Saturday, April 29, 2006

Stale Pop-Culture Commentary

Around the time Seinfeld was nearing its series finale, I read various retrospectives that tried (among other things) to define each character’s essential function or contribution to the show. These analyses usually said Jerry’s role was that of commentator – an essentially non-active observer who watched and commented on the others’ antics. But I always maintained that Jerry’s role was much more malevolent than that; Jerry’s function was to encourage his friends to do foolish things and then comment on the predictably bad results. (A typical Jerry line, uttered after someone else had expressed the desire to do something stupid: “Of course! You’d have to!”)

Why do I bring this up now, years after the final season? Because I just finished watching Season 5 on DVD. In the “Inside Look” commentary on the season’s last episode (“The Opposite”), Seinfeld has this to say:
My favorite part of that was in the coffee shop scene, the line “If everything you do is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.” Which, you know, even as the character I knew I was just leading him down the primrose path. You know, but that always fun for me to do, to kind of pave the way when he [George] has an awful idea, I wanna do as much, as best as I can to get him to pursue it, for my own entertainment.
I feel vindicated.

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