The popular sitcom Seinfeld is now available on Netflix, albeit some of the gags have been edited out. What is the reason behind this now?
Seinfeld was one of the most successful sitcoms of the 1990s, and it is still going strong. The show is now available on Netflix after previously being available on Hulu for six years (streaming service). Because the show was filmed years before high definition television, it was originally broadcast in a 4:3 aspect ratio (and the DVD sets that came years later, too). However, the show has been reduced to a 16:9 widescreen format on Netflix in order to fit current televisions. According to Rolling Stone, this means that some visual jokes have been figuratively wiped out of existence. And that is considered a sin.
Seinfeld is now available on Netflix.
This was rapidly picked up by the Twittersphere. It was pointed out by Twitter users @boriskarkov and @Thatoneguy64 in reference to a specific episode titled “The Pothole.” A scene from the episode shows George Costanza and Jerry Seinfeld attempting to locate George’s misplaced keys, which had fallen into a pit that had later been paved. In a crop in which George yells angrily at the pit, the Netflix crop completely removes the pit from the scene. In addition to removing some of the series’ other humour, the 16:9 aspect ratio may also be a frustrating experience for viewers who are accustomed to the show’s original visual style, which was widescreen.
This is not a new phenomenon.
Because of the success of Netflix, Seinfeld is now receiving a great deal of additional attention. As a result, it is likely that some new viewers will tune in for the first time. They aren’t going to notice.
A similar snarl occurred in late 2019 when the whole Simpsons series was made available on Disney+ for the first time. In response to several complaints over visual jokes that were missed, Disney eventually reissued the seasons that originally broadcast in 4:3 in their original aspect ratio. We can only hope that Netflix will follow suit.
When it comes to many vintage shows, the best way to view the series is still through…the DVD player. You must have a player in order to participate.