Jerry Seinfeld just admitted this was the biggest regret of his career

Apr 26, 2024

Seinfeld was one of the biggest hits and most critically acclaimed shows in the history of television.

Jerry Seinfeld was on top of the world as its star.

And Jerry Seinfeld just admitted this was the biggest regret of his career. 

Jerry Seinfeld revisits controversial finale 

Seinfeld ended its nine-season run on May 14, 1998, with over 76 million Americans tuning in, making it the fourth most watched finale in TV history.

But the finale episode left fans wanting.

The finale scene showed the shows’ four main characters – Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer – sitting in a jail cell after violating a good Samaritan law in a small Massachusetts town.

In that scene, the four friends recounted a conversation that occurred way back in the show’s first episode.

The sight of four characters that fans emotionally invested in sitting morosely around a jail cell with no promise of the fans being able to imagine they all lived happily ever after became a long-running point of disappointment.

Seinfeld admitted to GQ Magazine that he sometimes wished he had a mulligan on how they did the show’s final scene, saying “a little bit, yeah” as to if they could have done something else.

But Seinfeld stated that he doesn’t feel any regrets about the show’s final episode.

“I don’t believe in regret,” Seinfeld admitted.

“I think it’s arrogant to think you could have done something different. You couldn’t,” Seinfeld added.

Seinfeld explained that he and the writers decided to wrap up the show in that way for very specific reasons that made sense at the time in terms of telling the best story possible.

“That’s why you did what you did,” Seinfeld continued.

Seinfeld does admit he would make one change

However, Seinfeld did reveal that he, and fellow series producers Larry David and Jeff Schaffer recently had a conversation about how to deliver a satisfying conclusion to a hit show and settled on a few series that were produced.

“But me and Jeff Schaffer and Larry were standing around, talking about TV finales and which we thought were great. I feel Mad Men was the greatest. A lot of people like the Bob Newhart one. Mary Tyler Moore was okay,” Seinfeld stated, referring to Newhart and Moore’s eponymous shows.

Seinfeld singled out Mad Men – the AMC hit about the advertising industry in the 1960s – as the show that stood out as sticking the landing flawlessly.

“I think Mad Men was the greatest final moment of a series I’ve ever seen. So satisfying. So funny,” Seinfeld told GQ.

In the final, Jon Hamm’s Don Draper is seen meditating, leading to a giant smile breaking out with the show, then cutting to the classic 1971 Coke commercial, implying that Draper’s moment of zen and acceptance of who he was led to the creative peak of his career.

Seinfeld added that the conversation caused them to rewatch the Seinfeld finale and realize that the show should have ended on an upbeat note and gotten the characters out of jail.

“And they said that they had sat and watched the Seinfeld finale, trying to figure out what went wrong. And it was obviously about the final scene, leaving them in the jail cell . . . ,” Seinfeld declared.

Why finales are so difficult 

Series finales present an impossible task.

Up until the last episode, fans can imagine in their minds how the story will play out and all things are possible.

But in a series finale, the writers have to deliver a definitive end, and very rarely does the final product measure up to what fans pictured in their minds because the idea in their minds is always the best idea because it’s the one they came up with.

That’s why the list of shows that produced an unsatisfying finale far outstrips those that left fans feeling unfulfilled.

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