Six Things I Learned From Jerry Seinfeld’s Reddit AMA

The night I ended my year long run at the greatest sitcom of all time, I scoured the internet like a jaded old man for anything that could make me feel like I was watching a new episode. This led me, of course, to the Seinfeld subreddit where I ran into an informative “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) Jerry Seinfeld did back in January. Some questions had to do with Jerry’s personal life or Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, but the bulk of them were about Seinfeld. In keeping with the internet’s affinity for numbered lists, I’d like to offer six things I learned from Jerry’s AMA.

1. Jerry as comedian but straight man to his friends absurdity is genius

Jerry as the straight man

Jerry may not always function as a typical straight man, but his antics are often tempered in comparison to his three closest friends. A man who makes people laugh for a living but takes a back seat to his friend’s comedy is not only ironic, it’s brilliant. This seems like an obvious obvious thing looking back, yet, as Jerry said, “Very few people have every remarked on this,” and I was not able to articulate it until I read this. My friend often describes Jerry as “the glue that holds the show together.” This is true in many respects but especially from the standpoint of comedy.

2. Seinfeld was not a “show about nothing.” 

“…The show about nothing was just a joke in an episode many years later, and Larry and I to this day are surprised that it caught on as a way that people describe the show because to us it’s the opposite of that.”

show about nothingWhenever I told someone I was watching Seinfeld straight through, it was not uncommon for them to mention it being a “show about nothing.” I didn’t understand why until I reached season four when Jerry and George decide to pitch “Jerry,” their “show about nothing” to NBC. At first I thought they were responding to criticism about the show. When I learned that wasn’t true, I struggled to apply that phrase to Seinfeld as it seemed so many people had. At the bare minimum, we have to admit that something happens in each episode, and while there may not always be much of a plot, there is certainly substance. Most of this substance has to do with hilarity of relationships and social customs. Although they are often stretched into a caricature, we can all resonate with, for example, interacting with a low talker or close talker. I propose that from now on we make it a goal to refer to Seinfeld as “a show about something.”

(Just to be clear, this is what Seinfeld would look like if it was about nothing:)

3. Kramer’s “look away, I’m hideous” scene was funniest to Jerry in the moment

“…if you think Kramer is funny on TV, imagine his real face six inches from your nose, how funny that is. You can’t imagine. It’s impossible not to laugh. So I would.”

Jerry laughingJerry often attempts to bottle up his laughter, but the resulting grins aren’t fooling anybody. It seems he had a particularly difficult time with Kramer’s “look away, I’m hideous” scene. Watch the outtakes, and then the full scene, where Jerry half snickers the whole time and turns away from the camera to conceal his laughter at the end:

4. Jerry was happy with the finale

finale

I was glad to read that Jerry was happy with the finale, and I more or less agree with him. The only other way I could think to end it would be for Jerry to close the door to his apartment after all the characters walked out. I had no issue with the ending as they did and thought it was great that so many of the supporting characters got to come back for the finale. I also enjoyed Jerry and George repeating the opening dialog from the first episode.

5. Newman was Jerry’s favorite supporting character 

Newman arch enemy

It doesn’t bother me that the show never explains why Jerry and Newman are at odds or his often villainous demeanor for that matter. I never thought of Newman as Jerry’s arch enemy, but I love that he celebrates that.

6. Superman is not in every episode.

superman

We can officially catalog this as urban legend and all stop talking about it.

 

Tuesday “News:” A Recap of 90s Media I Discovered Last Week

Last week’s 90s-related activity included:

1. Dead Homer Society

Last week, Dead Homer Society, a Simpsons blog devoted to relishing in the show’s single digit seasons and pushing for the current show to be taken off the air, quoted a recent post of mine:

“I am envious.  Not of the whole “couldn’t watch it in the 90s” thing, but of the getting to watch them for the first time thing.”

DHS a cool blog in its own right and one I’m sure I will interact with as I continue to watch the Simpsons. Thank you for linking to The 90s Project!

2. Article About Jerry’s Girlfriends

Ashley Burns, a writer for UPROXX, ranked Jerry Seinfeld’s top 50 girlfriends based on “Personality, Intelligence, Looks, Cleanliness, Sense of Humor, Compassion, Fidelity, and an overall “Gaga” factor.” Pretty impressive work!

3. Freaks and Geeks 

I started watching Freaks and Geeks (1999) last week and was pleased to find it is set in Michigan. It is amazing how many actors got their start in this show. I’m bummed it only survived one season, but since the episodes are an hour long, it will take me a while to get through it.

Any other shows I should watch all the way through besides Seinfeld and The Simpsons (first 9 seasons only)? Don’t even bother saying Friends because it’s not happening.

4. Miller’s Crossing 

After recently watching Fargo and The Big Lebowski, I continued my Coen Brothers binge with Miller’s Crossing, a 1990 gangster film set in the prohibition era. Tom, the main character, finds himself caught between two mobsters, Leo and Caspar, who are vying for control of the town. As Tom changes allegiances to survive, the characters are forced to decide who they can trust. As close friendships are called into question, one line of the dialogue stuck out to me: “You don’t know anybody, not that well.” While the music leaves something to be desired, the script and acting are fantastic.

As my buddy says: if Fargo is the Coen Brothers doing crime veiled in comedy, in Miller’s Crossing they take it seriously-and they expect you to do the same. Plan on locking in for this one. Don’t miss the details.

5. RIP Biggie

Yesterday was the 17th anniversary of Christopher Wallace‘s death (AKA Biggie). I am yet to listen to any of his music, but I plan to soon. I have a lot to learn about 90s rap. RIP.