Life imitates Seinfeld

February 18, 2012 – Ready to feel old?

It will be 14 years in May that Seinfeld aired its final first run episode.

That doesn’t seem possible, mainly because the sitcom is still shown on hundreds of TV stations across the country several times a day. And oddly, like many older shows can, it doesn’t seem dated.

For a show about nothing, the sitcom touched something in many of us, maybe even more than we realize. We followed the lives of Jerry, George, Kramer and Elaine closely, not because they were particularly nice – they weren’t – but because we related to them in some way and they made us laugh. We’d never want to be friends with this self-centered bunch because we’d end up as the brunt of their jokes. No one else wanted to be around them for too long, either. Except for each other.

Still, we liked them enough to invest in time watching them, and they will forever be ingrained in our culture. The last place I worked, for example, hosted Festivus parties during the holidays rather than the more traditional event – thanks to Seinfeld. And I know we weren’t the only ones.

Workplaces in general seem especially susceptible to Seinfeldisms. Whenever a co-worker at my former office would say they were tired and could use a nap, I could book a bet that someone would suggest they pull a George and take one under their desk. Or co-workers coming back from the vending machine have been known to shout out, “These pretzels are making me thirsty” for a laugh or two. We even had a funny cafeteria guy who’d shout “No soup for you!” on occasion.

No explanation was necessary. Everyone knew these phrases and what they related to.

Seinfeld also had a huge impact on our language and culture, not just in my office, but around the country. The majority of people are familiar with made-up expressions like anti-dentite, close talker, and schmoopie. They know who the Moops refer to, and what the urban sombrero and the manssiere are. They probably also understand what it means in Seinfeld speak when a book is “flagged” or when someone is “sponge worthy” or “master of their domain.”
It just goes to show you that no matter how individual we think we are this comedy touched something we have in common in all of us, and it spread quickly and found its place in our language across the country. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

So, why does everything in life relate to a Seinfeld episode? Our lives are certainly about much more than nothing. We’re complex and compassionate human beings with… you know, yadda, yadda, yadda…

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