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Why Some Sitcom Fans Think Seinfeld Is Totally Overrated

When you think of the shows that have been deemed the best sitcoms of all time, you likely think of the likes of "I Love Lucy," "The Office," "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," "Cheers," and of course, "Seinfeld." In fact, "Seinfeld" often shows up near the very top of any given list that ranks the best sitcoms of all time — it shows up third on Rolling Stone's and second on Paste's, for example.

Created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, the series ran for nine seasons from 1989 to 1998, airing a total of 180 episodes. Seinfeld stars as a fictionalized version of himself, a somewhat notable stand-up comedian, and the show followed his daily life, which includes interactions with his three best friends: George Costanza (Jason Alexander), Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), and Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards).

Despite the series remaining a beloved classic of the genre, there are some sitcom fans out there who aren't exactly a fan of the show — in fact, they think "Seinfeld" is overrated. Here's why some of these sitcom fans don't connect with "Seinfeld."

Many viewers find Jerry unfunny

One sitcom watcher, u/xenon7-7, took to the "unpopular opinion" section of Reddit to declare that they don't understand the widespread love of "Seinfeld" and that they actually think it's overrated. They wrote that they don't find it to be a funny show and they find the laugh track to be exaggerated and distracting. (Jerry Seinfeld revealed in a Reddit AMA that the series used both the laughter from a live audience and a laugh track.) The original poster turned out to be far from the only one who feels this way.

Right away, many of the commenters pointed to one reason that the show may fall flat to some viewers: they don't find the character of Jerry to be very funny, or Seinfeld to be a very good actor. One user, u/dontinc, noted that they only find the show funny because of Kramer and George, not Jerry. Responding to that, u/sympathytaste, noted that they thought Jerry got better in later seasons but only because he parodied the fact that he was a bad actor. Similarly, u/JaneAustenite17 declared, "Seinfeld the show and Seinfeld as a comedian are both overrated."

Meanwhile, u/akoaytao1234 agreed and had some biting words to say about "Seinfeld," writing, "Same. This show feels like a very long whining session of a bunch of grating characters." Further, another user, u/simpthrowaway505, expressed their opinion that they think the lackluster nature of "Seinfeld" can be blamed on a broader issue: many 1990s sitcoms have not aged well.

Plenty of users also defended the classic sitcom

Meanwhile, plenty of sitcom watchers defended the series as well. To begin with, some fans wrote that, if you only watch the 1st season, you're less likely to like the show overall, as it gets better as it goes along. One user, u/arnav1311, wrote, "I usually recommend people to start watching from season 3. That's where they truly started to settle into what they wanted to do with the show. Season 1-2 was them still discovering themselves and the audience."

Other fans noted that while it has naturally become dated in the 30-plus years since its debut, the show still paved the way for certain sitcoms known for their deliberately unlikeable protagonists. One user, u/NewClayburn, wrote that, even though many of the storylines have a universal feel to them, the lack of technology makes the situations unrealistic for modern day. They continued, "So it feels dated, but I think the more important thing is that Seinfeld revolutionized comedy so long ago that it feels quaint now. Shows like 'Arrested Development' and 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' have built on the concepts and techniques pioneered by 'Seinfeld,' which makes Seinfeld almost seem [derivative], and not very strong, by comparison."

Speaking of other sitcoms, many fans found "Seinfeld" to be on the better end of the sitcom spectrum, using a couple other beloved shows as examples to compare "Seinfeld" to. One user, u/sympathytaste, wrote, "It's not my favourite show admittedly but I think the writing is exceptional for sitcom standards. It doesn't rely on cheap romance or toilet humour like ["The Big Bang Theory"] or 'Friends.'" Other users also used "Friends" and "The Big Bang Theory" as examples of shows that they find inferior to "Seinfeld."

Seinfeld admitted that there are some episodes he would fix

As some of the aforementioned commenters noted, a viewer watching "Seinfeld" nowadays may not be as inclined to enjoy it because its humor hasn't aged well. Not only is this something that fans have thought about, but it makes sense that some of the people who have worked on the show would have put thought into this topic as well. Jerry Seinfeld, for one, has thoughts on the matter.

In 2021, Seinfeld spoke at a press junket to discuss "Seinfeld" as all of its seasons were moving to Netflix. During the discussion, he admitted that, if he had to, there are "Seinfeld" episodes that he would go back and change. The comedian began by noting that he doesn't necessarily believe in fixing the show, stating, "There's a number of them that I would love to have a crack at, but I don't really believe, philosophically, in changing or even thinking about the past. My philosophy of life is that just happened the way it happened, and we're going to go from here. And that's the best way to ... live" (via People).

However, this doesn't mean he hasn't contemplated what it would be like to go back and switch some things around. Without clarifying what types of details he would change, Seinfeld concluded, "But if you forced me or you gave me a time machine, yeah, there's a few [where] I would fix some things."