Thursday, January 26, 2012

Confessions of a Seinfeldholic


The unimaginable has happened. After some 13 years of nightly re-runs, Seinfeld has been permanently sent out to the pastures of TV history. How will I survive? Truth be told, that half-hour 7:30 –8:00 fix became a necessary method of shedding the day’s accumulated stresses and shoring me up to meet the tasks of the evening. Sure, it always created some tension around dinner— would the meal be finished and the dishes cleared in time? And yes, some episodes I knew by heart and eventually chose to skip over. And even with the mute button, the commercials were unbearable. But still.

No TV show in history has ever hit so many nerves of those tiny things that we all notice and experience—waiting in restaurants, the difference between first class and coach flights, going to the baby shower, looking for your car in the parking garage, breaking up with the girlfriend/boyfriend. How many times have I been in a group where someone references a Seinfeld episode in discussing an experience? Even at the recent poetry retreat of the erudite David Whyte, he referred to the Soup Nazi while telling a story.

So I guess it’s time to say goodbye to the Soup Nazi, Poppy, J. Peterman, the Bubble Boy, Art Vandelay and the whole cast of colorful characters. The references to double-dipping, being sponge-worthy, muffin tops, puffy shirts and more may live beyond the demise of re-runs, but will eventually go the way of all mortal creations and fade in memory. I was consistently taken by the tightly-woven plots, as many as four strands coming together (the connection between the golf ball, the whale and the “marine biologist” amongst the most brilliant of many), came to love the characters, even as they stood opposed to the kind of caring I care about (again brilliant exposed in the episode about the do-gooder alternative-reality Seinfeld characters who were excruciatingly boring). I’ll miss them all, but hey, I guess it was time to move on.

And now I have 30 more minutes a night to… well, I’ll keep you posted.

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