Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Seinfeld.

Last night, I tweeted the following:

Someone just explained to me a joke from from a 15-year-old Seinfeld ep that I never realized I wasn't getting. I feel like a kid again!

A friend asked for an explanation, so here it is:

In the episode "The Chinese Woman," when Jerry and the caucasian Donna Chang keep mispronouncing things like "rines" and "ridicurous," I thought Seinfeld was simply lampooning the way people occasionally mispronounce words during conversation without acknowledging it, and I thought it was kind of odd, or possibly brilliant, that he doesn't ever follow it up with an analytical spiel within the episode, like he usually would. But it was just pointed out to me that the mispronounciations were supposed to be making light of the way Asians tend to transpose L's and R's (a habit I was of course aware of, but never connected to the "Chinese Woman" storyline). I think it's partly Seinfeld's fault, for having such an all-encompassing scope of observational humor that it never even occurred to me that that joke's most low-brow interpretation would be its intended one.

Speaking of Seinfeld, I thought it was cool that they reran "Male Unbonding (1.4)" and "The Couch (6.5)" back-to-back tonight. Two episodes separated by five seasons that have nothing to do with each other except that one introduces Kramer's make-your-own-pizza restaurant idea, and the other sees him seeing it through, five years later. I can't even say for sure that the pairing was intentional, since TBS is coupling episodes from seasons 1 and 6 all week. Incidentally, "The Couch" includes another joke that used to fly over my head as a kid, which is Kramer and Poppy's argument over when a pizza becomes a pizza paralleling the abortion debate from Elaine's storyline in the same episode.

What a show. I think Seinfeld is the best sitcom that will ever be.

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