Seinfeld's Super Bowl ad
Watch comedian Jerry Seinfeld's advertisement for his Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee webisode with George Costanza, played at the Super Bowl on Monday.PT1M28S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-31ycb 620 349 February 4, 2014
They billed it as a Seinfeld reunion. And it was. Kinda.
Jerry Seinfeld and George Costanza (Jason Alexander) back at Monk's - in real life: Tom's Restaurant in New York City - having a coffee, shooting the breeze and, ultimately, talking about nothing.
Just as they did for 180 half-hour episodes between 1989 and 1998.
'Hello Newman' ... Jerry Seinfeld showed as much surprise as a Mack Truck.
But times have changed and maybe, just maybe, Seinfeld was right when he decided to pull the plug at the height of the show's popularity.
Rather than let everyone get a little older, a little staler and a little more predictable. As, it appears, they have.
The Seinfeld Reunion of 2014 - as distinct from the more twisted, entertaining reunion on Curb Your Enthusiasm back in 2009 - was short, sharp and a little flat.
The Over-Cheer episode starring George Costanza (Jason Alexander) and Jerry Seinfeld for Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.
It was, in essence, a plug for Seinfeld's online series Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, which is broadcast online via the Crackle platform. (Think Netflix or Hulu Plus, but lite.)
In the series Seinfeld wheels out classic cars and takes famous comedians for a coffee. On the way you learn a little about the car and a lot about the comedian. It's actually a sharp, illuminating series, well worth watching.
Sometimes it's just conversation. And often it crackles with brilliance.
Having a coffee: Jerry and George.
Some of the highlights include Alec Baldwin turning the tables and quizzing Seinfeld after a spin in a 1970 Mercedes Benz 280 SL, or Michael Richards hopping out of a 1962 Volkswagen Bus to knock on Sugar Ray Leonard's front door, before admitting to Seinfeld that he didn't actually know Leonard. Or where he lived.
But this is the first time a Seinfeld character - actually, two if you include Wayne Knight as menacing postman Newman - has appeared in the show in character. (Richards played himself, not Kramer, in his episode.)
The capsule plot goes something like this: Seinfeld and George leave the Super Bowl at halftime for a coffee in a 1976 two-door compact AMC Pacer D/L. It was, he says, a "total disaster, from initial concept to final execution". Appropriate, then, for a coffee with old mate Costanza.
Seinfeld in its heyday.
Once they are settled at Monk's, George laments that they have missed the Super Bowl party hosted by their friends, the Wassersteins, and Jerry reveals they could not attend because of George's behaviour the previous year. Blink and you'll miss Newman's cameo, and .... we're done.
At six minutes, it's short. Not all the episodes in the series are so short. Some sit around the 10 minute mark. And some clock 17 minutes or more. Most, interestingly, have a whole lot more to say.
All told, this feels a little uneasy, more like you're watching Jerry Seinfeld and Jason Alexander playing Jerry Seinfeld and Jason Alexander playing Jerry Seinfeld and George Costanza.
The lines are a little more spoken than performed. And " ... Hello, Newman" comes with all the surprise of a Mack Truck.
It tapped a vein of nostalgia, but without the brilliance of the earlier reunion on Curb Your Enthusiasm. It was frayed. Faltering. Like the years hadn't been so kind.
The point, you would presume, of such a gimmick is to draw attention to the series. Though it challenges the notion that a promo of this kind should always give you a glimpse of the brilliance of the larger, greater masterwork.
In this case the reverse is almost true: Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee is actually a brilliant show, and even though its guest list has thus far been noticeably male-heavy (Sarah Silverman was a welcome respite in the second season, as was Tina Fey in the third) it is still original and revealing.
The Seinfeld reunion, heartbreakingly, was neither.