What 'Seinfeld' Would Be Like If the World Were Dead
<i>Seinfeld</i> might be one of the least cinematic shows of all time, which is partially what makes this supercut of unpopulated establishing shots and people-free frames feel both poignant and pointless. What happens if you stare right down at what...
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Seinfeld might be one of the least cinematic shows of all time, which is partially what makes this supercut of unpopulated establishing shots and people-free frames feel both poignant and pointless. It's part of both the on-going canonization of Seinfeld and an internet-abetted interest in the ephemeral, tossed off, or otherwise ignored visual culture all around us. In their original context, the Seinfeld clips only exist to let the viewer know where and when the next scene is taking place—they don’t warrant a second look. So what happens if you stare right down at what you've already seen more times than you can count?
It goes without saying that there’s enough slap-bass music in the first three minutes of this video to drive you absolutely insane. But hang in there.
I always thought Garfield Minus Garfield—where the cat and everything he said was erased from the comic—was sort of a sucker punch. I mean, if you remove Walter White from Breaking Bad, it’s basically the same joke—all these people are talking to someone who isn’t there.
But LJ Frezza's Nothing supercut is sort of a different beast. After a hilarious and infuriating minute, the slap bass slows and the video becomes, if not beautiful, at least bearable. Just after the three-minute mark, the music drops out entirely and it’s just you and the residual laugh track from an unseen previous scene that just ended. You and the laugh track are time and again voyeurs outside Jerry’s window. Then the viewer is left with just the quiet New York background noise—a single honk in the distance (must be nice living uptown).
Something about the movement of the clock hands from nine to five is chilling in an Bergmanesque, confronting-your-mortality sort of way. Especially the way it comes in the middle of recognizable interiors from the show—there’s bizarro Jerry’s apartment with the unicycle! But those clock hands, from some George job or scheme I can’t quite place, reminded me of how many half-hour segments of my life have been broken up by slap bass, and the still picture of a window.
You know some character is right outside of the frame, but where are they? Why have we been left alone. Why is New York empty? Has it really been 15 years since Seinfeld made an episode? Look, I’m not going to apologize for feeling anxious towards the end of this video—I didn’t invent the idea of angst in the face of being-towards-nothing.