29 June 2014 6:00 PM, PDT | Vulture | See recent Vulture news »

Seinfeld, which debuted 25 years ago this summer, was one of the least likely hits in television history and one of the most significant. Though cable dramas usually take all the credit, the seeds of TV’s so-called golden age may have really been sown in Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David’s half-hour sitcom. Their eagerness to tinker with the show’s format—altering the tone, pace, and structure to startle viewers and keep ­themselves amused—emboldened many subsequent comedies, including Friends, 30 Rock, both versions of The Office, Veep, and Curb Your Enthusiasm (the last two starred Seinfeld alums) as well as The Simpsons (an altogether warmer series that premiered five months after Seinfeld and shared a few crew members and an obsession with “meta” humor). But Seinfeld’s impact resonated beyond comedy. Its serene belief that characters did not have to be likable as long as they were interesting foreshadowed »

- Matt Zoller Seitz

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