A few months ago, my girlfriend and I went splitsies on the complete Seinfeld on DVD, all 180 episodes of nine seasons on 32 discs. It’s a great show with an astounding number of iconic episodes; you can have a blast blowing through a disc after work. The saddest part always comes when the episode is over, and you see the copyright date under the Castle Rock Productions logo. My god, did this episode really premiere 21 years ago? Am I really so old?
But the culture seems to have no such shame; there’s something almost sick with the way it worships the show, especially here in New York. Also a few months ago, I was disturbed by billboards in the subway—entire billboards in the stations—advertising the show’s syndication schedule on WPIX, a show that’s decades old. (It had been on at midnight, but “popular demand” got it pushed back up to 11pm.) A story on Gothamist yesterday explained a lawsuit between the real Kramer and a guy who was on the show once, because anything that happens related to a 20-year-old show is news. And the Daily News broke the story yesterday that, starting next week, 7 trains will be redesigned to resemble the interior of the coffee shop where the Seinfeld characters frequently ate (right down to the authentic Seinfeld advertising and larger-than-life character decals), timed to coincide with a subway series. “Nothing is more New York than Seinfeld, the subway, the Mets-Yankees rivalry and PIX11,” the president and general manager of WPIX told the tabloid, even though Seinfeld was filmed in Los Angeles.
I mean, look, Seinfeld was a great show. But we don’t need to preoccupy ourselves with it, fill our papers with the happenings of its bit players, watch it everyday before we go to bed, advertise the fuck out of it, reconfigure our subway trains to celebrate it. We risk becoming fixated, developing a pathological obsession. You get in too deep and you start thinking the characters are your friends, start telling stories to your friends that begin “one time George and Elaine came over…” There are other shows to watch. Like, how come they don’t show The Simpsons on WNYW anymore?
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