Okay, I know what you’re thinking — why is this idiot reviewing a book about “Seinfeld” on a Mets website? First of all, why the name-calling? Secondly, what happened was that I saw a book called “Seinfeldia” was coming out and being a big fan of the show, I wanted to read it. But being a cheap guy, I didn’t want to pay for it. So I emailed the publisher (much like I do when a Mets-related book comes out) and asked if I could get a review copy. I rationalized it by saying Seinfeld is a big Mets fan, and fellow fans are interested in what he is doing. Plus, I’m sure the iconic Keith Hernandez episode would be discussed. The book was sent to me without question. So in the interest of fairness, I felt I should review it.
This excellent book by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong starts out with a description of “Seinfeld Night” at a Brooklyn Cyclones game in 2014. So there is one Mets connection. Sadly, it was the only one because Hernandez’s appearance on the show was only mentioned in passing.
So maybe Mets fans would not care too much about the book, but if you are a “Seinfeld” fan, it is a must read. It delves into the back story of how the show made it to air, its ascendance to the top of the ratings and all of the hard work to keep it there. Many of the stories in the book are already known to “Seinfeld” fans, but it is still nice to read them again and catalogued in one tome.
There were a couple of surprises in “Seinfeldia.” One of them was the story of a discarded script about Elaine buying a handgun. For a show without limits, it certainly found one in that taboo subject. I also didn’t realize that many critics at the time credited “Seinfeld” with New York’s remarkable turnaround in the 1990s, painting the city as a pleasant place to live. In turn, other critics blamed “Seinfeld” for the mallification and subsequent whitewashing of New York. I’m not sure of either of those arguments; “Seinfeld” certainly was an influential show as far as changing the face of television, but I can’t imagine it played any role in cleaning up the city.
Although Seinfeld’s love of the Mets is absent from “Seinfeldia,” I hope at least some readers of this review go out and buy it. After all, I want to continue to receive free books.