Friday, September 01, 2006

Elaine’s exclamation points.

That’s why I enjoy Seinfeld so much. Not for Jerry – who frankly comes across to me as a wimp with a nasal whiny way of speaking (listen carefully to how he says “I know”), albeit a reasonably successful one. Not for George destined to fail for as long as he lives. Not even for the bizarre Kramer. But for the unwittingly insightful Elaine. Among the priceless lessons she taught me is the one on exclamation points. The fact is there’s a surfeit of them in the world. So let us not add to the congestion by using them recklessly and indiscriminately – on the idiot box of all places. The other day, I had the misfortune to be in a room where people were watching a soap called Virasat on a home theatre video screen. Every single time a character mouthed some inanity, the camera used to switch to show the expressionless mug of his or her companion. A sort of a muffled thud (the idiot box equivalent of Elaine’s exclamation point) would then come on the sound track as they cut abruptly to a still closer close-up of whoever was facing the camera. Avantika reminded me that they do it on The Bold and the Beautiful too. I guess Elaine’s logic for her generous sprinkling of exclamation points in her edit of Jake Jarmel’s book (“Well, I felt that the writing lacked certain emotion and intensity.”) is a cousin once removed of the logic soap directors, editors and music directors employ for the kind of sudsy style they adopt. Hype it up! Sock it to them, dude! They’ll just lap it up, boss!

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