Television Americans Frequently Refer to Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :



The Contest" draws attention to the level of humor that pervades the lives of television show characters, especially characters on sitcoms. While many people do enjoy hearty laughter and excitement with their friends on a regular basis, few in real life do so to the extent of the Seinfeld characters. It is possible that people who watch the show are attempting to discover ways to enliven their real-life friendships, to infuse more humor and outrageousness in them. Whether through devising masturbation contests or not, individuals use ideas from shows like Seinfeld to add color and lightness to their often troubled lives. When our relationships fall short of being as lighthearted as the relationships depicted on Seinfeld, we may be disappointed.

In the spirit of "The Contest," when we claim that we are "master of our domain," we are relying on Seinfeld to provide us with euphemisms related to sex. Seinfeld was full of euphemisms and neologisms. Viewers who gather around the water cooler to discuss "The Contest" do so partly to divert attention away from their own personal lives. Talking about "The Contest" is far easier than talking about our own sex lives. Moreover, our personal lives seem so boring in comparison to that of George, Elaine, Jerry, and Kramer that talking about their antics seems more interesting than talking about where we ate for dinner last night. Seinfeld brings out many of our personal insecurities: about sensitive topics like masturbation but also about our discomfort with our relationships and our social lives.

When people talk about "The Contest" at the water cooler, they are better able to initiate friendships than by asking a coworker about the weather or the latest baseball game. Sitcoms are in fact more "real" than real life in that they have the power to bring people together over a common and safe ground. Talking about "The Contest" ensures laughter and avoids the discomforts that come with getting involved with a coworker's personal life.

Interestingly, Seinfeld is unique among sitcoms in that in being a "show about nothing" it closely mimics the mundane nature of daily life. Episodes like "The Contest" show how average people often engage their friends in senseless, childish games for diversion and entertainment. Contests and challenges are a main way friends interact: we make bets and challenge each other to overcome our inhibitions. Therefore, while viewers lose themselves in the lighthearted humor of episodes like "The Contest" we may not be that far off from the truth; it's just that when it comes from the mouths of Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer it seems more real somehow, and funnier.

Works Cited

Common Culture."

Crawley, Mark. "Favorite Seinfeld Episodes." Movieprop.com. Retrieved July 21, 2005 online at http://www.movieprop.com/tvandmovie/Seinfeld/favorite.htm

David, Larry. "The Contest." Dir. Tom Cherones. Starring: Jerry Seinfeld, Michael Richards, Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Estelle Harris (as Mrs. Costanza), and Jane Leeves (as Marla). Broadcasted November 18, 1992. Script retrieved online July 21, 2005 at http://www.seinfeldscripts.com/TheContest.htm

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Common Culture."

Crawley, Mark. "Favorite Seinfeld Episodes." Movieprop.com. Retrieved July 21, 2005 online at http://www.movieprop.com/tvandmovie/Seinfeld/favorite.htm

David, Larry. "The Contest." Dir. Tom Cherones. Starring: Jerry Seinfeld, Michael Richards, Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Estelle Harris (as Mrs. Costanza), and Jane Leeves (as Marla). Broadcasted November 18, 1992. Script retrieved online July 21, 2005 at http://www.seinfeldscripts.com/TheContest.htm

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