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Area 'Seinfeld' fan bids farewell to show

May 15, 1998|By KATE COLEMAN

by Ric Dugan / staff photographer

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Seinfeld finaleArea 'Seinfeld' fan bids farewell to show

It's over. At last.

The final episode of "Seinfeld," the top-rated, award-winning comedy, aired Thursday night.

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As he has most every Thursday night for nine years, Patrick Wildeson of Greencastle, Pa., was watching.

He considers himself to be one of the "Seinfeld" show's biggest fans.

One of his co-workers considers him to be the show's ultimate fan, and entered him in a Herald-Mail contest to find the Tri-State area's top "Seinfeld" fanatic.

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Wildeson and his wife Tammy settled in front of the television set Thursday as the final episode unwound.

He laughed laughs of recognition and said "Uh-oh" as characters from favorite episodes appeared in court to testify against the "New York Four."

The Soup Nazi, from Wildeson's favorite episode, was there. So was the Bubble Boy.

The phone rang during a commercial break at about 9:30 p.m. Tammy Wildeson correctly guessed that it was her husband's childhood friend calling to exchange notes on the program.

If you weren't among the millions who viewed the show, you might not know that Jerry, George, Kramer and Elaine got a scare when the private NBC jet on which they were flying to Paris took a nosedive.

"Is this it? Is this how it ends? It can't end like this," Jerry screamed.

Wildeson was on the edge of his seat.

His reaction to the final scenes: "I want more."

He was happy that Kramer laughed at Jerry's prison jokes. It wasn't, after all, the first time Kramer was the only one to laugh at Jerry's jokes.

Wildeson noticed that Elaine wasn't in the final scene. "Give us Elaine," he pleaded. It was too late.

He didn't want to appear ungrateful. Wildeson thanked Jerry for a great nine years, and said he was glad he had taped the show so he can watch it again.

Wildeson, 33, was nominated as the top "Seinfeld" fan by Laura Burd, his Citicorp Credit Services Inc. co-worker.

People in Wildeson's office see the effects of the show on his life every day, according to Burd.

He speaks like Jerry, uses Kramer's hand gestures and tends to be as dramatic and energetic as George, Burd said in her note nominating Wildeson.

He has pictures of the foursome on his desk. His recently got a satellite hookup that allows him to watch the show twice a day, Burd wrote.

Wildeson confirmed that he views broadcasts from the East and West coasts.

Wildeson said being dubbed the Tri-State's biggest fan by The Herald-Mail was "awesome."

He received a 60-minute videotape featuring classic clips of the series' most memorable moments.

Why is Wildeson such a huge fan?

Part of the "Seinfeld" appeal is seeing the four main characters - Jerry, George, Kramer and Elaine - maintain their friendships through the years, he said.

A Chambersburg, Pa., native, Wildeson had three roommates in Hagerstown - two men and a woman - from 1989 or 1990 until he left to get married in 1994. He relates many of the situations he encountered then to his favorite television program.

He also relates to the characters and "nothing" situations of the sitcom. He watches each episode twice before taping over it.

"Seinfeld" is not Wildeson's whole life. He has a wedding picture of Tammy and himself among the "Seinfeld" characters at his office.

He said he will miss the show, which he called his Thursday night stress reliever.

"It gives me the laugh I need so I can continue on," he says.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, as Jerry would say.

Wildeson said he hadn't done much speculating on how the series would end, and was happy that the plot had been kept secret. "I like surprises," he said. "I'm willing to accept whatever they throw at me," he said before the 90 minute show began.

After it was all over, Wildeson contemplated the last "Seinfeld."

"Isn't that something?" he asked.

All this for a show about nothing.

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