In CSI’s Campus Center, an Author Reexamines “Seinfeld” The Biography of Seinfeld

“Seinfeldia” Author Visits CSI

By: Victoria Ifatusin

Author, Jennifer Keishin Armstrong and her book, “Seinfeldia”

More than two dozen people attended a book signing event in 1C’s Park Café on March 16 to hear from the author of “Seinfeldia.”

“Seinfeldia” is based on the hit namesake TV show, “Seinfeld.” Seinfeld ran from 1989 until 1998. It was created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld himself, and was taped in Manhattan, New York City. It consisted of Jerry and his friends, George, Elaine and Kramer, where they would encounter an array of situations and events that took place in their everyday lives in the heart of New York.

“Seinfeldia” goes in depth into the sitcom series. It takes readers behind the scenes of the show, explaining significant episodes and meanings of them. It also acknowledges the creators and fans of the show, the experience of the creators and cast and how the fans felt when they noticed the influence the show had on the New York culture.

“This book is the hilarious behind the scenes story of two guys who went out for coffee and dreamed of Seinfeld, the cultural sensation that changed television and led into the real world, altering the lives of everyone in touch,” the host said.

The event started off with the introduction of the audience that attended and the author herself. She is known for writing a book about the Mary Tyler Moore Show prior to “Seinfeldia.”

Armstrong showed various clips and gave a backstory to each one. She allowed “Seinfeld to do the talking” for her as the clips were rolled. From those clips, the audience was able to have the full knowledge of Seinfeld, and its impact on TV culture.

“This is where we get the famous show about nothing; they pitch a show about nothing, in real life they pitched it a little differently, they pitched it as two guys talking so it sounds even somehow less exciting than nothing,” said Armstrong. “By the time they were in their first season they understood that their show was about nothing and that was funnier and that really stuck.”

She explained that the show based itself on real life happenings, and each episode was based on those situations and experiences people actually face in their everyday life. “They voice your frustrations,” Armstrong said.

I was able to get a brief one-on-one interview with the “Seinfeldia” author, Jennifer Keishin Armstrong.

Q: Can we get a quick bio of you?

A: Sure. As we talked about, I worked at Entertainment weekly for about ten years, that’s probably the most important part and since then I work as a freelance writer. I’m the TV colonist in BBC Culture and I write books obviously. My book before this was called Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted about the Mary Tyler Moore show, this book and I’m working on a book about Sex and the City.

Q: And also a brief summary about the book?

A: Well, it’s about Seinfeld. [laughs] It’s a history of Seinfeld, so I usually describe my books as biographies of the show. So, it’s the full cultural history of Seinfeld and its afterlife all the way up until now with its still very robust fandom.

Q: What moved you to write a story about Seinfeld?

A: Well, I write about television history and I think this is one of the biggest, most influential shows that we’ve ever had, so if you’re going to write about TV history this is definitely one of the best ones to do.

Q: Would you call “Seinfeldia” a documentary?

A: Yes, that’s a very good analogy, actually. It’s very much like a documentary film.

Q: The clips that you showed as well, as you explained them, what was the significance of each?

A: I mean, basically what I said. [laughs] You know, I mean, those were just some that I knew some of the backstories to the show and that I also knew people would enjoy.

Q: Certain clips, do they relate to actual events in life?

A: Yes, they do.

Q: In what sense?

A: I don’t know how to explain it without telling the stories but they’re inspired by things that happened in real life whether it’s the real guy who is the soup Nazi or just things that happened in the writer’s life that informed the show.

Q: Does Seinfeld leave a legacy for New Yorkers?

A: Definitely! I mean, I think it left a legacy for many different things, I guess, TV for sure and yeah, people still come here all the time to see things that were in Seinfeld, which is weird because they shot it in Los Angeles, but just to see things like the restaurant like we were talking about, because the show means something to people and so, I know that there’s people who literally moved to New York because of Seinfeld because they loved it so much. So, I think there’s definitely a strong tie between New York and the show.

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