It's a Drinking Game About Nothing
A show many have labeled "ahead of its time", it was in many ways the anti-sitcom. Plot threads revolved around small, even non-existent slights. Conversations would often derail completely. Scenes lasted for sixty seconds at the most. And all four of the main characters were legitimately terrible people. It's a miracle it got picked up, and even more miraculous that it ran for nine seasons to critical and popular acclaim.
I found making a drinking game for this show difficult, which shouldn't have come as a shock considering how unpredictable each episode became, especially season to season. "Seinfeld" threatened to break my tried and true game-making methods. Once again, we watched five episodes, none of which resembled any of the others. And we gazed upon mid-nineties New York City with shock and awe, and as we drank the same question burned in all of our minds:
"How far away from this are we?"
"Drunk Seinfeld": The Rules
1. Drink for title drops. That's every time someone says "Seinfeld".
2. Drink when they drink.
3. Drink for daddy issues.
4. Drink when someone buzzes into Jerry's apartment.
5. Drink when people repeat words or phrases back at each other. "She's got the Jimmy Legs." "The Jimmy Legs?" "Yeah, the Jimmy Legs!"
6. Drink when someone tells a story, and no part of the story is shown on screen. Moose calls this the "anti-Family Guy".
7. Drink for incoherent shouting.
8. Drink for Onomatopoeias. "BAM!" "WHAMMO!" These people are basically cartoons.
All of the above rules apply. Also...
1. Drink for episode title drops.
2. Drink when someone's full name is used. Drink twice if that full name is "Jerry Seinfeld"
3. Drink when Kramer takes something from Jerry's apartment. It's usually food.
4. Drink when an outsider of the group is severely offended.
5. Drink when a member of the group refuses to help someone in need.
All of the above rules apply. Also...
1. Drink when Newman appears. Drink twice if this is met by someone saying "Hello, Newman."
2. Drink when someone mentions watching a movie or a television show. Drink twice if this piece of media is real.
3. Drink when a portion of the plot revolves around an inanimate object. The pen. The puffy shirt. The list goes on.
4. Drink for tangents in a conversation, or when someone says something that's completely ignored.
5. Drink when two people break off a relationship.
Pooh Daddy: Low-talker (Medium)
Some Guy: Re-gifter (Medium)
Big Moose: Close-talker (Hard)
The Fuzzy Masked Man: Master of his Domain (Medium)
Champjagne Austgin: Queen of the Castle (Medium)
So? Did our efforts succeed? Or were we left cranky and sad, like most of the characters on this show? Join us for the Seinfeld drinking game!
You Know, 30% of Television Shows are Undateable
At the beginning of the two-part series finale (that's right, we watched it), Elaine makes a phone call to her friend Jill, whose father has recently passed. Her first attempt is on the street with Jerry and George standing by. The cell reception is so bad that she has to hang up, swearing she'll try again. After the call, the boys berate her, telling her that making that call on the street when chances are she'll be interrupted and forced to hang up shows extreme disrespect for the situation.
"I would just like to acknowledge that scene," said The Bishop.
"This is like "Don't break up with someone over text message"," elaborated Pooh Daddy.
Because back then, of course, calling someone on a cell phone was still a somewhat informal method of communication. So was e-mail, which wasn't even widespread, and texting didn't become a thing for a least another five years. Elaine in all honesty had very few options, and she chose the wrong one.
Nowadays her options have grown enormously; in situations where I've been on the receiving end of condolences, I've gotten most of these through e-mail and thought nothing of it. Jerry and George might have had something to say about it, though. A large portion of the show revolves around them all trying to be seen as acceptable people in society, while acknowledging when they're alone with each other that society is stupid and they should be allowed to do whatever they want. If they owned up to their behavior, they'd probably be a lot more respected within their community, but instead they hem and haw, make up excuses for not doing the right thing, and refuse to grow.
Maybe all that social self-preservation is warranted, though. After all, we tore into Elaine when we saw she was wearing shoes while sitting on her bed at home.
The Chinese Restaurant
The episode reached this level of critical acclaim because it did things that nobody had ever seen done before on television. Because of this, the episode is really difficult to drink to.
It's true that this episode had the largest amount of tangents ("Of course all the conversations go on tangents! It's Seinfeld!" argued Some Guy), but the only other rule that got utilized was the title drop rule. They stay pretty much within their group at the restaurant, so they don't have the chance to offend anyone; in fact, everyone in the restaurant has more power over the situation than they do, so they're the ones being offended more often than not. All of the apartment based rules fly out the window, as do most of the rules that have to do with other people. We ended up taking out our frustrations on Seinfeld and gang rather loudly.
"Why are they insisting on this fucking Chinese restaurant?" said Big Moose.
I guess it's because they've been waiting so long that they don't feel like it's worth it to try anywhere else.
"It’s New York, I don’t give a shit. Get Papaya King, suck it up," he continued.
Of course, that would involve any of these characters learning to compromise on their principles, and as a rule, they don't do that. Nor do they attempt to put positive spins on any situation. They are angry at the world, and they want to let you know it.
The episode was also valuable because it served as a precursor for possibly the most important episode we could have watched.
For those who don't know, the finale involves the Seinfeld, Kramer, Elaine and George being arrested for refusing to help circumvent a random mugging (drink) in a small town, where a "Good Samaritan" law is being tested out. The trial that follows is one long character assassination of our four protagonists, bringing in every slighted victim of their self-centered behavior to testify against them. The gang is convicted, and they are sentenced to a year of imprisonment.
It's like these characters have spent all their lives living on one planet and have suddenly moved to a new one where everything is a little more inconvenient than they'd like. Instead of dealing with these inconveniences and moving on, they pridefully reject conventions and go about everything in the most difficult way, all the while trying not to seem like assholes. That's the thing about all of them; they WANT to be liked. They WANT to be accepted. But they don't want to do the work necessary to achieve acceptance.
And why would they? They've got each other. As long as that's true, they don't need to get along with anyone else.
That Little Something Extra
Halfway during the first episode we watched, "The Comeback," The Fuzzy Masked Man pointed out to all of us that Jerry had at least seven different brands of cereal in his kitchen cabinet. Jerry lives alone, and spends most of the series devoutly single. What does he need this much cereal for?
"I can't believe it!" Fuzzy exclaimed. "Every complaint I have, they solve!"
I posit that the reason Seinfeld works so well is that it gives us a reason behind everything the main characters do. EVERYTHING. All of their seemingly pointless conversations? They're all insightful looks at the characters. Jerry, George, Elaine, even Kramer, are all 200% more developed than any other character on TV, because the entire show is about getting to know them and how they think. We share their victories, we understand their fears, we're gratified to share their obsessions and their dislikes. If the "Friends" cast was the group who we all wanted to be, the "Seinfeld" cast is the group we're most likely to actually be. And that's okay.
Champjagne Austgin wondered aloud at one point, "Why haven't they made a sitcom about us yet?"
"They have," countered Big Moose, "We just don't know about it."
Drink whenever a scene takes place in their diner.
There's an iconic diner that's used in MOST episodes in Seinfeld. That should be an Easy rule, no question about it.
Drink whenever someone complains about a significant other.
They might not break up with them right away over these complaints, but by golly they'll say something about it. George was engaged for a season and a half to a woman he couldn't stand.
Drink for that bass riff.
HARD MODE ONLY, GUYS. This catchy guitar riff ends every scene of the show. Hell, do away with the rest of the rules and use this if you're feeling lazy.
For Your Inebriation is written by Krissy Pappau (Hollis Beck). Video footage is taken by Pooh Daddy (Vincent Graham) and edited by Seb (Amy Yourd). All "Seinfeld" images are owned by NBC and Columbia TriStar.