Television has become a mirror to the cultural aspects of daily life. It
influences everyone in some way. The media’s images tell us where to shop,
what shampoo to use, and what brand of soda to drink. Sitcoms have become
increasingly popular through the 90’s. Sitcoms have such a large audience
because they are easy to relate to, and they help us laugh at the stress of
everyday life. Seinfeld is unique because its a show with odd characters who
have a life of their own, and it displays its comedy in a new way. Lets look at
what Seinfeld has shown us about our society, the influence it has had in
shaping American culture and the cultural significance it has had as a
television show.

In order to be able to look at Seinfeld for its cultural impact, we need to
first get acquainted with the characters. First lets look at Jerry Seinfeld the
main character of the show. Jerry is portrayed as a neat freak, and he dresses
nice. Jerry to a lot of men is a hero. He has a cool job as a comedian making
appearances on shows such as Jay Leno, and the Tonight Show. He dates younger
girls, and lives in New York City, some people think of as the city. In our
society I believe most men want to be like Jerry but feel closer to George, his
good friend. George is a short, balding, neurotic, fat man, who is always losing
his job, and is the butt of a joke. Richard Sandomir of the New York Times “describes
the George syndrome, in which hip viewers identify with a downtrodden neurotic
who never gets things right.”(1) Elaine is the most normal character of the
bunch. She is loud, opinionated and intelligent. Elaine resembles the role of
the woman in America. Kramer is by far the most outrageous. He is nervous,
impulsive and he never goes to work. Whatever he tries to do, it always ends in
a disaster. Like the time he went to the ocean to hit golf balls into the surf.
One of the balls landed in the blowhole of a whale. George happened to be
walking by with a girl who Jerry he had led to believe that George was a marine
biologist. He pulled the ball out of the whales’ windpipe. Kramer meets famous
people, and is always in outrageous places with a story to tell. He is a friend
we would all like to have.

The plot of the show is to pull humor out of the little details in everyday
life. Like Seinfeld’s reason for not eating fruit in cereal: “trying to
decide which spoonful to take the last slice of banana in is just too much
aggravation.”(0) I have felt the frustration myself but would have never given
it much attention. The situations are normal, but the characters are
extraordinary. Seinfeld is a good conversation between “people I want to be
--I am -- friends with, living in a world I wish to live in, but never will.”(3)
Money is never really a problem, and the players are always equal and the
dangers and triumphs are unimportant and fleeting. It gives people over the age
of 25 the feeling they can still have a life.

The show exploits the experience of living in New York City. The traffic
problems, crime and variety of people one might encounter while in New York. It
also shows how a group of white middle class can live. The show begins to show
how Jewish people are looked at in America. I believe it is an easier topic to
joke about than ethnics are. The show displays Jewish people as middle or upper
middle class, funny, and smart. The show also displays the troubles people have
communicating with each other. Jerry parents always hear other things or just
have their own opinions about what\'s really going on. George’s parents are
constantly yelling at each other. They can not agree on anything, similar to
parents today. The show has only minorities that have very ethnic background
like Babu, and the Asian delivery boy. They all have a very thick accent and are
wearing some article from their native country. According to Sotirtiou “Comedies
pick up threads of the established pattern of white superiority and black
servitude.”(2) Seinfeld incorporates other figures such as Steinbrener the
owner of the New York Yankees as a reference to realism.

Seinfeld has been compared to other sitcom greats such as Cheers and The
George and Gracie Burns Show. This