“A Show About Nothing”

“A show about nothing!” This was the main premise from characters Jerry and George in an episode of the hit sitcom, Seinfeld. The episode shows Jerry and George pitching a new sitcom idea—and it is a show about nothing (“The Pitch,” season 4, episode 3, September 16, 1992). There is no real plot or storyline. It is about random occurrences and character deficiencies with no underlying moral or metanarrative. In analyzing the book Seinfeld and Philosophy, Jennifer Armstrong writes, “It’s easier to see Seinfeld as a worthy object of study. Its neurotic focus on the minutiae of social customs is comparable to Oscar Wilde’s comedies of manners. It reveals the same problems of being that nauseated the existentialists: the tiniest acts of its characters come together to wreak havoc, sometimes on other characters, more commonly on unsuspecting strangers. And one could argue it has a strong nihilistic streak throughout its run—if it’s about ‘nothing,’ it’s about the nothingness of existence, the futility of it all” (Jennifer Keishin Armstrong, “Was Seinfeld Really ‘About Nothing’?,” BBC, June 23, 2015, https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20150624-seinfeld-really-about-nothing).