Seinfeld Forums

NBC (ended 1998)

How exactly is this a show about nothing?

  • Avatar of stranger12343

    stranger12343

    [1]Jun 10, 2007
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    topic

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  • Avatar of seinfeld111690

    seinfeld111690

    [2]Jun 10, 2007
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    Some would call it about "nothing", due to the fact that the show never really had a central storyline that the show revolved around. I personally believe the show is just about how a comedian gets his material. The show tries to touch on the little, less important things in every day life.
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    jimbo_001

    [3]Jun 10, 2007
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    I don't see it as a show about nothing, but rather plots that start out as nothing. Everyday things like buying soup or trying to find a parking spot - things regular people think of as nothing - escalates into quite absurd situatons, that only the Seinfeld gang could get into.
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    ammizny

    [4]Jun 10, 2007
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    seinfeld111690 wrote:
    Some would call it about "nothing", due to the fact that the show never really had a central storyline that the show revolved around. I personally believe the show is just about how a comedian gets his material. The show tries to touch on the little, less important things in every day life.

    Yeah, it's just everyday situations. That's why it's about nothing.

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    -TheDeadMan-

    [5]Jun 14, 2007
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    There is no central purpose. They are just 4 friends living in new york with random events going on
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    nizhnykid

    [6]Jun 14, 2007
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    Yes, Seinfeld is often called a "show about nothing"; the term itself probably stems from the season 4 arc where George and Jerry pitch a show "about nothing" to NBC, much like Larry David and Jerry presumably did in real life.  As has been mentioned, the "nothing"-ness refers to the ability of the series not only to keenly document the minutia and humdrum of daily life that every American--especially every 1990's American--experienced, but to portray these situations in the most fantastic, hyperbolic (and hilarious) light imaginable.  Who hasn't lost their car in a mega-garage, been shafted while waiting in a restaurant, or had to deal with a Nazi of one form or another?  We have all had these "Seinfeld moments", and we will continue to do so.  Seinfeld is really a parody of our own lives, and laughing at ourselves makes ala Seinfeld makes the situations more bearable.  Every viewer can relate to something that goes on in each episode; what every viewer wishes is that he or she could react with the same liberty, flippancy, and hilarity as Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer.  What makes this show so singular, so unique, so witty and endearing is not that it is merely about nothing; rather, it made something out of "nothing".
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    stitch_lover

    [7]Jun 15, 2007
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    I think its great when a show is about nothing. Its actually sometimes funnier...and i think its also kinda good cuz you don't have to follow a plot, so I think its great that Seinfeld is about "nothing".
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    sluggmunki_tx

    [8]Jun 16, 2007
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    I like the fact that the show is pretty random and doesn't follow the plot as much.
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  • Avatar of rockinthetunes

    rockinthetunes

    [9]Jun 17, 2007
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    the greatest show on the planet is about nothing
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    GameWiz1000

    [10]Jun 17, 2007
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    -TheDeadMan- wrote:
    There is no central purpose. They are just 4 friends living in new york with random events going on

    What sitcom isn't like that?

    Friends - Six friends living in New York doing nothing.

    Everybody Loves Raymond - A typical family living in New York doing nothing.

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    -TheDeadMan-

    [11]Jun 19, 2007
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    Everybody Loves Raymond is about family life.

    Friends is actually a lot like Seinfeld.

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    thacrowbar

    [12]Jun 19, 2007
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    Well, the Friends writers were obviously influenced by Seinfeld.

    Anyway, to answer your question, Seinfeld was more-less about nothing in the beginning. It didn't really stick to that premise. Episodes like the aforementioned Chinese Restaurant are good examples of this. In that episode, the gang goes to a Chinese Restaurant, and wait for a table. In the end, they just end up walking out. There is a little to no "action" in that traditional sense. That's why it was a show about nothing. However, storylines began to become more complex after that so I wouldn't say in the end that Seinfeld was just a show about nothing.

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  • Avatar of scottieGGGG

    scottieGGGG

    [13]Jun 22, 2007
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    I think the "nothing" angle comes from the sitcom environment that Seinfeld lived in. In the 90's (and even today), a common formula for sitcoms was to find a comedian and put them in "a show". But the concept of the show had this comedian playing a part, despite never really acting. Think about Tim Allen, Roseanne, Bob Saget, Paul Reiser, Ray Romano, Mark Curry, even now with Kevin James. There are other types of sitcoms as well, but this comedian-formula was a very successful one and many networks modeled against it.

    But, Seinfeld played the "part" of a comedian. It was not the norm of the times, and that unique idea helped make this show stand out.
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    ballin1347

    [14]Jun 27, 2007
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    But the show is still basically about emphasizing things in every day life.
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    iluvotrs

    [15]Jul 11, 2008
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    Yeah and how many TV shows today can make something funny out of standing in line at a Chinese restaurant for the entire 30 minutes (minus commercials)... And I DON'T mean reality shows!
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  • Avatar of yousifaltaha

    yousifaltaha

    [16]Jul 11, 2008
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    -TheDeadMan- wrote:

    Everybody Loves Raymond is about family life.

    Friends is actually a lot like Seinfeld.



    Really? I always find them completely different.

    Anyways, I think the "about nothing" extravaganza was a marketing trick..to attract viewers.

    It's true there are no story arcs through-out the entire seasons, but they make plots, sub-plots and cross-overs out of everything...that's why I quote the critics "it's actually about everything"
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  • Avatar of stellarchick86

    stellarchick86

    [17]Jul 11, 2008
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    jimbo_001 wrote:
    I don't see it as a show about nothing, but rather plots that start out as nothing. Everyday things like buying soup or trying to find a parking spot - things regular people think of as nothing - escalates into quite absurd situatons, that only the Seinfeld gang could get into.


    You hit the nail right on the head.
    stitch_lover wrote:
    I think its great when a show is about nothing. Its actually sometimes funnier...and i think its also kinda good cuz you don't have to follow a plot, so I think its great that Seinfeld is about "nothing".


    I agree; however, one of these episodes I think is REALLY "about nothing" is The Parking Garage and I dont care that much for that one (or The Parking Space) but episodes like The Chinese Restaurant, The Handicap Spot, etc I do.
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  • Avatar of S-Shield

    S-Shield

    [18]Jul 17, 2008
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    Well, before Seinfeld, shows had a "premise." They could be summed up in a few words.

    What happens when an average guy and his wife move to a New England town, buy an Inn, and deal with all the crazy people they meet?

    What happens when a city guy and his wife move to the county, buy a farm, and deal with all the crazy people they meet?

    What happens when a foreign guy moves in with his American cousin?

    What happens when a normal family adopts a smart-mouthed alien?

    Typically, a show that was "About Something" had a discernable first episode, where something happened that started the ball rolling, and if it lasts long enough a last episode that wraps that concept up. First episode: Family finds Alf, last episode: Alf goes home.

    Even with Friends. First Episode: Ross meets Rachel, Last Episode: Ross and Rachel get together.

    It's hard to notice nowadays, because, like George said "Now every time you turn on the TV, all you see are four morons just sitting around complaining about their day." But seriously, go back and watch shows from before Seinfeld, and you can see what I'm talking about, every sitcom had a easily disernable premise. A hook, if you will.

    It's probably not accurate to say that Seinfeld had No premise. It's probably closer to say that it was the first show to have such a broadly defined premise, Four People in New York. That's about it.

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    stellarchick86

    [19]Jul 18, 2008
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    I totally agree with you, S-Sheild, and I thought I was saying that in my post until you said it and then I was like oh maybe not lol.
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    S-Shield

    [20]Jul 18, 2008
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    Thanks. I was like everyone else in that I couldn't figure out how Seinfeld was about nothing. I thought that every TV show was like that. But then I realized that every show I watch came out after Seinfeld and was influenced by it.

    But they've started showing older 80's sitcoms on TV now, like Taxi and Alf and Newhart. And now I totally see how those shows were all About Something, and how in comparison, Seinfeld was about nothing.

    A really good example is when Jerry and George where trying to come up with ideas for "Jerry", and some of the suggestions from Kramer and others were to to make a show where Jerry was a ringleader in a circus full of reaks, or Jerry was a gymnastics coach whose son hated gymnastics and Jerry was always trying to get him into it, or Jerry owns an antique store and has a lot of crazy customers.

    Essentially, in shows that are About Something, every episode is the same. Characters are typically two-dimensional so that the audience can pick up on who's who faster. But Seinfeld broke that mold. I'm not saying that every show before Seinfeld was like that, but the majority of sitcoms were.

    Just a recent observation of mine.

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