Seinfeld Returns — Sort Of — With Inspired Parody

Guys, I know you have waited patiently for this for DECADES, literally DECADES, but your long nightmare of the soul is over: There is now, finally, a parody of Seinfeld available for your viewing pleasure!

Well, okay, the so-called “return” of Seinfeld is both parody and recreation seen through a very distorted prism. Created, written by and starring Dan Klein and Arthur Meyer (both of the NYC UCB comedy crowd), this comedy series frames itself as the continuation of the once-crazy-popular NBC sitcom — albeit a much, much shorter and much, much stranger version than the iconic series Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld created.

Episode 1: “Beans” from Jerry & George on Vimeo.

It’s easy to mock the style of a show that almost became a parody of itself toward the end, and there’s been no shortage of spoofs since the show went off the air — including a porn version. However, even last year’s self-referential return to the show by its cast and creator can’t keep Meyer and Klein’s take from feeling inspired.

Sure, the bald wig worn by Meyer to play George is atrocious, the green-screening used to place the actors into the Seinfeld set is poor. But somehow it works. For one thing, Klein, Meyer and director Adam Conover have perfectly captured the tone of the original show, spiced up with the occasional dance sequence, sermon about Christianity, or torrent of profanity. For another, using the premise (as stated on the web series’s official site) that after 21 years “coming up with ideas and writing the show is hard” proves to be a great springboard for the nonsensical nature of these installments, which deliberately replicate the thought process of the uninspired. For instance, an entire episode, only 21 seconds in length, is summarized as follows: “Jerry and George agree.”

Episode 4: “Yes and No” from Jerry & George on Vimeo.

And the performances are key to this success: Meyer’s approach to playing George is a bit goblin-esque (mostly because he has to hunch over in order to seem shorter), but still funny, and Klein may not be a dead ringer for Jerry Seinfeld in terms of looks, but the voice and delivery are almost scarily accurate.

So this new Seinfeld for the web video world, currently at six episodes and counting, is pretty great. It’s worth saying this, though: As funny as making fun of the show’s now stale style might be, the Meyer/Klein take doesn’t even touch what actually made the original show so iconic: The clever plotting, the random secondary characters, the inherent misanthropy. This makes it the best kind of parody — one that knows better than to mock stuff not worth mocking.

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