Reading the sitcom sans commercials

September 07, 1993|By Sheila Dresser | Sheila Dresser,Staff Writer

Mom and I haven't laughed at the same things since the '70s. She was Bob Hope and Lawrence Welk. I was "Saturday Night Live" and the Stones.

Now she's a "Seinfeld" freak. "Love 'the Sein,' " she says of the NBC sitcom.

My mother and I like the same sitcom.

My youth is over.

In fact, there seem to be lots and lots of people who love "Seinfeld" but have nothing else in common. Often they can't stand each other. So what's going on here? Could this be the key to peace in Bosnia -- "Alija Izetbegovic, you love 'the Sein,' I love 'the Sein.' Let's sign this treaty and go watch TV."

"The Sein" is Jerry Seinfeld, the comedian who stars in "Seinfeld" (Thursdays at 9 p.m.). In a brilliant bit of casting, Mr. Seinfeld plays a comedian in the show and does cut-in bits of his act at various points. The show and the act are hilarious and hip. Now he has compiled them into a book, "SeinLanguage" (photos by Annie Leibovitz), which is also hilarious and hip.

How many sitcoms are good "read-aloud" material? This one is.

From "The Date" chapter:

". . . What is a date really, but a job interview that lasts all night?"

"The worst dates are often the result of a fix-up. Why do we fix people up? Because you think they'll have a good time? Who the hell are you? It's a little power trip, isn't it? You're playing God.

"Of course God was the first person to fix people up. Fixed up Adam and Eve, you know. I'm sure he said to Adam, 'No, she's nice, she's very free about her body, doesn't really wear much. She was going out with a snake -- I think that's over, though.' "

From "The Upkeep" chapter:

". . . Liposuction, for instance. Are you familiar with this? This is a fat-sucking machine. Now you know that somewhere, somebody working on a way to make this available in a restaurant. So you could just order it off the menu.

" 'I'll tell you what, gimme the cheesecake, crank me up to 9, and put a scoop of ice cream on the side.' "

"The proof that we don't understand death is we give dead people a pillow. I mean if you can't stretch out and get some solid rest at that point, I don't think there are any bedding accessories that can make the difference."

From the "Job Security" chapter:

". . . Why is it that with the psychiatrist every hour is only 50 minutes? What do they do with that 10 minutes that they have left? Do they just sit there going, 'Boy that guy was crazy. I couldn't believe the things he was saying. What a nut. Who's coming in next? Oh no, another head case.' "

From the "Out and Back" chapter:

"It's strange, two guys in shorts competing for a belt. They should award them slacks or a shirt."

On professional wrestling:

"If professional wrestling did not exist, could you come up with this idea? Could you envision the popularity of huge men in tiny bathing suits pretending to fight? Could you sell this to a promoter? . . .

"The referee is kind of like Larry of the Three Stooges. You don't really need him, but it just wouldn't be the same without him."

". . . My idea of the perfect living room would be the bridge on the Starship Enterprise: big chair, nice TV, remote control. That's why 'Star Trek' really was the ultimate male fantasy. Hurtling through space in your living room, watching TV.

"That's why all the aliens were always dropping in, because Kirk was the only one that had the big screen. Friday night, Klingon boxing. 'Everyone on the bridge.' "

There is also the occasional poignant moment:

"The movies will always be one of my top all-time out activities. But to be honest, the peak moment for me is always being on the way to the movies. I love being on the way to the movies.

"We're in the car, trying to get there in time. Maybe you'll have good seats. Maybe it'll be a good movie. Maybe everything'll be good. You don't know, and when you're on the way it's still possible. I love that I'm definitely doing something and I haven't done it yet. That's a pure life moment. After you get a job and before you have to do it. Nothing beats that. It's the spaces between life that I like the most."

One of the best things about "SeinLanguage" is that you get to relive some of the best moments of the show without having to load a tape into the VCR and speed through the commercials.

Love "the Sein."


Title: "SeinLanguage"

Author: Jerry Seinfeld

Publisher: Bantam Books

Length, price: 180 pages, $19.95

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