Yadda Yadda Yadda...

While I'm not nearly as happy as the producers of America's favorite traumedy over Seinfeld's imminent fade-out - the exit of NBC's top cash cow will give ER's creators even greater leverage as they negotiate their contract renewal - neither can I place myself amongst that lachrymose camp of armchair Costanzas bemoaning the end of a lifestyle as we now know it.

Sure, Seinfeld still has its moments, but for the last several years, the affliction that invariably strikes all good sitcoms, premature caricaturization, has taken its toll on the show. What began as a comedy of manners is now simply a comedy of mannerisms; the laugh-track seems increasingly necessary as Seinfeld, with each passing episode, grows as shrill and mechanical as any standard sitcom. Were it to continue its current trajectory, it would only be a matter of time before Tony Danza showed up as a guest star; best to kill it now.

Seinfeld's commendably Kevorkian impulse to pull the plug before we click the remote has at least two other benefits. One, the process of overambitious career choices, diminishing prospects, and nostalgia for the limelight that will inevitably lead to the movie-length reunion about nothing starts now. And, two, Seinfeld, the man, not the show, will conceivably have more time to devote to what actually may be his most effective role - that of commercial pitchman.

Indeed, while there are undoubtedly those who would argue that Seinfeld's reputation as the comedy of the '90s exists only because more people have access to NBC than they do to HBO, on which The Larry Sanders Show has practiced its particulary '90s form of overmediated, insiderish, meta-comedy for the last six years, who will claim that the decade's given us a more entertaining spokesperson than Seinfeld's smug, affable, and demanding American Express uber-consumer? Not me.

-- G. Beato

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