Nothing to see here, folks. Absolutely nothing. On a warm April morning, Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, and Michael Richards — the famous foursome who transformed a bunch of neurotic and misguided Manhattanites (Jerry! Elaine! George! Kramer!) into the stuff of sitcom legend — have gathered in an office on the CBS Radford lot in Studio City, Calif., with the master of their domain, Seinfeld co-creator/exec producer Larry David. The five of them are filming a characteristically loud, minutiae-muddled scene (”You go out with a friend, you tip in concert!” ”Why are we in concert? There’s no concert!” ”A tip is a solo!”) that’s part of the much-buzzed-about Seinfeld reunion story line taking place on David’s HBO sitcom, Curb Your Enthusiasm (returning Sept. 20 at 9 p.m.). As the cameras reset and Richards awaits his comical entrance (sorry, it doesn’t involve a Krameresque skid-in), the Seinfeld alums do not marvel at the significance or weirdness of this whole experience. They do not discuss the challenges of conjuring up that old magic. They don’t ask about one another’s weekends. Instead, they do this:
”Did you see the bathroom here?” David asks. ”There’s a urinal with a door! I’ve never seen it before! It’s a private urinal… You walk in. You think it’s a stall, but it’s not a stall. It’s a urinal! With a locked door!”
”It’s a one-occupant-at-a-time thing,” ponders Alexander. ”Frankly, why do you need any interior doors?”
”Put a lock on the main door,” suggests Louis-Dreyfus.
”It’s a surprise,” continues David. ”You open the door. You see a lone urinal!”
”The lone urinal?” chimes in Seinfeld. ”That would be the Larry David Western.”
While the group busts out in laughter, a crew member interrupts: ”Let’s roll, please!”
The Seinfeld gang — once again arguing over petty little things and dissecting trivialities? Looks like Festivus is coming early this year.
Over the last six seasons, we’ve come to expect the outrageous from Curb, Larry David’s exploration of a man named Larry David (coincidentally also rich, bald, and the co-creator of Seinfeld) whose glass isn’t half empty, it’s all empty…and has a dab of schmutz on it that ruins his whole day. But David’s self-conscious series about curmudgeonry and comeuppance — it’s Seinfeld on steroids and downers — is about to take a turn for the surreal by reuniting the cast of his old, pathologically revered NBC sitcom, who had always resisted the urge to re-merge. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) These guys aren’t technically calling it a reunion show, because in season 7 of Curb, you’ll mostly see the actors playing a version of themselves preparing to stage a reunion show, rather than the actors playing the old characters — eh, screw it. We’ve been dreaming about this for 11 years, and we’ll call it a reunion if we want to.
Leave it to Larry to contort public desire for a Seinfeld reunion into a meta plot that chronicles his not-necessarily-noble struggle to pull off a Seinfeld reunion. ”It’s the anti-reunion reunion,” says Louis-Dreyfus, ”and I’d like to copyright that.” Sums up David: ”This is such a perfect way for us to get together again, because it never would have happened otherwise. Never, ever, ever.” However it happened, this nod to the Neurotic Nineties might be the TV event of the fall, right, Jerry? ”That’d be nice,” muses the comedian. ”Depends on how they do on World’s Fattest Loser, I guess. It’s all carbs, you know.”