NPR: ‘Seinfeld’ too White to connect with young Netflix viewers

A National Public Radio analysis is predicting the hit 1990s sitcom “Seinfeld” will prove too White and politically dated to connect with younger viewers on Netflix, where it began streaming last week.

According to NPR’s “Weekend Edition Sunday,” the show’s focus on four self-centered friends in “a shockingly white New York City” will struggle to resonate with younger viewers, undermining Netflix’s choice to pay $500 million for the show to compete with “The Office” and “Friends” on other streaming platforms.

“Nonwhite characters delivered take-out, or were put-upon bosses, clueless attorneys or old guys with a side hustle moving cars from one side of the street to the other to help residents satisfy alternate parking rules,” Eric Deggans said in the NPR report.

Comparing the show unfavorably to other sitcoms of the era, Mr. Deggans recalled that NBC had had to apologize for an episode in which the eccentric Cosmo Kramer, played by Michael Richards, stomped out a burning Puerto Rican flag.

He also recalled that Mr. Richards himself apologized in 2006 for a racially charged rant at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood.

“Kramer was one of my favorite TV characters, until Michael Richards atomized his career by yelling the N-word repeatedly at Black patrons who were heckling him at a comedy club. Now, it’s difficult for me to enjoy his performances, even though Richards has apologized several times and said he was ‘busted up’ by the incident,” Mr. Deggans said.

According to Mr. Deggans, the show’s references to cellphone etiquette and its depiction of “older and set in their ways” characters who are “well-aware of how terrible they are” also will turn off younger fans.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters