“You could argue that a nation’s character is defined at least in part by its sense of humor, and [that] Jerry Seinfeld gave us the sense of humor of self-satisfaction. Anything that didn’t fit the suburban Massapequa mindset was something to be held up for piddling laughs. He was so deeply in love, so deeply satisfied by his own trivial quirks that those who didn’t share them were alien subjects of ridicule.

“The promotional booklet really [for Bee Movie] says it all. I’m not going to waste my time or yours reviewing this saccharine little animated fable which is NSFD (not safe for diabetics). Instead I invite you to stare at a drawing of Jerry’s bee ‘Barry B. Benson,’ and tell me that you don’t eventually see Satan.” — from an 11.2.07 Slate piece by Ron Rosenbaum.

I’e brought up the idea of this or that filmmaker injecting satanic values into movies or movie culture (George Lucas, Michael Bay, McG, Stephen Sommers), but Rosenbaum ascribing the same to America’s most laid-back, mild-mannered comedian is a surprise. It may signify a turn in the road. It could mean that with the dislikableness of Bee Movie Seinfeld has awakened the dormant wrath of the smart-guy writers and pundits of the world, and that he’d better watch it from here on in. Perhaps that line about Seinfeld being “the new Chevy Chase” is more than a line.