Taking Seinfeld from a serious point of view is like trying to find a single, special grain of wheat in a wheat field caught in a windstorm, it’s possible but it takes some serious doing. There were serious moments in Seinfeld but they were so rare that discovering them took being there at the right moment and being able to discern just what they were and not get suckered in by the expectation of comedy. Even when a moment seemed like it was about to be serious there always remained that edge of comedy that could have cut into the tension at any moment and shattered the solemn moment without a moment’s hesitation.
And of course, around every moment within the show there was always the chance that the comedy would simply envelop the entire thing like some silly, giggling shroud of indifference and comical apathy that seemed so pervasive on the set. People laughed, people cheered, but usually the only crying that was done was when they were laughing so hard that their jaws and cheeks began to hurt. Rarely on Seinfeld was there a moment so tender that people couldn’t bring even a titter to the forefront. It’s kind of hard to cry when you watch Kramer just walk into a room and look like he got zapped by a jolt of electricity on his way in. Plus George was usually the guy you laughed at just because his life was so pathetic that you wondered when he would finally have enough of it and just snap.
But in this clip you at least get to see that there was a moment when the hilarity kind of faded and fell to the floor without a struggle for dominance. When George asked his girlfriend to marry him and then was so happy about getting married there was plenty of chance for hilarity and frivolity. The idea would be to make it as funny and fun-filled as possible just to get the audience on board and still think that it’s okay to laugh. But death in a sitcom can go either way. When someone passes away it’s all a matter of how the sitcom is fashioned and how it’s going to react to such a loss. In this case Seinfeld actually broke character and became a rather somber show for a lot of scenes. It showed the grief and the heartache that comes from losing someone, and the pain that one has to endure from being alone once again. If you ever watched the show then you know how very uncharacteristic that is for such a comedy.
And yet the hilarity still lingered because this was what people had come to expect from Seinfeld. They had watched the show long enough to know that the main characters were never too far away from making a wisecrack of some sort that it could just spring out from anywhere. That’s why it was hard to take this show seriously at all, because it raised the expectations of its own comedic performance and made it almost impossible to share a serious moment.