Well, lookie here: Season four of “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee” is upon us. Better yet? The kickoff date is Thursday. That’s right: A mere three days away!
And as for whom we will see rolling around in some rented car with Mr. Jerry Seinfeld himself …
Sarah Jessica Parker
Oh, wait. You didn’t know Sarah Jessica Parker was opening up for Bill Cosby on his next tour?! Well … duh!
Anyway, in what I think is a first for the series, they released the initial two season four episodes to critics already (I am told mine is in the mail. No I’m not.). And in those first two, we have Parker and Ansari. Verne Gay of Newsday actually did receive the aforementioned first two episodes and … and …
“I’m happy to report that both are funny, lighthearted, imaginative and even interesting,” he wrote. “Yes — you will learn ephemeral and utterly useless facts about buses and Jurassic-era station wagons. But absolutely the best of the two is the Parker one. Old pals who just about complete each others’ thoughts, Seinfeld and Parker have an easy repartee that subverts or heightens — not sure which — the absurdity of the setup: Two world-famous celebrities rattling down the Southern State Parkway in a beet-red bomb that looks like it was salvaged from the set of a 1970s sitcom.”
Do with that what you may.
Gary Levin, at USA Today, meanwhile, dropped a nugget in his Saturday piece that is most definitely worth digesting. Check this out:
“In developing the show,” he wrote, “Seinfeld was told five minutes was the most anyone would watch on the Web. ‘I ignored them,’ he says, claiming the average viewer spends 19 minutes on a Coffee episode, which are produced at varying lengths and take about three hours to film, at a cost of $100,000, a fraction of his hit sitcom ‘Seinfeld.'”
We say this a lot, so I completely understand that the impact of such a word is probably going to be minimal, but …
One-hundred grand per episode. I don’t know why, but for some reason, I would have never guessed $100K. I mean, it’s a tiny show. A tiny show. Never more than a half-hour. A handful of cameras. Everyone he speaks with are his friends, right? So, what’s the budget for? The cars? The coffees?
Maybe more interesting: I know they had Acura sponsor season three, but was anyone on board before that? And if not, did Seinfeld, himself, have to foot the bill for those first 20 or so episodes? More so, let’s say Acura pulls out. Who’s taking care of the check, then? I mean, I know he has Seinfeld money and all, but at what point would he just say, “OK. I’m lighting hundred-dollar bills on fire, here. I’m going home.”
Interesting, interesting. Between that and the revelation that it takes about three hours to film one episode, I now feel like I know EVERYTHING THERE IS TO KNOW ABOUT “COMEDIANS IN CARS GETTING COFFE.” The capital letters are for emphasis.
So. Here’s hoping for a bounce-back season. As I wrote back in February, the third go-around wasn’t necessarily ideal after knowing that such a promising lineup was on the docket. “Everybody’s allowed a few air-balls, sure,” I suggested, “but by the time season four is announced, there will be at least one eyebrow raised, waiting to see if that field goal percentage can bounce back after a few below-average playoff performances.”
Obviously, I was heavy on basketball metaphors back then. And obviously, I need to somehow magically fall in like with both Sarah Jessica Parker and Aziz Ansari before Thursday comes around. Will we jump the shark? Or will we jump for joy?