Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Seinfeldia by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong

“Yada, yada, yada.” “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.” “No soup for you!”

Whether you faithfully watched Seinfeld back in the ‘90s, have caught it on reruns, or have never seen a single episode, chances are you know a few of its catchphrases anyway. Seinfeld was such a dominant hit, advertising on its 1998 finale cost more than Super Bowl spots that year. The overall success of the show gave NBC the money to diversify, invest in new technologies, and secure long-term rights to the Olympics just before the Internet and on-demand programming bottomed out the market on broadcast TV.

However, the effect of the “show about nothing” on our culture is about more than mere business. Why else would people still celebrate Festivus, a holiday that belonged to one comedian’s family until he wrote an episode about it and introduced it to the world? Or line up to get the autograph of a guy who guest-starred as the Soup Nazi? Likewise, Kenny Kramer once lived next door to show co-creator Larry David, but for the past twenty years, he has been running Seinfeld-themed bus tours of New York City, based mostly on recognition from the character he shares a last name with.

Seinfeldia has taken over our world. This book merely examines how it happened.

Reviewed by Lynn Heitkamp
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Monday, July 11, 2016

Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf

Jack Quinlan has secrets. Lots of secrets. Upon returning to his hometown after a close relative suffers a serious accident, the reality Jack has created and shared with his wife, Sarah, for years quickly begins to unravel. What really happened to Jack’s parents all those years ago? Just how much is Jack hiding? Sarah Quinlan must find out. But will she be able to fill in all the missing pieces before it’s too late? Sarah enlists the help of locals to get to the bottom of Jack’s dark secrets, which all seem to lead to the cellar in Jack’s childhood home.
Reviewed by Jennifer Harden
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