30 years of nothing is really something
On July 5, 1989, the first “Seinfeld” episode aired, and ever since, it has gained fans who admire Jerry Seinfeld’s comedy material. I haven’t seen every episode, but there are a number of episodes and situations I would love to share in honor of its 30th anniversary.
The show was from a time when people barely had any cellphones at all, and that’s why we get hilarious situations like in “The Parking Garage” or “The Movie.” If Jerry, Elaine (Julia Louis Dreyfus), George (Jason Alexander), and Kramer (Michael Richards) called each other whenever they were lost, the episodes would end (snap) like that.
The reason the show is about nothing, is because there are situations and discussions that pop up at random. They way they’re written and shown is really hilarious and affective. Fans are able to relate to the characters, and memorize their quotes for future references. This was a fun show set in the Big Apple.
I sometimes worry older folks would give me the stereotype that every young person has to think everyone had phones back then. I know that. I’m not stupid. In fact, I acknowledge the fact that without cellphones back then, there wouldn’t be comedy like “Seinfeld.”
In “The Dinner Party” episode, Elaine told George he couldn’t drink Pepsi at the dinner table. She doesn’t like the image of a Pepsi bottle at the table, but he doesn’t care. “I show up with Ring Dings and Pepsi, I become the biggest hit of the party,” he says. I admire his plain and simple attitude in this aspect.
If you’re faced with this situation, do what I would do. Pour Pepsi in a wine glass or any fine glass. Would anyone know the difference? I mean red wine is as dark as that. That or find a glass Pepsi bottle. They still make them.
“The Parking Space” episode is funny in the ways it argues about whether or not you should pull in head first as you parallel park. Personally speaking, I prefer to pull in head first, but mostly I’m referring this episode to the Dr. Seuss short story “The Zax.”
For those of you unfamiliar with that story, a character from the North and another character from the South both walk in the same straight line. Since they refuse to get out each other’s ways, they just stand there, while process occurs.
In this episode, George and his rival Mike (Lee Arenberg) refuse to move their vehicles. So they just stand there, until night comes, and not even the police could get them to move, because now, they’re both arguing about who deserves the space. And the result: Jerry misses the wrestling match on TV.
Kramer has a quirky sense of humor that makes the studio audience laugh and clap every time he comes into Jerry’s apartment. In “The Keys,” he constantly pops in unexpected, in “The Seven,” he wants to own Elaine’s girly bike, in “The Cheever Letters,” he wants Cuban cigars, and in “The Airport,” Jerry finds him running on the runway. All of these are examples of why he’s so iconic. That and the way his body twitches. Michael Richards is undeniable.
Elaine is probably the best whiny character in any media. She’s so cute when she whines, like in “The Movie” when she refuses to sit in a “mini-plex multi-theater.” Most complaining women these days tend to get under your skin with their acting, but not Julia Louis Dreyfus. She knows the right material, and we acknowledge her comedic situations.
George finds himself in more situations than any character on the show. He has the biggest emotions on the show, thanks to Jason Alexander’s performance. For example, I like how he gets into an argument with “The Bubble Boy” about a misprint in “Trivial Pursuit.” George says “Moops,” while the obnoxiously disabled character says “Moors.” They fight, until they pop the bubble, leaving the studio audience dying with laughter.
I especially love the dysfunctional relationship with his parents, played brilliantly by Jerry Stiller and Estelle Harris. They have views of not having cake after dinner in “The Rye,” which ends up with the father taking the marble rye bread, and there’s syndicate version of “The Handicap Spot,” in which the father gets mad at George for having his car destroyed. Stiller is more effective than John Randolph.
He does tend to get himself in embarrassing situations like in “The Seven,” when he wants to name his future child “Seven” after Mickey Mantle’s number, two people want to claim the name, and he’s left crying without convincing them to let him keep the name.
The show does have situations I don’t like to revisit, but that’s just me talking. I dislike jokes about people sneaking into First Class on a plane, criticism from authorities of any kind, and the lack of common sense, like the Pepsi gag I’ve mentioned.
But once you get through all that, you allow Jerry Seinfeld’s comedy to take control. He and co-creator Larry David have outdone themselves with a series that keeps fans inspired. Even they have gotten some guest stars like Bryan Cranston, Laurence Tierney, Marisa Tomei, Sarah Silverman, James Hong, and Patrick Warburton.
And the best TV enemy is Newman (Wayne Knight), whose dialogue and cunning disposition keeps the characters in check. You really have to admire the energy and consistency inside him in order to know why Jerry dislikes him.
It’s such an honor to know that this show is now 30-years-old.
Another thing, when my father left some takeout food in the back of my car, it gave an odor so powerful, I was reminded of “The Smelly Car” episode. Thankfully, the smell went away. I bet Jerry wishes he could say the same thing.