Jerry Seinfeld in 'Really?' Spat With NYT TV Critic

Comedian's letter to the editor gets prominent placement
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2012 8:31 AM CDT
Updated Oct 3, 2012 10:56 AM CDT
In this Nov. 22, 2005 file photo released by CNN, Larry King interviews comedian Jerry Seinfeld during a live broadcast of "Larry King Live" in New York.   (AP Photo/CNN, Lorenzo Bevilaqua)

(Newser) – It's not every day that a letter to the editor makes headlines, but it's not every day that Jerry Seinfeld writes a letter to the editor. Seinfeld took issue with an article by New York Times television critic Neil Genzlinger yesterday, in which Genzlinger lamented the overuse of the sarcastic "Really?" both on TV and in life. Seinfeld, of course, loves the quip, and was quick to respond. Samples from both pieces:

  • Genzlinger: "Say a co-worker shows up for a pivotal meeting wearing a plaid blouse and a polka-dot skirt. In the old days you might have said: 'Well, that is certainly an interesting fashion choice. Myself, I prefer something more subdued when sitting down with a client.' Now, though, if you’ve succumbed to the loathsome trend, you will simply aim as withering a look as you can at your colleague, and say 'Really?'"

  • Seinfeld: "Your example with the girl in the office and the bad clothes? It is definitely much more fun to look at her and just say, 'Really?' than to actually talk about the stupid outfit. Really, it is."
  • Genzlinger: "'Really?' was once an expression of wonderment that also acknowledged a gap in the user’s knowledge. Back when Einstein first announced that energy equals mass times the speed of light squared, the 'reallys?' that resulted were saying: 'I am astounded by your discovery, so much so that I can scarcely wrap my head around it. You, sir, are a genius.'"
  • Seinfeld: "What I do not say or write, as you did in the part about responses to Einstein’s theories, is 'wrap my head around it.' Are you kidding? No, no, no, Neil. No, sir. When I hear people say, 'If you can wrap your head around it,' I want to wrap their heads around something, like a pole."
Click for Genzlinger's full piece or Seinfeld's response. (Read more Jerry Seinfeld stories.)

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