'Seinfeld' Reunion Atones for Awful Finale, and Then Some

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Ten years since after it concluded Seinfeld can still lay claim to being "the greatest show of all time," despite its famously awful finale. Fans got another taste of their favorite show, and a chance at redeeming the last episode, in a rare reunion of the Seinfeld cast on "Curb Your Enthusiasm," the pseudo-autobiographical HBO series starring Seinfeld co-creator Larry David. On Sunday, the episode aired to largely positive reactions from entertainment bloggers. They're praising it as more than just a clever way of addressing the criticism surrounding the finale of Seinfeld.

  • Better Than an Actual Reunion Time TV critic James Poniewozik remarked that not only was the episode a great send-up of Seinfeld, but that its restraint made it better than any full-length, authentic Seinfeld reunion fans could ever hope for: "As well-executed as the Seinfeld scenes were, it makes sense that David only ever gave us a partial script and a glimpse of the show here; he recognizes that the perfect Seinfeld finale can only exist this way--largely in our own minds. Instead, Larry David did the best thing a creator can do for his fans: not to end something perfectly, but to make something else, something new, and make it good." NBC Washington's Jere Hester agreed "By housing the 'Seinfeld' reunion on 'Curb,' Seinfeld, David, et al, avoid the huge expectations that the weighed on the original finale 11 years ago and would have greeted a network special. A lot has changed since 1998 - TV audiences are more diffuse, and the world, in many respects, is an even less sunny place. It's a world made for David, who, we hope, will return to keep giving us more about nothing."
  • Better Than Seinfeld? The Awl lead blogger Alex Balk confessed he had grown weary of Seinfeld and skeptical of Curb by the time the prospect of a reunion was raised. Yet he found himself so amused by the finale that he was even moved to re-evaluate Seinfeld: "Watching the episode-within-an-episode last night, hearing all the familiar 'Seinfeld' cadences, really made me wonder: Why do I hate 'Seinfeld' so much? I mean, I liked it when it was on. It was certainly fresh for its time. Is it the endless repetition, the fact that you are more than likely to flip past it at least three times a night? It it some kind of reverse nostalgia against the nineties? Whatever the reason, last night's 'Curb' finale made me reconsider." He also thinks that Curb can only go downhill from here, and thus would prefer to see that series also conclude with this episode.
  • No Stone Left Unturned At the Huffington Post, Dan Abramson commended series creator David for going the extra mile, addressing real-life controversies along with unresolved plot lines from both his shows, all without coming off as contrived : "Nothing was left unaddressed as the season even made sure to touch upon topics like Michael Richards' racist tirade at the Laugh Factory in 2006. It also caught us up on the characters' lives since the finale: Elaine gave birth to Jerry's child, George created an iPhone app (the Toilet), and Jerry analyzed it all. Since plot-lines from the real 'Seinfeld' were often based on actual events from the real life Larry David, it was only fitting that there were references to his fake life on the fake reunion. So alas, here it is, in all its glory. New 'Seinfeld.' New neuroses. New nothing."
  • Comfortingly Familiar LA Times writer Jace Lacob said that the best part of the episode was the enduring consistency and camaraderie between the former Seinfield castmates: "It's crazy to me that more than 10 years have passed since the end of "Seinfeld," but seeing Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander, Michael Richards and Julia Louis-Dreyfus reunite on that set brought back a flood of memories. In those brief scenes, it was suddenly as though no time had passed -- for the characters or for this viewer."
  • Seinfeld Saved Curb Salon's Heather Harvilensky was delighted with the episode, calling it one of the inconsistent Curb's best: "Why can't the cast of "Seinfeld" appear on "Curb Your Enthusiasm" every season? Last night's seventh season finale offered a particularly tantalizing taste of just how funny the "Seinfeld" cast and its creators still are after all these years." She also reigned specific praise on Jerry Seinfeld and Jason Alexander for reprising their well-known roles with relish. As she put it "We'll never meet two jackasses we love this much again, will we? Surely there's some government-mandated way to force them to keep producing episodes, for the good of the nation!"
  • The Best Bromance Similarly, New York Magazine entertainment blogger Will Leitch delved beneath Larry David's ostensible on-screen reason for having a Seinfeld reunion on Curb (to win back his fictitious ex-wife) uncovering the true "love story" at the season's core, the relationship between David and former colleague Jerry Seinfeld. "Seeing him back with Larry made one sense he had returned to familiar, comfortable terrain, with his old pal, just trying to be funny again. These are two lifelong friends who, when they work together, are wholly at ease and consistently uproarious." Leitch even offered a suggestion for the next post-Seinfeld venture, a new show starring the dynamic duo: "Is it too much to ask that a season eight of Curb just involve Jerry and Larry hanging out? Maybe we can bring this meta full-circle, and make it all about them trying to pitch a show about the making of a show about Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld trying to pitch a show. We would definitely watch that."
  • So Good That Other Shows Should Follow Suit: PopMatters critic Michael Landweber called the idea of doing an in-show reunion "genius," especially considering Seinfeld's "crappy finale." He also noted the similarity between the episode and the finale of Newhart, which referenced its more popular predecessor, The Bob Newhart Show. As for other modern shows that could use a redux finale, his suggestions are as follows:
We could wipe the slate clean from the abysmal X-Files finale by bringing Gillian Anderson on for a multi-episode arc on Californication. David Duchovny's Hank Moody gets hired to write a screenplay for an X-Files movie that actually provides a satisfying ending. There might be some sex.

With apologies to defenders of The Sopranos cut to black ending, it just didn't provide closure for most of the show's fans. Here's what happed after the cut: Federal agents stormed the restaurant and nabbed everyone. The Feds force Carmela and Meadow to rat out Tony, then put them in the witness protection program. How else can you explain the bizarre haircuts that Edie Falco and Jamie-Lynn Sigler now sport on Nurse Jackie and Ugly Betty respectively? James Gandolfini guests on both those shows when he comes looking for his family. Ba-da-bing.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.