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- Catherine Rampell, student @ University of Washington
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- Michael Majchrowicz, student @ University of Kentucky
It was a warm September Thursday night in 1991. I was engaged in my favorite past time of "channel surfing" when a light appeared at the end of the tunnel. Displayed on my favorite, "20 inch friend", (also known as my usual Saturday night date), appeared a remarkable treasure. There before my eyes was a sitcom called Seinfeld. From that moment on I was astounded to find that not even great sitcom’s such as my beloved Mash and I Love Lucy were as captivating or enthralling. There is only one show that could have started Must See TV, only one show that could be the anchor for new sitcoms year after year while continuing to hold it’s position of number one in the rating wars, only one sitcom is this grand, this superior, and this notable, Seinfeld. The zenith of television sitcoms. Season after season, Seinfeld has provided non-stop laughing, excellent acting and original scripts mirroring real life.
One of the major factors contributing to the overwhelming success of the show is its cast of unstererotypical characters. The main characters refereed to as the "Fab Four", consist of Jerry Seinfeld, Elaine Benes, George Costanza and Cosmo Kramer. Jerry Seinfeld, known by his own name on the program, is the central figure of the sitcom and the catalyst for almost everything that happens. He is involved in the antics revolving around Kramer, George and Elaine. On one episode George, Kramer and Jerry are spying on the naked lady across the street all day to see who can win a bet. The twist at the end of the show is when we see George and Jerry peering through the window and gasping, " Is that Kramer in her apartment? Wow he is naked!" Another episode involves Jerry who is mistaken for a Nazi leader arriving in town to speak at a meeting. He continues the charade in order to secure a limousine ride home after the frustration of his own ride not being there to pick him up. As the main character, he is most often the straight man allowing the other characters to play off of him. One of his common lines is, "wait a minute here, you mean to tell me-----", then recapping the situation, action or blunder the other character was involved in. This in turn allows the supporting actor or actress to verbally and almost always physically respond with exaggerated gestures and eye movements. Jerry reflects the single male, quasi yuppie, New Yorker, with the bicycle hanging in the apartment, the security system to "buzz" guests in, and the 12 boxes of cereal always present and visible on his kitchen shelf. He becomes so easy to relate to because he seems very typical of his socio-economic and age group, while still being on the eccentric side.
Elaine Benes, the only leading female, is Jerry’s mildly neurotic ex-girlfriend and current platonic pal. She often appears venerable to the pitfalls single females encounter in their relationships, while never giving an inch to the male dominance on the show. She has an exaggerated character but manages to maintain a sense of feminine strength. Elaine has taken the idea of the smart, sassy single women and updated it to a 90’s outlook. The most enduring part of Elaine is her often gross habits of a personal nature, such as pulling down her underwear in an exaggerated manner, which every female has tried to do gracefully while walking down the street. The female audience can relate while she gets to indulge in the very behavior females wish they had the nerve to do. Her critical perspective of the females who enter into Jerry, George, and Kramers’ life put each of the male characters in a comical defense of his current "fling". Once again the characters have the opportunity to describe the "victim" using the exaggerate gestures and facial expressions we often think and feel but probably wouldn’t express.
George Costanza portrays the character on the show who is always busy finding excuses and "way out" explanations for why he has to weasel out of situations, or explain why he failed his attempt to accomplish something. He was ultimately responsible for the death of his fiancee because of narrow focus on saving money even when it
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Television, Seinfeld, Fiction, Entertainment, Elaine Benes, Jerry Seinfeld, Cosmo Kramer, George Costanza, The Apartment, The Highlights of 100, The Ticket
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