Seinfeld back for more Coffee

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Sarah Jessica Parker loves her ’76 Ford LTD wagon. Jerry’s not so sure

Just as Louie shuts down for another season, Jerry Seinfeld pulls up for more Comedians in Cars Going for Coffee. Whew!

The Web series streams on Crackle with the first episode of Season Four, featuring Sarah Jessica Parker, up now. Future episodes, which will roll out weekly,  feature Aziz Ansari (Parks & Recreation), Robert Klein, Jon Stewart and George Wallace.

In April, Crackle announced Comedians in Cars has been renewed for 24 more episodes, taking it through to Season Nine. A seven episode fifth season premieres in the fall. The series has already passed the 40 million streams mark.

Seinfeld may have to change the name to “Characters in Cars” to keep bringing stars such as Parker in on the ride. At just six shows a year, however, there should be no shortage of passengers.

The Parker episode, as so many others, does a nice job of showing off Manhattan neighbourhoods. Seinfeld and Parker both live in the Upper West Side, and mock the “beautiful people” who live downtown.

Then there’s the ride–a ’76 Ford LTD Country Squire station wagon. It is a fun and unusual choice. Never a classic, the big boat of a car held such warm memories for Parker, whose family owned a similar ‘wagon, she bought this beast. Boomers will remember those fold away seats that faced each other at the back. Watching two adults shift to adjust the old bench seats up front was another nostalgic touch. Parker also points out that the old AM radio dial starts with a big “5” little “4”–indicating the first “540” stop  on the left hand side of the radio spectrum.

These episodes roll best when the passengers come ready to talk, as Parker does and as others, especially Howard Stern, have done in the past. Jerry had to work a little too hard to keep quiet comedian Todd Barry entertained as they toured Coney Island last season.

They’re also a guidepost to cool New York coffee shops, such as Floridita in Harlem visited by Jerry and Tina Fey last season. Where else could you find a Cocco Puffs milkshake?

This new episode introduces the opening theme “Sitcom” song, warbled by Jerry himself (and co-written with Marc Shairman). I’m guessing there are royalties to be had. The “beauty” shots of coffee being poured, swirled and creamed all make even a non-coffee drinker like myself (or Jay Leno) want to try the stuff.

Seinfeld could extend this concept by picking up other actors, as well as politicians and sports figures. A big part of the fun of “Comedians,” however, are the comedians. Getting to sit in with this exclusive club brings a backstage pass into the comedy club culture. It is generally a world of witty observers and you won’t find this access to these candid insights anywhere else.

The other plus with Comedians in Cars is that you only have to sit through one commercial per episode. (Each episode lasts from 12 to 16 minutes.) The Acura car ads are generally funny, so kudos to the sponsor. Seinfeld also usually has an obvious “product placement” spot per ad, boldly drawing attention to an SUV in the Tina Fey episode. The advertiser probably gets more miles from this association, and to the right targeted buyer, than they could anywhere else. Thus Comedians get to drive cars as long as they also sell cars. Sounds like a good deal to me.

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