Sunday, July 24, 2005

Pop Culture's Missing Link

I watched my first-ever episode of Seinfeld this afternoon.

The show's been off the air for how many years now?

I know a lot of folks really dug this show, but for the life of me I don't know why.

I turned it off halfway through - so I guess I really watched my first-ever half episode of Seinfeld. What was so damned funny? The laugh track?

Then I remembered all the jokes I didn't get throughout the 1990s. Something about a soup nazi. Or sometimes, something about some dude named Kramer.

There are several cultural phenomena that I've never - and probably will never - get. One coul blame it on the fact that I grew up on a small farm, or the fact that I grew up in a prodominately poor, black environment, or the amount of Colt 45 and MD 20/20 that was seeping through my pores through most of that decade.

For instance:

1. Friends - What the hell? A bunch of middle-class white Gen-Xers spend their time either sleeping with each other or hanging out in a coffee shop in New York. I know there was a monkey involved in the picture somehow.

Total episodes watched - 2

2. Survivor - I detest reality shows like this. I have a new version of the show I'd love to pitch. Basically, seven stereotypical suburban soccer moms, corporate officers, supermodels, and Boy Band rejects are loaded in a van and dropped in Compton after midnight. No money. No identification. No cell phones. And no publicists. The first ones to make it to Burbank alive and without gang tats wins 20-25 years in Soledad.

Total Episodes Watched - 0

3. Fear Factor - What's so damned scary about eating boiled elk hearts and getting covered in spiders? In some cultures, this would be considered daily life.

Total Episodes Watched - 3, all at Eric's house in Van Nuys

4. American Idol - Okay. I'm all for artists getting a chance to prove themselves on a national stage. But what's so entertaining about making the prettiest karaoke singers multimillionaires?

TEW - 0

I guess maybe that may make me a cultural outcast in many ways, but I just don't understand the appeal.

Do I feel I've missed anything?

Nope. Not really.


Smurf said...

That's funny J. I din't watch survivor either... or the "bachelor" or "bachelorette"... I did watch "Friends"...(blush)...however you are right about everyone sleeping with everyone else...I loved American Idol...didn't watch the first season though.. you have such neat perspectives on things... and thanks for letting me vent last night and for being so affirmative! I love you buddy! ;)

The ZenFo Pro said...

You're very welcome. And everybody has their own each their own.

Carla said...

Got this link from Clint's page. You have some extremely cool posts here. Nice. :)

A definite bookmark.


Kara said...

I can't stand any reality TV show, but I did attempt to watch them and give them a chance...a few times I continued watching.. thinking that there must be some redeeming quality that would interest so many people...there wasn't! I remember when Friends first came out and was all the rage, I refused to watch it, because everyone else was. Now, I must admit, I have seen too many episodes. But still not very interesting.
Seinfeld was never a favorite of mine either, Kramer was the best part of the entire show...but the other characters ticked me off...I mean really! They seriously acted like extremely immature, critical and whiny grade schoolers.
American Idol...I am not severely opposed, but I still group it with the whole Reality TV craze that makes my skin crawl.

I think it's funny that you've never or barely ever seen them! Good for you!

Anonymous said...

Know what you mean. My idea of a good night of television is to have it turned off (I confess a fondness for the following shows: Antiques Roadshow, History Detectives, and Futurama (R.I.P.) -- we don't have cable). My husband is a Survivior-holic, though -- he likes the political dynamics, but then, he plays Diplomacy (a game).

I never liked Seinfeld, either. Too mean. "Friends" -- too stupid. I kind of like "The Amazing Race" for the travel bits.

Ok. Need more coffee.

Megan said...

LOL! I was watching MTV yesterday morning and found mysel fyelling at the TV...thinking the same damned thing about reality shows...

M roommate's sister and her loser boyfriend (hehehe...a wannabe tattoo artist with a record...real winner) were watching some show about that they swear is reality..."Made" is anything but.

There a times I'm so like embarrassed that my generation is so goddamn shallow and self-absorbed. This guy Steve knows more about American Idol than Billy Idol. But he calls himself an "individual" LOL! Feel free to blame 18-21 ear olds. We're half-metrosexual half-posers most of the time.

I do watch the Surreal Life sometimes on VH1, and I liked the Ozbournes, but only because it had that train wreck feel.

Megan, Vegas

Anonymous said...

A chacon son gout, mon ami ...

To each his own, my friend.

And in all honesty, it took a few years of watching Seinfeld solely because my brother wanted to before I really got into it myself. I find a perverse satisfaction in watching these characters and their overblown, extreme solutions to everyday life problems that arise. Which I think was the show's success, the part that grabbed people: everyone can relate to the events ... but how the characters handle these things is so crazy, that in a way it legitamizes however you, watching at home, handled it in your life. Like I said, perverse, yet oddly compelling and fitfully hilarious.

But that's just me. We all have our own tastes:

For me, Seinfeld is one of about eleven or twelve shows I currently find worth watching at all. The Simpsons, Law&Order:SVU, 24, Trailer Park Boys, Daily Show, Letterman, and Conan are the others, with reruns of OZ, the Sopranos, Cheers and of course, The Littlest Hobo in there as well.

(btw sporting events don't count in the list, of course ...)

Other than those, really not that much worthy amidst the satellite universe and its TIVO craze.

Home renovation shows? They don't actually show you how to do it.

Food shows? Can't smell or taste it. Defeats the purpose.

Music video channels? If I wanted Nikes, I'd be buying Nikes. As it is I can do without the ads that are somehow called artistry.

Reality shows? Tell me one thing: who the hell actually talks like that in real life???? Some reality.

And on and on ...

The ZenFo Pro said...

I REALLY wish we got the Trailer Park Boys down here. I've seen a couple of episodes. Awesome stuff!

Ya, Seinfeld I guess is a "Love it/hate it" thing.

And you're right, it's all about personal tastes. A lot of folks, for instance, hate cartoons and public broadcasting. I find them entertaining at times.

Oooh...I miss's like the ex-hoodlum's "General Hospital." Good stuff.

Futurama is pretty damned funny, as is the Surreal Life. Nothing like celebrity trainwrecks.

Anonymous said...

... ex-hoodlum's GH ...

Love it.