Seinfeld isn’t so relatable anymore. Because I realized that nearly every plot in Seinfeld wouldn’t even exist today thanks to the internet. And this makes me feel old, in a, “Holy shit, Jennifer Lawrence is the first Oscar winner to be born in the 90’s” kind of way. Here are 5 Seinfeld plots that wouldn’t work in 2013.
(For the following examples, notice that I always use the word could. Because who knows what could happen in these hypothetical situations, right?)
5. Elaine’s skinny mirror dilemma (“The Secretary,” 1994)
Elaine purchases a dress at Barney’s that looks great in the store, but not so great at home. She blames the store’s “skinny mirrors” and returns the dress. While trying on something else, she needs to know if she looks as good in the dress in “normal mirrors” so sneaks outside, in the winter in the middle of NYC, in search of a mirror. When she returns to the store she’s called out for the salt stains on the hem and is forced to buy the dress.
Could be fixed with: camera phone + texting.
Jerry: Elaine says she wants to know if this dress looks good. She’s gonna text a photo.
(Photo comes through. Jerry makes a face. Shows to George. George shakes his head in disapproval.)
Kramer: Lemme see that. (Grabs phone. Looks at it. Does classic Kramer head jerk and acts like he’s been shocked.) Hoochie mama!
4. George insists Six is an original name (“The Seven,” 1996)
George tells an expecting couple that if he has a daughter one day, he wants to name her Six. He’s convinced that she’ll be the only Six in the world and that he “came up” with the name. They argue about it and the couple decide to steal the name.
Could be fixed with: Google.
If Google was invented, all he would have to do is google something like, “women named Six” and he could find out in seconds. From there, knowing George, he would contact the person/parents directly, and ask them to take down any mention of her/their daughter’s name from the Internet.
JERRY: You’re going to shut down some poor girl’s Tumblr?
GEORGE: IT’S ALL I GOT, JERRY! ALL I GOT.
3. Jerry bootlegs movies (“The Little Kicks,” 1996)
Jerry and Kramer, along with Kramer’s mentally unstable friend, go to an exclusive film screening. Kramer’s friend videotapes movies to then sell on the street. In one of those classic “surely there is another way to get out of this” Seinfeld moments, Jerry is forced to record the film, despite his unease. From there he decides he wants to make it a hobby, but finds issues with shooting them to his perfection.
Could be fixed with: Torrenting websites.
Or, to be specific, Kramer’s friend would have gotten a DVD screener or a file from someone at the studios, would have put it online, and Jerry wouldn’t have ever been involved. And maybe we’d see something like:
Kramer, trying to convince Jerry to torrent: Come on, Jerry, you’d download a car, wouldn’t you?
Jerry: I still don’t know what that means.
On the reverse side, a lack of technology spared Elaine further embarrassment. Had YouTube and cell phone video technology been around, her embarrassing dancing at a company party would been recorded on someone’s phone and then become a viral video. (Though the end of the episode implies that lots of people saw it anyway because Elaine accidentally recorded herself dancing onto the tape of one of the films Jerry bootlegs.)
2. Yelp destroys the Soup Nazi (“The Soup Nazi,” 1995)
Jerry and the gang get some soup at a local place that’s known just as much for the cantankerous owner as the soup. People put up with his attitude because of how good the soup is, but refer to him as “The Soup Nazi.” When George is denied free bread and tries to get some, the Soup Nazi delivers in the classic, “NO SOUP FOR YOU!” line and bans George for life.
Could be fixed with: Yelp.
Let’s say that George really wanted to get gritty. He could get on Yelp and write scathing reviews under several different emails. He could probably recruit Newman or get a group together and blast the Soup Nazi on every social media outlet possible, until his business crumbles, or at the very least, falters.
Elaine: George, why do you care? Most of your reviews get deleted anyway.
George: The people need to know, Elaine. They need to know!
Kramer: Be careful buddy. He’s got a Yelp army.
George: Well I got nothing to do.
Jerry: Don’t you have a job?
George: I did.
Elaine: What happened?
George: They found my OkCupid profile. Apparently there were some…objectionable things on there.
Elaine: Like what?
George: I don’t want to TALK ABOUT IT!
Jerry: Well I’d love to stay and chat but I could really use a nice bowl of chowder. Kramer, keep an eye on OKStupid.
George: That’s it, I’m reviewing your next show! It’s not gonna be good! Two stars.
Elaine: Two? Why not one?
George: I applaud the effort.
1. Jerry’s girlfriend wears the same dress (“The Seven,” 1996)
Can’t help but use another example from this episode because it’s just too good. Jerry dates a woman who always wears the same dress. He becomes obsessed with knowing if she has a closet full of identical dresses or if it’s just one favorite dress. On a date she spills something on her dress, and Jerry is ecstatic because she wants to go to her apartment so she can change. While waiting on her couch, he sees a photo of her dated from a few years ago. (Realization: few people of our generation have actual photos framed in their home anymore.) While she goes to her bedroom, a crazed Jerry searches every nearby closet, convinced that they’re packed with dozens of dresses. She returns, catches him, thinks he’s crazy, and kicks him out.
Could be fixed with: Facebook.
He would just have to friend her and look through her photos. Of course, this being Seinfeld, there could still be some kind of hitch, like her profile being locked.
George: Did you check her Twitter?
Jerry: I checked the Twitter!
Elaine: Does she have a LinkedIn?
Jerry: Oh I linked her in. Nothing!
You could say about a lot of pre-00’s tv shows and films that most plots would be made obsolete by the lack of cell phones, the Internet, and so forth, but Seinfeld was particularly focused on human interaction and the little annoyances in life that turn into bigger issues. Issues that wouldn’t exist today. This is why I love the Seinfeld Today Twitter account that lets us imagine, what if? What if the gang had plots based on Internet blunders?