Thursday, November 23, 2006
Did anyone notice that one of the TBS reruns of Seinfeld on Monday night -- the first weeknight following Michael Richards' onstage fiasco -- was the one where Jerry and Elaine are in the bakery and Jerry is eating the black and white cookie, talking about racial harmony.
At least they didn't run the one where Kramer is dating a black woman, accidentally tans too long, and shows up at her place (with her family there to meet him) looking as if he was pulling an Al Jolson.
I'm not going to try to defend what Richards did on stage in Los Angeles. But, I am interested in trying to understand why it happened. Is he really a racist? Was he trying to be outrageous and shocking and simply went too far? Should he go around town trying to convince everyone that he has many black friends, as George did in a Seinfeld episode?
Anyone who has watched the Seinfeld DVD's, and has seen the bloopers, or interviews, can either tell, or have heard, that Richards was a very intense guy. A perfectionist who always seemed a bit upset when a co-star would blow a line, forcing a retake. Sure, he'd smile and look like it was no big deal, but you get the feeling that inside he wasn't too thrilled. Doesn't he seem a little too calm during his interview segments? As if he's bottling up something? Maybe I'm reading too much into things.
It would be nice to see footage of when the heckler first starts going at Richards. I think the clip that is all over the internet begins in the middle of his rant. My guess is that Richards was being heckled, tried to diffuse it by being outrageous, the crowd started to turn on him, he pushed it further, and lost control.
He has a history of onstage outbursts. This New York Post article talks about some previous episodes he's had. Clearly, the guy has some issues.
For some Seinfeld fans, this may forever tarnish the show, and I've read some comments on various forums that those fans may not watch the show again. Or at least they won't be able to watch it the same way again.
Not me. I love the show too much to just give up. An, I'm able to separate Michael Richards, the person, from Cosmo Kramer, the character.
It's too bad that Richards didn't use Frank Costanza's relaxation technique while he was being heckled. He should have just stood there and said quietly to himself, "Serenity now, serenity now." Of course, Kramer eventually used that technique too much, and his real feelings and anger came out in an explosion of screams of rage.
Okay, bad example.