Question: If a TV show is about nothing, what are its websites about? If the TV show is "Seinfeld," much cyber-ado is being made about nothing.
Not that it matters. But at Christmas, the creator, star and producer of the top-rated sitcom on television, Jerry Seinfeld, announced his nine-year-old show was kaput. The final episode, a one-hour special that airs May 14, instantly became the most hyped series adios since "Cheers" said closing time in 1993. Indeed, the media hoopla surrounding the "Seinfeld" death watch evokes memories of such other TV pseudo-events as the last gasps of "M*A*S*H" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."
No surprise then that in cyberspace, speculation abounds about the final "Seinfeld" episode. David Emory, whose column on urban legends appears in a cyber publication called "The Mining Co." <www.miningco.com>," which has a comprehensive "Seinfeld" fan page <seinfeld.miningco.com>, notes that several counterfeit plot outlines have been circulating over the Internet, one of which Howard Stern "revealed" on his radio show. The scenario that fooled Stern has the cast moving to the West Coast, where Jerry hosts a TV variety show, Elaine moves in with her new boyfriend, George becomes a TV critic and Kramer stars in a new sitcom.
Network publicists and "Seinfeld" staffers called the plot line "way off the mark," and series co-creator Larry David said it was "obviously the result of a mental patient with time on his hands." Emory adds that the outline lacks one feature most people believe the real series finale will have, which is the return of memorable characters from past episodes.
At the official "Seinfeld" sites, NBC's "Countdown to Nothing" <www.nbc.com/tvcentral/shows/seinfeld>, and "Columbia TriStar Television: Seinfeld" <www.spe.sony.com/tv/shows/seinfeld>, and at the show's many fan pages, like "The Peterman Catalogue" <members.xoom.com/kaasi>, are hundreds of audio and video clips from the show, star biographies and plot summaries.
Many sites archive "Seinfeld" scripts, and others let you vote for your favorite episode or participate in "Seinfeld"-related message boards and chat sessions. Of course you can also order "Seinfeld" merchandise, including a "Seinfeld" bloopers tape available at "The Seinfeld Index Page" <seinfeld.sogaard.com>.
There are also websites for each of the show's main characters. At "JERRY SEINFELD WEB PAGE" <www.geocities.com/Hollywood/1383>, pictures of the webmaster's favorite episodes are accompanied by excerpts from Seinfeld's book, "Sein Language."
"Amazing George Costanza" has a nice collection of audio and video, and "The George Costanza Homepage" has a bio of actor Jason Alexander, and lists all the jobs George has held (real estate agent, reader, sitcom writer, hand model, assistant to the travel secretary of the New York Yankees and foundation board member), jobs he has pretended he has had (marine biologist, architect, Latex salesman, playwright and head of the Aryan Union), and jobs he almost had (bra salesman).
There's also a history of Art Vandelay, which is the name George often used to get out of a bind; "The Wisdom of George" ("it's not a lie if you believe it"); and a litany of stupid ideas George has had, including eating an eclair out of the trash, selling his father's cabana clothes for money, and masturbating at home to Glamour magazine.
The real person the character Kramer is based on also has a website, "Kenny Kramer's Home Page" <www.bway.net/~kramer>, in which he sells Real Kramer T-shirts and promotes his Kramer's Reality Tour of the places in New York City that the show, which was mostly shot in Hollywood, was based on.
And then there's the websites for the actor who plays Elaine, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, such as "George's Julia Louis-Dreyfus Page" <www.accessv.com/~gjhong/julia.htm>, and the "Julia Louis-Dreyfus Gallery" <126.96.36.199/content/jld/jld.htm>, which tend to fixate on every instance in which Louis-Dreyfus ever showed cleavage on "Seinfeld" or at an awards show. George's site has a series of blurry photos laid out like stills from the Zapruder film of the JFK assassination, purporting to show evidence of a "Seinfeld" episode in which she accidentally really exposed a nipple.
While concerned about what will replace its cash cow, in the
short run NBC expects Super Bowl ratings for its "Seinfeld" swan
song, and advertisers are paying Super Bowl rates for a
30-second spot in the funeral cortege. So don't cry for NBC, or
for "Seinfeld" fans. Every day in syndication they can see older
episodes, which everyone thinks are funnier anyway.