Perhaps one of my favorite pop culture analysis pieces in recent memory, written by the great Chuck Klosterman.
If you want to satirize the condition of a society, going after the apex of the pyramid is a waste of time. You need to attack the bottom. You need to ridicule the alleged ideological foundation an institution claims to be built upon. This is much, much more discomfiting than satirizing an ineffectual prime minister or a crack-smoking mayor. This requires the vilification of innocent, anonymous, working-class people.
Deep satire is a collision sport. It’s a little cold and a little antihumanist, so most of its potential purveyors don’t go for the jugular. But they went for it on Seinfeld, and they did so relentlessly. And they did it so well that most people barely noticed, no matter how often the writers told them directly.
It feels weird to classify one of the most popular TV shows of all time as “underrated,” but the program’s raw popularity latently misdirected its more significant directive. Seinfeld mainstreamed day-to-day villainy. It made America a different place. A meaner, funnier place.