What Is The Deal With Airline Peanuts?

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While I wait for TBS to complete its inevitable transition into the “24 Hour Seinfeld Rerun Network” I satiate my need for unlikable characters dissecting the minutia of the human experience with the paltry 3 to 4 hours blocks of daily programming they currently provide. Seinfeld is one of those shows, like Newsradio, that I find to be infinitely rewatchable. Last week I was about 3 episodes deep into a Seinfeld binge when it dawned on me that nearly every premise, every complication, every problem these characters experience has been rendered moot by the modern smart phone.

Take the exact same characters and pose them with the same situations in 2012 and each episode would be about 4 minutes long, if not zapped out of existence entirely. “Are you sure we’re going to the right movie theater?” Check Elaine’s original txt, then Google Map it. “Where did I park my car in this parking garage?” Pardon the phrase, but there’s an app for that. Couple in the Hamptons wants you to see their ugly baby? Check the photos they posted on Facebook before you bother making the trip. Have you ever stopped to think about how much of Seinfeld involves getting lost? Or just not having access to a specific piece of information? In the age of the smart phone the show basically becomes the story of 4 extremely organized friends who rarely miscommunicate, have misunderstandings, or get lost.

If you examine this idea deeper the whole concept of Seinfeld really starts to unravel. Jerry, as a comedian, would never waste his witty lines on George when he could post them to his 150,000 Twitter followers. Eventually he would sell a sitcom to CBS based on his popular @ShitKramerSays Twitter account. George would be able to more successfully impersonate a marine biologist, an architect or even an importer/exporter having constant access to Wikipedia. As for “the contest,” well… for four sex-obsessed narcissists with constant access to pocket-pornography and 4G data connections, I don’t see any of them ever proposing this bet or having any interest in participating in it.

COMMENTERS: What other Seinfeld plot ideas fall apart when you add smart phones, or even the Internet to the equation? What about other classic sitcoms? Assuming they were trying to make Seinfeld today, what modern minutia would Jerry obsess over? Maybe the girl he’s dating posts too many cat pictures on Facebook. Or maybe she posts AS HER CAT. Would Kramer and Newman start one failed e-business after another? Would George freak out that his parents read his Twitter?

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27 Comments

  1. Unfortunately, or is that fortunately, I never got into watching that show about absolutely nothing.
    Okay I'm weird, I also never watched LOST or sat still for more than 2 minutes before surfing away for SURVIVOR … ever.

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    • Oh thank FSM, I'm not alone!

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    • Meh. I always thought it was stupid and pointless too. Only ever saw a few episodes and the ones that did I didn't enjoy. Mostly I just wanted to smack everyone upside their heads.

      Hmm… There was an episode of… some sitcom I can't remember the title of and it doesn't really matter, where the wife and the kids have a good laugh over how clueless the dad is because he totally fails to notice her new haircut ("Let's see how long it takes Dad to notice!" Like no one's ever done this for real), and then he gets his feelings hurt because she mocked (well, teased) him in front of the kids blah blah blah. These days he would have known about it instantly because he would have been following her on Twitter or FB or what, and would have come in the door, done a double-take, and gone "Wow– is that a new haircut? You look great, honey!" before confessing in an aside to someone that he couldn't see any difference so why'd she even bother?

      Yeah, I don't watch too many sitcoms anymore. Well, Community– I suppose that counts? Does it count if it doens't have a laugh track? I dunno. Don't watch much serial anything anymore; I have teh Intertubes. 😉

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      • Shows without laugh tracks probably do count considering they make up nearly all of the comedies on television now. Come to think of it, does any network besides CBS carry any at all? (First-run, I mean.)

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        • NBC has "Are You There Chelsea?" & "Whitney." Those are both traditional 3-camera sitcoms.

          Then you've got the cable entries, like "Hot in Cleveland" and all of those kids sitcoms on Nickelodeon & the Disney channel ("Hannah Montana," "iCarly" et al).

          But generally, CBS & the kids cable channels are the only ones still keeping the 3-camera sitcom alive.

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  2. George would freak out the his *parents* have twitter!

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    • I don't know, Frank Costanza's tirades tend to lose something when squeezed into a 140 character limit, and read instead of being done face-to-face.

      Mostly it's the flying spittle, but I gotta admit seeing him get all red-faced and angry is worth the human interaction.

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      • True, but do you really see Frank limiting himself with twitter? You KNOW he'd be all over youtube, ranting, spittle-flinging, and all.

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  3. This is a huge concept. The smartphone impact on Seinfeld alone would give you virtually infinite bar conversation topics for debate. Especially if you've got a smartphone handy to remind you what happened during an episode.

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  4. My wife and I recently rewatched the series and noticed this as well. There's even one whole episode where the 4 characters keep missing each other because they go to the wrong movie theater.

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  5. They addressed this on Curb Your Enthusiasm, a whole season was dedicated to making a Seinfeld reunion show. The plot Larry David ends up writing involves George writing an iPhone app to let people find the highest quality public rest room near them, the iToilet. He becomes a multi-millionaire from the app and then his wife (he has been married for a while) leaves him and takes half the money. George looses all of his half because he invested with Bernie Madoff, and so he has to win his wife back to get his own money back.

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    • Yeah, I was just about to say that if you want a modern Seinfeld, just watch Curb. Social awkwardness and self-inflicted personal tragedy know no technological boundaries.

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      • Wasn't George's character supposed to be a caricature of Larry David anyway? Which is what makes it even more meta?

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    • I'm so glad somebody brought this up. That episode was amazing.

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    • Is that app a real thing? For some reason that makes me want to get a phone that's modern enough for apps when nothing else really has 😛

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      • There's an app called "sit or squat". That exists. Your welcome, reality.

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  6. I love watching old-but-not-really-old shows like Seinfeld (or anything else from my college or just-post-college) days for just this reason. It feels so odd and I can't imagine how it would feel to a youngster who is growing up never knowing that world.

    On the other hand, even though I've got a smart phone and don't often lose signal, I still manage to get lost/be late/screw things up in Seinfeldian ways all the time. But I think this says more about me than technology.

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  7. I can only re-watch Newsradio so long until missing Phil Hartman makes me sad…

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    • There is some merit in the post-Phil episodes. Its not the same show by a long shot but I give them kudos for continuing on and not being entirely unfunny. The Johnny Johnson arc was pretty great.

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  8. If Seinfeld was around today it would involve all the crazy misunderstanding that happen in the age of the internet. Like Google maps not working right and you ending up lost anyway. Drunk txting the wrong person. Posting a picture of you and your niece and a girl you just started dating won't talk to you because she thinks you hid that you have a child. I think the show would exist. Just a whole new paradigm would exist that would involve someone looking all over uptown for a new iPhone. Also can you imagine the new tech based rants Jerry would have. Oh and you could have Kramer trying to keep his old tech in a new age. Actually I want Seinfeld to come back now… I wonder how much you would have to pay Jerry Seinfeld an episode? 100 million? :)

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  9. I think three or four episodes would revolve around autocorrect mistakes. I discovered damnyouautocorrect a week ago, and it's kind of like chugging the extract of a sitcom.

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  10. "What other Seinfeld plot ideas fall apart when you add smart phones, or even the Internet to the equation?"

    The "shrinkage" episode* would be cleared up with one simple Google search, or visit to Wikipedia.

    I still remember watching that episode with my mom and her having the same reaction as Elaine, "It shrinks?"
    I said, "Mom, you had four boys. You never noticed that when changing diapers?"
    She replied, "Well those things are so small at that age anyway."

    *http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hamptons_%28Seinfeld%29

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  11. And now I'll never be able to look at the show the same way again.
    But, for once, I think this is for the better.

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  12. Wow, thanks for making me laugh out loud. So glad I didn't take a drink first. This is a fantastically funny comic. I am huge fan of Seinfeld and you found the soul of what makes the show funny and brought it to life.I love cell #2, imitating Elaine's kick dance. Gold, Joel, gold. Can you imagine Bania texting Jerry night and day? "Ovaltine s/be roundtine = gold :-)"

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  13. Seinfeld and Newman would have competing twitter accounts, EXACTLY like you and David Willis. And of course they'd infinitely defriend and refriend each other on Facebook.

    Also, the Mulva episode would be exactly the same if she changed her facebook name to something dumb/witty, with Jerry constantly stalking all her friends and posts to see what her real name is.

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  14. The episode where Jerry was dating the girl and couldn't remember her name?
    Yeah – Facebook tagged photos. Though it might only give him her screen name, it's a start.
    But you actually could make that a 12-minute episode, of watching the "flowchart" of steps to track down her real name. Wouldn't be a "good" episode by any means – and would probably be great fodder for angry family groups complaining it's teaching stalkers how to track you down.
    Nevermind… they'd never make that episode.

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  15. I just came up with the most frightening sitcom mashup ever. Tyler Perry Seinfeld.

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