|Nothing? Seinfeld is a show about everything! It's about the appeal of the posse and coma etiquette. It's about importing and exporting. It's about sneaking a peek, and seeing the baby. It's about this, that, and the other. TV Guide ranked Seinfeld the best TV series of all time. It has become the master of its syndication domain. Its most devoted fans can quote each episode chapter and verse; their absorption of each scene's minutiae anything but a trivial pursuit. With such fervent devotion to the show, and demand for its DVD release, series creators Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David could have easily just OK'd a bare-bones set containing nothing but the episodes. Not that there would have been anything wrong with that, but instead, the creative team came together to create extensive and encyclopedic features that make this four-disc set buy-worthy. The candid and revealing audio commentaries and interviews, deleted scenes and original episode promos, and optional "Notes About Nothing" pop-ups are as irresistible as a Drake's coffee cake.
It's always fun and instructive to return to the humble beginnings of a series that became a pop culture benchmark. Here are Kramer's first not-so-grand entrance, Jerry's first contemptuous "Hello, Newman," and Elaine's first "Get Out!" shove. But what is most revelatory about these episodes from the first two seasons is what Jason Alexander, during his commentary for the episode "The Revenge," calls a "sweet quality" that somehow redeems these characters' more base instincts. Consider the scene in which Jerry gives a freshly unemployed George some career guidance, or Jerry and Elaine's palpably affectionate banter throughout. The "Inside Look" episode intros offer fascinating insights into this singular show that subverted sitcom convention with such now-classic episodes as "The Chinese Restaurant," in which Jerry, George, and Elaine wait in vain for a table. We learn, for example, why movie tough guy Lawrence Tierney, who guest starred in "The Jacket," never reprised his role as Elaine's father. All of this, of course, is yadda yadda yadda to Seinfeld fans, whose patience for the show's DVD debut has been amply rewarded. As Elaine screams in the third-season episode, "The Subway," "It's not nothing, it's something!" --Donald Liebenson