Season 7 was arguably Seinfeld's best season. I recently finished watching it straight through, episode-by-episode, and found myself still, a decade and several hundred syndication views later, laughing my head off. The Soup Nazi was just as funny today as he was when the episode aired on November 2, 1995
The season started strong, with Jerry and George realizing that "we're not men", that their lives were pathetic, and that they were doomed to live for eternity alone, single, and making silly, meaningless conversation at the coffee shop. George took this to heart, and to everyone's great surprise, asked his ex-girlfriend Susan ("I thought she was a lesbian?" "It didn't take") to marry him. To our greater surprise, she said yes, and when George called his parents to tell them of his engagement, Susan told Estelle that she was very much in love with her son, to which Estelle replied, "May I ask why?" It was a clear bell announcing to Seinfeld's fans that their comic timing was still spot on.
And it was. While already having displayed brilliance in past seasons, they seemed to reach their apex here, where the requisite multiple story-lines all tied in together, built off of each other, *made sense*, the end result being a near perfect show. This was a quality the show would lose the very next season.
Jerry didn't begin and end every show with his stand-up, and that was welcome for me. I have never cared for his stand up. I don't think he's funny outside of the TV show. The 4.5 star rating of his final Broadway show demonstrate that others think differently. To each their own.
Looking back, it's hard to imagine that Julia Louise-Dreyfus only walked away with one Emmy win (seven nominations) in nine years. But when you consider just some of her competition over the years: Christine Baranski from Cybill, Lisa Kudrow from Friends, Kristen Johnsen from Third Rock from the Sun, and Lauire Metcalf from Roseanne, it becomes easier to appreciate the difficulty of winning that award when these actresses were portraying such memorable characters.
The extras on this DVD set really make it stand out. The inside looks offer fascinating insight, although the extras weren't captioned or subtitled. Some deleted scenes were better left deleted, while others were stronger and if time wasn't a factor (as it isn't on HBO and Showtime, for example) might have made a stronger show. You'll have to be the judge of that. I didn't listen to the Notes About Nothing. You *really* have to be an in-too-deep Seinfeld fan to watch an episode just to hear actor/writer/director commentary (not that there's anything wrong with that).
Allow me to digress for a moment and step outside the purview of this review. The only thing that hangs over the DVD release (and all Seinfeld DVD releases) and that which mars its perfection is knowing that Jerry Seinfeld's three co-stars had to push and shove to negotiate for residuals for doing the extra material on the DVDs. It's bad enough that they receive only standard Screen Actors Guild residuals for the reruns in syndication, which have netted the three co-stars each roughly $[...] (according to Jason Alexander in 2004). Compare that to the hundreds of millions that their brethren receive for similar work in lesser sitcoms, the five hundred million that Larry David made off the series, and Seinfeld's net worth of $[...] billion dollars. Not that Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld don't deserve the lions share - they created the show, and Larry's contributions to the show were immeasurable. However, without the talents of each individual actor, the fans of Seinfeld wouldn't have had such a marvelous treasure. The show wouldn't have been the same without their unique chemistry. There should have been some parity.