Honestly, I could give two shits about A.I. anything. I know that Hollywood writers were rightfully railing against allowing A.I. to do their jobs for them during the strike, and I know artists are understandably pissed off by all that oddly-fingered, semi-photorealistic A.I. art out there. I also know that when I tried to get A.I. to pick the 10 best robots on Futurama, it successfully chose just eight and named two entirely non-robot characters. All that being said, as a die-hard Seinfeld fan, I’ve been intrigued by reports about Nothing, Forever, the now barely watched, never-ending Twitch stream airing an infinite episode of Seinfeld generated entirely by A.I.
I was so curious, in fact, that I decided I would dive into the deep end of it and subject myself to 24 straight hours of A.I. Seinfeld. In part, I wanted to know what the hell it was, and in part, I wanted to see if we have anything to fear.
My journey began at 10 a.m. on November 27, 2023.
Hour 1, 10 a.m. EST: ‘Who the Hell Are These People?’
As I begin the Twitch stream, four people are sitting in a Seinfeld-like booth at a diner, but none of them look like the show’s characters. There’s a guy with Jerry-esque hair, but he’s got glasses. There’s also a blonde woman, a dark-haired guy and a short red-haired guy. All of them talk in an agonizing monotone, so it’s impossible to pick up their personalities.
They discuss not liking Nick’s alien theories, and my immediate thought is, “Who the hell is Nick — not to mention, the rest of these people?” I was expecting the four characters I’m familiar with, complete with their names, not whatever this is.
After about a minute, it unexpectedly cuts to a Verizon ad, before cutting again to a weather report for a minute or so. The weather report is not modern; it’s like something you might have seen on cable access in the 1990s.
After that, we’re at the glasses guy’s apartment, where he’s at his computer and blogging some existential nonsense. He also mentions the names of his friends in the blog: Kelly, Nick and Manfred. Then it cuts to a scene where all four of them are having a conversation consisting of disconnected statements uttered by each character. Kelly, the blonde woman, asks, “What if we are just circling in the roundabout of life, always looking for an exit?” Meanwhile, Leo, aka the glasses guy, wonders aloud if they still make Cheetos. Nick, the dark-haired dude, mentions he just got a job as a night manager. There is also a lot of talk about aliens. Along those lines, Manfred, the red-headed guy, talks about being from another planet.
Every second of the animation is awful. The characters are 3D-pixelated, personality-devoid blocks you’d find in the worst PlayStation One-era game. Their mouths also don’t move when they talk, so it’s extra difficult to tell which of the three male characters is speaking. They have very jerky movements as well that are entirely random. Kelly waves her arms around for no reason, and all the characters regularly get stuck in walk cycles.
There are also random bits of canned laughter unconnected to anything anyone says that pops up every few minutes. The music is strange, too — like something they’d play in a horror movie scene just before something happens.
After watching for about a half hour or so, I figure out what an “episode” looks like. It begins with Leo blogging at his computer before cutting to a scene at one of three places: the diner, Leo’s apartment or Kelly’s apartment. In fact, you’ll never leave those three areas — they’re all that exist in this world. After a few scenes of vaguely connected conversation topics (like aliens or socks), it cuts to the “weather” or a TV-Guide-type channel that shows lineups of actual shows like Sesame Street or The Bob Newhart Show.
Occasionally, there’s a reference to something remotely Seinfeld-ian — Leo mentions cereal at one point — but I still didn’t get who is supposed to be which character, so I cheated and looked up Nothing, Forever on Wikipedia. I discovered that this is the restructured “Season Two” of Nothing, Forever. Season One was much more like Seinfeld, but after Larry (the Jerry stand-in) told an offensive joke about trans people, Nothing, Forever was shut down and rebooted with more generic characters. Leo Borges (the Jerry-like guy with glasses) is an online blogger, and Kelly Coffee is an anxious female friend of his. Meanwhile, the dark-haired guy, Nick Sterling, is a daredevil type, and Manfred Fredman is a red-headed, wacky neighbor who might be an alien.
Getting back into the stream, Kelly notes how they always seem to be having separate conversations, which is precisely what it feels like. Each “episode” is about 10 minutes long, and at the beginning of the next one, Leo blogs some existential stuff about gummy worms. In Leo’s apartment, Manfred talks about gummy worms as psychedelics. Leo, meanwhile, notes how the colors of gummy worms don’t really reflect the flavor. This is the first time he sounds a little like Jerry Seinfeld making an observation about the mundane.
Hour 2, 11 a.m. EST: ‘Time Is Like a Bagel’
My second hour begins with all the characters seemingly becoming self-aware. Manfred notes that they don’t have jobs and don’t go anywhere. Nick wonders if they’re in a simulation. Leo asks if they’re in a show for pure entertainment, while Kelly thinks she’s a piece of fiction.
Then, they’re quickly back on the topic of aliens as Kelly asks if they might be figments of an alien mind. Manfred talks about growing mushrooms in his closet and that they have a metallic taste, like that of a spaceship. He also mentions that he might be an alien.
Besides the stream, there’s a chat room, and one of the 46 people watching says that the microwave is their favorite character, which makes me notice that whenever the characters are in Leo’s apartment, they’ll randomly push the buttons on the microwave and it will run for a few seconds. Nothing ever goes in or out of the microwave; we only hear the buttons and it running on occasions when the four characters go up to use it.
Later, at the diner, Leo asks for a refill of his coffee “and a dose of reality” for Kelly, but there’s no coffee cup or waiter in sight. There are no other characters but these four, not even in the backgrounds. I ask in the chat room, “Is anyone enjoying this?” But no one answers.
A half-hour later, the same conversation about whether the characters are in a show or a simulation continues. Such existential conversations predominate. Leo says they’re all muffins in an endless bakery, while Nick says he feels more like a croissant, being light, flaky and a little too buttery. Kelly says she’s a scone — hard on the outside, soft and crumbly underneath. Later, Leo says, “Time is like a bagel.” Manfred agrees, saying it’s hard on the outside and chewy on the inside. I have no clue what they mean.
Hour 3, Noon EST: ‘Existential Dread’
More existential chatter: Kelly wonders if time isn’t linear, if they aren’t really there, and if they exist in a sitcom. Manfred says reality is an illusion. Nick talks a lot about Chaos Theory. Leo blogs about reality being perception and later notes that no one can recall anything outside of their three sets (i.e., the diner and the two apartments). He also does a separate blog about existential dread; soon thereafter, all four characters are droning on and on about existential dread.
Hour 4, 1 p.m. EST: ‘Aliens Must Love Swiss Cheese Because of the Holes’
Yep, more monotonous existential conversations: Leo wonders if the audience watching them is God — or Nick says it (I still can’t tell who is talking most of the time). Manfred suggests if they are a show, it should be called Nothing, Forever, which is meta, I guess.
There are also very unfunny pseudo-Seinfeld conversations about everyday things like toast, toasters and cheese. After an extended one about how “aliens must love Swiss cheese because of the holes,” Leo laments how dull the conversation is.
Hour 5, 2 p.m. EST: ‘When Did My Apartment Turn Into a Dostoevsky Novel?’
Continuing the dairy theme, Nick makes some cheese puns while Leo says, “Life is a never-ending stand-up set.” Nick disagrees with Leo, saying life is not a laughing matter but an absurd drama, to which Leo wonders when his apartment has turned into a Dostoevsky novel.
There’s lots of talk about mirrors as well. Leo blogs about them, Nick wonders if they’re multidimensional gateways and Kelly fears them.
Hour 6, 3 p.m. EST: ‘Could It Be the Goblin?’
Fuck, I fell asleep. I made sure to get a good night’s sleep beforehand, but this is so boring that I couldn’t help it. I pour myself some cold brew coffee while Leo blogs about toasters (again). Toward the end of the hour, Kelly talks about existential dread (again) before suddenly asking, “Could it be the goblin?”
The proceedings then cut to the weather and into a blogging scene about Frosted Flakes. Which is honestly too bad: For the first time in nearly seven hours, I actually wanted to know what’s going on. I want more goblin!
Hour 7, 4 p.m. EST: ‘The Goblin, We’ve All Seen Him in the Shadows When We Lock Our Doors at Night’
Fortunately, the goblin talk resumes right away in the next scene when Manfred says, “The goblin, we’ve all seen him in the shadows when we lock our doors at night.” He later adds, “The clocks and the goblin, it all makes sense now.” He also corrects someone else when they say “goblins.” It’s only one goblin, he declares.
In the next scene, Kelly asks Manfred how they can defeat the goblin. Nick suggests buying it an expensive watch, which Manfred says has to be tuned to the Earth’s rhythm. Meanwhile, Leo says, “Guys, we’re not fighting a goblin.” To which Nick replies, “What else are we supposed to do, throw a lunch for it?” Manfred notes that goblins do love quinoa.
A minute later, Manfred is saying goblins plural, too, so now there are multiple goblins. In the diner, Nick wonders if the goblin is from another time, watching over them all. But alas, just as it’s getting good, the scene cuts to a weather report and back to the blogging. Unfortunately, the talk is once again of existential dread, and no one mentions the goblin for several scenes in a row.
Hour 8, 5 p.m. EST: ‘We’re Stuck in a Repeating Echo’
Leo astutely explains, “We’re stuck in a repeating echo.” You can say that again pal.
Hour 9, 6 p.m. EST: ‘Just Think of How Silly Seahorses Look When They Swim’
More talk about toast and existential dread. Later, Leo mentions finding a great parking spot, which feels Seinfeld-like for two seconds. Kelly then begins talking about reality show celebrities. Leo and Kelly have merged their topics into a show about celebrities trying to find parking, which is nearly the premise of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.
Nick mentions that he’s taking night classes, but he doesn’t say for what. At one point, he adds, “Just think of how silly seahorses look when they swim.” He is right — seahorses are dumb.
Hour 10, 7 p.m. EST: ‘Does the Goblin Whisper Too?’
After a commercial, Manfred asks, “Does the goblin whisper too?” The fucking goblin is back!!!
Kelly replies, “Maybe it’s time we take back control. We can’t keep living under the thumb of that,” while Nick thinks they’re making it up. Previously, Nick believed in the goblin, but now he doesn’t. Major continuity error Nothing, Forever.
Unfortunately, the goblin talk stops for about 20 minutes until Leo asks, “Last Tuesday, my tie went missing. Was that the goblin’s mischief?” (I’d be remiss if I didn’t note this continuity error as well: Leo, previously a goblin denier, now believes in the goblin.)
As for Leo’s tie, Nick admits he used it to mop up a spill.
Hour 11, 8 p.m. EST: ‘Time Is a Construct’
Kelly mentions a client she has to see tomorrow, making me wonder what her job is. She’s regularly pitching TV shows and novel ideas, but now she has a client for something.
Hour 12, 9 p.m. EST: ‘Maybe the Goblin Can Write Better Jokes’
Surprise, surprise: There’s a lot of boring existential talk like Kelly and Leo discussing multiple timelines. Thankfully, at 9:35 p.m., Kelly mentions the goblin again, saying she’s worried about him. Leo jokes that the goblin can make better coffee than Kelly, while Kelly says maybe the goblin can write better jokes than Leo.
Hour 13, 10 p.m. EST: ‘The Universe Silently Laughs At Us’
More annoying, existential conversations. Luckily, though, I’ve made a friend in the chat: “Shrimpnritz,” who is another goblin fan.
Hour 14, 11 p.m. EST: ‘Ignore Disgruntled Goblins’
Once again, the characters discuss how they cannot remember anything outside the three sets, which is probably the 10th time they’ve had this conversation since I started watching, and it’s never interesting.
The only twist this time around: At one point, Manfred contradicts this notion by talking about a woman he met named Gertrude in the garden center of a store. Gertrude had warned him about the goblin. Leo doesn’t want any goblin talk, but Nick says, “Ignore disgruntled goblins.”
Kelly says goblins stole pickles from her fridge, and she wonders if goblins like coffee. Manfred says they only drink decaf — pronounced “de-cof” by all the malfunctioning A.I. characters — because caffeine makes goblins hyper. Kelly then says she needs to get some decaf as it’s not a party without coffee.
The next scene is in the diner, which appears to be after the goblin party. The guys ask Kelly about the party — which she seemingly didn’t invite them to — and she says the goblins brought their own decaf and talked a lot about ancient folklore.
Hour 15, Midnight EST: ‘The Goblin’s Eyes Were Full of Faith’
They’re back to talking about life and spaceships and telepathic communication. I doze off again — I think only for a minute or two. More coffee for me. Unlike the goblins, I need caffeine.
Hour 16, 1 a.m. EST: ‘I Saved a Whole Town from a Toothpick Crisis’
I’m fading fast as Kelly asks the others if they ever feel not present in their own conversations. She then mentions, for the second time in five minutes, that she saved a whole town from a toothpick crisis. Kelly also says she feels like a foreign-exchange student in her own body and that there are alternate dimensions where they don’t have these absurd conversations.
Hour 17, 2 a.m. EST: ‘Don’t Eat Yellow Snow, It’s Nature’s Overripe Banana’
I blinked and awoke at 2:48 am. I think I lost an hour. Fuck.
Nick and Leo are talking about spirit animals. Then Manfred says his clocks are set to Martian time. Manfred offers some advice: “Don’t eat yellow snow; it’s nature’s overripe banana.”
Next, Nick wonders if they’re all characters in someone else’s story. I guess I didn’t miss much.
Hour 18, 3 a.m. EST: ‘The Moon Whispers Louder to Me’
At the apartment, Manfred says, “Nick, the moon whispers louder to me.” Later, Kelly wonders if they’re controlled by little people behind a screen. After some weather, there is a brief mention of the goblin as Leo says you can’t control him.
Hour 19, 4 a.m. EST: ‘Tiny Shoe Creatures’
Manfred says shoelaces are profound because they’re the gateways for shoes and miniature bridges for tiny shoe creatures. In a blog, Leo says that Manfred is trying to tune into a star cluster, which he thinks is a sitcom audience. Leo suspects he’s onto something. Leo also blogs about how solitary he feels in this nonsensical narrative. Join the club, buddy.
Hour 20, 5 a.m. EST: ‘Maybe Time Is More Like a Bowl of Spaghetti’
Leo blogs about existence and refrigerators. Then there’s lots of talk about refrigerators and how they’re all tiny refrigerators. It’s stupid.
Manfred wonders aloud if he’s from another planet, and Leo says we all feel that way, that they’re all stardust. Nick says that time may not be a straight line: “Maybe time is more like a bowl of spaghetti.” Kelly says she’s on a diet.
Then Kelly mentions reading a story about a goblin in Europe. Leo says she’s crazy, but Manfred says you can’t discount goblins. At the diner, Kelly laments feeling like she’s not in control of her life. Manfred says goblins are among us, looking like us.
Leo randomly mentions that he always breaks even, which is a lot like Jerry’s “Even Steven” scene in Seinfeld. Manfred says this is because the goblins favor Leo and hate Kelly, which is not like anything on Seinfeld.
Hour 21, 6 a.m. EST: ‘Just Last Week, I Was Stroking’
Leo and Kelly discuss if they’re special in the diner as they explore more, very boring existential dread. Manfred says that socks are just fabric tubes and that everything is just different-shaped tubes. I’m too tired to decide if this is correct.
Leo also mentions “the profound stroke of a pen.” To which Manfred says, “Just last week, I was stroking.” Was that a masturbation joke?
Hour 22, 7 a.m. EST: ‘Then I Arm-Wrestled a Kangaroo’
Nick declares he will become an exotic pet sitter, while Kelly wants to start a ferret-grooming business. Manfred mentions his antennas — I don’t see them. Kelly brags that she once outdrank an Australian rugby team and arm-wrestled a kangaroo. After that, Manfred and Kelly debate Pi. As for me? I’m reaching the point of delirium. So much so all of this is kinda, sorta starting to make sense.
Hour 23, 8 .m. EST: ‘Billy Bob’
Okay, scratch that. This is all still totally nonsensical, as Kelly is now saying that brushing their teeth is just a construct of their minds. Manfred mentions the Illuminati and, for some reason, refers to Wile E. Coyote from Looney Tunes as “Billy Bob.” He also says that the coyote gets joy from the pursuit of the road runner, which he definitely does not.
Meanwhile, Kelly is talking about making a reality show about the most boring man on Earth. Any of these four would qualify.
Hour 24, 9 a.m. EST: ‘The End’
As I begin my final hour, Nick, Leo and Kelly are at the diner. They’re talking about dread once again. Then they’re in the apartment talking about destiny. They also discuss quantum physics, and Leo muses about a world where every person is represented as a string.
All the while, I’m trying to figure out any takeaways from this horrible experience. Do I view Seinfeld differently? Maybe a little, if only to appreciate the real thing even more. Do I view A.I. differently? I’m a little less afraid of its imminent takeover, but there are at least 40 people — that is, about the number of people watching Nothing, Forever at any given time — who might be willing to be in the audience for an A.I.-written movie or TV show.
As for the goblin, I’m grateful to him for supplying the only source of even mild entertainment during this whole thing. Why is there a recurring goblin storyline in the Seinfeld A.I.? I have no idea, but it does occur to me that maybe, just maybe, this is the A.I.’s understanding of Newman, which means the A.I. is a bit more perceptive than I had given it credit for previously.