This past summer, I was at my cousin’s apartment one morning shooting the breeze. While hanging out, he threw on an episode of “Seinfeld” for background noise. Though I was familiar with the show and had seen a decent number of episodes over the years, I became completely engrossed at that particular moment as if it were brand new discovery. Right then, I decided to take on “Seinfeld” as my next show to watch in its entirety.
While I’m not new to binge watching a television series, this was the first time I allowed myself to watch a show out of order. Though, I did save the finale for the end; I’m shocked that I never heard a spoiler about how the show concluded, as it was somewhat obscure. Being that I have trouble disassociating it with the decade it aired in, I tried my best to watch it rerun style, commercials and all. I quickly fell in love with the characters and the interconnected brilliance of each episode’s storylines. Though I embarked on this journey solely for entertainment purposes, I wound up learning a thing or two from each character.
Let’s start with the namesake. A continuous storyline with Jerry’s character is that he dates a number of, seemingly, great women, but nothing serious ever comes to fruition. While his reasons for ending some of the relationships are trivial, there’s something to be said for not settling for someone just because it’s convenient. But, even though he may not have been the best at keeping up with romantic relationships, he was always a loyal friend and son. Though he may have constantly been making fun of them, he was always around when they needed him. And, in turn, their anecdotes provided great fodder for his stand-up routines. While the show didn’t delve too deeply into the trajectory of his career as a comedian, it was entertaining how his acts were interjected into episodes. And, he left us with how best to handle telemarketing calls.
Next, we have the engaging patheticness of George Costanza. This guy is the first to admit how inadequate he is but at the same time thinks he’s the greatest and most important being on the planet. And, while he always labeled himself a liar, he was somehow the most transparent of all the characters. Honestly, there isn’t a whole lot to learn from George other than 1) it is always good to have dreams (i.e. to either be the best latex salesman or architect in the city,) even if you do nothing to achieve these goals, and 2) be careful what you wish for. George spends much of the show in search of a lasting relationship. When he finally becomes engaged to Susan, he realizes that what he thought he wanted wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be. Though I’m sure this wasn’t the intention, it was a good reminder to keep doing your own thing and not compare yourself to where other people are in their lives. But, most importantly, George taught us the art of an amazing outgoing voicemail recording.
As for the character I connected the most with, we now venture over to Elaine Benes. Aside from the fact that we’re both equally skilled in dancing, the storyline of her career was an aspect of the show I really enjoyed. Also, she understands the importance of needing a Sunday night wind-down before beginning a new week. And, one of my favorite running jokes was her enthusiastic push of someone while yelling, “get out!” She exists in a male-dominated environment while simply being herself and not some dim-witted flooz. My favorite thing about Elaine is that she just kept going, no matter the situation. She worked a job she hated for Mr. Pitt and kept going. She continued putting herself out there in romantic situations even though luck was never really on her side. But, my favorite memory of this character was the (in my opinion) iconic “Stella!” scene.
And, now for my favorite character on the show (and quite possibly my favorite character in television history) Cosmo Kramer. When I’d watch the show in passing, I always assumed that Kramer was just an obnoxious doofus who was there for the sake of being funny. But, when I actually watched the show, I found him to be the most charming and kind-hearted of all of the characters. While he made as many mistakes as the rest of the group, he always had the best intentions. However, the most intriguing part of Kramer’s character was the passion with which he lived his life. He had no solid or stable goals, but whatever zany plan he came up with he always gave it 110 percent. Whether it was helping the New York Fire Department find faster routes to their calls, adopting a highway, or inadvertently taking an office position, Kramer always attacked his goal with gusto and an eager “giddy up!”
Regardless of their misguided, misanthropic ways, the gang was a very endearing group of people. With the comedic geniuses of Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards (not his stand-up,) and, of course, Larry David, a show about nothing turned into a lasting cultural phenomenon that still delights its audience all these years later. Whether you love it or hate it, you can’t deny how refreshing it is to watch a situational comedy where people are actually honest about some of the moronic, everyday annoyances we endure.
In addition to my life-enhancing goal of watching each “Seinfeld” episode before the year’s end, I also have a goal to watch 50 new movies by October 2017. And, if you couldn’t tell by everything you just read, I’m a huge dork and find joy in the simple things; one of those things is reading IMDB trivia. Anyway, in an effort to retain a bit about each movie I’ve watched, I pick my favorite piece of IMDB trivia to screenshot as a little reminder. With that in mind, I will leave you with my favorite piece of “Seinfeld” trivia: “Larry David famously instituted a policy of “no hugging, no learning,” meaning that the show must avoid sentimentality and moral lessons, and the characters must never learn or grow from their wrongdoings.”