The show about nothing

Sherri Gardner HowellBlount, Farragut, Kitchen Table Talk

Many things have changed in my life over the years, but my sleeping habits have remained constant. I’m a late-nighter who doesn’t need a lot of sleep.

Through the baby and toddler years with kids and the endless deadline years with work, I was always grateful for whatever internal clock I have that makes five to six hours of sleep a night just right for me. Now that I work only about 20 to 30 hours a week (and that’s an average), I would have more time for sleep. Problem is, I just can’t extend it. Asleep at 1 a.m.? Up by 7. Asleep at 11 p.m.? Up by 5.

That being said, I’m not exactly energetic after I leave the home office for the refuge of the couch. I’m not sleepy, but I’m not jumping up and down to actually “do something” either.

Reading is great, but I am more often finding I need to give my eyes a break after work, too. Audiobooks are a passion, but sitting on the couch with my headphones on is a bit too isolating as a regular exercise.

So, television, and the nightly back-and-forth of finding something my husband and I both like, which can be excruciating. We manage with compromise, even in this wasteland as all our tried-and-true favorites are season-ended.

My husband goes to bed by 11 p.m. most nights, and the world downstairs is all mine. Welcome to my time for old sitcoms!

I just finished all nine seasons of “Seinfeld.” Before that, it was “WKRP in Cincinnati.”

The interesting thing about “Seinfeld” is that I didn’t like it when it was running for nine years, so I rarely watched it. I remember being completely in the dark with friends and officemates over the whole “Yada, yada, yada” phenomenon.

I’m not sure what has changed, but the show now had me laughing out loud almost every night.  It’s different – truly a show about nothing.

Being a huge fan of “Friends” and “The Big Bang Theory,” I actually picked “Seinfeld” because I love the ensemble-cast sitcoms. But “Friends” and “Big Bang Theory” have characters you really care about and great character development over the many seasons. I was totally invested in Ross and Rachel, always pulling for Joey, always loving the Monica and Chandler times.

I didn’t get any of that in “Seinfeld.” Jerry, George, Kramer and Elaine aren’t really likable characters. Susan (George’s fiancée) and Jerry’s parents are the only people I really had any good feelings about – and that totally hilarious lawyer Kramer hires several times!

What I didn’t find at all funny from 1989 to 1998 was now a late night treat. I may have to dig deeper into my psyche to understand “why?” and scrutinize the depths of my awareness.

Or I may just start watching “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” I have completely missed it, and it’s set for a 15th season!

Sherri Gardner Howell has been writing about family life for newspapers and magazines since 1987. She lives in West Knoxville, is married to Neville Howell and has two sons and three grandsons.

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