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COLUMBIA TRISTAR

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Various
Cast:
Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards, Jason Alexander
Writing Credits:
Various

Tagline:
A show about nothing.

Synopsis:
Seinfeld: Season 9 is a four-disc boxed set including all 24 episodes from the ninth and final season of the long-running series, including the finale and hours of exclusive, never-before-seen bonus footage. The wealth of bonus features for Seinfeld: Season 9 include scenes from "The Roundtable" (excerpts from the one-hour table discussion), deleted scenes, bloopers, trivia, interviews, stand-up comedy footage, and other behind-the-scenes bonus material. The ninth season was nominated for five Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Comedy Series, and features an astounding array of noteworthy episodes such as the unique backwards episode, "The Betrayal," and the reemergence of a classic arcade game in "The Frogger." The season culminates in the highly rated two-part finale, which boasts an illustrious gathering of some of the show’s most memorable guest stars including Larry Thomas (Soup Nazi), Wendel Meldrum (Low-Talker), Golden Globe® Award-winner Teri Hatcher, TV journalist Geraldo Rivera, and others.

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Fullscreen 1.33:1
Audio:
English Dolby Surround 2.0
French Dolby Surround 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Portuguese
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
Spanish
Portuguese

Runtime: 553 min.
Price: $49.95
Release Date: 11/6/2007

Bonus:
Disc One
• Commentaries for “The Voice”, “The Serenity Now” and “The Merv Griffin Show”
• “Inside Look” Featurettes for Four Episodes
• Deleted Scenes for Four Episodes
• “Notes About Nothing” Text Commentary for All Episodes
• “The Last Lap” Documentary
• “Sein-Imation: Thy Voice of Thee”
Disc Two
• Commentaries for “The Slicer”, “The Betrayal”, “The Strike”, “The Dealership” and “The Reverse Peephole”
• “Sein-Imation: The Waiting Game”
•“Inside Look” Featurettes for Two Episodes
•Deleted Scenes for Four Episodes
•“Notes About Nothing” Text Commentary for All Episodes
• “The Betrayal” Presented Back to Front
Disc Three
•Commentary for “The Burning”
• “Sein-Imation: Circus or Zoo?”
• Bloopers
•“Inside Look” Featurettes for Two Episodes
•Deleted Scenes for Five Episodes
•“Notes About Nothing” Text Commentary for All Episodes
Disc Four
• Commentaries for “The Maid” and “The Puerto Rican Day”
•“Inside Look” Featurettes for One Episode
•Deleted Scenes for Two Episodes
•“Notes About Nothing” Text Commentary for All Episodes
• Introduction for the Second Half of “The Chronicle”
• “Scenes from the Roundtable” Featurette
• Easter Egg


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RELATED REVIEWS


Seinfeld: Season 9 (1998)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 31, 2007)

And now it all comes to an end. With its ninth season, Seinfeld came to a conclusion. Arguably the greatest sitcom of all time, 1997-98 acted as its swan song. In addition, this eighth volume of episodes provides our final DVD examination of the series. The plot synopses come from the DVD’s packaging. They’re short but good.

DVD ONE:

The Butter Shave: “Kramer begins shaving with butter, and the scent overwhelms Newman. George fakes a handicap to land a job at Play Now. Jerry resents Bania for riding his coattails. Elaine and Puddy break up and get back together numerous times on a flight back from Europe.”

Season Nine starts on a reasonably positive note here. The Jerry story acts as the weakest link; it has some moments but some iffy acting from Seinfeld mars it. Kramer’s thread goes up and down due to the Newman side of it, but other parts of it amuse. Both the Elaine and George sections fare quite well, however. Something about “Vegetable Lasanga” always amused me, and George’s continued scheming entertains. It’s not a great show, but it’s pretty good.

The Voice: “Jerry imagines that his girlfriend’s belly button talks to him and he enjoys imitating it. Kramer hires an intern to assist him at Kramerica Industries. Play Now tries to push George out, but he refuses to quit. Jerry bets Elaine that she can’t stop sleeping with Puddy.”

Season Eight featured a protégé for George, and Kramer’s intern seems awfully reminiscent of that concept. It’s not a good thing when the series starts to repeat itself. Sure, giving Kramer an assistant offers a different take on the topic, and some laughs result, but the idea feels a bit stale to me.

Not much about “Voice” ignites. The whole belly button voice thread is borderline worthless; it never amuses or even feels logical for this series. The George side works best, but even that doesn’t quite fly. This is a consistently mediocre program.

The Serenity Now: “George competes with Lloyd Braun at selling computers in the Costanzas’ garage. Frank shouts ‘serenity now’ to keep calm. Jerry gets in touch with his emotions. Mr. Lippman’s son kisses Elaine at his bar mitzvah. Kramer sets up Frank’s old screen door and spends his time relaxing outside his apartment.”

Maybe the series’ final catchphrase crops up via this episode’s title. It’s not one of Seinfeld’s best expressions, but it works okay. The same goes for the erratic “Now”. It boasts some good ideas but suffers in terms of execution, as none of the concepts actually fly. Take Jerry’s exploration of his feelings, for instance. This plays better on the page than on the screen. We get a smattering of laughs here but it’s not a memorable program.

The Blood: “Kramer stores his blood in Jerry’s freezer. George discovers the power of combining food and sex. Jerry’s parents hire Izzy Mendelbaum to get their son in shape. Elaine gets stuck babysitting for a friend’s kid.”

Fans generally regard Season Nine as the series’ worst. I hate to agree with the conventional wisdom, but episodes like “Blood” lead toward that irresistible conclusion. It’s good to see Lloyd Bridges again, and a few good moments emerge, but I leave this episode with an overall impression of blandness.

The Junk Mail: “Kramer cancels his mail. Jerry’s old friend ‘Fragile Frankie’ gives him a van. Kramer offers Anthony Quinn’s T-shirt in exchange for the van. George’s parents rekindle their romance. Elaine meets the man of her dreams but wants to keep Puddy on hold.”

The reign of mediocrity continues here. “Fragile Frankie” has wacky potential that the episode fails to exploit. Other threads also fail to develop. As with prior programs, some intriguing notions pop up, but the show doesn’t make them go anywhere.

The Merv Griffin Show: “Kramer finds the set of The Merv Griffin Show in a dumpster and recreates the show in his apartment. Jerry’s girlfriend owns an unbelievable toy collection. George’s girlfriend forces him to care for a squirrel that he ran over with his car. Elaine must contend with a sidler at the office.”

It’s a bad sign when an episode’s best moments come in the opening bit. The chat about Cain and Abel between Jerry and Kramer provides some pretty good laughs, but after that things go downhill. The “sidler” is an attempt to recreate trademarks like the “close talker”, but it feels forced and doesn’t work. The Merv Griffin concept is ludicrous even for Kramer. “Griffin” ends up as another spotty show.

DVD TWO:

The Slicer: “Elaine’s neighbor leaves the country without turning off his alarm clock. Kramer discovers unusual uses for his new meat slicer. George goes to work for Kruger Industrial Smoothing and promptly sneaks a photo out of Kruger’s office to avoid an awkward confrontation. Jerry dates a dermatologist.”

Season Nine rebounds with this pretty good show. George’s attempts to rescue his cushy new job become ludicrous but in a good way. Kramer’s fascinating with the titular slicer also amuses. I couldn’t call this one a classic, but it marks arguably S9’s best show to date.

The Betrayal: “The ‘backwards’ episode. Elaine spites Sue Ellen Mischke by going to her Indian wedding with Jerry and George. Jerry and George learn secrets by unlocking Elaine’s vault with schnapps. Kramer and his friend FDR exchange wishes that the other would drop dead.”

Should we regard “The Betrayal” as an innovative homage to a Harold Pinter play – or a desperate stab for something different late in the series’ run? A little of both, probably. It smacks of Memento for most of us, of course, though it’s not as interesting as that film. Once you get beyond the episode’s gimmick, there’s not a lot to it. The program musters a few laughs but seems a little too self-satisfied for my liking.

The Apology: “George demands an apology from Jason Hanke over an old dispute. Jerry learns the difference between good naked and bad naked. Kramer installs a disposal in his shower. Elaine’s co-worker fears her germs, and Puddy admits he’s a germophobe as well.”

I liked this episode when it first aired if just because I then dated a blonde named Melissa, so a naked Melissa hit close to home. Granted, my Melissa wasn’t as hot as this Melissa, but hey, you take what you can get!

Outside of the show’s titillation value, it seems erratic. Kramer’s attempts to shorten his showers amuses, but George’s obsession with the apology doesn’t quite work. The other two threads are lackluster as well. I like the naked shots, but otherwise this is a spotty program.

The Strike: “Everyone celebrates Festivus with the Costanzas. George invents the ‘Human Fund’. Kramer goes back to work at H&H Bagels, ending a 12-year strike. Elaine gives a fake phone number to a suitor in a denim vest. Jerry dates a ‘two-face’”.

We get a flashback to good Seinfeld with the pretty positive “Strike”. It’s amusing that the fake holiday of Festivus has inspired plenty of real-life – albeit ironic – celebrations, and it’s entertaining to learn of its rituals. I love the fact Kramer was on strike for 12 years, George’s fake donations provide cynical laughs, and Elaine’s phone number machinations work too. The “two-face” is a little iffy, but otherwise this is a solid show.

The Dealership: “Jerry decides to buy a new car from Puddy. A starving George accuses a mechanic of stealing his Twix bar. Kramer test-drives a car, emptying its gas tank. Puddy’s obsession with high-fives leads Elaine to break up with him… again.”

“Dealership” does something unusual for the series, as it concentrates almost all of its action in one location, the titular car shop. Only Kramer’s test drive takes us off the lot, and for a good cause, as Kramer’s bizarre quest amuses. The threads back at the dealership work quite well too, especially via George’s antics. It’s a good throwback to classic Seinfeld, as it reminds us of the series’ better programs.

The Reverse Peephole: “Puddy sports a ‘man fur’, much to Elaine’s chagrin. George’s giant wallet leaves him with a sore back. Jerry abandons his wallet in favor of a European carry-all. Kramer installs a reverse peephole in his door. The landlord threatens to evict Newman.”

I’m not wild about “Peephole”, but some of that may be bitterness. My wallet’s been compared to George’s, even though I contend my friends exaggerate its thickness. My wallet is perfectly manageable and normal size, dammit!

But even if I get past my ire, I think “Peephole” offers an average show. The wallet-specific parts are pretty funny, but most of the rest fails to really go anywhere. The thread about Puddy’s coat seems especially blah. It’s not a bad show, but after the strong “Dealership”, it disappoints.

DISC THREE:

The Cartoon: “Elaine draws a cartoon for The New Yorker. George dates a woman who resembles Jerry. Kramer takes a vow of silence. Jerry contends with Sally Weaver over her one-woman show.”

Didn’t the series already do an episode with a doppelganger for Jerry? Granted, Janeane Garofalo was supposed to be more of a personality match, not physical, and Jerry dated her, not George, but still… the similarity is too close for me. I do like the parts with Kathy Griffin, though, as her angry one-woman show is a hoot, and the way the program punctures the New Yorker’s pretensions amuses. It’s another up and down show, but it’s got some good moments.

The Strongbox: “Kramer acquires a strongbox to keep his valuables. George’s girlfriend refuses to break up with him, even when he dates another woman. Jerry grows suspicious of a neighbor who may or may not live in his building. Elaine dates a homeless man.”

While “Strongbox” never quite excels, it does manage a pretty consistent level of entertainment. Kramer’s pathetic attempts to hide his key in Jerry’s apartment amuse, and George’s relationship problems also merit attention. It’s a decent to good episode.

The Wizard: “Jerry buys his father an electronic organizer. Elaine thinks her boyfriend is black. Kramer retires to Florida, and Morty convinces him to run for condo board president. George lies to Susan’s parents about purchasing a house in the Hamptons.”

While the “not that there’s anything wrong with that” episode offered a sharp take on political correctness and homosexuality, this episode’s attempts to do the same for interracial dating fall flat. Like other aspects of S9, it comes across as a forced statement that doesn’t quite go anywhere. I’m more puzzled at why Elaine’s dating someone who looks like he just graduated from high school.

At least it’s nice to see the Seinfelds in Florida. Kramer’s retirement is kind of a silly and obvious trend, but the show milks it for some good laughs. There’s enough here to make a watchable show, but it doesn’t rise above that level.

The Burning: “Elaine discovers that Puddy is religious, and he tries to convince her that she’s going to hell. Jerry’s girlfriend uses ‘it’s me’ on the phone and refers to a mysterious ‘tractor story’. George finds himself picking up the slack for his boss, Kruger. Kramer and Mickey perform disease symptoms for medical students.”

Don’t you think the Puddy’s religious nature would’ve become apparent to Elaine way before now? Like the interracial plot in the last episode, this theme seems awkward and self-conscious. The Kramer and Jerry bits don’t really sizzle, but at least George’s story proves amusing. One out of four ain’t bad, I guess.

The Bookstore: “Jerry spots Uncle Leo shoplifting at a bookstore, while George gets in trouble for taking a book into the bathroom. Elaine gets drunk at the office party and makes out with a co-worker. Kramer and Newman start a rickshaw business.”

Sometimes Seinfeld steps into various politically incorrect moments that appear to exist for their basic semi-shock value. That’s the purpose of the rickshaw bit here when it involves the homeless. It’s tacky and not particularly amusing.

At least we get to see Uncle Leo again, and his moments amuse. George’s attempts to deal with his toilet-tainted book have some good parts as well, though Elaine’s side is lame. Chalk this up as another erratic episode.

The Frogger: “George concocts a grand scheme to maintain his high score on an old Frogger video game machine. Elaine eats antique cake at Peterman’s. Kramer nabs some caution tape from the police station, where he hears of a neighborhood serial killer. Jerry dates a sentence finisher.”

Why do I get the impression this episode was built around the visual concept of George’s attempts to move the Frogger machine across the street? It’s not a good thing to get a show for which one sight gag acts as the catalyst for everything else. That’s backwards and not effective.

I’m with Elaine in her rant against the incessant parade of office party-pushing, though the twist with the old cake falls flat. Jerry’s annoyance with his girlfriend amuses but also peters out before too long. Not much comes from the Kramer story as well, and this turns into a bland episode.

DVD FOUR:

The Maid: “Jerry dates his maid, blurring the lines between courtship and prostitution. George gets an unwanted nickname at the office. Kramer’s girlfriend moves downtown. Elaine resents her new phone number’s area code.”

Usually when one of Jerry’s girlfriends splits, it’s because of his idiocy. In this case, the breakup is one in which he’s not at fault. C’mon – Cindy’s a lazy sleaze, though a sexy lazy sleaze. The whole hooker motif gets dopey toward the end, but it has some good moments. The same goes for the other threads as well, though the Kramer part works best. It’s absurd that he regards downtown NYC as another world, but it’s still funny. This is an above average show for S9.

The Puerto Rican Day: “Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer get stuck in traffic during New York’s Puerto Rican Day parade.”

After the reasonably good “Maid”, we take a dive with “Day”. The episode starts pretty well but quickly deteriorates once the crew encounters the titular parade. The unwelcome return of Cedric and Bob – the extremely annoying gay couple who originated in “The Soup Nazi” – further harms this already lame show. Don’t expect many laughs from this clunker.

The Chronicle (Parts 1 & 2): “A look back at favorite moments from all nine seasons.”

You gotta be kidding me! The series’ penultimate episode just offers 45 minutes of clips? Granted, that’s still funnier than “Day”, but still, it’s a tacky way to lead up to the show’s ending. It’s a waste of time.

The Finale (Parts 1 & 2): “NBC decides to bring Jerry and George back to make their sitcom and rewards them with a free trip on the corporate jet. On their way to Paris, the plane must make an emergency landing in a small New England town. The gang witnesses a mugging and is arrested for doing nothing to help the victim. Jackie Chiles defends them at trial, where a slew of memorable character witnesses testify against Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer.”

On a website I visit, someone ran a thread to discuss the least favorite episode of Seinfeld. “The Finale” was the runaway winner for that “honor”, and the readers of that site aren’t the only ones who feel disdain for this episode. Does it deserve to live in disgrace?

Probably not, but even as we near the show’s 10-year anniversary, it remains a disappointment. I could live without the self-referential ways it toys with the audience, as these seem too contrived and clever-clever. It also gives us an idiotic premise once the cast ends up in the small town. Even for them, it’s awfully cold and cynical to watch them mock a car-jacking victim, and the use of the “Good Samaritan” law is completely stupid. The show’s text commentary tells us of an actual Massachusetts law in this regard, but I don’t think that it means ordinary citizens are forced to confront armed criminals.

Hmm… the more I think about it, the more I think “Finale” does deserve to be regarded as one of the series’ worst shows. Granted, the Seinfeld crew had to live up to high expectations while they also stayed true to the show. It’s not like Cheers or M*A*S*H where they could have some really natural end point and/or indulge in weepy sentimentality. A satisfying ending to a series about nothing would be difficult to achieve.

And that’s the problem with “Finale”: they tried way too hard to make it about something. It’s such a big, dramatic set of events that it feels contrary to the series’ tone. Perhaps the “Finale” should’ve gone in the absolute opposite direction of expectations and created the smallest scenario possible. Give us an hour of the main four chatting in the coffee shop. That would’ve been much more subversive than all the audience teasing done here and it also would’ve been true to the series.

But that’s not what we got, so Seinfeld left the air on a moderately sour note. I guess that makes sense since most of Season Nine fails to live up to the series’ better efforts. Granted, my grousing is relative, as bad Seinfeld still betters 99 percent of all other sitcoms. It’s simply unfortunate that the series limped to the finish line.


The DVD Grades: Picture B-/ Audio C+/ Bonus A-

Seinfeld appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on these single-sided, double-layered DVDs; due to those dimensions, the image has not been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Should you expect changes in the visual quality of prior seasons? Nope, as S9 looked a lot like its predecessors.

Sharpness remained pretty good though not consistently strong. Some shots came across as a bit soft and ill-defined, but those examples were exceptions to the rule. For the most part, the show demonstrated nice delineation. Only minor examples of shimmering or jagged edges occurred, and just a smidgen of edge enhancement cropped up through the show. Source flaws looked pretty much absent, as no more than a handful of small specks ever appeared.

Overall, I thought the colors seemed fine. They could be a little messy at times, but most of the hues appeared pretty lively and bright. Blacks were acceptably deep and dense, while shadows tended to be a bit murky; low-light shots demonstrated mildly opaque tones. Although the shows never seemed particularly vivacious, they looked fine.

Don’t expect any changes in the Dolby Surround 2.0 soundtrack of Seinfeld when compared to the prior eight seasons. The shows sounded a whole lot like their predecessors, which meant limited soundfields. For the most part, the episodes came across as glorified mono. Some general ambience spread out the front channels but rarely offered anything more substantial than that. Music didn’t show stereo imaging since – as always – it consisted of bass guitar and little else. The surrounds were a non-factor in this restricted soundscape.

Audio quality was fine as usual. Speech showed minor edginess at times but normally appeared concise and natural. Music was a standout, as the minimal score demonstrated nice depth; bass response appeared very good. Effects were a very minor factor but they seemed acceptably accurate. This was another average track that served the shows well.

If you checked out the prior seven packages, you’ll know what to expect from the supplements for Seinfeld’s Season 9. Notes About Nothing come with all the programs. These text commentaries fill us with all sorts of Seinfeld-related information. They cover specific details about the episodes such as shooting and rehearsal dates, air dates, ratings and reviews. We find scads of details about changes from the original scripts, deleted scenes, and other variations. The tracks go over series development and issues connected to characters and situations. Also, we get cute “counters”; these keep track of Kramer’s entrances, Jerry’s, Kramer’s and George’s girlfriends, Elaine’s boyfriends, and Jerry’s declarations of “Hello, Newman”.

For the prior releases, I thought the “Notes” were excellent, and I continue to feel that way. They pack a ton of great information into each episode. We learn a lot about the shows and the season across the board via these commentaries. Kudos to their writers, as they flesh out the series well. It’s also nice to get all the final totals of those counters!

We also locate 11 running, screen-specific audio commentaries. These feature a mix of participants:

“The Voice”: writers Alec Berg, Jeff Schaffer and David Mandel. The commentaries start on a high note during this brisk chat. We learn about the story, where the ideas came from, character notes and performances. The conversation moves quickly and gives us many good notes about the episode.

“The Serenity Now”: writer Steve Koren. While not as lively as the “Voice” discussion, Koren offers a decent view of “Now”. He goes over how his family inspired the show, how his career brought him to Seinfeld, and other general notes. After the terrific “Voice” commentary, this one disappoints a little, but it’s usually good.

“The Merv Griffin Show”: director Andy Ackerman, writer Bruce Eric Kaplan, and actors Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jason Alexander. And here’s where it all goes downhill. During prior seasons, the commentaries tended to be hit or miss, with an emphasis on the “miss”. “Griffin” reminds me of those days. Even with four participants, the track doesn’t go much of anywhere.

“The Slicer”: writers Darin Henry, Gregg Kavet and Andy Robin. A mix of the usual notes appear here. We get general thoughts about the story issues and how they developed. It’s a consistently decent chat, though not one of the season’s best.

“The Betrayal”: Mandel and writer Peter Mehlman. Mandel seems to inspire great commentaries, and he combines well with Mehlman. They dig into the origins of the “backwards episode”, its development, and their co-writing process. They also get into the “writer’s revolt” against the odd structure as well as some complications it created and thoughts about the guest cast. We get a fun and informative discussion here.

“The Strike”: Ackerman, Jerry Seinfeld and writer Dan O’Keefe. After that great track, we find a dud. The conversation tells us a little about the real-life origins of “Festivus” and the visual challenges involved in making the “two-face”. Mostly, however, the participants watch the show and laugh. They don’t tell us much in this dull track.

“The Dealership”: Louis-Dreyfus, Alexander, Ackerman and actor Patrick Warburton. Warburton is a new addition, as he’s never done a commentary for Seinfeld. He doesn’t contribute much to the experience, as this is a bland track. We get a few notes about sets and performances, but mostly the folks chuckle and talk about how they looked. We don’t get much to make this piece worthwhile.

“The Reverse Peephole”: Louis-Dreyfus, Alexander, Warburton and writer Spike Feresten. Once again, we get a few notes about story inspirations, a few performance details and little else. The actor tracks tend to drag even when a writer comes along as well. This is no exception, and it forms a dull chat.

“The Burning”: Louis-Dreyfus, Alexander, Warburton, and Ackerman. Should you expect this track to improve on the others with the same participants? No, you shouldn’t. The level of information remains minimal, as we learn very little about the episode. It’s another forgettable track.

“The Maid”: Berg, Schaffer and Mandel. Yay – Mandel’s back! That means a commentary that actually entertains and informs. This one follows the usual MO for tracks with Mandel involvement, as we learn a ton about the story specifics and related issues. We even get some criticism, as some of the participants aren’t wild about this show. They provide a fine examination of the episode.

“The Puerto Rican Day”: Koren and Mandel. More Mandel means more good content. In addition to the usual nuts and bolts, Koren and Mandel address the controversies attached the episode. They’re not shy about addressing the absurdity of the protests it produced. The commentary digs into all the relevant issues – with more criticism from Mandel, who doesn’t seem to much like the episode – and it’s another strong discussion.

We get Inside Look featurettes for nine of the episodes. They come for “The Butter Shave” (2:11), “The Voice” (3:31), “The Junk Mail” (1:26), “The Merv Griffin Show” (4:31), “The Betrayal” (5:40), “The Strike” (5:17), “The Bookstore” (1:54), “The Frogger” (3:08), and “The Puerto Rican Day” (6:59). Through these clips, we hear from Seinfeld, Feresten, Ackerman, Schaffer, Berg, Kaplan, Louis-Dreyfus, Mandel, Alexander, O’Keefe, Kavet, production designer Tom Azzari, editor Skip Collector, director of photography Wayne Kennan, producer Tim Kaiser, NBC CEO/chairman Robert Wright, executive producer George Shapiro, and actors Michael Richards, John O’Hurley, Steve Hytner, Heidi Swedberg, Jerry Stiller, and Wayne Knight.

The “Inside Looks” expand on the “Notes About Nothing” as they cover various topics. We hear about the freedom of S9 and the series’ tone, some visual effects, guest cast and some acting choices, story notes and inspirations, set design, location challenges and photography, and various episode specifics. Inevitably, they repeat a moderate amount of info from the commentaries. Nonetheless, they include plenty of new material and give us nice glimpses of the various shows. Too many program clips appear, but otherwise these are solid programs.

Deleted Scenes accompany 15 episodes: “The Butter Shave” (1, 0:39), “The Voice” (1, 1:14), “The Blood” (2, 2:20), “The Junk Mail” (2, 2:15), “The Betrayal” (4, 2:34), “The Strike” (1, 1:05), “The Dealership” (1, 0:51), “The Reverse Peephole” (1, 1:40), “The Cartoon” (4, 3:07), “The Wizard” (1, 0:54), “The Burning” (3, 2:04), “The Bookstore” (1, 0:47), “The Frogger” (4, 3:41), “The Maid” (1, 0:34), and “The Finale” (8, 15:03). As we watch these, it’s clear they didn’t cut most of them for content. Lots of funny material appears here. I especially like an uncomfortable coffee shop encounter between Jerry and Newman, and I also like Jerry’s attempts to purge himself of Newman’s blood. We see more of Jerry and George’s attempts to find Holland, and Elaine takes control of her own coffee refill.

There’s a good alternate ending to “The Betrayal” – though it works better as a real ending, not the reverse ending – and that show’s cut scenes also give us the return of Vegetable Lasagna. We meet Bob Saccamano’s elderly dad, and “Frogger” has an odd subplot in which Kramer tries to date a woman who thinks he likes to peep in women’s bathrooms. (At least the latter explains why he runs out of caution tape at the episode’s end.) The clips for “The Finale” are easily the most substantial; they allow us to see more interactions among the various secondary characters as well as much more testimony. Some of the clips are better than others, of course, but there’s quite a lot of fun material to be found here.

Introduced with Season Six, we get two Sein-Imation segments. These offer very crude animated renditions of some Seinfeld scenes. We get clips for “Thy Voice of Thee” (0:52), “The Waiting Room” (1:48), “Circus or Zoo?” (0:57) and “Sein-Imation” expands on the filmed sequences to show material not seen in the shows. Essentially the cartoons act out notions from the original material. They use the programs’ dialogue but depict different visuals. They’re odd but surprisingly fun.

DVD One includes a documentary called The Last Lap. This 23-minute and 18-second piece includes comments from Seinfeld, Louis-Dreyfus, Richards, Alexander, Feresten, Kaplan, Mehlman, Kavet, Berg, Schaffer, Ackerman, Mandel, Warburton, O’Keefe, Azzari, O’Hurley, Hytner, Collector, Shapiro, Kennan, Kaiser, writers Max Pross and Tom Gammill, executive producer Howard West, NBC executives Rick Ludwin and Warren Littlefield, producer Suzy Greenberg, co-creator Larry David, TV critic Ray Richmond, and actors Danny Woodburn, Brian George, Ian Abercrombie, and Phil Morris. “Lap” looks at the decision to end the series after Season Nine. It gauges reactions to that choice and also gets into the creation of “The Finale” as well as attempts to keep it a secret. We also hear reactions to the episode.

It surprises me that there’s no commentary for “The Finale”, so I guess “Good” intends to act as compensation for that. As a summary for the series, it works acceptably well, though I can’t call it a stellar review of the show. We do get plenty of interesting notes through this interesting program, and the documentary acts as a decent finish for Seinfeld.

Over on DVD Two, we get an unusual presentation as it allows us to watch “The Betrayal” from back to front. Mandel gives us a very brief intro and then we launch into the show. It doesn’t quite work; it flows acceptably well in terms of editing, but the story doesn’t move as well and the whole thing doesn’t really come together. We also get laughs that don’t make sense since they’re based on the backwards part of the show. Nonetheless, it’s cool to see the episode flipped around this way.

Moving to DVD Three, we locate some bloopers. This 18-minute and 36-second reel gives us the standard allotment of goof-ups and giggling. We get a lot of it, and not much of it does anything for me. We do see parts of some deleted scenes that don’t pop up elsewhere, but they’re so short that we don’t get a good feel for them. The bloopers aren’t particularly interesting.

DVD Four gives us an Introduction to the second half of “The Chronicle”. Shot for syndicated screenings of the episode, the 48-second clip shows Seinfeld as he leads into the program – and deals with an intrusion from Kramer. It’s a fun addition.

Also on DVD Four, we find a featurette called Scenes from the Roundtable. In this new 18-minute and 25-second program, we get a chat between Seinfeld, Louis-Dreyfus, Alexander, Richards and David. They discuss the series escalating budget, some secondary characters and actors, dealing with Louis-Dreyfus’ pregnancies, celebrity guests, “The Finale” and ending the series.

I like the idea of this show since it reunites the Big Five behind the series. Unfortunately, it’s not a particularly scintillating program. We get too many clips from various episodes and the content isn’t all that interesting. It is interesting to hear the gang defend “The Finale”, though, and there’s enough decent material to make this one worth a look.

At least one Easter Eggs materializes. On DVD Four, go to “The Finale”, click down from the main menu listing and hit enter. This shows an alternate judgment in court.

Season Nine of Seinfeld maintains a reputation as the series’ worst. I wish I could report otherwise, but I must agree with that assessment. Though the season still offers lots of good material – and bad Seinfeld is still better than 99 percent of other TV comedy – it’s definitely the series’ low point. The DVDs provide perfectly acceptable picture and audio as well as the usual complement of useful, informative extras. This may be the weakest Seinfeld package, but it’s still entertaining.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.5517 Stars Number of Votes: 29
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