Season six of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee debuted Wednesdy night with what was bound to be a strong episode as his guest was former co-star Julia Louis-Dreyfus. I’m surprised that Jerry Seinfeld chose to open the season with what will likely be the season’s most popular episode, but that just means Christmas came a few weeks early. Needless to say, this episode is the closest thing to a Seinfeld reunion and it did not disappoint.
WARNING: Full spoilers below.
I didn’t really appreciate the James Bond-style intro, but once the car was introduced and Seinfeld explained his choice to Louis-Dreyfus, it was clear that this episode would be old friends catching up. That premise was perfect, because America welcomed these two into our living rooms for a decade of laughs. Seinfeld summed up the excitement in a tweet sent just a few hours before the episode went live on Crackle.
— Jerry Seinfeld (@JerrySeinfeld) June 4, 2015
Early on, as the pair drove around Santa Monica, the banter was like anyone else catching up with an old friend, but much funnier. When two friends catch up, they tend to reminisce about funny stories. When those two friends are also very accomplished within the field of comedy, the humor level jumps significantly. The best part of the first drive had to be the unplanned run-in with Hilary Swank. Great unwritten moments like that are the funniest moments on Comedians in Cars, even though it only lasted a few seconds.
When the duo arrived at the café, both ordered cappuccinos that they enjoyed, but felt were not hot enough. I can’t understand how a coffee shop doesn’t ensure their drinks are perfect when they’re going to be featured on a popular show. It would be like Guy Fieri being served cold meatloaf on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. The second round of drinks was more to their liking, but the first mistake doesn’t exactly shine a good light on the café.
When Seinfeld and Louis-Dreyfus left the café and went shopping and walking, they had great chemistry, almost as if Seinfeld went off the air last month. The two continued reminisced about episodes throughout, whether it be the parking garage, some funny lines from a very early episode, and the show’s connection to August: Osage County. Seinfeld was completely unaware that one of the funniest lines from one of the show’s most popular episodes was actually given by Tracy Letts, who won a Pulitzer as the writer of August: Osage County.
The other big behind-the-scenes news of note has to be the unused storyline of “Fat Elaine,” which was going to be how the show dealt with Louis-Dreyfus when she was pregnant with her third child. When Seinfeld originally pitched the idea to Louis-Dreyfus, she was, to say the least, not a fan. However, she admitted that it was the right way to go and now wishes that they had that recurring drama back then.
Any Comedians in Cars episode that sees Jerry and his guest go to multiple venues is usually a great one and this episode fit that bill. After getting coffee together, Louis-Dreyfus and Seinfeld got lunch, during which Jessica Seinfeld made a cameo over the phone to talk about Net-a-Porter. Like most of this episode and through the show as a whole, the banter tends to be about nothing — just like Seinfeld. Seeing Louis-Dreyfus and Seinfeld reminisce and talk both about nothing and the show about nothing provided plenty of humorous moments.
That leads into my one small knock against this episode. I realize that most people watching Comedians in Cars are fans of both Seinfeld the person and Seinfeld the show, but it felt like, unless you were a fan of the show, plenty of the funny moments of this episode would have been lost. Knowing this, the producers included plenty of cutaways to clips from the series for explanation purposes, including an outtake of the horse line.
Those clips make up for most fans not having an encyclopedic knowledge of Seinfeld, but the continued focus on the show is still a bit of a turn off. I can’t imagine that every time any of the show’s four leads get together that they talk Seinfeld, but Julia and Jerry did so for the cameras. They could have talked about the Emmy curse, Veep, and plenty of other stories about their lives, but instead chose to focus time and time again on a show that went off the air in 1998.
Overall, the sixth season of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee started on a high note, with the “James Bond of comedy,” Julia Louis-Dreyfus, as the season’s first guest. The banter was timely and funny, as if Seinfeld had never ended. My only negative is a small one, as it felt like there was a bit too much Seinfeld talk at times. But I must confess, I miss Seinfeld. At least for a few minutes, I got to watch the closest thing to a reunion special. 9/10