What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this famous sitcom, which has become a permanent part of the pop culture lexicon, purposely portrays characters who are selfish, amoral, and not always likeable. Lying, cheating, and gossiping are frequent plot elements. Episodes often center on characters' dating dilemmas and include discussions of contraception, masturbation (though the word is never uttered), and personal habits. Teens and parents who enjoy smart humor will find much to celebrate in this series, though younger viewers may be bored or confused by the adult dynamics.
What's the story?
SEINFELD, the smart, immensely popular '90s sitcom, follows the lives of four single urbanites living in New York City. Jerry Seinfeld plays an approximation of himself: a comedian with a cleanliness obsession whose love life rarely gets off the ground due to his tendency to turn tiny issues into huge disasters. Jerry's best friend is George Costanza (Jason Alexander) is neurotic, whiny, and cheap and has terrible luck in relationships, partly due to his own reluctance to commit. Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is Jerry's ex-girlfriend, a self-involved, occasionally bitter writer/editor who, much like Jerry, is in constant pursuit of good-looking dates. And, finally, Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards) is Jerry's wacky neighbor, whose wild hair and bugged-out eyes match his broad physical comedy style -- most frequently demonstrated when he flies spastically into Jerry's apartment unannounced.
Is it any good?
While most sitcoms that came before it revolved around families or workplaces, Seinfeld was one of the first to deal with the relationship between friends and was, famously, a show about "nothing." The show was created by comedy writer Larry David and stand-up comedian Jerry Seinfeld, and the show's characters are based on the two men and their close associates.
The four main characters spend much of their time in Jerry's apartment or at the corner diner complaining, obsessing, and over-analyzing others' behavior. While each character pursues and dates others, the group has a way of unintentionally warding off interlopers and keeping their foursome intact. And somehow, despite each of the four's unpleasant personality characteristics -- no one in the petty, selfish quartet is in any way an ideal role model -- their continuing follies are delightfully appealing.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the series' situations and characters. Are the situations realistic? What makes the characters appealing, even though they're often mean and selfish? Do you consider any of them role models?
What kind of judgments do the main characters make about the others in the show? What do these judgments say about the characters themselves?