Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 3.5

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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8 Comments

  1. Oh my doG, I’m so glad to finally hear of someone who doesn’t like Seinfield! I always felt it was one of the worst shows ever, yet it is widely considered one of the best. The characters are unlikable, the plots are unrealistic, and the makers are proud to call it a “show about nothing.” Pure, unpasteurized Crap.

  2. Amanda
    I wish I could participate in that Sony scholarship program. Believe it or not, I actually tried designing a video game a more than a few times. But I’ve never been very good at program, so none of them were that elaborate and most of them I never finished. However, I’ve loved video games since I was a child and dreamed of designing them for a long time.

  3. First link seems to have completely missed the point of the Guardian article.

    The guardian’s article does not say that you can’t be sexy / funny and be a feminist. It actually says that it can (right in the title). But that it is not enough. Staying in a comfort zone that is afraid to make other people angry will not change anything.

  4. I really loved Seinfeld in High School, haha. Pretty much for all the reasons you listed, Briarking! :P I also ?love Always Sunny in Philadelphia. But I don’t need to “like” characters to enjoy a show.? It hasn’t aged well, though.

  5. The original Guardian article is really thought provoking- not the part about being a funny feminist so much as the idea of being a conventionally sexy feminist. This is the kind of thing I struggle with all the time. My grooming habits and the makeup and clothes I wear make me feel good about myself, but on some level the reason I feel good getting dressed up is because that’s how I fulfill an image of beauty that is the result of the patriarchy. It’s really easy to get caught in that loop of thinking. And it’s hard to break it.

  6. I don’t really get the snark in the Seinfeld rant. It seems to be suggesting that in a world where people talked about Seinfeld in the same way they talk about Girls, then… they would say all the same things that people who hate Seinfeld are always saying. (Although some of the rant is misinformed. In fact Jerry gave a lot of creative control to Larry David, who went on to create Curb Your Enthusiam, a cautionary tale about tragic loss of humor that can befall a person if they allow a little bit of success to turn them into a narcissistic asshole.) If the argument here is that Girls is just as painfully awful as Seinfeld or Louie, well, thank god I’ve never seen it.

    1. I think the difference is that while SOME people give these criticisms about Seinfeld, overall the critical response to it has been positive. In contrast, most of what I’ve heard about Girls in the press has either been negative or a response to negative feedback. The content of the negative reviews almost always includes a reference to Dunham’s appearance, weight or nudity (for that matter most positive reviews mention those things too). And while there are some people who criticize Jerry for writing himself out of his league partners, people don’t seem quite as offended that Jerry did it as they are when Lena does it.

      1. If that is the point then it is interesting for a number of reasons. When Seinfeld was getting most of its press, that was coming from professional TV reviewers who were writing (at the outset) before the show had actually aired, or (later) after viewing the episode by themselves and formulating their thoughts. The internet was nascent at that point. (Seinfeld came out in 1989 and ended in 1998. That means the internet was War Games to most people until 1995, when it became Hackers.) Although reviewers were undoubtedly influenced by Seinfeld’s enormous popularity, there was no direct input or public viewing experience.

        Contrast with Girls, where public disdain began before the show even aired, and then got amplified by the echoing chasm of twitter. Most of these comments did not come from professional reviewers. If Seinfeld had begun airing in 2009 instead of 1989, I think there is a very strong possibility that we would have heard a lot about the racial makeup of their New York, especially considering the blinding whiteness of Friends was the topic of articles in even mainstream publications* in the late ’90s. If thousands viewers had the opportunity to tweet and blog about how weird it was that Seinfeld appeared to inhabit an NYC devoid of minorities, where incredibly hot women actually compete to date whiny, self-absorbed, short, bald, angry twits who treat them like crap, I think the critical response would have been quite different.

        I think it’s also worth noting that, although I despise Seinfeld, it did come about during a nadir of creativity on television. I think people were a lot less inclined to think too deeply about a half-hour sitcom on network television when their only other choice was another episode of Night Court. Nowadays we are in something of a TV renaissance, or at least that’s what people keep telling me. In fact arguably Seinfeld helped kick off what has been a somewhat shaky ascent of television from the same-old timefiller into something that is more widely accepted as an art form, given that it was among a handful of shows around the same time that were finally trying to do something new with the format. It’s completely unsurprising that a much-touted show on a premium network in 2012 would get a finer inquisition (and generate more criticism) than Seinfeld, in the same way that the new Star Trek trailer has probably generated more in-depth analysis than the original series did in its entire run.

        None of which is to invalidate or dispute that the some of the show’s critics are being unfair to it because its main character is female. I don’t know what they are saying about Dunham’s weight, appearance, or nudity and I don’t really want to know. (I assume it must have been really shocking, since commenting on the weight, appearance, and nudity of female TV stars is pretty much standard.) I just think it is interesting that a fair comparison to Seinfeld’s critical response is also entangled with broader changes in culture over the past twenty years. Fewer people talked like that about Seinfeld when it was on the air because fewer people talked publicly about Seinfeld EVER than have already talked about Girls.

        *Cite: My hazy, drug-addled memories of reading something like this when I was in college.

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