Seinfeld Essay, Research Paper
It was a warm September Thursday night in 1991. I was engaged in my favorite past time of “channel surfing” when a light appeared at the end of the tunnel. Displayed on my favorite, “20 inch friend”, (also known as my usual Saturday night date), appeared a remarkable treasure. There before my eyes was a sitcom called Seinfeld. From that moment on I was astounded to find that not even great sitcom s such as my beloved Mash and I Love Lucy were as captivating or enthralling. There is only one show that could have started Must See TV, only one show that could be the anchor for new sitcoms year after year while continuing to hold it s position of number one in the rating wars, only one sitcom is this grand, this superior, and this notable, Seinfeld. The zenith of television sitcoms. Season after season, Seinfeld has provided non-stop laughing, excellent acting and original scripts mirroring real life.
One of the major factors contributing to the overwhelming success of the show is its cast of unstererotypical characters. The main characters refereed to as the “Fab Four”, consist of Jerry Seinfeld, Elaine Benes, George Costanza and Cosmo Kramer. Jerry Seinfeld, known by his own name on the program, is the central figure of the sitcom and the catalyst for almost everything that happens. He is involved in the antics revolving around Kramer, George and Elaine. On one episode George, Kramer and Jerry are spying on the naked lady across the street all day to see who can win a bet. The twist at the end of the show is when we see George and Jerry peering through the window and gasping, ” Is that Kramer in her apartment? Wow he is naked!” Another episode involves Jerry who is mistaken for a Nazi leader arriving in town to speak at a meeting. He continues the charade in order to secure a limousine ride home after the frustration of his own ride not being there to pick him up. As the main character, he is most often the straight man allowing the other characters to play off of him. One of his common lines is, “wait a minute here, you mean to tell me—–”, then recapping the situation, action or blunder the other character was involved in. This in turn allows the supporting actor or actress to verbally and almost always physically respond with exaggerated gestures and eye movements. Jerry reflects the single male, quasi yuppie, New Yorker, with the bicycle hanging in the apartment, the security system to “buzz” guests in, and the 12 boxes of cereal always present and visible on his kitchen shelf. He becomes so easy to relate to because he seems very typical of his socio-economic and age group, while still being on the eccentric side.
Elaine Benes, the only leading female, is Jerry s mildly neurotic ex-girlfriend and current platonic pal. She often appears venerable to the pitfalls single females encounter in their relationships, while never giving an inch to the male dominance on the show. She has an exaggerated character but manages to maintain a sense of feminine strength. Elaine has taken the idea of the smart, sassy single women and updated it to a 90 s outlook. The most enduring part of Elaine is her often gross habits of a personal nature, such as pulling down her underwear in an exaggerated manner, which every female has tried to do gracefully while walking down the street. The female audience can relate while she gets to indulge in the very behavior females wish they had the nerve to do. Her critical perspective of the females who enter into Jerry, George, and Kramers life put each of the male characters in a comical defense of his current “fling”. Once again the characters have the opportunity to describe the “victim” using the exaggerate gestures and facial expressions we often think and feel but probably wouldn t express.
George Costanza portrays the character on the show who is always busy finding excuses and “way out” explanations for why he has to weasel out of situations, or explain why he failed his attempt to accomplish something. He was ultimately responsible for the death of his fiancee because of narrow focus on saving money even when it becomes detrimental to the very thing he is attempting to do. He is so easy for the audience to relate to because we would all really like to be able to choose the path we want without a conscience. We all love George and his inflated ego, whining, penny pinching personality. George off and on is forced to live with his parents, depending on his current job and financial situation. The smothering, overwhelming New York Jewish parents, who add a depth to the show because of their bazaar behavior. They speak with the New York accent, whining to new heights, expressing the last conservative generations values. These very values that seem to be bigger than life and clash with everything George thinks and does. George always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Who couldn t relate to that feeling? He never seems to have things go his way but by the end of the show he has fixed everything in some backward method and is well on his way to creating yet another problem.
Cosmo Kramer, my favorite character, is Jerry s eccentric next-door neighbor. Kramer is famous for his ritual entrance of barging through Jerry s door and moving his body in wild gyrations. This has become a trademark for not only the character but the actor as well. He has been seen in commercials imitating this famous “move”, which is so unique in sitcom, it should have a special name. Kramer is a crazy version of a renaissance man who seems to be informed about everything going on around him. He is the character who usually incorporates the introduction of current concerns. These issues range from the mundane and irrelevant to serious social concerns. A wide diversified range such as taxes and health care to current basketball stories. Kramer is the character we all wish we could be. His strength of personality and enormous sense of self is reflected by his choice of extreme clothing he wears with absolutely no care or concern to others opinion. He has the ability to comment with a depth and understanding usually reserved for the character on the show wearing a three piece suit and carrying a briefcase.
While we find it easy to relate to various pieces and parts of the characters, we can not help but recognize the abilities of the actors/actresses are what make it all work. The superb acting of Jerry Seinfeld, Michael Richards, Jason Alexander and Julia Louis-Dreyfus provide the spark for the show. The show has won many honors including the prestigious Peabody, Emmy, and Golden Globe Awards as well as the Screen Actors Guild Award. Each individual actor/actress has won numerous awards as well. The casting for this show was a grand success. The personalities mesh with each other in a special way, like Archie, Edith and the Meathead of All In the Family. This “meshing” is rarely achieved. When watching a Seinfeld episode you can immediately get the sense of the on screen charisma. This charisma emulating from the actors/actresses and characters is what truly makes the show special.
I am sad to say that the 1998 season will be the final season for the “Fab Four”. They will not soon be forgotten for they have granted us with hours of entertainment. Seinfeld will always be remebered as the superior of all other television shows. Year after year Seinfeld has provided laughing, along with good acting and superb scripts. Now that you have been enlightened on the superiority of the Seinfeld sitcom you can now truly enjoy your Thursday night as I do, watching Seinfeld