The continuing misadventures of neurotic New York City stand-up comedian Jerry Seinfeld and his equally neurotic New York City friends.The continuing misadventures of neurotic New York City stand-up comedian Jerry Seinfeld and his equally neurotic New York City friends.The continuing misadventures of neurotic New York City stand-up comedian Jerry Seinfeld and his equally neurotic New York City friends.
Of the two comedy TV series in the history of television, I would choose both Seinfeld and Monty Python as the cultural landmarks of the medium. In Seinfeld, there is not a trace of sentimentality and glib moralizing that plagues the American sitcom genre. Characters do not hug each other on Christmas, fall in love, wax on and on about family and friends, there is no faux-cathartic season ender so favoured by the writers of, say, "Friends".
Instead, we have the narcissistic Jerry, constantly mining the minutiae of everyday detail for every bit of situational comedy; we have the hyper-aggressive Elaine, whose strings of breakups with boyfriends are as impressive as her petty neuroses leading up to the breakups themselves; the ultimate schlub-loser George, who lies to every single woman he dates, sells faulty equipment to the handicapped and muscles off women and children when fleeing an apartment fire; and the impossibly inventive physical comedy of the entrepreneur cum schmooze Kramer.
Over and over again, week in and week out, the quartet discuss trivialities with unbridled zeal, as the non-descript narrative pings from one mundane setting to another. Seldom has such wit been generated by such gargantually pointless human endeavours. That is where the brilliance of Seinfeld lies, in the ability to go to the most bizarre ends to fulfill the potential of a less than hopeful comedic premise; and the endless, pointlessly smug and nihilistic banter that almost invariably escalates into some of TV's classic lines, such as when George shouts triumphantly after winning an argument that "there is no bigger loser than me!".
Surely, we won't find something like this again, for many more years to come.
- Dec 26, 2004