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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Seinfeld: Season Three (1992)

"We felt we were doing an amateurish version of a real sit-com."
- Jerry Seinfeld

Review By: Jesse Shanks  
Published: November 08, 2004

Stars: Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, Michael Richards
Other Stars: Liz Georges, Ralph Bruneau, Valerie Mahaffey, Siobhan Fallon, Barney Martin, Annie Korzen, Liz Sheridan, Len Lesser, Roger Nolan, Sandy Baron, Joseph Maher, Ashley Gardner, Marie Barrientos, Philip Baker Hall, Harris Shore, David Dunard, Cynthia Ettinger, Brian George, Dawn Arnemann, John Apicella, Ping Wu, Susan Diol, Roy Brocksmith, Tawny Kitaen, Michael Chiklis, Teri Austin, Bobbi Jo Lathan, Jay Brooks, Janet Zarish, Edward Penn, Jeff Barton, David Naughton, Bridget Sienna, Ernie Sabella, Barbara Stock, Rhoda Gemignani, Mark Boone Jr., Elizabeth Morehead, Fred Sanders, Bill Applebaum, Wayne Knight, Gina Gallego, Mimi Lieber, C.E. Grimes, Maggie Wheeler, Keith Hernandez, Peter Krause, Suzanne Snyder, Jeremy Roberts, Jodi Baskerville, Melinda McGraw, Ann Talman, Joseph Malone, Helen Slater, Catherine Keener, Richard Venture, Candice Bergen
Director: various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (adult themes)
Run Time: 8h:04m:00s
Release Date: November 23, 2004
UPC: 043396053496
Genre: television


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

DVD Review

Arriving on DVD at the same time as its predecessor is Season Three of Seinfeld. A review of the first volume of the set, which features the truncated first two seasons (four episodes in Season One plus the pilot, and thirteen episodes in Season Two across four discs) is available here. This set is also four discs and features 22 episodes of some of the freshest and most innovative comedy available in the sit-com medium.

NBC surprised everyone at Seinfeld when they picked up the show for another, third season, following the somewhat abbreviated 13-show second season. Executive producer and writer Larry David has been quoted as saying he cried real tears at the thought of trying to come up with 22 shows for the new season. David's feelings notwithstanding, the low-rated comedy really began to hit its stride in here as two elements began to drive the show: first, the characters were meshing into a tight unit that could handle a full range of realistic satire and outlandish physical comedy with aplomb. The writing got crisper as the writers began to understand their job of writing for a sitcom. (The show was proud of having people who had never worked in television before.)

Back again are the two buddies, Jerry and George, played by Jerry Seinfeld and Jason Alexander. In this season, Seinfeld's acting is much improved (but never really very good) and Alexander has dropped the pseudo Woody Allen mannerisms that dogged him in the earliest entries. Both are becoming full-fledged characterizations, as are the characters of Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and Kramer (Michael Richards). This strength of character and chemistry among the four provided the writers the petri dish in which they could try out their weirdnesses.

Thus the show continued its experimentation with unusual comedy forms with The Parking Garage and The Subway in which stories were told in unexpected ways such as the gang lost in a parking garage of the mall in the former and each taking separate trips on the subway in the latter. Stranger and darker themes continued in such episodes as The Limo where Jerry and George confront new-Nazis as they impersonate an Aryan Nation leader. In The Suicide, Jerry dates the wife of a man lying in a coma after a suicide attempt. In The Boyfriend, the first hour long episode, the Kennedy Assassination is the source of humor as the show parodies Oliver Stone's film JFK. The Library features a homeless character who had been Jerry and George's gym teacher in high school who had lost his job. This bit presages other strangely cruel situations that emerge among the darker aspects of the series.

Sexual subjects also begin to come to the fore in the show. In The Nose Job, Jerry's brain and penis play chess and argue over his relationship with an actress. Then, guys are excited by the dirty talk of a recording made on Jerry's tape recorder in The Tape. George is fired from a job for having sex with a cleaning woman in The Red Dot, (the first of many inappropriate sexual relationships for the unfortunate Costanza). Elaine attends a lesbian wedding in The Subway and is the "best man." In The Boyfriend, Jerry and Elaine are both "dating" former Mets star Keith Hernandez and the euphemisms are flying.

The non-linear story lines came into being with The Library and one of the trademarks of Seinfeld became the widely disparate tales for each character that amazingly collided in the end for a dazzling comic payoff. In The Alternate Side, the density of the material has four distinct storylines all running simultaneously and smashing into each other at the end of the 22-minute show time: Jerry's car is stolen and he communicates with the thief on his car phone; Kramer gets a part in a Woody Allen movie; Elaine is dating a 66-year-old man; and George is parking cars for money. The end involves an ambulance and an event in Jerry's apartment. Stories like this gain uniqueness from the absurdist humor that also became part and parcel of the Seinfeld legend, with wild storylines like The Red Dot and its cashmere sweater, and The Dog with the "hound from hell." And all this while the show was still a long way from cracking the top ten in television ratings.

As with the first set, Columbia want to make this release the best television show available on DVD with rare material and additional footage that has never been seen before. Many episodes come with an excellent "Inside Look" feature that allows writers, cast members, NBC executives, and others to reminisce, and to provide background and inside information about each episode. In addition to this, there's a "Notes about Nothing" function, which is a running text commentary for each episode. Some of this information repeats material found in the "Inside Look" features, and it isn't all brilliant or revelatory, but these notes include explanations of certain references, notations about actors, connections and other trivia.

This is one fine string of television shows and will make for hours of enjoyable viewing, even if, and perhaps even because they might already have been seen countless times in syndication. Fans of Seinfeld will be pleased and non-fans might have to think about taking a look at the show famous for being about Nothing, because this DVD set is Something.

Disc One

The Note (22m:27s)
Inside Look (5m:06s)
Deleted Scene (:43s)
Notes About Nothing

The Truth (22m:27s)
Notes About Nothing

The Dog (22m:28s)
Deleted Scene (2m:31s)
Notes About Nothing

The Library (22m:27s)
Inside Look (1m:46s)
Commentary with writer Larry Charles
Notes About Nothing

The Pen (22m:28s)
Inside Look (6m:19s)
Commentary with Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David
Notes About Nothing

Disc Two

The Parking Garage (22m:28s)
Inside Look (6m:36s)
Commentary with Director/Producer Tom Cherones & Production Designer Tom Azzari
Deleted Scene (:37s)
Notes About Nothing

The Cafˇ (22m:27s)
Inside Look (4m:48s)
Notes About Nothing

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

The Nose Job (22m:28s)
Inside Look (3m:07s)
Deleted Scene (1m:12s)
Notes About Nothing

The Alternate Side (22m:28s)
Deleted Scene (1m:51s)
Notes About Nothing

Disc Three

The Red Dot (22m:28s)
Inside Look (3m:01s)
Deleted Scene (:26s)
Notes About Nothing

The Suicide (22m:27s)
Inside Look (4:12s)
Notes About Nothing

The Subway (23m:04s)
Inside Look (3m:00)
Commentary with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, Michael Richards
Notes About Nothing

The Pez Dispenser (22m:28s)
Inside Look (1m:53s)
Commentary with Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David
Notes About Nothing

The Boyfriend 1 & 2 (46m:27s)
Introduction by Jerry Seinfeld (:31s)
Inside Look (10m:06s)
Commentary with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, Michael Richards
Deleted Scene (1m:19s)
Notes About Nothing

Disc Four

The Fix-up (23m:24s)
Inside Look (3m:51s)
Deleted Scenes (1m:46s)
Notes About Nothing

The Limo (23m:27s)
Inside Look (2m:08s)
Commentary with writer Larry Charles
Notes About Nothing

The Good Samaritan (23m:27s)
Inside Look (1m:41s)
Deleted Scenes (2m:44s)
Notes About Nothing

The Letter (23m:27s)
Inside Look (1m:52s)
Deleted Scenes (3m:49s)
Notes About Nothing

The Parking Space (23m:27s)
Inside Look (2m:09s)
Commentary with Director/Producer Tom Cherones & Production Designer Tom Azzari
Notes About Nothing

The Keys (23m:28s)
Inside Look (5m:53s)
Notes About Nothing



Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A

 

Image Transfer

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


Image Transfer Review: The series' producers used the original film elements to remaster every episode digitally in high definition and enhanced video quality very noticeably. Details are crisp and colors are balanced. The washed-out sheen of syndication is way gone.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, French, Spanishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The original analog audio tracks of each episode have been digitally remastered and sound excellent, with no hiss, no pop or clutter to mar the audio tracks of this release. The set comes with French and Spanish audio, in addition to the English. The show is great fun in the other languages with actors who are delivering their lines with great gusto.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 22 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese with remote access
11 Deleted Scenes
1 Documentaries
17 Featurette(s)
8 Feature/Episode commentaries by Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, Michael Richards, Larry Charles, Tom Cherones, Production Designer Tom Azzari
Packaging: Box Set
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Notes about Nothing (Text Commentary)
  2. Not That There's Anything Wrong with That—Bloopers
Extras Review: The menus for the set are quite snappy with the setting of one of the episodes as a different theme for each, such as Jerry's apartment or the diner, and are very easy to navigate, especially in the way that one could access the extras in multiple ways. For example, if you wanted to watch all the "Inside Look" material in sequence, it is available . The commentaries are quite similar to the ones on the first set, with Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David very impressed with their episode (The Pen) and Julia, Michael, and Jason adding a lot of humor and insight to their performances (between congratulations, of course). Tome Cherones and Tom Azzari add a lot of production detail to their two commentaries and Larry Charles brings his own quirky style of nonstop talking to his episodes and provides a lot of detail about the genesis and development of the story. The text commentaries provide references, details, and a running account of Seinfeld's ratings history in the third season (still dismal), and continues the running counters, like the Kramer Entrance Counter, a George Girlfriend Counter, Jerry Girlfriend Counter, and adds a Hello Newman Counter when Wayne Knight joins the cast as Jerry's nemesis.

Kramer vs. Kramer: Kenny to Cosmo (22m:36s): A very enjoyable little feature that is fortunately much more Cosmo than Kenny. Larry David's neighbor in New York, Kenny Kramer became the basis of Seinfeld's one-note, quintessential wacky sit-com neighbor. Michael Richards took the challenge of playing a character who constantly walked the line of buffoonery and made it is own, creating one of the most indelible of television personas. Giddyap! Cast and crew of Seinfeld pay tribute to Michael Richards and the character of Kramer on the show. One finally gets the idea that Richards is one talented but trippy dude.

Not That There's Anything Wrong with That: Bloopers (15m:16s) is a hilarious group of outtakes and bloopers from the show on Disc Four.

Extras Grade: A-

 

Final Comments

Seinfeld: Season Three is just as terrific as the first set (released simultaneously), and maybe a little better with fascinating episodes and great stories to tell. Highly recommmended for people who either watch television or don't.

 


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