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Paligamy Now Essay, Research Paper
Nothing about Seinfeld
I’ve spent a large portion of my life watching television. Being something of a self proclaimed couch potato, I think somehow qualifies me as an expert on the subject of television entertainment. Even though, I have not been able to enjoy the lazy 14-hour TV binges of my late teens. Despite the lack of time in recent years, I can still state with out any doubt in my mind that no television show has ever been more entertaining than a good episode of Seinfeld, regardless of reruns.
The ingredients for Seinfeld’s success have been each character’s ability to act out some of our most shallow desires and selfish impulses. These qualities appeal to me and nearly everyone else from time to time, even though to act them out would be unacceptable. Jerry, George, Kramer and Elaine the four original main characters made the show a hit for 9 years being second in years only to M*A*S*H. Despite Seinfeld coming up two years short of M*A*S*H, you could always count on the writers of Seinfeld to come up with something shallow and funny with each episode. They never asked us to ponder any of the serious burdensome facts of life. They always left us to dabble in our own selfish whims.
The four of them have consistently insulted, lied, stole and cheated. All in the name of self-gratification making the show irresistible for most. Even in the last episode, we are left with Jerry in a jail cell, unconcerned about being detained but mulling over the possibility that he might have to cut back on the amount of milk he uses on his cereal. I admit that some of our worst qualities are portrayed as acceptable behavior by the show, but in most instances people simply take it as an outlet for their own suppressed impulses.
Each character has an individual personality. This individuallity is what makes the show so original. George is infamous for his enormous over reactions to the smallest things. George could be having the best day of his life, but tell him that his fiancee has befriended Elaine and watch out. He’ll accuse Elaine of making his worlds collide. He is the classic example of the born loser. He is always on the brink of success, but at a critical moment you can expect him to fail; for example give him the opportunity to model his hands and by the end of the show he gets his hands scarred by a hot iron. Seeing him fail so invariably makes our lives seem that much more worthwhile.
The exception to these constant failures is Elaine, she seems to know what’s going on around her almost always. Not only is she very intelligent and beautiful, but she contrasts George almost exactly. Occasionally something bad will happen to her, nothing too serious though. For instance the makers of her brand of birth control sponge went out of business and the sponges were discontinued. She goes nuts and scours the city for any drug store that might still have some of the sponge that she uses that haven’t sold yet. She does finally find one store that has some and buys the entire case. This in turn sets up the bit, now she has a new bench mark for sleeping with guys “Sponge worthy or Not Sponge worthy” since she has a limited supply of sponges.
Jerry on the other hand, reminds us that you can be successful and still have some very strange issues. Although he has become a solid comedian, he is still constantly presented with situations that he is unsure how to handle. His ability to point out and make an issue of the obvious is probably his funniest trait, with his obsessive-compulsive tendencies towards cleanliness and bizarre choice of friends a close second.
I have never understood why Jerry and Kramer became friends. The unlikeness of their friendship is funny without a comic bit. Kramer is the most scatterbrained character in the show. He always has a new plan nearly every week. One week it could be that he has gotten rid of all of his furniture to go to levels or the next week it could be that he is putting his clothes in the oven because he likes how they feel when they are warm from a dryer. I have yet to see anyone enter a room with as much style as him. They must spray something on the floor right inside the door of Jerry’s place so he can slide just right. He never knocks, and it’s not unusual for him to open the door into someone. I really get a kick out of the dumb look on his face when he enters like he didn’t expect what he sees. You just can never anticipate this guy except that he will always end up in some ironic situation.
The ironic endings are what always keep me tuned into the show. No matter how bad my day is, I can count on at least one person in the show to have one twice as bad. If you find irony humorous, you can’t help but enjoy the show. It’s always good to see someone else fail miserably; it just makes me warm inside.