After NBC aired the final episode of Seinfeld in 1998, a series of ill-fated spin-offs anchored by the show's co-stars Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Michael Richards gave rise to the term "Seinfeld Curse." Each attempt was by and large a failure. Despite high expectations, none of the sitcoms survived two full seasons.
The one star who appeared to be immune from the curse was Jerry Seinfeld who enjoyed relative success in stand-up comedy despite ill-conceived endeavors such as Bee Movie. But now with his new near-universally loathed show The Marriage Ref his legacy seems more threatened than ever. Here's what entertainment critics are making of the man who brought America arguably the best sitcom of all time:
- His Legacy Still Stands, writes Greg Evans at The Huffington Post: "Ideas, the comic told the Times, are 'terrible obligations,' and he'd rather spend time with his kids. No crime there. But no joke either. Jerry Seinfeld already gave us the greatest sitcom in TV history. He owes us absolutely nothing."
- He's Dangerously Close to Losing It, writes Alan Sepinwall: "I think Seinfeld is a tremendous comedian, and still consider 'Seinfeld' one of the greatest sitcoms ever [but]... the more we see of Jerry out in the real world, the more irritating he becomes."
- He Has Thrown It All Away, writes Gabe at Videogum: "Look, I can't imagine what it's like to be Jerry Seinfeld. Trapped in that giant mansion with that plagiarist wife of his, knowing that the best work of his career is most certainly behind him, sitting in the bay window with a glass of warm vodka, staring out at the helipad and wondering how many years he has left until it all disappears forever and he's just another footnote in the dustbin of Wikipedia. I'd probably get antsy too! But I like to believe that I wouldn't take out that antsiness on the rest of the world in the form of a brutally unfunny garbage reality show that seems like it's some kind of joke being played on the world by Randolph and Mortimer Duke to resolve a one dollar bet."
- This Says More About TV Than Seinfeld's Legacy, writes James Poniewozik at Time: "It was, at least, an interesting object lesson in how TV works. It proved that, if you are Jerry Seinfeld, NBC will put any program you want on the air, and will give you no network notes. For the sake of my fond memories of the sitcom Seinfeld, I am going to make myself believe that Seinfeld knew this, and was deliberately punking the network."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.