things, I didn’t really understand why I wasn’t supposed to like the finale until I read why other people didn’t.  My default is to like things I like (just like Abed!), and that usually serves me pretty well. I understood why people didn’t like it, I just didn’t agree.  The biggest misstep in my opinion was having the clip show right before the finale…which was kind of an elaborate clip show. Viewed separately, they both work pretty well. Viewed together, they are kind of one big clip show blob.

I’m not really sure what else people wanted from the finale. Something big and elaborate and people changing and moving away? That was so not the point of the show that famously had no point. Being put on trial for doing exactly the things we had been seeing them do for nine seasons was, really, a fantastic way to go about it. Locking them up for being self-centered jerks is about the best reason to lock them up.  Maybe you didn’t care for the execution of the idea, but the idea itself is gold, Jerry. Gold!

I haven’t missed Seinfeld because I haven’t needed to – it’s usually on somewhere, and I’ve got the DVDs if I need them. On Twitter, Modern Seinfeld and Seinfeld Stories give me an idea of what could be happening with the gang, and I enjoy the thoughts. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve seen each episode, but I doubt I’ll ever tire of them. Even now, fifteen years on, I still average about one Seinfeldian quote or reference a day. It’s not really that I’m trying to make that happen, it’s just that it’s so ingrained and the show covered so much ground that it happens organically. Fellow fans enjoy the references and non-fans don’t know, so it all works out okay for me.

Maybe I should go throw $20 out the window?


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