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TV REVIEW : It’s Jerry Seinfeld’s Show--and It’s a Winner

NBC’s new comedy “Seinfeld” blows up a gale of wit and freshness.

The first of its four episodes airs at 9:30 tonight on Channels 4, 36 and 39, and here’s hoping this very funny series does well enough in the ratings to earn a pickup somewhere down the line. Creatively, it’s already made it.

Although the concept is not unlike the late, great “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” on Showtime and Fox, “Seinfeld” has a distinct charm of its own, centering on the musings and missteps of stand-up comic Jerry Seinfeld, with his private life being threaded by related bits from his club act.

Seinfeld, who co-created the series and wrote some of the episodes with Larry David, plays himself here with appealing naturalness, supported by Jason Alexander as his best friend, Julia Louis-Dreyfus as his ex-girlfriend Elaine and Michael Richards as his goofy neighbor.

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This is just the kind of amusingly off-center comedy now missing from NBC’s lineup, one of those rare, delightful meshings of concept, cast and execution, with producer Tom Cherones providing inspired direction. Nothing is forced.

This is a very creative approach to universal humor. In one episode, for example, Seinfeld tackles the problem of ending his friendship with a bore without hurting the man’s feelings (“Listen, Joe, I don’t think we should see each other anymore”).

Tonight’s premiere finds Seinfeld attempting to pursue a woman he meets at a party without disturbing his platonic relationship with Elaine. He contrives a meeting outside the woman’s law office: “So . . . uh, do you date immature men?” And so on and so on. Great stuff.


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