'Seinfeld' Is Back And In Honor Of Its Return, We Aired Our 4 Biggest Grievances
After a long summer of no George, fall is finally here, and with it brought Seinfeld back into the streaming realm – the series returning to Netflix on Friday after a several-month hiatus. In honor of this momentous occasion, we've decided to look to the cookie, erm, sorry, look to Frank Costanza's long-running holiday traditon in marking the beloved ‘90s sitcom's exciting return, airing our grievances for all to hear.
From whoever decided Shia LeBeouf should rap about sand in his shoes to annoying plot holes in Uncut Gems, I've got a lot of problems with you people – four, to be specific -- and now you're gonna hear about it!
1. Who the hell named The Fish and Wildlife Service?
Ahh, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – the one U.S. Agency that amid the climate crisis and political trash fire of the past several decades is “dedicated to the conservation, protection, and enhancement of fish, wildlife and plants, and their habitats,” according to their official website. Amid this string of much-needed, ecologically conscious good deeds, one question remains – who – to quote my 60-something midwestern mother – on God's green earth named this service and why does whover named this not count fish among wildlife?
As someone who confidently graduated kindergarten circa 2002, I've long been able to distinguish that fish are, in fact, members of the animal kingdom and therefore by all logical conclusions, should be deemed as wildlife, but don't take it from me – take it from the experts at the New England Aquarium that are actually paid to do fish-related research and tasks – and not just overshare on the internet like yours truly.
“Fishes are a group of animals that are completely aquatic vertebrates that have gills, scales, swim bladders to float, most produce eggs, and are ectothermic,” reads a document from their website differentiating fish from marine mammals. “Sharks, stingrays, skates, eels, puffers, seahorses, clownfish are all examples of fishes.” Take care, dear readers, to note the phrase “fish are a group of animals” in this description.
All pedantic arguments aside, the likely answer of why fish are not categorized as wildlife, at least apparently in the eyes of the Fish and Wildlife Service's founders, is like most other environmental-related quandaries -- long, unnecessarily complicated, and quite concerning.
“… mainstream, primarily white, America has historically not valued common fish in the same ways as other more charismatic species, particularly land and sea mammals,” , Lissa Wadewitz, an environmental history researcher who currently serves as the Chair of Linfield University's department of history wrote in her 2011 journal article, “Are Fish Wildlife?”. “The physical characteristics of an animal, its habitat type, its commercial value, and ideas about property in animals all may have influenced popular perceptions of aquatic versus terrestrial species. These issues have, in turn, greatly influenced regulatory and conservation efforts for some species.”
Considering the Fish and Wildlife Service was established as we know it today in 1940, and as Wadewitz notes in her work, fish weren't included in Webster's International Dictionary's definition of wildlife in the dictionary until 1961, including the distinction in its name, does make some sense. However, it's 2021. If Facebook's engineers can manage to fix a catastrophic outage of all their platforms, we can rename this weird-ass department so it stops implying fish are somehow not wildlife.
2. Liking – or disliking -- food is not a personality trait
I was 17 years old the first time I ever tried bacon. Enjoying an early-morning breakfast at Clarke's Off-Campus diner in Evanston, Illinois during the last day of my high school journalism summer program at Northwestern University, my friend had ordered herself a side of bacon alongside her goodbye, Chicagoland pancakes. As a newly-converted vegetarian who grew up with red-meat shunning hippie parents, I had heard marvels about the stuff, the crisp texture, the delicious saltiness of each bite, and its status as a hangover miracle worker, but had never tried it -- along with hot dogs, hamburgers, and pepperoni, among other meat offerings – for myself. Smelling the savory albeit sweet aroma wafting from her plate, I decided to take the plunge – after nearly two decades of speculation, it was time.
“Can I try a bite of that?” I asked, shocked at the words coming out of my mouth.
“Sure!?" she replied, clearly confused as to why her vegetarian friend was attempting to have a bite of her bacon.
I picked up the strip pensively, staring down its stripey exterior. Was I actually going to do this? Would I break my 17-year red meat celibacy to walk on the bacon-y side? Would the potential for a terrible stomach ache a few hours later be worth it? F--- it. To quote the 2011 Drake song still on heavy rotation on all of our iPhone 5's, “You only live once, that's the motto, Yolo.”
Despite my apprehension, deliciousness was an understatement in describing this culinary experience. The harmonious notes of sweetness, saltiness, and umami exploded on my tongue, proving that the hype was, in fact real. After years in the vegetarian darkness, I finally understood. Yet even amid this bacon-fueled epiphany, one question lingered in my mind – why the fuck was half of Tumblr obsessed with making their love of the stuff their sole personality trait?
You know who I'm talking about – adjacent to the moustache crowd in the early days of the 20-teens internet, the bacon people asked questions no one, and I mean no one, had ever dared to before – for damn good reasons. Questions like “who needs a sense of humor when you can swap every punch line with ’bacon?'” ”Why develop a sense of style when you can cover every item of clothing you own in bacon prints?" “Need to bring any dish to any sort of potluck-y function? better cover any food item you can find in bacon!” Although the trend seemingly reached its fever pitch by the decade's halfway mark, a few lone, bacon-y stragglers remain, forever stuck in that teens time loop.
Now, I know what some of you may be thinking – you're not a meat-eater! You could never understand! Although meat-eaters are bad, there is one group that is somehow even worse – milk-before-cereal folks. Despite the common, widespread knowledge that the best way to avoid soggy cereal is to add in the cereal first, for several years, a dear friend of mine insisted that the only acceptable way to eat cereal was the opposite – adding enough cereal for a handful of bites before repeating the process over and over again until you've eaten the equivalent of an entire bowl. An interesting the first, second, and hell, even third times, every subsequent explanation – and there were tens of them – grew more and more redundant. No one, and I mean no one, cares about your cereal habits.
To co-opt a joke my Illini father makes about Notre Dame university – how can you tell someone puts the milk in before the cereal? They'll tell you – 100 separate times and still think its the most interesting thing in the world.
3. Which delusional Disney exec decided Shia LeBeouf rapping about sand was a good idea to promote Holes?
Now, love Holes as much as the next zillennial (I'm leaving this one alone, you perverts), but what stands out to me most about the 2003 Disney flick is not the “I can fix that” meme, the poison lizard-warding abilities of wild onions, and the uncanny resemblance between Camp Green Lake's attendees and 13-member rap boyband Brockhampton but the film's promotional materials – namely, "Dig It" by the D-Tent boys.
In promoting the $20 million dollar film, it seems some genius on Disney's marketing team had a truly revolutionary idea – “why don't we turn the Camp Green Lake guys into a rap supergroup and make Shia LeBeouf, a.k.a. the film's palindromic main character, Stanley Yelnats rap about having sand in his shoes."
For those of you not in the loop, here are the lyrics to LeBeouf's fire verse in this absolute masterpiece:
"Two suits, two tokens in hand,
I got no respect 'cause I'm the new man,
Got my shovel, shoes full of sand,
Check out the tag the name's Caveman uh,"
It's bad, folks, so bad that the only rap verse objectively worse than Shia's take is Ben Shapiro's cover of “WAP" – and that's not saying much.
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying “Dig It” doesn't absolutely slap – the song is it is still a certified banger, nearly two decades later, a testament to the rest of the talented musicians/actors appearing on that track. But although LeBeouf may be many things, actor, writer, and actual cannibal, a rapper can not be counted among his strong suits – especially when his subject matter is digging holes. You had a Disney budget. We had enough problems in America post 9/11. The last thing we needed is rapping Shia.
4. The Ending of Uncut Gems is Impossible Despite the film's Painstaking Attention to Detail
Despite its undisputed status as the Safdie Brother's greatest cinematic work (sorry, Good Time!) the ending of Uncut Gems is entirely impossible. The only thing more unlikely than winning $1.2 million on 2012's NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals before being shot in the head alongside your bookie brother-in-law? Chartering a $10,000 Blade helicopter ride to Connecticut's Mohegan Sun casino to place said bet. As most Jitney-hating Hamptons-hoppers can tell you, Blade, the helicopter charter service mentioned by name in the flick, wasn't established until May 2014 – two years after Howard Ratner's death.
Unless the Sand Man's character had a secret magical ability to make helicopters appear from thin air, my girl Julia wouldn't make it anywhere – beyond maybe the outskirts of Queens – before tip-off. But let's face it, had Howard had that ability, the movie would be moot – the diamond dealer would simply pay all of his debts in magical helicopters he'd pull from his (apparently very healthy) ass.
Considering Uncut Gems's 2012 setting is largely a testament to the film's realism – finding a series of real-life games that both match the plot of Howard's bets and cater to the basketball star appearing in the movie – the Blade plot hole is frustrating. You were so close – almost as close as Howard was to not dying!