Tuesday, 2 August 2011
Reset: Technology Kills Seinfeld Dead
Um. Um. This is a list of 16 episodes of Seinfeld that would no longer be feasible because of recent technological advances.
Please credit Wikipedia for all plot summaries.
The Phone Message (Season Two, Episode Four)
Original Version: George becomes concerned when his girlfriend, Carol, doesn't return his calls. He loses his temper and leaves a series of angry messages on her machine. Later, he discovers that she was out of town. Before she can hear the messages, he and Jerry plan to go into her apartment and switch the tape on her answering machine. George and Jerry manage to intercept Carol at her apartment and switch the tape. George later learns that she had already heard the messages and found them funny, adding that she "loves jokes like that".
2011 Version: These messages would go straight to a voicemail service. George would be totally S.O.L. as he wouldn't be able to switch the tapes. Since there wouldn't be any tapes to switch.
The Baby Shower (Season Two, Episode Ten)
Original Version: Elaine holds a baby shower for a friend at Jerry's apartment. George is excited, because he finds the baby shower to be the perfect opportunity to "tell off" the woman who gave him "unequivocally, the worst date of [his] life" by pouring Bosco chocolate sauce on his red sweater. However, he cannot muster the courage to do so. Meanwhile, Kramer convinces Jerry to pirate cable television to watch the Mets home games. When the Russian cable providers show up, they ruin the shower.
2011 Version: A guess... the complexities of modern cable providers would prevent two Russian heavies from being able to complete such an installation. Also, chances are, the Mets' home games would be reasonably available by conventional means. And lastly, it's hard to imagine anybody going to such lengths to watch the Mets in the first place.
The Truth (Season Three, Episode Two)
Original Version: George tells his girlfriend the truth about why he ended their relationship; as a result, she checks herself into the Woodhaven mental institution. Jerry is very upset at this because he is being audited by the IRS and George's girlfriend, an accountant, was supposed to help him out. To make things worse, she has all of his tax papers and Jerry needs them back desperately. It was Kramer who had gotten Jerry into trouble by forcing him to contribute to a fake volcano relief fund. Kramer is also dating Elaine's roommate, Tina, and Elaine complains about the loud tribal music and sexual noises in her apartment. Kramer also walks into Elaine's room and sees her naked.
2011 Version: Two things. Firstly, Jerry would likely have soft copies of all his papers. Secondly, it would be very easy for Jerry to verify the legitimacy of this fake volcano relief funds (Note: Am I the only one who doesn't remember this sub-plot?).
The Parking Garage (Season Three, Episode Six)
Original Version: The cast is in search of Kramer's car in the multi-level parking garage of a shopping mall after Kramer purchases an air conditioner. Unfortunately, no one can remember where the car was parked. Jerry is eager to urinate and goes in a dark corner. After Jerry does so, he is spotted by an officer and is held in the officer's booth. Later, George is also caught in the act of urinating. Both Jerry and George are fined and released. Then by luck, the gang finds Kramer's car but unfortunately, Kramer, who has the car keys, is still lost somewhere in the garage. Hours later, Kramer shows up, having gone on his own hunt for the air conditioner. As they all enter the car, the engine fails to start.
2011 Version: The gang would use their smartphones to call (or more likely, text each other) and rectify this in short order. I get that parking garages may inhibit certain providers. But even if they had to step outside for a moment, this wouldn't have been such an extreme scenario. Truth: this episode and its 2011 irrelevancy was the inspiration behind this entire post.
The Cafe (Season Three, Episode Seven)
Original Version: Jerry becomes fascinated by an unsuccessful restaurant and gives the owner some friendly advice. George's girlfriend wants him to take an IQ test for an education course she is doing; worried that he will score badly, he persuades Elaine to take it for him instead. Jerry suggests that she take the test at the deserted Dream Café because she "won't hear a peep" there -- but they reckon without Kramer's distracting presence. Elaine retakes the test in Jerry's apartment, but another collision with Kramer prevents her from returning it on time. Meanwhile, the Dream Café remains empty.
2011 Version: The modern version of this test would likely be computer-based and therefore, might have some security measures in place to prevent cheating.
The Alternate Side (Season Three, Episode 11)
Original Version: Jerry's car is stolen and he has a conversation with the car-jacker on the car phone. George takes a job moving cars from one side of the street to the other, to comply with alternate side parking regulations, and does a very careless job by crashing cars and causing traffic jams. Elaine cares for her 66-year-old boyfriend who has had a stroke just before she was about to break up with him. Kramer gets a line in a Woody Allen film, popularizing the expression, "These pretzels are making me thirsty!" He accidentally injures Woody Allen during the shooting and gets fired from the set.
2011 Version: Car phones don't exist any more, do they?
The Movie (Season Four, Episode 14)
Original Version: The four main characters continually miss each other as they try to attend a film together.
2011 Version: Again, mobile phones would render this a non-issue.
The Big Salad (Season Six, Episode Two)
Original Version: Elaine must find a special mechanical pencil for her new boss and soon finds herself dealing with the romantic advances of a stationary store clerk. George purchase a "big salad" for Elaine, but his girlfriend appears to take credit for the purchase. Jerry learns that his current girlfriend formerly dated Newman, who ended the relationship. Kramer plays golf with an ex-Major League Baseballer, whose rules violations Kramer notes, giving rise to a fight. The man is later suspected in the murder of a dry cleaner, and Kramer helps the fan flee in a white Ford Bronco in a situation similar to that of O.J. Simpson.
2011 Version: Elaine would easily be able to order this "special" mechanical pencil online, thus avoiding the need to interact with the creepy stationary store clerk.
The Couch (Season Six, Episode Five)
Original Version: Elaine begins to date the guy who delivers Jerry's new couch. Kramer plans to start a pizza business with Poppie. George joins a book club, but tries to rent the movie. Jerry and Elaine's discussion of the abortion issue causes trouble for Poppie, Elaine's relationship & Jerry's new couch. George spends the evening with the family that has rented the film, with less than spectacular results.
2011 Version: For a catalogue title such as "Breakfast at Tiffany's", George could have resorted to Netflix or scronged around for a digital version online.
The Secretary (Season Six, Episode Nine)
Original Version: Jerry confronts his dry cleaner. George passes over hiring an attractive secretary for a less attractive one. Kramer gets Uma Thurman's phone number. Elaine tries to buy a dress, but is unsatisfied with the size of the mirrors in the store.
2011 Version: Kramer puts Uma Thurman's number directly into his iPhone. If only to "humblebrag".
The Wink (Season Seven, Episode Four)
Original Version: Elaine dates the man from her wake-up service. A bit of grapefruit pulp, from Jerry's breakfast, gets into George's eye and causes problems for him when his winks keep getting misinterpreted. Jerry's healthy diet conflicts with his dating of Elaine's cousin. Kramer promises a sick boy that Yankee Paul O'Neill will hit two home runs for him, so he can get back a birthday card that he sold based on George's wink.
2011 Version: It is highly unlikely that anybody would use a home wake-up service in 2011. In fact, it seemed highly unlikely in 1995.
The Package (Season Eight, Episde Five)
Original Version: George finds out that the woman at a photo store is looking at his pictures. He tries to impress her by getting Kramer to take seductive pictures of him. Jerry refuses delivery of a package with no return address. Elaine tries to retrieve her medical records when she begins having problems with her doctor due to her attitude.
2011 Version: Most of this process would be handled digitally. Therefore, it's unlikely the interaction between George and the photo store employee would take place within the original context laid out.
The Little Jerry (Season Eight, Episode 11)
Original Version: Kramer gets a pet rooster he names "Little Jerry Seinfeld". George visits a woman's prison where he does not see what he had expected. Elaine discovers her boyfriend once had a full head of hair and convinces him to grow it back. A store owner exposes Jerry's bad check currently on display which raises much discussion.
2011 Version: People very seldom write cheques at retail anymore. Especially at such low level establishments such as the bodega in this episode.
The Millennium (Season Eight, Episode 20)
Original Version: Kramer makes plans for New Year's 2000 and wonders what the future may be like. Elaine gets bad service at a store and begins shopping at a similar store. Jerry learns he is on his girlfriend's speed dial.
2011 Version: "Speed dial" isn't really a thing anymore. Also, 2000 has come and gone.
The Wizard (Season Nine, Episode 15)
Original Version: Jerry gives his father an electric organizing system for his birthday. Jerry and George debate about the race of Elaine's new boyfriend which triggers her curiosity. Kramer plans on running for president of Morty and Helen's condo association. George lies to the Rosses about owning a house in the Hamptons.
2011 Version: Smartphones have effectively rendered electric organizing systems obsolete.
The Maid (Season Nine, Episode 19)
Original Version: Jerry hires a maid who he then starts sleeping with. Elaine discovers she has 57 messages on her answering machine when Kramer's food-order service tries to fax her. George tries to get a nickname but a co-worker gets the one he chose instead.
2011 Version: It is safe to assume that fax-based food menu services don't exist any more.