Remember Seinfeld?

OK, this isn’t news. Not even close, being that Seinfeld is over and done and gone. And I have to admit: I’ve never watched an entire episode of Seinfeld.
Now, what kind of admission is that for someone writing for a hip cutting edge crew like this one (not that I ever claimed to be hip, mind you)? But why not? You may ask: why didn’t you ever watch Seinfeld. Well, I suppose there are all kinds of reasons, but here’s a couple: I’ve never aspired to live in New York City. Yes, yes, I know, please don’t gasp so loudly, it knocks over the plant stand.
How could a Jew not want to live in New York? Heck, how could anyone not want to live in New York? I know that lots of cool stuff happens there, and I’m sorry to miss it, yes. And it’s not that I don’t like NYC: I’m happy to visit from time to time, buy a few sefarim, visit friends, get some good kosher food (although I’m just as happy to get my kosher on in LA or Jslm, if that’s an option, in fact, preferred, really), see a show, but I do like you New York, really.
But Seinfeld, I just never really thought that it was all that. Maybe it’s just me, alone. But I recently was zooming around looking at things and found this on, of all places, a sociology blog (see, I told you I wasn’t hip), Danny Hoch talking about why he turned down a bit part of Seinfeld, and a little of the show as it actually happened.
so… reason number two: I just always felt that Seinfeld was somehow …off. It seems to me that there’s a large helping in Seinfeld of using humor not, as it ought to be, making fun of oneself, to mock power, and to make people’s vision clearer about how the world really is, as opposed to how it believes it is, but more of a knowing wink wink, we’re superior kind of feeling. And I don’t love racism in my humor. Sarah Silverman, when she makes her jokes, gives a very different ta’am there: when she makes you laugh, (if you can laugh, or maybe gasp) you can’t laugh without squirming, because inherent in her joke is that she’s mocking the person who laughs, because they’re laughing, but Seinfeld…it’s not there. Jewish jokes, IMO aren’t funny when they’re racist, and they aren’t funny when they’re misogynist, and it’s time certain folks stopped getting a free pass on “humor” because it was said with a New Yawk accent – to the best that I can tell, that’s exactly what New York isn’t about, so cut it out.
And just in case, I have to complete the admission: I don’t like Woody Allen either. He’s creepy, and he’s married to his daughter. nyah.

10 thoughts on “Remember Seinfeld?

  1. This is really going to tip off the communal police: I also hate Seinfeld and could only stand a couple episodes. The fact that it seems to be a language amongst my generation (along with The Simpsons, which I also missed because my mother said it “glorified mediocrity”) is all the more telling why I’m a little out of step with my peers on this one. Or perhaps I do not hate as much as do not get. Either way, it’s sure to ring Jewschool a few extra self-hater points.
    Seinfeld has no plot.
    It has no humor, only gags.
    It’s central device is setting up characters in embarrassing situations and then watching them squirm in discomfort.
    Gag me with the full DVD collection of SNL, please. I find a lot of things funny. I thought this stuff was plenty funny. But Seinfeld isn’t funny in general, and that’s not even going near the generalized stereotypes as Dan Hoch tells it.

  2. Whether one finds Seinfeld funny is a personal response, it’s like saying “I don’t like green”. Ok, you don’t like green. But in fact most of the episodes not only had a plot (or story line), there was usually an a and b plot – if fact the last season or so fell off because they failed to maintain two plots per episode. And it’s not self hating to not like Seinfeld, it’s only self hating to not like Israel and to like Noam Chompsky.

  3. incorrect, I read half of your comment, and I started holding out hope that you might actually be writing an entire paragraph here without trashing this site as a bunch of anti-Jewish anti-Israel liberals.
    Silly me.

  4. I also dislike Seinfeld, mostly because the characters don’t seem like nice people. I couldn’t feel for them, and therefore didn’t care about what happened.
    Additionally, I got the feeling that my brothers were funnier than the average episode (after watching a few under protest). Anyone else who doesn’t love the show is welcome to come to a Shabbat dinner at my family home for a more interesting way to spend an hour or so.

  5. Hit the nail on the head, though I disagree with Kung Fu Jew’s mom about the Simpsons (it’s about parody). “Seinfeld’s” problem, beyond the fact that it was not particularly funny and as deeply superficial as “Friends,” was, also like “Friends,” remarkably self-satisfied, not in its characters (neurosis as shtick is now a bit threadbare, isn’t) but in its ethos: a bunch of uncool people who in their geekiness, think they’re cool.
    I get enough of that at home.

  6. Uh. Hate Seinfeld. Lifelong New Yorker. Not wanting to live in New York doesn’t have anything to do with not liking Seinfeld. KRG, I sincerely hope your choice not to live here isn’t based on your distaste for seinfeld, now that would be disappointing.

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