No Right Explanation

No Right Explanation
Friends vs Seinfeld

Firefilm | 30 Jan 2012 12:00
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Dan: So, a lot of people brought up other sitcoms such as Married with Children and Fraiser to show that there are some classics that didn't get any love. Let me assure you that those two shows on either side of the "Classy" spectrum are in my favorite list, and there are just countless others that share the honor. But in the end, with a large portion of my family being East Coast (of USA) Jews, I found Seinfeld to be not only an oddly accurate view of my family tree, but also jokes tailor-made for me. Some people have criticized NRA, saying "It's just like me and my friends arguing over a beer, why would I watch someone else do it?" Well, Seinfeld is just like me and my family having issues, so it already had a certain comfort to it out of the gate

On to points, first point going to my dumb joke argument. I mean really, referencing other more beloved shows (Mr. Bean, anyone?) doesn't make you just as good. If you are going to write a good joke, it has to be relatable, and catchy enough that you can tell it to others without ruining it. I dare you, any of you, to go to someone and tell them that Joey got a turkey stuck on his head, and have them laugh. Now tell them that there was a guy who made great soup, but was so strict that he is known as the Soup Nazi. That will get you a giggle at least.

Second point goes to Chris, for mentioning the one thing Friends did have going for it; Friendship. The whole love thing between the characters, the friendship that they had, it mattered. Episodes where Ross and Rachel get together were special events and people tuned in to watch them. When Jerry and Elaine got together, it was more a set up to a joke on how selfish those two were, and how badly things were going to go. No one rooted for Jerry and Elaine to end up together, but I'm pretty sure Ross and Rachel ending up together was a cornerstone of television ratings for a period. You only get that when people love your characters.

Third point-o-rino goes to me, for the ├ęclair argument. This harkens back to my first paragraph, where the jokes that Seinfeld used were so much more intelligently set up and executed than Friends. Like the god from Futurama said, "When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all." Jokes in Seinfeld were slowly built up, and converged perfectly in the end for a freeze frame of laughter. Did anyone notice our freeze frame at the end of the episode? Yep, now you know what we did there.

Chris defends the over-the-top characters with the sitcom universe defense, which I agreed with. You may think that some of the characters and situations are so dumb or over-the-top that they would never exist in real life, and Chris is right; They wouldn't. Sitcom universe allows Al Bundy to exist for years, even though the common joke is that he never eats due to extreme poverty.

I grabbed a point for mentioning that Seinfeld had an army of memorable supporting characters, while Friends was almost barren by comparison. Back in the day, Sitcoms were a platform for stunt casting and celebrity special guests. Friends tried this a bit with Bruce Willis, but never really succeeded the way Seinfeld did.

Special note on my chugging, yes my glass was filled to the top. I happen to be really, really, really good at chugging. You can't beat me. You can't. Think you can? You can't. But, I did miscount the number of friends in Friends, so it's a wash.

Kyle comes in and tells us what's what, and that's the way the cookie crumbles.

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