“How about—it sucked.”
September 3, 2010

A daring comeback for when you’re faced with something that brings up the standard “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”—and so is ugly, you feel the need to remind the beholder.

Elaine’s date suggested they see The English Patient because it was up for all those Oscars, so she went (even though she wanted to see Sack Lunch and find out what was up with all those people in the brown paper bag). Bumping into friends as they departed the theater, the friends gooed—”How could you not love that movie?”–and Elaine booed.

Ugly doesn’t get as much air time in conversation because that’s what the conversation itself might become if you go there. And this is one time when you should—go there when someone goes so ga-ga over the beauty of something, that they can’t see that everything has flaws. Flick these words like a lighter in the darkness of their thinking, and you’ll show them things they might not otherwise see. How do I love thee? they pine of that thing and count the ways. “How do I hate thee!” you interject about that thing, and count away too.

From “The English Patient”
Episode 17, Season 8
Seinfeld Volume 7, Disc 3
Timecode for the scene: 4:04

“You know we’re LIVING in a SOCIETY…”
August 11, 2010

A grandstanding observation to use on someone who flouts Order, and rather than confront the person, you prefer to make a scene (and you just might win an Oscar while you’re doing it).

George tried to use the pay phone at the Chinese restaurant where he, Jerry, and Elaine were waiting to be seated. The man already on the phone ignored George’s request to use it, and when he got off, a woman got on and she wouldn’t get off–much to George’s ire. Rather than use brinkmanship in chastising the woman, George chose showmanship and chastised the World.

Take the stage with this line when you take umbrage at someone’s unruly behavior. Take the stage. This is “go to the mattresses” (minus any Godfather-ish confrontation) or “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore” (minus the Network cameras)—a line that may not endear people to your character or even move them by your message, but it’ll be entertaining to them…and cathartic for you. Few things are more entertaining and cathartic than a scene from a good movie.

And that’s all you can hope for, really, in situations like this: the good that can come out of it for you, without bringing the bad out of somebody else. You don’t ask a friend to watch your back while you dress down some stranger. You ask a friend to kick back with you over dinner while you recount your scene then wash it down—that’s how people normally act when airing their grievances.

And a particular person’s rudeness followed by your rebuttal to no one in particular—that’s entertainment.

From “The Chinese Restaurant”
Episode 6, Season 2
Seinfeld Volume 1, Disc 3
Timecode for the scene: 8:03

“Please, a little respect…for I am Costanza, Lord of the Idiots.”
July 8, 2010

A confident confession to make when you blunder so colossally that what you really want to say of yourself, as George once did, is “People this stupid shouldn’t be allowed to live.”

George wore a wedding ring to cultivate the interest of any single woman who came near him at a party. What he reaped for it was the disinterest of every woman around him—a pathetic harvest he recounted to Jerry, leading to this line (and a melodramatic bite into a potato chip, like an actor bum-rushing the after-party hors d’oeuvres after Oscar passed him by).

George didn’t say this to just anybody; he said it to Jerry—a match of comment to audience worth remembering here. Only your friends would care to hear you make this kind of pithy-ful observation about yourself. If they are decent friends, they will listen quietly while you wallow momentarily. If they are the best kind of friend though, they will laugh.

From “The Apartment”
Episode 8, Season 2
Seinfeld Volume 1, Disc 3
Timecode for the scene: 19:10

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