Written by Mischa Arnosky
I don’t know how it happened, but somehow there’s a web series that seems to have been created especially for me. It’s as if someone said, “OK, Mischa, name two things in this world that you couldn’t live without, and by the way, what are your favorite TV shows?”
That someone is Jerry Seinfeld
I recently stumbled upon his web series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” and everything about it, including the droll name, made me smile. It’s an absurdly simple concept that can only be pulled off by Seinfeld — a genuine Porsche and all-around car guy.
Each episode starts with Seinfeld describing the car of the week. They’re not show cars or supercars. They’re unique cars that have the possibility of being owned by a mere mortal. Being a car guy, I appreciate the way in which he describes them, touching on what you really want to know when you see a rare car — its engine configuration, horsepower rating, top speed and zero to 60 times, and its place in car history. And, being a guy who knows that his car’s color is not gray but “silver gray metallic,” I like that Seinfeld lists each car’s factory-given color. While describing a Triumph TR6 he said, “The color is ‘Tahiti Blue.’ In the ’70s, people tried to work the word ‘Tahiti’ into anything.”
After describing the car, Seinfeld places a call to one of his comedian buddies asking if he or she wants to get coffee. He then picks the comedian up, they talk about the car … and then they drink coffee.
It’s formulaic … and it’s great. Each episode is about 15 minutes, just the right amount of time. And the amount of time spend talking about each car varies depending on the comedian’s car knowledge.
As it turns out, Ricky Gervais’ car knowledge isn’t so good. When Seinfeld picks him up in a ’67 Austin Healey 3000, you know … because they’re both English, Seinfeld mentions that the car is English. Gervais then says, “Is it?”
There’s another episode that isn’t very “car heavy” that involves getting coffee with Michael Richards in a ’62 Volkswagen Bus (in dove blue, primer and rust). The VW, which was a parts-runner for a Volkswagen/Porsche repair shop, isn’t much to look at, but then again, the episode really didn’t have much to do with the car. Seinfeld could have picked up his former next-door neighbor in a beige Honda Accord, and I would have watched it, though it’s a little depressing to see the 2013 version of Kramer.
My favorite episode is “car-heavy” and it’s part of the current season. It showcases a staid ’95 Volvo 960 wagon (with a sunroof!) but it’s David Letterman’s car … and the car has a blown Ford V-8 with 380 horsepower built by Paul Newman. The car makes some great sounds, especially when Seinfeld opens it up on what looks like a highway in Connecticut.
The episode ends with a commercial for Acura, the show’s sponsor. But it’s a commercial from 1986 — when the brand launched.
The car nerd in me loves that stuff.
“Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” is a cool departure from the typical car shows on networks like Speed and Velocity. None of the rides is “pimped,” there are no yelling auctioneers and there are no rednecks trying to race Nissan GT-Rs in Camaros. It’s a quick, clever talk show that blends two of the greatest things in the world.
Click the links to in the copy above to take you to the show, or visit comediansincarsgettingcoffee.com.
Have you seen the web series? What's your favorite episode? Isn't the coffee outing with 'Kramer' awkward?