I once had a housemate who was on a work exchange program from Spain. He told me about this television show that was incredibly popular over there called Friends. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? I agreed to watch an episode with him (I had only ever seen a handful of episodes at most), and then countered by showing him an episode of Seinfeld. He loved it so much that he brought it back to his country, and now all of Spain watches Seinfeld purely due to his unbridled enthusiasm. (Okay, that last part may not be true at all.)
Here are some reasons that Seinfeld is the best damn sitcom of all time and always will be.
11 The actors
Never has such an ensemble of talented comedic actors ever been assembled before. Think about it; no other actors could have filled the roles played by Jerry Seinfeld, Michael Richards, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jason Alexander.
10 The combined genius of Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld
Neurotic yet poignant, intelligent yet wacky, Larry and Jerry took all of the things in life that anger us, irritate us and defeat us and made them funny as hell, providing a way to identify, understand and cope with life’s trials more easily, all while laughing about them.
Photo credit: Larry David image by Helga Esteb/Shutterstock
9 The setting
Seinfeld was set in New York City, where just about anything can and will happen. Not only that, but it also took place in the 90’s, a simpler time that was characterized by a thriving economy and a comparative lack of turmoil. This made Seinfeld’s character’s “First World Problems” all the more relatable and entertaining.
8 The situations
The situations in Seinfeld aren’t always timeless (there are tons of references to beepers, VCR’s, old celebrities, etc.), but the characters are. Everyone knows some combination of people that fit the role of the cool weirdo, the neurotic guy, the crazy chick and the successful guy with too many hang-ups to enjoy it. And it’s the characters that make these situations always feel fresh rather than dated.
7 Its influence on other sitcoms
Without Seinfeld there would be no It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, New Girl, Drew Carey Show or any other show that strikes the perfect balance with the 3 guy/1 girl archetype. Seinfeld perfected that.
6 Its influence on us
No television show has ever added so many terms to the public lexicon: master of my domain, close-talker, shrinkage, double-dipping, Festivus, man-hands, re-gifter, soup nazi, yada yada yada, de-gifting and manziere are just a few examples.
5 The storylines
Almost every episode of Seinfeld featured an artfully balanced, multitude of storylines that were always hilarious no matter which characters they involved. Other shows struggle to balance two storylines in a single episode, while Seinfeld regularly let loose three or four of them.
4 There are no bad episodes
Some episodes emulated the tone and acumen of the series better than others, but there isn’t a single bad episode, just a handful of weird ones. And yes, that goes for the much maligned series finale as well (I still don’t get why so many disliked it so much).
3 ‘Seinfeld’ did product placement the right way
Three words to support this: The Junior Mint. Possibly the only form of advertisement that still causes people to buy Junior Mints.
2 All roads lead back to ‘Seinfeld’
It just isn’t possible to buy babka, emerge from cold water, get asked to “see the baby,” get a red stain (dot) on your shirt, hear the name “Newman,” see a puffy shirt or eat muffins without thinking of Seinfeld. And that’s all right with us. (And here’s proof.)
1 172 episodes over 9 seasons
For those of you who would rather leave the OCD math stuff up to the writer, that’s approximately 63 hours of Seinfeld. When a show is as incredible as this, quantity is quality.
(Previously published on March 28, 2013.)