Is Seinfeld still relevant to first-time viewers today? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.
Is Seinfeld still relevant to first-time viewers today? I think so! I'll never be a first-time viewer, so I can't say for sure, but a lot of people have told me that they or someone they know (like their kids) just started watching and love it. In fact, one of my friends has a five-year-old who loves it! I can also tell you my next-door neighbors, who are college age, binged the entire thing last year when it started streaming on Hulu. I heard it in the hallway at all hours.
To me, the reason it's timeless is that it deals with the irritations of everyday life. Even if some of those irritations change slightly -- like, we get cell phones, and therefore can find each other in a movie theater easier -- we still have irritations. (Alas, we probably always will.) More specifically, it has this wonderful and hilarious way of dramatizing those irritations. They depict how epically annoying it feels to try to find your car in a mall parking lot or wait for a table at a restaurant. We love it because it feels like we've been there.
It also gives us so many wonderful catchphrases to talk about things we never had phrases for before: shrinkage, double-dipping, "not that there's anything wrong with that", "real and spectacular", "master of my domain".
There are certainly superficial details that are outdated, like the hair and wardrobe, and even some of the ways they tackle certain social issues. (I hope most of us are beyond "not that there's anything wrong with that" and I have to believe the producers would think twice about an episode like "The Puerto Rican Day Parade" nowadays. Even if they didn't, the network likely would.) The cast would likely be more diverse now. The '90s were a sillier time, really. A post-9/11 Seinfeld, especially with the New York setting, would necessarily be different (which is why that recent 9/11 Seinfeld spec script that popped up online was so interesting; a thought experiment). We now have constant headlines about terrorist attacks, mass shootings, and other horrors. A Seinfeld of now couldn't ignore that, given the show's interest in social issues (particularly racism and liberal guilt) but it would also be very complicated to address.
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