Seinfeld is arguably one of the best sitcoms of all times. No wonder, it topped the list of greatest TV shows of all time. Not only did it break several conventions of mainstream television, it was truly a show about “nothing”. Take Led Zeppelin, Beatles, or the Design Pattern authors, a gang of four geniuses has always created history. Seinfeld reinforces this norm. It was a tribute to stand up comedy circuit that breathes in the American underground art houses.
Jerry Seinfeld played a semi fictional version of himself and was surrounded by an ex-girlfriend (Elaine), a childhood friend (George), and a neighbor (Kramer). These four unmatched actors with incredible chemistry among them, rampaged through 9 seasons of total mayhem. Based on observations in day to day life events, it was realistic, yet funny. Of course, Seinfeld’s humor is not for everyone, because it’s subtle, it’s smart and witty. There are jokes in it, which stay with you for life and are open to interpretations.
What made it better than other sitcoms we come across these days, is it’s consistency. You always saw Kramer wear the same old jacket, old styled pants, and shirt. George always wore those plaid shirts with his same old glasses. Jerry always wore the striped shirt and jeans from time to time and simple t-shirts on other occasions. Even Elaine had many of the same clothes, with her dressing sense drawn from the 70’s. Consistency and realism in the smallest of things like clothes, made the show what it was- a legend! The makers never focused on anything beyond writing and performances. Unlike other sitcoms of today, fashion was their last concern. This helped viewers relate to the characters in a much better way.
Seinfeld probably added more catch phrases to the English language than any other show in TV history. Some, I personally use in my day to day life. Some I recall and simply smile upon. These include-
- You put the balm on? Who told you to put the balm on?
- Master of your domain
- Double dip
- And they are spectacular
- Not that there’s anything wrong with that
- Serenity now!!!
- The sea was angry that day my friends
- These pretzels are making me thirsty!
- Summer of George
It is a treat to watch Elaine’s over-enthusiasm and funny break-ups , George’s stupidity and insensitivity towards situations, Kramer’s slapstick comedy and joblessness. And to top it all was Jerry’s superbly observational stand-up comedy derived from his friends’ lives.
The genius of this show cannot be summed up easily. I believe the juice of it lies in its writing- hats off to Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld- who managed to turn normal everyday situations in full blown moments of genuine comedy. While other comedies may seem to be made up as they go along, the writers of Seinfeld took completely irrelevant and pointless situations and made whole episodes of magnificent comedy out of them. Each episode was made up of at least two or three different stories which managed to link up perfectly in the end, at times in black humorist way.
Every moment of Seinfeld was dedicated to life. A show about nothing, just like life, which is so momentary, so fragile, so boring, yet so interesting, so subtly funny and so lively.