Seinfeld Returns -- Online -- In Another Show About Nothing
The title of Jerry Seinfeld's new show promises it all Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee . And if that seems to be a show about nothing, well rest assured that you'll get plenty of nothing here. This is Seinfeld's bid to help turn the Internet into an effective rival of television, and he launched it on Thursday with an episode featuring Larry David, who co-created NBC's hit sitcom with him in 1989 and was its executive producer and key writer for seven seasons. One must suppose that a writers' session on Seinfeld might have sounded much like the conversation between Seinfeld and David as they ride in a 1952 Beetle -- Seinfeld has a renowned collection of classic cars -- to a coffee shop to have breakfast. In fact the title is something of a misnomer. Only Seinfeld drinks coffee; David drinks tea, and there is much discussion over the propriety of drinking tea when the other guy is drinking coffee. Or smoking cigars rather than cigarettes. But unlike Seinfeld , when Jerry, George, Kramer and Elaine hardly ever -- or never -- laughed at one another, the two comedians in cars -- actually it's just one car, another misnomer -- often are laughing hysterically at each other over, well, nothing. So, is it going to be a big hit? Dick Glover, the head of FunnyOrDie.com, says it doesn't matter. Glover told NPR, "It's an Internet video. If it works, it's fantastic and millions of people notice and that's great. If it doesn't, OK, it was a little Internet video." Besides, says Time magazine TV critic James Poniewozik, "There's something appealing about the idea of Seinfeld, a guy who could command the legions of Hollywood at the slightest command, deciding instead that he already has a pretty good life, opting to do low-stakes comedy and schmooze with his pals in a state of semi-retirement. It's fun, and it can be intriguing." But will shows like Seinfeld's and others from the likes of Tom Hanks and Kevin Spacey spur even more cord-cutting (halting Internet service and opting instead for online video)? BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield thinks not. "While many fear the explosion of high-quality web video will drive "cord-cutting,'" Greenfield wrote, "we believe the far greater risk in the near-intermediate term is to time spent watching traditional TV (in turn, ratings). We firmly believe traditional TV network viewing is in secular decline as competition for your video viewing time is rising rapidly."