Seinfeld- Valerie

Before taking this class, I’d already seen quite a few Seinfeld episodes. My dad is a HUGE Seinfeld fan and owns every single season on DVD. While my dad would persuade me to watch these episodes with him, I never could get into the show.

As a young viewer watching the show, I felt like the episodes were indeed about nothing, a puffy shirt, some soup, who really cared? I remember finding the stand-up portions at the beginning and end of the episodes to be the most intriguing part. Whether this was because I was happy the episode had ended or because I was glad to have some sort of structure with a beginning, middle and end of a story, I can’t say.

I was frustrated, from the scattered episodes that I’d seen, that there was no real story to each episode. To me, it seemed like the characters remained unchanged from the time the episode started to the time it ended. Re-watching these episodes now, however, I feel like I’ve been able to analyze the series with a much more critical eye.

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There really is a great deal that is being said amidst the “nothingness” of each episode’s plot. One moment that really struck out to me was the way that homosexuality was addressed in the episode “The Outing.” The repeated phrase “not that there’s anything wrong with that” makes a strong sociopolitical statement. These two men, Jerry and George who both identify as straight, are at a crossroads. Fundamentally, they are accepting of gay men, yet they are embarrassed and ashamed of being labelled as gay.

While viewing this show a second time at an older age, I’ve really been able to appreciate the content of the show more. Under this guise of nothingness, they really are making statements, be they large or small. Though I must say, I still cannot get over that fact that Jerry Seinfeld, while a great comedian, cannot act to save his life.

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3 Responses to Seinfeld- Valerie

  1. mediaphiles says:

    Since I never watched the show when I was younger I was lucky enough to always consider the show interesting and appreciable. I not only love the actors and their relationships within the show, but I think the minuscule happenings and the “bar talk”-like conversations is what makes the show important because it is realistic. In reality, we don’t always have huge dramatic happenings such like sitcoms portray so Seinfeld is a nice leeway into a more relateable show. –Jenna Romano

  2. mediaphiles says:

    Before the episode we were assigned to watch for class, I had never seen an episode of Seinfeld all the way through. I kew it was a popular show, but every time it would come on I immediately labeled it as a grown up show that I wouldn’t understand. I have found myself doing this to a lot of shows which is perhaps I don’t get into the binge watching craze all too often. But my point is to say that as you get older and your experiences and perceptions change and develop this can also affect what kind of show you lie to watch/understand. Almost like how your taste buds can change as you go through life and you begin to take a liking to new foods you had not liked before.
    -Kendall Fischlein

  3. mediaphiles says:

    A lot of the staying power of Seinfeld, in my opinion, has to do with its status as “a show about nothing.” There’s not a specific premise at the center of the show that may have been relevant and cutting-edge at the time but is no longer as much so. The show is less about particular things and more about these characters’ reactions to those things. And how they react is so relatable, even if it is exaggerated. We may say that they are all terrible self-centered human beings, but they embody very human emotions and reactions that we would probably resort to ourselves if we didn’t have the ability to restrain and control our words and actions. It’s almost as if these characters are pure id, like they’ve taken the more cathartic and deplorable human tendencies that are usually constrained and allowed them to run free. And while some of the issues the show engaged with at the time may not be as relevant today, the ways in which these characters react to such issues still resonate. And that’s why the show really holds up where others haven’t aged as well.

    –Kevin Pabst

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