Podcast juggernaut Serial is making its amiable way through the Internet hype machine, past the initial honeymoon and the first mandatory backlash, through the detailed meta-analysis, and now comfortably drifting down the river of mash-ups and memeification. It was, perhaps, inevitable then, that the next step in the show’s life cycle would be intrepid Internet audio engineers combining their favorite investigative podcast with their favorite TV shows. And so now we have the descriptively titled “What If Seinfeld Was Serial?” from Seinfeld2000’s SoundCloud channel. (Seinfeld2000 has been playing the “what if” game with Seinfeld for some time on Twitter.) With dialogue centering on the mysterious disappearance of George Costanza from the offices of the New York Yankees (taken from seventh season episode “The Caddy”), the piece apes Sarah Koenig and company’s rhythms while non-chronological snippets of phone calls lay out what has gone before.
Honestly, this is a trick you could pull with a lot of TV show dialogue: Take Nick Thorburn’s already iconic theme tune—“Bad Dream,” which you can listen to here—layer some aptly chosen Simpsons quotes about death, murder, and uncertainty over it, patch it all together, and collect your clicks. (We’re a little worried that we’ve wished a “Who Shot Mr. Burns” version of Serial into existence just by typing the previous sentence.) But there’s something about Seinfeld’s rambling plots and inherently chaotic universe that fits the Serial tone quite well, not to mention a contribution from the show’s human secret weapon. Unlike Serial, there’s no deep underlying mystery or existential uncertainty to grapple with in regards to his identity: It’s Frank Costanza, a man with no problem breaking a situation down to its basic facts (“George is dead, call me back”) and getting on with his life.