Anthony's Film Review
(TV Series, 1989-1998)
One of the funniest shows ever on TV with its unique formula of gags...
Sitcoms that are considered classics and historical mostly have one thing in common: they don't try to simply copy what's been done before. They do some of that, but add their own ways to make people laugh. Add characters who are funny and memorable in outrageous situations, especially those we can relate to in real life, and you have a winning television sitcom.
Seinfeld fits that description. Yet, I wonder why I started watching the show late in its run. Maybe it's because I look for shows that have been on for a while, which would mean it's good. The first Seinfeld rerun I ever watched was the one in which George is seen eating ice cream like a pig on television at a tennis game. It was interesting. Then when I saw more episodes, including Elaine seeing a clothing store mannequin that looks like her, I knew this was a good show to keep watching.
The four main characters are all likable and quirky. Jerry Seinfeld (as himself) is your regular guy, George Costanza (Jason Alexander) is a short bald man with a lack of confidence, Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) adds a female perspective to the mix, and Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards) is the wackiest and most eccentric neighbor one could ever have. On this show, however, even the supporting characters give great performances. George's parents argue a lot, Jerry's mother is a little critical of Jerry at times, and Newman the postman hates Jerry. Now throw in funny characters unique to specific episodes. The result is a show that works well because truly everyone in the cast can make you laugh and smile.
When I got caught up with the episodes so far, I noticed several things that make the show original. The show features humorous, and sometimes hilarious, situations of awkwardness and frustration involving relationships and other kinds of interpersonal interactions. Along with that, weird people and situations. Examples include the following: George doing the opposite of everything he does and notices life getting better, a soup seller who has a strict ordering procedure, the gang having a contest to see who can avoid masturbation the longest (my all-time favorite episode), Jerry dating a woman with big hands, Kramer refusing to wear any underwear to boost his sperm count, the gang meeting alternate versions of themselves, and Elaine obsessing over being labeled "difficult" in her medical chart.
Another reason Seinfeld is funny is the use of made-up terms that could make it into the English dictionary plus new uses of existing words. The show has what I like to call the Seinfeld lexicon. Examples include the following: mimbo (a male bimbo), master of your domain (someone who has self-control when it comes to abstinence from masturbation), sponge-worthy (not bothered by the use of the contraceptive sponge), bro (a bra for men), mansierre (synonym for bro), shrinkage (the reduction in size of the male penis secondary to immersion in cold water), man-hands (hands that are large and muscular, typically seen on a man and rarely seen in women), jerk store (a hypothetical store that sells annoying people, typically used in insulting jokes), and Yada Yada (a filler term intended to disguise a context that one wishes to brush over).
All of this plus memorable quotes from various episodes (e.g., "I'm not gay! Not that there's anything wrong with that.") and continuity involving references to characters and situations in past episodes make Seinfeld a true gem among sitcoms. It's a show that'll make you laugh over and over again. And in the years to come, people of the next generation will watch this just as we are watching classic shows like I Love Lucy. This show about nothing is truly something.
For more information about Seinfeld, visit the Internet Movie Database.