It's not that Jerry Seinfeld lied. Last Thursday, he told New York radio station WFAN that he and Jason Alexander had filmed a "secret project" that people will be able to see "very, very soon," and that it wasn't exactly a commercial or an episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee — but it wasn't not those things, either.
The project was "short-ish," but longer than 60 seconds; Alexander was reprising his George Costanza character from Seinfeld; series co-creator Larry David was involved; and Seinfeld thought it was a "one-and-done" event.
During the Super Bowl, we got to see a teaser of the secret project — a short (90 second) version of a short, Super Bowl–themed installment of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. (Watch the ad above, or the whole episode here.) It's hard to say what it was: The only thing the ad appeared to be selling was Seinfeld's web-only video series, and it wasn't a regular episode of Comedians in Cars because it was scripted and Alexander was appearing in character (Wayne Knight also made a cameo as Newman). Also, it was short, about six minutes.
If you caught the 90-second ad, right before the Super Bowl halftime show, the whole thing was vaguely confusing.
Seinfeld finally lifted the curtain after the Super Bowl. It wasn't an ad, because neither he nor Sony's Crackle video site paid for the spot. He elaborated in a statement:
Fox approached Larry and me about doing some kind of Seinfeld reunion for the halftime broadcast because of the New York connection. So we thought throwing Jerry, George, and Newman into a Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee was a fun way to do it. Larry and I wrote the script in one sitting, just like old times, and working with him, Jason, and Wayne was a total blast, as it always was. [via USA Today]
The video is amusing, if not laugh-out-loud funny. It was not the reunion that Seinfeld fans were hoping for, or particularly wanted to see.
Mary McNamara at the Los Angeles Times found it downright boring, quipping that "like the Broncos' quarterback, it had a hard time connecting." What's worse, she adds, it "should have been hilarious and evocative, should have made us realize how much we miss the show that changed comedy and unleashed Larry David onto an unsuspecting public." It wasn't, and it didn't, she says, before waxing nostalgic:
There's a reason, apparently, the cast has been reluctant to commit to a reunion show: It might not be a good idea. Seinfeld was, after all, the shared dream state of a lost generation, late twenty-somethings stalled out making cutting remarks at the back of the class. Now they, and we, are older. The new crop of twenty-somethings do most of their talking on Snapchat; George and Jerry don't even carry cellphones. [Los Angeles Times]
Bill Carter at The New York Times looks for a silver lining, proposing that the Seinfeld minireunion "will open a door to other visits by fictional comic characters" on Comedians in Cars. "The casts of both Friends and Frasier, for example, are already closely associated with coffee."
I seriously doubt it. In fact, I hope not. But I'd happily settle for Julia Louis-Dreyfus going out for coffee with Seinfeld in some crazy automobile.