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‘Seinfeld’ Fans Upset That Netflix’s Aspect Ratio Cuts Out Jokes, Literally

Streaming service updates sitcom for high-definition televisions, but loses some visual gags in the process



Seinfeld finally arrived on Netflix Friday, and while all 180 episodes are now available on the streaming service, some jokes didn’t make the cut, literally.

As noted on social media, some of the visual gags from the series have been cropped out due to the series’ now-16:9 aspect ratio that updates the picture for HD televisions, as opposed to its original and boxier 4:3 ratio from when the series first broadcast on TV.

The cropping is most visible in the episode “The Pothole,” where instead of searching for his keys in the now-paved street, George Costanza is instead seen lashing out at an otherwise unblemished pavement.

As Slate notes, Jerry Seinfeld’s iconic sneaker collection was also sacrificed in many episodes due to the cropping, which often just removes the lower portion of the screen.

A similar situation occurred when Disney+ assumed the streaming rights to The Simpsons, where many visual jokes were the victim to the hi-def cropping; however, six months later, Disney+ restored the episodes to their proper 4:3 ratio. It’s unclear whether Netflix also plans to reinstate the original aspect ratio for Seinfeld.

In other Seinfeld news, Netflix promoted their huge acquisition with a new ad that drops Jerry Seinfeld in a Lego set based on his apartment on the show; Bryan Cranston also appears in the ad, reprising his Seinfeld role of Tim Whatley:

Seinfeld also appeared on the Tonight Show Friday, where he and host Jimmy Fallon similarly turned into Lego people for the interview:

From Rolling Stone US