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The Student News Site of Ocean Lakes High School

The Current

The Student News Site of Ocean Lakes High School

The Current

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Jerry Seinfeld fails at pretty much everything in “Unfrosted”

The stars of “Unfrosted” stare with amazement into the distance. From left to right: Melissa McCarthy, Jerry Seinfleld and Jim Gaffigan. Courtesy of Netflix.

“Unfrosted,” Jerry Seinfeld’s latest film and directorial debut, compares the invention of the Pop Tart to the Cold War with a grating comedic clumsiness. 

This large concept is quite strange for Seinfeld, who’s mostly known for comedy based on the small details of daily life.

The four main stories in the film include: the invention of the Pop Tart, the love affair between the head of Kellogg’s and Post, the strike of Kellogg’s mascots and the angry milkmen mafia, which all feel like jokes that were overextended to the point of exhaustion.

The failure of these jokes have a hidden precedent in his stand-up that is fully revealed in “Unfrosted.” 

His jokes are usually built on creating a funny mental image through commentary on things people can all relate to. 

For example, he tells a joke in his 1998 special, “I’m Telling You for the Last Time,” in which he talks about a warning label on the box of a childhood Superman Halloween costume of his that warns that people should not try to fly with it on. This is an easy concept to accept concretely, as everyone has seen a box and read a dumb label.

He then ironically talks through the thought process of the child who would be dumb enough to think he could fly with a Superman costume but smart enough to read the box. This final description of the thought process provides a unique image made entirely real by its concrete base, thus providing humor.

But in “Unfrosted,” his images don’t expand through commentary or progress logically. Every joke is an empty punchline.

The milkmen of the world secretly being a mafia has no comedic punch because there is no preceding image, and because the idealized milkman has no precedent for anyone below the age of 50, there is no common cultural image to fall to either.

The four main stories are also highly disjointed because they cut between each other with little to no connection, causing a thematic jumble.

It seems as if the availability of the jump cut, a privilege not allotted to stand-up, has corrupted the genius of Seinfeld’s use of theme in his comedy. In “I’m Telling You for the Last Time,” he uses the transition of themes to provide continuity to the fragmented form of stand-up. For example, he moves the special from supermarket jokes to doctor jokes through a section of drugstore jokes, but in “Unfrosted” any flow is nonexistent.

“Unfrosted” feels more like a cheap way to cash in on the semi-ironic trend of absurdist brand movies kickstarted by Greta Gertwig’s 2023 “Barbie,” but Seinfeld cannot write for such large concepts.

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About the Contributor
Dominic Zdan
Dominic Zdan, Entertainment Editor
Dominic Zdan is a freshman and first-year journalism student. Outside of school he enjoys listening to music, specifically punk and older rock music, watching movies, reading classic literature and hanging out with friends.

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