“These pretzels are making me thirsty.”
October 20, 2010

An optimistic observation to make when faced with a problem so puzzling that, even after picking at it, you’re still not sure what to do—except maybe to get something to drink.

Kramer landed a small part in a Woody Allen movie, and this was his line. He walked around practicing it so peacock-proudly that Jerry, Elaine, and George each began playing the acting coach—acting out the line themselves (which only twisted Kramer up).

Look closely at many of the books, movies, and TV shows we enjoy, and you’ll find in many of those stories a pretzel to untwist—a conundrum or mystery to solve. This is why a question like What’s the problem? is so prevalent…and sounds so different, depending on where you’re directing it: that helpful, look-on-the-bright-side-of-life sound when you address someone else’s “pretzels”(“Sooo, what seems to be the problem?”); a harried, sometimes insane sound over the pretzels affecting you (“What is the problem?!”).

Kramer’s famous line should be just as prevalent a comment. It’s far more fun, not to mention useful, to boot. No matter whose problem it is, you’re laughing at it, with a come-one-come-all kind of cheer. Come join me, that is, for a cup of courage…and put all that is discouraging behind us.

From “The Alternate Side”*
Episode 10, Season 3
Seinfeld Volume 2, Disc 2
Timecodes for the scenes: 9:25 (Kramer), 9:52 (Elaine), 9:55 (Jerry), 10:03, 10:30 (George), 11:13, 11:19 (Kramer again), 18:03 (Jerry), 20:20 (Elaine), 21:12 (Kramer et al.)

 

*Updated on April 20, 2020, for the forthcoming book!

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