“I hope you’re watching the clothes, Elaine – because I can’t take my eyes off the passion.” – J. Peterman on The English Patient
And no show in the history of the television medium has been more passionate about film than Seinfeld – yet another reason the sitcom has weathered the test of time and is still funny to this day. Tied to its central conceit of being a show based on observational humor surrounding the minutia of ordinary lives, Seinfeld‘s keen observations on how film defines a culture, has the ability to rescue us from our own suffocating mediocrity, and how one’s taste in film can shape their character is one of the big reasons I still watch in endless re-loop episode after episode after episode. And I dare you to name another defunct show that is still quoted and discussed on a near daily basis in offices across the country. It’s because like the greatest of films (or the worst deserving of ridicule), through Seinfeld, we learn about ourselves – and more importantly – how to laugh at ourselves.
Seinfeld‘s greatest running gag was its references to fake movies – the most famous of which was probably Rochelle, Rochelle – an art-film about “a young woman’s strange erotic journey from Milan to Minsk.” It was first featured in one of my favorite episodes of all-time, the charming almost now period-piece-like, “The Movie” where the gang haplessly tries to meet up at the cinema for a showing of CheckMate (a high-class thriller of political intrigue we are to assume). Continue reading