Seinfeld is not, as people often claim, a “show about nothing.” It is a television show about four narcissists whose seemingly petty dialogue and ripple-effect exploits produced a significant impact on the modern pop culture landscape.
I confess―I’m a Seinfeld devotee. In fact, I recently completed my own personal “Summer of George,” where I re-watched every episode from the pilot through the finale. While I frequently caught myself reciting the lines along with the characters, I realized the brilliance of the show was in its relatability for a wide audience. I’ve been in many-a-situation where I’ve incredulously thought, “I feel like I’m on Seinfeld.” (Ask me about the time I reserved a rental car in France and ended up sputtering “You know how to take the reservation, you just don’t know how to hold the reservation, and that’s really the most important part” at the counter attendant.) Some of my favorite vignettes from the show involve Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer chatting around a booth at the ubiquitous Monk’s Café. Other stories depict daily life in Manhattan: commuting, running errands, ordering take-out. Peripheral characters come and go, making their mark on the series with memorable catchphrases (“No soup for you!”) or descriptors (“she’s a low-talker”). Our four protagonists, though often selfish, just want to be successful and have fun.
Seinfeld is actually quite playful. From the Superman figurine displayed prominently in Jerry’s apartment to the games and sports played throughout the series, the show’s writers convey nostalgia, competition, and creativity. Plots involving play are as common as the gang’s visits to the Cineplex. Long-time fans of the show will recall episodes highlighting the game of Risk, Susan’s doll collection, and Kramer’s penchant for driving golf balls into the ocean. Several of my much-loved installments, listed below, rely heavily on toys or games to advance the storyline.
“The Bubble Boy” (Season 4, Episode 7)
En route to the Hamptons, Jerry is supposed to make a pit stop at the home of one of his biggest fans, the Bubble Boy (“He’s a boy, who lives in a bubble!”). While Jerry and Elaine get lost, George and his fiancée Susan end up at the Bubble Boy’s house. To avoid awkward family chit-chat, George and Susan play a game of Trivial Pursuit with the Bubble Boy.