Two hundred and twenty-one episodes. Watching that entire show back-to-back took 4 complete days, 3 hours, and 30 minutes. And suddenly- poof! Gone.
No more staplers in Jell-O, cringe-worthy Christmas parties, endearing love affairs, tragically hilarious office meetings, beats, bears, or Battlestar Galactica.
Boy, Michael Scott sure kept it real.
A few weeks ago I had to bid a painful farewell to the first TV show I ever loved and committed to watching in its entirety: The Office (U.S. version). Don’t get me wrong, Parks and Recreation is amazing and I enjoyed my healthy dose of Ron Swanson’s cynicism, but Leslie Knope bored me with her predictability. New Girl’s romantic suspense still was not enough to fuel me through a disorganized Season 3. I almost finished Portlandia, but it was not meant to be. Heck, I even tried to push through a few episodes of the U.K. version of The Office. In desperation, I watched 3 episodes of the series about Celia Cruz (Queen of Salsa) before I got tired to reading subtitles. Yes, yes. I know I’m picky. But what can I say? I am, after all, a young lady of high standards.
Pretty soon I got discouraged. I will never find another show with a perfect mélange of exchange between amusement, love interest, awkwardness and sentimentality among highly multidimensional characters. And I mean come on, who was going to top Creed?
Then it dawned on me. I ought to give Seinfeld a whirl!
This was the one. My college classmates kept referencing the show and my dad had been cracking signature dad-jokes from the series. Plus, I kept encountering a half-naked stubby bald man sprawled out on a couch looking rather smug. Danielle told me it was “the timeless art of seduction.” I nodded, but I didn’t get it until now.
I am definitively late on this trend, so I will spare you a lengthy summary of the show. Seinfeld is a 90s sitcom about comedian Jerry Seinfeld and his friends: George Costanza, Elaine Benes, and Cosmo Kramer. Many like to say it is “a show about nothing,” but it is really more of a show about everything. The show features their complicated love lives, work place mishaps, and amusing adventures in New York.
Kramer, Jerry’s “hipster doofus” neighbor (and arguably friend), is my favorite character on the show. A few descriptors: lanky, clumsy, brutally honest, questionable fashion sense, lady killer, wild hair, spastic mannerisms, grandiose entrances. Somehow all of these assets meld together to lend him a certain charm- kavorka (Season 5, Episode 11). When the Seinfeld squad is altogether, it is usually Kramer who is at the core of a problematic scene.
“Park in the handicap space!” he said. “No one ever uses it!” he said (Season 4, Ep. 22).
Throughout the show, a cigar obsessed Kramer burns down George’s girlfriend’s cabin, vomits on multiple women, indirectly causes a murder, brings a Latvian Orthodox nun to the verge of conversion, and ruptures multiple of his friends’ relationships (not to mention that it some cases he proceeds to date their exes himself).
Elaine Benes is also a intricately constructed character. Whereas Kramer serves almost solely for comic relief, Elaine’s personality ranges from lighthearted to serious and intellectual. I was surprised to find such a meaningful female role in a show that aired over a decade ago. She can laugh at herself, make goofy faces and funny noises, knock over beverages, laugh uncontrollably, compete in “the contest” (Season 4, Episode 11), burst out in rage, chew with her mouth open, use vulgar language, reject creepy men, work a cool job, be financially independent.
In other words, she is a badass.
She is not restricted to behaving in the poised, graceful manner that is so often featured on television series even today. She is not somebody’s wife or sister. She is Elaine Benes and she will fight for her chocolate babka (Season 5, Episode 13)! Elaine’s character is refreshing and inspirational: I really look up to her. I have yet to find a female role in a television series that chalks up to hers.
By the way, I love Morty. I can’t explain why. I just love Morty.
But alas, all good things come to an end, and I have reached Season 6. It pains me to admit that this means I am closer to the end of the show than the beginning. Thus, I must begin to prepare for what I can delve into next. After some research I would like to try watching Curb your Enthusiasm, which shares a creator, Larry David, with Seinfeld.
I would love to hear what your favorite shows are, who your favorite characters on Seinfeld are, which is your favorite episode, any cool fun facts or recommendations! Please comment below!