Jewish World Review Dec. 11, 2002 / 6 Teves, 5763
Modern media coverage is frequently marked by magical thinking, the kind
of primitive thought processes that leads folks to believe that
sacrificing a goat will bring a solar eclipse to a quick conclusion, or
that anti-fraud legislation will end corruption.
The latest example is a widespread belief in the so-called "Seinfeld
Because Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, and Michael Richards have
all starred in failed situation comedies since SEINFELD went off the
air, the theory goes, they have therefore been cursed. They will never
again scale the television heights. They opened the mummy's tomb, said
"Candyman" three times in front of the mirror, cracked Pandora's Box,
and are now condemned to wander the vast wasteland forever and alone,
clutching only a cell phone, on which their agents have put them on
While there is something appealing about the notion of doomed TVland
demigods, I get a little confused as to what force, exactly, doomed
them, and why. I'll grant that they are probably guilty of hubris --- but
every actor is guilty of hubris. Somehow I can't see the Judeo-Christian
G-d bestirring Himself to smite them so cruelly.
Then again, G-d is thanked daily by athletes and beauty pageant
participants for allowing them to win their very important contests. If
God was in fact in their corner, that would mean He was actively
preventing other competitors from winning, many of whom had been praying
for victory themselves. So who knows? He just might hold a grudge
against the cast of SEINFELD, perhaps as a result of prayers by the cast
of EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND, or by television viewers who have had it up
to here with SEINFELD reruns. I will not presume to know His ways.
On the other hand, it could be a voodoo curse by actors who auditioned
to be on SEINFELD and didn't make it. Maybe Julia, Jason, and Michael
reneged on a pact with Satan. Maybe there's a vast conspiracy by those
television viewers who just "didn't get" SEINFELD, and seek to punish
everybody involved with its creation. (Though that would hardly explain
the success of SEINFELD co-creator Larry David's CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM on
HBO --- unless of course, Larry David himself is behind the curse.)
It could even be that their sitcoms went down in flames because they
were poorly conceived, written, and executed. That's difficult to
accept, I know, far-fetched, even crazy, but in the interest of
skeptical inquiry, I thought I'd better throw it out there.
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JWR contributor Ian Shoales is the author of, among others, Not Wet Yet: An Anthology of Commentary. Comment by clicking here.
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© 2001, Ian Shoales