Tuesday, July 07, 2009

A post about a show about nothing

Everyone agrees that there are 2 kinds of people in this world. Everyone disagrees on the basis on which the world should be split into 2. Some say its into men & women. Others say its on the basis of religion. Common splits include - Adults & kids. Whites & non - whites. Rich & poor. Those who have read so and so book against those who havent. Bikers & non bikers. Vegetarians & non vegetarians. Drinkers & non drinkers. Winners & losers. Educated & uneducated. Street smart & book smart. ipod lovers & ipod haters. Good & bad. Skinny & fat.

And now Ive discovered one more - Seinfeld fans & Friends fans. To date I havent found a single person who is an ardent fan of both the shows. Seinfeld, the show about nothing, has its own characteristic feel that most fans of Friends can just not relate to. The latter are happy watching Joey playing dumb & Monica and Chandlers blooming romance & the ever evolving dynamics between Ross and Rachel & Phoebe's eccentricities and whatever else the show is popular for. Ive noticed that almost all my friends (who happen to be big fans of Friends) find that they dont get the humour of Seinfeld which they perceive to be a thinking man's comedy. I really dont know whats there to think when Jerry is at his witty best with quotes like this
"I was the best man at the wedding. If I'm the best man, why is she marrying him? "
"Men want the same thing from their underwear that they want from women: a little bit of support, and a little bit of freedom."
"Dogs are the leaders of the planet. If you see two life forms, one of them's making a poop, the other one's carrying it for him, who would you assume is in charge. "
"Seems to me the basic conflict between men and women, sexually, is that men are like firemen. To men, sex is an emergency, and no matter what we're doing we can be ready in two minutes. Women, on the other hand, are like fire. They're very exciting, but the conditions have to be exactly right for it to occur. "
"Somebody just gave me a shower radio. Thanks a lot. Do you really want music in the shower? I guess there's no better place to dance than a slick surface next to a glass door."

And while it might be a grown mans comedy (though not to the level of Fraser), the beauty of Seinfeld is that its so simple cause its about, well, nothing. And nothing displayed it more than when Jerry & George pitch to the producers of a TV channel to air a sitcom thats about nothing. Seriously, a show about nothing that has its leads pitching to the TV guys about a show about nothing. It couldve & by all means shoudlve fallen flat on its face but it was hilarious.
For shows that were so similar in their concept, the 2 ended up at opposite end of the spectrum. Both the shows revolved around friends & life. Before the shows became hits, none of the actors were masters of their art. But by the final season of each show, the actors had almost bigger than the show & earning big money for each episode. And yet how they differed. Seinfeld was always unpretentious & not just in the storylines - Jerry, George, Elaine & Kramer always had that difficult to describe chemistry which took Friends a long time to develop. Friends was never undeserving of its praise, to me its just that it was at the right place at the right time. The first few seasons I thought were so - so, the mid seasons were good but I somehow didnt like the last couple of seasons when things started to twist and turn & it kinda lost its old charm. It became a show that tried to capture life, friendship, relationships & growing up and eventually settling down in your 20s. Thing is, you could end up watching 4 episodes of Friends back to back, have a couple of laughs and get on with your life without remembering what you just watched over the last couple of hours. I still remember an episode of Seinfeld I watched 4 days back which had Jerry give up a cosy moment with a date cause he couldnt believe that she liked an ad that he didnt. Isnt Jerry's behaviour reflective of how real life is ? If you think about it, do you know anyone 2 people who have gone through as much ups & downs as Ross & Rachel ? I didnt think so. That and the pearls of wisdom that Jerry shared with the world make me the Seinfeld kind. What about you ?

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