Friday, November 14, 2008

And now on a slightly lighter note....

Continuing my recent Youtube theme, I found this the other day.

"The Contest" has to be one of the funniest and most cleverly-written pieces of television I have ever seen, or am likely to ever see for that matter. It's pure genius from start to finish. The script, timing and concept are just pure gold.

You can read more about it here, although bear in mind my usual Wikipedia disclaimer - not everything from Wikipedia can be trusted, the sources are dubious and it's not written, vetted or edited by experts, etc, etc, etc.

I must admit that until recently I had sort've forgotten that Seinfeld existed. I know that probably sounds utterly incomprehensible to many, but the thing is that neither he nor the show are popular in the UK at all, and so hadn't been on my radar for quite some time. I quite often search for comedians on Youtube though, and the other day I recalled Seinfeld and his stand-up routines and tried to find some. Typed "Seinfeld" into the search bar and came up with about a thousand bits of episodes, and amongst them that clip. Watched it about a hundred times, rolled around on the floor laughing, watched it about a hundred more. I wish I had access to the full episode.

Can you remember where you were when Kennedy got shot? When the Twin Towers fell? When Australia and South Africa tied in the '99 Cricket World Cup semi-final? Well - I can remember where I was when I first saw this episode.

I used to attend a performing arts high-school in Sydney. Given that I was from Perth, I lived in the boarding house. Not your usual boarding-house you understand - this was not the domain of your inbred country boy with the two-word vocabulary and hobbies that included thumping the red-haired kid whenever he spoke, moved or breathed, oh no - that was my FIRST boarding school. This place was entirely different. There were only twenty-five or so students, and at the time, the end of Year 10, I was one of only four boys. All the students were either ballet dancers, contemporary dancers, actors, musicians, emotional misfits, junkies, or sometimes a heady cocktail of all of them at once.

In December each year when exams were over and preperation for the end-of-year performances began, the no-tv-on-weeknights rule was rescinded. Which meant that at 7pm every evening, Seinfeld ruled the roost. I had gathered with half-a-dozen or so of the Year 11 and 12 ladies, several of whom were actually decent human beings without eating disorders or drug habits, and in walks George into the diner, and utters those four little words. "My mother caught me". From that moment until the end of the show I was in absolute hysterics. And the thing is that none of my fellow audience-members understood. Through my tears I had to explain it to them - these aloof, supposedly worldy young women, who as a rule tolerated my 15-year old nerdiness but made it pretty clear who was in charge. I turned the tables on them that night, though. Maybe it was because like every 15 year-old boy, I knew a thing or two about the subject at hand (so to speak!)!

Just found the following, too, which isn't included in the first clip.

Try and find a better-written and delivered line than the one at 0:37. I think you'll be looking awhile!

I can't take it any more! She's drivin' my crazy, I can't sleep, I can't leave the house, and I'm here climbin' the walls - meanwhile I'm datin' a virgin and I'm in this contest, somethin's gotta give!

And they don't mention "the word" at any stage throughout the episode. Gold. Class. Genius.


Simon said...

"I shave my legs" says Elaine, "Not every day" says Kramer.

Carrot said...

Hi Simon, thanks for commenting.

Yeah - that's a good line! And it's said with the sort of blind instinctiveness that Richards always did so well with Kramer. I had an acting coach once who said that he was the only one on the show that could really act - whether you agree with that or not, it was always pretty hilarious!