Not Filmed In Front of a Studio Audience: Essential Episodes for a Pandemic

We’re in uncharted waters.  Whether you’re afraid of getting sick or getting others sick, or facing economic uncertainty as more and more businesses close down, many people aren’t sure how to cope. The answer to this, and to most of life’s questions, is simple: Television.

Join me, an expert, through the small screen’s best virus-avoidance methods.

George, Elaine, and Jerry in "Seinfeld"

George (Jason Alexander), Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), and Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld) in “The Soup”/NBC

1. No touching.

If you’re still dating during this lockdown – and if you’re like me, you’ve been playing it safe for months – there are some rules you should follow. No kissing after the third date. No sharing coffee shop sandwiches. No harassing people at the restaurant where they work. There might be some minor social consequences, like getting snubbed in the street or having your TV pilot dropped by the network, but you and everyone else will be better off.

“The Shoes” (Season 4, Episode 15) – Seinfeld

Mac, Charlie, Dee, and Dennis in "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia"

Mac (Rob McElhenney), Charlie (Charlie Day), Dee (Kaitlin Olson), and Dennis (Glenn Howerton) in “The Gang Gets Quarantined”/FX

2. Limit outside contact.

Limiting contact with other people is the key to preventing the spread of disease. Stay in as much as possible, and if you do need to venture out, make an effort to avoid unnecessary contact. Just simple things, like avoiding crowds, washing your hands, and maybe wearing a full-body bubble boy suit. Maybe some alone time will lead to some self-discovery.

“The Gang Gets Quarantined” (Season 9, Episode 7) – It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Bender in "Futurama"

Bender (John DiMaggio) in “Cold Warriors”/Comedy Central

3. Don’t panic.

Chances are, you aren’t a doctor or scientist, mad or otherwise. You hear a lot of stuff that you don’t really understand. Trust the experts and don’t do anything crazy. You want to keep space, not hurl an entire city into it.

“Cold Warriors” (Season 6, Episode 24) – Futurama

Jerry in "Parks and Recreation"

Jerry (or something) Gergich (Jim O’Heir) in “Flu Season 2″/NBC

4. Know the symptoms.

There’s a chance you’re sick without being “sick.” Allergies, food poisoning, maybe even a hangover could lead you to believe you’re infected. There’s even a chance you’re just adopting a dog.

“Flu Season 2” (Season 6, Episode 19) – Parks and Recreation

Leslie Knope in "Parks and Recreation"

Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) in “Flu Season”/NBC

5. Know when to quit.

Worst case, you get sick, for real. Accept it and do what you need to do in order to make yourself healthy and prevent others from getting sick. Stop going to work. Stop doing work from home. Maybe even go to the hospital, in accordance with your local health department’s guidelines.

“Flu Season” (Season 3, Episode 2) – Parks and Recreation

With these simple steps, you can greatly reduce the risk to yourself and your family, and also watch a bunch of great TV.


Seinfeld: The Smarties (scene)

A short scene from an episode of Seinfeld that should be called “The Smarties.”

I may return to write the entire episode.

Credit to Reddit users 1BLOPI and UnsubstantiatedClaim for the prompt.

Background: George has found a vending machine that only accepts Canadian currency. After a few days of exchange rate abuse, the company begins stocking it with Canadian items.
Jerry’s apartment. George and Jerry are standing around the counter.
Elaine enters.
George. That Canadian vending machine – does it have Smarties?
Well it wouldn’t be very Smartie if it didn’t.
Jerry gives George a look of disgust.
I need you to get me some. I love them.
Yeah, sure. How many?
Here’s a twenty.
George looks at the machine. It only has pictures, not a window to see the candy.
$1 per pack? <George snorts> Yeah, right.
George enters carrying a brown paper bag. He drops it in front of Elaine and sits next to Jerry.
You owe me $2.
Elaine opens the bag and pulls out one package.
What’s this?
No, they’re not.
Yes, they are. See? “Smarties.”
I asked for Canadian Smarties. These are just American Smarties.
What’s the difference?
Oh boy…
What’s the difference?
There’s barely a difference between the countries, how much difference is there in the candy?
A huge difference! The Canadian Smarties are chocolate. The American kind are just… chalk. Give me my twenty.
Give you the twenty? You asked for Smarties, you got Smarties.
Well I’m not taking them. You keep them.
Me keep them? What am I supposed to do with them?
Go draw on the sidewalk.

Seinfeld and Tinder? Swipe Right on This Match | Popculturology

Jerry, 36

As a recently-single man in my mid-20s, I have started using Tinder. I downloaded the app, with its little flame icon, out of curiosity. I was not trying to meet anyone, but after hearing stories — both successes and stupendous, hilarious failures — about the people being met, I felt it was time to get in on some of the action for myself. Around the same time, I also started re-watching Seinfeld on Hulu. Episode-by-episode and swipe-by-swipe, connections were being made between the classic series and my experiences. While I started this journey into left and right swipes out of hesitant curiosity, these past two weeks have changed my attitude. Tinder’s role in my life has changed. I want a perfect Tinder encounter the way a shorter, stockier, balder man wants to use a perfect comeback line. I am obsessed.

On Seinfeld, Jerry is known for breaking up with women and rejecting non-romantic acquaintances for petty, minute reasons. There is perhaps no better way to describe how Tinder works. Whereas Jerry ended relationships because women liked Dockers commercials, having “man hands” and being a “low talker,” I have rejected women — likely perfectly nice women — because they seem too invested in sports, misspell words (or use only emoji) in their profile and use low-resolution photos. In my case, I swipe left (that’s the bad direction) on about 70 percent of women based solely on the very limited profiles they provide. If I were meeting these people in the wild, Jerry’s claim that 95 percent of the population is undateable would likely prove correct.

George, of course, fares far worse than Jerry does. While Jerry rejects women on a near-weekly basis, George struggles to attract them at all. Tinder’s entire platform is based on matching. You swipe right on them, they swipe right on you, and the app lets you message each other. If one person swipes right and the other swipes left, though, you’re left with nothing. Nothing, Jerry! So far, my matches have been very limited. As the wise Mr. Constanza states, “When I like them, they don’t like me. When they like me, I don’t like them.” It is not uncommon to swipe right on someone who seems great and just wait. How can she not like me? I’m a very likable person. But the days go by and no notification comes in and I move on. A desperate man may choose to do the opposite of everything they would normally do, but, for now, I do not.

Then the self-doubt starts to creep in. If the gym photo guys can get matches (“Go home to your dumbbells. Work on your pecs. I’m really impressed.”), why not me? Unlike our good friend Elaine, there is no smelly car to blame when I start to question if I am as attractive as I think I am. Occasionally, a match comes in. You’re excited — this is a person who you think might be nice and who apparently thinks you might be nice too. A little confidence gets you to send the first message, and you wait. And wait. And wait. Days go by, and no response comes in. Why join, why swipe, if you’re not going to talk to anyone?

Finally, you have the wild card. The girl whose profile is blank or it has so much information you can’t understand it. Her photos are either group shots or extreme closeups of her eye. The Kramer. They are pods. They say whatever they’re thinking, with no regard for how the humans might perceive them. They’re out there, and they’re loving every minute of it. But after swiping through people who take themselves too seriously, someone a little weird, a little “Cosmic,” is as refreshing as a Junior Mint in an operating theater.

After all this, I’m not sure how much longer I will use Tinder. Maybe I’ll meet my Jeannie, my Susan or my Puddy and not need it anymore. I went into this experience out of curiosity, not desire, but now I am deeply invested. To borrow a phrase from a Seinfeld universe art collector, Tinder is “a loathsome, offensive brute, and yet I can’t look away.”


Read on

Hey Buddy: Popping in at Jerry Seinfeld’s Apartment |

Photo Jun 27, 2 52 18 PM

Photo by Eric Stevens

If you have been living in some sort of time warp, trapped in 1998, you don’t know that Hulu recently paid a lot of money for exclusive streaming rights to everyone’s favorite show about nothingSeinfeld. Longtime fans and first-time viewers have been able to watch since this past Wednesday, June 24, a date that also saw Hulu welcoming the public to their own recreation of Jerry’s iconic apartment here in New York.

On West 14th Street, 67 blocks from Jerry’s fictional Upper West Side address, fans are treated to the full Seinfeld experience. For those of us who do not live in New York and couldn’t be here on weekdays, much of our time was spent in line. The line wrapped one block three times, and a second line formed the next block over. The weather was in our favor for a long time but eventually gave way to a light rain with nary an umbrella twirler in sight.

Once inside, the experience splits in two. To the right is a collection of props from the series, including the booth from Monk’s and George’s Frogger machine. Here is also the opportunity to shoot a George Constanza-style boudoir photo and try your hand at standup comedy. To the left is our main attraction, the apartment itself. There is only one way in — bursting through the door like Cosmo Kramer.

For most, if not all, it is the only chance to see this television icon (even as a replica), and, for just a few minutes, feel like you’ve come home.

Stepping inside is like stepping into your television. The apartment, carefully researched, and refined over the past few days after fans pointed out a few errors, is an almost perfect replica of 5A, a set I studied for hours in preparation for LEGO Seinfeld. The designers got small things right, such as Jerry’s movie shelf including Nintendo games as well as movies. Though the apartment changed over the course of the series, the essence is intact in this recreation. Hulu did leave out one important detail, which may be the most important of them all: Not once did I see anyone exercising the gaskets in Jerry’s toilet.

The time spent inside seems like nothing after the four-hour wait to get in, but for a Seinfeld fan, a lover of pop culture or a historian (because Seinfeld is a part of history), it was well worth the wait.

Fans came from all around. I traveled from Rochester, New York, (my travel expenses can be a write-off), while those around me in line came from as close as Jersey City and as far as Toronto. Fans were of all ages, as well, thanks to the timelessness of the series’ situational and social conflicts.

I spoke to two young fans, Tyler and TJ from New Jersey, 10 and 8. They watch Seinfeld with their dad, and despite being born seven and nine years after the series ended are big fans. TJ’s weirdest moment is the presumed death of George, when his car is in the Yankees’ parking lot but George is nowhere to be seen. Tyler has different priorities, choosing Sue-Ellen Mischke’s choice of apparel as his weirdest moment. The differences between the world they are growing up in and New York in the 90s don’t matter to them.

Visitors to the Seinfeld experience were all thrilled to here. For most, if not all, it is the only chance to see this television icon (even as a replica), and, for just a few minutes, feel like you’ve come home.

Hulu’s Seinfeld apartment and experience will open for the last time at 10:00 Sunday morning at 14th Street and 10th Avenue in New York. Arrive early to beat the crowd.

Read at Popculturology