Seinfeld is, of course, the best show of all time (to quote Poppy, quite fittingly, “On this issue there’s no debate!”). For those of you who are less fanatical about it than I am (which is a bit disappointing, as an aside), you might not realize that it serves as an incredibly accurate blueprint of human behavior. It’s a biblical document, in its way.
Here are ten quotes that will hopefully convince you that the Seinfeld writers already canvassed your life problems. Consult the show to see how things turn out (Hint: not well. Sorry).
“When you think about it, you meet somebody for the first time, and they’re not presenting their warts-and-all self to you — they’re presenting their idealized self to you, they’re leading with their best. And then, eventually, you’re farting in front of each other. Eventually, you get to see the person who is behind that facade of their best, and they get to see the person your facade, your lie-self — this lie that you presented to them about who you really are.”
Picture it: teenage Mary Shelley was on a vacation getaway, with her husband Percy and some of his rambunctious poet friends, like that rogue Lord Byron… and out of the group of legends, it’s Shelley herself who arguably published the greatest work of all at the ridiculous age of 20: Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, a book that has penetrated our human consciousness. In honor of Shelley’s birthday this month, here’s a list of 25 other writers who created heartbreakingly beautiful work before they could get a discount on a rental car or have their publishers demand an active Twitter account. If you’re 26, get on out of here. (However, interestingly enough, 26 seems to be a magic age for a lot of writers, starting with Thomas Pynchon, which is a whole other list.) Enjoy the depressingly youthful visages and luminous skin below.
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.
The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he’s to setting.
That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.
Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry;
For having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry.
“You can’t keep asking for more of certain things, you know? One of the keys to life is having a sense of proportion, knowing how long to sit at a restaurant after you’ve eaten, or how long you should go on vacation – if you go to Hawaii for a month on vacation, I guarantee you that by the end you’ll hate it. So it’s the same with a TV show, you want to do a certain amount of it, so that when people look back on it and they love it. I could have easily done the show for one or two or three more years, but it would have changed the way people look back at it. I think I made the right decision. Because people like the show now even more than they did in the 1990s, because it didn’t get worn out.”
I found two great reads today about the historic (and my favorite) show, Seinfeld. Ah, yes …the show about four insecure characters who didn’t know they were so neurotic — or maybe they just didn’t care. The show changed my life, in terms of both humor and general creativity. Seinfeld taught me what it was like to be funny through the eyes of someone else: a writer.
When you think about the writers on the show, and then compact their sheer genius with the actors and the directors and all the people on the set, it is almost one of those situations where two meteors collided and an iconic television rose from the debris of the crash. These kinds of things don’t happen often, to make something so good that you celebrate its inception 25 years later. (And Jesus Christ, 25 years? The show is almost older than me.)
I still watch it a lot. Some might say I watch too much. Eh, I don’t care. It makes me happy, it makes me wonder, it makes me think. Oh, and it makes me strive to be a better writer and a better creator. The show has that kind of inspiration, to make you want to do something that great and be remembered for it. The people involved with that show will forever be linked to not only one another but the rest of cultural society through jabs, one-liners and obscure memories.
Alas, here are the two great articles I read today about the 25th anniversary of the first episode: one on Grantland and one in Time. Enjoy, you anti-dentites.