So, who’s Peter Mehlman? Ask Jerry Seinfeld. Everyone knows Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer. Peter Mehlman, however, is largely unrecognized. Mehlman wrote more Seinfeld episodes than anyone except Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David. He’s the guy who coined the term “Spongeworthy,” and gave us the Soup Nazi.
Why mention Mehlman? Because, while it may be that Michael Richards played one of the greatest characters in the history of TV, let’s not forget to recognize the people who actually create those characters — those quotables — those words and images that live in our hearts and minds.
Don’t get me wrong. Great acting takes a certain level of skill. But these men and women are still just going off a script that someone else dreamed, realized, and wrote. Everyone knows who starred, or who directed. But I don’t think The Writer is always remembered and recognized for the immense talent he or she possesses.
So as you (re)watch the final The Sopranos, the new CSI, or your favorite Seinfeld rerun, bear in mind that before Kramer, Grissom, and Tony Soprano ever spoke their first lines on camera, they existed in the ideas and dreams of a Writer.