After five years break, I finally watched a TV-series. A friend of mine convinced me to watch Seinfeld. I did it. In less than two months, I watched all nine seasons. Ok, maybe “convinced me” is a wrong phrase here. We went on a trip together and once we checked into our AirBnB he just put it on TV to play in the background and I was hooked.
I loved first few seasons. I was mesmerized by how life in New York in the late eighties through most of the nineties looked so similar to the life I live today in 2020 in the United States. The life of characters was the same life I’m living now. Even the topics of the conversations were similar: recycling, climate change, dating, yoga, mindfulness, work, purpose, etc.
This is still so unimaginable. I was born in the late eighties and grew up in the soon to become post-Soviet independent Ukraine. My life was so much different from the one lived by the show characters: almost no TV, helping my relatives to grow our food for the winter. I described my childhood briefly here, but I think it’s not that rich in the details to fully grasp the differences between two worlds: USA and Ukraine in let’s say 1993.
So I loved the first seasons of the show because I was constantly reflecting on my life, USA, Ukraine, and how some topics were quite mainstream in the States seemingly forever. I also liked the characters. They seemed to be a bit awkward, a bit flawed. But they were young, going through their late 20s, early 30s.
I watched season after season, and my frustration grew with each new episode. The problem is that characters didn’t evolve. They messed up a lot of times, they have been mean to people, got punished but didn’t change. That upset me a lot. I can’t cheer for such people. I will support everyone who has flaws (all of us). But I cannot support you if you refuse to learn and change.
So that was my main concern with the series. It upset me. It shuttered my faith in people a bit. And I don’t like that. I prefer to believe in people, in change.
I don’t want to make bigger conclusions based on the TV-series, but I have a hunch that Seinfeld influenced a lot of people. It showed that being a jerk is fine, that caring only for yourself is fine. Most people who are fans of the show are thankfully not that. But I feel that some people did internalize the wrong lessons.
Seinfeld is a parody of what life and relationships shouldn’t be.