As Modern Hollywood Churns Out Mediocre Sitcoms, Jerry Seinfeld’s Two-Word Answer is Why Seinfeld Will Forever Remain a Timeless Classic

The '90s sitcom became a pop cultural phenomenon upon its original airing.

As Modern Hollywood Churns Out Mediocre Sitcoms, Jerry Seinfeld's Two-Word Answer is Why Seinfeld Will Forever Remain a Timeless Classic

SUMMARY

  • The popular '90s sitcom Seinfeld still enjoys popularity twenty-five years after it aired its series finale.
  • Jerry Seinfeld, the co-creator and star of the show, mentioned how the show remains funny by avoiding topical jokes.
  • He also mentioned that the writing of the show has made it timeless unlike modern sitcoms which do not enjoy the same popularity.
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Jerry Seinfeld is one of the most distinguished standup comics and has been active since the late ‘70s. The actor-writer is known for his timeless sitcom Seinfeld, which is often considered to be one of the greatest comedies on TV. The show ran for nine seasons and has often been regarded as the defining sitcom of the era.

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While many sitcoms have been aired since then, few have come close to the popularity and pop cultural impact Seinfeld had. The show is still loved by audiences with its signature theme being parodied and referenced on multiple occasions. When asked what was the secret behind the show’s longevity, Jerry Seinfeld had a simple answer.

Jerry Seinfeld’s Simple Reason For Seinfeld’s Longevity

A still from Seinfeld
A still from Seinfeld

Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David co-created the sitcom Seinfeld, basing many of the stories on their own experiences. Seinfeld played an exaggerated version of himself, a stand-up comic who uses his life in New York as material for his routine. The sitcom showed the character’s dating exploits as well as the experiences of his friends: George, Kramer, and Elaine.

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The sitcom has received many accolades over the years and many of the cast members have got their breakthrough with the show. Actors such as Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, and Michael Richards became synonymous with the show while many recurring characters went on to have great careers, such as Bryan Cranston and Wayne Knight.

Jerry Seinfeld and Jason Alexander in Seinfeld
Jerry Seinfeld and Jason Alexander in Seinfeld

The show is still loved today, twenty-five years after it last aired. When asked about the reasons for its longevity, Jerry Seinfeld had a very simple answer. He mentioned on the Q with Tom Power podcast that he never did topical jokes like politics that fizzled out in time. He said,

“I’ll give you the Jackie Gleason answer because he was asked this question about The Honeymooners his entire life. People would always ask, ‘Why do you think these shows are still on?’ And he had a two-word answer: ‘They’re funny.’”

He mentioned that only time would tell whether someone had made a show that was ‘really funny’ or ‘kind of funny’. He called writing something that would be relevant or funny even twenty years after it was written to be hard work.

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Why Aren’t Sitcoms As Popular As Seinfeld Anymore?

A still from Modern Family
A still from Modern Family

While Seinfeld was not the last sitcom to be a pop-cultural phenomenon, the genre has taken a beating in the past few years. Fewer sitcoms are leaving a cultural impact as big as Seinfeld, F.R.I.E.N.D.S., or even The Big Bang Theory. One of the reasons for this could be the advent of streaming, which does not give the same amount of breathing room as a network.

According to Screen Rant, many sitcoms that have become fan favorites such as The Office and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia needed some time to figure out what it wanted to be before it became a hit. However, the current streaming model reportedly follows a ‘churn and burn’ method which immediately cancels shows that do not get enough viewership.

Netflix has been notorious for canceling shows that have received positive reviews after one season due to a lack of viewership. Recently, the Michelle Yeoh starrer The Brothers Sun was canceled after one season despite receiving positive responses from audiences and critics alike (via Variety).

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Another potential reason could be the trope being outdated for the audiences of today. Many sitcoms followed the formula of either a dysfunctional family that played traditional roles or were based around young adults in their ‘20s. The trope has had its run with the demographic receiving other genres to entertain them.

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Written by Nishanth A

Articles Published: 1060

Nishanth A is a Media, English and Psychology graduate from Bangalore. He is an avid DC fanboy and loves the films of Christopher Nolan. He has published over 400 articles on FandomWire. When he's not fixating on the entire filmography of a director, he tries to write and direct films.