The final show of television series, Seinfeld airs on NBC.
“It’s just very difficult to end a series,” Sopranos creator David Chase once said, years after he aggravated millions of fans by cutting to black before Tony could get his comeuppance. “For example, Seinfeld, they ended it with them all going to jail. Now that’s the ending we should have had. And they should have had ours, where it blacked out in a diner.”
Seventeen years after the Seinfeld finale, people are still crapping on it. Not just haters, but even its stars. Like when Julia Louis-Dreyfus went on David Letterman’s final show last month and cracked, “Thanks for letting me take part in another hugely disappointing series finale.”
On May 14, 1998, approximately 76 million people tuned in to see how the show “about nothing” would execute its farewell. Co-creator Larry David, who’d left the show after season 7, returned to write the finale, and NBC’s hype machine was running full throttle. Would Elaine and Jerry get hitched? Would Newman be killed in some delightfully ghastly accident? Of course, what actually happened was Jerry and George finally got their TV deal, but before they could celebrate with Elaine and Kramer in Paris, the four of them were arrested in Latham, Mass., for failing to help a man being car-jacked. A media circus descended on their trial, where they were found guilty and sentenced to a year in jail—essentially for being horrible people. All the fringe characters they’d ever wronged during nine seasons of TV—from Marla the Virgin to library cop Joe Bookman—testified against them. The penultimate scene was of the four guilty losers discussing the buttons on George’s shirt—a throwback to the show’s first episode.