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Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment presents
Seinfeld: Season Four (1992-1993)

Jerry: It's about nothing.
George: Absolutely nothing.
Jerry: So I go into NBC and tell them I've got this idea for a show about nothing.
George: We go into NBC.
Jerry: We? Since when are you a writer?
George: What writer? We're talking about a sit-com.

- Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander

Review By: Matt Peterson  
Published: May 16, 2005

Stars: Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, Michael Richards
Other Stars: Corbin Bernsen, George Wendt, Fred Savage, Debi A. Monahan, Peter Murnik, Vaughn Armstrong, Clint Howard, Wayne Knight, Bob Balaban, Heidi Swedberg, Peter Crombie, Stephen McHattie, Len Lesser, Liz Sheridan, Barney Martin, Jessica Lundy, Jon Hayman, Warren Frost, Grace Zabriskie, Jane Leeves, Estelle Harris, Jerry Stiller, Jennifer Lynn Campbell, Barry Diamond, Brian George, Maggie Han, Ping Wu, Gina Hecht, Paula Marshall, Bill Erwin, Lanai Chapman, Teri Hatcher, Victor Raider-Wexler, Sherman Howard, Susan Walters, John Randolph, Mariska Hargitay, Jeremy Piven, Larry Hankin, Elena Wohl
Director: Tom Cherones

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (adult themes)
Run Time: 09h:12m:00s
Release Date: May 17, 2005
UPC: 043396097742
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A+ A+A-A- A+

DVD Review

After the humble beginnings of the first three seasons, Seinfeld had gained somewhat of an underground, cult following. The ratings were not stellar, but the show's unique vibe, injected with a sense of reality coated in the "nothing" that would come to be the show's trademark, garnered a distinct audience. Frankly, co-creator Larry David wouldn't want it any other way; he gets downright disturbed and frightened at any hint of success or popularity. But with Cheers slowly fading into the woodwork of television history, NBC needed a new starlet, and Seinfeld seemed primed to explode. In its fourth season, the show was moved to Thursday after Cheers (even though Larry didn't want to be "Cheers' little brother"), and the rest is history. A season full of classic episodes, paired with a coveted time slot propelled the gang of four—comedian Jerry, coquettish Elaine, short-stocky George and hipster-dufus Kramer—into the limelight. And Larry screamed.

Season Four is indeed Seinfeld's breakthrough season. This is where all the pieces fell into place, and the Seinfeld "formula" was galvanized. Instead of stories more grounded in reality, the writers decided to take a stab at the fantastic; these deftly crafted tales of collision comedy are certainly more outrageous, featuring individual stories for each character that come together for an explosion of laughter. What other show could pull off a whole episode about a Bubble Boy, feature Gandhi's goiter-plagued ex-lover, or make a Junior Mint enter pop culture history? Still, they contain the little nothings that any human being is familiar with: the woes of air travel, which inexplicably maintains a system of "classes" in The Airport; parents fighting with kids over money in The Wallet; saving seats at a movie theater in The Movie; and finding out handicapped people do indeed drive in the The Handicap Spot.

Filled with the traditional, smashingly clever "three camera" shows, the fourth season started out on a distinctly different note. With a desire to infuse a more cinematic feel to the series—an area almost untouched by previous sit-coms—the "one camera" show was born, starting with the two-part The Trip. Here we see George, Jerry and Kramer stepping out of their "New York" studios and walking the streets of L.A. Fantastic events ensue: Kramer, while promoting his movie treatment to the likes of Fred Savage, is accused of being a serial killer; George has a tiff with the housekeeper Lupe, who forgets to leave his bed untucked; he later embarrasses himself during Jerry's appearance on The Tonight Show, during which he tells George Wendt "enough with the bar already." (A little sendoff for their big brother, perhaps?) This tale, teamed with last season's The Keys, is really the Seinfeld movie in disguise.

Another bold move on the part of the writers was to create an arc. Since Jerry is playing a comedian on the show, it would be conceivable that a fictional NBC would ask TV Jerry to start his own show. Starting with George's classic speech in The Pitch, the "Jerry" show is launched, to be met with great strife by the likes of George's "negotiation" in The Wallet, his relationship with Susan, and Crazy Joe Davola (The Opera). It all reaches a head during some hilarious casting calls and NBC President Russell Dalrymple's obsession with Elaine in the two-part finale The Pilot. This arc was a risk, to be sure, but it paid off in spades, creating some of the most hilarious, self-referential comedy ever put on television.

Of course, if Seinfeld has one consistent theme outside of "nothing," it's relationship humor (though George claims the "Jerry" show shouldn't be about that...who would want to watch four losers sitting around whining about their dates?). We get plenty of whining here, with gut-busting results: Jerry and George discuss "dirty talk" and the "panty remark" in The Cheever Letters; Jerry dates a virgin in The Virgin; this tension culminates in the taboo The Contest, an episode that I always felt was overrated, but cannot be seen as anything less than a classic; Kramer cautions "sven-jolly" Dr. Reston in The Watch; Jerry's pick in The Pick costs him a model; it never ends. In a different vein that still manages to turn a taboo on its head, The Outing is a very funny entry that revolves around a rumor that George and Jerry are lovers. This is a great jab at excessive concerns about being P.C., incorporating network notes in the dialogue ("people's personal sexual preferences are nobody's business but their own!"). Not that there's anything wrong with that.

And what about those catchphrases and quotables? Season Four is a plethora of Seinfeld-isms, to be quoted between friends and around water coolers for years to come. Aside from the aforementioned: "I'm sorry, but the card reads 'Moops'" (The Bubble Boy); "the wheels are in motion" (for Babu in The Visa); "they're real, and they're spectacular" (Teri Hatcher's assets in The Implant); "master of your domain/king of the county/queen of the castle/lord of the manor" (The Contest); "this is what my life has come to: trying to meet a mute" (George in The Old Man); "Mulva?" (The Junior Mint); "consider podiatry...nothing wrong with the feet" (The Cheever Letters); "I drive them to lesbianism, [Kramer] brings them back" (George in The Smelly Car); "because the mail never stops..." (Newman's soliloquy in The Old Man); the list is endless.

Teamed with writing that could make the unfunny, depressed Jerry in The Visa laugh is director Tom Cherones, who helmed every episode with skill. And let's not forget the stellar cast. The whole crew, led by Michael Richards, Jason Alexander, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus is running on all cylinders here; even Jerry's acting ability has improved, although he tends to restrain his laughter during the more hilarious moments. Who couldn't? I've seen these episodes dozens of times, and they never get old. This is one of the best seasons of television's greatest comedy.

Unlike looking at cleavage, don't bother getting a sense of this, and looking away. Take it all in.

Disc 1

The Trip Part 1 (23m:31s)
Inside Look (04m:51s)
Deleted Scenes (02m:06s)
Commentary with writer Larry Charles
Notes About Nothing

The Trip Part 2 (23m:25s)
Commentary with writer Larry Charles
Notes About Nothing

The Pitch/The Ticket (46m:56s)
Inside Look (06m:43s)
Notes About Nothing

The Wallet (23m:26s)
Deleted Scene (02m:41s)
Notes About Nothing

The Watch (23m:06s)
Notes About Nothing

Disc 2

The Bubble Boy (23m:21s)
Inside Look (04m:38s)
Notes About Nothing

The Cheever Letters (23m:31s)
Inside Look (04m:19s)
Deleted Scenes (03m:37s)
Commentary with Julie Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander and Michael Richards
Notes About Nothing

The Opera (23m:31s)
Inside Look (03m:22s)
Deleted Scenes (03m:04s)
Notes About Nothing

The Virgin (23m:31s)
Deleted Scene (00m:50s)
Notes About Nothing

The Contest (23m:25s)
Inside Look (04m:51s)
Deleted Scenes (02m:01s)
Commentary with Jerry Seinfeld
Notes About Nothing

Disc 3

The Airport (23m:31s)
Inside Look (04m:20s)
Deleted Scene (00m:28s)
Alternate Ending (00m:44s)
Commentary with writer Larry Charles
Notes About Nothing

The Pick (23m:30s)
Inside Look (03m:26s)
Deleted Scenes (01m:44s)
Notes About Nothing

The Visa (23m:31s)
Inside Look (01m:41s)
Notes About Nothing

The Movie (22m:46s)
Deleted Scene (01m:48s)
Notes About Nothing

The Outing (22m:20s)
Inside Look (05m:15s)
Deleted Scenes (02m:28s)
Commentary with Julie Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander and Michael Richards
Notes About Nothing

The Shoes (22m:26s)
Notes About Nothing

Disc 4

The Old Man (22m:21s)
Inside Look (04m:07s)
Deleted Scenes (00m:51s)
Alternate Ending (00m:54s)
Notes About Nothing

The Implant (22m:25s)
Inside Look (03m:48s)
Commentary with writer Peter Mehlman
Notes About Nothing

The Handicap Spot
Original Version with John Randolph as Mr. Costanza (22m:26s)
Introduction to Original Version by Jason Alexander (00m:35s)
Syndicated Version with Jerry Stiller as Mr. Costanza (22m:25s)
Inside Look (05m:48s)
Notes About Nothing (only on the Original Version)

The Junior Mint (22m:26s)
Inside Look (04m:46s)
Deleted Scene (00m:59s)
Commentary with Jerry Seinfeld
Notes About Nothing

The Smelly Car (22m:31s)
Inside Look (03m:02s)
Notes About Nothing

The Pilot (Parts 1 & 2) (45m:25s)
Commentary with production designer Tom Azzari and director/producer Tom Cherones
Notes About Nothing

Rating for Style: A+
Rating for Substance: A+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: The image is on par with the previous sets. Detail is good, colors are bright, and contrast is solid. There is some fine grain that is more noticeable during darker shots, but I can't image these looking any better. The on-screen graphics are crystal clear. A very solid image.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, French, Spanishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The audio is clear, bright, and serviceable. A fine transfer.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese with remote access
12 Deleted Scenes
2 Alternate Endings
1 Documentaries
15 Featurette(s)
9 Feature/Episode commentaries by writer Larry Charles, Julie Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander and Michael Richards, Jerry Seinfeld, Peter Mehlman, Tom Azzari and director/producer Tom Cherones
Packaging: Box Set
Picture Disc
4 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Notes About Nothing (Text Commentaries)
  2. Not That There's Anything Wrong With That (Bloopers)
  3. Master of His Domain (Exclusive Stand-Up Material)
  4. "Sponsored by Vandelay Industries" (NBC Promos); 1992 Olympic Promos
  5. Easter eggs
Extras Review: The extras remain superb. The 24 episodes are contained on four discs, each of which is housed in its own Thinpak with cover art. These four, slim keepcases slide into a slipcase, which is enclosed by another outer slipcover. The neat-o menus are themed based on a certain episode, such as the airplane in The Airport, or more general locations, such as Monk's Coffee Shop. Great stuff.

Check out the main body above for a breakdown of what's on each disc. To summarize, the First Look featurettes are short pieces on a specific episode, detailing their inception, impact, or all of the above. Notes About Nothing are subtitle trivia tracks, featuring little curiosities like a "Kramer Entrance Counter." The commentaries range in quality, from the engaging notes of writer Larry Charles to the thin contributions by Jerry himself; he tends to just watch and laugh with us. Julie Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander and Michael Richards also contribute. Their comments benefit from a fresh perspective; they haven't seen many of these shows in a while. It's great to have so many commentaries to choose from! You will also find deleted scenes on 12 episodes, alternate endings, and in the case of The Handicap Spot, an alternate, original broadcast version of the episode with John Randolph as Mr. Costanza (don't worry, the one with Jerry Stiller is there, too).

Here's a look at the other bits on each disc, not listed above:

Disc 1 contains The Breakthrough Season (19m:09s), an examination of the environment that propelled Seinfeld into television history. Interviews from cast and crew are entertaining, and contain some memorable nuggets. Regis & Kathie Lee Parody (04m:39s) is a brief clip from the famed morning show discussing the hilarity of Seinfeld, followed by a parody of the same segment by the Seinfeld cast. Funny archival stuff. Finally, you will find an easter egg (00m:30s) on the "extras" menu with the cast singing happy birthday to an unknown recipient.

Disc 2 includes "Not That There's Anything Wrong With That" (21m:10s), a lengthy blooper reel from episodes throughout the season. Some of these were shown on TV during the series finale special, but most are brand new, and very funny. Master of His Domain (Exclusive Stand-Up Material) (08m:02s) is a collection of unused comedy bits that would normally begin or end an episode.

Disc 3 has "Sponsored by Vandelay Industries" (02m:58s), which are NBC promos, such as a football-themed commercial announcing the show's move to Thursday nights. 1992 Olympic Promos (04m:14s) are commercials that feature small original scenes of the Seinfeld characters discussing various aspects of the Olympics, in an effort to advertise their broadcast on NBC. A Photo Gallery (01m:52s) is a short video segment showing various stills from the season, set to music. Finally, there is another easily accessible easter egg (just click around the "Extras" menu) entitled Much Ado About Nothing (04m:59s), which details a parking space debacle between Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tom Arnold that escalated beyond belief (Arnold is the childish culprit here).

Great care was put into this set, and it shows. Bravo!

Extras Grade: A+

 

Final Comments

The Emmy-winning, breakthrough season of the best sit-com of all time comes to DVD. Nearly every episode is a classic; this is irrefutable proof that the show about "nothing" is really something. Sony's transfer quality, and the "real...spectacular" extras ensure you won't have to "double dip" any time soon. How many references do you think I can work in here? Just become "master of your domain" and buy this set. Groaning yet?

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

 


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