Allow me to indulge myself with a few extra paragraphs tonight. This is a bit of therapy for me, as one would expect from a fan of Seinfeld:
I’ve had a lot of reasons to reminisce of late. I recently moved, and in so doing, felt like I was leaving more pieces of me behind than simple memories. The house was my first. My wife and I got married there, had our children there, and those rooms will never again be the halls that we roam. But my new place is pretty rad, too. To christen the place, and especially my new Nerd Command Center, I decided to take on my next Screens Mission. To consume all nine seasons of Seinfeld.
This show was on as I entered my mid- to late-twenties. I was just realizing that I didn’t actually know everything. But there was a schtick of Seinfeld’s that was one of mine too; one that sticks with me to this day: the application of labels. To everything. I ascribe colloquialisms to many everyday phenomenon simply as a matter of facilitating conversation. And for keeping facts, events, and people straight in my head. I hope that I’ve grown beyond the point where people were simply the labels that I applied to them. In fact, I am not sure if I ever went through that phase. It really is just a manner of keeping names and faces straight in my head until I get to know someone.
Whether right or wrong, good or bad, there is a lot about the show that I identify with. But I cannot say that I’ve ever seen every single episode. To this day, people will make a Seinfeld reference, certain that I’ll get it, only to be surprised to find out that it must be from an episode that I missed. So here, we go. Thrusters on full, I’m going in all the way back at the beginning. And on DVD no less.
Episode #1 is a bit hit-or-miss, but I still got a very good chuckle, because I’ve been in many a situation with a woman where I failed to read some signal. In fact, I am pretty sure that is the sub-title of my life, including the time I’ve spent being married. I’m also pretty sure that, much like Jerry in this episode, I’ve been as much the victim in these situations as the oblivious offender. How are you supposed to suspect or just know that a girl who says she wants to stay at your place when she comes through town is actually engaged? I’ve never understood why people don’t just come clean and be more transparent and open.
And that is pretty much in a nutshell what Episode #1 was; a brief treatise on The Signal. The one that we get loud and clear. Or the critical one that we miss. George counsels Jerry that he is missing the signal from a woman who casually indicates that she “has to” come to town and that “maybe” she’ll stop by and see Jerry. Finishing a stand-up show that night, Jerry returns home thinking that George was right and that Laura has bailed on the whole idea. But she calls and asks if she can spend the night and the hilarity ensues.
Episode #1 – The Seinfeld Chronicles, has a bit of sketchy production quality, but, hey, it was a pilot that no one knew would actually go somewhere. I’m still a fan of the old school episodes that opened and closed with Jerry doing his signature stand-up. Not all of it holds up well. It’s funny to see audience members smoking. In the episode, the laugh track can be a bit obnoxious, but a lot of the laughs are valid.
Episode #2 – Male Unbonding brings a bit of polish to the set; extra budget brought on by the purchase of the inaugural half-season run under contract. We get our first cameo from a guest who would go on and be a more known face. This would become a staple of the show as guest star after guest star would go on to become part of Hollywood’s Who’s Who.
Kevin Dunn plays Jerry’s choldhood friend Joel Horneck. Dunn would go on to play the Ron Witwicki, Sam’s father, in the first three of Michael Bay’s Transformers flicks. The episode centers around the difficulty men encounter when they have to break up with a guy friend. Ditching a girl is easy, apparently, or at least there is a set of societal norms that guide you through te process. But how do you dump a guy-friend? No worries; as always, Jerry and George will figure t out.
A few production notes: This episode aired as the fourth, but was actually the second produced. It introduced Elaine and was the first one that had the show’s theme music applied. ON the DVD set, it is billed as Episode #2.
This episode brought some real-world insight. It occurred to me how truly more complex male-to-male relationships are today. The trope from the show? That most guys just talk about girls and sports when talking to another guy? Or work. That was certainly true in my early adult life.
But as I got older, and became more comfortable with the fact that I am an introvert (after decades of society trying to say that something was “wrong with you” if you were introverted), I spent less time in conversations with others thst were designed simply to have conversations with others. These days, I seek out and try to spend my conversation time engaged about the things that truly interest me. That’s how I wound up here.
Stay tuned for periodic drops of my Seinfeld diary as I binge watch more of this show. And feel free to share any of your thoughts on the series and your own introspective down below. I’d really like to hear from anyone else who has a special place in their heart for this show and its cast.