The Secret of Seinfeld's Humor: Significance of the Insignificant

Topics: Comedy, Humour, Argumentative Pages: 2 (649 words) Published: April 16, 2005
Review: The secret of Seinfeld's Humor:
The significance of the Insignificant

The Secret of Seinfeld's Humor: The significance of the Insignificant, an article written by Jorge Gracia briefly outlines what the author believes to be the origin of the humour with which the popular television show Seinfeld achieved such broad based success. A show that embraced the ordinary of everyday life, while atypically avoiding the mainstay of violence and sex of most of today's popular visual media and culture. Gracia (19??) begins his article by posing the question "how, can a show that deals with ordinary, everyday occurrences have such wide appeal"? This is a very general question that could be analysed in any number of ways. The author however, suggest one possible answer. That a show such as Seinfeld is effective because its humour is based upon the dramatic tradition of the comedy and tragedy. By definition the comedy and tragedy are opposite ends of the spectrum of human emotion. Comedy being associated with the positive aspects, happiness, laughter, joy; while tragedy is associated with the negative aspects, revenge, hatred, sadness etc. It is here that the author makes his first error in his article. Rather than discussing the basis of these emotions he simply glosses over them, stating that an acceptable theory is yet to be provided that can succinctly answer why we laugh and why we cry. Furthermore he offers that those that would like to further their understanding, to visit a library "where one would find any number of dusty dissertations". By bypassing this important topic I feel that the author is potentially avoiding information that might be of interest to the reader. I also suspect that some of this information may have been contradictory to the authors main arguments. To his credit however, Gracia does, however offer to distinguish between the sad and the funny. We laugh, claims the author because we see in it "the significance of the insignificant,...

References: Jorge J. E. Gracia, (19??), The Secret of Seinfeld 's Humor: The significance of the Insignificant. Open Court, Chicago and La Salle, Illinois. Pages (148 – 151).
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