Seinfeld is the greatest show ever. I am not willing to argue that point, but are the pleasures it gives us worth the consequences its effects might have on the future of our civilization? If you have a long enough conversation with anyone with a sense of humor a reference to a Seinfeld episode will eventually pop up. The show was so spot on with its social commentary that one had to wonder whether real lives influenced the show or the show was so powerfully funny and rewatchable that its ethos began influencing our lives.
I’m not certain if you ever saw the movie Idiocracy. It is also one of my favorites. Its plot is that an average Joe wakes up hundreds of years in the future to find himself the smartest man in the world. His long slumber did not cause him to grow more intelligent, but rather it allowed everyone to grow dumber. Since all the Harvard educated Mensa members wait until they’re 40 to have one child while all the trailer trash high school drop-outs have six kids by the time they’re 25, the dumb eventually outnumber the smart. Crops are now watered with Gatorade and the president is a professional wrestler.
We are close to becoming an Idiocracy, but I fear Seinfeld could be the tipping point. One of the recurring themes of the show was that George, Jerry, and Elaine would go on a lot of dates, but there was always something wrong with their potential mate. The guy spoke too closely, the girl mumbled too much, she looked too much like a female version of Jerry yadda yadda yadda.
This idea from the show has leaked into the mindset of urban dwellers of a certain age. A person must be utterly flawless for one to consider settling down with unless of course they are flawless, and then you find them so perfect that it’s really annoying.
The other day I was talking with an acquaintance visiting from the borough of Manhattan. He was probably about the same age as George Costanza. His below quote is in response to a question asking what happened to that girl I last saw him with.
“It just wasn’t working out.”
“I like to ask a lot of rhetorical questions.”
“And she would answer them?”
“Yeah, well, kind of. I like to talk about little things. Like these heat lamps. I’d say don’t you think it’s weird how many heat lamps they have here and she’d say, ‘I don’t know what to say about that.’ Now, how am I supposed to respond to that? What am I supposed to say? It’s a conversation killer. Really, how can I respond to that?”
“I wouldn’t know.”
“I thought you were a writer. What should I have said to her? ‘Hurry up dummy. Think of something to say.'”
He like many others have continued that search for their Prince Charming or Cinderella. I wish him good luck and hope my generation’s endless search doesn’t mean that only the unfunny are breeding.