It wasn't that pleasant for me to read in TV Guide that the NBC viewer survey of a Seinfeld pilot a quarter century ago scorned the show in its infancy. What's that? By whom?
Well, for starters, the network's stop banana in the entertainment division, Brandon Tartikoff. "Too New York, too Jewish,' complained Tartikoff, himself a Jew. And the awful results of telephone survey of 400 households were described as a "dagger to the heart" to what would become one of the most successful sitcoms in TV history. Hooray for that, even if some later critics snipped that the so-called "show about nothing" featured a bunch of socially worthless people totally unaware of a world beyond.
The network's research department,TV Guide reported, quoted an NBC executive who described the pilot as "weak weak".
"None of the supports were particularly liked, and viewers felt that Jerry needed a better backup ensemble," the Guide noted. George (Jason Alexander) was dismissed as a loser and whining "wimp". (That he was for 25 years. So? It's a sitcom!) Kessler (Michael Richards) later renamed Kramer, had "low scores". And Jerry, known by some of the viewers as a standup comedian who opened the pilot, drew complaints that his routine was interrupted by the show. Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Elaine) didn't show up until the second episode.
Well, how horribly inattentive can viewers be when they rain on a series pilot? Besides, it would be put up against CBS' Jake and the Fatman, a cop show. Remember?
Whatever happened to Jake anyway? On the other hand, my friend Howard and I often drift off in conversation to reciting lines from the show that, by the way, you can still see regularly as a popular rerun.