Jerry: This isn’t a good time.
Telemarketer: When would be a good time to call back, Sir?
Jerry: I have an idea, why don’t you give me your home number and I’ll call you back later.
Telemarketer: Umm, we’re not allowed to do that.
Jerry: Oh, I guess because you don’t want strangers calling you at home.
Telemarketer: Umm, no.
Jerry: Well, now you know how I feel.
— from Seinfeld (50 Funniest Quotes from Seinfeld)
I LOVE Seinfeld (the TV program, not the man). The show about nothing.
My husband feels quite the opposite.
I don’t get that attitude. Seinfeld takes all the mundane, trivial, annoying things in daily life, blows them out of proportion, and makes them funny. Stupid, but funny.
Kramer is my absolute favourite. The way he enters Jerry’s apartment, sliding through the door with that stunned look on his face. His commentary about why regular underpants are better than boxer shorts — ‘my boys need a home’. His brutal honesty. His hair!
I also love the predictability. The expected greeting from Jerry every time he sees the mailman, Newman — ‘Hello … Newman!’ — cracks me up every time.
You can pretty much relate to everything they talk about in some way; most of the topics are day-to-day matters that irritate you, but you can’t really do anything about them.
Sometimes you just need to laugh at stupid stuff – because if you didn’t you would cry, or implode.
I love the telemarketer scene. There is nothing particularly funny about it by itself — but isn’t that what we all want to say?
What is it with these people? I know they are only doing their job, but honestly …?
Between my landline and mobile, I estimate I receive at least ten of these calls a day.
Many of them are those really annoying ones that hang up the minute you say ‘hello’. I still don’t get the point.
Some of them are recorded messages. There are the you are in so much trouble from the tax office (or whatever) ones. I’ve received several of those. A relatively newish one is the recorded call telling me I’ve been caught on speed camera 1152 and if I don’t pay my fine by such-and-such a date I am going to be prosecuted. It is scary how many people are sucked in by these ones.
Then there are the ones where it is a real person ringing. They are fun if you have the time and inclination to engage in banter.
Once or twice I’ve pretended to be interested, let them deliver their spiel while I do something else more important, then said, ‘No, I’d rather have a red one.’
When I’m in a particularly foul mood I have been known to really let them have it; I bang on about how much I have to do and how little time I have to waste answering their constant calls … yada, yada, yada … until they hang up.
Sometimes, though, it is just as satisfying to say, ‘Can you hang on for a moment while I turn the oven off?’ then never come back to the phone.
My son has suggested burping or farting into the phone — haven’t tried that one, but I feel it may be rather amusing, except I can do neither of those things on cue. A whistle could be good too.
You’ve got to give these people points for persistence though. I wonder if they get paid per call, successful or not? I also wonder if they have an on-tap psychologist available to help them get past the abuse I’m sure they receive? Or the lack of self-worth?
I think my husband doesn’t like the way the characters on Seinfeld over-react to everything. He doesn’t appreciate the predictability and repetitive behaviour. He thinks Seinfeld himself is a bit of a tool actually.
But for me, this is what makes the show funny.
Seeing the little things in life being blown out of proportion suddenly puts things into perspective too. There are more important things in life to get irritated by.