Imagine “Seinfeld Teachable Moments”

Jason Alexander plays Annie Duke's charity eve...
Jason Alexander plays Annie Duke’s charity event at the 2009 WSOP (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is your favorite Seinfeld Moment?

Yes, this is a serious question. From July 5, 1989, through May 14, 1998, 172 to 180 episodes of Seinfeld were created and since its series finale in 1998, it has continued in syndication throughout the United States, playing on multiple channels throughout the day, any day of the week. In April 2013, the International Business Times reported:

Repeat fees for “Seinfeld” have generated $3.1 billion since the final episode aired on NBC 15 years ago. The enduring 1990s sitcom, created by Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, is the most profitable 30-minute show in television history, and it has been for some time.

According to the Urban Dictionary a Seinfeld moment is defined as “a situation that is so ridiculous that it seems like it would appear on an episode of Seinfeld.” So…do you have a favorite Seinfeld moment?

It might surprise you to learn that in 2009 Professor Anthony Tobia of the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School designed a class for third and fourth year psychiatry students. The foundation of the class are what he refers to as “psy-feld” discussions.

So why make Seinfeld moments teachable moments? 

It turns out that Dr. Tobia likes Seinfeld and he realized that he could create a teaching tool (using teachable moments) to aid medical students in starting a conversation about various psychiatric disorders. Twice per week Tobia’s students are assigned to watch the 6:00PM TBS episode of Seinfeld. The following morning rounds are started with a discussion about the psychopathology that was evident in the previous evening’s episode. The students might zero in on George’s narcissism, Jerry’s obsessive compulsive disorder, Elaine’s issues with men, and some would say Kramer is a loner who lives in his own imaginary world. All of this before you get to the recurring sub-characters.

Dr. Tobia has created his own database using all 180 episodes, cross referencing the characters and each psychological teaching point.  According to The Guardian Tobia admits that sometimes his students come up with a diagnoses that he had not considered.

Tobia is confident in the diagnoses students have determined and said students have noticed things he had not, like the fact that Elaine might have once made a reference to her father being an alcoholic.

Tobia said that while that part of the show’s plot was unconfirmed, the character[learn more here] played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus definitely “behaves like what we refer to as an adult child of an alcoholic.”

Additionally, according to one of the psychiatric department’s chief residents, Tom Draschil offered: ‘Nothing in medicine can fully be learned without experiencing it in real life, Draschil said. But watching it on television helps, and the funnier a program is, the more teaching points it has for psychiatry, he added.’

Jerry Seinfeld has more to share with Brian Williams…

This past November NBC’s Brian Williams sat down with Jerry Seinfeld to talk a bit about how he views himself and his life as a comedian. You might find this interesting.


If you are having trouble viewing the video you can see it here.

Laughter may be very good medicine…or a terrific way to start a conversation

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