Judging Java: An open letter to Jerry Seinfeld

Written By Jake Dabkowski, Coffee Columnist

This week’s column was supposed to be a triumphant return to form where I was planning on getting back to that actual reason that this column exists: reviewing coffee in Pittsburgh on my journey to find the perfect cup of coffee. All of that came tumbling down last night because of Jerry Seinfeld.

You may be asking yourself: what does Jerry Seinfeld have to do with coffee? Which is giving away the fact that you have not seen the hit web series “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee.” If you aren’t familiar, “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee” is Jerry Seinfeld’s latest project, an unscripted web series where, in each episode, Jerry Seinfeld drives a different comedian in a vintage car to a coffee shop, and they discuss various things going on in the world.

There are a lot of things in “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee” that I could comment on, ranging from the types of cars that Jerry Seinfeld drives to the various comedians that Jerry Seinfeld has had on the show; however, this column is about coffee, and luckily for me the thing that I specifically wanted to comment on related directly to the coffee that Jerry Seinfeld was drinking.

My roommates and I were watching the episode where Jerry Seinfeld goes for coffee with Norm MacDonald. The two of them are enjoying their coffee, but my roommate Zack (not the one with the music column) pointed out that there was a lot of steam coming off of the coffee. We then realized that the steam was not actually real, but an effect that had been added into the show during post-production. Not only was the effect very clearly an effect, but it was used an obnoxious amount, and it was one of those things where once you notice it you can’t unsee it.

The reason that it bothered me was not even that they put an effect in, reality television is almost always deceptively edited. The issue I have isn’t with the effect, it’s that “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee” is a rare gem of authenticity in a cesspool of mass-produced algorithmically generated reality television. Every episode of “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee” seems so genuine. Every conversation Jerry Seinfeld has, even when it’s with comedians who I would describe as usually disingenuous seems to be a very real and honest conversation. And because of this, the artificial steam is that much more bothersome.

You might be thinking to yourself ‘Jake this is a very minute thing to be dedicating an entire column to,’ and you’re right, it is incredibly minute in the grand scheme of things. But it still was a real head scratcher for me why they would add the steam. It didn’t even look like real steam, it looked like smoke, and it kept going for the whole episode. I was worried that when Jerry Seinfeld or Norm MacDonald drank their coffee that they were going to get third degree burns.

So I conclude this week’s column with a plea to Jerry Seinfeld: whenever you make the next season of “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee,” skip out on the fake steam. Or at the very least tone it down. It was a bit much.