Judge Jennifer Malkowski co-founded a Seinfeld club in her high school. Yes, she's a media geek...not that there's anything wrong with that!
Our reviews of Seinfeld: Seasons One And Two (published May 18th, 2005), Seinfeld: Season Three (published June 8th, 2005), Seinfeld: Season Four (published August 22nd, 2005), Seinfeld: Season Six (published February 15th, 2006), Seinfeld: Season Seven (published November 13th, 2006), Seinfeld: Season Eight (published May 30th, 2007), and Seinfeld: The Complete Series (published November 6th, 2007) are also available.
"Larry and I had started with this idea of making a comedy that really sounded and felt like real life…not only couldn't we keep to that because it was too difficult, but I think it was restricting us comedically."—Jerry Seinfeld
This is the season of Seinfeld that, more than any other, marks the transition between the conversational, minutia-oriented, writerly humor of the show's early period and the less probable, more physical comedy of the later episodes. It was a time when the series stopped being "about nothing"—though it still included plenty of "nothing" moments—and really embraced its zanier side. Thanks to the talent of the cast, Larry David, and the many other creative forces behind the scenes, the transition was smooth. More importantly, almost every moment of it was funny.
Facts of the Case
As I think we all know, this is the hit '90s sitcom which examines mishaps and minutia in the lives of four New Yorkers: Jerry Seinfeld (Jerry Seinfeld), George Costanza (Jason Alexander), Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), and Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards). Let's start with a breakdown of the season's 22 episodes:
• "The Mango"
• "The Glasses"
• "The Puffy Shirt"
• "The Sniffing Accountant"
• "The Bris"
• "The Lip Reader"
• "The Non-Fat Yogurt"
• "The Barber"
• "The Masseuse"
• "The Cigar Store Indian"
• "The Conversion"
• "The Stall"
• "The Marine Biologist"
• "The Dinner Party"
• "The Pie"
• "The Stand-In"
• "The Wife"
• "The Fire"
• "The Raincoats, Parts 1 and 2"
• "The Hamptons"
• "The Opposite"
Season Five of Seinfeld treated us to some classic episodes, moments, and terms. We saw "The Puffy Shirt," "The Stall," "The Marine Biologist," "The Hamptons," and "The Opposite." We found out that Elaine faked orgasms with Jerry, that Jerry maintains a long and proud streak of not vomiting, that Kramer has a fond relationship with the beach, and that every instinct George has ever had in his life has been wrong. We are also introduced to The Low Talker, The Close Talker, The Mimbo, and "shrinkage." The show featured some well-known guest stars, though some of them were not less known at the time: Courtney Cox, French Stewart, Bryant Gumbel, Regis Philbin, Kathie Lee Gifford, Rudolph Giuliani, Carol Kane, Judge Reinhold, and Jon Favreau. This was also the beginning of one of the more memorable season-spanning storylines: George working for the Yankees. That long occupational odyssey all began when he did "the opposite" at a job interview there, admitting to his horrendous employment record and revealing his debilitating social neuroses.
As with previous seasons, Season Five of Seinfeld gets top-notch DVD treatment. The episodes are all remastered and they look and sound great. The extras are extensive and have high production values. Between the commentaries (on ten episodes), the "inside looks" (for 15 episodes), the deleted scenes (for 11 episodes), the bloopers (one collection) and the "Notes About Nothing" (for all 22 episodes), most episodes get extensively examined on several different levels. The commentaries are the weakest of these episode-specific extras. The tracks feature some high-profile people (including Alexander, Louis-Dreyfus, and Richards on a couple and the Seinfeld/David team doing one for "The Opposite"), but those people often just sit back and watch, actively commenting for only about half the episode. The tracks done by the writers are slightly better. The "Inside Looks" are nice little mini-featurettes with background information on the production of individual episodes which range from about two to ten minutes. In the one on "The Puffy Shirt," you even get to see Seinfeld speaking at a ceremony to accept the "puffy shirt" costume into the Smithsonian! My favorite extras on the set are the "Notes About Nothing," which basically apply the old Pop-Up Video format to these episodes, flashing background information and tangential facts along the bottom of the screen almost constantly when activated. These tidbits cover a huge variety of topics—detailed scientific facts about concepts the gang refer to, exact phrasings and deleted lines from the original scripts, notes about where and how scenes were filmed, celebrities' favorite episodes, and a number of "counters" that keep track of each character's significant others, the number of times "Hello, Newman" is uttered, and the number of entrances Kramer makes into Jerry's apartment. By far the most useful function of the "Notes" is as an IMDb substitute. Whenever I found myself wondering, "now what other shows have I seen her on?," the "Notes" would immediately clue me in. Other non-episode-specific extras include a featurette on the creation of George's character, a collection of the fifth season's TV spots and promotions, and some of Seinfeld's stand-up routines that never made the show.
I've always been a fan of the later, goofier episodes of Seinfeld and Season Five is where the first of this breed appeared. The episodes are great and their presentation on this set is as fantastic as the seasons that came before.
Judge Jennifer Malkowski rules that Seinfeld: Season Five is a must-buy for every TV buff with even a smidgen of disposable income. Pop one of these discs in and "Giddyup!"
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Scales of Justice
• "Jason + Larry = George"
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