LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 19: Jerry Seinfeld is seen on November 19, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by MEGA/GC Images)
Movies - TV
Introducing The Parents Of The Seinfeld Gang Was A Shot In The Arm For The Series
"Seinfeld" ended up as one of the most popular and transformative television shows ever, but its success was not always certain. The show struggled with ratings in its first three seasons — always avoiding cancellation by the skin of its teeth — but the fourth season was where the show broke out, in part due to the hilarious episodes like “The Contest” and “The Bubble Boy.”
According to former NBC president Warren Littlefield, the show’s success was more than just a result of its stellar writing, though. In a Vulture interview, Littlefield said that part of what he believes boosted the popularity of "Seinfeld" was the introduction of the main cast's parents, specifically the Costanzas, played hilariously by comedy legends Jerry Stiller and Estelle Harris.
The introduction of the older generation of the Costanza family not only opened up new comedic avenues for the show, but demographic ones as well. "Now you're into a much larger playing field for audiences. Yes, we were an addiction for adults ages 18 to 49, but we were [now] going younger and far older,” said Littlefield. “We were inviting everyone into the tent.”
Whether this was the direct cause of the show's newfound success or not, "Seinfeld" went on to become a huge hit. Its ratings were so high that its rising tide would raise all the boats around it, including another show audiences might have heard of called "Friends." Suddenly "Seinfeld" wasn’t just about wealthy, complaining yuppies in New York City, but also about dealing with your parents.