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How It Began (2004)

Video  -  Documentary  -  23 November 2004 (USA)
7.4
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Numerous actors, writers and NBC executives talk of how the show _"Seinfeld" (1990)_ came to fruition. Many amusing stories are presented, mostly from Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, about ... See full summary »

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Numerous actors, writers and NBC executives talk of how the show _"Seinfeld" (1990)_ came to fruition. Many amusing stories are presented, mostly from Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, about how interesting it was for two comedians to start their very own show their own groundbreaking way. Written by Rhyl Donnelly

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23 November 2004 (USA)  »

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1.78 : 1
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This documentary is featured on the Volume 1 (seasons 1 & 2) DVD set for _"Seinfeld"(1990)_, released in 2004. See more »

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For Brandon Tartikoff, whose interview we miss... See more »

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User Reviews

I don't wanna be Cheers' little brother!
9 February 2007 | by (The Dutch Mountains) – See all my reviews

Informative piece about the backgrounds of the legendary TV-show "Seinfeld" and "How it began," largely told through the eyes of Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David. The story is well-known by series-fans now, but it still is a very informative and entertaining document, full of lively interviews and quotes by all parties involved when the show was first launched and - as the show itself - very funny.

Coming up with the brilliant idea of "a show about nothing", which would be used to great advantage in the show "The Pitch" in season 4, one surely wonders how this show was ever gonna work, but once the characters were in place, including the character of Elaine (NBC demanded a female character), all the basic ingredients were in place for the beginning of a great sitcom.

I certainly wouldn't like to be in the chair of the network executives deciding what sitcom-ideas to give the greenlight or not. Even an ardent Seinfeld-lover like me has a little trouble seeing the greatness in the initial pilot, "Standup". It's just not that great yet. How could it be? The writing feels a little stiff. George is even more confident than Jerry (that would change), Kramer's character is called "Kessler" who is still nothing more than a bum and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss as Elaine would not make her appearance until the next episode. Certainly, the original tests results weren't very promising; "Pilot performance; weak." And the general sentiment of the show being; "Very New York," and "I think it's too Jewish."

One of the main threads in this "beginning of" is the adversary between Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David and the network executives, with Larry David's inflammatory character being particularly problematic. For instance, he was not allowed at network meetings. When some of the network executives suggested changing something, he immediately put his heels in the sand; "Okay, we're not gonna do that. I'm happy to go back and be a stand-up," with Jerry usually operating as mediator and much more willing to smoothen things out, along with Castle Rock executives George Shapiro and Glenn Padnick.

Also included are some hilarious remarks - some unintentionally - by other parties involved, like Tom Cherones, director on the first four seasons who dishes up some memories about him reading the scripts and desperately trying to figure out what this trivial nonsense was all about: "Who cares? Who cares what lining they use in the jackets, who cares if they use real turkey in a sandwich? Why -- are --they -- so -- picky? I guess I didn't get it. Fortunately the network guys didn't get it either, so they left us alone." And Mark Hirschfeld, the casting director, keeps repeating himself about the casting of George, Kramer and Elaine: "We read everybody in town for this part."

Also included is some stand-up material from Jerry Seinfeld on the "Tonight Show" and Michael Richards appearances at Jay Leno as "Dick Williams, the Fitness Instructor."

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