Netflix’s promotional campaign for its securing of the Seinfeld archives—the kind of library acquisition of old TV content that would have passed with little more than a note in a catalogue email a few years back—really has been a hell of a thing to watch. Did you know it was possible to be sick of Seinfeld, a show that has been running, quite happily, in syndication perpetuity for more than 20 years at this point? This is the raw power of digital marketing.
But while we knew that the Seinfeld Netflix campaign could provoke boredom and irritation, we had yet to learn that it could also envelop us in a full-body sense of revulsion. That was, until we checked out the above promo that Netflix sent out this weekend, which may very well be the worst thing that Jerry Seinfeld, Bryan Cranston, and Patrick Warburton—talents all—have ever lent their time and energy to.
To be fair, there is exactly one good joke here, when Cranston’s narrator demands to know what happened to the Lego figurine—it’s a Lego thing, that’s the gag. on account of that Lego Seinfeld set that was popular online some time back—of his character, Tim Whatley, and then snaps at Seinfeld when he says Whatley was only on the show a handful of times. (“Six times,” he corrects, with a pointed intensity we’d love to see pointed elsewhere.)
And, look: It’s not just that the commercial is kind of existentially horrifying, depicting as it does the most hideous Jerry Seinfeld body horror since that time they turned him into a bee. The real offense is that the tone of the thing in no way matches Seinfeld itself, which, yes, enjoyed a certain amount of self-referential humor, but never this Crayola Kafka sort of meta-textual wankery.
Nice to see Patrick Warburton, though.