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Is Newman The Hero In Seinfeld? - Op-Ed Piece
Oh boy, this is one of those out-there posts that will be fun to write, where I will drive my car so close to the edge that I will probably fall off before I get to the end.
But here we go. Try to hang on.
Newman from Seinfeld is the hero.
Yeah, you read that correctly. But, unfortunately, you and me, and everyone else who ever watched Seinfeld in the original broadcast, reruns, or whatever streaming service it is on now, watched it completely wrong.
We viewed the 90’s sitcom about nothing with the assumption that the main character, the man who bears the show’s title, is the hero or the one we should be rooting for during the duration of our laughter. He isn’t. Jerry Seinfeld is, in fact, the villain in the show.
Don’t believe me?
Let’s take a look at Newman and Seinfeld’s relationship. It is pretty well known. Seinfeld hates Newman. Every time he sees him, he greets him as if he wants to knock the crap out of him. Like Newman stole Seinfeld’s girl and is now having kids with her hatred. Why though? Why does he hate Newman? What did Newman ever do to him? We are never told. It is one of the writing flaws of the show. According to the show’s plotlines, which pay special attention to the mundane pointless aspects of life, Seinfeld hates Newman without reason, and that is not something that a hero does.
In the show, Jerry is often seen with Superman as a part of his character. In his apartment, there is a Superman figurine, and he makes many references to the original superhero during the show’s run, but no one ever asks him if Superman would hate Newman as much as he does. Comparing Newman to Lex Luthor is pretty harsh on Newman’s part. Also, even if that comparison is true, there are some that view Luthor as the hero in the story. Superman is the alien who has limitless power and no real authority to answer to him. Luthor is using his ingenuity and intelligence to defeat a man who the world shouldn’t trust. So even in the context of Newman being Jerry’s Lex Luthor, there is an argument for Newman.
Seinfeld even claims during the show that Newman is “pure evil.” He says Newman is bad, and that is that. He doesn’t explain why Newman is even evil. We are supposed to take Seinfeld’s word for it, rather than seeing he may be lying in order to cover up the awful person he actually is.
Let’s examine how the other characters think of Newman. Surely if he was so evil, everyone else on the show would hate him, right? He’d be the outcast that everyone mocks. He isn’t, though. Kramer not only talks to Newman, but he is also his good friend! The neighbor of Seinfeld, the guy who spends every freaking day annoying Jerry, is friends with the guy who Jerry hates. Did Jerry ever stop to think that maybe it is him with the problem, not Newman? Elaine has no real issue with Newman either. She doesn’t express hatred for him, more indifference towards him, and in fairness to her character, she does that to basically everyone on the show. Same with George, he doesn’t openly hate Newman like Jerry.
Of the four main characters, Jerry is the only one that despises Newman. The more you notice it, the more you think it is just Jerry being an asshole.
There aren’t many on the show who actually dislike Newman. Why? That’s bizarre. I thought he was the villain. If he was, everyone in the show would have the same feelings towards him as Seinfeld, which they clearly don’t. According to the other characters on Seinfeld, Newman isn’t that bad of a guy. Sure, he isn’t great, but to loath him is not something that everyone else on the show does.
Now, let’s get to the resolution of the show; how it ended. The finale of Seinfeld is pretty well known for its over-the-top use of famous minor characters throughout the series. The main four main characters are guilty of basically being bad people. They lose. They go to jail. They are treated not as the heroes we should want to win but as villains that we wish to lose. That is strange, especially for a comedy.
The show openly admits that the main characters are bad people. The creators of the show say it, the writers say it, and yet we all watch it as if the main characters are supposed to win in the end. Them losing is justice since the main characters aren’t good people. It is justice to the villains that they are.
Now Newman has a pretty interesting monologue in the finale.
Here it is.
If you see this, seeing Newman not as a villain out to get Seinfeld, but a hero trying to stop Seinfeld, then you realize that Newman is literally warning Seinfeld that his villainy will end. And Newman is telling Seinfeld that when that happens when his bad behavior catches up to him, he will be happy about it. This is not a monologue a villain says to the hero, but the hero says to the villain. I admit it; this was the scene that made me think differently of Newman.
Heck, Newman is calling it like he sees. The selfish Seinfeld will have his poor attitude towards others catch up to him one day. I mean, yeah, that is about right. And that is exactly what happens. Jerry is an asshole to Newman; why should he expect anything less but contempt from him?
Also, notice how the scene isn’t funny. It can’t be. The hero is confronting the villain, which is not something that a few rolling of the eyes can make funny.
How many times during the show’s run did Newman want justice done to Jerry? He wanted to hurt Jerry, and we are always presented as if Newman is in the wrong. But maybe he is not that far off with his assessment of the situation.
Seinfeld hates him for no reason.
His best friend hangs around Seinfeld a lot, which I am sure doesn’t go over well with Newman.
No one in the universe hates him as much as Seinfeld.
All of the main characters are pretty straightforward, with their selfish bad behavior.
Yet Newman is the bad guy.
In a show where the main characters are bad people, in fact, such bad people that they have a chorus line of people to testify against them as soon as they can, the nemesis of those characters would have an argument for being the hero or at the very least, better than them. If Newman committed a crime like Seinfeld, would everyone he knew testify against him like those of Seinfeld’s past?
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the hero of Seinfeld, the man who was trying to bring down the selfish comedian, Newman.
I told you this would be a fun one.
We know this was a little out there, but we hope you enjoyed it. Normally we don't include videos with our posts either for we feel that ruins the reading experience, but we made an exception here.
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About The Blogger
Greg Luti is an editor and blogger on pensandwords.com. His favorite writers are Robert Frost and Charles Bukowski. He enjoys reading up on history, watching comedies, and playing video games, when he is not writing down a few notes for his next piece. He started this blog out of his love for literature and hopes that the reader shares that same passion.
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