I am a Jerry fan. His self-titled television show, Seinfeld, changed my perspective on life and how I interpret the world around me. I am not alone in my passion for Seinfeld, however, I am a part of a smaller group who actually thinks that Jerry was the best character on the show. Okay, before you freak out…read me out.
The 3 Stages of, and to, Seinfeld
Stage #1: When people first start watching Seinfeld they are immediately drawn to the exaggerated and wacky Kramer. He’s wild and fun. Having Kramer as your favorite character is like having Michelangelo as your favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. It’s easy to enjoy funny words, big sounds and weird things. Nunchucks…am I right?
Stage #2: After one gets past the wildness which is Kramer, they immediately move to the eccentric, over-thinking George Costanza. George Costanza, or “Can’t-standz-ya” as he is sometimes known, thinks the things we think but would never actually take action on such as sleeping under your desk at work or rushing past a ton of children if there is a fire. George’s interactions with his parents and bosses feel very similar to our own. We begin to actually wonder if we would act the same way as George if we were in his situations. He is shockingly relate-able and we love him for it.
Stage #3: The final stage of Seinfeld nirvana can not usually be reached until one has watched an incredible amount of Seinfeld episodes…multiple times. You’ll be watching an interaction between Jerry and his annoying neighbor Newman (who you know is trouble because he basically caused all of the problems in Jurassic Park) and all of a sudden you’ll stand-up, pause your DVD and declare to the world, “I am a Jerry fan.” When it happened to me, I struggled with the realization that I have moved past Kozmo and Georgy-boy. How would I be able to bring up a Jerry centric scene to my friends and not have them try and trump me with a George telling his marine biologist story where he tries to save a whale, capped with Kramer’s great line, “is that a Titlest?” I wouldn’t be able to win a debate because my Jerry enjoyment was a feeling. Jerry is often the straight-man in the scene and has to let the comedy build around him. I appreciate the character who doesn’t get in the way of comedy…as Jerry does. The best way I can explain the concept of not getting in the way of comedy is by mentioning a late night comedy show like Conan. Conan O’Brien will occasionally have non-comedian guests on who talk too much or attempt to be funny. Those guest’s spots end up falling a little flat and not going very well. The best guest spots are when the guest allows the professional comedian (Conan) to lead the conversation and make the jokes. The guest gets out of the way of comedy and the interview ends up going very well.
In today’s Wednesday Web Series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Jerry Seinfeld goes for a drive and coffee with some of his professional comedian friends. Jerry basically takes one of his buddies on a little trip, and we watch the two comedians talk about whatever happens to come up. Jerry will occasionally throw out a specific question to get the conversations rolling, but for the most part the experience feels natural (as natural as a couple of successful comedians driving around in an old-school car can feel). So far, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is only 2 episodes into it’s run, featuring Larry David (Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm) and Ricky Gervais (The Office, Extras), but new episodes are on their way, every Thursday. If you are a Jerry fan, I suggest making a reminder to watch Seinfeld on Thursdays…just like in the old days.
Stage #4: Elaine is your favorite. Just kidding! Stage #4 doesn’t exist.