Every time I tell someone I’m writing a book about Seinfeld, they say something along the lines of: “Oh, you should call it The Book About Nothing.” This week, I’ve written a few pieces about Seinfeld in anticipation of its Hulu launch on Thursday, and almost every editor I’ve worked with has asked me to add something about it being “the show about nothing” and/or has said they plan to use a variation of the phrase in the headline.
I know popular TV shows have often had sticky catchphrases, but to paraphrase one of Jerry Seinfeld’s other catchphrases, “What is the deal with ‘the show about nothing’?”
It’s not useful, like 30 Rock‘s “I want to go to there” or “Blurg.” It’s not a catch-all exclamatory phrase like Good Times‘ “Dy-no-mite!” It’s not even as funny as a lot of other Seinfeld-isms like “spongeworthy” or “master of my domain.” But people love it.
I like to try to figure these things out, but maybe I’m too close to the topic this time. So I’m asking you, readers: Any ideas? What’s so interesting about “the show about nothing”?