Friday, May 4, 2007

Evolution of "Seinfeld"

For my final blog post I chose to do the fourth option on discussing the evolution of my understanding of my topic over the semester. I chose to do this option because I feel like my feelings and views of my topic have definitely changed over the last few months. In the beginning of the semester I chose my topic basically because it was my favorite show and I am very familiar with it. I knew that it would be easy for me to think of certain episodes that would relate to course readings and topics discussed in class because I have seen each and every episode of “Seinfeld.” I also chose my topic because I knew that the show was rather controversial when it fist aired. I was not sure to the extent that this would help me analyze it, but I knew that “Seinfeld” was basically thought of as similar to the way “Family Guy” is thought of today as a show that approaches some controversial topics. I also knew that “Seinfeld” was basically the first sitcom to approach controversial topics, such as homosexuality and masturbation, and I knew that if all else failed this would give me something to discuss in my blog. These feelings towards “Seinfeld” are quite evident in my first few posts, especially in the one in which I responded to another person’s blog on the show.

As the semester progressed, I realized that “Seinfeld” was about much more than just the few episodes in which they approached new topics. I began to notice that it often reinforced certain social norms, especially early on in the series, but also challenged these norms in the later years. In my blog post about “The Deal,” I discussed how the show did nothing but reinforce the sexual values based on patriarchy that many men become exposed to at a very young age. Then as I looked at other episodes from the earlier seasons, I noticed that the show often stuck with social norms. I think that once the show gained more popularity, this is when it started to challenge certain hegemonic views and social norms because it already established an audience.

My next two blog posts supported this claim. In my collage post about “The Outing” I discussed how “Seinfeld” used humor, and especially sarcasm, to approach the topic of homosexuality. In this episode I do not feel that the show made any definitive statement, but it was able to at least broach homosexuality as a subject. In my final post about motherhood in “Seinfeld,” there is no doubt in my mind that the show made an effort to purposely challenge hegemonic views by using the Elaine character to do so.

In conclusion, I feel that my overall blogging experience has been very worthwhile. In the beginning I was a little wary of the idea because I was uncomfortable with the technical side of blogging. However, once I got comfortable with it, I feel that it became a very good learning experience. I was able to learn and realize how different shows, especially “Seinfeld,” are not “just TV shows” and are not really “shows about nothing.” In fact, these shows really help shape the way a lot of people think, and therefore have a large influence on ideas shared by our society. Personally, “Seinfeld” is still my favorite show. I still find it absolutely hilarious and I still watch it numerous times a day when it re-runs on television. However, through class discussions, course readings, and my own analysis I am also able to see the show from a different point of view. Now when I watch it I am able to analyze it as well as enjoy it.

Some clips from "The Outing"