I recently, through a self-imposed challenge, decided to sit and watch every single episode of the hit 90’s television sitcom, Seinfeld. I grew up watching the show off and on and it never really struck me as funny or memorable. However, if you’ve listened to some of I, Geek’s earliest shows it becomes clear that a few on the crew are avid fans of the show. I felt it was high time I really find out if the show lives up to the hype.
In my humble and altogether honest opinion, it doesn’t.
Have I lost you yet?
If not, let me explain. You see, I’ve always found Jerry Seinfeld to be rather grating. I’ve never once heard him tell a joke that I considered hilarious. Sure, he’s humorous, but in that “dad joke” sort of way. Keep in mind that my opinion of Jerry Seinfeld has been colored a bit since many rumors have surfaced about the man in real life being a complete and total jerk. However, I tried very hard to put that out of my mind while I watched the show, focusing entirely on each story as it played out before me and to be completely fair and honest, I never liked the guy. I’m also acutely aware that it has become somewhat “popular” in recent years to overly criticize Seinfeld. A television trope for the modern age I suppose. Rest assured, I don’t fall within this niche group of people. I never liked the show to begin with.
Let me try and outline what it was that I really didn’t enjoy about the show and we’ll go from there.
- The characters were all one dimensional, narcissistic pricks. They NEVER changed until the final episode (an issue I’ll address shortly). There was no growth for any of them and they were each unpleasant in their own off putting ways. Any decent story requires growth, even in the smallest and most meaningless ways. Instead, you could take a ranting George monologue from season 1 and compare it with one from season 8 and it wouldn’t sound any different.
- Each episode was the same exact formula. I understand the old adage of not fixing something that isn’t broke, but each episode was a carbon copy of the previous episode with a few outliers in the bunch.
- Kramer is one of the worst characters in the history of television. I know this will be a very unpopular point, but I had to say it. I’ll gladly admit that my feelings for Michael Richards have soured over the years, but one tends to do that with racists. Again, I tried to keep that out of my mind while watching the show. Kramer is a physical comedy prop and that’s it. He enters the room in his way, the crowd goes nuts for some reason, and then he says something insane. How is that comedy?
- The show isn’t “A show about nothing!” It never was a show about nothing and to claim otherwise was absurd. It was and always was a show about how a comedian gets his material.
- The episode where Jerry Seinfeld mocks failed suicide attempts in the opening sequence would be considered insensitive in the 1940’s, much less the 90’s and today. That one shocked me and I’m not a prude.
To be fair, here’s a list of things I did like about Seinfeld.
- J. Peterman was probably my favorite character on the show and made me laugh out loud more than once. Of his many hilarious quotes this was one of my favorites:
“Oh, Elaine. The toll road of denial is a long and dangerous one. The price, your soul. Oh, by the way, you have until five to clear out your desk. You’re fired.”
- There are some rather popular episodes that many fans adore. I must admit that most of those are television classics. The Contest, The Invitations, The Junior Mint, The Marine Biologist, and The Merv Griffin Show just to name a few.
- The occasional appearance of Larry David, especially sporting a cape, was always good fun.
The Series Finale and why it sucked:
The series finale has been considered by many to be one of the worst in television history. I understand what they were trying to do by tying everything together, bringing the show full circle and proving that this fun loving bunch of misfits was always and forever misunderstood. They wanted to bring the series to a close by showing how the gang inadvertently and horribly messed up the lives of everyone they ever touched. The problem was, it was a complete reversal to anything they’d done before. The gang is on the road and in the small town of Latham, Massachusetts they stand idly by as a socially awkward, overweight man gets carjacked a few feet in front of them. They joke about it as it happens. Of course this lands them in jail to the surprise of everyone and no one. Here’s the deal. While these four characters are terrible people, they’ve never been so callous as to simply stop and laugh at a fat guy getting carjacked. They very easily could be witnessing a murder before their very eyes and they’ve become such vapid shells of their former characters that instead they stand there and joke together. Throughout the entire series they tried to help people and oft times failed miserably. They would make jokes at the expense of others but in passing conversation at a later location and time. Here they turned into 5 years old children watching a dog take a poop. It was and is the worst finale in television history.
A final verdict:
Overall I didn’t hate the show, I just didn’t think it was that good. I didn’t enjoy it like I’ve enjoyed other shows and I certainly won’t ever watch another episode again. Simply put, it isn’t my cup of tea. I won’t begrudge those who enjoy it but I will take exception to those who describe it as the greatest show of all time. To be clear I have no idea what the greatest show of all time is, but I know there are better shows that offer more than Seinfeld ever did. But that is for another time and another article.
Thanks for reading and by all means feel free to disagree with me. Many do.
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