One of the funny things about watching old re-runs is seeing how technology has changed since that episode was made. For instance, an old episode of Batman where Chief O’Hara is fascinated that Barbara Gordon has a machine which answers her phone in her own voice. There’s an episode of Alf where Willy and Alf are trapped in a stuck car, and Willie laughs off the idea of having a car phone to call for help. How about the episode of Friends where the gang is thrown off by “that caller ID thing”.
And do I need to mention how the old Star Trek series showed the crew using items very much like floppy disk while the TNG crew were using pads which eerily resemble IPad’s?
As great a show as Seinfeld was, even they could not be spared this. It makes sense, this show was very much a product of the times the show was set in. It’s no wonder they would have lost touch. In fact when they did the reunion on Curb Your Enthusiasm the plot lines involved Iphone Apps, Elaine having In Vitro, and a gag about how rude people are when they stare at their cell phones, ignoring the person actually in the room.Â These shows are over twenty years old now, and some things are so dated it makes me laugh.
Here are some examples.
10.”The Stock Tip”/”The Movie”
The whole premise of this episode is about George telling Jerry to invest in a stock. He then checks the paper every day to see how it is doing. Today, we have the internet and can get updates every second if we want. Speaking of the internet it would have helped George out in “The Movie”. In that episode he fails to get tickets for the movie they all want to see because he foolishly stands in the wrong line, and they are sold out. These days of course you can buy tickets online.
9.”The Baby Shower”
Oh I love this one! We find Jerry fiddling with the rabbit ears on his TV, trying to get a clear picture, while Kramer yells at him to get illegal cable. It was hard to believe Jerry didn’t have cable in 1991 but who in the world has rabbit ears anymore? Or antennae if you don’t get the reference. I think everyone has some sort of cable, even if it’s basic, or other digital service. I know here in Mass you literally can’t use antennae for analog TV’s even if you want to. Oh, and that’s another thing…who has analog TV anymore? Wow, talking about the old analog TV’s brings back memories. Anyone remember UHF?
8.”The Phone Message”
I guess this one is kind of obvious. The plot of the episode is all about George leaving a stupid message on a woman’s answering machine. Well Ok, that could still happen. Heck we can do that with text’s too these days. But the story involves George switching the tapes before the woman can hear the message. Yeah, even if you have some sort of answering machine at home I would bet it doesn’t take tapes anymore. Assuming you even have a regular land line in your house at all! By the way another episode called “The Susie” has another phone machine gag which you simply could not do today.
7.”The Parking Garage”
I went back and forth on this one. To be honest I imagine it’s still possible to lose one’s car in a garage. Though there are app’s to help with that, plus our keys have those cool buttons which can make the alarms sound. But one of the plot lines involves Jerry whining because he couldn’t find a bathroom in the mall. When was that last time that was a problem for anyone? Oh and we have George complaining that he has to meet his parents at a certain time, and of course today he could just call them on his cell phone and let them know he will be late.
6.”The Trip”/”The Millennium”
Ok this is a small one. When Kramer runs away to Los Angeles, and becomes a suspect in a serial killing, Jerry and George try to help him. They pull up to a pay phone and call the police to report their friend is innocent. Pretty sure that there aren’t any pay phones left in LA these days.Â And in “The Millennium” there is a minor story in this one involving Jerry’s girlfriend using her speed dial as a relationship barometer. It turns into a whole thing which today would never happen, because no one uses phone’s with speed dials anymore. Also, the gags about The Millennium are just plain silly watching this episode now, fifteen years later.
5.”The Bubble Boy”
In this episode Jerry is forced to visit The Bubble Boy en route to a cabin in the woods. Jerry decides to follow George, but George goes racing up the highway. So fast that Jerry ends up losing him, and while George visits The Bubble Boy Jerry and Elaine end up at a diner. Today, all Jerry would need to do was put the address in his GPS and he wouldn’t have to depend on George at all.
There is a whole story in this episode about Seinfeld’s father, Morty, getting into a business deal with Kramer. The deal is for Morty to ship his old raincoats from Florida, and then sell them to a vintage clothing store. Morty even says at one point he has been waiting for this kind of payoff for years. Of course, today with the internet and Ebay Morty wouldn’t have to store the raincoats, he could sell them online. To be fair this episode was flawed when it came out, what was the urgency that it had to be done that weekend? Oh yeah, for the plot to work.
I actually have problems with this episode, but am amused at how dated the whole show is. First of all, Elaine’s whole story is about doctor’s refusing to treat her because of a mean thing written in her chart (see my episode guide for the rant on that!). She tries to get her chart to change the mean thing, but fails in the end. Today, all doctors I see use laptop’s, there are no more paper files or charts. The second story is all about George finding a sexy picture of a girl in some prints he’d developed. So trying to impress that girl he tries slipping a sexy picture of him into a roll of film. Do I need to explain this one? No one uses film anymore of course.
2.”The Checks”/”The Little Jerry”
Ok I am reaching a bit with this one. In “The Checks”, Jerry gets carpal tunnel from having to sign dozens of checks. Pretty sure even Japan has direct deposit these days. In “The Little Jerry”, Jerry bounces a check which is the catalyst for the story. While you could argue that people still use checks, and even in 1998 people did have credit cards and that this was just a plot device, Jerry would be using a debit card these days I think and both these stories are just a bit dated today.
I know this doesn’t have anything to do with technology but it does show how things can change. The whole entire plot of this episode is about how The Today Sponge was taken off the market. As a result Elaine has to hoard as many as she can find, and be very careful how she uses them so they aren’t wasted. Even Susan claims to love the Sponge. Today this whole story would be moot since The Sponge was returned to the market in 2012 and is still there. Heck, even Elaine still wanted a bunch them she wouldn’t need to do a hard target search of every drugstore. She could just go on Amazon.com and order as many as she wanted.
So what about you guys, any episodes of this or another show which make you laugh at hoe dated a reference is?