How many scenes would you say are in an episode of Seinfeld?
Most people seem to guess that there are 8. And by “most people” I mean that I conducted some rough “research” where I polled five writer friends via an email. I was surprised to find that almost all of them thought an episode of Seinfeld contained roughly 6-8 scenes.
It seems that most episodes of Seinfeld have somewhere between 18 and 22 scenes. I know because I watched six episodes and counted – I actually took detailed notes on each. Down below I’ll break down an episode scene by scene.
So… what’s scene?
A scene is the action in a single location and continuous time. A scene is also about characters making decisions.
Take “The Chicken Roaster” episode of Seinfeld. In it, a chicken restaurant opens across the street from Jerry and Kramer, causing a gigantic red neon light to beam directly into Kramer’s apartment. Kramer decides to boycott the restaurant, while Jerry decides to move into Kramer’s apartment. The plot takes us on a journey where we watch Kramer’s emotions for the chicken restaurant go from HATE to LOVE and finally to SADNESS. All that takes place over 28 scenes in this one 23 minute episode.
That’s the U.S. Government’s answer to the question, “Why can’t America torture the Nazi prisoners like they are torturing our prisoners?”
I first heard this quote on an episode of Radiolab called Nazi Summer Camp. In the episode, the hosts (Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich) share the story of Nazi prisoners (POWs) who were captured by the Americans in World War II, and brought to a prison in The United States.
In 1943, when word got out that the U.S. government was providing the Nazis’ prisoners with great hospitalities (prisoners were eating ham, drinking liquor, and playing ping pong) the American people were outraged.
The public was calling for harsher sentences for the newly captured Nazis ( including torture).
In response to the outcry, Major General Archer Lerch sharply stated, “We are not going to lower ourselves to Nazi standards. We are not going to let the enemy decide who we are as a country.”
That’s some great perspective.
It’s easy to copy someone’s shitty behavior and feel justified.
On the other hand, that gives them power over who you are.
This is an empowering Radiolab episode because it illustrates how important it is to have principles and morals that override the temptation to copy poor behavior.
I’m a huge fan of the Radiolab podcast and would recommend this as a starting episode if you haven’t’ heard it yet.
This week I’ll be chatting with Sarah Peck, about the book Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel. We’ll go over a summary of some of the main points, our favorite takeaways, and our personal experiences applying these lessons to our lives.