I Went To Hulu’s ‘Seinfeld’ Exhibit And Was Encouraged To Take My Pants Off
If Jerry Seinfeld thought Cosmo Kramer made a strange first impression, he's probably yet to pass through Hulu's "Seinfeld: The Apartment" fan experience in New York City, where I was encouraged by exhibit volunteers this morning to tour a remake of the sitcom's famed Upper West apartment, sort through the production's most cherished relics and, ultimately, take my pants off.
(I declined, but not before some serious consideration.)
The exhibit, open to the public from June 24 until June 28, aims to promote the show on Hulu, which will start streaming the entire series this week. Upon entry, fans can take a load off on Jerry's couch, drum away on his kitchen's counter top, or, if the mood strikes, produce their own Timeless Art of Seduction photoshoot a la George Costanza. As an avowed disciple of the self-loathing pioneer's hateful rhetoric, I decided to forfeit my misgivings, sink into the set's historic chaise lounge and follow in his Festivus-era footsteps.
Then, I was plainly asked by my rehearsed photographer:
"Do you want to take your pants off?"
Yes, between an arcade Frogger console and a rendering of The Maestro's cracked baton, among the VHS tapes, jars of pre-made Ragu and Tom's Diner menus and in perfect view of Kathy Griffin's "F--- you, Jerry Seinfeld!" note on a redbrick edifice, going pantsless in the company of freelance photographers and Rolling Stone reporters suddenly became a real possibility. Could I have? Should I have? Was my underwear the pair that has an ostensible tear from some angles, but probably looks fine if you dropped your glasses on the sidewalk without being any the wiser?
Having already exhausted my day's short supply of temerity, I decided to leave the zipper zipped and buttons buttoned, even if it meant I'd only ever do Costanza—who'd famously stripped down to his skivvies for the shot—fractional justice. I'd generally jump through hoops for the man, but the ends simply didn't justify the means, and I decided to leave elective nudity to my more daring peers. Plus, the Soup Nazi had just walked by, and I wanted a goddamn picture with him.
Larry Thomas, who played New York's most feared buffet-arbiter, told me he has the fondest memories of playing the man with no social face to lose, and that he still remembers the thrill of hearing Julia Louis-Dreyfus insist: "You are so funny."
A Seinfeld fan himself, Thomas recalls clamoring for a photo outside of Jerry's apartment after the show's finale party. He also said that even though the show's now rooted in antiquities, he has faith that younger generations will catch on all the same.
"It's going to be like Disneyland when they open it up to the public," he said. "I've talked to young people and always say, wouldn't this show be great to watch with their phones? Do they know what a payphone is? Wouldn't they want to take a picture?"
Predictably, our chat was interrupted with demands for "No soup for you!" recitations to video cameras and smartphones. I asked how many times he expected to say the line before the event was over.
"We'd need to hire a statistician," he said.
If you can spare a square, have an unrelenting penchant for double-dipping or can't pass a Junior Mint without foaming at the mouth, see Seinfeld for yourself at Milk Studios at 451 W 14th Street between 10AM and 7PM until Sunday.