I was flipping through the tube last night, and found myself in an all-too familiar situation: watching reruns of Seinfeld. Sure, you could chalk it up to my lack of a basic cable package, or it could be due to the fact that I’m no longer able to stomach Letterman’s increasingly senile, liberal spewage (and Leno is sort of hit-or-miss these days). I would argue, however, that one reason stands above the rest: Seinfeld is honest.
The truth is that Seinfeld reflects the worst among us. It is made up of a memorable cast, all of whom play the most self-serving people you could ever meet. Self-absorbed, vain and often underhanded, the show is a perfect embodiment of many involved with the entertainment industry. You’ve got to love its transparency. Unlike James Cameron (who is just as materialistic and self-serving as a George Costanza), you never have to worry about the show sermonizing the politically correct cause du jour.
Funnily enough, it is Seinfeld’s lack of a soapbox that spurs me to take a good hard look at myself more than any other show on television. How often do you find yourself disgusted at the selfishness of George or Jerry, only to realize that you’ve most likely acted similarly (if not identically) at one point or another?
Whether it’s as mundane as bragging about a prime parking space or as shameful as breaking up with a dame due to hygienic differences, we’ve all found ourselves in “Seinfeld moments” more often than we care to admit. How often have you watched the show with your friends only to hear echoes of, “Oh, that’s so something you would do.”
Miraculously enough, I’ve probably made more self-corrections from watching Seinfeld than I ever would from listening to today’s self-righteous celebrities. Isn’t that the way life goes? Whether it’s your parents putting a limit on your candy intake as a child or a pompous celebrity demanding that you adopt his opinion as your own, when someone else tries to force you, your natural instinct is to rebel. Action meets reaction. But when someone lays everything out on the table and allows you to make your own decisions, more often than not, you’ll opt for the right one. You find yourself thinking things like, “Hrm, Mom was right. Eight pounds of Pixie Stix probably isn’t such a great idea.” Or, “I now see why fires should only be lit in a contained area.”
In the same way, when watching Seinfeld, one often finds themselves with a well-deserved feeling of guilt in their gut, muttering, “Well, I’ll never do that again.” A mirror’s reflection is the greatest tool one can use toward self improvement, and Seinfeld is one hell of a mirror.
That’s why I love this show.
Plus, Letterman just sucks these days.