There is no sitcom, and very few other shows of any genre that has had the cultural impact of Seinfeld. Like many of us, I watched it when it was originally on and periodically would pick up a stray rerun afterwards, but for a long time I didn’t see the show much. Lately, though, I have been catching quite a bit of it and as I watch I am continually astounded at how jokes or gags on the show have become such a part of life.
I am not the first, and won’t be the last, to identify this impact (doctoral dissertations have been written on it). Here are the first five of my top 10 (the last five will post tomorrow):
10. Close talker – Seinfeld found every little quirk that anyone might have and turned it into a whole episode. Everyone has a sense of personal space that can vary by culture and even person and when someone invades your sense of personal space, it can be really awkward. In the episode The Raincoats, Aaron, played by Judge Reinhold, interacts with the characters with his face a mere inches from theirs. While this invasion of personal space had been around since dirt was discovered, Seinfeld put a name to it.
9. Man hands – Jerry dated quite a bit but never found love. Why? Because everyone has something just not right about them that he can’t help but notice. In the episode The Bizarro Jerry, Jerry is dating a woman who seems to have the whole package. She is beautiful and entertaining and Jerry is having a good time until he looks at her hands. They are large and coarse and Jerry cannot help but seeing them as “Man hands”. Instantly the phrase took off and began to describe any woman with more masculine features.
8. Spongeworthy – A number of the funniest moments in Seinfeld are around the discussions of sex. In the episode The Sponge, Elaine finds out her preferred manufacturer of her chosen birth control (the sponge) has ceased production, and after securing a limited quantity of them, she goes into ration-mode. Suddenly she needs to determine if the sexual encounter will be worth digging into her limited supply. She coins the term Spongeworthy to describe the bar that must be met. The term quickly came to be synonymous with the bar that had to be met for any sexual encounter, whether or not you had to consider a supply of birth control.
7. Yada…yada…yada… – In any good story there is an introductory part, the meat of the story and the critical ending. In The Yada-Yada, the woman that George is dating shortens her story by removing key parts in the middle and replacing them with the phrase yada…yada…yada, leaving him to wonder if she purposefully was hiding that she had sex with her roommate and she didn’t want to talk about. When the characters discussed it, Elaine says she has yada..yada’s sex “I met this lawyer, we went out to dinner, I had the lobster bisque, we went back to my place, yada yada yada, I never heard from him again.” Jerry replied “But you yada yada’d over the best part” and Elaine replied “No…I mentioned the bisque!” Yada yada has now become an acceptable way to shorten a long story by removing many of the middle parts or a way to create interest in a story by purposefully removing the connecting tissue of the story to make the ending seemingly impossible from the beginning.
6. Re-gifted – We all have received gifts that we really don’t want. You have to graciously accept them but then what? Do you try to return it? Do you put it on the top shelf of your closet and wait for it to gather dust? Or do you re-gift it? In The Label Maker, Seinfeld receives a gift from a friend and finds out that Elaine had given that friend the same gift. Elaine instantly labels the friend a regifter! While the term regift (regifting, regifter) had been used before, Seinfeld made it popular.
Tomorrow I’ll give you my top 5.
This dish should be in your top 5 menu choices this week!
I bought a flank steak and yada…yada, I ate a great dinner.
The making of the sauce.
I took this picture so you wouldn’t see my man hands.
The beef and pea pods are in the wok.
This dish is very plate-worthy!
Asian Beef with Snow Peas
Prep Time: 5 M | Cook Time: 10 M | Makes: 4 servings
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice wine
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 pound beef round steak, cut into thin strips
- 8 ounces snow peas
In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice wine, brown sugar and cornstarch. Set aside.
Heat oil in a wok or skillet over medium high heat. Stir-fry ginger and garlic for 30 seconds. Add the steak and stir-fry for 2 minutes or until evenly browned. Add the snow peas and stir-fry for an additional 3 minutes. Add the soy sauce mixture, bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower heat and simmer until the sauce is thick and smooth. Serve immediately.
PREP 5 mins
COOK 10 mins
READY IN 15 mins
Calories 203 kcal 10%
Carbohydrates 9.7 g 3%
Cholesterol 39 mg 13%
Fat 10 g 15%
Fiber 1.5 g 6%
Protein 16 g 32%
Sodium 711 mg 28%