Two of my favorite things came back together this week: the TV comedy Seinfeld and The New Yorker magazine.
In the final season of Seinfeld, Elaine can’t figure out why a certain New Yorker cartoon is funny. She gets a meeting with an editor and asks him directly. He admits that even he doesn’t understand some of the stuff they publish. In an attempt to one-up the New Yorker, Elaine tries her hand at creating her own cartoon, which ends up being rejected because no one understands it…and it’s believed that she’s ‘ripped off’ a Ziggy and passed it as her own. (She admits it must have slipped into her conscousness during the creative process.)
The New Yorker is capitalizing on their moment in pop culture, albeit 14 years later. This week, in their last-page caption contest, they’ve used Elaine’s fictional cartoon – a pig standing in a complaint department – and they want readers to submit the caption. In order to rekindle that zeitgeist, the New Yorker created this comic of the Seinfeld scene where Elaine calls out the cartoon editor, Bob Mankoff. It’s a wonderful mash up that makes the already self-refential worlds a little more meta.
I compiled some of my favorite New Yorker cartoons below in an ode to self-reflexive humor.