coffee,cars and the communal experience

Much better than his television series. This is a wrinkle on a what seems a new sort of interview style reality program that takes face to face out of the confines of the studio and into new contexts. Seinfeld’s production values are great, with everything polished, buffed and presented in which the usual sense of compelling is encouraged to probe a little deeper, but still conventional enough. The challenge will be to tinker with the formula to keep it fresh. If anything, it’s more of the idea that as a society, there is a championing of image over substance; content remains an exercise of poses and gestures which is intrinsic to the well elaborated theories of image reproduction- think Walter Benjamin, Billy Wilder, Orson Welles, etc.- and with Seinfeld, we have a master of what Thorstein Veblen would call “conspicuous waste,” of time, exemplified in part by Seinfeld’s vintage car collection.

—Consequential things, like commitment. Morality. Friendship. Love and Death. Jerry Seinfeld‘s new web series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, avoids those lofty themes. Instead, it revolves around, well, comedians getting coffee. In cars. The series will feature different cars and different comedians per episode, with the first installment starring comic genius and frequent Seinfeld co-conspirator Larry David. (Their vehicle, meanwhile, is an azure blue 1952 VW Beetle with 25 horsepower.)—Read More:

So, we have to understand that Celebrities and the concept of celebrity, from Snookie to Charlie Rose, are not accessories to our society, but rather central to the sense of communal life. Its the condition of modernism, the kind of voyeurism that Picasso captures with his “D’Avignon” painting. More serious pursuits attracts fewer and fewer minds; its obvious, look at the success of the Daily Mail:  pop culture is the primary and often exclusive way in which individuals comprehend the world. And its hard to extricate the less desirable element of idolatry from trash culture;  but nonetheless celebrities remain the linchpin in our understanding of society; the price of wealth and higher living standards compared to our ancestors has also meant a certain void in communal experience, a certain isolation and new variations on the old theme of combating loneliness and the sense of filling an empty interior life. Fears and mysteries of life are confronted in communion with the “image” symbolized by celebrity as the ritual of communal experience.

The context of Seinfeld’s car collection and the overall glorification of the car, and by extension the apparatus of our asphalt covered ecological swamp is less appealing, but I suppose Seinfeld lacks other “vehicles”, excuse the pun, to move the viewer along. The give and take between actors seems to force Seinfeld’s hand in dragging out the eccentricities of his foil in this episode, Larry David, and the overall sympathy has some endearing qualities. A similar kind of approach was tried in Canada a couple years ago on French state television, where guests were put on a train to yak about their problems, which was fairly depressing stuff. An attempt at hi-brow pathos.This avoids all the big cliches and could spark a genre ideally suited for internet television. One can get red in the neck rash belligerence at Glenn Beck, but he had the brains to launch GB t.v. with a small, by any metric of normal network sense of scale, but loyal engaged viewership, and this Seinfield production falls within that same sort of specific target marketing.

( see link at end) …As a new wave of big names enter the growing field of web series, leave it to Larry David to keep enthusiasm in check.

“I wouldn’t say I’m excited, but I’m looking forward to it,” David says at the start of Jerry Seinfeld’s new series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

The conceit of the show is exceptionally simple: Seinfeld picks up a comedian friend in one of his personal vintage cars, and they get some coffee. Having achieved these meagre tasks, David, the co-creator of Seinfeld, appropriately concludes: “You have finally done the show about nothing.”

In the latest batch of notable series to launch online, long-harboured ambitions find digital out-lets: Seinfeld does nothing; Tom Hanks plays a hero; Larry King keeps his suspenders in action.

Their three new series – Larry King Now on Hulu, Hanks’ Electric City on Yahoo, Comedians in Cars on its own website – represent the latest stage in the slow but sure evolution of digital television. Though none is exactly must-see TV, each has its charms (some more than others) and thei

ry existence suggests a further advancement for online video.

Of the three, Comedians in Cars is the most promising. Only one episode has run, the 13 1/2 minute Larry Eats a Pancake, but future episodes featuring Ricky Gervais, Alec Baldwin, Michael Richards and others are set to premiere Thursdays on and Crackle. com.

Read More:

The series is an argument for leisure. Seinfeld extols the virtues and necessity of laziness to, as he says, “the comedian mindset.” And when Seinfeld and David get together – as they did for David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm reunion of the Seinfeld cast in 2009 – their ease with one another is a joy to behold….

“It’s a miracle we ever got any work done because nobody can waste time like you and me,” Seinfeld says to David.

Chatting comedians are seemingly everywhere these days – the creme de la creme being Marc Maron’s remarkable podcast. Still, the chance to see two of comedy’s greats huddled in a 1952 Volkswagen bug is hard to resist….

…King created the series with the new digital network Ora TV, which turned to Hulu to distribute four 20-to 25-min. episodes a week.

The episode with Betty White charmingly concludes with the pair selling lemonade on King’s front lawn to passing celebrity tour buses. In the developing digital landscape, the two TV old-timers are just kids. “This is a whole new world for us, Betty,” King tells 90-year-old White.

With the animated Electric City, Hanks has literally created a new world. It’s long in the making: The actor first had the idea for it nearly eight years ago, envisioning a settled dystopia in a post-apocalyptic society….

…But the Internet is not good at “immersive.” Even if a show is compelling, countless options are a click away – a distracted audience is inevitable if they’re watching on computers and cellphones.

This is one of the biggest problems for original digital series. Well, that and making any money. It should be noted that these three experimenters – Hanks, Seinfeld and King – have done all right for themselves. These projects could all be classified in the vanity variety – none of them are expecting a big paycheque here.

But even if the dollars aren’t there yet and the content isn’t always superior, it’s surely a mile-stone when one of America’s most favourite movie stars, one of its most beloved comedians and one of its signature news anchors are all opting for the Web.

The platform is there. The machinery to launch, promote and distribute these series is clearly in place now….The future – one kind or another – is online.Read More:


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