1 — Seinfeld, Narrative, and Playing with Plot
Please respond to the following in a Google Doc (directions), and share it with Dr. Marshall. Also, before you begin, read the guide Writing about Film and TV.
- According to Amy McWilliams, how does Seinfeld function like a traditional sitcom? And how does it not?
- In your own words, what is Michael Dunne's argument?
- What is intertextuality? List 3-4 intertextual references we have come across in our four screenings of Seinfeld. NOTE: If you can find images to support your answer, they're always welcome!
- How does Seinfeld "signal its nature as a TV sitcom"? What does Dunne mean by this? And how does this play out in "The Pitch" (4.3)?
- After browsing this page on Seinology, what do you learn about the name Art Vandelay, and how does it relate to Dunne's argument?
Included periodically, SeinPosts will fill you in on terms, cultural events, people, etc. with which you may not be familiar. While these questions may not make much sense out of context, they will after we watch the episodes in which they're referenced! SeinPosts should never take long to answer.
- Who is Josef Mengele, and for what was he notorious?
- Who are David Duke and Louis Farrakhan? And for what acts are they known?
- What's Al Pacino's catchphrase in the film Scent of a Woman?
- In DC comics, who is Bizarro Superman, and what/whom do some scholars and fans think he stood for in the late 1950s?
Grad Students Only...
How have sitcoms from the last 20 years mimicked Seinfeld's four ways of "playing with traditional plotting"? As always, provide examples to support your response.
If You Don't Know Susan Ross...
In "The Bizarro Jerry," which we'll watch next class, several references are made to George Costanza's late fiancée, Susan Ross (Heidi Swedberg).
We will eventually watch the episodes in which George and Susan get engaged and Susan's death occurs, but in the meantime, if you're not familiar with this narrative arc, please check out WikiSein.