4 — Seinfeld As American Political Commentary
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 Stephen Gencarella Olbrys, in general, how many ways has Seinfeld been criticized over the years?
- And what does Olbrys find enlightening about the critical dismissal of the series (and thus use as a springboard for his argument)?
- What are the four political cultures within a liberal democracy, and how do Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer embody them? Please provide examples from "The Chinese Woman," "The Cigar Store Indian," and "The Couch" to support your answer.
- What's the difference between race and ethnicity, and how is each addressed in "The Chinese Woman" and/or "The Cigar Store Indian"?
Included periodically here, 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 very long to answer.
- Who's Keith Hernandez?
- Who's Jimmy Olsen?
- Who's José Jiménez? What's specific about his voice?
- Who are Mookie Wilson and Roger McDowell?
- What's the Zapruder film?
Grad Students Only...
As mentioned on the first day of class, Seinfeld is a "really white show" (despite its Jewish stars/characters). Indeed, people of color are limited to secondary characters like lawyer Jackie Chiles, the Breakfast at Tiffany's family ("The Couch"), Winona (from "The Cigar Store Indian"), and the Latino street toughs ("The Soup Nazi" and "The Sponge"). How do you think Seinfeld handles issues regarding race and ethnicity when it does feature them?