Mindless, gentle, and soothing – Seinfeld might be the perfect medicine for this year.
There’s a 9-year age gap between myself and my husband, and while most of the time, the age difference doesn’t come up much; it does tend to pop up the most with television and movies that I missed out on.
My re-education of movies and media that I missed began when we were dating – Gremlins, Willow, Labyrinth, and the Dark Crystal were a few experiences (and occasional nightmare fuel, by the way – what is with the weird trippy 80’s “family-friendly” movies and shows that are super dark? That’s a blog post for another day, though…) that I missed out on and had to watch with him.
But none of those missed bastions of culture shone to me from afar, so bright and alluring, as that of Seinfeld. The references to Festivus and the soup Nazi, the knowledge that I was a George Costanza even though I had no idea who he was, and the idea of missing out on a sitcom that was so prevalent in our culture for so long, wore me down until finally, at long last – I sat down and watched them all.
And, let me say, it was worth the wait.
The first season or two were a little hard to get into, but once I got to the third and fourth seasons, I was hooked. The witty writing, the relatable every day problems, and the “no plot” plot, all made for a very fun and enjoyable experience.
I think one thing that Seinfeld did so well – or should I say didn’t do – that other sitcoms like Friends and How I Met Your Mother fell prey to, was the complete lack of moralizing. There was no point, no higher message, no value being pushed. Even those other comedies, in all their shallow silliness, had some moments where a light shone down on a character or a subtle message was pushed with the gentle nudge of moralization. But with Seinfeld, there really was none of that.
The beauty of the no-moralization sitcom was that it really provided easy watching, with the knowledge that this would not provoke cliff hangers, or whose baby is it quandaries, or on – again off – again relationship tears à la Ross and Rachel of Friends.
It’s the perfect sitcom to watch during 2020.
There were definitely a few episodes that didn’t age super well, (jokes about sex, race, or disability that I would bet wouldn’t go over well nowadays), but to the most part, the show was really just good, clean, fun. The problems the friends encountered were simple and petty and ever so relatable, and the show was as calming to watch as… a guided meditation led by a paranoid narcissist at a New York diner.
I am grateful that I experienced Seinfeld at long last, and if by some off chance that one of you reading this also missed this show, you should watch it too.
In parting, I leave with you these words from the great George Costanza, “If it wasn’t for the toilet, there would be no books.”