Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything

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The New York Times bestseller about two guys who went out for coffee and dreamed up Seinfeld—“A wildly entertaining must-read not only for Seinfeld fans but for anyone who wants a better understanding of how television series are made” (Booklist, starred review).

Comedians Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld never thought anyone would watch their sitcom about a New York comedian sitting around talking to his friends. But against all odds, viewers did watch—first a few and then many, until nine years later nearly forty million Americans were tuning in weekly. Fussy Jerry, neurotic George, eccentric Kramer, and imperious Elaine—people embraced them with love.

Seinfeldia, Jennifer Keishin Armstrong’s intimate history is full of gossipy details, show trivia, and insights into how famous episodes came to be. Armstrong celebrates the creators and fans of this American television phenomenon, bringing readers into the writers’ room and into a world of devotees for whom it never stopped being relevant. Seinfeld created a strange new reality, one where years after the show had ended the Soup Nazi still spends his days saying “No soup for you!”, Joe Davola gets questioned every day about his sanity, and Kenny Kramer makes his living giving tours of New York sites from the show.

Seinfeldia is an outrageous cultural history. Dwight Garner of The New York Times Book Review wrote: “Armstrong has an eye for detail….Perhaps the highest praise I can give Seinfeldia is that it made me want to buy a loaf of marbled rye and start watching again, from the beginning.”
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About the author

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong is the author of Sex and the City and Us, Seinfeldia, and Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted. She writes about pop culture for several publications, including The New York Times Book Review, Fast Company, Vulture, BBC Culture, Entertainment Weekly, and several others. She grew up in Homer Glen, Illinois, and now lives in New York City. Visit her online at JenniferKArmstrong.com.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Jul 5, 2016
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9781476756127
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Entertainment & Performing Arts
Performing Arts / General
Performing Arts / Television / General
Performing Arts / Television / History & Criticism
Social Science / Popular Culture
Social Science / Sociology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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In this New York Times bestseller, comedy legend Carol Burnett tells the hilarious behind-the-scenes story of her iconic weekly variety series, The Carol Burnett Show.
 
In In Such Good Company, Carol Burnett pulls back the curtain on the twenty-five-time Emmy-Award winning show that made television history, and she reminisces about the outrageously funny and tender moments that made working on the series as much fun as watching it. 

Carol delves into little-known stories of the guests, sketches and improvisations that made The Carol Burnett Show legendary, as well as some favorite tales too good not to relive again. While writing this book, Carol rewatched all 276 episodes and screen-grabbed her favorite video stills from the archives to illustrate the chemistry of the actors and the improvisational magic that made the show so successful. 

Putting the spotlight on everyone from her costars to the impressive list of guest stars, Carol crafts a lively portrait of the talent and creativity that went into every episode. With characteristic wit and incomparable comic timing, she details hiring Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, Lyle Waggoner, and Tim Conway; shares anecdotes about guest stars and close friends, including Lucille Ball, Roddy Mcdowell, Jim Nabors, Bernadette Peters, Betty Grable, Steve Lawrence, Eydie Gorme, Gloria Swanson, Rita Hayworth, and Betty White; and gives her take on her favorite sketches and the unpredictable moments that took both the cast and viewers by surprise.

This book is Carol's love letter to a golden era in television history through the lens of her brilliant show. Get the best seat in the house for "eleven years of laughter, mayhem, and fun in the sandbox."
The amazingly insightful, funny and brilliant record of Michael Palin's prime years as a member of the famed comedic group, Monty Python.

Michael Palin has kept a diary since newly married in the late 1960s. This volume of his diaries reveals how Python emerged and triumphed, how he, John Cleese, Graham Chapman, the two Terrys---Jones and Gilliam---and Eric Idle came together and changed the face of British comedy.

But this is but only part of Palin's story. Here is his growing family, his home in a north London Victorian terrace, which grows as he buys the house next door and then a second at the bottom of the garden; here, too, is his solo effort---as an actor, in Three Men in a Boat, his writing endeavours (often in partnership with Terry Jones) that produces Ripping Yarns and even a pantomime.

Meanwhile Monty Python refuses to go away: the hugely successful movies that follow the TV (his account of the making of both The Holy Grail and the Life of Brian movies are page-turners), the at times extraordinary goings-on of the many powerful personalities who coalesced to form the Python team, the fight to prevent an American TV network from bleeping out the best jokes on U.S. transmission, and much more---all this makes for funny and riveting reading.

The birth and childhood of his three children, his father's growing disability, learning to cope as a young man with celebrity, his friendship with George Harrison, and all the trials of a peripatetic life are also essential ingredients of these diaries. A perceptive and funny chronicle, the diaries are a rich portrait of a fascinating period.

"A wealth of fascinating stuff about Monty Python."
---The Independent (UK)

A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction of 2011 title

The second volume of Michael Palin's diaries covers the bulk of the 1980s, a decade in which the ties binding the Pythons loosened—they made their last film Monty Pyton's Meaning of Life in 1983. For Michael, writing and acting took over much of his life, culminating in his appearances in A Fish Called Wanda, in which he played the hapless, stuttering Ken, and won a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor. Halfway to Hollywood follows Palin's torturous trail through seven movies and ends with his final preparations for the documentary that was to change his life—Around the World in 80 Days.
During these years he co-wrote and acted in Terry Gilliam's Time Bandits as well as spearing in Gilliam's follow-up success Brazil. Palin co-produced, wrote and played the lead in The Missionary opposite Maggie Smith, who also appeared with him in A Private Function, written by Alan Bennett. In television the decade was memorable for East of Ipswich, inspired his links with Suffolk. Such was his fame in the US, he was enticed into once again hosting the enormously popular show Saturday Night Live. He filmed one of the BBC's Great Railway Journeys as well as becoming chairman of the pressure group Transport 2000. His life with Helen and the family remains a constant, as the children enter their teens.
Palin's joy of writing is evident once more in Halfway to Hollywood as he demonstrates his continuing sense of wonder at the world in which he finds himself. A world of screens large and small.

"Jennifer Keishin Armstrong's deft weave of social history and sharp entertainment reporting explains how [The Mary Tyler Moore Show] made the world safe for Lena Dunham" (Peter Biskind, author of Easy Riders, Raging Bulls)—the making of a classic and groundbreaking TV show, as experienced by its producers, writers, and cast.

When writer-producers James L. Brooks and Allan Burns dreamed up an edgy show about a divorced woman with a career, the CBS executives they pitched replied: “American audiences won’t tolerate divorce in a series’ lead any more than they will tolerate Jews, people with mustaches, and people who live in New York.”

Forty years later, The Mary Tyler Moore Show is one of the most beloved and recognizable television shows of all time. It was an inspiration to a generation of women who wanted to have it all in an era when everything seemed possible.

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong’s Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted tells the stories behind the making of this popular classic, introducing the groundbreaking female writers who lent real-life stories to their TV scripts; the men who created the indelible characters; the lone woman network executive who cast the legendary ensemble—and advocated for this provocative show—and the colorful cast of actors who made it all work. James L. Brooks, Grant Tinker, Allan Burns, Valerie Harper, Cloris Leachman, Betty White, Gavin MacLeod, Ed Asner, Ted Knight, Georgia Engel—they all came together to make a show that changed women’s lives and television itself. Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted is the tale of how they did it.
These are interesting times for word nerds. We ate, shot and left, bonding over a joke about a panda and some rants about greengrocers who abuse apostrophes. We can go on Facebook and vow to judge people when they use poor grammar. The fiftieth anniversary of the publication of The Elements of Style inspired sentimental reveries. Grammar Girl's tally of Twitter followers is well into six digits. We can't get enough of a parody of the Associated Press Stylebook, of all things, or a collection of "unnecessary" quotation marks.
Could you care less? Does bad grammar or usage "literally" make your head explode? Test your need for this new book with these sentences:
"Katrina misplaced many residents of New Orleans from their homes."
"Sherry finally graduated college this year."
"An armed gunman held up a convenience store on Broadway yesterday afternoon."
Pat yourself on the back if you found issues in every one of these sentences, but remember: There is a world out there beyond the stylebooks, beyond Strunk and White, beyond Lynne Truss and Failblogs. In his long-awaited follow-up to Lapsing Into a Comma and The Elephants of Style, while steering readers and writers on the proper road to correct usage, Walsh cautions against slavish adherence to rules, emphasizing that the correct choice often depends on the situation. He might disagree with the AP Stylebook or Merriam-Webster, but he always backs up his preferences with logic and humor.
Walsh argues with both sides in the language wars, the sticklers and the apologists, and even with himself, over the disputed territory and ultimately over whether all this is warfare or just a big misunderstanding. Part usage manual, part confessional, and part manifesto, Yes, I Could Care Less bounces from sadomasochism to weather geekery, from "Top Chef" to Monty Python, from the chile of New Mexico to the daiquiris of Las Vegas, with Walsh's distinctive take on the way we write and talk. Yes, I Could Care Less is a lively and often personal look at one man's continuing journey through the obstacle course that some refer to, far too simply, as "grammar."
The bestselling author of Seinfeldia offers a fascinating retrospective of the iconic and award-winning television series, Sex and the City, in a “bubbly, yet fierce cultural dissection of the groundbreaking show” (Chicago Tribune).

This is the story of how a columnist, two gay men, and a writers’ room full of women used their own poignant, hilarious, and humiliating stories to launch a cultural phenomenon. They endured shock, slut-shaming, and a slew of nasty reviews on their way to eventual—if still often begrudging—respect. The show wasn’t perfect, but it revolutionized television for women.

When Candace Bushnell began writing for the New York Observer, she didn’t think anyone beyond the Upper East Side would care about her adventures among the Hamptons-hopping media elite. But her struggles with singlehood struck a chord. Beverly Hills, 90210 creator Darren Star brought her vision to an even wider audience when he adapted the column for HBO. Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha launched a barrage of trends, forever branded the actresses that took on the roles, redefined women’s relationship to sex and elevated the perception of singlehood.

Featuring exclusive new interviews with the cast and writers, including star Sarah Jessica Parker, creator Darren Star, executive producer Michael Patrick King, and author Candace Bushnell, “Jennifer Keishin Armstrong brings readers inside the writers’ room and into the scribes’ lives…The writing is fizzy and funny, but she still manages an in-depth look at a show that’s been analyzed for decades, giving readers a retrospective as enjoyable as a $20 pink cocktail” (The Washington Post). Sex and the City and Us is both a critical and nostalgic behind-the-scenes look at a television series that changed the way women see themselves.
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