Brow Beat

JERY: Seinfeld Revival Is “Possible.”

@SEINFELD2000: This is definitely the best day of my life.

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06:  Jerry Seinfeld speaks onstage during the 2017 New Yorker Festival at New York Society for Ethical Culture on October 6, 2017 in New York City.  (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for The New Yorker)
What if Seinfeld was still on TV?
Craig Barritt/Getty Images

Jerry Seinfeld sent both reboot enthusiasts and reboot haters into a Tuesday tizzy with his very noncommittal suggestion on Ellen that a Seinfeld revival is “possible”—the most affirmative answer the comedian has even given regarding the potential future of the show. But what would such a reboot look like? One man has long held ideas on how to recontextualize the show about nothing for the modern day and campaigned hard for that to happen. That man is @Seinfeld2000.

Seinfeld2000—the Friends-hating, meme-loving archrival of the now-defunct @SeinfeldToday—is a beloved mainstay of “Weird Twitter.” The 5-year-old persona tweets relentlessly about Seinfeld, regularly misspelling characters’ names and alternating between of-the-moment pop culture references, dark social criticism, and desperate calls for Seinfeld to return to the air.

We asked @Seinfeld2000, whom Slate interviewed and profiled in 2013, for his thoughts on the potential reboot—and how he would feel if nemesis @SeinfeldToday was given a writing job over him.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

Seinfeld2000: I notice your name is the same as Rachel from Friends. Are you named after her?

Rachel Withers: Fortunately not.

It’s just something that crossed my mind. Anyway, how are you this morning?

I’m good, but more importantly, how are you?

Well, I just said it on Twitter, but this is definitely the best day of my life. I don’t know what that says about the quality of my life. But it’s a great day for a lot of us. It’s a day that we’ve been waiting on for a long time.

How did you first hear the news that “it’s possible”?

I get a lot of tweets. People tweet at me all sorts of things, but they’re usually red herrings or dead ends. But this morning, somebody tweeted at me “Seinfeld still on TV?” And it was just a link to an Entertainment Weekly article and I just thought, oh this is, you know, usually it’ll be something like, “Jerry Seinfeld being quoted about talking about a MacBook product or something, this is what Seinfeld would be like today.” I just thought it was going to be another one of those types of things. But this was a lot more real than that. This was a lot more tangible.

Is this the closest it’s ever felt?

Yeah absolutely. I think partially because of my relentless campaigning, it’s sort of like the question has entered Jerry’s orbit. I’ve seen clips of him being asked—he does Q-and-As after his standup shows or he’ll be on red carpets, and people will say, “What do you think the show would be like today?” or “Would you ever bring the show back?” He’s always been pretty categorical in denying it and saying, “No, it’s not gonna happen,” and it seems Larry David is pretty against the idea of traditional reunions. This is the first time that he’s actually entertained the idea. You gotta think for someone like Jerry—who’s very methodical and, let’s just say, he keeps it real­—to say, “It’s possible” feels like a bit of an indication that something may actually be happening now.

As the “Seinfeld Current Day” expert, can you talk us through how you imagine this reboot?

There’s any number of possibilities. I can see George, he’s been disgraced, maybe he’s been taken down as part of some sort of movement recently, and he’s had to start from scratch, maybe he works at the Apple Store, and he works as an Apple Genius, which is ironic because nobody really thinks that he’s a genius, so there’s already a lot of fodder for jokes. I think the first episode would probably feature Jerry buying an iPad for the first time—I think “The iPad” would be a great title for an episode. I mean my gosh. I’ve come up with hundreds, thousands of different plotlines, so as I try to think of what it could be, they’re all rushing to escape my mind all at the same time and getting stuck in the door like the Three Stooges. It’s an overwhelming question.

I know there are so many ideas trying to burst through the door, but could you run us through your favorite Seinfeld2000 plotline?

I have to go back to this early book that I wrote in 2015, The Apple Store, as possibly the most fleshed-out iteration of what the show could be like, about the characters having this whole redemption narrative, being all sort of in very bad places in their lives and through the power of all the aspects of modernity really being able to capitalize on new technology and come back. That whole book is on Gawker, for the time being. I would point people to that if they would like to see a 16,000-word response to that question.

I had a tweet last night about George (“Gerge”) breaking up with Kim Jong-un’s sister, with her prominent appearance in the Olympics. It feels very of the moment and Seinfeld today would be up to the minute, like it would almost be like cable news, like you get your news from it. It would be topical—they would have to actually be writing it on set and then just recording it and almost going live to air with it. So there’s the long answer. Then there’s the “whatever my most recent tweet was,” that’s what it would probably really be.

I feel like there have been so many narcissistic, superficial characters on TV since Seinfeld ended in 1997. How could a Seinfeld reboot step up its game on the narcissism front?

I think the finale of the series would help in that effort because they all went to prison, so now they would not only be narcissists, they would be hardened criminals. Who knows what being in jail could have done to their already low moral character? And then of course, Jason Alexander [George] involuntarily murdered his wife, so I think we’d be going beyond narcissism. Although what a perfect time for Seinfeld to come back, in the most narcissistic period in human history, what with the social media and the Instagram and this sort of double life that everyone’s living. I think that they would all be like full-on sociopaths, but still in a way that you enjoy watching them. I think they would be almost like borderline evil at this point, and they would of course have to be, much in the way that they were more narcissistic than anything you saw on television in the ’90s, now they would have to be more sociopathic than anything that exists today.

Speaking of sociopathic narcissism, what role would Trump play in the Seinfeld2000 universe? Obama was a big part of your account in the early days.

He would probably be a recurring character. I’m not sure how exactly but he has inserted himself into every single aspect of culture, and I think he is unavoidable. I’ll give you an example—he wants to have this military parade? Maybe we’d be seeing like an echoing of the “Puerto Rican Day” parade but it would be the Trump military parade. Maybe he wouldn’t be a physical character in their world but his policies and his actions would probably have an impact on their lives. If there’s a nuclear war, maybe they would all get drafted, or maybe the sponges for example, he would put like a 600 percent tax on contraception that then would affect Elaine’s life. The Babu Bhatt character who has the Pakistani restaurant that he tried to start, maybe he has a son who’s a Dreamer and maybe they’re all exiled from the country due to Donald Trump’s racist, awful toxic policies as a garbage president. I think it would be unavoidable.

Do you ever worry that if a reboot was actually to happen, that would make your existence somewhat redundant? Or is the point of your existence to get the reboot to happen?

It raises existential questions—if Seinfeld never went on TV, would I even exist? Would I exist in my own physical form beyond the Twitter account? I don’t wanna make any bold statements here, but I almost wanna say that if Seinfeld did come back to television, my purpose might be done, that might be it for me, and you know what? Mission accomplished. I think I’d be happy with that. The commitment that I’ve put into this will have been rewarded and maybe that’s the best possible conclusion I could have hoped for.

How do you like your chances of getting a writing job on a Seinfeld reboot?

Oh gee. Listen, I don’t even wanna think about it because the prospect would be too exciting. I’m not a television sitcom writer, I think if I was enlisted as a writer it would be a bold choice. It would be the sort of choice that one might expect from a show that was so groundbreaking, so unconventional. At the same time, I’m really not a traditional comedy writer in that sense so obviously that would be the opportunity of a lifetime, but I won’t even try to think that way. I won’t even. Either way I will be enjoying the experience of Seinfeld existing regardless of what happens to me.

Speaking of things that are hard to think about—how would you feel if @SeinfeldToday was given a writing job over you?

Ohh.

That would be very bad. That would not be good. I mean that would, oh my gosh, I hadn’t even thought of that, that’s a very depressing thing to think about, because that account is very bad. I started my account as a response to that account, so in a way that really would have come full circle in a very devastating sort of way. I don’t appreciate the implication.

If it did happen—not saying that it would—would you be campaigning to get it off TV?

Oh my gosh, well now we’re getting into some really philosophical questions. I feel like what you’re doing here is actually, you know that proverb with the baby from the Bible and they were going to cut the baby in half? This was actually in Seinfeld too, they sort of replicated with the parable of the bicycle, Elaine had a bicycle and then Newman was … I’m sorry, my head is spinning right now. I could never campaign to get Seinfeld off the air, regardless of any mistakes that they might make. Just to see my TV family on the screen again I think would be enough. I might campaign to get those writers off the show. That might be more realistic approach. But I wouldn’t want to do anything that would stand in the way of Jerry on my TV in modern times.

Is there anything else that you’d like to add?

You know, I’m still processing this. It’s been quite a day. I would just say that people on my Twitter—not a lot of people but a minority— have been responding like, you know, “Why ruin something perfect?” You know, “Don’t do it, Jerry!” And I just have to say to them, try not to be so contrarian, let’s keep it positive, this is something that we all need, this is a tough time for all of us. We don’t know what the future holds and it’s comforting to be able to have something back from our past that made us feel complete, while also reflecting what we’re going through today. You know Seinfeld really ticks off all those boxes, so I would tell those people just shut the hell up and stop ruining this for all of us. And maybe even more broadly, what side of history do you wanna be on? Hopefully it’s the right side.

Rachel, thank you for being interested in what I have to say. Say hi to, you know, Monica, Joey, Gunther, even Matthew Perry.

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