Thursday, October 15, 2015

On "Seinfeld" and Nothingness

On "Seinfeld" and Nothingness: As the predominant sitcom on American network TV (NBC) in the 1990s, Seinfeld was largely a show about nothingness. But nothingness is something. And to that point, nothingness can be defined within a spectrum of things, mostly minutia. Perhaps Seinfeld was at its best when minutia (or trivial details) became prevailing motifs/themes in any given episode. With episode titles like "The Parking Space" and "The Gum," Seinfeld was still able to maintain a full story (with sub-plots and counter narratives) on what would otherwise be considered trivial matters. If anything, the show teaches its audience that human existence really does center on the "little things." Whether it's a trip to the post office or a phone call to order Chinese food, individuals are conditioned to believe that such events are relatively meaningless in the grand scheme of their lives. Yet if taken personally enough, that phone call to order Chinese food could quickly contain infinite meaning (especially if you have to make an existential choice between "Wonton" and "Hot and Sour" soup when you have a peanut allergy).

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