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"Seinfeld": Marriage Is a Man-Made Prison

In a Seinfeld episode entitled "The Engagement," Jerry and his friend, George Costanza (Jason Alexander), have decided it's time to "grow up" and treat the women they date with a little more respect (George has just broken up with a woman because she beat him in chess). The conversation leaves such an indelible mark on George that he immediately looks up an old girlfriend, goes to her apartment, and asks her to marry him. Jerry opts for something less extreme: he goes home and decides to talk about the matter further with his friend, Kramer (Michael Richards).

Jerry is in his apartment. Kramer stands beside him. Jerry turns to Kramer and says, "Well, I had an interesting lunch with George Costanza today. We were talking about our lives, and we realized we're kids—that we're not men."

Kramer leans in and says, "And then you asked yourselves, 'Isn't there something more to life?'"

"Yes," Jerry says. "Yes, we did!"

"Well, let me clue you in on something," Kramer says. "There isn't."

"There isn't?" Jerry replies with a concerned look on his face.

"Absolutely not!" says Kramer. "What were you thinking about, Jerry? Marriage? Family? They're prisons! Man-made prisons! You're doing time. You get up in the morning, and she's there. You go to sleep at night, and she's there. It's like you gotta ask permission to use the bathroom."

Kramer mocks the imaginary wife, saying with a sneer: "Is it all right if I use the bathroom now?"

"Really?" Jerry says.

"And you can forget about watching TV while you're eating," Kramer says. "You know why? Because it's 'dinner time!' And do you know what you do at dinner?"

"What?" Jerry asks.

"You talk about your day! 'How was your day today? Did you have a good day or a bad day? What kind of day was it? I don't know. How about you? How was your day?' It's sad, Jerry. It's a sad state of affairs!"

Jerry is horrified at the picture that's been painted. "I'm glad we had this talk," he says to Kramer.

"Oh, you have no idea!" Kramer says.

DVD, Season 7, Disc 1 ("The Engagement"); 00:03:58–00:05:22

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