Posted in TV/Movie Stuff, Writer's Corner

Response: “Millennials Are Now Claiming That ‘Seinfeld’ Is Offensive”

Just to give you an idea of what you’re getting into:

“And this offends you as a Jewish person?”

“No, it offends me as a comedian.”

No, I’m not Jewish.

Anyway…

*Headdesk*, *facepalm*, and…

(Thanks to my friend Nikki for only responding with this. It captures the mood perfectly).

They’re at it again. In the grand tradition of a classic Christmas song as date-rape waiting to happen, another classic Christmas song telling the story of bullying, safe spaces, crying circles, screaming circles, self entitlement, and deconstructing everything the previous generations love…comes their latest “thing that offends them.”

I proudly present to you…the show about nothing.

I read an article last night on Do You Remember? about that sitcom about yadda-yadda-yadda, Festivus, the man-siere, Pig Man, Ass Man, Soup Nazis (“no soup for you!”), and Schmoopie (among other nicknames, observations, and absurd plots), starring a “Veddy veddy bad man” and his friends – a bald guy with loud parents who works for the Yankees, a tall guy with even taller hair whose “whole life is a fantasy camp” (with an unknown profession), and a woman who works for J. Peterman and eats long-expired cake. The show was about nothing, and yet, something always happened. It was your life, but more absurd.

It ran for nine seasons, 180 episodes, and ended on probably the most downer of a finale I’ve ever seen. Again, it was about nothing, but the show gave its fans so much. So many quotable moments, so many jokes, so many nicknames. No one was spared, and the last episode was sure to capitalize on that.

That sitcom was Seinfeld, and millennials are offended.

Surprise!

In this culture of everyone being offended by everything (see recent examples above), millennials found yet another thing to be offended by. When I was growing up, Seinfeld was one of those “love it or hate it sitcoms” – you either loved the concept of a show that pokes fun at the world and all its nuances and idiosyncrasies, or you hated the whining, nagging observations of four adults. Obviously, enough people loved it to keep it going for nine seasons (though those early season were a bit lackluster), and the fact that it still airs in syndication twenty years later, and WPIX (the CW station in New York) still airs the Festivus episode every December 23rd, must mean something.

But nope, a twenty-plus year old sitcom is so horribly offensive to a group that demands a safe place to cry it out and contemplate where the world went wrong to unleash anything on their sensitive sensibilities.

Funny, when I was growing up watching it, and even in my twenties and thirties watching it in reruns, it was never offensive. As an adult, I am surprised with what actually got by the network, but the show itself is harmless. It is everyday life, in sitcom form. It could be so much worse, and yet, it isn’t the worst thing to ever air. This was the pre-reality show days, of course. Our options were two-part: sitcoms and dramas. Science fiction shows were on the fringe, and if we wanted reality, we watched The Real World on MTV. Because we are all guilty of watching that (and Road Rules) at some point.

The article cites several reasons as to why millennials are waving their four-ply Kleenex in upset glory over the sitcom: several episodes are “insensitive” and “stigmatizing towards some social group” (source: Bustle). The Soup Nazi, the Puerto Rican Day Parade episode (which I remember being on the news the night it aired because of the accidental flag burning scene), the Pig Man, and George looking at the cleavage of a teenage girl – none of these are safe. All deemed insensitive toward someone.

I don’t remember, but aside from these moments, was anything else on the show really objectionable in the late 90s to the point that people lodged their ridiculous complaints? It was as a diversion, a way to unwind and laugh. Society is full of funny things, however intentional or unintentional they may be. Seinfeld sought to pick out those little funnies and foibles of everyday life.

Perhaps we just had a sense of humor back then. Or maybe I still do. I don’t know, this show, in a world of far more offensive aspects, is probably the least offensive.

Even Jerry Seinfeld wasn’t ok with how the younger generation responded to his show’s content:

“Hopefully most people can agree that comedy, even “edgy” comedy, doesn’t need to alienate marginalized groups in order to make people laugh, though,” he explains, “Thanks to more modern understandings of what political correctness entails — and why being PC is important — it’s less common these days to find jokes like the offensive ones that often played out on Seinfeld.”

(Source: Bustle)

The Daily Wire responded to these claims with an accurate observation of the state of people currently:

“so much of our culture today seems to be about finding reasons to hate pop culture from even a decade or two ago.”

Amen to that!

I agree, not every joke wears well so many years later (read the Bustle article for those jokes), but so many of them have. And quite frankly, even the ones that haven’t worn well, I still laugh at. Because I have a sense of humor.

I’m actually offended that people are so offended by everything. It hurts that we can’t point out something small without being attacked. Politics, religion, style of dress, opinion, or worldview about anything – someone is always ready to drop the hate on someone else if it doesn’t fit their politics, religion, style of dress, opinion, or worldview. As a result, we’ve become a society of people who are so afraid to say the wrong thing. The first amendment was built on people saying whatever they darn well please, even if it is the wrong thing.

That’s what has always made society great – say what we want without fear of retribution. Now, we’re worried that entitled brats are going to object. Why? Why do we fear their opinions? Worse, why do we value them? I know they are our future, but damn, I’m scared.

As a Xennial, born in those years between Generation X and Generation Weepy Baby, I’m a bit cynical and cranky. I’m just tired of seeing the things my generation loves and holds dear (and the things and values of the previous generation) being stomped all over by some kids (you’re kids, let’s face it) whose achievements are marked by participation trophies.

Positive contributions to society as a whole mean working with the values of the generations before us, and improving upon them. Not everything was perfect about the previous generations, but to stomp all over them, cry foul, or outright try to ban things is not furthering society, your cause, or helping us progress as a nation.

Pray for these millennials. They need it.

Oh, and, um…was Kramer a millennial before there were millennials? Just a thought.

Author:

Writer, former dancer, geek, nostalgia geek, Secretary by day, daughter, sister/in-law, girlfriend, aunt. Yankees and Giants fan, honorary Avenger (I have a pin, so it is official :-) ), MSTie, and Stargate, Thor, and Hello Kitty collector. And if you want to know anything about me: https://allisonveneziowrites.com/about-allison

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