so i've been meaning to write about Seinfeld for quite some time. you see, i get completely obsessed with a particular show for a certain amount of time and then i move on. when i say completely obsessed, i mean that i burn through episodes.
i am not ashamed to admit this, but i watched all 3 seasons of veronica mars. i like to think that this is less a testament to my effeminate inclinations for teenage girl drama and more of a representation of how shitty tv is now a days. it was on netflix instant queue and she and i burned through those episodes. every night we would watch AT LEAST 2 (if not 3), we sometimes even dabbled in the area of 4 episodes in a row; but there's a limit.
so i have gotten obsessed over the following shows:
6 Feet Under - this is still my favorite show of all time. for a while the wire had knocked it from its perch but after some time and thinking about it, i definitely love 6 feet under more
The Wire - season 4 of this is the best single season of all time. i still can't get over teh fact that juliann refuses to watch this season with me.
The Office - i have been hanging on sobbing hysterically since season 6. this is a classic abusive relationship. it was slipping a bit in season 5 but then the writers pulled out what turned out to be their last dying gasp: Michael quitting his job and starting his own company. Since that story line this show has taken a dive into shit. i can't even recall when this show jumped the shark but i want to say it was the "Christening" episode. but still it has what is now a close battle if not a tie (i am still thinking about this as i type this entry) for the award of best single episode of all time: the Dinner Party. so yeah.
Then there's seinfeld. i have ALWAYS been obsessed with seinfeld. and just to clarify when i say "obsessed" i mean: "i know just about everything there is to know about this show AND i will sit down and watch an episode at any given time no questions asked." that latter part is difficult to achieve. it is especially harder for dramas which i realize. anyhow, i will ALWAYS watch seinfeld when it is on, whereas i have found that i turn the Office off sometimes.
seinfeld is the single best show ever. there are no questions asked. it started and remained ingenious. i have read as many negative comments about seinfeld as i could, because after a while i was incredulous. was i missing something? but one of the biggest negatives to some people was that seinfeld went from "realistic" to "surreal". To give you an idea, one of the best episodes in the early years is entitled "Parking Garage" it is an episode where Jerry, Elaine, George & Kramer can't find Kramer's car in the garage. another is where they wait for a table at a chinese restaurant. in contrast, near the last two seasons there were scenarios in Kramer uses butter to shave and at one point turns into a turkey in front of Newman's eyes.
i definitely appreciated that being pointed out because i noticed it immediately. but it still didn't deter how much i loved it. sure there were certain seasons i liked more than others, but overall it remains perfect throughout. i also read a great article in Men's Health a long time ago about how you to stay mentally healthy. the article suggested that you approach life the same way Jerry does in Seinfeld. if you think about it, he is constantly subjected to moronic things done by his friends. the hardest part is accurately describing how this character reacts to his friends.
basically, he reacts with benevolent sardonism (is that a word?). if i just describe someone as "sardonic" it gives an evil connotation. like he is conniving or taking joy in misfortune (schadenfreude anyone?). that's why i view it as a benevolent version; while he does make the wisecracks he seems interested in their endeavors.
the thing is Jerry Seinfeld is definitely not the best actor on that show. i think that Jason Alexander as George Costanza is one of the greatest acting jobs of all time. it is the only time i have been able to watch an over-the-top character without feeling nauseated by the over-acting. Jason Alexander does the best job i have ever seen in capturing the concept of George Costanza. It is akin to how Steve Carrell just absolutely killed the character of Michael Scott. One of the greatest travesties of all time is that he did not get an emmy for his performance as Michael Scott (fucked up).
But enough about all that, here i make my decision. although i love The Dinner Party and it always gets a chuckle, I have to say that The Rye in Season 7 is the best single episode of all time. here is why:
it starts out as usual for a seinfeld episode: unusual yet oddly normal things happening to people. i know that's sort of like known unknowns, but there's a scene where Kramer comes back from Costco and has bought a ton of beefaroni and tuna. while it is something that COULD happen, it's unusual for it to happen. also, jerry & elaine talk about how elaine's new b/f won't go down on her in such a veiled way that they're able ot get it on public broadcasting.
but this episode is stolen by george costanza and his parents. by the way, next to george costanza, his parents are the best characters ever. i don't know how those two people managed to nail that craziness so well but they really come through in this episode. so, george and his parents are invited to dinner with george's fiance and her parents. there's a great part right at the beginning where george's mom wants him to zip it up saying, "we don't want to be late, they're you're in-laws" and george screams, "alright, alright let's not get INTO PANIC MODE!!!" that right there is why Jason Alexander is such a great actor. he let's out that little bit of crazy once in a while.
anyhow, the dinner goes as expected (terribly) but the catcher comes as they are headed home. you see, george's parents brought a Marble rye from schnitzer's to the dinner party. susan's parents forgot to put it out so george's dad took it back. hilarity ensues.
so now george wants to come up with a scheme in which he can return the rye bread and pretend like it all never happened. in the mean time kramer gets to ride someone's handsome cab (again that unusual, realism)so george asks him to take susan's parents out for a ride for their anniversary. so it's all set up and one of the greatest lines in television comes out here.
george is with susan's parents in their apartment waiting for kramer to come with the handsome cab. he's really nervous and susan's father remarks on this in the following exchange:
"George, you seem a little bit nervous, anything wrong?"
"No, no, you know, I just get a little nervous around the weekends."
this show really hits it home because it reaches a peak of perfection with 6 mins left. kramer pans out, jerry comes with the rye, and susan's parents get their handsome cab ride. then comes one of the best comedic "tragedies" of all time. for something that started out so perfectly for george it all turns to shit.
kramer fed the horse beefaroni so it starts farting causing him to turn back and drop off susan's parents. just as jerry is about ot hand the rye to george susan's parents turn the corner. the show ends with jerry baiting a hook with the marble rye and george "fishing" it up to the 3rd floor.
the last scene is one of the best of any show ever.
well as you can tell, i love seinfeld.