Seinfeld’s Ability to Tackle Taboo Topics is What Keeps the Show Relevant 30 Years Later
For people like me Seinfeld is a warm blanket, it's seems like it's always been there and after 30 years I'm still watching the episodes again and again. So, what's so special about the show and how does it remain relevant today?
I think it was the shows ability to hit topics that most consider off limits.There are certain topics for comedians that they are better off not covering. Things like the race, religion, sex, antisemitism, masturbation or the disabled can get even the most talented funny people in trouble. Seinfeld met all these topics and other "third rail" subjects head on and came out the other side relatively unscathed.
Larry David, Jerry Seinfeld and the writing staff on the show always found an "in" that was so relate-able, that people could not find a way to be offended. They asked the questions about these topics we all think about and are too afraid to bring up. They made us laugh at the things that make us sensitive and got away with it.
Seinfeld on Sexual Preference "The Outing" - Jerry and George get mistaken for a homosexual couple by a reporter.
George Costanza - "I'm not gay, My name's Buck Naked, I'm a porno actor."
Seinfeld on the Disabled "The Handicapped Spot" - A woman is injured after George parks in a handicapped spot.
Kramer - "Someday we'll be driving along, look out the window and see her crawling along 5th Avenue."
Seinfeld on interracial relationships "The Wizard" - Elaine thinks she's dating a black guy but can't figure it out.
Darryl - "So, we are just a couple of white people?"
Seinfeld on antisemitism "Yada-Yada" - This episode is very famous for it's catch phrase but it was Tim Whatley taking center stage for me. Jerry suspects that Whatley converted for the jokes.
Whatley - "Jerry, it's our sense of humor that sustained us as a people for 3,000 years."
Today's attempts at situation comedy are a joke and not funny ones. It makes no sense either, we watch TV on streaming services now, where censorship is barely an issue. It should be easier, not harder to make funny sitcoms.
The shows content, writing and execution were flawless in my opinion. It was by far the best show on TV in it's time and that's saying a lot. Seinfeld existed in a time period that most critics consider the golden age of the sitcom. The dial was crowded with some of the best television of all time like. In the time period that Seinfeld was on the air (89-97), the show competed with; Cheers, Friends, Frasier, Everybody Loves Raymond, Roseanne, Will & Grace, Married With Children and Murphy Brown.
Happy 30th to Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David, Julia-Louis Dreyfuss, Jason Alexander, Michael Richards and all the folks that made the show what it was. I thank you for the many years of laughter.
Jerry - "You do the Karate, right?"
Joe Devola - "Yeah, you wanna hit me?"