‘Seinfeld’ Star Reveals Why the Finale Failed

by Chris Piner

Airing from 1989 to 1998, the sitcom Seinfeld did more than entertain households across the United States. Created by Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, the show ended with 9 seasons and 180 episodes. At that time, Seinfeld launched each actor who portrayed one of the outlandish characters into the spotlight. Graining praise from both critics and fans, the series landed at the top of the Nielsen ratings with both seasons six and nine. Although taking the number one spot with only two seasons, it made it into the top two every year. When looking at other shows, there are only two series to do that, The Andy Griffith Show and I Love Lucy. But while Seinfeld accumulated a faithful following, one star expressed his thoughts on the dismal series finale. 

Becoming a series regular on Seinfeld, Wayne Knight, who played Newman, witnessed the star-studded talent who made the show so great. But as many remember, the series finale ended with the entire gang of characters standing trial for many of their behaviors over the course of the show. The last scene revealed the main cast sitting in jail, paying some metaphorical penance for their actions. While Seinfeld brought back memorable guests to make the last episode special, Knight admitted to it feeling more like a demo reel. 

Wayne Knight Doesn’t Hate The Seinfeld Finale

Speaking with Comicbook.com about the Seinfeld finale, Wayne Knight explained, “I think I’m like the rest of the public as far as the finale goes. I don’t think you can end that show in a way that would work. The idea of doing a retrospective winds up feeling like a clip show, so I think that they tried to pay tribute to all of the people who had walked through that set, all the great performances, all the great people. And it didn’t quite land in the way that they wanted. He wanted them to have the worst time possible. And as a concept, that works, but I don’t know if it works as a finale.” 

According to Wayne Knight, Larry David wanted to “show that these people are not deserving of any glory. He wanted them to have the worst time possible. And as a concept, that works, but I don’t know if it works as a finale.” 

While not loving the last episode of Seinfeld, Wayne Knight said during a Q&A, “I was happy with the Seinfeld finale because we didn’t want to do another episode as much as we wanted to have everybody come back to the show we had so much fun with. It was a way to thank all of the people who worked on the show over the years that we thought made the show work. I don’t believe in trying to change the past but I’m very happy with it.”