"I admit, I have some sort of strange fascination: How long can two people talk about nothing?"A long, rambling, seemingly improvised conversation between characters about something that is beyond pointless, like loose shirt buttons. Often, the characters will devote as much intellectual effort to it as people in a debating society, making it even more pointless. Prone to sudden, almost transition-less topic-shifts as the characters are basically talking for the sake of talking. Tropes may provide a good topic. Often happens at a time of awkward tension, like being Locked in a Freezer. Sometimes follows the same beats as a Who's on First? type sketch. Named, of course, for Seinfeld, whose signature trope is this. The characters are always debating things like the opposite of eating tuna. (Jerry suggests that eating salmon is the opposite, because they swim in the other direction; George rationalizes that it is chicken salad.) See also Distracting Disambiguation. When the conversation about nothing turns into an unusually passionate argument, it's a Cavemen vs. Astronauts Debate. If the conversation involves who would win in a fight, see Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny. See also Talk About the Weather. Speech-Centric Works tend to be based heavily around Seinfeldian Conversations. Regular and erudite brands of Stoner are guaranteed to partake of this trope; it's a well-known side-effect of being high on weed. Be warned that not all viewers may like it. Long conversations betray the notion that film and television are visual media, so not everyone will have the patience to sit through it. This can be regarded as Padding and make the viewer scream, "GET ON WITH IT!"
— Will Riker, Star Trek: The Next Generation, "Starship Mine"
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Bakemonogatari: The majority of the show is nothing but this trope, occurring over a selection of gorgeous backgrounds. When characters actually act on the results of these conversations, it sometimes feels out of character (especially since many problems can in fact be solved by talking).
- A memorable instance in One Piece has Sanji and Luffy escorting an ill Nami up a dangerous mountain to see a doctor, while at the same time dodging a near constant stream of attacks by a species of massive carnivorous rabbits. Despite all this in, Luffy manages to rope Sanji into a rambling argument about whether or not people from snow countries have to sleep.
- Done a few times on Azumanga Daioh. For example, in the first Beach Episode, Osaka starts talking with Sakaki about the kanji that are used to write words like "hemorrhoid", "seal", "fugu" and "dolphin".
- Then there was Tomo and Kagura's fight over Santa Claus. They conclude that he is paid by the government and flies at mach 100. note
- Asides from being a Cloudcuckoolander, Osaka's big thing was puns and wordplay. Talking about kanji seems like a logical continuation.
- Lucky Star is almost entirely a series of Seinfeldian Conversations — but imagine four high-school-age girls sitting in the coffee shop instead of Jerry, George, Kramer, and Elaine. The first episode starts with a six-minute discussion of how to eat various foods. It's occasionally lampshaded when a character (usually Kagami, as the Deadpan Snarker) will comment "That was random" when another character suddenly changes the entire topic of the conversation. It's lampshaded even further in the dub: "Will someone just get to the punchline already?!"
- The Bottle Fairy anime is full of this.
- Cromartie High School: The anime's shining moment is when Kamiyama and Hayashida have a long, meandering conversation about how boring they find their school, whilst the animation starts looping / rewinding itself — just to ensure that absolutely nothing which might move the plot along occurs.
- In the first volume of the manga, Kamiyama attempts to teach some of his classmates how to have a 'normal' (ie: 'pointless') conversation. The topics range from how to eat fish to Kamiyama's meeting with an alien which lead to him being invited to ride in its spaceship; the punchline is that he didn't get to because the alien lost its keys (thus rendering the entire story 'pointless').
- Kamiyama's attempt to explain to his class how the perceptions we have of a person can influence our reactions to his/her behavior. Only Cromartie could take a topic as dull as that and make it so bizarre and funny.
- The humming episode, in which the characters spend the entire episode trying to figure out where they've heard a tune that they can only hum. The spend the majority of the episode doing nothing but humming, and never come to a conclusion.
- It's worth noting that Cromartie's 'legendary' 2nd-year delinquents a.k.a. The Four Great Ones (all five of them!) are even more skilled conductors of Seinfeldian Conversations than Kamiyama & Co.
- Every conversation between Drossel and Gedächtnis in Fireball is like this.
- Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei features a lot of this, and a lot of it is concerning various tropes used throughout the show.
- In Ultra Maniac, Ayu in male form (who calls herself Ayuoh in that form) and another girl have a conversation about...how to spell Ayuoh's name.
- The characters in Tentai Senshi Sunred never stop talking about food, deals on food, and what household cleaning products work best. This comes mostly from the evil organization's leader and his band of monsters, bizarrely enough.
- In between slipping on banana peels and having ping-pong matches, the cast of Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru engage in these.
- Black Lagoon has a few of these: The one that most easily stands out is Revy and Eda's conversation (during a beastly-hot day when there's nothing to do but drink and bitch about the heat) on what gun Jesus would use.
- The prologue of Baccano! 2002: Bullet Garden goes meta when several members of the Mask Makers have a rambling conversation about rambling conversations in Quentin Tarantino flicks, which devolves into an argument over which one of them gets to be Steve Buscemi.
- Daily Lives of High School Boys basically lives on this: plain, common conversations and hijinks of high school boys. There's absolutely nothing special in this series.
- Almost every episode of Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! opens with this, or these conversations are involved in the episode. Often times, the pointless deep philosophizing about foodstuffs or other things can double as foreshadowing.
- One of the Stealth Parody horror-comedy The Lost Village's favourite tricks to remove any fear-factor from its sinister goings-on. The most infamous example happens when a character apparently dies, causing the survivors to descend into a lengthy argument over what his elaborate pseudonym was. note
- Jesse Custer and Cassidy of Preacher frequently engage in this (on Bill Hicks, Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, etc.) whenever they go out drinking.
- This is the medium that is characterized by questions in the vein of "Can Batman beat the Fantastic Four alone, or does he need Spiderman's help to take on the Human Torch?" If you ever met (or if you are) a comic book nerd, you know the debate will be better than any presidential election debate.
- As an example of when this type of conversation is taken to absurd lengths artist Jacen Burrows relates a story of when he was promoting his collaboration with Warren Ellis Scars, a dark crime drama about a cop going through a nervous breakdown, at a convention he was asked who would win in a fight between Batman and the main character.
- Starman also has a lot of this. One of the most memorable being a group of mobsters arguing over the best Stephen Sondheim musical.
- Mesmo Delivery opens with the one of the main characters discussing with the other about how he would have made a better Elvis then Elvis himself.
- Brian Michael Bendis written books usually involve lots of these, to the degree it's his Signature Style.
- Leoandsnake often uses this, even having the other Top Gun guys discuss Barry Bonds' batting average while Maverick and Iceman get each other off right in front of them.
- Reparations has Ron and Draco's first nonhostile conversation ever being centered on whether it's possible to figure out the twist of The Sixth Sense before it's revealed. (Draco claims he figured it out by himself, while Ron says it's impossible).
- The Jerry Seinfeld Program is a series of webisodes by Seinfeld and George Costanza impersonators that takes this to exaggerated extremes.
- Days of Futures Past What Does That Mean It Kinda Sounds Sexy has a chapter with Kurama and Naruto climbing down an elevator shaft while comparing real life celebrities who look alike.
- Turnabout Storm, true to Ace Attorney's style, has several conversations about unrelated tangents crop up occasionally, such as about wrestling being fake, the likelihood of there being an Evil Twin of Rainbow Dash wandering about, and the always present ladder vs. step ladder debate.
- Pops up from time to time in A Delicate Balance, with the most clear example being in chapter 15 when Pinkie starts to rant about why chocolate chip cookies and raisin cookies should never be put on the same plate.
- The Demesne Of The Reluctant Twilight Sparkle has this crop up every so often in dialogue, though Twilight's stream-of-consciousness POV means the narration isn't immune either.
- Tangled Up In You at one point drops us into a discussion about giraffe scarves.
Nino: Thatís ridiculous! A giraffe scarf would obviously have to cover the entire neck. You couldnít just slap a human scarf on it, it would hardly cover anything and would just look silly!Alya: Oh, and a super long scarf wrapped from head to torso wouldnít?Marinette: And thatís why I was thinking that it makes more sense to make it a tube. Then if you add ties at either end you can adjust it so that it stays on and covers the whole thing.Nino: See, THAT is what Iím talking about! That makes infinitely more sense than just one long strip of fabric, and can be both fashionable and functional. You will go far in the world of giraffe scarves, girl.Marinette: Thanks, I think.Adrien: Okay, but I think we can all agree what the real question is here. What pattern would the scarf have? Like, would it be giraffe patterned to blend in, a solid color, or something different?Alya: I think they should be offered in a wide variety of patterns. Giraffe should definitely be one, but how fucking funny would it be to see a giraffe wearing a cheetah or zebra print scarf?Marinette and Adrien: Language!
- Fantasy of Utter Ridiculousness: An encounter between Alice, Marisa, Patchouli and Reisen degenerates into a drawn-out argument, the topics of which range from Marisa's thieving tendencies to Reisen's memetic "useless little bunny" status.
Films — Animated
- Anything Barris says in A Scanner Darkly.
- Waking Life has a few of these, though they may veer into Author Tract. Highly philosophical, highly rambling.
- In The LEGO Movie, there's a scene where Lord Business mutters to himself about the various drawbacks of a Double Decker Couch. We then see it's not quite a stupid idea after all.
Films — Live-Action
- This trope is the entire content of Mindwalk.
- Could be said about After Last Season as well.
- Used frequently in films by Quentin Tarantino, usually immediately followed by some seemingly non-sequitur (and frequently violent) act by the speakers, e.g. the "foot massage" and "Royale with Cheese" conversations in Pulp Fiction. Here, it is generally being used to underscore how blasé the characters have become towards a daily routine most people would find appalling, or at least extraordinary.
Bag Head #2/Randy: Anybody bring any extra bags?Bag Head #3: No, nobody brought an extra bag!Bag Head #2/Randy: I'm just askin'.
- The "foot massage" conversation, while seemingly Seinfeldian, actually serves a point, as Jules is trying to emphasize how dangerous and jealous Marsellus Wallace can be, particularly in regards to his wife Mia, who Marsellus is leaving with Vincent for a few days.
- In the words of Roger Ebert, the dialogue in Pulp Fiction isn't Seinfeldian at all, but "load-bearing." For example, the conversation about a pot belly between Butch and Fabienne. Instead of rehashing Butch's story arc up to that point (paid to take a fall by Marcelus, secretly bet heavily on himself, etc.), Tarantino uses the scene to very quickly establish Fabienne's character and the loving, passionate nature of their relationship. Another example of how the dialogue is used in the movie; Lance's girlfriend discusses her body piercings at length. Later, after Mia OD's on heroin, Lance and Vincent are forced to inject adrenalin directly into her heart...the ultimate body piercing experience. Hence her reflection on the incident..."Trippy."
- The "Like A Virgin" and tipping-habits discussion in Reservoir Dogs and any conversation at the bar in Death Proof are more examples. Even then the conversations serve a purpose. Mr Pink refusing to tip marks him as The Spock, and White arguing with him marks him as The McCoy, setting up their relationship throughout the movie. Mr. Orange spends the scene acting like the new guy trying to fit in, and he also is the one who tells their boss what's going on — he's disclosing private information. Lots of other little clues give insight into personalities and relationships.
- In Django Unchained, The Klan has a nearly three minute argument over the practicality of the bags they are wearing on their heads, since apparently the eye holes were misplaced.
- All of The View Askewniverse contains this to some degree. Clerks is almost entirely built around Seinfeldian Conversation, and there's T.S. and Brodie's conversation at the cookie stand about whether or not Lois Lane could carry Superman's baby to term in Mallrats. When it happens in Dogma it's almost shocking, as it's not really Seinfeldian—the religious discussions are at least tangentially related to the plot, and most people would consider religious discussion worth a lot of thought and time. The hands-down winner, however, is The Flying Car.
- In Stand by Me, the characters talk about what Goofy is and whether or not Mighty Mouse could beat Superman. They are, of course, talking about tropes. No wonder that movie's so popular.
- In Ocean's Twelve, upon being told they were going to be killed, the group immediately got into an argument of why the group was called "Ocean's Eleven"
- Subverted in Donnie Darko in which the exchange just pisses Donnie off and makes his friends all look like idiots.
Sean: We gotta find ourselves a Smurfette.
Sean: Yeah, not some tight-ass Middlesex chick, right? Like this cute little blonde that will get down and dirty with the guys. Like Smurfette does.
Donnie: Smurfette doesn't fuck.
Sean: That's bullshit. Smurfette fucks all the other Smurfs. Why do you think Papa Smurf made her? Because all the other Smurfs were getting too horny.
Ronald: No, no, no, not Vanity. I heard he was a homosexual.
Sean: Okay, then, you know what? She fucks them and Vanity watches. Okay?
Ronald: What about Papa Smurf? I mean, he must get in on all the action.
Sean: Yeah, what he does, he films the gang-bang, and he beats off to the tape.
Donnie: [shouts] First of all, Papa Smurf didn't create Smurfette. Gargamel did. She was sent in as Gargamel's evil spy with the intention of destroying the Smurf village. But the overwhelming goodness of the Smurf way of life transformed her. And as for the whole gang-bang scenario, it just couldn't happen. Smurfs are asexual. They don't even have... reproductive organs under those little, white pants. It's just so illogical, you know, about being a Smurf. You know, what's the point of living... if you don't have a dick?
Ronald: [pause] Dammit, Donnie. Why you gotta get all smart on us?
- The "animal crackers" segment in Armageddon.
- In Carry On Matron when Ernie, Sid and Freddy are coming up with a plan to rob the hospital, Ernie mentions how his mother gave birth to him on top of a bus "Number 73. bang in the middle of Brixton high street". They begin arguing over which buses go where.
- An early example is It Happened One Night. One of the classic romantic comedies, despite the fact that the two leads mostly discuss things like hitchhiking techniques, and what does or does not constitute a piggy-back ride.
- The 40-Year-Old Virgin has many of these, though it should be noted that a lot of them were in fact ad-libbed. Some of the deleted scenes shown on the DVD display this even more.
- Mahalik and CJ have a few of these in Scary Movie 3 and 4.
- Barry Levinson's Baltimore movies - Diner, Tin Men, Avalon (1990) and Liberty Heights — are filled with examples of this trope
- Pappy O'Daniel's advisers in O Brother, Where Art Thou? engage in this constantly.
- Bruno and Pablo engage in a few of these in Plan B. In one particular scene, they discuss what they would be if they were a toy.
- Pini discusses his weird fetishes with Mike and Adi at the beginning of Rabies.
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail opens with a lengthy argument about the carrying capacity of various swallows and the ability of coconuts to migrate. The issue pops up several more times throughout the movie.
- Already Tomorrow In Hong Kong has two strangers walking around Hong Kong having conversations like this. As one of them is Asian-American, they discuss the Mighty Whitey and Mellow Yellow trope quite a bit.
- Mulholland Falls: During the detectives' investigation in the Forbidden Zone, Elleroy breaks into a long-winded rant about cowboy movies that doesn't really have anything to with the rest of the plot.
- In Discworld novels, Sergeant Colon and Corporal Nobbs of the A-M City Watch often spend their time discussing how tins of salmon can all be the same size, or what Death's first name would be, if he had one. This prevents them getting in the way of the competent officers in the main story.
- While Pratchett is rather good at this, giving the idea that we're only seeing a part of a character's life, the Watch series is particularly rife with examples, from the Nobby-Fred non-sequiturs to Constable Visit's proselytizing to Detritus' War on Slab although the latter serves as a sort of Chekhov's Gun.
- More importantly (from their perspective) it prevents them getting in the way of the antagonists in the main story.
- Nobby and Colon 'old school' coppers. Their preferred method of policing is to pick a bridge or a large stone building and guard it for the duration of their shift so no one can steal it. Their entire approach to police work is Seinfeldian.
- The Johnny Maxwell Trilogy, also by Terry Pratchett, makes heavy use of these as well.
- The UU wizards do this constantly, only Ridcully, Rincewind, the Librarian, and Ponder's group ever seem to do anything but this trope (and eating, of course). Ponder's (probably sarcastic) theory is that the faculty's minds are on higher things, leaving their mouths to run around making a nuisance of themselves.
- Ranging from the hypothetical existence of giant green hamsters in space to whomever invented blue dye for hair, the Anti-Zombie Squad in How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse is rather fond of these.
- Going Bovine has plenty of these, although the book, being the Mind Screw it is, most of a time has a deeper meaning to all those seemindly empty conversations.
- Postmodern novel Bear V Shark is an extended discussion on, well, Exactly What It Says on the Tin. The entire thing is like a very long Seinfeldian Conversation.
- The postmodern novel White Noise features a lot of bizarre, rambling, misinformation-laden conversations on topics like "When was the last time you brushed your teeth with your finger?", parallels between Elvis Presley and Adolf Hitler, and whether rats are classified as "rodents" or "vermin"; they frequently take a Wiki Walk from one pointless topic to another. (Much of the dialogue in that novel is either this or Contemplate Our Navels.)
- Zach and Lucien of Character Issues. Their conversational topics range from aliens to the proper plural of walrus. For the record, they decide that it's "walri".
- Any Neal Stephenson written conversation featuring a member of the Waterhouse family is prone to this - possibly the best example is a conversation on the foundation of banks and fiat currency in the middle of the Great Fire of London during The Baroque Cycle. (Justified in that Asperger Syndrome, which can lead to Seinfeldian thought processes, seems to run in the family.)
- The parody novel The Dragon With The Girl Tattoo has a chapter where Helltrik Vagner talks about how, after the human civilisation was overthrown, "Several decades passed before proper intensive factory farming of goats, sheeps and pigs was established." Kaal corrects him on the pluralisation of "sheep", leading to a three-and-a-half page argument on the subject. Of course, anyone familiar with The Millennium Trilogy can spot the foreshadowing here.
- American Psycho has these in both the book and the film adaptation. There's an infamous scene involving a fight over business cards and there are ruminations on random pop singers and 1980s culture in between the main character murdering people. Actually, all of the novels by Bret Easton Ellis have this to a degree.
- Wonderfully described in Warbreaker:
Lightsong: Our conversations remind me of a broken sword. Sharp as hell, but lacking a point.
- The novel Skin Game of The Dresden Files series has Harry and Goodman Gray stop briefly to discuss the film The Black Hole after Harry quoted a line from the movie (Goodman was calling Harry out on it because he thinks the movie was obscure and awful, whereas Harry actually liked the film). This is fairly normal for Harry, whose brain is full of aging pop culture, but it stands out because they were in the middle of a heist to rob the vault of Hades. Yes, that Hades.
Live Action TV
- Like the above mentioned, all of Seinfeld. It literally begins and end with this trope.
- In Auction Kings, when a piece comes in that no one has any idea what it is, the team will sometimes discuss what it could be while they wait for the expert. Sometimes, even the seller is clueless. At least once, even the expert was stumped.
- Everybody Loves Raymond has several of these. One prominent example is when Frank and Marie Barone argued for a full two minutes about what "fork split" on the side of a package of English Muffins means. Frank insisted that it instructs you not to cut the muffin, but to split it with a fork. Marie insisted that it meant that they already split it for you at the factory with a fork. At the end of the argument, Frank refused to eat the muffin, because it was cut with a knife, and thus Marie had "killed the crannies and smushed them into the nooks." Marie retaliates by splitting apart Frank's newspaper with a fork.
- And then there was the episode where they were fighting over who invented the lawn. "Nobody invented it, it's grass!" "Oh yeah? So cavemen had lawns?"
- Or the debate about how deep a pan is before it's a pot. "If it's three inches, it's a pot! Everybody knows that, Marie!" "If you can't boil an egg in it, it's not a pot, you jackass!"
- Frank and Marie aren't the only one to do this. "Young Girl" ends with an extended scene of Ray, Debra and Robert discussing their preferred brands of antacid.
- House has several of these between House and Wilson. In season 2's episode "Clueless", they were sidetracked from discussing a patient's illness by debating whether or not a music room and a conservatory are the same thing.
- They happen with delightful frequency in Gilmore Girls, usually between plot-relevant scenes. Where did all the anvils go? Where indeed.
- On the short lived show The Finder the main characters frequently had discussions about bizarre topics unrelated to the plot of the episode, including Duty vs. Honor, Designated Hitter vs. Al Qaeda, Lucky vs. Good, and Kinda Good vs. Sorta Evil.
- The West Wing does this almost as much as Seinfeld, although the content of the pointless conversation in question is usually high-intelligence. This happens most often on the part of President Bartlet, who takes great pleasure in torturing the rest of the characters with his inane ramblings and trivia and analyses and getting away with it, because he's the president and no one can tell him to shut up.
Josh: I don't understand — Salvador Dali had distinctive penmanship?
Josh: How was it distinctive?
Donna: Well, for one thing, he wrote in Spanish.
Josh: He was Spanish.
Donna: Which would account for his distinctive penmanship.
Leo: [entering] Excuse me, am I interrupting something important?
Josh: I can't begin to tell you how you're not.
- Seen on Cheers many times, usually as Sam and Diane walked around the bar talking about the main plot while Cliff and Norm engaged in inane bar talk such as what movie has the most sweat (Cool Hand Luke), or whether Wile E. Coyote is the Antichrist.
- The black comedy Rescue Me often abuses this, usually with something most people wouldn't find as proper conversational material.
- More than a few Monty Python's Flying Circus shorts go on about something random like the sound of words without end, until they finally Drop The Sixteen Ton Weight.
- Babylon 5 did this a few times to play up the idea that "life goes on" even in space. One notable instance was when a very bored Garibaldi dragged Sinclair into a conversation about getting dressed in the morning. Garibaldi got distracted and couldn't remember what he did first with his pants, and wanted to know what Sinclair did.
Sinclair: (sighs) Fasten, then zip. You?
Garibaldi: Fasten, zip!
Sinclair: How much longer?
Garibaldi: One hour, fifty-seven minutes. Wanna talk socks?
Garibaldi: Just a question.
Sinclair: I'm not having this conversation.
- Drake & Josh: "So, what's the difference between a hoagie and a submarine sandwich?"
- Angel spent over two minutes on the characters arguing about whether cavemen or astronauts would win in a fight. Of course, since the show is made by Joss Whedon, this was mentioned later on in a very different light.
- Unsurprisingly, this came directly from the writers; Joss Whedon walked into the writer's room one day and saw "CAVEMEN VS ASTRONAUTS - WEAPONS TBD" written on the board. He couldn't resist.
- The New Adventures of Old Christine (AKA the first show to break the Seinfeld curse) had these frequently mostly between Old Christine and her brother Matthew.
- Lost has had several of these, often involving Hurley. The episode "Catch 22" saw Charlie and Hurley pursuing a downed parachutist through the jungle while discussing who would win a race between Superman and The Flash.
- Rove, an Australian late night talkshow host, is all about this trope in interviews. He usually quickly passes over major things in the interviewee's life for bizarre little tidbits. He also had a game called 20 Bucks In 20 Seconds, where he asked a range of odd little questions aimed at spawning this (which evolved into Final Five, which is the same idea but fewer questions and no time limit).
- It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia frequently features the gang engaged in a heated argument about a ludicrous topic in an inappropriate moment, such as discussing the difference between "bears" and "twinks" while in a business meeting. Makes sense, given that Always Sunny is often called "Seinfeld on crack" or (on this wiki) "the Irishman to Seinfeld's Jew."
- Some seasons of Last of the Summer Wine love this trope, especially the second Foggy run. Their version typically has the three main characters speaking in turn as though in a conversation, but they're actually all monologuing on different unrelated subjects and ignoring the other two.
- Andy and Maggie engage in this sort of conversation regularly on Extras. In fact, in might be said that this is what their whole relationship is built on.
- Happens often in Red Dwarf. One example is the discussion between Cat and Lister about who out of Wilma Flintstone and Betty Rubble is more attractive.
"Well, I'd go with Betty... but I'd be thinking of Wilma."
- The Brazilian Sitcom Os Normais had this as its main source of humor. One memorable exchange between the main characters, the engaged Rui and Vani, during a day washing their car, somehow ended with a female alien that could shoot lasers from its genitalia.
- The presenters on Top Gear are sometimes seen talking like this in the lulls between two parts of a challenge.
- Or when one of the three arrives at a destination late.
- Curb Your Enthusiasm, which is basically Seinfeld if it just focused on George (who was based on Larry David, Seinfeld's co-creator).
- Appears in Friends, with conversations about why Donald Duck wears a towel after showering, or why there isn't a superhero named Goldman.
- French comedy series Kaamelott wishes to marry this trope. Most of the humor of the show involves characters of the Arthurian legends involved in day-to-day routine and such dialogue. Example exchange between two minor characters:
Ywain : Oh. All right then. There's really a LOT of people there. (speaking about people who showed up to pull the sword out of the stone)Gawain : Maybe two or three of them just showed up to clean the place up afterwards.Ywain : All right, sure, but still, surely everyone must realize that the once and future king must be of bourgeois or royal lineage!Gawain : Right. So... Arthur's of a something or other's lineage?Ywain : What?! Well... of course he is. He's the son of Pendragon.Gawain : Right! ...So which one's Pendragon, anyway ? Is he the one who stripped naked to put his sword down at Caesar's feet?Ywain : (pause) Vercingetorix?Gawain : Oh come on, Arthur ain't the son of Vercingetorix! Plus, Vercingetorix hardly comes from a bourgeois lineage. So there.Ywain : Errr... no, wait, you...Gawain : No, no, no, shut up. Since you obviously don't know what you're talking about, just shut up.
- Everything Dwight, Andy, Kevin, Creed, and to a lesser extent Kelly and Phyllis say in the American version of The Office.
- On How I Met Your Mother a simple metaphor leads to Ted, Robin, Marshall, and Lily having an intense shouting match about which is better: ducks or rabbits. We only get to see bits and pieces of the actual argument, which went on for quite some time, but they seem to get very, very intense about everything, and discussion ranges from the animals merits as pets, food, good luck charms, and competitors in a steel cage death match. Old!Ted describes it as the worst argument the five of them ever had.
- Dead Like Me had a few of them, one in particular involving Mason and Roxie discussing having a bird as a pet. It gets very heated.
- In a Halloween episode of Bones, Cam dresses up as Catwoman. When Brennan compliments her on her costume, she says something about how Catwoman is "the strongest of all the woman superheroes" (though Catwoman spends more time as an Anti-Hero than anything else). Since Brennan habitually dresses up as Wonder Woman for Halloween, she takes offense at this, and spends the rest of the episode singing the praises of Wonder Woman to anyone who will listen (i.e., Booth).
- NCIS and its spinoffs love this trope. While most crime shows jump directly from the intro part with the victim to the main characters arriving at the crime scene, the NCIS agents almost always spend a few minutes at their desks, talking about something irrelevant, before they get called to the crime scene. Whatever they happened to be discussing is also usually brought up again before the episode is over.
- Monk has a number of episodes that sometimes start like the NCIS episodes.
- Peep Show, as a Sadist Show, uses inept and neurotic characters to make its Seinfeldian Conversation extremely uncomfortable.
- All in the Family examples:
- In the episode "Gloria Sings the Blues", Archie and Mike argue about whether you should put on your socks on both feet and then your shoes, or your the sock and the shoe on one foot, then the other one. Archie, however, treats it as Serious Business.
- In the episode "Archie's Raise" they argue about whether it's okay to put mustard on a pretzel.
- In the episode "Mike and Gloria Split", they argue in one episode whether it's a better idea to tuck both sides of a sheet into the bed and slide in through the top, or fold over a corner and lay down through the untucked side.
- Another episode had Archie and Mike arguing over the proper way to eat a meal. Mike believes in eating all of one part then moving on to the next, while Archie insists one should have a little of each so it all gets mixed up in your mouth.
- This was a frequently used trope in Ed. One such conversation:
Ed: Hey, who would win in a fight between a big tall guy and an invisible fat guy?
Mike: Big tall guy.
Ed: What if the invisible fat guy had a whip?
Mike: Is it an invisible whip?
- The Scoobies in Buffy the Vampire Slayer frequently find themselves in this trope, though they rarely last for more than a brief amount of time. Indeed, the first time Willow and Oz said more than a few words to each other was when Oz described how the other animal crakers are jealous of the monkey, being the only one allowed to have pants.
- Used frequently on Homicide: Life on the Street with the Detectives often cracking Jokes at crime scenes or wondering about the correct pronounciation of "Araber".
- Used on Oz occasionally with moments such as the Conversation about Gay puppets serving as the best Humour moments
- Happens very often on My Nameis Earl, when Randy and Earl are about to go to sleep, Randy asks Earl his opinion on something ridiculous, and once Earl responds, Randy will continue the conversation, such as in the below example.
Randy : Hey Earl.Earl : Yeah, RandyRandy Who do you think would win in a fight, Muppets or Sesame Street?Earl : I don't really think they'd fight; they're both pretty peaceful.Randy : What if they had to, like in that head-chopping-off movie where there could be only one?Earl : Muppets.Randy : Okay. Muppets or Fraggles?Earl : Muppets.Randy : Okay. What about Muppets or He-Man?Earl : Just He-Man, or He-Man and his friends?Randy : Just He-Man.Earl : Muppets.Randy : That's who I had.
- Done a few times on Blossom. One specific example that comes to mind is a conversation between Blossom and Six about how people on tv never seem to need to use the bathroom. This discussion ends when Six announces that she has to go to the bathroom.
- In one episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation Data tries to engage in small talk, or as he calls it, "non-relevant conversation." When the Enterprise reaches Arkaria Base, he hits it off with small talk master Commander Calvin Hutchinson, prompting the page quote.
- Usually done with nerd topics in The Big Bang Theory. In one episode they start talking about who the most genuinely heroic character in the Marvel Universe would be, going along the lines of the doctor who gives Wolverine his prostate exam. A few minutes after more plot-relevent events happen, Raj tries to bring the topic back up and Leonard dismisses it as his new question is rather stupid. Raj replies, "We are talking about probing the heinies of superheroes... there are no stupid questions."
- A prominent non nerd example would be the half an episode Sheldon and Howard spent arguing over what was the species of a cricket they found. They bet rare comic books on it, and even went and asked an entomologist... then included him in the argument when he disagreed with Sheldon.
- "Sheldon... if you were a robot, and I knew and you didn't, would you want me to tell you?" The following philosophical discussion lasted a full minute.
- The Smoking Room thrives almost entirely on this trope, surpassing even Seinfeld. Sometimes devolves into Cavemen vs. Astronauts Debate.
- The intermission sketches in Mystery Science Theater 3000 often consist of this, usually filled with references to obscure celebrities.
- An episode of Total Divas has the Bella Twins getting in a lengthy argument over the correct spelling of the word bonbons. Brie pushes the issue while her sister is worried about her boyfriend cheating.
- Game of Thrones had Jaime and Tyrion discussing about their mentally-disabled cousin who likes crushing bugs which got Tyrion searching for some philosophical meaning on that. Do note that this conversation took place before Tyrion's Trial by Combat.
- Trapped in the Drive Thru by "Weird Al" Yankovic, based on "Trapped in the Closet". Particularly the first part (of three).
- Crowded House concerts always contain lots of Seinfeldian Conversation between songs.
- Early Tocotronic frequently have Seinfeldian lyrics, mundane songs about nothing, like crying about how they want to love tennis or dreaming about eating pizza with Mark E. Smith.
- In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, when Zaphod's about to plummet to his death, Ford tries to engage him in a conversation about the etymology of one of Zaphod's exclamations.
- Vic and Sade consists of deadpan, often absurd dialogue revolving around small-town life.Check it out.
- Dragnet regularly plays with this, often to underscore the tedium of a stakeout. One instance in episode 16 has an extended diversion of Friday badly explaining a card game to his partner; another has Friday and his partner discussing the best way to buy 100 chickens.
- Chicago Cubs radio broadcasts are full of this, especially back when Ron Santo was still alive. Even today, Pat Hughes and Keith Moreland do their best to fill any downtime in the game with inane yet entertaining discussion.
- In general, a lot of announcers will lapse into this if the game turns into a Curb-Stomp Battle.
- On Prime Time Sports With Bob Mc Cown, the rush hour drive home radio program for Toronto's top sports station, FAN 590, McCown and frequent co-host Stephen Brunt are quite fond of having these types of conversations, often from between 5-5:20 when most listeners are starting their own drive home.
- The one-act play Goat Plague consists entirely of a Seinfeldian Conversation about plague-naming.
- Indeed, a lot of one-act plays seem to have these.
- Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is mostly this. The rest of it is Hamlet.
- Waiting for Godot is a philosophical version of this trope. Didi and Gogo talk nonsense while waiting for the eponymous Godot. They keep on talking about how things happen, whether they should continue, if they're hungry, if they should commit suicide. Godot never shows up, and they don't do anything.
- Martin McDonagh is quite fond of this one, and it appears in the most of his major plays and films. He willingly notes the Tarantino influence.
- Quite a number of skits in Tales Series can be like this.
- Most conversations in Touhou are this, mostly due to ZUN's incorrigible desire to include as many Shout Outs and mythology references as physically possible.
- Battlefield: Bad Company:
"So, you're saying that the rainbow sprinkle is the way forward with the jelly doughnut?"
- In keeping with its realism, the Brothers in Arms series has a number of these between your squad. These include a discussion of the donuts at Fort Bragg and a argument over who is coolest between Batman or Superman
- One way for The Passing in Left 4 Dead 2 to begin is this conversation between Ellis and Francis:
Ellis: "Oh, man, I know! That's what I've been saying. If there is zombies, there have got to be vampires, wolfmen, mummies, aliens...all that shit, man. It just makes sense!"Francis: "That's what I've been saying!"
- Fifa Soccer: The commentators tend to do this after you score goals or when there's a general lull in action, where they start commenting on things like player or team performance or throwing trivia at you.
- Miis reuniting in the café in Tomodachi Life will often engage in odd conversations like how combining two random food items (like caviar and ice cream) could be a cure for cold, how they are into collecting a random treasure item (like cork stoppers) or how it feels like they always end up talking about the same things over and over.
- Agarest Senki 2: More than a few happen. Standout example is a event where the half party chat up the resident Winged Humanoid asking her how she takes care of her wings while the other half wonder how she can actually fly by pointing out how it should be impossible and bring up physics into the mix. That's right folks. They argue physics in a world with magic, monsters and people who are a Little Bit Beastly.
- There's one scene in The House of the Dead: OVERKILL where protagonists G and Issac talk at length about what music to play in the car. There's another scene where the bad guy talks about how much it sucks to accidentally splash your pant leg with pee.
- Ace Attorney: Through the entire series, the Player Character lawyer and his partner are often prone to going into strange tangents every once in a while; the most common of these being the eternal ladder vs stepladder debate.
- In Mystic Messenger, many of the online chats have the characters start out talking about an important topic only to drift off into tangents about far less important stuff like how cute a bowl is or how Elizabeth the 3rd is doing. This is lampshaded at several points, including the prologue chat where Jumin does the text equivalent of yelling at everyone else that they should be focusing on the serious matter of a stranger having just unexpectedly entered their private chatroom instead of rambling on about other things.
- Nearly the entire town of Possum Springs in Night in the Woods is well practiced in talking about nothing in particular, especially if you advance dialogue with a character beyond what is necessary to advance the plot.
- In The Elder Scrolls series, Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness, is fond of these. Given his Mad Hatter and Cloud Cuckoolander tendencies, he often has them with himself.
Sheogorath: "Cat's out of the bag on that one, isn't it? Who puts cats in bags, anyway? Cats hate bags!"
- Killer Robots From Space primarily revolves around the titular Killer Robots having Seinfeldian Conversations.
- 8-Bit Theater once featured a spirited debate between Black Mage and Red Mage on who would win in a fight between Batman and Doctor Doom.
- And later, a similar discussion on Green Arrow vs. Bullseye.
- And another time on how Lex Luthor was actually the hero. Yeah, they do this a lot.
- Happens rather often in Achewood, where Ray and Roast Beef (as well as the other characters) will sit around on chairs having conversations about nothing in particular. This example was one of the first to come up in the recent archives.
- This Penny Arcade strip... and many others like it.
- PvP had a comic about the Muppets being a source of social commentary. Ten Points for visual presentation.
- Questionable Content. At least a third of the strips in the archive are nothing but this.
- Happens sometimes in Suicide for Hire. One time Hunter's scorpion sting led into a conversation about the It Tastes Like Feet trope, and another time they had a discussion about the similarity between Pink Floyd and Fullmetal Alchemist which, naturally, led into a discussion of genocide in the name of reunion concerts.
- Real Life Comics does this a fair bit. For example!
- Sluggy Freelance's best example involves a pit bull sandwich (Stirring vigorously keeps them disoriented). Bacon Bots works too.
- Also, there was the bizarre radio conversation between Torg and Riff about what lightsabers were made of and whether armor could be made out of them, while they both were facing imminent kitten-based death within minutes.
- Or when Torg, Zoe, Riff, and the Minion Master debate which is the "axiom" of flavor (i.e. the substance that creates the best results when mixed with other foods): garlic butter, breaded & deep fat fried, or salt. It starts as an idle conversational tangent, moves into scientific research, then into a full fledged debate competition (complete with Zoe acting as referee (complete with a referee uniform)), and ends with Riff having the Minion Master beaten and mugged.
- Dinosaur Comics is based on this: with the drawings staying the same, the conversations have to change and end up covering loads of random topics (with a high proportion about Batman).
- Used occasionally in The Way of the Metagamer - the characters need something to do during the endless walking scenes.
- Blur the Lines lampshades this before playing is straight (warning: link is highly NSFW) .
Rick: Is this like a "Seinfeld'' monologue, or do you expect an answer?
- The appropriately named strip "Small Talk" from The Order of the Stick is nothing but panel-length clips of conversation between the side characters while the more central protagonists exchange information in the background.
- ...one panel of which leans on the fourth wall:
Malack: —so then I said, "I don't care that you were late, Acolyte Prilak, I'm not going to repeat the conversation we all just had."
Durkon: Aye, why should everyone need ta listen ta tha same thing o'er again?
Malack: Exactly! I mean, it was too wordy by half the first time.
- ...one panel of which leans on the fourth wall:
- Irregular Webcomic! gives us the practicalities of Koschei the Deathless. It started out somewhat relevant to the events and rapidly went to hell.
- Homestuck: composes majority of the dialogue (which had long since passed War and Peace in total length). Even when the characters have important things to discuss, they still lapse into random topics at length.
- While having a much shorter length than Homestuck, Redd at least matches the Seinfeldian frequency of it with a lot of weird subjects. Subjects like recovering in a med tube from getting your head cut off and the Side Boobs in Futurama.
- BrainScratch Commentaries: "How about that local sports team?"
- This "Cheap Epic Meal Time Tribute Preview" contains, among other things, a seinfeldian conversation that is offscreen with a mosquito and musings on whether saints excrement is a viable religious relic.
- In an earlier episode of Chronicle of the Annoying Quest, the male members of the group have a heated discussion about Doctor Who.
- While TGS/The Co-Optional Podcast is often about gaming, it quite often derails into some other topic, often non-gaming related. Despite the continual exasperation of whoever's trying to maintain order (usually TotalBiscuit), these tangents have produced several of the show's most memorable moments. Lampshaded in TB's catchphrase, "We occasionally talk about video games."
- Cox n' Crendor, much like The Co-Optional Podcast above, tends to go off on a tangent, though rather than confining itself to gaming, it consists solely of non-content. Such conversations often lead hosts Jesse Cox and Wowcrendor to occasionally lose it.
- Game Grumps, and HOW. They can spend entire videos going off on random tangents about nothing in particular.
- Shows up on occasion in Homestar Runner, such as this exchange in the Strong Bad Email "narrator":
Bubs: I suppose we could talk about my napkin friend for another couple of hours.Coach Z: Your napkin? Well, it's got my snot balls on it!
- Used a lot in My Little Pony: The Mentally Advanced Series.
- Red vs. Blue loves this trope. It is incredibly telling that for all that occured, episode 100 ended the same way episode 1 began, with one character asking another "why are we here?" and receiving a rambling answer with no relevance whatsoever to the question.
- Veronica will often attempt this in Shadowhunter Peril. A memorable moment is when she is in the middle of a battle with Taylor. She's trying to kill Taylor...while at the same time commenting on her hair and asking if her questions annoy her.
- Numerous works from The Slender Man Mythos use this, such as Marble Hornets and Tribe Twelve. On the other hand, the viewers will probably just ignore the dialogue altogether after they notice the tall faceless guy in the business suit hiding somewhere in the background.
- Marble Hornets Entry 54 being an excellent example of using this. The majority of the footage is the "Marble Hornets" crew and cast discussing how they will put together the background music, right up until the jump scare in the last few seconds
- The Tribe Twelve livestreaming events usually devolve into these kinds of discussions, particularly in the user commentary, right up until something happens, usually the Observer intervening in the events.
- Stan and Lou is a series of Seinfeldian Conversations by a pair of Mooks, wrapped loosely around the plot of City of Heroes.
- Two Best Friends Play has bits of long conversations occasionally, usually about the backstories of games besides the ones the two friends are playing.
- Chuggaaconroy is prone on going on long tangents about things that don't have anything to do with what he is doing, usually when what he is doing is something boring and tedious. Most of the time, though, he realizes that he went off on a tangent and readjusts himself.
- All the time with raocow.
- Done frequently on Sealab 2021, where the characters tend to get so engrossed in their Seinfeldian Conversation that they fail to notice little things like the fact that Sealab is about to explode. (See Bystander Syndrome.)
- Many other [adult swim] shows thrive on Seinfeldian Conversations.
- Beavis And Butthead has an instant where the duo are watching a music video as usual, until Butthead complains that he's tired of seeing "smartass college students and water" in music videos, and offers if they should just turn the TV off. Beavis agrees, and there is about one and a half minutes worth of the two chit chatting about their day until they forget what they turned the TV off for and turn it back on.
- The Boondocks has a similar example were Gin Rummy and Ed Wuncler III talking about the value of things like text-messaging before robbing a bank (which they do consider mundane, since they won't be arrested despite screwing up so bad, since Ed's grandpa owns the police). This was probably done to as an Homage to Pulp Fiction, and is even more obvious considering Rummy is voiced by Samuel L. Jackson.
- Also in an episode in which Rummy railed against the sillyness of hands free bluetooth phone devices, between Ed talking to a woman on his bluetooth, while the pair went about robbing houses in the middle of the night.
- The short-lived animated series Spy Groove featured the main characters, Agent 1 and Agent 2, getting into conversations like this, such as who would be peanut butter and who would be jelly on a sandwich.
- Family Guy often makes use of it in conjuction with the series'
cherishedOverly Long Gags.
- One gag featured world dictators having a Seinfeldian Conversation about Seinfeld.
- The Venture Bros.: Most of Henchmen 21 and 24's conversations fall into this category. (Read: All)
- SMURFS DO NOT LAY EGGS!
- Even after 24 dies.
- Billy and White do it a lot, too. And Watch and Ward. Or really, any of the several Author Avatar Those Two Guys character sets.
- Also Hank and Dean on occasion.
- On one occasion, the Monarch interrupts them to point out that nobody is interested to know who would win in a fight between Anne Frank and Lizzie Borden.
- Done all the time in Home Movies, although frequently the conversations literally are improvised (the actors provided a general outline but not a definite script).
- The pilot of King of the Hill opens with a several-minute Seinfeldian Conversation, which ends with a few lines about Seinfeld being a show about nothing.
- The main characters of Metalocalypse will insist on having those conversations to the detriment of anything else, no matter how hard CFO tries to get them back on track.
- An episode of The Simpsons had two members of the Secret Service laying on the hood of Mayor Quimby's car, staring at the sky, wondering if there is anything fluffier than a cloud.
"If there is, I don't wanna hear it."
- "The Hole" is a 1962 short about two construction workers who have an aimless conversation about buying insurance, which wanders to the nature and root causes of accidents, before wandering to the danger of accidental nuclear war.