Larry David Has Always Been the ‘Seinfeld’ Finale’s Biggest Defender

Larry David has long defended the “Seinfeld” finale. He’s often been its lone champion as critics, fans and the cast, including Jerry Seinfeld, have continued to lament the conclusion of one of television’s most successful, enduring sitcoms.

On Sunday, David — the “Seinfeld” co-creator who left the show after its seventh season but returned to write the two-part finale, which aired on May 14, 1998 — will wrap up his other popular show: “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” the on-again, off-again 12-season HBO comedy that started in 2000. And, if the signs are to be believed, the final episode may pay homage to the much-maligned “Seinfeld” send-off.

If you didn’t experience it, it’s a tall order to convey the hype that surrounded the end of “Seinfeld,” which took the gang out of New York City and landed them in a Massachusetts jail for violating a Good Samaritan Law. A trial included a parade of character witnesses, many of them wronged by the defendants over nine seasons, attesting to their unethical behavior. Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer were found guilty of, as the prosecutor put it, “selfishness, self-absorption, immaturity and greed.”

“Seinfeld” was at the peak of its popularity, a cultural juggernaut and still making record profits for NBC at the end of its run — about $200 million a year, according to advertising industry estimates at that time. Nonetheless, Seinfeld was ready to close shop, turning down an offer from the network that would have been the most lucrative deal ever extended to a television star.

“We’ve all seen a million athletes where you say, ‘I wish they didn’t do those last two years,’” Seinfeld said at the time. “I wanted the end to be from a point of strength. I wanted the end to be graceful.”

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