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Seinfeld - Season 4


TITLE: SEINFELD - SEASON 4


Info:

DVD Release Date: May 17, 2005 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Color/MSRP: $49.95
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 24
Running Time: Approx. 552 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: Approx. 13 hours
Languages: English (Stereo), French, Spanish
Subtitles: English, French, Portuguese, Spanish
Special Features: The Breakthrough Season (an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at season 4); Notes About Nothing (Behind-the-scenes scoop and production notes); Inside Looks (cast and creators talk about what was happening behind the scenes of certain episodes); In the Vault (deleted scenes); Not That There's Anything Wrong With That (outtakes and bloopers); Yada, Yada, Yada (creator and cast audio commentaries); Master of His Doman (Jerry Seinfeld stand-up comedy footage); Sponsored by Vandelay Industries (Original NBC promotional ads and trailers); Photo Gallery; 2 versions of The Handicap Spot episode


Introduction:

The show about nothing is finally a DVD about something! Packed with all-new special features created in partnership with Jerry Seinfeld, this four-disc set includes all 24 episodes from the seminal, critically-acclaimed fourth season. Witness the now-infamous "Pitch" to NBC, the assault on the "The Bubble Boy," the "The Contest" to end all contests, and "The Junior Mint." Can there possibly be better TV than this? Go behind the scenes with interviews from Jerry, the creators and NBC executives as well as bloopers and deleted scenes. Plus, test your "Seinfeld" knowledge with "Notes about Nothing," see unused stand-up material, listen to commentaries by Seinfeld and Larry David, yada, yada, yada.

Season Four was when the show broke through with audiences as well as critics. Seinfeld won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series for season 4 (1992-1993). Surprisingly, this was the only year they would take that honor. The show would move to Thursdays at 9:30 ET/PT after Cheers in February 1993. Seinfeld moved into the top 25 in the Nielsen ratings by the end of the fourth season with a 13.7 rating. The following season it jumped all the way to #3 and was ranked #1 or #2 for the next four consecutive seasons.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

There was an amazing array of landmark episodes and phrases in season 4 that made it my favorite season of the series. The whole story arc of Jerry and George trying to sell NBC a pilot about nothing was brilliant. NBC executives approach Jerry to write a sitcom pilot, and George joins him in the venture and pitches a show about "nothing" in "The Pitch/The Ticket." Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer enter a contest to see who is "master of your domain" in the classic Emmy award-winning "The Contest." In "the Outing," Jerry and George are mistakenly outed by a reporter. Jerry enlists Elaine to find out if his girlfriend's (Teri Hatcher) breasts are real in "The Implant." Jerry doesn't know his girlfriend's name but learns it rhymes with a female body part, and Kramer drops a Junior Mint into the surgical cavity of Elaine's boyfriend during an operation in "The Junior Mint."

As the show became more and more popular, it was easier for them to get big name people to be in the episodes. Season four had a number of actors making cameos or that would soon become household names. Corbin Bernsen, George Wendt, and Fred Savage appeared in "The Trip." Jane Leeves appeared as Marla in "The Virgin" and "The Contest" and would go on to be on Frasier the next season. Andrea Parker appeared as the nurse in "The Contest." JM J. Bullock played Attendant #1 in "The Airport." Denise Richards guest starred as Molly in "The Shoes." Megan Mullaly, who would go on to Will & Grace, appeared as Betsy and Desperate Housewives' Teri Hatcher was Sidra (They're real and they're spectacular!) in "The Implant." Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: SVU) appeared as Melissa Shannon in "The Pilot." Heidi Swedberg would become a recurring character as George's girlfriend Susan. Estelle Harris made her first appearance as George's mother Estelle. John Randolph played his father Frank in "The Handicap Spot" episode. He would be replaced by Jerry Stiller the following season.


Packaging:

Seinfeld - Season 4 (Volume 3) contains all 24 episodes from the breakthrough season. The outer box is teal green and has the Seinfeld logo and a photo of Kramer, George, Elaine, and Jerry. This seems like a later season photo. I would have liked to see them use photos from the actual season. They did this with the first 2 volumes as well. The back of the box gives a listing of the many special features and other technical details of the set. The main dvd box slides out from the left and features the same photo as the cover only it is smaller and you can see more of Kramer.

There are four individual slimcases. The disc 1 slimcase has a photo of Jerry, disc 2 has Elaine, disc 3 has George, and disc 4 has Kramer. The slimcases have a similar look to their first 2 releases, although they have used different photos. The back of the cases list the episodes with their episode titles with a small individual photo, short summaries, and special features. The summaries could have been a bit more detailed and it would have been nice if they had included the original airdates and a listing of the guest stars. The inside of the cases have a view of Jerry's apartment from the street. The discs feature a small Seinfeld logo with a photo. Disc 1 pictures Jerry and has episodes 1-6. Disc 2 features Elaine and has episodes 7-11. Disc 3 has George pictured with episodes 12-17. Kramer is shown on disc 4 which holds episodes 18-24. A small booklet is also included that lists the episode title breakdown by disc with the main actor and writing credits. Once again, I think it would have been even better if they listed the guest stars and original airdates also.


Menu Design and Navigation:

I loved the menus on the first 2 releases, and they have done a very nice job again. The menus are very creative and have a different theme related to one of the episodes. The main menus show different video clips from the episodes and then the theme music is looped. The first disc features Jerry's apartment on the main menu. There are 3 sub-menus on each disc for Episodes, Set Up, and Extras. Disc 1 sub-menus feature a milk carton and cereal bowl, boxes in Jerry's closet, and a desk and videotape. Disc 2 has a Monk's diner theme. The sub-menus feature a receipt, a door, and a piece of paper next to a cup of coffee. Disc 3 has an airplane theme from "The Airport" episode. The sub-menus feature a magazine, bathroom sink, and food tray. Disc 4 has an image of a car from "The Smelly Car" episode. The sub-menus have an odometer, valet ticket, and one of those pine tree scented things that hang from the mirror in the car. For the Episodes sub-menu, there is a "Play All" button. You can choose the language and sub-titles in the Set Up area, and Extras lists all the special features in one area on each disc.


Video and Audio Quality:

All episodes have been digitally remastered and newly enhanced in high-definition to provide the best picture and sound quality possible. The episodes appear in their original 1:33:1 aspect ratio. The episodes have some grain, but for the most part they still look gret. There were quite a few outdoor scenes in season 4 and those look very nice with lots of color. The audio is a Dolby 2.0 soundtrack. Seinfeld had smaller sets it seems, so the dialogue is always clear and at a good level. These episodes are the original NBC network versions and not the syndicated versions you see on cable or local tv stations that have 1-2 minutes edited out. All episodes run around 23 to 23 1/2 minutes. "The Pitch/The Ticket" and "The Pilot" originally aired as one-hour episodes and they are presented that way on this set. The episodes are presented in their original production order (the order in which they were made) and not the original broadcast order. Since the episodes are loosely interconnected, this is the order they were meant to be viewed. There are 3 language tracks offered: English (Stereo), French, and Spanish. Subtitles are available in English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish.


Special Features:

Seasons 1-3 had outstanding special features, and season 4 continues that excellence. There are approximately 13 hours worth of all-new special features. I will list the extras by episode below and then describe the other features later. Inside Looks are several minute short features that have interviews with the cast and creators that give some behind the scenes details as the episodes were created and filmed. There are a total 9 audio commentaries (Yada, Yada, Yada) on select episodes from the cast, creators, and writers. In the Vault features some deleted scenes that didn't make the final cut of the episodes. Notes About Nothing are little factoids with behind the scenes scoop and production notes that scroll on the screen as you watch the episodes. There are notes for every episode.

4-1. The Trip (Part 1) - Inside Look has interviews with Writer Larry Charles, Jason Alexander, Producer Tim Kaiser, Director Tom Cherones, Michael Richards, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. They give some background information on the episode and the outdoor scenes shot in Los Angeles. Deleted Scenes (2) - Jerry and George talk at Monk's and George says he never watches anything he tapes. In the 2nd scene, Jerry talks about George's plane outfit. (2:06) Commentary with Writer Larry Charles - This was a rare 2-part episode made like a movie with no studio audience. He talks a little about the cameos.

4-2. The Trip (Part 2) - Commentary with Writer Larry Charles - He talks about Michael Richards, Clint Howard, and other production details of the episode.

4-3 and 4. The Pitch/The Ticket - Inside Look has interviews with Larry David, Jason Alexander, Warren Littlefield (former NBC President), Bob Balaban (Russell Dalrymple), Rick Ludwin (NBC Executive), Heidi Swedberg, Wayne Knight, and Michel Richards. (6:44)

4-5. The Wallet - Deleted Scene - Jerry talks to Kramer. Jerry tells his parents that Kramer is using his Calamine lotion. (2:42)

4-6. The Watch - none, only has the Notes About Nothing

4-7. The Bubble Boy - Inside Look has interviews with Jason Alexander, Writer John Hayman, Larry David, Heidi Swedberg, Executive Producer George Shapiro, Jerry Seinfeld, and Larry Charles. John Hayman played The Bubble Boy. They talks a little about the Moops-Moors story. (4:39)

4-8. The Cheever Letters - Inside Look has interviews with Heidi Swedberg, Writer Tom Leopold, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Heidi talks about her dysfunctional family on the show. Tom talks about the dirty talk/panty story. (4:19) Deleted Scenes (2) - Jerry and Elaine talk about Sandra quitting. In the 2nd scene, George and Jerry talk to Mr. Ross. (3:38) Commentary with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, and Michael Richards. They give their observations and talk about the guest stars as they watch the episode and have a few laughs.

4-9. The Opera - Inside Look has interviews with Larry Charles, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Michael Richards. They talk about clowns and Crazy Joe Davola. (3:23) Deleted Scenes (3) - Jerry and Elaine talk. In the 2nd scene, George splits his pants and tries to scalp his ticket and gives his ticket to Susan. In the 3rd scene, Crazy Joe and another clown are seen at the opera. (3:05)

4-10. The Virgin - Deleted Scene (1) - George, Jerry, and Kramer are at the apartment. Jerry does something with his tv set. (:51)

4-11. The Contest - Inside Look has interviews with Larry David, Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards, Writer Peter Mehlman, Casting Director Marc Hirshfeld, Estelle Harris, and Kenny Kramer (Larry David's neighbor and the basis for the Kramer character). They talk about how the idea of the show came about and the casting of Estelle Harris. A few clips are shown of Larry David accepting the Emmy for this episode. (9:51) Deleted Scenes (2) - Joyce talks to Elaine at Monk's. In the 2nd scene, George rushes into the hospital room to view the daily show by the nurse and patient. (2:01) Commentary with Jerry Seinfeld - He talks about how they tried not to use the word and how that made it funnier. He also talks about Estelle Harris and Elaine's fascination with the Kennedys.

4-12. The Airport - Inside Look has interviews with Larry Charles, Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tim Kaiser, and Michael Richards. (4:21) Deleted Scene (1) - Jerry talks to Elaine in coach and tells her there is an empty seat in 1st class. (:28) Alternate Ending - A scene involving George at the airport (:45) Commentary with Writer Larry Charles - This audience was filmed without a studio audience. He talks a little about the production and the sets used as well as how they shot a number of different endings.

4-13. The Pick - Inside Look has interviews with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, Wayne Knight, Michael Richards, and Jerry Seinfeld (3:27) Deleted Scenes (2) - Jerry gets a call from Kramer about his cereal shelf. In the 2nd scene, Kramer is at Calvin Klein. (1:44)

4-14. The Visa - Inside Look has an interview with Brian George who played Babu Bhatt. He was thrilled to be back on the show. (1:41)

4-15. The Movie - Deleted Scene (1) - Buckles does some stand-up comedy. I'm glad this scene was cut as the comedy should have been left to Jerry. (1:48)

4-16. The Outing - Inside Look has interviews with Larry David, Glenn Padnick, Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander, and Tom Cherones. They talk about the rumors that Jerry was gay and how they came up with the "not that there's anything wrong with that" line. Estelle Harris was not able to make the taping before the studio audience, so they had Fran Drescher stand in for her. They show Fran's scenes here. (5:16) Deleted Scenes (2) - An extended scene with Elaine and the reporter Sharon. In the 2nd scene, George talks to Jerry and Elaine at Monk's. (2:28) Commentary with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, and Michael Richards - I found myself not getting very many details in the commentaries, so I turned on the notes about nothing on and that made it more interesting.

4-17. The Shoes - none, only has the Notes About Nothing

4-18. The Old Man - Inside Look has interviews with Jerry Seinfeld, Writer Bruce Kirschbaum, Wayne Knight, and Michael Richards. Newman's occupation was revealed in this episode. (4:08) Deleted Scenes (2) - Everybody leaves Jerry's apartment leaving Elaine all alone. In the 2nd scene, Kramer and Newman have an encounter with the record store owner. (:52) Alternate Ending - George learns something about the housekeeper at the end. (:54)

4-19. The Implant - Inside Look has interviews with Peter Mehlman, Marc Hirschfeld, and Jerry Seinfeld. They were looking for a funny, well-endowed actress. I think they found that with Teri Hatcher. (3:48) Commentary with Writer Peter Mehlman - This was one of his top 3 favorite episodes. He talks a little about the casting of Teri Hatcher and Megan Mullally. Much of the episode ideas came from his own life.

4-20. The Handicap Spot - Original Version with John Randolph as Mr. Costanza, also there is an option with Jason Alexander providing an introduction. This version of the episode apparently has not been seen in the U.S. since it aired on NBC. Syndication Version with Jerry Stiller as Mr. Costanza - in the spring of 1995, they re-shot the scenes involving Frank Costanza. Inside Look has interviews with Estelle Harris, Marc Hirschfeld, Jerry Stiller, Jerry Seinfeld, and Tom Cherones. They talk about how John Randolph was originally cast and he was replaced the following season by Jerry Stiller. (5:48)

4-21. The Junior Mint - Inside Look has interviews with Writer Andy Robin, Tom Cherones, Larry Charles, Glenn Padnick, and Jerry Seinfeld. They talk about how they filmed the scene of the Junior Mint in the operating room and how they got the mystery woman's name that rhymed with a part of the female anatomy (4:47) Deleted Scene - Jerry randomly buzzes some wrong people at the mystery woman's apartment building (:59) Commentary with Jerry Seinfeld - He talks a little about the lawsuit in Milwaukee concerning this episode and the mystery woman's name.

4-23 and 24. The Pilot - Inside Look has interviews with Larry David, Peter Mehlman, Heidi Swedberg, Jason Alexander, and Michael Richards (3:03) Commentary with Production Designer Tom Azzari and Director/Producer Tom Cherones - Probably the most interesting commentary on the set. They talk about the number of sets they used, , their production set tricks, and the numerous crew members that appeared in this episode.

Some of the other special features scattered on the discs include:

The Breakthrough Season (Disc 1) - An in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at the Emmy winning year in which Seinfeld leapt from cult favorite to ratings sensation and officially became a show about nothing." Includes interviews with Warren Littlefield, Rick Ludwin, Larry David, Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander, Glenn Padnick, Howard West (Executive Producer), Ray Richmond (Television Critic), Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards, Larry Charles, Robert Wright (Chairman & CEO NBC), George Shapiro, Jonatan Wolff (Composer), and Rob Reiner (Castle Rock Executive). They give some background inofrmation on season 4 and how they had to license to go wherever they wanted to go. They talk about some of the highlights of the season and various clips of memorable quotes are played (19:09).

Regis & Kathie Lee Parody (Disc 1) - Regis and Kathie Lee raved about Seinfeld on their show. Jerry, Julia, and Kramer then talk about Regis and Kathie Lee at Jerry's on his couch. (4:39)

"Not That There is Anything Wrong with That" (Disc 2) - One of my favorite features once again. There is 21 minutes, 10 seconds worth of never-before-seen-outtakes and bloopers. These are excellent quality and not the poor videotape quality bloopers that you seem from other shows. These are gold Jerry, gold!

"Master of His Domain" (Disc 2) - Jerry Seinfeld in exclusive, never-before-seen stand-up comedy footage. Great to watch, wish there was even more footage available. (8:02)

Sponsored by Vandelay Industries (Disc 3) - Original NBC promotional ads and trailers. 10 promos about Seinfeld moving to Thursdays at 9:30PM after Cheers. These are not the best quality as they appear to be from a videotape source, but they are still fun to watch. (2:58)

1992 Olympic Promos (Disc 3) - These were much better quality than the other promos. These were promoting Seinfeld starting Wednesday, August 12th. 11 Promos included with Jerry, George, and Kramer. (4:14)

Photo Gallery (Disc 3) - Features 26 publicity photos and scenes from episodes while the theme music is playing. Lots of great photos. Unfortunately, you don't have the option to scroll through them at your leisure. (1:52)


Final Comments:

Seinfeld is not the fastest-selling TV show on DVD ever by accident. Fans waited a long time for the show to be released, and they were rewarded with outstanding sets. This set like the first 2 releases is jam-packed with special features. I could watch the episodes 3 separate times and learn something new each time. The episodes have a lot of re-watchability. I think season 4 may be my favorite season of any sitcom, and I have watched a lot of sitcoms in my life. I can't wait for season 5!


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Video Quality: 4.8/5
Audio Quality: 4.8/8
Special Features: 5/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 5/5
Overall: 4.9/5

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 05/17/2005

To order the Season 4 (Volume 3) DVD click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0007YXRCW/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20


You might also be interested in Seasons 1-2 (Volume 1):

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005JLEX/ref=nosim/happydaysonline

or Season 3 (Volume 2) set:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0002UE1WQ/ref=nosim/happydaysonline

or the Seinfeld Gift Set which features Seasons 1-3 with a limited edition script with handwritten notes from Larry David, exclusive "Monk's Diner" salt & pepper shakers and collectible playing cards.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0002UE1X0/ref=nosim/happydaysonline


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