The “Seinfeld 9/11” script by Billy Domineau making the rounds online has been shared quite a bit and heralded for its creative approach to tackling the 9/11 tragedy.
However, if you actually read the 44-page document, you may find yourself not laughing very much. It’s okay. That’s normal.
After all, the “Seinfeld 9/11” script attempts to make fun of one of the darkest tragedies in American history, and as the writer himself wondered, “how soon is too soon?”
It has only been 15 years since a group of terrorists commandeered commercial flights and flew them into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, as well as the Pentagon. One other plane destined for the White House was intentionally crashed into a field in Pennsylvania after the passengers attacked the hijackers in an attempt to regain control of the plane.
There is very little “funny” in any of that. Nevertheless, Seinfeld was such a cultural phenomenon — voted the No. 1 television show of all time by TV Guide — that it was only natural Americans might wonder how the four funniest New Yorkers would have dealt with the tragedy.
— #Men’s Corner (@MensRSS) August 4, 2016
They might have glossed it over if the show had not left the air in 1998, three years before the attack. It’s entirely possible since the show had a “never serious” mantra.
There is also precedent. Many popular sitcoms of the 1960s, like the Andy Griffith Show, for instance, completely ignored the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in spite of being popular during the event.
Seinfeld, however, could have taken the gutsy approach of addressing the tragedy, and if it had, the result might have resembled the “Seinfeld 9/11” script, at least in structure.
That said, there is one fatal flaw with the document, and it’s probably the reason you won’t be hearing creators Jerry Seinfeld or Larry David comment on it anytime soon in spite of the viral juice it has exhibited in the last few days.
The reason is that it’s not original.
Wait, what? “Seinfeld 9/11” is a great idea! On the surface, yes, the execution is another story, and it may not be entirely the writer’s fault.
For starters, many of the “Seinfeld 9/11” bits are simply rehashing prior bits from other episodes with only slight tweaks and variations.
For example, in act two, Jerry is chased through the streets of New York after being mistaken for a terrorist, which is reminiscent of Kramer being mistaken for a mugger in an actual episode of the series.
In another example, Jerry is unable to kiss his girlfriend when she gets a bit of dust on her teeth, which was directly lifted from when Jerry on the actual show can’t kiss his girlfriend after he knocks her toothbrush in the bowl and then fails to warn her before she uses it.
A third similarity is the deep clean bit on page 29 when Jerry tries to rid himself of the dust. This is similar to how Elaine pulls out all the stops in the original series episode with the B.O. Valet.
These are just a few examples. There are dozens that you can see for yourself at this link, and if you’re a serial Seinfeld watcher, they’re pretty glaring.
— Billy Domineau (@BillyDomineau) August 3, 2016
That said, it’s hard to blame Domineau’s script for missing the mark, and the story of how the “Seinfeld 9/11” script came to be is a fascinating piece of material. Entertainment Weekly has that information here.
Ultimately, “Seinfeld 9/11” would not work if filmed as-is, but if it had the benefit of going through the writer machine that Seinfeld had throughout its nine-season run, there is a very real possibility it could have been one of the most groundbreaking show’s most unique and original episodes.
But what do you think, readers?
Have you read the “Seinfeld 9/11” script, and if so, what were your impressions? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Image via NBC]