On May 14, 1998, 76 million viewers sat down to watch the finale episode of Seinfeld. Twenty years later, and those 76 million viewers are still debating the polarizing conclusion to one of the 90’s most popular sitcoms.
Known for being a show that didn’t typically follow the normal tropes of television sitcoms, the final episode of Seinfeld abruptly ended the series without any real resolution. The two-part episode saw the quartet on trial for breaking the “Good Samaritan Law” of Latham, Massachusetts and was less about providing viewers with closure. Instead, the show wanted to celebrate its nine seasons of debauchery and nothingness by recapping some of its greater moments in a most unique way.
Twenty years ago today I had a party for the Seinfeld finale and learned the nature of disappointment.— Ryan Saucier (@flyinsaucier) May 14, 2018
At the end of it all - spoilers for those of you 20 years behind on your television - Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer are sentenced to a year in prison. Before the credits roll, we see the quartet in a jail cell and Jerry repeating the same dialogue that opened the pilot episode.
For some, it was the perfect ending to the show about nothing. On the 20th anniversary, some users took to Twitter to air their grievances. Users like @brent_waggoner felt the finale was “lazy” and strayed from the theme of the series.
I love Seinfeld. And conceptually, I'm even behind the finale. But I have two big issues. First, I think the structure was lazy. Curb would take that concept and make it much more elegant, for example. And secondly, I'm not convinced that putting the gang in jail coheres— Brent Waggoner (@brent_waggoner) May 14, 2018
thematically with the rest of the show--there were never any consequences for their actions, really, so why start now? THem still not caring in jail is a nice gag but I dunno... it feels a LITTLE close to a lesson for Seinfeld.— Brent Waggoner (@brent_waggoner) May 14, 2018
@wichlist is a little less forgiving, calling the Good Samaritan law “terribly silly” and the finale a “colossal disappointment overall.”
The character recap was a solid tactic, but how the storytelling strategy used to pull it together was terrible. The whole "Good Samaritan" arrest was just terribly silly, and the finale was such a colossal disappointment overall.— Dave Wischnowsky (@wischlist) May 14, 2018
Not everyone is as critical of the 923rd and 924th episodes of Seinfeld, as @krelllewis described the finale as “a brilliant hour of television.”
I love many other less discussed items. I LOVE what they are found guilty of. Many people think the 'show about nothing' ends with them going to jail for 'doing nothing' but that is false. They are charged with 'criminal indifference'. This is much darker and much funnier.— Lewis (@krelllewis) May 15, 2018
Critical fans have the opportunity to stop and consider what could have been thanks to a report from The Hollywood Reporter. According to the report, Larry David pushed for several other ideas that included Jerry stating “That’s it,” and the foursome going their separate ways. “Ideas were passed around. In one, they wouldn’t do a final episode. Another involved having them at the coffee shop with nothing to say,” THR writes.
Two decades may have passed since the cast of Seinfeld said goodbye to their devoted fans, but that finale still warrants a healthy debate among viewers. Whether you’re in support of the finale, like @DanPort, who throws shade at Dexter’s series ending, or feel like it was lacking, there’s little denying that it had a lasting impact on comedy television.
I loved the #SeinfeldFinale , it encapsulates the entire show and the gang got their comeuppance and were still unfazed by it all and I loved that..... I'd love to know what people actually wanted from it..... there have been far worse finales *ahem* Dexter *ahem*— Kev Rutherford (@kev4815162342) May 15, 2018
H/T: The Hollywood Reporter, Twitter